Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tennis Talk - Wimbledon 2011 Week 1

by Savannah

This is why access to transcripts is vital to reporting tennis. The following was obtained from the website of ASAP Sports

Q. What do you make of being put on Court No. 2 today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, you know, I don't know. They like to put us on Court 2, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe one day we'll figure it out. I don't know.

Q. I remember the last couple years you've said, Okay, it's Court 2, I'll play.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't necessarily think I should -- I try to play my match and take that first and foremost, deal with, you know, whatever later. 'Cause today, if I was thinking about that, then that would be a different issue.
But, you know, obviously they're not gonna change, so, you know, it's like...

Q. In the first set, you seemed to have a hard time reading her serve or making any impression on her serve. What was bothering you about it in the first set and what did you figure out about it after that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, well, I just thought that she serves well to be her height. Usually players that height don't serve as well. She has so much power on her serve. That's actually really awesome.
So, uhm, that was definitely -- it's always hard to play with such power on grass court maybe.

Q. Was it frustrating to not even get a breakpoint chance in that first set?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had chances and I kind of blew them. Like 30-15, I probably had a couple times. But she just really served well. Uhm, so, yeah.

Q. Can you just explain what it is about Court No. 2 that makes playing difficult? Is it noise? Is it atmosphere?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. I pretty much won all my matches so far on Court 2, so...

Q. You have to go through the crowds, don't you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I never have too much time to warm up. I look at that as kind of a warmup, trying to walk out there. I'm like, Okay, well, this gets my legs moving.

Q. This was only your fourth match total since you came back. Are you playing your way into shape, feeling better each match? Or does the first set in each match drive you crazy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I feel like I'm in shape. But I'm just playing my way into match condition. And, uhm, you know, just doing things that I did before. That's all. That's all I can do right now.

Q. You and Venus almost look at it as an insult that you're not automatically put on Centre, 1, like Djokovic, Nadal.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they're never moved across. Actually, Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players or by ourselves in doubles even. So, you know, at the end of the day, I don't know. Like I said, they're not going to change, doesn't look like. So I don't know.

Q. Do you think in any way it could relate to you and Venus, you're bigger than life, you speak your mind, you're big personalities? Do you think that relates to it at all in any way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said, I don't really think about it. I don't make it a big issue.
I think at some point maybe I should. I don't know. I just really try to focus on not going down on Court 2. At least now they have a review out there, so I do like that. It was much better than the old one that was actually closer. I really hated that court, but...

Q. What is your reaction when you find out the next day's play? Do you say, Oh, no, that you're going to be out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just say, What court am I playing? I just say, What time am I playing? Like 12:00. Oh, I have to wake up early.

The full transcript is HERE

The digital voice recorders had barely been turned off when Tweets started appearing about Serena practically foaming at the mouth about being assigned to Court 2. If there was no transcript those stories would have been taken as gospel and all the good press that's surrounded Serena and Venus return to the fray would've been overshadowed by Serena allegedly trying to tell the AELTC what to do.
To her credit one of the female comm's made it clear that the press, the people in the interview room were trying to goad Serena into making a controversial statement. When she didn't they went ahead with their hatchet jobs. Fortunately a small cabal wasn't able to hog access to transcripts and the lies, for that's what they were, didn't take hold. ESPN2 also showed tape of the post match interview to emphasize that Serena was as calm as the words of the interview indicate.

We should all keep that in mind when we read some of the insane stuff the press reports about tennis players. The Main Stream Tennis Press (MSTP) has it's own agenda. Who sets it I don't know. Apparently presenting the players fairly and honestly isn't part of it.

Circling The Wagons

I've laid off The Slob for awhile now. I try and play nice and not make this a place of negativity but sometimes shit just searches you out and hits you in the face.

As you know Feliciano Lopez defeated Andy Roddick for the first time in seven tries. In straight sets. On Centre Court. Keep in mind the defending men's champion was relegated to Court 1 so that this match could take place on Centre Court. I'm just saying.

