Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Winners

by Savannah

The men rejoined the fray last week as the Asian swing gets underway. There are some faces in the winners circle we rarely ever see even in semi finals.

Gilles Simon hoisted the alien baby trophy Sunday after he won Metz. I wonder what deal the FFT struck with the aliens so that they can keep handing out this trophy.

Meanwhile the doubles winners Dustin Brown and Rogier Wassen took home trophies their wives/mothers/girlfriends/significant others can use as for flowers.

Meanwhile it was Alla Kudryatseva who donned the traditional winners head dress in Tashkent. I love the traditional wear the winners put on here.
Doubles winners Tatiana Poutchek and Alexandra Panova were draped in traditional robes for the awards ceremony.

Juan Ignacio Chela won the singles title in Bucharest, Romania. He is flanked by Ion Tiriac and Ilie Nastase on the left.
Chela had a great weekend. He also won the doubles crown playing with Lukasz Kubot.

Alisa Kleybanova proudly hoists the winners trophy in Seoul.
Julia Goerges and Polona Hercog won the doubles crown in Seoul.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Some early results from Tokyo.

Soon to be forty Wild Card Kimiko Date-Krumm defeated the #12 seed and defending champion Maria Sharapova in three sets 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

Dinara Safina lost to the above mentioned Julia Goerges 1-6, 7-5, 2-6.

In totally expected news Serena Williams, sporting a large scar on her foot, has not returned to the main tour. This means the top spot in the WTA rankings is up for grabs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's Hear It For The Ladies

by Savannah

While the men were all over the globe playing Davis Cup the women were playing in China and Canada. More on Davis Cup later.
Tamira Paszek won her last tournament four years ago at Portoroz. That tournament is believed to be cursed since it seemed that once you win there you won't win anyplace else again. Well I guess Tamira, who overcame American Bethanie Mattek-Sands has broken the curse.
Sofia Arvidsson and Johanna Larsson won the doubles at Quebec City. It was the first win for them.
Jarmila Groth of Australia won the championship in Guangzhou. Runner up Alla Kudrayetseva is seen in the background with the flowers.
Sania Mirza paired up with Edina Gallovits to win the doubles crown in Guangzhou.
Davis Cup
France will travel to Belgrade, Serbia for the Davis Cup Final. On it's way to the final France defeated Spain. It was thought that Argentina, led by David Nalbandian, would give the French a run for their money. It was not to be.
Serbia defeated a Czech team led by Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek to gain their first ever trip to a Davis Cup Final.
Congratulations to both teams.
Patrick McEnroe
The United States Davis Cup team was staring relegation in the face as it took the court to face off against the team from Colombia. The tie was being held in the captial, Bogota, situated over 8,000 feet above sea level. This was Patrick McEnroe's farewell to the Captaincy and it was hoped that he would hand over a team still in the World Group. It was a struggle but a blood spattered Mardy Fish won the first reverse singles match 8-6 in the fifth set to give the United States a victory that at times looked in doubt. As I write this no announcement has been made as to who will take over from McEnroe. Whoever it is will have large shoes to fill. No matter what the younger McEnroe brother is to be commended on his stewardship of the US Team. He managed to instill the concept of team in his players and when they took the court no one thought of them as pushovers, even on the red clay of Europe. Goodbye and good luck Patrick.

Complete results are listed below.


Venue: Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon, France (hard - indoors)

Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Juan Monaco (ARG) 75 46 75 63
Gael Monfils (FRA) d. David Nalbandian (ARG) 64 26 64 63
Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 64 75 63
Gilles Simon (FRA) d. Eduardo Schwank (ARG) 76(5) 67(6) 63
Arnaud Clement (FRA) d. Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 75 61

Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia (hard - indoors)

Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Viktor Troicki (SRB) 46 62 64 64
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 75 62 26 76(5)
Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Novak Djokovic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 36 61 64 61
Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 46 63 62 64
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) d Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 76(6) 64


USA defeated COLOMBIA 3-1
Venue: Plaza de Toros La Santamaria, Bogota, Colombia (clay – outdoors)

Mardy Fish (USA) d. Alejandro Falla (COL) 46 61 64 36 64
Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. Sam Querrey (USA) 62 64 75
Mardy Fish/John Isner (USA) d. Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca (COL) 64 64 67(5) 63
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 36 63 75 46 86
Alejandro Falla (COL) v Sam Querrey (USA)

AUSTRIA defeated ISRAEL 3-2
Venue: Nokia Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel (hard – indoors)

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 64 61 63
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Harel Levy (ISR) 64 63 63
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Jurgen Melzer/Alexander Peya (AUT) 76(2) 64 64
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 64 60 63
Martin Fischer (AUT) d. Harel Levy (ISR) 26 63 60 63

