Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Australian Open – Looking Back

by Savannah

Novak Djokovic won his first Slam. There are friends of mine who are big Novak fans so congratulations to them. When you beat Number 1 you should win it all. As a long time tennis observer and fan I wish I could say I’ve seen a family complain about fans cheering against their pride and joy but I guess there’s a first time for everything. Tacky of Novak to make a complaint. Tacky of his family to call security. Tacky of Novak to ask Ramos to quiet the fans. Tackier of Ramos to do it. I’m stopping short of saying Ramos was biased towards Djokovic but this is the same man who had Sharapova fined for coaching. The same man who doesn’t think twice about calling out Rafa for taking too much time. I swear you could get through half of “War and Peace” while Novak is preparing to serve.

But in the end the moment caught up with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He was never the same after three all in the second set. The kid can be excused for having a bit of nerves though. It’s not often you contend for your first main tour title in a Grand Slam final. He got revenge on Rafa for that drubbing he took at last years US Open. It was doubtful that he could sustain that high throughout the Final against someone he’d never played before.

The Jinx Factor?

Haruka made the point that Carlos Costa’s coming in for Rafa’s semi final match was a jinx. Craig made the point that when people who have not been there all along come in for the semi final or final it throws things off. I was happy to see Didier and Evelyne Tsonga in Australia. I'm sorry it turned out the way it did after they made such a long trip but being a parent I know wild horses wouldn't have kept them away.

Speaking of tennis parents can anyone imagine Lynette Federer or Ana-Maria Parera making the following statement about their son after a victory?

As you say, the king is dead. Long live the (new) king," Djokovic's mother, Dijana, told

Unfortunately it's true.
Dijana Djokovic

Through the Rear View Mirror

This was one strange Open wasn’t it? It went from ho-hum to riveting to must see in both singles and doubles play for both the men and the women.

  • Maria Sharapova pushed her humiliating defeat in 2007 aside and was clearly the woman to beat. No one managed to do that. In the battle of The Shriek vs The Squeak the Shriek, while not playing her best tennis – that had been played against Justine Henin – still easily disposed of Ana Ivanovic who, instead of gaining more fans seemed to make more enemies. Yuri Sharapov – aka The Notorious YuriS – sunk to new lows making a throat slashing motion while dressed in Nike camouflage and dark glasses. If Richard Williams had shown up dressed like that and done that, well, we know what would have happened.

  • Ana Ivanovic’s teary reaction left me a bit cold. Until she shows she can show up mentally in a Slam final number 2 or no she’s still got a lot to prove.

  • There was more action in the first set of the Men’s Final than in the entire Women’s Final. The WTA has to address the quality of it’s product. So many fans either fell asleep or found themselves otherwise occupied during the Golden Girl’s victory you have to wonder what will get fans back on the WTA bandwagon.

  • Can I say that watching the mens final gave me more of an appreciation for what Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have given us over the last few years? It wasn’t only the level of play it was another factor – professionalism – that was missing from the match this morning EST in the United States. Rafa has faced down hostile French crowds. Did he ask for security for his family or that the chair silence fans who were rooting for their faves? Would Roger have? People have been complaining about the duopoly for quite some time. Without either Rafa or Roger things were not quite right. They have both brought a very high level of play and set the standard high for on court behavior. They were missed.

Heard Around

It’s being reported that Roger Federer was much more ill than he let on coming into Melbourne.

In an Interview to the Swiss Newspaper "le Matin" Federers Fitness Coach Pierre Paganini admitted that Federer suffered from heavy diarrhea for 6 days in the preparation for the AO loosing 7 pounds( three kilos) of weight!

After his impression this affected Federers power and movement on court

The media construed that the Fed Clan didn't talk about that as they didn't want to give the impression that Fed is not 100 % to the competition. Fed loosing early at the AO would have cost him the NO. 1 spot therefore the goal was to go as far a possible.

Fed will now go through a serious recovery training in Dubai.


