Saturday, June 2, 2007

Heard Around Roland Garros Week One

People love blabbermouths. Of course people say they don’t but admit it, when certain people you know open their mouths you know you’re in for some juicy tidbits about mutual friends, the person’s family or the person themselves. If things keep up the way they are the up and coming Serbian players are going to be press darlings.

On Wednesday May 30 Janko Tipsarevic made the following statement after beating Marat Safin during his post match presser.

1. On Marat:
Q. I read that you like to read some books about psychiatry. Do you want to be one to Marat, for example?

A.Well, Marat is, in my opinion, maybe the most talented player in the world. I think for him this might sound a little bit harsh, but for him tennis is like a toy, because when it's interesting for him, no one in the world can beat him. But then when it's not interesting for him, he just doesn't, you know, show his talent or his tennis the way he can play, you know.

Not to be outdone countryman Novak Djokovic commented on Andy Murray’s woes in this BBC entry.

Murray learning lesson - Djokovic
By Piers Newbery
BBc Sport at Roland Garros

Djokovic is through to the second round in Paris
World number six Novak Djokovic believes Andy Murray will learn from the wrist injury that threatens to rule him out of Wimbledon.

Djokovic is currently playing at the French Open, while fellow 20-year-old Murray has been sidelined since 15 May.

"You've got to take care of your body and I think he's learned the lesson now," Djokovic told BBC Sport. "Obviously he was not taking care of his body and he's got the injury which brought him a lot of negative things."

Jelena Jankovic has toned her interviews down. As Moose of TAT observed the Serbian’s have not been trained as to how to deal with the press. I’m sure their super agents will tell them not to be so loose lipped.
The man known in some circles as the FedGod seems to be aiming his charm offensive against Novak by the way. The man who earlier this year practically called Novak a weenie now says he respects him. Somehow I think Novak will resist Mr. Federer’s charms.

" And I wasn't too impressed, to be honest. But I still thought, you know, he was okay. I didn't play a good match, I remember, and I was really surprised about his progress, you know. Now I think he's a very good player. He could really improve his serve. From the baseline, he's steady; plays aggressive on both sides. But he did definitely prove me wrong."

Entire Article

The BBC also reports Djokovic to have said this:

"I agree that Murray, [Richard] Gasquet, myself, maybe [Gael] Monfils and [Tomas] Berdych - this group of young players can do damage to the best two players in the world," said Djokovic.

"For sure we're candidates for those places and we've shown our quality in the last year or so."
Darren Cahill called Richard Gasquet’s loss “insipid” on ESPN. I will not touch that except to say that anyone who saw pictures of the blister in Gasquet's palm does not find this loss totally unexpected.

Darren Cahill also wrongly accused Venus Williams of wearing a grass court sneaker while commentating on her match. Darren, just so you know speculation is done off mike. That way you don't put you, your colleagues and your network in the cross hairs. Got that mate? And to think some were mentioning him as possibly joining the Williams camp.

Maria Sharapova blithely reports on her web site that she snuck out of her hotel for a ride around Istanbul that ended in her driver being fired from his job. She was looking for tulip shaped tea cups. He is now looking for a job.
Marion Bartoli of France said after her match against countrywoman Aravane Rezai which she won said playing Rezai is like playing a foreigner. She went on to say that Rezai stays to herself and doesn’t socialize with the other women. All well and good except that Rezai and her father are banned from practicing at Roland Garros, Rezai is ethnically Iranian and there are questions about her residency status.
I have a question. Last year Tatiana Golovin rightly won the French Open Karaoke contest. So where are the women’s efforts this year? All of the men seem to have made them, even an uncomfortable looking Roger. Just asking.

Since I wrote these comments a link has been put up that shows all of this years Karaoke efforts. Prepare to laugh.

The Current Crop

Last Years Top 10


Thus Speaks Roger Federer

I don't think this needs any comment.

Thursday May 31, 7:48 AM
Federer rages at Open's heart of darkness

Top seed Roger Federer was furious with French Open officials who scheduled his second round match to start and finish in the murky Paris gloom on Wednesday.
When we (Thierry Ascione) shook hands, I told him I couldn't see him anymore it was so dark," said Federer.

The conditions were shocking. I know they want to get the matches over and done with but what I don't like is that they know I'm the favourite and they think I should win in straight sets. 'Let's get Roger's match over and done with, then he's happy, he has a day off'.

But what if it doesn't turn out this way. I would be very upset. I already wasn't happy playing so late.

I hate playing into dawn. I can hardly see the ball. You start stressing out. I can't believe other players were still playing after me because it was so dark."

Federer was referring to France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin's five-set win over Radek Stepanek which didn't finish until 9:30 pm.

The Swiss star said the situation reminded him of his heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Rafael Nadal in 2005 which was played in similar dismal conditions.

On that occasion, Federer wanted the match called off for the day.

I wanted to stop that match, but there was pressure from the crowd, from television, from my opponent and if you don't agree with your opponent you're stupid.

