Friday, November 30, 2007

Davis Cup Final Portland Oregon 11/30-12/2/2007

Craig is in Portland! That's him up top with Katrina Adams from Tennis Channel. For details of his flight and the draw ceremony please visit
Craig Hickman On Tennis where a link to mmmm8's post on Talk About Tennis along with pictures from the Draw Ceremony can be found as part of TAT's Davis Cup Coverage.

Also on TAT GVGirl has posted about her arrival and what is going on in the city of Portland Oregon which fought very hard for the right to host this event. Looks like they've stepped up to the plate bit time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week In Review 11/26 - 11/28/2007

by Savannah

Very short week with the Davis Cup Final between Russia and the United States starting on Friday, November 30.I for one am totally neutral about this Final.

I'm also continuing my Best Photos of 2007 - WTA. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Elena Dementieva

Murray Picks A Home Boy

Fresh from kicking Brad Gilbert to the curb Neal Harman reports that Andy Murray has started work with someone Pat Cash thought would be a good match for him.

Andy Murray has asked Miles Maclagan, the former Great Britain Davis Cup player who was born in Zambia of Scottish parents, to spend three weeks with him at a training camp in Florida with a view to joining the team designed to take the British No 1 to the next stage of his tennis development.

Maclagan flew to the United States yesterday, excited at the opportunity to get to know Murray better, getting used to his manner and his modus operandi as the 20-year-old prepares mind and body to embark on what is being billed as a great year of opportunity. If the two really hit it off — they have an excellent relationship already but one not tested by one working for the other — it could become a permanent arrangement.
Maclagan would offer a different approach. Quiet, unassuming but with a smashing manner and big heart, he could be the kind of person to bring the best out of Murray. And anyone whose parents’ names are Ramsay and Elsie ought to go down well in the Murray household.

Remarkably, in his column in The Sunday Times two years ago, Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon singles champion, suggested that the pair should link up. He wrote: “Some might view my tip as off the wall, but I would nominate Miles Maclagan, the former British Davis Cup player who is doing a good job coaching the highly ranked doubles duo of
Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett. Miles may not have been a great player, but few of the really top coaches managed to hit the high spots. However, he is hard-working, diligent, extremely aware technically and works closely with Moose Stevens, a former Aussie Rules footballer who is one of the best fitness experts on the tour. And he’s Scottish.”

So what will he do when Murray goes off the deep end? Slap him across the face with haggis?

Jelena Jankovic

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...
According to Mr. Federer being with Mirka has made him less self absorbed. It's apparently from that article back in April of this year but with many fans creating new nick names for him every day it's nice to know that the man called the Ego King is just a humble bloke who likes hanging out with his girl.
It's really Mirka, he explains, who has opened him up. He used to be self-absorbed, watching himself on tape, reliving every ball—it became something of a joke. "Playing tennis and watching myself play tennis was all I did." From there, he says, he graduated to video games—a habit he shares with Tiger Woods—which were almost an addiction for him. He liked the way they allowed him "to disappear." He would play Top Spin, Sega Sports Tennis. Sometimes he played virtual versions of his closest friends on the tour, Carlos Moya or Tim Henman. Otherwise he would play with his own "Federer" avatar. He has attempted to kick the habit. "It is not so much fun for Mirka," he says. He tries to go out and see whatever city they are in that week instead. "It is important that I do not send Mirka crazy by just obsessing about tennis." Or, you guess, himself.

Mens Vogue

Ana Ivanovic

Rafa's Foot
Every fanboard has a discussion going about Rafa's foot injury and comments made by Toni Nadal making it appear that Rafa is walking with a cane and hobbling about. Apparently Toni expanded on the comments Rafa made in the interview posted here about his foot in an interview in a Mallorca newspaper. Here is the interview in Spanish.
Diario De Mallorca
And here is the part of the interview causing the uproar.
- Nadal jugó infiltrado la final de Roland Garros.
- Sí, por la lesión en el pie que desde 2005 tiene afectado.

- ¿Tiene cura?
- Ha de aprender a convivir con esta lesión, y ya hace dos años que convive.

- ¿Es grave?
- Sí.

- ¿Hasta qué punto?
- Prefiero no contestar. Es muy grave.

- ¿Pero peligra su carrera?
- (Pausa). Bueno, no lo sé. Que conteste el médico. Ha de jugar con muchas precauciones.

- ¿Pero es verdad que no puede correr?
- Es un poco más que eso.

- ¿Si tiene un problema tan grave en el pie no sería mejor jugar menos?
- De hecho juega menos. Acabamos contentos con la temporada, de la lesión y de todo. Ha jugado mejor y sus partidos han sido de menos intensidad. Y le ha ido bien.

- Federer juega mucho menos que Rafel.
- Es diferente. Es un tenista totalmente consolidado; Rafel tiene otro tipo de juego. El hecho fundamental es acortar la duración de los partidos, y lo hemos conseguido.

- ¿Jugará contra Perú en Copa Davis?
- La idea es jugar. Pero si gana en Australia y llega tocado habrá que pensárselo.

Here is a very poor machine translation but I think you'll get the point. Any native Spanish speakers are more than welcome to translate the above piece.

- Nadal played infiltrated the final of Roland Garros.
- Yes, of the foot injury that since 2005 has affected.

- Is there a cure?
- It must learn to live with this injury, and two years ago to live.

- Is it serious?
- Yes.

- To what extent?
- I prefer not to answer. This is very serious.

- But his career in jeopardy?
- (Pause). Well, I do not know. To answer the doctor. Has playing with a lot of precautions.

- But it is true that can not run?
- It is a little more than that.