Venue: TC Weissenhof Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (clay – outdoors)

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. Rik de Voest (RSA) 64 64 64
Florian Mayer (GER) d. Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 63 36 61 76(6)
Andreas Beck/Christopher Kas (GER) d. Rik de Voest/Wesley Moodie (RSA) 64 36 63 64
Andreas Beck (GER) d. Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 75 62
Florian Mayer (GER) d. Rik de Voest (RSA) 63 67(8) 62

SWEDEN defeated ITALY 3-2
Venue: Sparbanken Lidkoping Arena, Lidkoping, Sweden (hard – indoors)

Potito Starace (ITA) d. Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE) 62 62 62
Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 61 63 62
Simon Aspelin/Robert Lindstedt (SWE) d. Simone Bolelli/Potito Starace (ITA) 57 67(0) 76(4) 63 75
Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 63 63 63
Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE) 61 63

INDIA defeated BRAZIL 3-2
Venue: SDAT Tennis Stadium, Chennai, India (hard – outdoors)

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Rohan Bopanna (IND) 67(2) 76(7) 75 46 108
Ricardo Mello (BRA) d. Somdev Devvarman (IND) 46 62 67(3) 62 64
Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes (IND) d. Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) 64 76(5) 61
Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 76(4) 40 ret. (heat)
Rohan Bopanna (IND) d. Ricardo Mello (BRA) 63 76(2) 63


Venue: Cairns Regional Tennis Centre, Cairns, Australia (hard – outdoors)

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 76(4) 75 26 64

Olivier Rochus (BEL) d. Carsten Ball (AUS) 64 64 76(5)

Paul Hanley/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus (BEL) 61 62 64

Olivier Rochus (BEL) d. Peter Luczak (AUS) 76(8) 64 67(0) 76(2)

Steve Darcis (BEL) d. Carsten Ball (AUS) 76(4) 63 64

Venue: The National Tennis Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan (hard – indoors)

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) 64 64 64
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 36 61 64 16 63
Andrey Golubev/Yuriy Schukin (KAZ) d. Yves Allegro/Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 64 63 63
Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. Michael Lammer (SUI) 63 62
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) 62 64

ROMANIA defeated ECUADOR 5-0
Venue: Centrul National de Tenis, Bucharest, Romania (clay – outdoors)

Victor Hanescu (ROU) d. Ivan Endara (ECU) 62 62 62
Adrian Ungur (ROU) d. Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 67(2) 46 63 64 61
Victor Hanescu/Horia Tecau (ROU) d. Ivan Endara/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 62 62 62
Victor Crivoi (ROU) d. Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 62 64
Adrian Ungur (ROU) d. Emilio Gomez (ECU) 63 64


Venue: Republic Olympic Training Center for Tennis, Minsk, Belarus (hard – outdoors)

Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 76(9) 62 62
Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Siarhei Betau (BLR) 60 64 64
Michael Mertinak/Filip Polasek (SVK) d. Uladzimir Ignatik/Max Mirnyi (BLR) 76(5) 76(6) 36 46 64
Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) 61 36 61 67(7) 64
Martin Klizan (SVK) d. Siarhei Betau (BLR) 76(2) 62

POLAND defeated LATVIA 3-2
Venue: Olympic Sports Centre, Riga, Latvia (carpet – indoors)

Michal Przysiezny (POL) d. Andis Juska (LAT) 63 64 64
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 36 62
Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski (POL) d. Andis Juska/Deniss Pavlovs (LAT) 63 64 76(4)
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) d. Michael Przysiezny (POL) 67(5) 61 62 75
Jerzy Janowicz (POL) d. Karlis Lejnieks (LAT) 75 64 76(3)


Venue: Rexall Centre - Grandstand Court, Toronto, Canada (hard – outdoors)

Peter Polansky (CAN) d. Jhonson Garcia (DOM) 76(4) 46 63 63
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Victor Estrella (DOM) 57 62 36 76(3) 97
Frank Dancevic/Daniel Nestor (CAN) d. Victor Estrella/Jhonson Garcia (DOM) 63 64 63
Peter Polansky (CAN) d. Victor Estrella (DOM) 61 62
Milos Raonic (CAN) v Jhonson Garcia (DOM)


Venue: Chanwon Municipal Tennis Courts, Changwon, Korea, Rep. (hard – outdoors)

Yong-Kyu Lim (KOR) d. Treat Huey (PHI) 67(8) 62 76(7) 76(4)
Suk-Young Jeong (KOR) d. Cecil Mamiit (PHI) 06 16 63 60 62
Cecil Mamiit / Treat Huey (PHI) d. Hyun-Joon Kim/Jae-Min Seol (KOR) 63 64 64
Cecil Mamiit (PHI) d. Yong-Kyu Lim (KOR) 36 46 64 11 ret.
Treat Huey (PHI) d. Suk-Young Jeong (KOR) 75 75 63


