This was written over the course of the week.
And now, for another heart rending episode of "As The Ball Bounces"
This episode features one Jelena Dokic. A few years ago she was number four in the world, had the requisite psycho dad in her entourage, and it seemed she would be around for awhile. Today she is arbitrarily ranked at #9999 in the world - no points kiddies - and was last seen trying to shake down TA for money while she worked with her private coach. The Aussies, I mean come on they're descended from the folks the Brits dumped out of their gaols a few hundred years ago - know a con when they see one and told her where to go and what to do when she got there.
Will Jelena stop being fascinated by her rides on the baloney (I use this word in all it's possible connotations) pony and play tennis again? Stay tuned.
Then there is Ms Patty Schnyder. A few years ago she fell victim to some sleaze ball promoting an orange juice diet. She dropped tons of weight and maybe a few brain cells. When she got rid of him (thanks to parental intervention) she then took up with and married one Rainer Hoffman who was one step ahead of the police at the time. Hoffman, knowing a gravy train when he sees one, became her coach without a lick of tennis experience and has seen to it that his wife has played pretty well since she's been with him. Dr Walter Bartoli is criticized for the way he trains his daughter. Wonder what special techniques Rainer uses?
Now ladies how would you feel if here you are, a pro player, and had just lost a match to Sania Mirza who is playing very well of late, and your husband/coach decides to work with her? Of course some of you will take the high road and say that the relationship is professional and that nothing will come of it. Uh-huh. Right. I see that duct tape you're hiding behind your backs. Most of us would cut right to the chase and say "Oh HELL NO!" while wielding either a cast iron skillet, butcher knife, metal skewer or chop sticks. Whatever is handy. There is no public record of what Patty's reaction was - it seems Ms Mirza approached Mr Hoffman. That Sania was able to play after that is beyond me (I wonder what Tanya Harding is charging these days) but I digress. Mr. Hoffman was seen Sunday illegally coaching Ms Mirza who played one of the worst matches I've ever seen. It should be noted that both Pammy and MaryJo commented on the goings on and made it clear that their husbands would not be coaching, working with, or in any way counseling Ms Mirza.
Oh how will this all work out? Will the French women, seeing their own little soap opera taking a back seat to the Dokic saga and the Hoffman-Schnyder-Mirza triangle decide that the mud pit is the way to go? Will Barbie and Maid Marion have a hair pulling contest? Racquet bashing?
The ATP,not to be left out has seen Carlos Moya's new girlfriend classified as a skank by some of his fans while Flavia Pennetta, his fiancee of just a few weeks ago has gone home pulling out of her events for "personal reasons" thus earning the sympathy of everyone who has stayed with someone for four years or more, looked away when people said he/she was a dog and then opens the papers to find your fiance/fiancee in a lip lock with some low life, well, skank?
Will any of these ladies be seen mopping up dog poo with a Chanel dress? Chasing down the parents of their assistants carrying enough coke to earn a felony indictment while wearing pants that weren't theirs? Tune in next week, or tomorrow, for the next installment of "As The Ball Bounces".
"Ben", new to tennis blogging, is doing reports on the goings on at Legg Mason, his home tournament. Here's an excerpt from a report he made on the Bozoljac/Capdeville match.
Serving at 2-2, Bozoljac begins to complain to the chair umpire about the overhead lights pointing down at the stadium. There are four poles of floodlights which have now switched on, and are now glaring down upon the court. It’s only about 6:30 pm, and the sun is still far above the tree line—there is absolutely no need for the lights. It may be like a baseball game that starts in the late afternoon, where they have the lights on from the start so that the players eyes can adjust to the new lighting gradually and seamlessly.
Bozoljac is broken, and sits down, still barking at the chair...
