Sunday, June 29, 2008

Heard Around - Middle Sunday

by Savannah

So the Brits, hidebound and hemmed in by tradition, schedule no play this Sunday. This helps maintain the fiction that the tournament is thirteen days - Monday is officially Day 7- for who knows what reason. I'm sure some of us could get into a debate about the relationship between Wimbledon and the Summer Solstice but this is a tennis blog.

Moving on the chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), one Mr. Roger Draper, has backtracked on the stated goal of LTA president Stuart Smith original goal of Britain having five players in the top 100 of the sport by 2008. That goal has now been pushed back to 2010. Sometimes people make interesting statements when their backs are against the wall. Consider this one from Mr. Draper.

Asked about the success of other nations including Spain and Serbia who have several players in the top 50, Draper claimed Britain's relative lack of success could be partly explained by a lack of desire among some players. "It's desire and hunger," Draper added. "When we say at age 10 that you have to give up school and you'll be travelling round the world for three or four months a year with no guarantee you're going to make it (as a professional), that decision is much easier if you are in Slovakia or Croatia.

For the rest of Roger Draper's comments please go to the Source

Court 2

The jinx court. The place champions go to die. This is the reputation the present Court 2 at the AELTC has. Needless to say fans of the Sisters Williams are not happy about the Schedule of Play for Monday June 30 which has them playing their singles and doubles matches on that court while a match featuring Anna Chakvetadze vs Nicole Vaidisova is on Court 1 and Svetlana Kuznetsova plays Aggie Radwanska on Center Court. Conspiracy theories rage unchecked on tennis boards and fans are in high dudgeon (I'm dragging out all of those English phrases. Sue me.) crying racism, desire to not see a Williams holding up the Venus Rosewater trophy, etc., etc.

As someone who came of age in the sixties and who sees a conspiracy when a a bug crawls out from under a rock I'm not participating in the frenzy. Some fans are saying that the officials went with what they see as the most competitive matches. I have nothing against the four women who will be gracing Center Court and Court 1 with their presence but based on the ladies past performances only Aggie Radwanska promises to bring good tennis. Sveta Kuznetsova, with number one staring her in the face has a known reaction to playing in pressure situations. It's amazing that after the horrendous start to her year Anna Chakvetadze is playing as well as she is. The least said about Nicole Vaidisova's year so far the better. Meanwhile
Bethanie Mattek who up to now has been known mainly for her original get ups on court has shown during week one that she does have a game, a deceptively good one. I didn't watch Alisa Kleybanova's match - I may get to it today thanks to Wimbledon Live -but she's here in the Round of 16. Venus went on walkabout yesterday during the second set of her match and it's known that someone Venus has never played before can give her fits. Remember Pironkova boys and girls?

There's enough for the conspiracy theorists to chew on but I'm not totally buying it. Why? Because tennis is a sport. Sports are driven by money. They get money when they get viewers. Will vast hordes of tennisheads tune in to watch Sveta and Anna? I don't think so. Will not only tennisheads but the casual fan tune in to watch Venus or Serena? Hell yeah. So how do you make sure the fans are tuned into your network and not watching the best online coverage provided by any of the Grand Slams? You put your biggest draws on the one court the online service is not covering. What court is that? Court 2. Case closed in my very humble opinion. If the Brits stick with this Middle Sunday crap and don't care that the majority of die hard and potential fans are at work on Monday thus diminishing their audience why should tennisheads?

The WTA and the Depth Problem

I caught a lot of flak last year when I said that Ana Ivanovic was not ready to be the top seed at one of the women's events in California. She did prove me wrong that time. When due to the retirement of Justine Henin she became one of the potential inheritors of Top Woman I didn't think she would make it. I'm no great fan of Maria Sharapova but I felt her play, when she did play, had been good this year and that if she became number one so be it. How she defended and acquitted herself in that role remained to be seen and would show who she was as a human being and a tennis player.

