Saturday, December 8, 2007

Heard Around 12/1 -12/8/2007

by Savannah

Andy Roddick on Dead Rubber Sunday Davis Cup 2007

The Tomas Muster Interview

Thanks to "Moondancer" over at VamosBrigade for this translation. Muster talks about Roger, Rafa, and tennis in general. A rather long excerpt follows.
Emphasis mine.

GrandChelem: Well, suppose you had to play against Federer, what would you do?
Muster: Listen, I would play him on several levels. First of all, when you watch the players against him, most have the tendency to overplay, to want to do too much and at one point, they explode. Against Federer, you need to be fast, very coherent in your intentions and keep holding on. You don’t have to play Federer, you have to play tennis. They say: “Oh, I’m going to play against the best tennis player of the world. He’s nearly unbeatable” and so, a lot of players walk on court convinced that they can not win. They get broken once and it’s game over. They surrender the match.

GrandChelem: Did it ever happen to you that you told yourself whilst looking in the eyes of your opponent: “this guy right there is afraid to play against Thomas Muster”?
Muster: Yes, that has happened. On clay, guys who said “if I concede one break and it’s a 5 set match, I’m not going to come back.” So, they started to take too many risks and they made the match easy for me. Instead of playing at 100%, they wanted to play at 120% and on the other side, I only had to play at….50% (laughs)

GrandChelem: Are you surprised by Nadal’s result in Wimbledon?
Muster: No

GrandChelem: How can you explain such a result from somebody who is supposed to be a ‘clay court player’?
Muster: No, but that’s got to stop, that. He’s not a clay court player. This guy has reached the Wimbledon final twice…

GrandChelem: But the court has changed.
Muster: But everything has changed in Wimbledon! The court, the balls. Of course Nadal has won Roland Garros three times, but after two finals in Wimbledon, you can not say that he’s a clay court player. He’s an all-surface player. People are not going to call Federer a hardcourt specialist under the pretext that he hasn’t won Roland Garros. If I would tell that, Federer would respond: “But what’s Thomas Muster talking about.” (laughs)

GrandChelem: And these changes are good? Do they make the game more exciting?
Muster: If you understand the game, yes. Of course, the serves are stronger, the shots hurt more, it’s a different game but it’s not a bad game. In the time of the wooden racquets, it was a matter of “right, left, right, left” but that was because you were forced to play like that with a wooden racquet. You did not have enough power to speed up your game.

Do you still play with wooden racquets?
Muster: yes, it happens

GrandChelem: And?
Muster: Not for a long time but if I hit the ball like I do now, I risk breaking the racquet (laughs). Ah yes! Because you’re used to playing with something that’s so light and so flexible, when you go back to something like that, you have the impression of playing with a baseball bat. When I consider that we played with that, I think that these guys didn’t use a grip but they just had their hand directly on the wood.

Yes, Lew Hoad would use a knife to adjust his grip to be able to hold his racquet better.
Muster: Yes, incredible. When you see that, it looks like a long time ago but it’s only one life time away.

GrandChelem: Who do you like from the current players.
Muster: I like Nadal a lot. I like Nadal. Because when I arrived on tour, being a lefty, I had a bit of an idol in the person of Guillermo Vilas. Then there was Henri(Leconte)who arrived and I admired his game.
The original, in French, is Here

Rafa after Roma 2007 Semi which he won.

Australian Open News

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Australian Open officials have amended the tournament's heat policy so that matches in progress when extreme conditions are declared won't have to be immediately finished.

Players in the Jan. 14-27 tournament at Melbourne Park will no longer have to complete matches that are already under way once the extreme heat rule is invoked, instead only having to complete the current set.

Previously, players who had just started a match had to complete it, even if it meant sweltering through a full three or five sets in extreme conditions.

In another change announced Saturday, the decision to suspend play will be solely at the discretion of the tournament referee. Previously, Open organizers used a specific cutoff point, based on calculations of a set of weather readings that included court temperature and humidity.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said several top players from Australia and overseas had been consulted about the changes and the feedback was positive.

"Previously if we invoked the heat policy the matches continued until the conclusion of a match," Tiley said. "Some players were out here in very extreme conditions for another three to four hours.

"Now we're saying at the end of a set the matches will come in, so we're not going to create that situation where players have to battle it out with a lack of performance because of the heat for a long time."