- If I have a very serious problem in the foot it would be better to play less?
- In fact plays less. We just happy with the season, the injury and everything. He has played better and their parties have been less intensity. And he has fared well.

Federer plays-much less that Rafel.
- It's different. Tennis is a totally consolidated Rafel has another type of game. The bottom line is to shorten the length of games, and we succeeded.

- Does He will do against Peru in Davis Cup?
The idea is to play. But if he wins in Australia and comes to think there will be touched.

Note: In Catalan Rafa's name is Rafel.
By the way I thought you Uncle Toni groupies (you know who you are) would like this pic of Toni in the store his wife runs in Palma de Mallorca.

Regis Philbin, Tennis Phenom
Professional tennis players are rarely injured in matches during the off-season, but on Tuesday Venus Williams was left hobbling after playing doubles with talk show host Regis Philbin.

The match was aired on television Wednesday morning during Live with Regis and Kelly, only to have Williams admit that she pulled her hamstring during the match.

“I pulled my hamstring,” said Venus according to the World Entertainment News Network. “I got up this morning and hobble hobble. But I’m used to injuries. I just block them out.”

Venus and Regis teamed up to play doubles against ATP Tour player Mark Knowles and TV producer Michael Gelman.

On The Baseline

Serena Williams

Pet Peeve
Will someone please do away with those links to information, pictures or whatever of tennis players on fanboards? They're quite annoying and for someone with the attention span of a gnat they're also distracting.

Daniela Hantuchova

Just How Old is She?!
Once again questions about just how old Maria Sharapova is are floating around. I would yawn but I guess tennisheads need something to do until the end of December.
Speaking of Maria here's the draw for Hong Kong as posted on Eurosport

Ivanovic vs Dementieva
V.Williams vs Peng

Chakvetadze vs Hantuchova
Sharapova vs Wozniaki
Let's see now...who has the cupcake? Where is that Hickman fellow anyway?

Nicole Vaidisova and Lucie Safarova

Runny Stockings
There's been quite a bit of speculation - okay, guffaws and knowing winks, about a picture taken of the new couple Serena Williams and the rapper known as Common. I don't understand why people are so amused. Every woman has lost her earrings in a car no?

For real though she should have just taken the damn things off and put them in her purse. And I do hope she's covering up because it's cold...

Kim Clijsters

Davis Cup

Don't forget MMMM8 and GVGirl will be posting special coverage live from Portland Oregon starting Friday. Here's an official flag logo from the Davis Cup site.

Heard Around November 25, 2007

by Savannah

Shahar Pe'er is now being coached by Gabriel Urpi who will still be working with Flavia Pennetta, and The Moonball Princess Conchita Martinez. Shahar made the decision after what is being called an intensive three weeks of training in Spain. First reaction? What the hell does Conchita know about attacking tennis? She's the main reason I was so turned off women's tennis for a long time. The link is in Hebrew.
Shahar's New Coaches

Fernando Gonzalez is going to be playing an exo in Chile on December 6. Playing with him will be Gisela Dulko,
Carlos Moya and Martina Navratilova.
The link is to a nice fan blog about Fernando.
Fernando Gonzalez

I have to give it to Martina Hingis fans. Despite everything many are holding out hope that somehow things will be reversed and she'll be back in the good graces of the WTA tour. One fan, when told that Martina's ranking had been removed from the WTA site said that was because she had retired forgetting that what usually happens is that the players ranking is allowed to fall after retirement until they're no longer on the ranking chart.
I don't say this to gloat. As I've said before I've never been a fan of Miss Motormouth but she has her place among the greats of women's tennis. To blow it all, literally, is a shame not only for her but for women's tennis.

Sportingo has a nice look at Jelena Jankovic's career and what she needs to do going forward.

Kevin Kim of the Unites States beat John Isner 6-2, 6-2 and followed that up by beating
Jesse Levine this week. Levine had won back to back Challenger events, one over Donald Young. Mr Levine you will remember is the young man Roger Federer summoned to Dubai to hit with.

Speaking of Roger his fans are going to Rovian (as in Karl Rove) lengths to spin his loss as meaningless in the context of Roger's World. True it was an exhibition match. True Pete had to win one or why bother with any future exhibitions. But if you get a chance watch this highlight film from the second exo. Never a big fan of Pete but watch the shot making and movement. Once a great tennis mind always a great tennis mind I say. Pete was gaining confidence here. And Roger was rattled.
Thanks to tennishead "mewug83" for posting this and other clips from the Asian Exhibitions.

Sampras is saying he will stay retired. Makes sense for him to say that at this time no?

By the way there are some very short clips of Rafa vs Gasquet in Malaysia on YouTube. If a longer clip shows up I'll post it here.

Longtime tennishead Graf_Sampras has posted an interesting article on professional tennis approach to the world of online viewing and the digital revolution on All Court Game. The article is by Lynn Mennillo and is worth a read.

You can tell the silly season is upon us when you find threads dedicated to Roger Federer's left arm, Maria Sharapova's choice of footwear, and who has the biggest boobs. I kid you not.

However, continuing in that vein here is Stella McCartney's 2008 line. These outfits will probably be worn by Maria Kirilenko who is Stella's muse when it comes to tennis fashion.

Only one looks like a tennis outfit but what do I know?

On The Baseline reports that the ASB Classic will feature live streaming on it's website. Hear that USTA?

The Legends Rock Dubai tournament was won by Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands. Congratulations!