Well Ivanovic won the French and became number one. Fanboys (including the press) went into overdrive over the pretty woman from Serbia and we were treated to the type of writing usually limited to press releases about the latest starlet or Disneykid. Meanwhile I'm thinking that maybe I was wrong and that Ana had matured enough to handle the pressures of being top dog. Her parents are educated and they'll be able to help her. As for Sharapova she had shown her ass from day one, telling the WTA where to go and what to do when they got there and saying she was too mentally fatigued to deign to play anything leading up to Wimbledon. It should be mentioned in passing that neither Williams sister ever plays a grass warmup. Just sayin'. Ana decided she too now breathed the same rarefied air and dropped out of the tune up she was going to play citing the same need to rest her fragile sensibilities after becoming number one and winning her first Slam.

Well now I'm here to do the "I told you so" dance made famous by Debbie Reynolds as Debra Messing's mother on "Will and Grace". Maria ran into a Russian woman who was not afraid to play her in Alla Kudryavtseva and proceeded to do so. Ana ran into a diminutive Chinese doubles specialist named Zheng Jie who dismantled her giving a clinic in how a smaller player can beat a taller player. When Alla was asked if she was surprised at winning she said no, that she had walked on court intending to win. What a breath of fresh air! Boris Becker said during his online commentary of Nadal vs Kiefer that you do what it takes to win. How nice to know there are unheralded players out there who think like that.

A lot of talk but what does this have to do with the WTA and depth? For whatever reason Henin retired she was the best player on the WTA. No one called her golden, she fought through brutal draws to get to her finals, and she beat whoever was thrown in front of her. The way was now clear for all the wet dreams of the powers that be at the WTA and the ad agencies to come true. Wonder where they threw all those damp hankies since neither of their marketing darlings seems to be able to stand a competitive draw or think and strategize her way through a tennis match. Meanwhile players the head honcho of the WTA would not call golden have made good showings on the hallowed lawns. Think Tamarine Tansugarn folks. If Kuznetsova makes it to number one I'm sure there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in women's tennis. They're probably pushing for Jelena since they can push the Serbian angle. Whatever. You can do all in your power to help someone become the top player but the proof of the pudding is on the court. I'm glad the Alla's and Jie's of the world ignored the script and played good tennis using strategy and skill against their opponents. Who knows what the future holds for either woman. I think Ana is two years away from both the emotional and on court maturity to represent her sport as number one in the world. I also think that the WTA had better start realizing that champions are made on court not in board rooms.

End Notes

Venus held her wits about her long enough to deliver the fastest serve ever by a woman at Wimbledon. It was clocked at 127mph and came at the end of her match against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain who had qualified her way into the Main Draw. Nice work Vee. By the way Ms Martinez Sanchez played serve and volley in the second set, something that simply amazed Tracy Austin.

If you can find it somewhere on line catch Pam Shriver's interview with Richard Williams. It's short, no more than five minutes, but it's one of the best things a reporter has done during week one. She managed to bring Patrick McEnroe and Brad Gilbert into the conversation and you kind of wished there had been more time for an in the studio interview. Some may find Richard's drawl hard to understand but the three men, and Pam, showed a respect for the sport and each other we don't always get a chance to see. When Pam asked Richard if he tells Venus she should come in more he said that he suggests to his daughter how to play otherwise he'll lose his job.

If you haven't already try and scrape your nickels and dimes together and get Wimbledon Live. It was so nice having the option of listening to Boris Becker commentate Rafa's match as opposed to the crew served up by NBC/ESPN. Becker gives interesting insights into the mind of a top player and talks about what is going on in the match. He was fascinated by Rafa's quirk of changing racquets at random points during a match. He did not comment on his home boy's delaying tactics in the third set but I let give him a pass on that. I was also able to see Venus match really live and not on tape delay. Won't have that option tomorrow but I've talked about that enough.

In a highly anticipated Junior Boy's match Bernard Tomic made quick work of
Carlos Boluda-Purkiss winning in straight sets 1&2. Tomic needs to tone down the ego though. He said he won not playing his best tennis. Then again he may be just right for the ad agencies.