Venue: SEB Arena, Vilnius, Lithuania (hard - indoors)

Richard Berankis (LTU) d. Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 36 62 76(9) 64
Grega Zemlja (SLO) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 63 76(4) 63
Richard Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Grega Zemla/Luka Gregorc (SLO) 57 46 61 63 63
Grega Zemlja (SLO) d. Richard Berankis (LTU) 76(2) 64 63
Blaz Kavcic (SLO) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 64 76(4) 76(5)

Venue: Centro de Tenis Do Jamor, Cruz Quebrada, Portugal (clay – outdoors)

Frederico Gil (POR) d. Amer Delic (BIH) 63 64 67(14) 36 97
Aldin Setkic (BIH) d. Rui Machado (POR) 64 63 16 61
Frederico Gil/Leonardo Tavares (POR) d. Amer Delic/Aldin Setkic (BIH) 61 64 46 64
Frederico Gil (POR) d. Aldin Setkic (BIH) 64 63 63
Rui Machado (POR) v Amer Delic (BIH)


Venue: Rafael El Pelon Osuna, Delg. Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico (clay – outdoors)

Daniel Garza (MEX) d. Roman Recarte (VEN) 62 62 62
Cesar Ramirez (MEX) d. Jose De Armas (VEN) 61 63 63
Bruno Rodriguez/Miguel Angel Reyes Varela (MEX) d. Jose De Armas/Piero Luisi (VEN) 76(2) 63 62
Daniel Garza (MEX) d. Luis David Martinez (VEN) 64 61
Cesar Ramirez (MEX) v Piero Luisi (VEN)


Venue: National Tennis Development Centre (LTAT), Nontheburi, Thailand (hard – outdoors)

Michael Venus (NZL) d. Weerapat Doakmaiklee (THA) 63 62 76(1)
Jose Statham (NZL) d. Kittiphong Wachiramanowong (THA) 46 76(5) 61 76(2)
Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) d. Daniel King-Turner/Michael Venus (NZL) 06 67(6) 60 63 64
Kittiphong Wachiramanowong (THA) d. Michael Venus (NZL) 75 76(6) 62
Jose Statham (NZL) d. Sanchai Ratiwatana (THA) 61 64 63

Fed Cup News
The six top ranked women players in Spain have announced that they will be boycotting the 2011 Federation Cup. The reason given by Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Arantxa Parra Santonja, Carla Suarez Navarro, Nuria Llagostera Vives and Lourdes Dominguez Lino is lack of support from Spain's national tennis organization, the RFET. As you would expect the RFET replied listing thirtenn points showing how well they support their women players. At this time the women are sticking to their guns about the boycott. More on this as the situation develops.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The 2010 US Open - A Look Back and A Look Forward

by Savannah

The tennis pundits, those who get paid for doing what I do for free, were proven wrong once again. Rafael Nadal came, saw, and took names at the 2010 US Open. He made it to the US Open Men's final without dropping a set, an amazing feat for a man they said didn't have the head for hard court tennis. He made it serving in the 130 mph range, something "they" said he'd never be able to do with his "limited" game. You can count the number of times his serve was broken. You need both hands but those breaks didn't come until his semi final and final matches. These are amazing stats and would be no matter who made them. That it was Rafa makes it even more pleasing from where I sit.

The reason I don't talk about men's tennis that much is because I know I'm a fan girl and I try to stay out of a lot of the debates about goats and what have you. I still don't think the argument is worth me losing a few brain cells over. I do think the stats published on the 2010 US Open site are worth a mention since the debate will take place regardless of whether or not I deem it worthy.

By Joshua Rey

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rafael Nadal completed the career Grand Slam Monday, adding the 2010 US Open championship to his five titles at the French Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open.

He is more than two-and-a-half years younger than Roger Federer was when the Swiss accomplished the Slam sweep at the 2009 French Open.
As of Sept. 13, Nadal is 24 years, three months and 10 days old. Federer was the same exact age on Nov. 18, 2005.