As in the past, play will be able to continue on the two courts with retractable roofs, Rod Laver Arena and Vodafone Arena.

Tiley said the newly installed Plexicushion courts, which replaced the old Rebound Ace surface, would also help player comfort. He said the new courts had a thinner layer of rubberized cushioning, which meant they would retain less heat.

He said officials also planned to add an onsite weather station and meteorologist so that organizers could receive forecasts instantly.

"We can take all those factors and put them together ... the most important is the actual forecast, that's something that's going to really be able to help us," Tiley said.

Let's hope there are no replays of what happened in Wimbledon this past summer where one player gets an unfair advantage.

Paradorn Marries

Here's a link to view video of Paradorn and Natalie's marriage. Apparently in Buddhism there is no marriage ceremony, just a blessing by the monks in front of family. In Thai society kissing on the lips in public is taboo.
Congratulations to them.

Paradorn's Wedding
Note: Will not work with Firefox!

Fangirl Alert!
Nice video of Rafa and Iker Casillas, goalie of Real Madrid, in an anti malaria campaign.
Rafa and Iker

Davis Cup 2008
As the celebrating winds down in Portland Oregon the venues for next year have been finalized.From the Davis Cup site.

2008 Davis Cup first round venues announced

The full list of venues for the first round of the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group, to be played the weekend of 8-10 February, is as follows (subject to final confirmation by the ITF):

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: Jockey Club de Peru, Lima, Peru - clay (outdoors)

Romania v France: details to be confirmed

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

Guillermo Canas Indian Wells 2007

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Did he or didn't he? Two articles appeared in the Australian Press this week about the resurfacing of the two courts at Lleyton Hewitt's Australian home. The first article which appeared in the
complete with an aerial shot says Lleyton wanted to duplicate the Plexicushion surface to be used at Melbourne for the first time in 2008 and contains this quote from Craig Tiley, TD for the Australian Open

"I haven't seen the court at Lleyton's home, but my understanding is that it was not built by the same company we used for our courts in Melbourne," Australian Open director Craig Tiley said. "The WM Loud company are the only suppliers of this court in Australia."
Mr Tiley said the relaid courts would threaten the famously quick hard courts of the US Open for speed.

Article number two quotes Mr. Hewitt and says that Will Swanton got it all wrong in article number one. Article number two appears in the
Herald Sun

"For me, it was about putting down a hardcourt surface similar to what we have at the US Open and what we'll have at the Australian Open. I need a hardcourt I can train on all year because there are so many tournaments on hardcourt. It's pointless to have a court to train on for just one surface.

"It was never planned to have Plexicushion laid.
"Even if I wanted Plexicushion on my court, they couldn't have put it down in time for me anyway. I am amazed at this story. It is a total fabrication."

All righty then. I'm working on that sympathy thing. I really am.

Roger Federer Indian Wells 2007


Many of tennis' brightest young stars, including Gael Monfils, Benjamin Becker and Sam Querrey, can now call themselves graduates of ATP University following the conclusion of the three-day session held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. A total of 36 players attended ATP University, held from November 27-30.

2007 ATP University Graduate List

Pablo Andujar (ESP)
James Auckland (GBR)
Benjamin Becker (GER)
Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
Alex Bogdanovic (GBR)
Ilia Bozoljac (SRB)
Eric Butorac (USA)
Paul Capdeville (CHI)
Marin Cilic (CRO)
Tobias Clemens (GER)
Brian Dabul (ARG)
Benedikt Dorsch (GER)
Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
Marcel Granollers-Pujol (ESP)
Ernests Gulbis (LAT)
Robin Haase (NED)
Ross Hutchins (GBR)
Evgeny Korolev (RUS)
Gael Monfils Roma 2007

Alex Kuznetsov (USA)
Jesse Levine (USA)
Scott Lipsky (USA)
David Martin (USA)
Michael McClune (USA)
Marcelo Melo (BRA)
Gael Monfils (FRA)
Mathieu Montcourt (FRA)
Jamie Murray (GBR)
Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Wayne Odesnik (USA)
Sam Querrey (USA)
Gilles Simon (FRA)
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)
Marcio Torres (BRA)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Sam Warburg (USA)
Jesse Witten (USA)

ATP University News
There is no visual proof that Mickey himself handed out the diplomas so get that out of your heads now. Actually this seems like a great idea for younger players coming on the tour.