My Player of the Week goes to Dinara Safina. While some play at having injuries I watched - again online- as Dinara fought her body to try and advance to the next round. She had had all of the alloted medical time outs and the physio's could only stand by as she fought, on one leg, to overcome a determined Shahar Pe'er. I also have to give Shahar her props. When the match was over and Dinara turned away from her comforting gesture she didn't do cartwheels on the court or break into a dance. She very calmly signed autographs and did her interviews while a distraught Dinara made her way off court. This was Shahar's biggest win in what has been a dismal year for her and she could've been forgiven for celebrating a little. My respect to both women.

The boo of the week goes to Brad Gilbert who I think wanted to make something of Dinara's turning away from Shahar at the end of the match. There was nothing to make of it Brad.

End Shots
More pics from Week One

Nadia Petrova

John McEnroe and Tim Henman

Caroline Wozniacki

Tamarine Tanasugarn

Richard Williams

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Week That Was

by Savannah

I agree with Brad Gilbert on something. Does this mean the Apocalypse is upon us? He called bullshit on the players who cited "mental fatigue" for their early round exits at The Championships this week. Neither Ana Ivanovic nor Maria Sharapova played a warm up event. More on Ana below.
Novak Djokovic did play a warm up and had a cup cake draw that barely caused him to break a sweat before coming to play at the AELTC where another cakewalk awaited. Just sayin'.

Heavy Lies the Head...

Ana Ivanovic had these comments after Zheng Jie of China handed her ass to her.

"For me, it was all new situations. Although I wasn't nervous or anything, I didn't have as good preparation as I hoped for because I had to have time off after Roland Garros."

She also felt that everyone was giving a bit extra against the world number one. "Everyone is so pumped up against you. They know they have nothing to lose and are pumped up, giving their best. It's something you have to accept."

Marion Bartoli said pretty much the same thing last year after her Wimbledon semi final appearance and was vilified for it. Ana smiles and hints at a little cleavage and the press gives her a pass. I wonder why? Lets forget that Zheng Jie dismantled Ivanovic by keeping the ball low and not letting those down the line power shots disturb her. She did not give Ana control of the middle of the court and exploited her still poor on court movement. Ana, to use the vernacular, got powned. Case closed.

The Long Drought

Thanks to "Merton" over at MensTennisForums for this factoid;
The United States has not won a Grand Slam since 2003. "Jedi Fed" added this information:

Well, there have only been three occasions on which no Americans have proceeded to the 4th Round at Wimbledon.

In 2002, Taylor Dent lost to Wayne Arthurs 6-7(2-7) 6-7(3-7) 7-6(7-4) 6-7(5-7), winning only one set.

In 2006, James Blake lost to Max Mirnyi 4-6 6-3 6-4 1-6 0-6, winning two sets.

This year Bobby Reynolds lost to Feli Lopez 6-4 7-5 4-6 6-4, winning only one set.

One could argue this is the worst performance by Americans ever. It's only the second time that an American has failed to lead in the third round, and the first time they have only won one set and no tiebreaks.

I am counting Lendl as an American, as he defected.

If an American fails to reach the semifinals of the US Open, it will be the first time ever that there has not been an American in the semifinal of a slam for an entire year.

Cara Black
A Woman's Worth

So Justin Gimelstob, newly minted representative of American Tennis, has been suspended by WTT for one match and is sending a check to a women's organization. I guess calling women bitches or saying a woman you don't like should be turned over to your kid brother for his enjoyment against the woman's will is no big deal these days. For shame ATP, TC and his other various employers who issued mealy mouthed apologies for their employee. The Huffington Post has picked up the story as have other mainstream media outlets. The story should not die.

Jelena Jankovic

I've had it with her. Her stunt on Saturday wherein she said a slip on the dirt ended up in her knee being wrapped from thigh to just below the knee - something that took awhile to kick in as anyone watching could tell those of you who didn't see the match - was just too much. I was born at night, not last night. It reminded me of the same crap Djokovic pulled on Gael Monfils a couple of years ago. Tacky Jelena. Just tacky. Especially when Nadia Petrova, with a legitimate injury, gutted out a win on the same day with a similar wrap on her leg. I'm not saying Caroline Wozniacki would've won. I do think Jelena could've won without all the drama.