Best Pics of 2007

I'll start with some from the WTA. There were some great ones and they can't all be contained in one post so as I see them I'll post them. Thanks to the fans over at
WTAw for the idea and the thread.
I've been scattering them throughout the post but here is a series of them. I'm concentrating on pics taken on the court this go around.
Fed Cup Ceremony

Lindsay and Jagger

Venus and Marion

Serena at Wimbledon

Marion at Wimbledon

Serena Australian Open

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Week in Review 11/18 - 11/24/2007

by Savannah

Let me see. What was going on in the crazy world of tennis this past week that warrants tennisheads attention? The official off season has started. The Davis Cup Final between Russia and the United States begins next week and oh yeah, the Exhibition Season has started. The exho (or exo) season is when tennis players stop being money grubbing point whores and become simply money grubbers. Hey, their careers are short and they're entitled to get all the moolah they can while they can. So lets see who had their sticky little fingers in the cookie jar this past week.

Rafael Nadal vs Richard Gasquet

Nice little deal. Richie played a one off against Rafa in Kuala Lumpur. Richie won the first set and Rafa won the next two. Looks like it was fun for both players. Rafa won 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

(Thanks to MariaV over on MTF)

Pete Sampras vs Roger Federer

This was the Main Event this week. Sampras, who has been encouraged to return to the main tour signed up for this three match series which promised to be the throw down of the Exhibition Season for the ATP. The WTA plays exhibition matches too but when you have the man some consider the GOAT playing the man who wants that title then the floodgates open and money pours into the players bank accounts.
Exhibitions are usually scripted affairs. Usually running three sets it goes roughly like this:
Player "A" wins the first set. Player "B" wins the second set and then the third set is "for real".
This was a three match event so many tennisheads thought that the usual script would hold. In a weird bizarro world way it did.
The first match was played in Seoul South Korea and Roger won rather handily. It seems to be all the rage to appear in public in traditional Korean Royal attire. Venus and Maria Kirilenko set the precedent so how could Pete and Roger not do the same?

The second match was in Kuala Lumpur (A Challenger event was going on at the same time but really, when you have the tennis equivalent of Ali vs Frazier the guys fighting to get their rankings high enough to get into the Oz main draw really can't hold a candle to that can they?). The King of Malaysia showed up looking like he was going to a tennis match. It's refreshing to see royalty kick back and chill with the people although in a place like Malaysia I doubt if the people in the stadium were your average Joe's and Jane's.

That's the King between Roger and Pete. The other guy is a politician.
Roger won this match in straights as well but it was a closer affair with each set going to a tiebreak.
The final match of the series was played at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Macau. I wanted to watch it figuring that Sampras was set to win at least one of these but with no Tennis Channel and every live feed shut out of this I waited to find someone online giving recaps. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Very odd I thought to myself. While hanging out on boards waiting for something to be posted Haruka casually informed me that Sampras had won the first set in a tie break 7-6(8). Her friend Gian has Tennis Channel and was feeding her the scores. Whatever it takes I figured. When the score for the second set came in 6-4 Sampras I expected fan boards to be flooded with fans discussing this event. That's not quite what happened. The ESPN board, a place I haven't been in a while has, as I type this, a grand total of 14 posts between two threads. TalkAboutTennis(TAT) has a few posts in it's "Exhibitions" thread. Mens Tennis Forums has a pretty active thread and was also the first to put up the results. The discussion seems to be that the court was "icy" and comparable to an indoor court in the 1990's. Roger was "tired" after a long season spent defending his throne. The same man who complained about the court in Madrid being too slow after Nalbandian handed him his ass and after he was supposedly consulted on it is said to have played tentatively for fear of injury in Macau. Besides, there's another exhibition set for March in New York City's Madison Square Garden the argument goes and Sampras had to win one to make it interesting for the paying public. Uh-huh.
The Roger fans are also saying that the result came about because of the "scripting" of exhibitions and that this is the one Roger was paid to lose. Some Roger fans say this is nonsense because Roger has too much pride and would never consent to losing a match, exhibition or not. There is also the argument that hey, this is only an exhibition match. Means nothing. Moving on.
It's still relatively quiet on the boards though.

Davis Cup Final

Let's be real. It's Shamil Tarpishev vs Patrick McEnroe. There wasn't any visa hanky panky this go around and Mr Tarpishev is in the States with his team.

The official line ups were announced this week.

James Blake
Bob Bryan
Mike Bryan
Andy Roddick
Captain: Patrick McEnroe

Igor Andreev
Nikolay Davydenko
Dmitry Tursunov
Mikhail Youzhny
Captain: Shamil Tarpischev

There will be daily recaps by mmmm8 and GVGirl who will both be in attendance. MMMM8 will be sitting with the Russian fans. GVGirl, a member of the Netheads, will be sitting with the American contingent.

By the way Marat Safin is said to be in Portland.

In more Davis Cup news the 2008 Draw has been announced. Some surfaces have also been decided.

Russia v Serbia: Small Sports Arena "Luzhniki", Moscow, Russia - surface tbc (indoors)

Czech Republic v Belgium: CEZ Arena, Ostrava, Czech Republic - carpet (indoors)

Argentina v Great Britain: Estadio Parque Roca, Buenos Aires, Argentina - clay (outdoors)

Israel v Sweden: Canada Stadium, Ramat Hasharon, Israel - hard (outdoors)

Germany v Korea. Rep.: Volkswagen Halle Braunschweig - clay (indoors)

Peru v Spain: details to be confirmed (Who are we kidding about the surface here?)

