Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

I guess the tennis gods knew what was best. I slept right through the TMC Finals. I was hoping that Nikolay Davydenko would play the kind of tennis that got him to the final but that was not to be. Novak Djokovic beat the Russian in straight sets 6-1, 7-5 to win the final ATP event of the year. 

Of course in tennis a player has no choice but to play the hand he's dealt so that is not Djoke's fault he got a cakewalk to the TMC championship. While this TMC cup produced only one great match, it was still the best eight of the ATP who showed up. Andy Roddick pulled out with an ankle injury and Radek Stepanek stepped in to play his rounds for which he gets a shout out. No one ranked ahead of him made himself available.

As for the newbies Juan Martin del Potro played through the RR stage but at the end looked as if he were anxious to head back to Argentina for that DC final against Spain. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looked overwhelmed from the beginning and while he won one match it showed that he played very little during the regular season. That was due to injury, and the reports are he can't play as much as he likes due to a chronic back injury. Gilles Simon made the best showing of the three but injured his neck and was unable to win his semi final match.

The British are understandably excited about Andy Murray's play in the second half of the year. Many will criticize his going all out against Federer in their match and being too tired to defeat an inspired Davydenko in their semi. Again, a player plays the hand he's dealt. He could've tanked the match and put Federer in the semi's but he didn't. He was true to his sport and to his opponent by playing the best match he could that day. It was reminiscent of Chennai in my opinion. I'm not a fan but I respect his decision.

I haven't talked much about doubles play and as I said I didn't see the final. Congratulations to Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor for securing the year end number one with a win over
Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6(3), 6-2. Here are their post match comments, and comments from Bob Bryan.

Nestor: "It's a great feeling. We have had a great year. At times a little inconsistent. But when we've played well, we've been very tough to beat. We really get on a roll. I think when we're playing well, we're deserving of the No. 1 ranking."

Zimonjic: “This is the best season I've ever had. Winning Wimbledon, playing finals at the French, and coming here as second seed, fighting for the first spot. It was that much special to play for pretty much everything at this last match.”

"To win the Masters Cup for me for the first time, for Danny to defend the title, to play against the Bryans, who have been dominating the doubles last four, five years, and to fight for No. 1 spot. You couldn't ask for more as an athlete, you know, to manage to win this."

Bob Bryan: "It's pretty unusual that that No. 1 ranking comes down to one match, that's probably one in a million. With all the points out there, having it hinge on a few points at the end of the season is pretty amazing. But they had some good results. We all won big tournaments. I think they deserve it. They won the season-ending championships. I guess got to tip our hat to them. They played a great tournament and had a great year. We look forward to battling it out next year for the same thing."

Looks like they're already throwing down for next year. Here are the final rankings in the Race for 2008.

Final ATP 2008 Race
Pos. Player Points
1. R. Nadal (ESP) 1335
2. R. Federer (SUI) 1061
3. N. Djokovic (SRB) 1059
4. A. Murray (GBR) 744
5. N. Davydenko (RUS) 543
6. J. Tsonga (FRA) 410
7. G. Simon (FRA) 396
8. A. Roddick (USA) 394
9. J. del Potro (ARG) 389
10. J. Blake (USA) 310

Final 2008 Stanford ATP Doubles Race
Pos. Team Points
1. Nestor/Zimonjic 1064
2. Bryan/Bryan 1045
3. Bhupathi/Knowles 655
4. Bjorkman/Ullyett 605
5. Erlich/Ram 551
6. Coetzee/Moodie 476
7. Fyrstenberg/Matkowski 450
8. Dlouhy/Paes 443
9. Melo/Sa 338
10. Aspelin/Knowle 313

As for the ATP Rankings thanks to "Judio" on MTF for keeping on top of the matter. Here are the top twenty five.

New Old This Project "5th"
Rank Rank Player Week Points Best
1 1 Nadal 0 6,675 75
2 2 Federer 100 5,305 0
3 3 Djokovic 650 5,295 15
4 4 Murray 300 3,720 75
5 5 Davydenko 400 2,715 110
6 7 Tsonga 100 2,050 25
7 8 Simon 200 1,980 100
8 6 Roddick 0 1,970 110
9 7 Del Potro 100 1,945 40
10 10 Blake 0 1,775 75
11 11 Nalbandian 0 1,725 100
12 12 Ferrer 0 1,695 75
13 13 Wawrinka 0 1,510 15
14 14 Monfils 0 1,475 15
15 15 Gonzalez 0 1,420 60
16 16 Verdasco 0 1,415 75
17 17 Soderling 0 1,325 55
18 18 Andreev 0 1,245 50
19 19 Almagro 0 1,230 75
20 20 Berdych 0 1,215 40
21 21 Robredo 0 1,195 40
22 22 Cilic 0 1,175 40
23 23 Fish 0 1,165 25
24 24 Gasquet 0 1,160 40
25 26 Karlovic 0 1,140 15

