Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The End?

by Savannah

It ended with a respectful handshake at the net four plus hours after Marat Safin and Josselin Ouanna walked onto center court, Phillip Chatrier, at Roland Garros. Marat, who says this is his last year, and Ouanna, in the tournament by virtue of a wild card from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) appear to be on different career tracks.

I first saw Josselin Ouanna play last year and liked his smooth as silk stylish game. He's been playing mostly off the radar so far this year. Marat is supposed to be on his farewell tour.

So why is it that along the way to the handshake at the net fans saw Marat in the above pose?

Ouanna's joy is totally understandable. After all he beat one of the great names of men's tennis. Will he continue to play well? Today's match was his second five setter and after today there's no way his next opponent, Fernando Gonzalez, will be caught unawares.

How do Marat's fans feel about his performance today? She's been away a long time but Haruka was moved to put her thoughts into words about what she saw today. Enjoy.

The Clay Court Season and American Men

James Blake and Mardy Fish commented on the poor showing of American men in Paris.

PARIS (AP)—There are plenty of theories about why U.S. men have so much trouble at the French Open, and James Blake offered his thoughts on the matter after losing in the first round Tuesday.

“For the Americans, a lot of times, this isn’t our main goal of the year. Ours is generally Wimbledon and the U.S. Open,” Blake said.

“I think if we were to try to prepare completely for the French Open, we would be giving away some of our advantage at the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. That’s where we excel. We’d rather, I think, prepare best for what our strengths are.”

Mardy Fish had this to say.

“We’re trying as hard as we can,” Fish said. “Once these two weeks are over, the clay talk is over, and we’ll be looking to my most fun part of the year: Wimbledon, grass courts. That’s where we play our best.”

In 2007, the country’s men went 0-9 at the French Open. No American has won the title since Andre Agassi in 1999, and none even has reached the quarterfinals since he did in 2003.

Great. It's bad enough most of the tennis world felt Americans had nothing but contempt for clay court play. Blake and Fish have opened their mouths and proved it. It's really nice to know how you guys really feel. I bet Andy Roddick, Serena Williams and Venus Willams feel the same way as they fight to make it to the second week of the French Open.


Kia said...

This attitude is troubling whispered, awful spoken aloud...

And why exactly is Blake looking forward to Wimby? What has he done of note there?

And out of curiosity where in the world is Donald Young? I know that he was playing a challenger's event recently, but his whole situation used to disappoint me now just leaves me indifferent...

Savannah said...

Hi Kia! I find it very disturbing that Blake would make such a damning comment that implies this is how all the Americans feel, especially when three of them are still competing.

To say the least it's unprofessional.

Craig Hickman said...

Blake needs to retire.

There, I said it.

oddman said...

LOL, Kia! Exactly - what has Blake done at Wimby?

Yes, Craig, he should. Sigh.

sG said...

The Marat-Josselin match was a heart-breaker. As a (formerly) reformed Safin fan, I thought I had broken myself of hoping for Marat. I picked up on Safin because he was hot but stayed for the jaw-dropping tennis. He wedded power with elegance in a way that won me.

Until that match, he was going through the motions during his 'Farewell to Tennis' tour. It made it easier to say goodbye because he wasn't even trying. But as with last year's surprise Wimbledon semifinal finish, he brought a fire into that Ouanna match. It ignited two sets to love down -- how very Safin! Watching him fight and snap off winners, chase balls across the crushed red brick and crash to the powdery ground reminded me that you never stop being a fan. Never. I wanted that win so badly for him because he wanted that win so badly for himself.

He's been cavalier with his talent, dismissive of his career, but this match is how I wish to remember Marat. Only with more winning. ^^

sG said...

What were they thinking?! Wimbledon? Grass? Aside from Roddick, what other American male holds it down for us at Wimby? Are they by nature crazy?!

Oh, and whatever, Blake! You have to sacrifice proper FO prep for "what you're good at" -- I don't think so. Somehow Fed manages to make FO final after FO final without damaging his ability to pick up trophies from June through December. The clay guys get rightly slammed for not putting in the effort on other surfaces, so too should the Americans. What a craptastic attitude!

Oh, and Blake might have given himself a better chance in his match if he had made an attempt at clay-court strategy and taken a step or two back from the baseline to receive serve. There's a reason why they do it and it's not all about defense.

I agree, Craig, he needs to retire. I tried to be a fan way back but nothing about his play excites me and his nerve is for ish.