By the Numbers: Nadal vs. Federer

Federer vs. Nadal at the Very Same Age

........Nadal on 9/13/10............ Federer on 11/18/05

Overall Record.... 460-98 ..............390-119

Winning Pct.............824................766
Titles..................... 42................. 33

Major Titles............ 9................... 6

Majors Played........ 26................ 27

Davis Cup Titles..... 3.....................0

Olympic Gold......... 1..................... 0

Longest Win Streak 32................. 34

Rank..................... 1........................ 1

Weeks at No. 1...... 60..................... 93

Record vs. No. 1.... 14-6................... 2-3

This should add fuel to the fire for those who like to engage in this argument. There are 4,880 points between the top two men's players. The Asian swing begins next week with the Shanghai Masters beginning October 11. It's going to be an interesting time for Men's tennis no?

I should mention Rafa's opponent in the Final, Novak Djokovic. I'm a long way from being a fan but you have to give the devil his due. When he cuts out all the bullshit and drama and simply plays tennis even I could see that he plays very well. Guile and deception are of course part of the game but the whole "I'm dying" followed by sprinting around the court like a gazelle gets boring after awhile. He played up to his #2 ranking this Open. Let's see if he continues to do that.
I'm going to be upfront and say I have never cared for Kim Clijsters as a tennis player.
She has gone from being called Cupcake Kim for the soft draws she used to get that enabled her to rack up ranking points to Saint Kim, the only woman in the history of the world who has ever given birth. And I apologize to Kim's fans but all that sweetness and light grates. She is a professional athlete. You are not a pro athlete by accident. It takes a lot of grit and a large helping of determination and ego. Again I am speaking of the professional tennis player. I don't know her well enough off the court to have an opinion of her as a woman. She seems to be well liked by her peers and that says a lot.
That said the WTA cannot be pleased by the Women's Final that was televised live in Prime Time in the United States. To say Vera Zvonareva froze is an understatement. I said it before the Final and I'll say it again. I don't understand why players, including Venus Williams and Serena Williams have so many problems with Clijsters. She is a pusher. She plays very quickly. It's easy for me to say force her to play and take away her timing I guess but when you force her to do just that she folds. Venus went on walkabout in the second set and never came back from it. In her US Open promo commercial Venus said she loves hitting the ball hard. In the semifinal she dug in her heels and did just that. Error after error ensued. As a long term Venus fan I know how stubborn and wedded to her game she is. There are times when you have to think outside the box though. At 30 that may be a difficult proposition for Venus.

I suppose I should be happy that two pushers weren't across the net from each other in the Final huh? I suppose I should also be glad that women's tennis still gets shown in prime time on a Saturday night. It's too bad the WTA is a steaming hot mess right now though.

Doubles was quite a bright spot during this years Open. Bob and Mike Bryan won the mens double competition over Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Qureshi of India and Pakistan respectively. Unless you've been living in a cave the two countries don't get along and have been at war from time to time. That the two men play together is sports diplomacy at its best. The Ambassadors from both countries attended the Final and this was truly a case of the result not being the entire story. The shawls Bob and Mike are wearing were given to them by the Pakistani ambassador for their donation towards helping victims of the devastating floods that took place in that country. It was nice to see such a nice gesture from the twins.
I'm not a big doubles fan. I don't like three ring circuses because there is too much going on at one time and I lose focus. That said the team of Yaroslava Shvedova and Vania King are a pure joy to watch. I've nicknamed them the Smiling Assassins. They play with joy and vigor and smile while cutting their opponents to pieces. Tennis Channel has started their replays and if you see nothing else see the third set they played against the team of Nadia Petrova and Liezel Huber. I don't know enough about the mechanics of doubles play to comment on what Vania and Yaroslava did. All I know is that I enjoy their tennis. From nowhere they've won two Slams in a row. Great work by both women.
blog Jack Sock
There was a lot of attention focused on the Junior Boys this year. A lot of it had to do with newly minted American player Andrea Collarini who came in unseeded but there were also other young Americans who were worth paying attention to. Among them was the eventual winner of the tournament Jack Sock from that hotbed of tennis Nebraska. I didn't get to see much junior play even though some of the matches were held on television courts. Men get a kick out of the young man's name. I think it has to do with activities that are not part of the purview of this blog. As the only American male who ended up with a trophy the pressure is on. Mention should be made of Ryan Harrison who, along with Collarini is in Colombia for the Davis Cup tie. He's also being touted as the next big thing in American tennis. Donald Young, who seems to harbor the belief that he should be mentioned in the same breath as the top American players called out Patrick McEnroe on Twitter about his not being on the US Davis Cup team. Someone must have planted that idea in his head "Inception" style. He truly can't be serious. If he has beef with PMac that should not be dealt with on Twitter. I'd rather keep track of what Fernando Verdasco, Serena Williams, and others are up to there. Wrong move Donald. Good luck with making the team now.
blog Daria Gavrilova
American Sloane Stephens had a very good US Open but it was Daria Gavrilova of Russia who won the Junior Girl's trophy. From what I've seen of her play - one YouTube video where she almost decapitated a Chinese opponent earlier this summer in Singapore leads me to believe that she's cut from the same cloth as Victoria Azarenka although Victoria hasn't, to my recollection, gone after opponents on court. I should note that Victoria is posting on Twitter again. That's a good thing. With the state of women's tennis in Russia somewhat in flux it'll be interesting to see how Daria transitions to the Main Tour. Let's hope she doesn't bring her head hunter routine with her.
The Boy's doubles crown was won by the South American team of Duilio Beretta of Peru and Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador.
The team of Anerican Sloane Stephens and Timea Babos of Hungary won the Girl's doubles competition in a walkover.