Romania v France: details to be confirmed

Austria v USA: Ferry Dusika Hallenstadion, Vienna, Austria - clay (indoors)

Davis Cup Information

In Other News

Gael Monfils has rejoined Team Lagadere in France and has been assigned Thierry Champion as his coach. Mr. Champion was working with Paul-Henri Mathieu and it goes without saying Mr. Mathieu is not happy with the change. This ends Gael's work with Tariq Benhabiles who is now free to coach one Andy Murray if he's got the stomach for it. While no one was surprised that Murray and Gilbert didn't last long I wonder if Tariq wants to put up with being cursed at and out on a regular basis?
I wonder if Andy Roddick will man up and rehire Tariq who had him playing an all court, all surface game before he was unceremoniously kicked to the curb? We'll see.

Tommy Haas was not poisoned but he did have shoulder surgery. Talk about being a drama king...

Rafael Nadal
thinks it would be a good idea to rotate the surfaces the Masters Cup is played on. This of course brought howls of protest from the Hard Court Specialists who go into a dead faint when confronted with a surface resembling the terre batue. Since the TMC will be WTF in 2009 I say wtf why not?

Michael Chang is no longer coaching Peng Shuai. He still wants to run the Chinese Tennis Authority but it seems they don't feel that way about him.

The field for the Gold Coast event in January 2008 is shaping up. Among those confirmed to be appearing are Nicole Vaidisova, Shahar Pe'er, Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo.

The exhibition to be held in Hong Kong's Victoria Park from January 2-5 will so far feature the following players:
Venus Williams
Maria Sharapova
Ana Ivanovic
Peng Shuai
Caroline Wozniacki
There are rumors about Anna Chakvetadze joining the mix but nothing is confirmed yet.

The Hopman Cup teams are finalized.

Group A
Jelena Jankovic
Novak Djokovic

Czech Republic
Lucie Safarova
Tomas Berdych

Gisela Dulko
Juan Ignacio Chela

Sania Mirza
Rohan Bopanna

Group B

Serena Williams
Mardy Fish

Tatiana Golovin
Gael Monfils

Alicia Molik
Peter Luczak

Chinese Taipei

Su-Wei Hsieh
Yen-Hsun Lu

For Order of Play information please visit the Official Hopman Cup Site

  • Lindsay Davenport is scheduled to play in Auckland.

  • I'd like to give a shout out to TAT and it's holiday charity drive. Donations will go to two charities - Justin Gimelstob's Children's Fund (The Valerie Fund) and the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program. This is a unique undertaking by tennis fans. For more information please use the above link.

The Shallow End of the Pool

Boris Becker celebrated his 40th birthday this week. Just before the inevitable party he announced that he and his latest lady were no more. They looked so in love during Oktoberfest.

Only Boris could have a party where his ex wife and sons and the recently ex girlfriend appear and he leaves with a woman who could be the clone of his wife and is so far nameless. Rock on dude.
Boris and Barbara Feltus (and son)

A more demurely attired Sharley 'Lilly' Kerssenberg

The mystery woman

The Mystery Woman and Ms Feltus

All pictures courtesy of the Daily Mail

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rafael Nadal - My Year In Review

What follows is a translation of an interview Rafa did with Spanish newspaper El Pais. The link to the source, in Spanish, is at the end.

The translation was done by AMC.

I'm a better player, but I can't run

Rafael Nadal sprints kicking a ball 10 metres throughout Qi Zhong stadium's ailes. After that, he enteres the locker room and starts juggling with Roger Federer. Nothing shows that the Swiss has just beated him 6-4 6-1 in the Master's semifinals. Nadal, who says he's done the best season of his life, take the ball and starts playing with the feet. "You are better than Maradona!", cheers Federer. Then, the number two in the world greets with his name the Chinese chauffer of his Mercedes and meets this newspaper.

Q: You've played all the year without preparing the fitness.

A: I've never said this because it sounds like an excuse. I don't like to talk about injuries. I prepare my fitness every day, but I can't run. Now, on the pre-season, I'm gonna try it. Since my foot problem in 2005, I'm more cautious and I avoid running. This is evident. I have to get the fitness by playing matches and it's difficult because I don't have a point of origin, a base.

Q: How have you offset it?

A: I swim, I run inside the swimming pool, I row, bike, eliptic machine... From experience, I know it's not the same as running. It doesn't get you the same confidence. It's hard.

Q: That's why you don't do anymore the running counterattack that gave fame to you?

A: It's all about daring to support your feet. I always got a high ball, long, that it was the best that I had. Unconsciously, my game has adapted to this little problems. Now, I don't do it so aggressive, I take shorter steps, trying to not force that much. Psychologically you are down. You tell yourself "What a fucked up situation! if I could be as good physically as in 2005, with the better tennis player that I am now!"

Q: You've always played thinking on the number one. Now, Novak Djokovic threatens you for the number two.

A: I've always been more preocupied with the ones behind me than in front of me. Federer has always been far away. At certain point of the season, the press started printing that I could be the number one at the end of the year. In the year classification I ahead of him and he had to defend lots of things. The key match was Wimbledon's final.

Q: What happened in the locker room after it? There are some gossips out there...

A: I handled the ceremony well to not act as a brat. When I arrived to the locker room , I sat down and, as it's normal after losing the final of the tournament that you dream on winning, against the number one and with lots of chances, I started to cry of anger, of sadness. It's been the only match of the year that I've cried and one of the few in my career. It was a really close match. I was 20 or 25 minutes there. When people started arriving, I sat down inside the tub. They were cheering up me. I thanked them and I asked for being alone. I don't like people wintessing me crying.

Q: Your uncle and coach Toni even asked you if he should stop coaching you.

A: This year, when things were going bad at the beginning of the season, he suggested it. I said no. He was not the problem. I had enough courage to change the situation without needin another coach. Toni is and will be my coach.

Q: What have you learnt?