Anger Management

Chair redesign by Radek Stepanek

Pics of the Week
Some have been posted above. Here are the rest.

Serena Williams

Mario Ancic

Janko Tipsarevic

Venus Williams and Serena Williams

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Heard Around Pre Wimbledon 2008

by Savannah

So much hot air over this little patch of green. The eyes of the tennis world are fixated on tennis sacred ground for the next fortnight(Hey, may as well get that out of my system now since it's going to be the word repeated by talking heads world wide ad nauseam). All the pundits, bullshit artists, and other jetsam and flotsam of the tennis world have spoken. Photoshop artists have been at it creating images for tennisheads inclined to that particular artform. Injuries, real, feigned and otherwise have been put forward, discussed and discarded.

I for one am sticking strictly to the shallow end of the pool and hopefully bringing folks up to date on what's been going on in and around SW19 the last few days.

Andy Roddick threw a tantrum. Apparently disgusted by his pre tournament warm up the newly engaged Mr. Roddick was reported by Yahoo to have thrown his racquet at a trashcan and wandered off muttering that he hated himself. Guess he's not saving the drama for his on court performances this year.

In a totally non related fashion note that should be filed in the "imitation is the highest form of flattery" folder Maria Sharapova announced that she will be wearing shorts this year instead of a fashion forward custom designed dress. Venus Williams had not commented as of this posting. She does appear to have put on some weight which is good to see. She's not rolling onto the court by any means people. She just looks healthy.

The other tempest in a teapot regarding the sisters Williams surrounded a published photo of Serena Williams having a WTA physio look at her hand. As she'd just been photographed texting unless she's channeling the spirit of Richard Gasquet this was much ado about absolutely nothing.
It was good to see Papa Williams there working with his girls.

Justin Gimelstob has added misogynist to his repertoire. He appeared on a show broadcast in the Washington DC area to talk about World Team Tennis. During his appearance Gimelstob uttered these pearls of wisdom. I apologize in advance for his being an asshat. The "Anna" he is talking about is Anna Kournikova.

"She's a [bleep]," Gimelstob said of Anna, using a word that rhymes with "kitsch. "We're gonna kick her [bleep]," he added, using a word that almost rhymes with "kastle."
Well then. Will he talk junk to her on the court?

"One hundred percent," he said. "If she's not crying by the time she walks off that court, then I did not do my job."
So it's pure hate then?
"Hate's a very strong word," he said. "I just despise her to the maximum level, right below hate. I think she falls into the Marcelo Rios 'Scumbag' category....And this whole bluff about her retiring because of her back? She had the yips on her serve, she can't get her serve on the court. Wait until you see on July 23, she's gonna be serving 40 miles an hour and I'm gonna be just plugging it down her throat....We do exhibitions together and I'll mock her, and make fun of her. I'll just make her know that she's stupid....I'm sure she'll rue the day that she has to come here and actually share space with me."
...what would happen if Kournikova made a move on Gimelstob. You know, a Biblical move.
"Definitely not," he said. "I have no attraction to her, because she's such a douche....I really have no interest in her. I wouldn't mind having my younger brother, who's kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits of that."


It's so reassuring to know that this is the man who is reportedly taking the American seat on the ATP Board isnt' it?

The New York Daily News is reporting today that one Mr. Steve Biegel is suing his former employer, Japanese ad agency Dentsu, for being sexually humiliated and degraded. In his suit he cites the head of the agency, one Mr. Toyo Shigeta of forcing him, a married man, into having sex with a prostitute and making him a party to his personal sexual fetish of photographing women's privates. So what does this have to do with tennis? One of the women Shigeta is said to have photographed is Maria Sharapova. Get the picture now? Or maybe not? Anyway outraged executives of Dentsu are not taking the allegations laying down and have shot back that Biegel, who left the company in 2006, was trying to shake them down and that when they refused to give in he filed his suit. One could write a master's thesis about Japan's sexual, what is the right word, fetishes? I am not that person though. If you're interested just Google the topic. You'll be occupied for quite some time.
Wonder how Justin, who advocates rape in his above statements, would respond if he had been in Mr. Biegel's shoes.

