I won't lie. I'm just now calm enough to write about the Australian Open. I'm sure all that needed to be said has been said - I've been staying away from the blogs too but then again I usually don't follow them too much. If they get totally off the chain it gets tweeted about so I know what they've said. I just needed a long period of calm and introspection. Oh all right I was past pissed and when I get pissed I need days - I mean days - to calm down. So here goes my very selective look in the rear view mirror and the lasting impressions I took away from the so called Happy Slam.
First of all there were no ethnic riots. The various ethnic groups either knew they were going to have a world wide audience or were too plastered or otherwise distracted to decide they had to fight their parents wars.
It's a little deceptive to say the above is the first thing I think about when I think of the 2012 Australian Open. The first thing I think about is how bad the lines calling was. When top tier main tour players have to practically call their own lines something is very very wrong. I haven't seen so many bad calls IN A SLAM since I don't know when. Was Kader's decision a bad one? Yes but it was in the same category as the call Shino made against Serena Williams in New York. Yes they were both valid calls. The question is do you make that call at that point in a critical match. If Shino was right Kader was right. End of story.
That doesn't mean the line calling was nothing short of shitty. When I was half asleep at 4 in the morning and could still spot a bad call the line calling was bad. Some say the calls in Melbourne are always bad. I will say they've never been this bad. I'm pretty sure the officiating organization will quietly look at what happened.
The other big thing that happened was that the United States may finally have a junior girl worth talking about. Taylor Townsend, all of fifteen, won the Junior Girls title as well as the Junior Doubles crown with her partner Gabrielle Andrews. The downside? She isn't fit. Not even remotely. Someone said she's built like a linebacker and unfortunately I can't disagree.
Petra Kvitova has a tummy bulge. Taylor has a gut. And she still won. Imagine what she'll do if she loses 20-30 pounds. Not by next week of course but she's got a good three years to get on a proper diet.
Speaking of Petra Kvitova it became painfully obvious that she is not ready for prime time. The deeper she went in the tournament the tighter she got. Her interviews showed a nervous young woman who isn't sure she wants let alone can handle the demands made of the top players. When she's made up her mind - she is much more fit than she was last year - I think she'll be able to push through.
I've said before that new WTA #1 Victoria Azarenka is not temperamentally suited to be the top ranked woman. I stick by that assessment. Literally minutes from winning the Women's championship match she got herself into an argument with the chair about some minor bullshit. I listened to British Eurosport for most of the tournament and both announcers cringed and went "No Victoria," when she started to bitch at the chair. Sam Sumyk has worked wonders with her on court demeanor - the comms I was listening to credited her 70 year old grandmother's pep talk - but no matter who got her to chill she was the calmest head among the contenders for the top spot and there she is. She is not and will never be a favorite of mine but she has at least met the criteria many tennisheads want in the number one player. She has won a Slam.
At some point during Caroline Wozniacki's last match the British commentators speculated about how long Ricardo Sanchez would stay in her camp. They said without a hint of irony that he was nothing more than a figurehead, that he had nothing to do with actually coaching Wozniacki. Her father Victor (yes I insist on using his legal name) was said to still be her coach. They waited until after the Open was over to announce he had been replaced but since he never was why the charade? I'm guessing he got a nice chunk of change for his efforts whatever they were. I'm guessing the new man has a similar arrangement.
Was I surprised that Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva won the Women's Doubles? Yes. Bepa's play has been shit since she fired hot model coach Sergiy and while I didn't see the match I did read accounts of it. Thank goodness Sveta decided to show up that day is all I got from reading about the match. Ekaterina Makarova let her ego get ahead of her and lost to a determined Maria Sharapova but in singles Makarova was the best of the Russians up to the semi finals. As for Sharapova there is such a thing as wanting it too much. She wants the number one ranking back. Let's see if Hogstedt can get her there. If not he may be sharing an umbrella drink with Sanchez on a white sand beach somewhere.
Taylor's double win wasn't the only intriguing development in junior tennis ranks.
Australian junior Luke Saville won the Junior boys title while the British team of Liam Broady and Joshua Ward-Hibbert won the Junior boys doubles title.
Maybe in two or three years the Tennis Axis powers will have something to cheer about no? Right now all they can do is cheer behind the scenes.
That is all I have to say about the 2012 Australian Open. I said I was going to be selective right at the beginning didn't I? I said what I meant and I meant what I said.
This is Fed Cup weekend and the Unites States finds itself in the second group playing Belarus. Both Venus Williams and Serena Williams are playing for the United States. I have no access to Tennis Channel thanks to the Dolan family and their front Cablevision so I will have to find a stream. Christina McHale was set to be thrown into the fire as first up against Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka, citing a lower back problem, has been replaced by Anastasiya Yakimova who was playing very well a couple of years ago but has since fallen off. Azarenka is still available if needed
Speaking of Fed Cup what the hell is going on with the French? Marion Bartoli wanted her father along with her and she was told no. Then Aravane Rezai had to drop out. I guess their actions are what our parents meant when they told us something or another we were doing was cutting off our nose to spite our face. Is Escude making these decisions on his own or is he just carrying water.
Australia's Bernard Tomic apparently likes to speed in his high powered car. When your high powered car is an orange BMW you're making it easy for the police aren't you? Guys can make their quota fairly easily. When he got flagged this last time, during the Open and after his loss he and his father complained that he was being singled out. Gee ya think any cop can resist ticketing a speeding orange Beemer? Word is he traded in his car. I don't know if I should do a side eyes or simply roll my eyes.
Daryl Monfils made his debut playing doubles with Gael Monfils, his older brother. That's him pictured above. Some clown said he looks like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Really people? Haven't you seen enough of us by now to know we don't all look alike?
The Rotterdam tournament is the big ATP event in February. Richard Krajicek is the Tournament Director. Roger Federer is the top seed. I'm stirring a little pot and asking if there will be any awkwardness between the two men. Just saying.