A: To be more patient. I have more experience. It's important when things don't go as good as expected. When things go wrong, I get nervous, but I know that the normal is that I have to end up playing well again. If it's not tomorrow, it will be in two weeks, a month, or three or five. Once you've been in the top and you've demonstrated to yourself you can... For something exists the number two. One doesn't go from the top to the bottom. It's the most important of this year. I was 8 monthin titleless and I was anxious. When I won in Indian Wells, I began playing at a high level. Lots of times what you need is a "click".

Q: Have you changed your game to obtain it?

A: On Clay, I've gone a lot more to the net and I've changed my style a little bit but always with the base being my fighting and high intensity. Now I can go to the net and volley with more garanties. I've also improved my serve. I still need a bit more acceleration and that confidence that you get when your serve is 10-12 km/h quicker.

Q: You also need to be more aggressive in the rest.

A: I forget it a lot of times. It's something I have to work on because it's not easy for me. Until I see that I do it really badly, that I'm playing too defensive, I don't realise that I have to be more aggressive.

Q: Are you more questioned that others about doping?

A: I don't feel more chased than others, but I feel battered. I find lots of things ridiculous. When I finished Ferrer's match I had to be until 00 there because I was not able to pee. I ate in the ground.

Q: Now a doping positive will be sanctioned with 4 years.

A: A Fenadol, a Vicks Vaporub... it's doping. We have to be conscious that a little error is doping. I don't know if Martina Hingis took cocaine. Do you think it can help her? Not for me. And, however, her public image is destroyed. I despise drugs, but there are things that can't be. Players should be more supportive and all together, that's when we have power, and protest. We need unity. I leave all December and I have to tell day by day where I'm gonna be. It's ridiculous. You tell yourself "Who am I to be treated as a delinquent?".

Q: Why it looks like Federer is injury free?

A: Due to his calendar and the way he plays. Federar has innate conditions, and I'm sure that I do too, but with a lot more hard working. I don't feel that I get more injured than the others. I feel that the minimal problem is translated into a huge problem. This year I only missed Marseille's tournament.

Q: Didn't you play injured Roland Garros' final?

A: I played all Roland Garros with a numbing foot, infiltrated and with anesthesia. I didn't want to go to the hospital to not have a small doubt in my head. I knew it was nothing serious. It was painful. I went to the hospital after the final and I had a small contusion.

Q: In 2005 your foot injury affected you. This year you've been resting 1 and a half month due to your knees. Did it affect you in the same way?

A: It's different. I was seeing an exit. I knew what I had. I played because it was US Open, but I was not fresh mentally. I had some analysis in Mallorca and everything was quite bad: iron, defenses, ... The doctor gave me a one week rest and I went to Ibiza. It was one of the best weeks of my life.

Q: What did you think when Federer lost to González?

A: That it was a miracle.

Q: Is it a problem that the clay season is so concentrated?

A: It's a big disadventage. I spend two months playing thousands of matches with the pressure of winning. Federer is different. He has a lots of weeks with nothing. I, without clay points, wouldn't be in Shangai. I've done a very good season outside clay, but if something happens during it, I'll be bad all the year.

Q: Do you feel saturated?

A: I arrived too exhausted to Hamburg. There was a moment when my head exploited, even more against Federer. I was playing a final every week for 4 or 5 weeks, with very hard matches and pressure. All the day I was thinking about the same. There's a moment that you are tired.

Q: Chinese were suprised about your quiet personality and the aggressive image you have.

A: I don't do anything else to be different than any other guy in his 20s. I'm a boy, a normal guy.

El Pais

Monday, November 19, 2007

Idle Chit Chat Post TMC Edition 11/19/2007

by Savannah

A Different View of the TMC

Nadal & Ferrer Battle Everyday, Roddick & Blake Eat & Sleep Together
13 November 2007 15:01:31

It’s been a sort of custom for ATP players to form their cliques among themselves. The arrogant Americans and the relaxed Spaniards have became two of the biggest cliques. The Americans will joke around while warming up, while the Spaniards love to use PS2 to warm up.

Nadal told the media that he specially brought PS2 along this time, this machine has accompanied him all around the world these past few years and he has made a number of new friends. “As long as Ferrer is in the same tournament with me, we will stay together and we will have a game after our matches. What do we play? Of course it’s football. We don’t talk football nor play football but everything’s clear after we sit down and played a few rounds on PS2."

As they are both Spaniards, both Nadal and Ferrer became best friends early on as they were ostracized for not being able to communicate in English. Both their English are so-so and their introverted characters made them lazy to initiate conversations with others, so cooping up in their hotel rooms playing video games became their favourite pastime. Nadal further added that veteran Moya will join in if he is in a good mood. This has became a tradition among the Spanish sportsmen.

However, the united Spaniards have a tough problem; who is better at playstation football has long became a debatable question among themselves. Ferrer claimed he’s the best and defeating Nadal is as easy as cutting vegetables; Nadal said Ferrer has never defeated him before. Guess there will never be a conclusion on who is the better between the two of them.

Note: I couldn't find the Roddick/Blake references. I'm sure that the headline doesn't mean what it appears to mean. This is not a slash forum.

Original Article in Chinese

In The Eyes Of The Chauffeurs: Nadal’s A Good Kid, Djokovic Very Well-mannered

13 November 2007 11:31

They are up close and personal with the players…..

Watching the television broadcast, you may be a dozen kilometers or even ten thousand kilometers away from the ATP Masters Cup players while you may only be 50 metres away from the ATP Masters Cup players in the stadium. But there are groups of people whom can be up close and personal with the players everyday; chauffeurs, chefs, physiotherapists, ball-kids……. You may hardly pay any attention to them but it is precisely the work of these groups of hardworking people whom are safeguarding the basic necessities and daily lives of the players. From a certain angle, they are actually the players’ left hand and right hand people in Shanghai. They can be very close or very far to the players.....

