Saturday, May 24, 2008

Idle Chit Chat

by Savannah

It's time to put up or shut up. The eyes of the tennis world are fixed on Paris, France, the City of Light. Some interesting men and women made it through qualifying. The draws, in some cases twice, have been made. The players have done their publicity work. Tomorrow morning this time my eyes will be glued to both television and internet coverage of play from Roland Garros.

Sooo about that two draw thing. On Friday May 22 I dragged my butt out of bed to log and and watch the interactive draw from Paris along with some online friends via chat. If you ever get a chance to do so it's worth watching. It's exciting to see a draw put together.
Enough of that. It finished, the seeds were placed, and I ran around to get out in time to catch my preferred express bus to work. Imagine my surprise when I logged in and saw the draw. I know I'm getting old and have lost a few brain cells but the draw that was posted was not the draw that had been made while I was watching. This was what was made while people around the world watched.

Due to space constraints you may not be able to read the names. A clearer version is HERE
The official explanation is that Tommy Haas and Sebastian Grosjean withdrew just before the draw ceremony and that the computer still had their names. I'm easy. Everybody has to take the okey doke at some point in their lives so I'll go for that explanation. I still find it odd that when the draw was redone the seeds stayed in the same place. One and two are fixed but everyone? Just sayin'.
There are, as one person put it, a few "challenger draws" inside the main draw. When your top seed doesn't face a top ten player until the quarters, or the top half of your draw seems to have every qualifier known to God and man in it eyebrows should be raised.
Oh yeah, and for those who say draws can't be fixed, please re read what I posted above.

This is an idle chit chat post, the first in awhile, and the last for awhile unless something major happens so here it goes.

Novak Djokovic's father, Srdjan is reported by The Serbian Press to have attacked a broadcast journalist in Serbia for not supporting his son enough on the air. Thanks to a tennishead who goes by the name of "Kitinov Rules" there is this translation.
Srdjan Djokovic, the father of the best Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic , has used a force to enter (inroad) in TV studio of RTS last Saturday , unhappy with the way the commentator broadcasted Novak’s match against Nadal at the Hamburg Masters.

During the second set of the aforementioned match , Srdjan Djokovic unexpectedly came inroad into the TV Studio , and started to yell and verbally attack the commentator Nebojsa Viskovic.

The reason for Srdjan’s verbal attack was that the commentator didn’t cheered enough for his beloved son and being a Serb he must cheer more for Novak . Also nervous Srdjan told the journalist that “ he is not doing his work in a proper manner”

Novak’s uncle (brother of Srdjan) went even further ,and after the match called Viskovic and started to curse and threat personally the commentator.

I don't know how things work in Serbia but I hope Srdjan doesn't think this will win his son fans elsewhere in the world or in the press for that matter.

The drama of the Spanish Davis Cup Team vs Pedro Munoz continues. Four players, Carlos Moya, Nicolas Almagro, Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo met with Jaime Lissavetzky, the Spanish sports minister on Thursday. Nicolas Almagro confirms that they were told Munoz will not run for reelection when his term expires in December but that they have no way of knowing if this is true.
For those of you who speak Spanish here is the quote.
Almagro ha confirmado también que el compromiso de Muñoz de no presentarse a la reelección "está escrito", pero agrega que "no se sabe si será verdad o no"
And here is the SOURCE

Serena Williams made her usual pre major stir by stating the obvious.
PARIS (Reuters) - Former world number one Serena Williams said on Friday that Justine Henin's retirement made it the right time for the American to win a second French Open title.

Williams, who was victorious at Roland-Garros in 2002, is the only former winner in the draw for the second grand slam of the year which starts on Sunday.

"It's definitely the right time to win, obviously. It's always the right time but it's unfortunate one of the best players on clay won't be here," Williams, who starts her campaign against compatriot Ashley Harkleroad, told a news conference.

Henin, who won four French Open four titles in the past five years, retired from tennis last week as the world number one, leaving Paris hopefuls with greater expectations than last year.

I really don't understand why people have such a problem with Serena when she says things like this. She's getting more static from fans about her comments than Maria Sharapova did for telling Larry Scott, and the Tour, where to go and what to do when they get there.
The Full Article

The French have proven that it isn't only the USTA that can create cupcake draws. The women's draw for Roland Garros resembles the women's draw from the 2007 US Open. The real action is in the bottom half of the draw which features Serena, Venus, Jelena and Ana. Meanwhile Justine Henin has made the following comments. I'll post in French and then an English translation.