Bozoljac summons the tournament supervisor, via the chair’s walkie-talkie, to ask him to shut off the lights. I can’t hear most of what is said, but the lights don’t get turned off. Bozoljac is still fuming, getting totally thrown off his game. The only time I can remember seeing anything like this was during the first round of the 2006 Australian Open, during Zvonareva vs. Hingis, when Zvonareva asked that the band playing outside the stadium be told to stop. That seemed like a far easier request to execute than Bozoljac’s. Zvonareva was also crying when she asked, which probably helped her cause.
Legg Mason Tournament Report
Welcome to the blogsphere Ben.
So the British press in the person of one Des Kelly just got around to reporting that Rafa, during Wimbledon, cursed at a ballkid who was too slow in bringing him his towel. According to some Fedtards this puts Rafa right up there with the antiChrist and makes anyone who is a fan of his right there with him.
I guess for some it burns that fans have not ignored the role his five day lay off vs Rafa's seven straight days of play in the outcome of the Wimby Final so they've adopted Faux News tactics of character assassination. The article is linked below so you can make your own judgement. And while you read remember who it was who audibly cursed at the chair and demanded that Hawkeye be shut down.
Shame On Nadal
This guy also seems to think Venus has issues with shrieking. Guess he's never made it to a Pova match...
James Blake has spoken. He has declared that the United States will win the Davis Cup tie against Sweden this September. Jonas Bjorkman seems to think otherwise.
James Blake is sure of winning the semi-finals against Sweden in the upcoming Davis Cup in September. He has said, (quote) "We have the world's best doubles pair players and Andy Roddick's serve is a killer." What is your response?
Bjorkman: "Self-confident Americans who come to Sweden and play in the Davis Cup have always been welcomed, because they lose every time. On the paper they are stronger, but that has never been a guarantee of victory. With the support from the audience and well prepared players we still have a great chance at winning. We are not afraid of the United States, even if they are big favourites."
I dunno James. Shouldn't you be more concerned with your play such as it's been this year? I mean I support the United States in Davis Cup and hope we win. But somehow I think Andy Roddick and the Bryan Twins will have more to say about that than you will James. I'm just saying cocky and arrogant might not be the way to go right now you know?
Cocky Americans Lose
More on the Nadal "Puta" statement.
It seems the British press did comment on it right after Wimby finished.
There was an extraordinary moment during Thursday's win over Mikhail Youzhny when he muttered "Puta", or "whore", over his shoulder at a ball boy who waited a microsecond too long to take his towel from him. If he understood, I'm sure the ball boy didn't mind. Being called a whore by Rafael Nadal is a moment to treasure.
This guy seemed to just present it as some of the stuff that happens during a match. He also reports on Bjorkman's meltdown about a call that went against him. Since no one speaks Swedish one can only assume that Jonas used words most foul to address the chair. But no one has an agenda against Jonas.
By the way I could be wrong but if the ball kid addressed by Rafa was male I think he would have said "Puto". Something about the gender endings in Spanish but why let that get in the way of a good story?
Now Who's Screaming For Help?
Once again Etienne de Villiers has had a live grenade tossed in his lap. It seems that a match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello was unusual for several reasons. When Davydenko retired in the third set ahead 6-2, 3-6, 2-1 many tennis fans found it odd that the iron man of tennis retired giving Vassallo Arguello the win. Davydenko cited a foot injury as the cause of his retiring and said he wanted to be ready for The Tennis Masters Series event in Montreal. No big deal. When betting firm Betfair voided all match and set bets on the match due to unusual betting patterns during the match it became a big deal.
Martin Vassallo Arguello
I don't gamble on sports. I don't play fantasy games, join suicide pools or anything like that. I like to enjoy the sport, baseball, basketball, tennis, whatever, and don't need my ego involved in whether a team or player wins or loses. This means I don't have a clue what they're talking about when they start saying someone went from 4-7 to 2-5. I do understand what it means when it's put like this though:
Betfair said it received about $7 million in bets on the match -- 10 times the usual amount -- and most of the money was on Arguello to win, even after Davydenko won the first set 6-2.