Journalist: Zhang Wei
Subject: Xiao Chen (alias)
Occupation: Chef
Working Hours: 8am to 10pm or later

30 "Catties" In 3 Days
Note: I assume that by "catties" they mean trays or plates or something other than felines.

Italian Pasta
For the past few days, Xiao Chen’s biological clock has been a little erratic, from the 9 to 5 in the hotel to late nights at the stadium, he feels that he has been very forgetful. Since last Sunday, together with dozens of chefs from the Hilton Hotel, they have been providing food for the players and 2,000 VIPs.

“We have been cooking in the big tents all day long, let alone the matches, I don’t even know how the players look like. We have to guarantee piping hot food to be delivered to the players within 20 minutes for breakfast to dinner and even additional meals.” According to the Hilton Hotel’s requests, each kitchen has to provide 20 different types of dishes for the players and VIPs everyday. The only difference between the players and VIPs is, the former chooses from the menus while the latter are buffet style. This has also decided that Xiao Chen and his colleagues are unable to leave their working positions except for their normal rest.

“We have started work the day before the first match start as the players are already training and they require meals.” Xiao Chen added that the most popular food among the players are Italian pasta, chicken, salads, sandwiches, bananas and cheese.

“They ate up 30 catties of Italian pasta in 3 days and this is what we expected, so we have to stock up within 2 hours. We are running out of supplies based on their consumption.” Xiao Chen said that actually the players’ meals quantity are not big, but in order to maintain their physical ability, they have to eat frequently. “The players also know that Chinese delicacies are much more delicious than Western delicacies but they are still used to having Western food before matches and only when they have completed their matches, they are able to relax and have a hot plate dish or thick soya sauce Chinese meal.”

Subject: Liao Zheng (alias)
Occupation: Chauffeur
Working Hours: 24/7

Strange If The Players Are Not Late

About 15 Mercedes Benz C305 are displayed at the players’ entrance, chauffeurs in groups of 2 or 3 will stand under the hot sun or sit at the lounge to watch the matches. Liao Zheng took a pail of water to clean the car while the player was training. “He needs the car urgently during noon and I did not even have time to have my breakfast, not to mention washing the car. Now that they are training, I am making full use of the time to clean the car.” He never looked up while mumbling and gesturing at the same time as if afraid of any time delay.

For this year’s Shanghai Masters Cup, Liao Zheng and his colleagues are responsible for chauffeuring the players in Mercedes Benz C350 and are on standby 24/7. Liao Zheng has been doing this job for the 2nd year and this year he chose to chauffeur Doubles players instead of any famous ATP single players. “You don’t know but it’s very stressful, you have to chauffeur the players and are also responsible for their WAGs. There’s no rest at all.” Liao Zheng recalled, “The players have to attend commercial events before the tournament starts. I have to drive to and fro after the tournament starts. When the tournament is coming to an end, the WAGs will be busy shopping. I’m not exaggerating to say that my daily meals last year were bread.”

So, the experienced Liao Zheng this year chose to serve a pair of unknown doubles players instead. “The foreigners are very polite and very easily satisfied. They are very happy if you bring them to the temple or New World. They go to this 2 places year after year.”

Liao Zheng added that his colleagues will also gossip about their “passengers” in private, eg. Nadal obeys his uncle, a typical good kid, his manager is also Nalbandian’s manager; Djokovic is not as fierce as he looks, he’s very well-mannered and say thank you… When asked what is the common characteristic of the players? Liao Zheng blurted out, “Not punctual, they said they want to use the car at 10 but they will show up earliest at 11. It will be strange if they are punctual. Are you a reporter? I won’t say anymore. My superior has ordered that we are not supposed to talk to strangers. I will lose my rice bowl if I continue.”

SINA news China

Translations provided by Veyonce.

Wrap Up and Commentary on the TMC Shanghai 2007

For Craig's wrap up of the 2007 TMC please visit Craig Hickman on Tennis

Martina Hingis News

Her ranking has been removed from the WTA official site.
Also found this gem on Off The Baseline

Exhibitions - ATP

Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras in Kuala Lumpur

Rafael Nadal vs Richard Gasquet in Kuala Lumpur

Does anyone think they've paid Pete enough to lose to Roger?

Couple Alerts:

Serena is reported by two gossip sites and Page Six to be dating the rapper known as Common (real name Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (born March 13, 1972). She's in his latest video which features Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington as well. Okay all you Astrology buffs. A Pisces man and a Libra woman. That's right, drag out your editions of "Linda Goodman's Love Signs" and see if this is a match made in heaven or would be better as a drive by.

  • Okay was I the only one to notice that ROCK Mirka was wearing on the third finger of her left hand?! I was almost blinded by it and I was watching half a world away in my living room. Come on you Roger fans. Get to steppin'. Whazzup?!!!!

Serious Stuff

More on Nikolay's problems. I thought vengeance was a dish best served cold?

There has always been a suspicion, given Nikolay Davydenko's personal attack in April on Etienne de Villiers, the chief executive of the ATP, accusing him of incompetence, that the Russian has been a marked man. The world No4 remains under investigation after a match he was involved in during August in Poland was the subject of irregular betting patterns, but yesterday he won his appeal against a £1,000 fine for allegedly not trying hard enough during a defeat by Croatia's Marin Cilic in St Petersburg last month.