Justine HENIN : «Il est très difficile de prédire qui va remporter le trophée dans deux semaines. Personne ne domine à 100% aujourd'hui. Ma favorite de coeur est Svetlana Kuznetsova. Je l'apprécie énormément. Maria Sharapova ? Elle le peut le faire, évidemment. Elle a les capacités, surtout une grande force de caractère. Elle croit beaucoup en elle, ne baisse jamais les bras. Mais la terre battue est beaucoup moins sa surface. Quinze jours sur terre battue, c'est long, c'est dur, il faut s'accrocher. Elle a moins de maîtrise, moins de contrôle sur cette surface. Cela dépend beaucoup de la forme du moment et elle n'a pas beaucoup joué ces dernières semaines. Je ne miserais pas sur elle à l'heure actuelle.»

She is saying that it is hard to predict who will win. She would like to see Svetlana win it all. As for Maria she says it's not her best surface, she doesn't have the control she needs on it, and that fifteen days is very long and hard. She also says she would not bet on Maria to win it.
From L'Equipe
It should be mentioned in passing that Justine never, ever, got a cakewalk draw in any event she played while ranked number one.

I want to take a minute here and give a shout out to all the fan boards that provide tennisheads information day in and day out, 365 days a year. It is not easy to keep track of Main Tour events for both the WTA and ATP as well as Challenger events, Futures and Exhibitions. Davis Cup and Fed Cup play are also covered.Many fan boards also provide up to date ranking information. This is why so many fanboards have become the go to place for fans needing to know something quick, fast and in a hurry. There are usually small teams of people who cooperate in getting this information to notoriously finicky tennis fans. Good work to everyone involved.

End Notes

Marcos Baghdatis is returning to play at Roland Garros after an almost season long break from match play.
Richard Gasquet is playing in Paris after threatening not to do so. I always thought that he would play his home slam.
Andy Roddick is missing his first Grand Slam in many years due to injury. Make all the jokes you want about Americans and clay but Andy always shows up for Slams no matter what. He is expected to be fit for play by Queens. And keep that snark to yourself!
Nicole Vaidisova is looking to turn her so far disastrous season around on the terre battue. She doesn't have a bad draw but methinks her favorite position right now is prone. Until she gets over that she can't be fully focused on tennis.
I don't expect Marion Bartoli to do well here at all. It would be nice, but I don't think it's going to happen.
Venus Williams is another player I don't think will go far. She's just coming back after a self described hiatus. European clay is not the best place for her but she's there. In the bottom half along with her sister and everyone else who comes to play. All the qualifiers seem to have made it into the top half of the draw. I know I'm back to the draw thing. I'm just sayin'.
Will any American man make it past the second round this year? To their credit James Blake, Sam Querrey, John Isner and other American men have been in Europe for quite some time. Blake has been doing well in doubles play going very deep in some events. Too bad they didn't do this three or four years ago. Donald Young is conceding he has no chance by arriving so late. Of all the Americans I think he has the best chance to become a force on clay.

For a look at both the Men's and Women's draws Craig has posted them both.


Helen W said...

Do you have a recommended Internet live feed?

Savannah said...

No I don't, not for the French. There are a lot of boards that post both free and paid Internet feeds. I know both Mens Tennis Forums, Tennis Forum, and Talk About Tennis do this.

I for one have no intention of waiting for the ESPN coverage at 12n tomorrow and I don't have Tennis Channel. I do think TC is offering a live feed Helen.

Now when it comes to Wimbledon...

Helen W said...

Yes! I've already paid for my Wimbledon feed (taking advantage of the 20% discount offer). I wish these were available for all the slams, though US Open coverage is pretty good.

Thanks for the tip re the TC -- I'll give it a try. I'll look at the various boards too.


Helen W said...

Savannah, I forgot to compliment you on the gorgeous picture -- Paris in the springtime, how lovely.

For Rafatards, here is a great article by Pat Cash for the Times Online on Rafa's claycourt skills.

kraa said...

You do realize that the top seed had only 1/8 chance of meeting a top 10 player (Wawrinka) before the Qf, right?

Savannah said...

I am aware Kraa.

I've been on a soapbox for a few years about the, well, lets call them "soft" draws certain players get.

Compare some of the draws to what Justine Henin faced during her reign at number one.

Cate said...

It's like the organizers want Roger to win already haha.

cp said...

Regarding the comment in the Serbian press about Djokovic. On another forum, Serbs who live in Serbia say this paper is a tabloid like Enquirer or Daily Mail in Britain. Regular press over there is not carrying this.

oddman said...

Prone? I cackled my ass off! Good one, Savannah.
Not a big fan of Serena, but what's the big deal with her comment? Sounds pretty truthful to me, and not rude or anything. Hope she wins it all and goes HAH! on everyone.

BeefingFraeulein said...

LOL! "Her favorite position is prone"!!!

(and loved the insightful rest of your post btw).

Savannah said...

cp thanks for the report on the Serbian press and the Novak story.