Full Commentary

(My apologies to Nietzsche.)
The Romance of Tennis

Nikolay Davydenko was taken to task by some for this statement:

Q. And you've gotten married. And how does this change how much you want to be out on the road playing tennis?

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Just now, except now she's my wife, not my girlfriend. If I say somebody is already wife, that's it. Maybe for her it is better, you know. And for me, she's still the same girl, just my wife.

Most women would love for their husbands to think of them as their girlfriends after marriage. Just ask Cynthia (Mrs. A-Rod) Rodriguez.

Sania Mirza No Fear

Mirza hits back for modern Muslims

By Robert Philip

"Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History," proclaims the defiant message emblazoned across the prow of Sania Mirza's favourite T-shirt. There are many other such garments in her suitcase, including one reading "I'm Cute, No Shit" and another that declares: "You Can Either Agree With Me Or Be Wrong."

When you have received a fatwa courtesy of a fanatical Muslim cleric accusing you of being "a corrupting influence on young women... bringing shame to Islam... wearing clothes on the tennis court that leave nothing to the imagination", it must be tempting to adopt a low profile. Not 20-year-old Mirza, who, while as devout as any of India's 130 million Muslims, cheerfully scoffs at any suggestion she should ask her Italian clothing sponsor, Lotto, to come up with a tennis version of the burka.

"As long as I'm winning, people shouldn't care whether my skirt is six inches or six feet long," protests Mirza, whose winning tennis took her to No 31 in the world until a serious knee injury confined her to a wheelchair for two months earlier this year. "How I dress is a very personal thing, so give me a break. I'm just trying to have some fun. If I have something to say I can speak, can't I? I don't have speak through what I wear.

Sania and Indian Tennis
Kristof Vliegen had some pithy remarks about Willy Canas this week as well:

Vliegen in his (dutch) press conference this week, after his win over Gasquet:

V: Cañas can play 10 hours... I can't play ten hours...

V: I don't like those people. It are the rules that when you do your time after being caught you can come back... But still I don't like those people.

V: It's an extra motivation for me to beat Cañas...

Nice win Kristof...ooops, my bad! C-ya.

File this under "D'UH!!!!"

Roland Garros Retractable Roof

The French Open may have an expanded facility and retractable roof by 2011, said the tournament's general director Jean-Francois Vilotte. Plans for expansion into the Bois de Boulogne had faced difficulties because the park is a protected area, but expansion into another adjacent site is now seen as a possibility.
While Venus whines about being rushed father Richard cuts right to the chase.

“Venus played with fear because she lost to that girl a couple of times now,” he said. “I’ve never, ever seen her play like that before. She has never been that scared of hitting the ball.

“If I was her and I kept playing like that, I would just quit. I’d just retire.”

This post began with the Serbian players penchant for opening their mouths and actually saying something newsworthy. In those comments I said Jelena had toned down her remarks. Well she made a liar out of me. In what have to be the most intriguing comments of the tournament thus far Jelena said the following after her win over Venus.

Q. The people in the players' box for you today might be the noisiest group of people at the French Open. How does that help you?

JELENA JANKOVIC: It helps me stay relaxed. I smile on the court. I have really positive people in my player box, so it's really ‑‑ it helps me to play, and it releases the tension on the court, because it's really ‑‑ it was an amazing turnaround match, especially I have to play Venus in the turnaround. And when you see the other turnarounds that they have in the draw, it's really amazing. It's really a shame that Venus had to go out so early. But this is the game.

Q. What does this mean?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, I'm not going to say. I'm going to say in the end of the tournament.

Just ignore the stuff on the walls. That's just the brains and blood from the WTA and French Open officials heads exploding. Some tennisheads, normally sane human beings, are twisting themselves into knots trying to say that Jelena didn't say what she obviously said. During the Cold War every pronouncement from the Kremlin was interpreted at least twenty seven different ways. I don't think athletes public pronouncements need to be subjected to that kind of scrutiny. She said it folks. Get over it. I'm sure they've sat her down and told her in no uncertain terms to STFU.
Too bad. I was beginning to enjoy listening to the Serbian players hang all the dirty laundry out for all to see.
There is only one American player left in the tournament. One of my first posts here was about the attitude that has left American, and British, tennis in such dire straits. When none of your male players and only one of your women is going into the second week of a Grand Slam, no matter how you try and spin it something is very very wrong. ESPN to it's credit did try and address the issue but a photo montage of long faces and sorry excuses isn't going to cut it. There's an old Temptations song called "Ain't Too Proud To Beg". The Brits have swallowed their stiff upper lips and gotten men and women into their fold they feel can bring results in the next five years or so. I think the hidebound Grand Poobahs of American tennis need to get up off their genteel arses and start a process that will make the United States competitive not by trying to stack the deck against foreign players but by actually becoming competitive on all surfaces.

1 comment:

rabbit said...

It might also just be that Federer is speaking his mind about Djokovic...