Television Coverage
Coverage in the Unites States was split between ESPN2, Tennis Channel, and CBS. Tennis Channel once again triumphs over the other two networks in terms of the quality of their coverage and commentary. ESPN2 would place second in my opinion with CBS bringing up the rear. CBS gets points for bringing both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal into the broadcast booth to talk about their sport but Serena's commentary - no talking while a point is in play, and Rafa's despite his limited but vastly improved English, threatened to be better than that of the men and women being paid to provide fans insight into what was happening on court. It was Serena who waxed poetic about Rafa's footwork. Her comments were repeated over and over, without accreditation by the way, by the CBS/ESPN2 broadcasters. It goes to show you how much they talk to each other in the booth with very little regard for what is taking place on the court.
David Wagner, Wheelchair Quads Men's Champion
Be that as it may Tennis Channel and ESPN2 split their coverage. Tennis Channel came on at 11a and featured matches played on the Louis Armstrong and Grandstand Courts as well as the early match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. ESPN2 would start their coverage at 1p hoping to start with the featured match for that day on Ashe. Did coverage overlap? Sometimes. I tended to stick with Tennis Channel coverage supplementing it with the coverage provided online by We weren't graced with the presence of Robbie Koenig this year but Doug Adler was around online and provided nice analysis.
Esther Vergeer, Women's Wheelchair Champion
Tennis Channel also made great use of a "loung" where players could come and talk about their just completed matches in a much more relaxed environment that the set used by ESPN and CBS. Still though it was CBS that got Venus and Serena to interview each other. Serena has a future in broadcasting people.
David Wagner and Nicholas Taylor Men's Quad Doubles Champions
Overall I'd say that the coverge, what we got to see, was great this year. You got to see players not often seen in the United States and anytime that happens it's a plus. There was the inevitable cheerleading but you got it less on Tennis Channel. As long as ESPN2 and CBS continue to throw money at those guilty of sloppy commentary they'll have no reason to change. Did I mention Justin Gimelstob and Tracy Austin? No? Good. I haven't lost my sanity.
Esther Vergeer and Sharon Walraven Women's Wheelchair Doubles Champions
The Future of American Tennis
I know, I know. My eyes glazed over just typing the heading. I really think that the American tennis establishment saw it's worst nightmare come true.
If you remember one of the first things I blogged about was why the playing surface of choice in the States went from clay to hard court as well as the "reasoning" behind it. The sentiment was that tennis by countries outside of the Axis, Great Britain, Australia and the United States should not be allowed to grow and possibly overshadow the tennis played in the United States. If you remember there was a time that Americans could play a decent clay court game. The change to hard courts in the States was followed by the rise of the tennis factories in California and Florida. A new generation of players grew up unable to think their way through a match. They were taught all about ball placement but not about developing and constructing shots. They were taught that if you hit the ball hard and lost the point hit the ball harder the next point. We're paying the price for that now when there was only one American in the semi finals and her name was Venus Williams.
Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink Men's Wheelchair Champions
Has Andy Roddick tired of the mental strain of being the top American? When he fell out of the top ten rankings earlier this summer it was noteworthy because that marked the first time in a long time that no American was ranked in the top ten. Will Sam Querrey ever be more than a top twenty player? Will Mardy Fish? John Isner? Will the Ryan Harrison's, Jack Sock's and Andrea Collarini's of the world have the cojones and mental strength to make it past the Europeans who dominate the top twenty in men's rankings? Will someone like Blake Strode be able to make a name for himself in the upper echelons of tennis?
Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan Mixed Doubles Champions
Serena Williams and Venus Williams are still at the top of the women's game but many fans went into spasms thinking that Caroline Wozniacki might join the ranks of such notables as Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina as WTA number one. It could still happen since we don't know how Serena's injury will affect her level of play on her return. She's taken the boot off now but with the type of damage she sustained it's going to take awhile for her to recover.
I guess the United States can take comfort in the fact that unlike Great Britain or Australia we do have players ranked in the top thirty. I think the fear is that like Great Britain we can be rebuilding for years to come.
I give Patrick McEnroe credit for recognizing the need for up and coming players to be taught on clay. He is fighting an uphill battle but one I think he has to win if tennis in the United States is to regain it's ascendancy. He also has to make sure that the talent search reaches beyond the country club and goes out into Appalachia and middle class suburbs as well as urban areas to find kids who will have the spirit and talent needed to succeed in professional tennis. The time is past when so called elite players can say that it's no big deal if they lose because they can go home and drive their mother's Porsche. It's time to end the Blonde Ambition recruiting tactics on the women's side and develop players who may not be able to make the cover of Vogue but who want to play and win tennis matches. Can it be done? Sure. Just remember that as the saying goes Rome wasn't built in a day.