Anyway Lopez had this look on his face the entire match that I found odd. There were no smiles, and after he closed it out there was no big celebration. Just a quiet sense of accomplishment. I was a little surprised since I've seen Feli celebrate a victory. I figured he wanted to be different.
A little while later I found out that maybe Feli was on a bit of a mission. Seems the Slob was in the VIP section of Wimbledon having lunch when he got a severe case of verbal diarrhea. Long story short he said that Feli would be a better tennis player if he didn't look at himself in the mirror so much. The Spanish press, a much more free wheeling lot than their counterparts in the States, had a field day reporting verbatim what the Slob had said and where.

Yours truly tried to use Google to translate the Spanish which was totally useless since it doesn't recognize idioms. The best translation I found was done by a tennishead who goes by MJ2004 who hangs out on

Mid-day, minutes before the match, an ex-player, American Justin Gimelstob, ridiculed the spaniard at a lunch in the VIP zone of Wimbledon: if he would look at himself less in the mirror he would be a better player, he said.

And Gimelstob, close friend of Andy Roddick, the man beat today by Lopez, searched for an elegant way to pedal backwards.
"I believe Feliciano is a great player, but it's true that he loves to look at himself in the mirror. And it's find for him to do it, he is a very attractive man" the American told DPA.
"People always talk about women, but he is tall, good appearance with a good body. Yes, very metrosexual. But not just him, his tennis is also attractive, stylized."
"Yes, it seems that today for a couple hours he stopped watching himself in the mirror".

The original Spanish is here.

What did Feliciano have to say? Keep in mind when he Tweets he usually Tweets in Spanish.

Its funny when people like justin gimelstob talks bullshit without knowing me at all.he did not learn what respect means as a kid..

Let's look at this situation. This man, Justin Gimelstob, is on the ATP Board of Directors. He decides to make what he probably saw as a quip, in public mind you, a statement insulting a player. I've said it before and I can't emphasize it more - he felt safe saying what he said because he thought he was in the company of people who would find his statement hilarious. It's the same with the statement's he made about sexually assaulting Anna Kournikova.

In the States what he said would never have been reported. In Europe, where the VIP section doesn't only include the type of people Justin is accustomed to associating with, the comments were reported by the Spanish language section of a German media outlet.

I worked in management for many years and was always aware that when I was at a business function - and lunch at Wimbledon for a member of the media is a business function - you kept your thoughts to yourself. As a member of the media - he is a broadcast announcer too - you are always "on" when in public. As a member of the ATP Board this is doubly true.

Defenders have taken the position that he didn't say it to Feli's face and that he did try to explain that he wasn't being malicious but the damage was done. As the translation shows the reporters made the direct connection between the Slob and his bff Andy Roddick.

I often talk about the tensions between the ATP and the rest of the world. With Adam Helfant stepping down at the end of the year personally insulting a player from the dominant tennis nation right now is not a good idea. Oh, did I mention this player has a good friend on the ATP Players Association board? And that said board will consult on Helfant's replacement? Way to go Slob.

This and That

Just an aside. As a parent you are also always on the job. I'm a woman. If I see a good looking man certain hormones make their appearance. But I don't talk about it in front of my adult daughter. It's just not something I'm comfortable doing. I understand the player who reacted negatively in public to his mother making no secret about her feelings towards a certain player's delectability. Mothers don't do that in front of their children no matter the child's age. I'm just saying. Then again I'm old.

Once again the tennis gods smiled on Wimbledon. It appears as if they can get their Middle Sunday day of rest in without any problems.

Those of you who read this space know my feelings about what I call the Axis, the countries who dominated tennis for many years. In fact Mary Carillo just alluded to that on NBC when she said that Wimbledon was usually won by Brits, Americans and Aussies. Her comment was met with deafening silence and they moved on. Earlier this week ESPN put up a graphic showing how long it's been since Axis members - Britain, The United States, Australia and French - had won a Grand Slam. Just use a graphic next time Mary.

There are some interesting names in Round of 16 play that starts Monday. Focusing on the women Ksenia Pervak and Tamira Paszek
are joining the festivities. I consider myself well versed in tennis on both the main and challenger level. I have never heard of Ksenia Pervak until now. I have heard of Ms Paszek. Not that I expected either woman to make the second week of play.

They'll be joined by Sabine Lisicki of Germany who is on a bit of tear in SW 19 but her countrywoman Andrea Petkovic didn't make it.