Helen W said...

Jeez here we go again. Roger & Novak are through their first matches, but Rafa gets a rain delay. I hope we don't have another Wimbledon situation in the making ....

Savannah said...

Helen I was too through this afternoon. The thing is the weather looks very bad for tomorrow as well. That would mean everyone would be playing back to back if tomorrow is washed out as well. I know they're going to try and make sure Rafa gets his match in.

Can you imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth if the Golden Girl has to play back to back?

oddman said...

if he didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. Poor Rafa. This will just harden his resolve, methinks.
They better get his match on tomorrow. I'd hate to see another Wimbledon fiasco. I was surprised that he wasn't first on, the women play at 11:00, then Rafa.
Incidentally, that is a lovely photo of Rafa - the one with Carlos. Very handsome in that one.

Savannah said...

That is a great pic of him isn't it?

It appears that in order to accomodate the Siberian Bansidhe ALL of the "in progress" matches are scheduled second or worse on their allotted courts. They're determined to make her a favorite.

Meanwhile Raja, who got his match moved from Tuesday to Monday and has now had two days off is scheduled to play on Thursday while Faker is scheduled to play tomorrow, third on his court and on the right day. Rafa meanwhile has to play three days straight to catch up with his part of the draw.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a good day so we'll just have to hope for the best.

Helen W said...

The theory behind scheduling the suspended matches second up on the following day is to not force players who were up late on their match day to have to get up early to play on the second day. Which works OK unless their are serious schedule disruptions, e.g. at the FO so far and at last year's Wimby. Why they can't take the actual situation into account is baffling to say the least.

Why would they agree to reschedule Roger's match???

Is it just me, or do other people see a certain irony in listeninig to the various Fed KADs gleefully cheering the rain situation, and hoping that Rafa & Djoker tire each other out so that Roger has a chance of beating Rafa and winning the FO and thus being GOAT (even though he can't beat Rafa at Roland Garros without all this "help").

This fangirl is concerned.

BTW, this young buy Bellucci seems to have some game!

Savannah said...

The Fed KADS won't admit he had "help" winning Wimby last year either.

Your post is spot on. Each situation should be handled as it arises, not based on some "tradition" that only seems to help favored players.

Fed doesn't face a seed until the quarters. Faker has a "challenger" draw. We won't even talk about the women's draw.

It took ages for the Order of Play for tomorrow to come out. I knew it meant Pova would be first up.

Meanwhile some Fed KADS are arguing their fave is in a worse position than Rafa. Right.

tristann said...

Hi guys. I'm trying to not panic over the rain disruption. If Rafa can finish his match tomorrow and can play the rest according to schedule, he should only have to play two days in a row. Hopefully they will be early rounds.

What worry me most are further delays. Tournament organizers do not seem to be fair when dealing with the scheduling problems. Women only play best of three matches so having to play on back-to-back days should be easier.

Helen, like you, I am disgusted at the attitude of some Fed fans who wish ill upon Rafa, so that Roger can win. To them I say, remember Rome..and how ecstatic they were when Rafa crashed out.

oddman said...

Yup, and if a weary, battered, blistered and rain-delayed Rafa can still come out and kick ass (preferably Fed's) in the final, that'd be some poetic justice.

Helen W said...

Apparently Roger, Rafa, & Nole are all running for the player's council, according to Doug Robson in USA Today.

Savannah I am sure you remember the Fed KADs passionately arguing that Roger was worse off at Wimby 2007 than Rafa because he had had too much time off....

As always, Rafa was gracious about his opponent today, saying "This is a player with great potential." I thought he looked pretty good too!

Vamos Rafa!

Helen W said...

So Rafa has to play again tomorrow, making it 3 days in a row. I just don't understand.

cp said...

and hoping that Rafa & Djoker tire each other out so that Roger has a chance of beating Rafa and winning the FO and thus being GOAT (even though he can't beat Rafa at Roland Garros without all this "help").

Yes ironic that Fed fans need Novak's help to have their guy win RG over Rafa.

tennischick said...

it didn't work in Hamburg, why shoul dit work in France? Rafa will win his fourth -- and he deserves to.

Helen W said...

On top of having had to play 3 days in a row (has anyone else had to do this?), all his opponents have been lefties.

Oh well, on the lighter side, here's a story about a local tennis star in WA, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Rafa.

tristann said...

Helen, at least Rafa is playing someone who should be more tired than he is. Jarko is also playing three days in a row and both his previous matches went to four sets. Here is hoping he can do like Ferrer did today and finish his match in 1.5 hours (sorry Jarko..)

After his match tomorrow, at least he will be caught up with the rest of his half of the draw. Any further weather delays will likely affect Djoko and Fed as well, barring major scheduling shenanigans.