ATP News
The biggest news of course is the ongoing attempt by the players to get more control over their destiny. To do this they're working quite hard at revamping the Players Council and the ATP board. Other than Gimelstob being added to the ATP Board as the American representative former player's council president Ivan Ljubicic has been elevated to the board temporarily. He will hold his post through the US Open. Tennis Channel vice president David Egdes has also been elevated to the board as the International representative. As for the Players council - the old one presided over the elevation of the three men mentioned - the new council is expected to include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
I've seen some fan dissatisfaction with the men at the top of the sport putting themselves up for election to the Players Council on some fanboards but frankly I don't understand why. I get that some feel the top three want sweetheart deals for themselves and all that but I think they're forgetting what caused this brouhaha. Earlier this year the ATP announced that except for Roland Garros which they can't touch, Rome and a couple of other clay events all of the mandatory tournaments would be those played in the United States, Canada, and Asia. Read hard courts kiddies. And the European's hit the roof. Thrown into the pot was a deal with Ion Tiriac to add a new combined event in Madrid. Under threat Monte Carlo was retained but in a downgraded status. Meanwhile the Rogers Cup in Canada and Indian Wells in the California desert retained their status. It should be mentioned here that the people who run Hamburg have filed a suit that is troubling to the status of the ATP. The suit will be heard in the state of Delaware next month. All because the American tennis establishment, unable to compete on red clay, wanted a - dare I say it - sweetheart deal. This suit is the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the stands. To keep yourself up to date check in regularly with Doug Robson's blog. He's been on top of this story for quite some time.

So while these guys do their thing to make the hallowed grounds of the AELTC beautiful for tennis lots will be going on behind the scenes. If you're like me I'll be zoned in on the tennis. I've still got some terre battue in my shoes but I realize it's time to graze in the grass.

If you still haven't gotten your fill of predictions and thoughts about The Championships check out Craig's Blog

For the next two weeks, sorry, fortnight, the best men and women players will be striving to win the most cherished trophies tennis can offer. We'll all be there.

Saturday's Children

by Savannah

Pre Wimbledon play ended Saturday June 21 to allow everyone time to get to SW19. I ended up taking a hiatus yesterday and didn't get to salute them.

In what has to be the upset of the day Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand threw Dinara Safina under the proverbial bus taking her out in straight sets to win the Ordina Open. This is the second title for the 31 year old Tanasugarn on the main tour. Congratulations Tammy.
Shame about the trophy though.

David Ferrer convincingly won his first grass court title at Ordina taking out Frenchman Mark Giquel in straight sets. Again, that trophy.

Agniezska Radwanska fought her way past Nadia Petrova in three sets to win the prestigious Eastbourne title. It was a good match with a thrilling second set tiebreak won by Nadia. The third set hinged on one bad game - and it was played by the veteran Petrova. Given the break Radwanska was not going to give it back.

Ivo Karlovic kept his eye on the ball and successfully defended his Nottingham championship. Due to rain the final against Fernando Verdasco was played indoors on a hard court with spectators restricted to each players entourage, linespeople in street clothes and various officials. Indoors against Dr Ivo's serve Verdasco did as well as he could but there was no doubt who would win a serving war between these two competitors.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sweet Taste of Victory

by Savannah

This win was exceptionally sweet. On the way to the Final he beat Ivo Karlovic of the massive serve and Andy Roddick, the defending champion and grass court specialist. He's not supposed to win on grass right? He'd just finished a grueling clay court campaign. The transition from clay to grass is just too much they said. Throughout this century either
Lleyton Hewitt or Andy won this event. Pete Sampras closed out the last century with a win. Some are hailing Number Three as the heir apparent to Number One. Haven't seen or heard much from that crowd so far. Here's to the new kid on the grass court block. VAMOSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

Congratulations to the other winners today as well.

