Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Someone wants to eat their own cake

More nonsense about how men's tennis isn't manly enough. The writer of this opinion piece peppers it with caveats in order to have it both ways. But the title, and the article's very existence, is basically a call for animosity between players. Because that's exciting. Or something. It's a vague love letter to days gone by, the good ol' days, when bratty American's ruled. I wonder if he also joneses for Marcelo Rios to return. Somehow I doubt it.

Reminds me of that nut that NPR gives a pedestal to on Wednesdays Frank Deford). Just look at Grandpa Munster. He once had an NPR-level rant about how male tennis players should not collapse after a win, because it wasn't triumphant enough for him. It did not, in his opinion, celebrate enough. Too passive a practice, he thinks. I nearly pulled a muscle with that eye roll. How could anyone contemplate that subject long enough to record a show on?

Tennis is, at its heart, a gentlemanly sport. And that's what I like about it. Like Federer Hingis was a very amiable number one. I think this is a good thing. I know many people mean well when they suggest changes to attract more fans (by making it more like other sports). But I love the sport as is. It's unique. I hope it stays that way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Agassi to start the senior tour

Man, I feel for everyone else on the senior tour. But this should give it more fan interest. The matches that I have seen are no where near the level of play on the regular tour. And since it really hasn't been that long since Agassi retired, I don't see how he won't be collecting tournaments with ease.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What a load....

This article by The Nation is simply absurd. I used to subscribe to this magazine, and find it can be a very good one. But it is wildly uneven, and sometimes simply ridiculous. The article is an example of that.
To equate vague expletive spewing ("I don't give a shit") with actual physical threat ("If I could, I would take this fucking ball and shove it down your fucking throat." ), means that the writer of this story should never be taken seriously. Between the lines of the article is the evidence that the writer knows little about tennis history. Yes, McEnroe is known as the former bad boy....as if he was never fined, as if he was never suspended from the sport. He was. And he never threatened anyone with bodily harm.
The writer of that article is trying so hard to find misogyny or racism or something. But all he did is make an ass of himself.

Serena (and Venus, though in my mind less so) has a history of post-match press conferences where she gives her opponents little credit, even if the opponent won. I think in this instance she was less so for many reasons. For one, what she did was so wrong even she can see it. Also, Clijsters is reportedly one of the nicest players on tour, and that sets a tone. But more importantly is the release date of One the Line--September 1, 2009. Just before the Open. And as Serena tells the press frequently--she is also a business woman.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Serena Williams as Mother Nature?

When you think of menstruation, think of Serena Williams. Or so Tampax would have it. Her recent crankiness at the US Open was not, apparently, inspiration for this choice.

Justine Henin is coming back!

I personally guessed this one wrong. I thought this would never happen.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What in the world is a "doubles rubber"?

I was confused by this story's headline:

"Murray to play in doubles rubber"

What is a doubles rubber? It was a difficult term to track down, but I did. Here and here. It is apparently the deciding match/game in a series, the one that decides a tie. I personally had never heard this term before, so I thought I'd share.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Zero to 19 in 3 tournaments

Not bad at all. Clijsters has gone from no-ranking to being #19 in the world after winning the US Open (her 3rd tournament). The game needs her, so I hope there is much more of this to come.

Belgium was elated.

If she can climb like that in 3 tournaments, why can't Serena take #1 from Safina...(that's another post).

Federer slapped on the wrist

I like the guy a lot, but it's only fair.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Roger, the potty mouth?

This was a shocker for me. The gentleman? The ambassador for the sport? I have never seen him so pissed before and letting it out like this. Serena must have inspired him. Kind of sad, really. Or perhaps the twins kept him up all night.

He was supposed to be a bad temper when younger, so I guess this is regression.

UPDATE: Federer fined.

No, another lines-woman

At this low resolution the clip can't really show it, but the expression this lines-woman wore after Serena dumped a return into the net was hilarious.

I don't think I have seen a lines person show such interest in a match before. But I agree with her assessment of Ms. Williams, er, I mean the shot. Hi Def was much easier to see, but no recorder for that just yet. Here's a still:

Friday, September 11, 2009

How things have changed

During the rain delay at this year's Open they have been playing some vintage matches. They played a very entertaining (and long) clip from 1979, 2nd round, mens match. McEnroe vs Nastase. The event was new to me--I was 9 years old at the time. But amidst some controversy over the 30-second rule for serving the crowd got very rowdy (NYC, natch), play was at a long standstill, and the players and tournament referee were discussing the problem on court. My favorite part was this:

Just hilarious how things have changed. So casual, the guy sauntering on court to share his thoughts on the matter, and hardly an eye is batted. He is swatted away like a mildly annoying gnat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bud Collins's mind wanders

Bud Collins said that Yanina Wickmayer's noise when she hits that ball sounds like 'whoopee', and said: "I don't know--maybe she is making whoopee out there."
Reminds me of another inappropriate comment made by Cliff Drysdale. Back when Martina Hingis was still on the tour and dating some other tennis player (Magnus Norman, I think). She was not playing particularly well, and he said that perhaps it was because she was spending too much time with her boyfriend..."but I don't think she would like to hear me say that." There was a pause, and his co-host (Mary Jo Hernandez or Mary Carillo) said: "I don't think I like hearing that."


But we can all laugh it off and point out how they are quaintly from another era.

Nadal Gets Some Lovin'

Nadal gets some unsolicited but not apparently unwanted affection from a fan. Kudos to Nadal for the calm, flattered reaction. And for his ability to carry on in defeating Monfils after this. (Anyone who knows tennis has to think about poor Seles at these moments.)

The kiss:

And Nadal doesn't want him to go:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dear Andy Murray

Dear Andy Murray,

There is a button on your shirt. It has a function. Please put it to use. You look like a slob.

Thank you,


Oudin and Clijsters to the rescue

Melanie Oudin and Kim Clijsters have saved the 2009 US Open for the women. Without Clijsters's incredible return to form or the up-and-comer Oudin's Russian Removal Plan, this Open would be more fodder for those pointing out how out of whack the women's game is (when compared to the men's).

The female #1 (Safina) is dogged by questions about her worthiness at the top spot (with good reason). And one by one the top women have been eliminated far too early. Many of the announcers on television imply that the ranking system needs to be retooled so that Serena Williams is ranked #1. The reasoning? She has won 2 Slams this year. But the rankings should reflect the best. Serena craves the limelight above all else, and she therefore plays her best at the Slams. But she doesn't play enough otherwise. She doesn't support the tour outside of the Slams, and this frankly belittles the effort that the rest put into it. So she should not be #1. (It's not as if she is ranked low--she's #2. So relax.)

Serena rules due to the meekness of the rest of the field. Venus can bring it at times, of course. And how I miss Henin now--to a degree I did not predict. I miss her because she is one who could truly compete with others instead of fighting herself as the others (Safina) clearly do. But just look at the void of champions that is the women's field, and who could be surprised that Oudin and Clijsters would be embraced in the way they have. Clijsters has the calm demeanor of a former winner who is back because she wants to be. And that's nice to see. Oudin has the hunger and enjoyment of a new-on-the-scene 17-year-old, and it's an entertaining combination.

Serena will likely be ranked #1 a week after the US Open ends. But right now I think none of them deserve that ranking. Right now the women's field should start at #2. Because that about sums up the field. Here's to hoping Oudin and Clijsters bring it back to #1.

Inaugural post!

I adore tennis. Naturally, I love the Slams. In the midst of 2009 US Open I am compelled to start a blog to share my thoughts on the sport with the imaginary people in my head who care. I can be snarky and irreverent, but the bottom line is that I adore watching and playing tennis.