NOTE: Shingo Kunieda of Japan won the Men's Wheelchair singles trophy in a walkover.

End Note
This is the first year in many that I haven't made it out to Queens for at least one day. Did I miss it? Hell yeah. I usually go during the first week and splurge for court side seats so that I can see my favorites up close and personal. The highlight was last year when my daughter and I sat about three rows behind Richard Williams and his wife and when we were the same number of rows behind the Nadal family the year before that.
It's a shame that real fans can't enjoy the tennis up close and personal. Instead, to paraphrase Mozzie from "White Collar" the male and female suits get the best seats and real fans are only allowed to come court side if a match runs late.
That said the intimacy of the Grandstand Court came through perfectly on television. Louis Armstrong Stadium, the former center court, turned out to be not as windy as Ashe is. Despite the wind and the rain it's not likely that the USTA, an organization that makes ground breaking decisions at glacial speed, will make plans to cover Ashe. Will they build a new center court? Who knows? They keep crying that they have no money. Here's a novel thought. All those corporate fannies sitting court side work for spme of the largest companies in the world. They seem to be prospering. Here's two words for the USTA. Fund raising. How is it the hide bound Brits and the party hearty Aussies have managed to beat both France and the US in ensuring that their majors get played in conditions that show the best of the sport? The US Open is the only sporting event held in New York City that doesn't rely on subsidies from the City. It pays for itself. Let's hope that sometime soon we see construction out at Corona Park that will make sure that fans don't faint in the heat or players get blown off court.

Personally I can't wait until next year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Historic Occasion

by Savannah
At the start of the fourth set of the match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic I had a moment, a hallucination. I was looking for the stereotypic old fat guy who is always in the boxers corner to throw out the white towel. I shook my head and the moment passed but the idea stayed with me. If the Men's Final of the United States Open had been a boxing match Djokovic wouldn't have answered the bell for the fifteenth round. That's right. I'm going back to the days when men were men, when a championship fight meant fifteen rounds in the ring not this wussy twelve round bullshit. It meant that two men stood against each other valiantly and in the end one was still standing.

Last night it was Rafael Nadal in the role of Muhammad Ali. It wasn't the quick surgical destruction of the first Ali/Sonny Liston fight but the more mature Ali of the Rumble in the Jungle, the man who invented the rope-a-dope who absorbed all the blows and patiently waited for his opponent to realize he was the one going down.

Djokovic staggered into the fourth set punch drunk on rubbery legs. Rafa wasn't mean. He wasn't fist pumping in his opponents face or wildly celebrating each point won. Instead we saw a mature Rafa, a man who was in it to win it. And win it he was.
This is the picture I'm using for my new wallpaper. It was taken during Week 1 and as soon as I saw it I knew this tournament was Rafa's. I have all the celebratory pictures from last night and I will order my DVD's later this week. But in this picture, in the moment it was taken, the smiling man we saw after last night's match wasn't around. All I see is determination, the will to win. Like Babe Ruth is reputed to have done back in the day Rafa pointed not to the outfield fence but to the US Open and staked his claim to the trophy in the summer.

For those of us who have been fans of Rafa from the beginning last night justified all of our hopes. We knew Rafa had it in him. We knew that with the strength of his will he would win the US Open. Hell, he made the semi finals two years in a row and he was injured both times.
We suffered through the pundits mean words. We had to listen to "he's not ever winning Wimbledon". "He'll never win the US Open". "He'll never win off of clay". "His body will not let him win." "His style of play is ugly." And now it's Rafa who, at the age of 24 has completed the career Grand Slam. He is three majors ahead of the man some call the Greatest at the same age. He has never had a cupcake draw. He has never had the order of play manipulated to maximize the amount of rest he gets during a tournament. He has fought and won all of his victories the old fashioned way. He earned them.
Young Rafa, when told by Carlos Moya that he could have a career just like his politely but firmly responded that he wanted more. He's got it. Vamos!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Memory of Those Who Perished