Hurt? Sounds Like a Personal Problem

Seems the ATP is once again swatting flies with sledgehammers. I do have to question the lead paragraph of this article since I clearly remember Ms Henin's "gastric distress" of 2006 that allowed her to stay on court, never take a potty break and carry her own racquet bags to her event car. From Sportingo

Federer, Andy Roddick and Justine Henin are hardly likely to quit a tournament with a bogus injury, but the administrators might have created a bigger problem for every player with their new rule.
However, a few months ago, the ATP announced that they had finally taken the first step towards finding an answer to the problem. They have introduced a rule, only valid for doubles matches (men and women) to start with. It's called the "doubles withdrawal rule" and it is aimed at preventing players from giving up matches using false injury reasons to leave in time to get to another tournament.

And the rule is new for doubles because players 'tanking' matches is much more common in doubles than singles. It comes into effect from the second round in any tournament, no matter at what level. So a player who announces, during a match that he or she is injured and cannot continue, has two choices:

He/she can quit the match in the middle and lose all points and prize money accumulated in the tournament up to that stage (be it first round or final), or he/she can simply "tough it out" and keep playing to the end.

For the entire story use the link above.


ESPN correspondents chose the following two players as the ones to watch in tennis.

Marin Cilic, Croatia
He moved up 102 spots in the rankings (from 173rd to 71st) in 2007. Is he going to win a Slam in 2008? Not likely; then again, the 6-foot-5 Croatian won't turn 20 until after next year's U.S. Open. He has all the tools to crack the top 30 next year and could be winning Slams by 2010. -- Greg Garber

Tamira Paszek, Austria
Paszek, who turned 17 in December, reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open courtesy of some mature shot-making, including a lethal, precise backhand seldom seen from teenagers. The youngest player ranked in the top 50 is bright and assertive, a modern tennis citizen with family roots on four continents and a proven guide in Larri Passos, Gustavo Kuerten's former coach. -- Bonnie D. Ford

I think people are watching Aggie Radwanska more than Tamira right now. As for Marin let's see how he does in Melbourne where he's in the Main Draw.

Gaston Gaudio - An Update

Next Sunday Gaudio will turn 29, and his life at present is very different to the one two seasons ago, when he was a Top Ten and had just finished what he considers to have been his best year, with five titles. He still had the impetus of his unforgettable 2004 Roland Garros title playing against Guillermo Coria, and little did he imagine that today he would be ranked 182. That´s the reason for what he said at the beginning, when he said that perhaps his injury didn´t happen by chance.

- “I love tennis, I´m an enthusiast, but it isn´t the only thing that matters to me”, he explains. During this time of forced inactivity due to his injury, Gaudio has experienced loads of things unrelated to tennis.

- “Federer, Nadal... we all live for tennis. Not obsessively, but we all live for tennis because we want to do it well. For instance: we don´t play football for fear of injury, at night you can´t get plastered because you have to train next day. Although Federer and Nadal are pretty relaxed… Maybe Nadal not so much, but Federer is really calm. You can practice with him a thousand times and you have fun, he´s not at all obsessive”, he explains.
For the entire interview with Maximiliano Bosoin Spanish go HERE
A translation by "VALE" is found on Mens Tennis Forums

Carlos Moya Roma 2007


I've started posting some of the ATP players best pics from 2007. I like this one of Nalby from earlier this year.

David Nalbandian Australia 2007

This pic made a big splash this year as well.

Roger and Mirka at TMS Madrid 2007

One last look at Davis Cup 2007. Don't worry. Both James and I will be back to normal soon.


oddman said...

What a great read. Thanks for the info, esp. the Rafa stuff. I loved the comments of Muster - no 'one-dimensional player' here!
Vamos in 2008, Rafa!

Savannah said...

I'm glad Muster spoke out in this interview. There have been so many comments about how Muster must feel, yada, yada, yada. This puts the lie to all the garbage that's been written.

tristann said...

Hi Savannah. Wow, what a long post and so much information..Thank you.

Of course, I love the Muster interview excerpts.

About the ATP rules against 'tanking', have they ever heard of the law of unintended consequences? Is a bunch of clowns running this show?

I love the photos. A couple of comments:
Nalby looks like he is strangling that poor penguin.
James Blake really does have 'chicken legs'.

Just kidding. Love all the pictures, please post more as you get a chance.