Nikolay Davydenko 2008 Champion Orange Warsaw Tournament

Kateryna Bondarenko 2008 Champion Birmingham DFS Classic
And oh yeah, this guy won today too.

Roger Federer 2008 Champion Halle

Liezel Huber and Cara Black 2008 Birmingham DFS Champions
Maria Kirilenko 2008 Champion Torneo Barcelona.

Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic Artois Doubles Champions

Mikhail Youzhny and Mischa Zverev Halle Doubles Champions

Artois Boys Champions H. Cunha of Brasil and M.Willis of Great Britain

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"...but that was when I ruled the world..."

by Savannah

The refrain from Coldplay's new song, the title track from their soon to be released "Viva la Vida" ran through my head when I read this extraordinary article on the The Official Wimbledon Site I'm posting it in it's entirety. It stands on it's own.

USA and Oz: Empires in decline?
Monday, 9 June, 2008
Written by Ronald Atkin

Perhaps nothing has been more surprising at The Championships in recent years than the comparative decline of the English-speaking world in the men's singles competition.

Among Britons the decline can be summed up in a word: catastrophic. Seventy-two years have now passed since Fred Perry posted a ‘home’ victory on Centre Court, but the absence of winners from previously dominant nations like the United States and Australia is a dramatic indication that other countries have caught up, and sometimes surged past, the former giants of grass.

In the 22 years between the resumption of The Championships after World War II in 1946 and the advent of the Open era in 1968, the men's champion on 19 occasions was either American or Australian.

Even the beginning of the Open era suggested this trend would continue. But Rod Laver (1968-9) and John Newcombe (1970-1) actually represented the last great flourish for Australian tennis at Wimbledon. Since then, only Pat Cash in 1987 and Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 have been Australian-born singles champions.

Hewitt’s victory was the highlight of a mini-revival in Australian tennis. Pat Rafter had been runner-up in 2000 and 2001 prior to Hewitt’s win while Mark Philippoussis reached the final in 2003, only to become Roger Federer’s first final victim.

The Americans have enjoyed two spells of Open-era domination. Between 1972 and 1984, Stan Smith, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe all won Wimbledon titles. They would have been more successful except for the emergence of Bjorn Borg.

It was 1992 when Andre Agassi won his only Wimbledon, followed by Pete Sampras’ domination of the tournament — a seven times champion between 1993 and 2000.

There were other noteworthy Americans in the Sampras decade. Jim Courier was part of an all-American final in 1993 and Agassi contested the last all-American final, with Sampras in 1999.

Following Sampras, Andy Roddick, runner-up to Roger Federer in 2004 and 2005, has been the best performed American man and even he could only manage the quarter-finals in 2007.

Wimbledon is not the only Grand Slam to highlight the decline of the Australian and American men. Agassi (1999) is the only American champion of Roland Garros over the past 16 years, while no Australian since Laver in 1969 has lifted the French Open trophy.

This year there were no English-speaking players in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros in either the men or women’s draw.

The last home champion at the Australian Open remains Mark Edmondson in 1976. Americans have done much better at the US Open, thanks to the likes of Agassi, Sampras and Roddick, the last 11 years have seen a home-grown men's champion just three times.

It is an indication of the atrophy of tennis in these formerly great tennis nations that Hewitt and Roddick still represent their countries’ best hope.

Hewitt, the only Australian in the world's top 50, and Roddick, still one of the top ten, both have had recent injury concerns.

Hewitt has a persistent hip problem, while Roddick missed Roland Garros because of a problem with the shoulder of his serving arm.

The next generation looks hopeful for both countries. Donald Young, from the USA, won the Wimbledon boys' title last year while Australia’s Bernard Tomic became the youngest boys' Grand Slam winner with his victory at the Australian Open in 2008 — a tournament where his compatriot Jessica Moore also reached the junior final.

Tennis is littered with the names of junior wunderkinds who failed to convert potential into success. The USA and Australia will be hoping their next generation is not among them.