The initial report on the BBC was a little clearer on the pattern that caused the concern.
About £3.4m had been bet before the match and during the first set - 10 times the amount typical for a match of this kind, distorting the market.
As I write this (Saturday Morning 8/4/2007) more suspicious betting patterns have been discerned involving Vassalo Arguello in Poland and at the Legg Mason event in Washington DC.
The ATP has issued the following statement through a spokesman:
“We take issues surrounding gambling extremely seriously and have strict rules in place.
“In addition, we have memorandums of understanding with UK and European betting companies that ensures inform-ation(sic) pertaining to any ATP match that may look suspicious, based upon gambling patterns, is shared with us immediately.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment further on any individual match or on the status of any potential investigation until such time as the process has been completed."
I agree with the ATP stance here. Everyone involved is innocent until proven guilty. This scandal, coming on the heels of the doping drama of the Tour de France, the soccer (football) betting scandals in Italy, the NBA ref who was betting on games he officiated, and the Michael Vick dog fighting situation the last thing tennis needs is to be dragged onto this stage. I am sure this will be investigated thoroughly and that proper action will be taken. Davydenko is playing in Montreal next week and has a bye in the first round. There is no truth to the rumor that the action on "bye" was so heavy betting had to be suspended.
I am a self confessed Rafatard. I am also a V-nut. The women have been playing in San Diego this week and I have to say that the draw there worked out nicely. The quarters featured some great matchups including Venus Williams vs Anna Chakvetadze. I am a newly minted admirer of Ms Chakvetadze but when she's playing Venus I give you one guess who I want to win. So you can imagine my frustration when Venus went on a mental walkabout serving for the match at 5-4 in the second and ended up losing in three sets. We V-nuts know our fave can do this, it happens a lot during her matches but she usually recovers. But the deceptive Anna did not let Vee back into the match. I call Anna deceptive because it doesn't look like she's doing much of anything when she plays and the next thing you know she's won. Needless to say I was too through last night/early this morning.
Anna plays Maria Sharapova today. The last time Anna played Maria she wilted like a fangirl in heat bowing out meekly to Maria. I hope she does better today.
Marion Bartoli took a lot of heat this week for saying out loud that since making the Wimbledon final she's become a target. She'll learn to self censor herself I'm sure. But I don't see what was so wrong with what she said. The women are now out to beat her as best they can and she's noticed it.
I wish Venus would take a page from Maid Marion's book. Yes Venus has been playing well of late. She is positively glowing and her life seems to be in a good place right now. But she should have been ready for the long haul last night. Anna has been playing very well too. I couldn't see the match (something about Barry Bonds and home run history caused ESPN to give the television rights to The Tennis Channel which meant I couldn't see it) but from all reports Venus began to rush her play in the second set and that that was her undoing.
You're a target Venus. You've always been a target and will continue to be. Just because Marion is not the superstar you are doesn't make her statement less true. No more snatching defeat from the jaws of victory okay? Thank you.
The Rogers Cup Main Draw finally came out last night. For obvious reasons I don't comment on ATP draws. I did chuckle at the thread on Mens Tennis Forums that got the image of Mirka Vavrinec and Toni Nadal fighting over the draw in my head. Thanks guys.
Does anyone know why WTA event sites universally suck?
With all the news and goings on this week who has time to comment over John Isner (I have no idea so don't ask),Ivo Karlovic and Gael Monfils making the Legg Mason semi finals the tallest ever? Andy Roddick is the shrimp in this group at a mere 6'2". Monfils is 6'4", Isner is 6'9" and Karlovic is 6'10". If you are wondering both Roger and Rafa are 6'1". I have no idea what this translates to in metrics. I should but I've never been able to get my head around it.
Legg Mason has also been an ace fest. The count for August 3 is as follows:
Isner - 30
Karlovic - 29
Haas - 20
Monfils - 14
Capdeville - 7
And people wonder why I like clay court play.