In memory of the deceased as well as the survivors and first responders. Those of us who were there will never forget.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

US Open 2010 - The Women's Semi Finals

by Savannah



Verz Zvonareva vs Caroline Wozniacki

Vera defeated an obviously overwhelmed Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 7-5 on her way to the semi's. She's played good, steady tennis so far and despite the announcers oft stated wishes there haven't been any meltdowns. Maybe she should've gone all batshit on Cliff Drysdale for saying she's crazy on national television. Some tried to clean up what he said by saying he was really asking her about being emotional but that's not what he said. He's been around too long to misspeak. Like Horton he said what he meant and he meant what he said.

As for Caroline Wozniacki she has pushed her way into the semifinals. There's a huge debate raging about just what a pusher is.
I found this definition posted on a fanboard. taken from Wiki.

In tennis, a pusher is a player who "pushes" back any shot they can chase down, without deliberately hitting a winner. This style of play, likened to a "human backboard", often tires and frustrates more offensive opponents. Pushers tend to have great success at the lower NTRP rating levels. However, they are usually beaten by players with a more aggressive strategy or possess serve-and-volley skills which rob pushers of the time they require to chase down a shot.

The pusher's strategy can sometimes be effective even at the upper levels of the pro game. Brad Gilbert is often referred to as the greatest pusher of all time, reaching the top 10 in 1990.

If you watched Caroline's round of sixteen and quarterfinal matches you saw how effective this tactic can be. The opponent becomes frustrated and hits an error. She manages to make it seem aggressive but in reality she just pisses her opponents off.

Who will win? I don't do predictions. I see this as a toss up. If Vera remains patient. holds on to her emotions and forces Caroline to play this could be a really interesting match.



Venus Williams vs Kim Clijsters

I have never understood why either of the Williams sisters have problems with Kim Clijsters. I really should say I don't get why any one has a problem with her. Kim is just a more aggressive pusher than most. She plays very quickly and takes away her opponents timing. When you don't let her pushing get on your nerves and you disrupt her timing she folds like a house of cards.
Ironically I see Venus in the same position as Bepa in this match. If Venus comes out ready to play and sticks to her game plan and forces Kim to play this will be a competitive match. I also see it as a toss up.

What To Wear
Dominika Cibulkova
Samantha Stosur

The best dressed women on court were those wearing Lacoste. On both Samantha Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova the kit looked fabulous despite their differing physiques. They both looked like they were in New York to play tennis. Congratulations to Lacoste for making tennis kits that look like the wearer is going to play tennis.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Patrick McEnroe Resigns Davis Cup - And Elena vs Samantha

By Savannah

This is the first thing I heard when I put on the television this morning.


Longest-Tenured Captain in U.S. Davis Cup History Will Lead
Country for the Last Time at World Group Play-off in Bogota, Sept. 17-19

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., September 6, 2010 -- The USTA and Patrick McEnroe announced today that McEnroe will resign as U.S. Davis Cup captain immediately following the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off against Colombia in Bogota, September 17-19. Now in his 10th year as captain, McEnroe is the longest-tenured captain in U.S. Davis Cup history. He led the U.S. to its record 32nd Davis Cup title in 2007, its first title since 1995 -- ending the longest drought in U.S. Davis Cup history. He has compiled a 16-9 record thus far; his 16 victories are second all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history behind Tom Gorman’s 18 wins.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as Davis Cup captain, but it is a decision I felt was best for the team and myself right now,” McEnroe said. “Davis Cup is a significant time commitment and this decision will allow me to focus more energy on my family and to the USTA Player Development program”

“Patrick is the one the finest and most decorated captains in U.S. Davis Cup history,“ said Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “He leaves an indelible mark on the Davis Cup, and has always handled his captaincy with class and distinction. Patrick is and will remain a tremendous asset to U.S. tennis as he continues to lead our player development efforts.”

The U.S. will face Colombia in the World Group Play-off next week. It is the first time since 2005, and just the fifth time since the World Group was instituted in 1981, that the U.S. has had to compete in the play-off round. The U.S. is 3-1 in World Group Play-offs, having defeated Belgium on red clay in its last appearance in the World Group Play-off.

“Patrick changed the culture of Davis Cup in the United States, creating a true team environment and a sense of camaraderie that the U.S. has never before seen,” said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer, USTA. “He has been a champion of the competition in every sense of the word, and elevated the stature of the event in this country.”

The World Group Play-off against Belgium in 2005 was the first of 10 consecutive U.S. Davis Cup ties that featured the lineup of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, shattering the previous U.S. record for most consecutive ties with the same lineup. The previous record was three consecutive ties by eight different combinations.