Gold and Silver Exemptions for 2008 - WTA

Thanks to "Spiceboy" for posting the 2008 GOLD EXEMPT LIST

1. Henin
2. Sharapova
3. Jankovic

4. S. Williams*
5. Kuznetsova**
6. Ivanovic

7. Chakvetadze
8. V. Williams
9. Mauresmo
10. Petrova

11. Hantuchova
12. Bartoli
13. Hingis +

14. Vaidisova
15. Schnyder
16. Dementieva
17. Peer
18. Safina
19. Golovin
20. Bammer
20. Dulko (WC)
20. Sugiyama (WC)

Gold Exempt Emeritus: Lindsay Davenport

*S.Williams is #4 in Americas and Europe region
**Kuznetsova is #4 in Asia Pacific region

+ As of the WTA Tour ranking on the Monday after the US Open, September 10, 2007


21. A. Bondarenko
22. Safarova
23. Szavay
24. Srebotnik
25. Schiavone
26. Li
27. Mirza
28. Pierce (SR 27)
29. Garbin
30. Zvonareva

31. A.Radwanska
32. Medina Garrigues
33. Krajicek
34. Santangelo
35. Kirilenko
36. Stosur
37. Danilidou
38. Azarenka
39. Paszek
40. Razzano
41. Vakulenko
42. Loit
43. Muller
44. Dushevina
45. K. Bondarenko
46. Jackson (SR 46)
47. Tu
48. Shaughnessy
49. Peng
50. Poutchkova
50. Pennetta (WC)
50. Vesnina (WC)

Odds and Ends

Donald Young and Steve Darcis are among those younger guns of the ATP who have played their way into the top 100 in time for the Australian Open.

Agnes Szavay is reported to be playing an exhibition match soon. I hope this means her back problems are better and that we'll see more of her in 2008.

The biggest bandwagons of 2007 have to be the ones featuring Novak Djokovic, David Nalbandian and David Ferrer. All three men secured wins over the top dogs after Wimbledon.

Most disappointing year on the WTA side has to go to Maria Sharapova. People jumped through hoops and did other gymnastic moves to try and secure her at least one slam this year and it didn't happen. She's still in the top ten though and unless everyone starts inhaling the baseline she'll end next year right about where she is now. I don't think Sveta will hold onto her number two ranking unless she out Jelena's Jelena.

Rafa is not going to make the South American swing in 2008 much to the disappointment of the TD's in Mexico and Buenos Aires. The Spanish press is reporting that he'll play Rotterdam and Dubai followed by Indian Wells and the the Davis Cup tie in Peru. Smart move on his part.

Funny how David Nalbandian is simply "Dahveed" now isn't it?

Some Final Thoughts

I need an explanation. Why is it other fandoms suffer through slams of their idol while fans of Roger Federer seem to do what I call swarming and proceed to give a verbal beat down to anyone who dares point out some of their FedGod's faults? Ask any fan of Andy Roddick for example what they've had to grin and bear over the years and you get an idea of what I'm talking about. Many of us Rafa fans get very upset by the slurs directed against him and we have forums to vent our anger but I don't see the swarming I see by Roger's fans. What about fans of Lleyton Hewitt? Martina Hingis? Justine Henin? Lleyton is regularly voted most hated. Justine has so many nicknames that could be considered slanderous it's not funny. And Martina, formerly famous for the tongue that knew no limits is now going to be the butt of baseline jokes the rest of her life.

And yet I don't see the swarming by their fans.

Dígame. Why is Roger considered above criticism when he so often leaves himself open to it? Sure he's answering the questions the reporters are asking him but he doesn't endear himself to everyone when he makes comments like the following made after his TMC match against Andy Roddick. I'm including the question for what will be obvious reasons.

Q. Watching last night's match against Andy, one was tempted to conclude he really lacks the tools and variety to challenge you, at least at the moment. If you compare tonight's match with yesterday's match, it's a similar pattern. When you're playing like this, are there any answers to your game you see on the horizon in the men's game? Is there any difference between the challenge you felt in the course of the match between tonight and last night?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, look, it's always been my big strength. Once I get on a roll it's hard to stop me. It's always been like this.
Even in my young days, you know, as a junior, I was always so talented. Back then I didn't work hard enough yet to put it all together, you know, for, I don't know, let's say six games or, you know, two sets or something. Now I can. Now I can even pull it even through even longer and against the best in the world. I've beaten Rafa before 6-Love in a set. I've beaten the best very convincingly. But for me it's great to do it over and over again, you know, over many months, many years.
When it happens again for me, it's not as big of a surprise because this is why I work my tail off basically. That it all pays off in the end, it seems it's paying off again, you know, with my good preparation, my good scheduling. It's always nice when you can beat guys like Andy or Rafa, obviously.

I have no problem with most of what he says here except for that one highlighted phrase. He's smart enough to know that line isn't necessary. All he had to say was that he learned to pace himself and focus on his strengths and everything else is okay.

Then there was this gem.
Q. How would you coach someone to beat Roger Federer?

A.What would you say? "Don't even try, pal," he said with a grin. "It's going to be really, really difficult, you know. You're probably not going to win, but you can always try. I'm just kidding. I don't know. I'm not a coach just yet. I'm still a player, so I won't answer."

Then there's this classic from 2005.

NY Times 2005

But Federer does not expect Hewitt to take the risk of radically changing his counterpunching baseline game. "He could, you know," Federer said. "But then again, he could even run into the knife more brutally."

Please keep in mind I'm just asking the question Roger fans. With all his PR savvy and IMG support shouldn't someone tell him to STFU and not take the bait reporters throw at him? And what would you all say if someone else said the exact same things and was not named Roger Federer?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Top Dogs of 2007

Roger Federer, winner of the 2007 TMC Shanghai over David Ferrer of Spain, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Call it luck or skill Roger held onto his position at the top of men's tennis despite taking some major hits. Congratulations on a job well done.