SonntagsBlick research show: Roger Federer was before the Australian Open far more ill than he admitted. He was in hospital, was six days with fever and diarrhea flat. With this history is his Halbfinalvorstoss no disappointment, but a willingness outstanding performance.

As Federer before the start to the Australian Open two weeks ago about his food poisoning said, which sounded like this: "I woke on Saturday with a fever, and the hospital was a slight food poisoning diagnosed. It was, however, I soon got better, and now I feel 100 percent fit. "

Even after the semi-final defeat on Friday against Novak Djokovic wanted disturbed his preparation as an excuse not apply. "Maybe it has played a role, but I do not know." However, he admitted that he is on the square quickly and less bubbly than usual felt. No wonder!

It pays tribute to Roger Federer that he is not looking after excuses, but the truth is another. A short hospital visit was the matter is far from fixed. According to reliable sources of Sunday gaze was Rogers disease deliberately kleingeredet tactical reasons. Man wanted over the opponents show no weakness. They were very pleased that it had succeeded, the real health problems of the Swiss to hide.
Under this aspect receives Federer's semi-final qualification a much higher value. Had Roger namely because of his illness Forfait declared it could Rafael Nadal in the coming weeks as the number 1 to replace. Now, however, the Basel area of opportunity, the body back into shape.

I don’t speak a word of Swiss German so I have to accept the translations. I guess they knew mentioning gastric distress would lead to a bunch of crappy jokes huh? If this was the case why were all references to an alleged ankle injury erased from the message board on his official site? Oh well. At least he didn’t blame the Russians. And he was determined to keep Rafa from getting that number one wasn’t he?

Roger is scheduled to play Estoril as a clay warm up. Novak is the defending champion. Should be interesting no?

Serena Williams is the only active woman player with a career slam. Both Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin are one away. Will Maria win the French? Will Justine win Wimbledon? Film at eleven folks.

Fed Cup News

The United States Fed Cup team will not feature either Venus Williams or Serena Williams. Lindsay Davenport will be leading the squad, which will include Laura Granville, Ashley Harkleroad and Lisa Raymond. The German squad will feature up and comer Sabine Lisicki who has appeared on a lot of tennishead’s radar.

The drama continues with the French ladies. When last checked Marion Bartoli was not going to play unless her father and coach Dr. Walter Bartoli was allowed to coach her. The French team now consists of The Maiden along with Amelie Mauresmo, Virginie Razzano and Nathalie Dechy. The P.R. of China team features Li Na, Peng Shuai, Zheng Zie and Yan Zi. Let’s see who deplanes from France later this week.

Fed Cup play begins February 2.

Idle Chit Chat

I think that's enough of that no?

A Final Look
Some of my favorite photographs from the 2008 Australian Open


Shannon said...

....ok I'm not sure the world needed to know about Fed's diarrhea! :) Bleargh!

It's really funny if it's true that he decided to push on because he wanted to hang on to number one, especially after saying he hadn't realized it was possible to lose it. I'm not sure I buy that, but I DO find it interesting that he hung in there juuuust long enough to ensure it was out of Rafa's grasp. Maybe he felt his greater mission was accomplished and lost some motivation. He sure didn't play like Roger Federer against Djokovic.

Djokovic, by the way, is a disgrace, and so is his family.

tristann said...

Hi Savannah. It's been awhile. This turned out to be a very interesting tournament in the end. I am glad that Tsonga put up a good fight, and sorry that he lost in the end.

I have to say that Novak can play and congratulations for his win. With that said, I cannot warm up to the guy one bit. I think everything that could be said about his behavior has been said on the boards.

Novak will not be playing Estoril. He also chose not to defend his win in Adelaide. He is not playing Dubai either. The only non-Slam, non-TMS tournament he is playing in the first half of the year is Rotterdam. He seems to be placing a lot of faith in his performance at the Slams and Masters events. We will see how it unfolds, whether it is a wise strategy or not.

One thing I have to say is that the season is shaping up to be very interesting with many possible shifts in the top positions.

Savannah said...

Djoke is on the Entry List for Dubai but is not listed for Estoril.

