Venus Williams retired from a match. Some six minutes into the first set against Andrea Petkovic Venus said "no mas" and left the court. Her injury, diagnosed as a hip flexor, would've stopped lesser beings from even trying to play. The good I get from this is that for once Venus is listening to her body and will take the time needed for her hip to heal. This means she may be able to play later in the year. I'm sure she will want to play Wimbledon but if she's not able to I hope she doesn't. Venus you have nothing left to prove on a tennis court and there is no need to torture yourself at this stage of your career.
Kim Clijsters had done the same thing they'd be cheering her effort at the top of their lungs.
When Pro's Comment and Analyze
It's a wonderful thing when professional athletes, in this case professional tennis players, are allowed to talk about the game they're watching without reading from a prepared script. Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova had a conversation about women's tennis last night and outsiders were allowed to listen. I still don't know who the man was in the booth with Martina but after awhile he knew he needed to sit down and STFU. He limited himself to reporting the score, which was fine.
After years of listening to babble about Justine Henin and her powerful game it took a few simple words from Martina regarding her approach to shot making and why it throws opponents off to make me appreciate what she does on court. I'm not about to become a fan of hers but at least I saw what all the hype is about. Lindsay and Martina also gave us a Carlos Rodriguez moment showing him coaching from the stands. It was ironic that the camera showed him giving advice and that Justine didn't execute what he wanted her to.
The same two did the same thing during Caroline Wozniacki's match against Dominika Cibulkova who had beaten Caroline last week in Sydney. The comment that defined what Wozniacki does on court was made by Navratilova and I'm paraphrasing. "You have to play to win not play not to lose". She went on to point out that when Wozniacki plays the big girls, players who are not going to beat themselves she doesn't win because she basically just keeps the ball in play and isn't aggressive enough to hit winners on her own.
Don't get me wrong Martina Navratilova can be the biggest bitch on the block and has said some things that have caused me not to be a fan but listening to her talking with Lindsay and vice versa was a pleasure tennis heads should indulge in more than once.
Tricks of the Trade
Robin Haase tried. I mean he really tried. During the first set of his match against Andy Roddick Haase appeared to injure his foot so badly some thought he had retired from the match due to injury. Some were wrong. Haase got up from his chair and ran around like the energizer bunny winning the first set over Roddick who had to be stunned at his resurrection. At one point Roddick was so frustrated he aimed a shot right at Haase's head. Things calmed down though and Roddick won the next three sets.
Meanwhile in an all Serbian battle Viktor Troicki came down with an unknown ailment that was later called a stomach pull and retired from his match against Novak Djokovic. Troicki hasn't lived up to his Davis Cup heroics over a physically spent Michael Llodra. Djokovic was not going to lose that match. End of story.
Maria Sharapova's match against Julia Goerges a spot was discovered where the ball wouldn't bounce. The chair ump tried it and the bizarre sight of a ball sticking like glue to the court occurred. After determining there was an air bubble under the court a drill was used to let the air out. The ball bounced and all was fine. After Aggie Radwanska's racquet top being shorn off by a Kimiko Date Krumm return I didn't think there was anymore weird in this tournament. When during his post match interview on ESPN2 Andy Roddick was shown the scene and told that his former coach Brad Gilbert had suggested the solution Roddick turned to Gilbert and said "You can't fix breakfast but you can do this?"
How To Seduce the Press
Caroline Wozniacki's pressers boring so I don't need to name names here. I guess the man involved didn't realize that this is the internet age where any and everything goes viral. A Danish news outlet printed the writer's comments and needless to say Clan Wozniacki found out about them. Wozniacki entered her post match presser by commenting on the "boring" thing saying that if you get asked the same questions over and over there are only so many ways to answer them before you start repeating yourself. She then answered all or most of the questions she gets asked all the time much to the amusement of those present. I wasn't there so I don't know how the experienced press corps members took it. The online press seems to have lapped it up and are falling all over themselves to declare Ms Wozniacki brilliant. It was cute, but pulling a stunt like that won't make the questions go away. If anyone other than Wozniacki had tried that I don't think the press would be swooning.
Serena Williams kept company of any kind with a professional gambler.
If you think I've got gambling on the brain here's a story that will make you shake your head in wonder. During his post match presser Roger Federer, President of the ATP Player Council, was told of an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit involving a match last year between Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia and Filippo Volandri of Italy in St. Petersburg, Russia. The match is said to have been deemed suspicious. According to the report by Richard Evans of Fox News the story broke yesterday morning on the website of Italian journalist Ubaldo Scanagatta. I'm sure many of you will remember that several Italian players, including Volandri were cited for placing small bets among themselves and suspended. Evan's reports that the biggest threat seems to come from betting syndicates inside Russia. Federer's statement was short, sweet and to the point.
"I do not know whether to get more angry or more disappointed. I think it's just unacceptable when athletes or players try to do things like this or play with the integrity of the sport. It is a just a pity to a game that has given us everything. Why would you want to play with that? You're not only taking a chance for yourself but for so many others to harm the sport. That's why it's disappointing to hear those sort of things."
There is nothing else to say. The ITF is waiting for the TIU to finish it's investigation before beginning one of it's own.
Juan Martin del Potro was sent home by Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Australian Open.
Marion Bartoli tore a calf muscle and will be out at least six weeks.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is playing himself into shape in Melbourne. His reactions are still a tad slow but he's improving.
So far there hasn't been any fan rioting. Let's keep it that way.