In the meantime they may have to endure a man from the Home Nations — Andy Murray — producing a Wimbledon challenge of note.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Total Beat Down

by Savannah

I have been watching tennis a very long time. I became a fan when McEnroe, Borg, Connors, Wilander and Lendl played. I've taken breaks from the sport over the years but always came back for Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. And I can say without hesitation that never have I seen a man dominate a tournament the way Rafael Nadal dominated the 2008 French Open. Never dropped a set. And then serving up a bagel - a bagel! - in the Final. The announcers on NBC, Ted Robinson, Mary Carillo, and John McEnroe were left speechless as were the 15,000 fans in attendance. Domination does not begin to explain what happened on Chatrier today.

And let it be said and said over and over. Cakewalk draws do not champions make. The only seed Roger played was Fernando Gonzalez and he dropped a set to him. Gael Monfils finally played up to his talent level and took a set but he was not seeded. Do I think the number three seed should have been in the top half of the draw? Of course. But in the end it didn't make a damn bit of difference.The number three seed has never beaten a top ten player on clay. And let it also be said the number three seed had the easiest stroll of the top three.

But saying all of the above sounds like sour grapes when looked at in retrospect. I think it needs to be said so that the powers that be know not all tennis fans are asleep at the wheel, that we know what they're trying to do, and exult when they fail. Today we saw the man some call clay monster grind all of his rivals into the dust of Roland Garros with an exclamation point. In the final analysis there is nothing else to say.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

French Open Saturday

by Savannah

2008 French Open Womens Champion

Ana Ivanovic

2008 French Open Men's Doubles Champions

Luis Horna and Pablo Cuevas

2008 French Open Girls Doubles Champions
Polona Hercog (SLO) and Jessica Moore (AUS)

2008 French Open Boys Doubles Champions
Henri Kontinen (FIN) and Christopher Rungkat (INA)

The Forgotten Ones - French Open Champions

by Savannah

Some results that deserve recognition.

Women's Doubles French Open Champions
Anabel Medina-Garrigues and Virginia Ruano-Pascal

Mixed Doubles French Open Champions
Bob Bryan and Victoria Azarenka

Mens Wheelchair Singles French Open Champion
Kunieda Shingo

Mens Wheelchair Doubles French Open Champions

Kunieda Shingo and Maikel Scheffers

Women's Wheelchair French Open Singles Champion
The Great Esther Vergeer

Women's Wheelchair French Open Doubles Champions

Jiske Griffioen and Esther Vergeer

I need to give a shout out to tennishead "mmmm8" over on TalkAboutTennis who put all of this together. Believe me it's not easy getting information on the athletes featured here. Doubles is especially hard. Maybe because it's a Slam the powers that be let us see the athletes. MMMM8 also posted the Junior Results I'm posting below. The winners are in bold.

Boys' Singles - Semifinals
Yang Tsung-hua, Taiwan, def. Cesar Ramirez (2), Mexico, 7-5, 6-4
Jerzy Janowicz (12), Poland, def. Guido Pella, Argentina, 6-4, 6-4

Boys' Doubles - Semifinals
Jaan-Frederik Brunken, Germany, and Matt Reid, Australia, def. Julien Obry and Adrien Puget, France, 1-6, 6-3, 10-6
Henri Kontinen, Finland, and Christopher Rungkat, Indonesia, def. Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic, Canada, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

Girls' Singles - Semifinals

Simona Halep (9), Romania, def. Arantxa Rus (2), Netherlands, 6-3, 7-5.
Elena Bogdan (10), Romania, def. Lenka Jurikova, Slovakia, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

Girls' Doubles - Semifinals
Lesley Kerkhove and Arantxa Rus (7), Netherlands, def. Jade Curtis, Britain, and Nikola Hofmanova (6), Austria, 6-1, 6-1
Polona Hercog, Slovenia, and Jessica Moore (8), Australia, def. Lenka Jurikova and Romana Tabakova, Slovakia, 6-1, 6-1

Tuesday, June 3, 2008