It'll be very interesting to see what happens in Dubai since everyone else is showing up for that one even Andy Roddick.

It was interesting how the commentators noted that Djokovic didn't really go to extremes during his play since the crowd was looking for any excuse to completely turn on him.

tristann said...

I didn't realize he was entered for Dubai. It is not on his calendar on his website. And a correction to the above: he does not have Rotterdam listed either, only Marseille. But I guess that calendar is not very accurate.

As you said, Dubai should be very interesting indeed. IW and Miami are also going to be crucial, given that Fed has little to defend and Djoko and Rafa have considerable points.

Mariya said...

Serena looks gorgeous in that photo (that is her, right?)

Don't tell anyone I said that :)

oddman said...

Lovely summation, Savannah. I still recall the booing fans in Paris and Rafa's bewildered looks and gamely dealing with all that. Last year I could have excused Mama Djoko's comments as those of a proud parent, but it's getting a bit screechy and old.... somebody need a PR manager much?
You are so right Raja and Rafa have set the standard very high - good to reflect on that as I think this has been taken for granted. I don't see Djoko in that rarified air yet, despite being very close in ranking points. Time will tell.

My favorite little bit was Didier Tsonga sitting beaming in the stands just before the match, SO proud, I just wanted to reach through the TV and give him a hug. His son was awesome.
On to the next, guys!

Savannah said...

I saw nothing but pride in the faces of Didier and Evelyne Tsonga.They were focused on their son the entire match.

I must say Monsieur Tsonga appears to be a throwback to the kind of man who wouldn't dream of leaving his house without looking good. That we now have an elegant tennis father just adds to the collection of tennis parents you can be proud of.

I have to say that in perusing boards and sites I don't normally visit the Fakervic's have a major p.r. problem on their hands. There is more talk about his parents lack of class - there's a video going around that alleges that Djoke's father gave Fed the thumbs down as Federer was leaving the court but I don't think that's what happened. It looks like he got into a fight with some fans and did a thumbs up thumbs down thing with them. The mere fact that it was no stretch of the imagination to think he'd done this tells you what's going on. Even the Notorious YuriS doesn't fight with fans. And I can safely say I've never seen tennis parents demand security beyond what is normally provided.

tangerine said...

People who say that Roger doesn't care about points, records, etc. are kidding themselves. Roger cares very deeply. The fact that he fought so hard to fend off the likes of Tipsarevic and Blake in order to keep No. 1 away from Rafa, and then be willing to fall to his most hated opponent in the next round, says it all.

Savannah wrote: "Tacky of Novak to ask Ramos to quiet the fans. Tackier of Ramos to do it."

I know you don't like Novak but his complaint to Ramos was legit. Somebody was yelling "Stop bouncing the ball!" while he preparing to serve and it was on break point.

Savannah said...

Hi Tangerine. People really say that he doesn't care don't they? Wonder what planet they're on?

Ramos actions were tacky. Sure if someone is yelling out while a player is serving something should be done.
If someone is taking what appears to be an inordinate amount of time between serves and his/her opponent complains about it a warning is usually given. Ramos knows that and has acted on it in the past. Were Tsonga's complaints less valid than Fakers or does Ramos care more about who complains than what the complaint is? I guarantee you that if it had been Rafa doing his thing a warning would've been issued. That's what makes what he did tacky in my very humble opinion.

tangerine said...

I think Nole was given a time-violation warning in the final, wasn't he? Or was it the semi? The matches are already a blur to me!

I think once the honeymoon period is over with Nole the chair umpires will get tougher on him. I remember the same thing had happened to Nadal when people complained about his slow playing for months before the chair umpires finally started issuing warnings to him.

Savannah wrote: "The Golden Child is a superstar in the eyes of her sponsor but the decidedly under whelmed response of the Aussie’s after her win speaks volumes about hype and true super stardom."

Okay, I think you're letting your own dislike of Maria cloud your judgement here. Sponsors wouldn't be falling all over themselves to get to Maria if her numbers didn't back it up. Here's one example of her popularity, Maria was the top searched-for player on the Australian Open's website: