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?

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