As for head to head play between the top four "Scoobs", again over at MTF, posted the following:

Djokovic is

2-4 vs Nadal
1-2 vs Federer
1-2 vs Murray

Nadal is

4-0 vs Federer
4-2 vs Djokovic
3-1 vs Murray

Federer is

0-4 vs Nadal
2-1 vs Djokovic
1-3 vs Murray

Murray is

1-3 vs Nadal
3-1 vs Federer
2-1 vs Djokovic

This and That

The French sports journal L'Equipe reports that all administrative hurdles have been cleared and that the former Dutch open will now be held in Serbia starting in May 2009. For those who can read French here is the original. Novak made the announcement after his win at the TMC in Shanghai.

Novak Djokovic a annoncé dimanche après sa victoire au Masters de Shanghai qu'un tournoi ATP serait organisé l'année prochaine à Belgrade. «Je suis très heureux d'annoncer que les questions administratives sont réglées et qu'il y aura un tournoi à Belgrade l'année prochaine en mai», a déclaré le champion serbe, dont la famille est impliquée financièrement dans l'organisation de l'épreuve. «C'était un des objectifs du pays, de moi-même, de tous les joueurs et de notre fédération. Je crois que nous le méritons. Nous nous sommes battus pour l'avoir, ce qui n'était pas facile car le calendrier est chargé», a-t-il ajouté. (AFP)

Basically what he is saying is that the tournament will take place in Belgrade and that this has long been a goal of his country, himself, Serbian players and the Serbian tennis federation. He thinks that they deserve it and that he hopes they prove worthy. I can't wait to see who gets WC's into this one.

Davis Cup
There is one more major event in men's tennis that everyone will be watching. I haven't reported much about it for awhile but some of the ongoing shenanigans are pretty, well lets say interesting.

The court, which was going to be made faster than anything ever seen in South America, was slowed down after Rafael Nadal pulled out. David Nalbandian then decreed the court was too slow so it had to be speeded up again. Got that? Good.

Spanish Davis Cup coach Emilio Sanchez asked Rafa to stay away from Argentina. Emilio feels he would be too much of a distraction and that the Spanish team is strong enough to win on it's own and doesn't need Rafa cheering from the sidelines. It may sound harsh but I think Emilio is right. Rafa is a polarizing force in Argentina and all it takes is for some tanked up fan to start in about the alleged racist comments Rafa is said to have made a few years back to get things started. The focus would not be on tennis but on one guy who wouldn't even be playing. The last thing tennis, or Davis Cup, needs is a replay of the riot between Chilean and Argentine fans from a few years ago. The vid is on You Tube. It ain't pretty.
Meanwhile Emilio named Marcel Granollers to the team which surprised a lot of people. Talk is Tommy Robredo is on vacation and is not match fit. Juan Carlos Ferrero is also reported to be on vacation. It's going to be interesting no?

Idle Chit Chat
It wouldn't be me if I didn't wade into the shallow end of the pool would it?
Fans of both Ana Ivanovic and Fernando Verdasco are in the process of adjusting to their relationship. The pics and video of the couple at a Real Madrid match should go a long way to forcing fans of both players to accept it. The couple is now known as Ferdana. Funny, Nicole Vaidisova and Radek Stepanek don't have a couple name. Just sayin'.

End Notes
Nothing serious. End of year stuff, best and worst of WTA and ATP will come after Davis Cup is over. "The Powers Behind the Throne" on the coaches of the year will be done in early December.

The Exhibition Season is about to begin. Rafa is iffy for an exho he usually plays in Malaga. Not sure if Roger is going to play the one's he's scheduled to play.

I should note that Chinese Taipei won the Asian Hopman Cup and will play RR in Group B.

Group A: USA (1) - Serena Williams and James BlakeGroup A:
Group A: Australia (4) – Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt
Group A: Germany (6) – Sabine Lisicki and Nicolas Kiefer
Group A: Slovak Republic (7) - Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty

Group B: Russia (2) – Dinara Safina and Marat Safin Group B:
Group B: France (3) – Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon
Group B: Italy (5) – Flavia Pennetta and Simone Bolelli
Group B: (8) - (Q) Chinese Taipei (Hsieh/Lu)

There is also the big ATP Exhibition January 1-3 in Abu Dhabi that will feature world number one Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer (No. 2), Andy Murray (No. 4), Nikolay Davydenko (No. 5), Andy Roddick (No. 6) and James Blake (No. 10).

January can't come fast enough.


lynn said...

Savannah, I just love your blog! I read it daily. You are my #1 tennis news source. I guess I should add I'm a huge "Rafa fan" since 2004 so I was thrilled to find a blog by another true fan! Thanx and please keep the words coming!

Savannah said...

Thank You and welcome Lynn. Please stay and comment as often as you wish.