By the way the women's matches have been played at a very high level this week. That's right. The matches I saw did not feature ball bashing (I avoided Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova is trying to move around more. I did say trying.) to the exclusion of any other form of play.

But there will be no Li Na, no Francesca Schiavone, no Svetlana Kuznetsova in play next week. Sabine Lisicki had to play all court tennis to defeat Madame Li. And the way both Williams Women bossed their way around the court the last few days makes it seem as if they're making progress by the proverbial leaps and bounds.

Before I go the AELTC has instituted a program of having the parents of champions sit in the Royal Box. So far the parents of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been seated. I'm waiting for Richard Williams and Oracene Price to take their seats. And no, I ain't touching whether Richard's new wife will accompany him. My mother would get up from her grave and smack me in the head.


TennisAce said...

I sent a DM to my friend sblily asking her the same question about Judy salivating over her son's friend and co-worker. It is embarassing for Andy and I agree with him, she should stop. When my son's friends come over I hide out in my bedroom. They all call me Mom or Ms. Karen or Aunty. That is the level of respect that they have and I have never given them reason to not have that respect for me. Judy needs to stop.

I am glad that many fans are now reading the transcripts from ASAP Sports. Since people have found out about it, we can no longer see the "relevant quotes" being taken out of context. Loving it. Now, I wish I could see where Nadal said Sampras was boring.

vw said...

Good article. I agree with you on most points when you write, esp. about the axis and rigged draws. Guess we're conspiracy nuts.

Sabicki seems to be doing good lately. Heard she is gluten-free too. Hey maybe it works!

I think it was Andy Murray's mother who calls FeLo, Deliciano.

Savannah said...

I hadn't heard about Rafa saying anything about Sampras. I'll see if I can find when he was supposed to have said it and see if it was indeed taken out of context.

Murray is right to be grossed out. She's pushed the limits with several of her comments but this whole thing with F-Lo is really over the line.

Savannah said...

I did find the Rafa interview.

The most boring match I've ever seen was a few years ago between Andy Roddick and Fabrice Santoro. Sitting in the stands was mind numbing. There was no tennis. It was just serve, serve, serve, serve. Each one faster and harder than the last. For me there is no art in that kind of tennis.

Long story short I agree with Rafa. It is dull watching that kind of tennis. His point is well taken.

His comments weren't an attack on Sampras. It was an attack on the type of tennis that was played during what some say is the golden age of tennis. The modern game demands more of a player than having a 100+mph serve.

Here is the link.

TennisAce said...

I did remember that Roddick/Santoro match and it was indeed boring. I thought it was at the USO and not Wimbledon though? I remember poor Santoro just standing there as the balls whizzed by him.

There are 2 schools of thought for that with me. I don't like the whole serve, serve, either but then I do not like the long ass "get the ball back in play" rallies either. I like tennis like what I saw from Fed and Nalby in yesterday's match. It was great tennis from both men who used every angle of the court. They made sure to mix it up, come forward and did everything that you can do with a ball. Murray does so as well but too much of the whole trick shots to suit me.

oddman said...

Am so glad Gimmelslob was called out - AGAIN - on his shit. TPTB had a chance to dump the idiot after his Kournikova rant, and they didn't - stupid stupid.

I simply cannot stand him - UGH!

Feli does not deserve that kind of talk - if anything, you can see he's uncomfortable about his looks. He's talked about it before, in Spanish interviews. The guy works hard, puts his head down, and can freakin' play on grass.

When are the media going to toss this idiot Gimmelslob? Not soon enough for me.

Savannah said...

Sorry I wasn't clear. I had to sit through Roddick/Santoro in Ashe. :)

Craig Hickman said...

The serve is still the most important shot in all of tennis.

Just saying.


Savannah said...

No doubt Craig. But it's not the only shot in tennis. :)

Helen W said...

Savannah, I too noticed that the World No 1 got scheduled last on Court 1 while lower-ranked players got onto Centre Court on a day they KNEW would have rain. Sure enough, the match had to be finished the following day.

I note without surprise that the #1 and #2 players are both on Court 1 tomorrow, while the #3 and #4 players are on Centre Court.

Did anyone else hear Virginia Wade mention a "white hope" in her interview? Barf.

MJ said...

Hey - glad you used my translation! :) MJ

Savannah said...

MJ it was my pleasure.