By sachs on Sep 9, 2009 | In tennis
OK, I should have written something earlier but I get preoccupied getting in fights with people on other tennis blogs. So, here are some quick odds and ends:
WHOLE LOTTA UGLY
Did you see that Cilic/ Murray match? I heard the cameramen had to wear blindfolds lest they instantly turn to stone. Anyhoo... Cilic was pretty good, but he won because Murray sucked. Again, this is why Fed and Nadal are special folks. They don't suck at Slams. EVER. OK, except Fed against Nadal at the French that time, and in the 5th set against Nadal in Oz this year, but whatever.
OUDIN/ WOZNIACKI PREVIEW
Oh, well, this is just such an interesting matchup, I've been running it through my imagination all day.
Serena looks great. Clijsters playing great but still very uneven. I've really enjoyed Serena's interviews. She's just so classy and funny when she's not being completely bitchy and full of herself. Like me, I guess. I don't see how Serena can end this tournament without a trophy- probably two. I find it funny how the blog freaks bitch about Fed's arrogance for having the temerity to wear a jacket saying "15" after winning his 15th Slam, yet no one seems to mind that Serena constantly wears t-shirts with messages like "You can't spell dynasty without nasty." I don't mind the shirt, of course, its just funny to me how bitchy people are towards Fed.
ON THAT NOTE:
I think Fed supporters should take comfort in the fact that Fed Haters have had a miserable 6 years watching tennis and not worry about the weird catty comments. When Haters say "Fed always gets easy draws", and they say that TOURNAMENT after TOURNAMENT, what that really means is, the Haters don't believe that anyone not named Murray or Nadal can beat Fed. If you took any of the supposed toughies from a Murray or Nadal draw and put them in Fed's line-up, suddenly they'd be considered cupcakes. Cilic is a case in point, or Gasquet who was Nadal's first round opponent. If they were in Fed's way, believe me, no one would think they pose a challenge. But what can you say? Fed really only has lost to others in The Big Four for years now, so how could one imagine a tough draw for him?
The Old Nadal is back, and I don't mean the one who won Australia in January, I mean the one who burst on the tour in 04. Have you noticed his pipes? They are back to freakishly huge. I think that in 07, 08, when Nadal started getting to finals regularly, he was playing SO MUCH more tennis that he probably didn't have time for the same physical training regime he'd had as a young man. His arms shrunk down to regular Giant Muscled Tennis Player size, like Safin or Verdasco. But it looks like Nadal didn't just sit on the couch the last 2 months as he nursed his bad knee.
The match last night against Monfils was awesome. Nadal looked just great. I think he and Del Potro should get through their quarters and THAT will be an awesome slugfest of a semifinal. Del Potro is just improving SO FAST, I really believe he will be the next #1 when the Nadal/Federer stranglehold ends.
Murray... ah, Murray. Eat it, buddy.
Fed looked like he is really getting in his groove in his round of 16 match against Robredo. Now that Djoker is through, I am really stoked for that semifinal.
I won't get to see the semis or finals as I'll be playing with rocket launchers with my reserve unit this weekend. ARGH! Hopefully I can at least get someone to record the finals and watch it Sunday night.
The final word:
After all the ups and downs and all that's been said, first about the decline of Federer, then about the decline of Nadal... wouldn't it be funny to end '09 with Mr. Fed at #1 and Senor Nadal #2?
Oh yeah, I heard Fed introduced himself to Oudin yesterday and had a nice chat. What a pervert.
By sachs on Jun 29, 2009 | In tennis
This year, the first week had a shadow over it; not a shadow exactly, a dark hole cut out of it.
Rafael Nadal, world number 1, reigning champ, the everpresent boulder in Federer's path, was missing. For the first time in a Slam in 2 or 3 years, we did not go in expecting another Fed/Nadal final
It made the first week seem quiet, like we'd just come from a funeral.
But this is the strange way first weeks are at the Slams. With 132 players entered in each singles draws, there are so many unfamiliar faces in a first week. For the most part, the first week is a warm-up for the fans, as we are slowly drawn in by the tennis, by the emerging storylines.
Its like a fans' 'combine'- the physical testing that sports leagues run for prospects before their drafts. In the first week, the fans watch the stars testing out their game, and over the middle weekend, we set the odds in our minds. Who is for real?
For players, all know that nothing is won in the first week. The goal in those days is just to make the second half.
And now, appetites whetted, the real tournament begins.
Their are always a few great matches and great stories to come out of that first week. With the mens and womens fields now down to 16, I like seeing the older players making unexpected runs: Leyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Haas: did anyone expect any of them to be here? Amelie Mauresmo on the women's side. My old girlfriend, a Wimbledon champ once, I didn't even know she was entered in the tournament and here she is. Then there's Melanie Oudin, the 17 year old Georgian mini-babe, winning her first three matches ever in a main draw tournament- including a big upset over Jelena "Tampax" Jancovic. Israeli journeyman Dudi Sela, whom I cannot recall ever landing in a second week.
The first week gives us nice stories. The second week gives us a champion.
Now, there are no boring matches when we look at the draw. It is all tension. Hewitt, Roddick, Murray all make a run on one side; Federer, Djokovic, Dr. Ivo on the other. Hewitt has been playing great tennis, beating down pretend-contender Juan Martin del Potro. On the other side, Federer has been Fed of Old. The man who makes little miracles out of his shots, who shows us balls we've never seen hit like that on a court before. I'm loving this Federer this week.
I still like Roddick in his Round of 16 match against the surging Thomas Berdych, but I no longer expect him to lead his half of the draw into the finals. Murray is playing great, smart tennis. I just expect Roddick, with the big holes in his game, will find himself exposed by as sharp a tactician as Murray. If we do get a Fed/Murray finale, how different will that be from the big bomb rock throwing 90's of Goran vs Pete? We might actually see some tennis played on the lawn.
And now, to those about to second week, WE SALUTE YOU!
GO! And bring us a championship!