According to the report on CBS Jim Courier is very interested in the job. No one can deny that Patrick made the US Davis Cup team into a force to be reckoned with. If it is Courier he's got big shoes to fill.

The Ladies Put On A Show

Elena Dementieva had four match points yet she failed to convert them. Samantha Stosur had one and she converted it. That is the short version of what was the best women's match of the US Open so far.
If you like full court tennis, great shot making and strategy this match had it all. Surprisingly it was Stosur who kept her nerves in check at the end - she'd gone on walkabout earlier in the match - and Dementieva who fell apart. The match was settled by a tiebreaker, something that those watching really wanted to be played since both women fought so hard.
Since all the action started after midnight the fans in the nosebleed section could come down and sit courtside and I have to say it made a difference that real fans were there to cheer the combatants on. It was a well deserved win by Stosur who will face Kim Clijsters next.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

US Open 2010 Miscellany 9/5/2010

by Savannah

Andy Murray's loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets is being called bizarre by many in the tennis world. I watched the match. It wasn't "bizarre". Wawrinka played better, stayed focused and stuck to the match plan he and Peter Lundgren had worked out. The loss is a major upset but it's not "bizarre".

If You Repeat Something Often Enough...

The following blog post was found on Yahoo

Chris Evert. Steffi Graf. Monica Seles. Serena Williams. None of them were ever as dominant in the opening week of the U.S. Open as Caroline Wozniacki was this year. So much for the talk that the 20-year old Dane was an undesesrving top seed.
According to WTA stats guru Kevin Fischer, Wozniacki lost the fewest games through three full matches of any woman since the draw was expanded in 1981. In the first three rounds, Wozniacki dropped just three games. She defeated wild card Chelsey Gullickson in the first round, 6-1, 6-1; Chang Kai-Chan, 6-0, 6-0 in the second; and Chan Yung-Jan 6-1, 6-0 in the third.

Before we start putting Caroline into the pantheon of women's tennis let's gain some perspective on her wins. Chelsey Gullickson still carries amateur status and has no singles ranking. Chang Kai-Chan is ranked #84 in the world in singles. Chan Yung-Jan is ranked #77. The first seed she will face is Maria Sharapova who has won both of their previous meetings. Is she playing more offensively? Yes. But look who she played. Not to diminish the women who were slotted to face her but I can't believe it's being implied that her victories so far at the US Open compare with the careers of the women mentioned above.

Another Victim of the Hype Machine
When the same people talk to the same people over and over again their world view becomes a shared one and there is nothing anyone not part of the group can say to counteract it. I thought the match between John Isner and Mikhail Youzhny was a toss up at best since I'm not convinced Isner has fully recovered from that nonsense in London. But who am I? I don't really talk about the mens tour that much for my own personal reasons so I don't get into the whys and wherefores of the predictions often made by other bloggers.
There is no way Isner could not play the US Open and he found himself out there tonight with the crowd urging him towards success. Instead of succumbing to the pressure Youzhny simply played his game, height disadvantage be damned. And he won much to the chagrin of the American tennis establishment. There was a lot of criticism of the French Tennis Federation for not giving Nicolas Mahut it's wild card into the Main Draw but maybe they did him a favor.
The good thing is that Isner can now get the rest he needs. Maybe.

Notice the silence about Ana Ivanovic's match today? The tournament director in Montreal is lucky he wasn't drawn and quartered for not giving Ana a wild card into the Main Draw of his event. Every subsequent tournament gave her one allowing her to avoid the indignity of having to qualify. Well today she played on Ashe against Kim Clijsters who freed her to go back to following her golfer boyfriend around the world.
I'm gonna call the baby ugly and say that Ana has not played well since her break up with Fernando Verdasco. What? Prove me wrong.

Glam at the Slam
Who knew? Venus Williams has a day version of the sparkly dress. It seemed to be a bit more snug than the night version and when Venus was playing it was more of a tunic than a dress.
I still like it though. We've seen Venus expressing herself via fashion a lot this year haven't we?
Serena Williams, in full Hollywood mode, was cheering her sister from the stands. It's amazing how her commentary the other night has inspired so much talk about Rafael Nadal's footwork. She did a good job and it remains to be seen who she works with once she hangs up her racquets. I hope she ends up with Tennis Channel. Can you imagine Serena and Martina calling matches?

What Not To Wear
Unless Elena Dementieva and her boyfriend have something to tell us this outfit should be put in a burn bag. I'm not saying Elena needs to come out in pasties but she's worked hard to get herself fit and all this does is make her look as if she's making her mother a grandmother a few months from now.