The pair of Mark Knowles of Bahamas and Daniel Nestor of Canada Doubles Champions 2007 TMC Shanghai

Saturday, November 17, 2007

TMC Shanghai Semi Final

For us Rafa fans this was all she wrote. Rafa fought well but after what happened at the AELTC this past June he was fighting not only the men across the net but his body. Rafa is set to play an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur against Richard Gasquet before he leaves the Asia Pacific area for home.

For full coverage of the TMC Shanghai please go to Craig Hickman on Tennis

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Mid Week Stress Break

by Savannah

Anyone who considers him or herself a tennishead has to be stressed out by the goings on in Shanghai so far this week. In my never ending search for relevant tennis news and fan posts several things happened today.

Andy Murray issued a statement that sounded strangely like he was telling the LTA which has invested millions of pounds in his tennis development to kiss his ass. Judge for yourselves.

Despite being injured for almost four months this year, I am pleased with my 2007 results and am very grateful for the help that the LTA have given me by providing Brad Gilbert as a coach but the time has come to move on to the next stage of my career. I am ranked 11 in the world and can now afford to pay my own way and so will now hire a team of experts, each to fulfil a specified role in the development of my tennis and fitness.

Good luck with your Wimbledon draw next year Andy.

Andy Murray Statement

  • Patrick McEnroe has declared that Lleyton Hewitt's career is over. It seems Patty Mac was commentating during the TMC and Cliffy Drysdale brought up Australia and the new surface that's being put in place there. He went on to say that it will play however Lleyton wants it to play. PMac made comments to the effect that Lleyton is washed up.Lleyton is really looking forward to seeing you in Melbourne Patrick. Good luck with that.

  • Mosey on over to Mens Tennis Forums and check out the pictures "Kiro" is posting from Shanghai. Nice work.

  • A nice new tennis board where the focus is tennis has been founded by tennisheads who tried to post news about tennis on a television board's sports section. The board is called Tennis Heaven. No flaming just nice tennis discussion. Nice site "Dorkgirl".
  • Venus Williams makes a personal appearance at the Manhattan Mall in NYC on Thursday November 15 at 11:30a to promote her new clothing line. Talk About Tennis mainstay GVGirl will be there and will file a full report on that board.
  • As part of her comeback Lindsay "Mamaport" Davenport will be playing Memphis in 2008. I'm sure son Jagger will be in the house. So will Venus Williams who played the event last year. Nice ladies.
  • Can someone please explain what the hell is going on with tennis pictures posted on Yahoo? It's like playing Russian Roulette when you click on picture lately. The new interns should know how to post a picture by now dontcha think?

Pictures of the Week
Well they're from last week but as you know I'll make any excuse to post pictures retreads or not. The ladies had a mandatory party to attend in Madrid. "Mandatory" and "party" do not go together but the ladies all showed up. No labels needed at this point no? And we can all rank and rate can't we?

With the holidays approaching it's time for us tennis fans to think about the perfect gift. "Miffed Max" over at WTAw has posted a list of things you may want to avoid.Then again, maybe not.

Anastasia Myskina Action figure

Toy appeared to be sturdy and ready to play with, yet no matter how careful our playtesters were the foot kept breaking off.

Super Serb Wind-up toys

Wind-up figures of Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic were well-made and nicely packaged. However, the set suffered from a curious problem—when you wind up the Ivanavic figure it doesn’t move at all, while the Jankovic figure rushes hyperactively around the room until the mainspring explodes, leading to some very Myskina-like language from our young playtesters.

Marion Bartoli Easy Cake Oven

When the product was initially tested over the summer, it turned out tasty mini-cakes using the included mixes. This fall, however, we tried it again and the unit burst into flames, then disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

Dani Hantuchova Player Piano

Piano plays like a normal toy piano, then suddenly switches to a grand piano sound, then breaks down completely only to reassemble itself. Inconsistent performance is frustrating for playtesters.

Martina Hingis Play Hot Dog Stand

Complete replica of a US Open style hot dog stand is perfect down to the last detail, with hot dog rotisserie, bun warmer and chip rack. Only troublesome feature is the Coke machine, which pumps out white powder instead of tasty cola.

Sveta Raps!!!

CD of Sveta covering hits by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Eminem and other popular hip hop artists. Do you really need to know why this is on our not recommended list?

The Long Road Back Board Game

Players can choose from Jelena Dokic, Alex Stephenson, Jennifer Capriati or Monica Seles. However, due to a printing error, the board does not have an actual finish line and players are doomed to circle forever just outside the WTA section of the board.

Elena Dementieva Power Workout Set

Includes tiny weights and workout video. Weights appear to be normal, but every playtester who used this workout set ended up with mysteriously broken ribs. Plus, the included video, in which Elena constantly admonishes kids to “get mommy’s permission because mommy always knows best” before attempting any activity--including turning off the tape- is just kind of creepy.

Talking Justine

Pull the string and Justine shouts “Allez!” Pull it again and Justine shouts “Allez.” About three minutes of “Allez” and you’ll allez-oop it out the nearest window.

Serena’s Junior Racket

Appears to be a normal tennis racket. But it only works in Australia. Not recommended, unless you happen to live Down Under in which case it rates our highest score.

"Linnie" suggests this winner.

Not for the wine enthusiast:
Chateau Mauresmo 2007. Flat, with murky undertones; definitely inferior to the '06 vintage. Avoid at all costs. [Warning: could cause appendix to burst]. Wine Spectator rating: 00

And please don't forget to visit Craig's blog for up to the minute TMC coverage! Link is below.