Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ladies Day

by Savannah

Agnieszka Radwanska began working towards her first Grand Slam final when she told her father his services were no longer needed. Her first coaching selection was Borna Vikic who had coached Jelena Dokic. That association didn't last long though and she went on to hire Tomasz Wiktorowski, the Polish Fed Cup coach. The rest as they say is history.

I'll say upfront that watching Aga play is akin to watching paint dry for me. Like Martina Hingis before her. an analogy many don't like but that I feel is the only player of the modern era to employ a similar style, is based on "gotcha" tennis. Is she a Caroline Wozniacki style pusher? Yes and no. At her worst she's dull as grass growing. What she's done is add some offense to her game. It's not Big Babe "in your face" smash mouth tennis but it's effective. Her touch is delicate although she can hit with some power. From what I saw of her match against Angelique Kerber, sorry I fell asleep, she quietly turned the tables on her. When Kerber came to she was out of the match.

Aga is sharp enough to not want the be added to the list of "Slamless Wonders" and I'm sure she'll fight as hard as she can in the Final on Saturday.

The thing is she'll be playing the best woman of her generation.

Serena Williams started Wimbledon off on shaky ground. Her devastating first round loss in Paris, while not on everyone's lips, was in everyone's mind. Serena left the Glamazon shit at home in London. She had that glorious hair but she came on court to play tennis. Little or no makeup - she had heavy liner on today - and no candelabra hanging from her ears. In other words she came to play. And play she did.

She hit a bit of a wall in the second set. Serena and her sister Venus Williams, who looked much better playing doubles, had to play two matches yesterday, something that could have hurt her if her match against Victoria Azarenka went three sets. Serena saw to it that it didn't.

As you all know I'm not a big fan of Victoria. People are talking about how her id seems to be in better check these days, but she does play one of the better games among the new jacks coming up. Like most of them though she is most comfortable with hit hard and harder tennis and when faced with an opponent who can throw some variety at her she has trouble. She has won a Slam though, and came into London with the #2 seeding.

It's no secret that Victoria and Aga had a big falling out and some were hoping that they would be the last ones standing anticipating a bitch fest of epic proportions.

But that was not to be.

Who do I think will win? The last time Serena met Aga was in 2008. Serena won 4 & 0.
Aga has changed her game a lot since then. So has Serena. Is it a toss up? I would say no but then I'd have to pick a winner wouldn't I? And I don't do that.

End Notes

It would be wrong of me not to mention the men's semifinals wouldn't it? For some there is one matchup that is highly anticipated. For me the undercard is the one I'm looking forward to. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Andy Murray in London, in a semi final, is a tennis lovers dream match. Tsonga, coachless, has gotten himself to the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals. He's going to have the crowd against him, and no one to consult but himself. There's no need to go into the Murray situation except to say right now he's British. Will he go back to being a Scotsman? Will Ivan Lendl keep him calm enough to play his best tennis? If both men show up that should be a hell of a match.

Finally I want to praise ESPN. The USA network, when it covered tennis, was the gold standard in my opinion. ESPN has taken it's place. It was sheer genius to have Centre Court coverage on ESPN, and all court coverage on ESPN2. The commentators, except for John McEnroe and in some instances Chris Evert, were informed and focused on the match not on inside jokes and giggling at people's names. I would suggest that JMac and Chrissie look at some tape and use briefing sheets next year. There's no excuse for JMac not knowing Venus had Sjogren's or Chris Evert admitting she'd never seen one of the women players, who's been burning up the courts before. A baseball announcer would be run out of town for less.

And no, I'm not mentioning Hanna. She's a disaster of epic proportions.

I think Mike Tirico, who uses notes and is a keen observer, along with Darren Cahill are the standouts. As for the women we have Pam Shriver and Mary Joe Fernandez. There's no hashtag for shit Pammy or Mary Joe says so that means their job is adequate. Chris has one though. Make of it what you will.


vw said...

I don't really like Cahill because he has his fingers in the Murray pie. He calls matches, analyzes matches and praises Murray. He said the other day that he hired Lendl for Murray. He is biased!

vw said...

I think Cahill is biased as far a Murray is concerned. He has his fingers in the Murray pie. Not only is he an axis country member but he is involved with Adidas. He calls Murray matches, does analysis charts on tv, and said last week he was involved in finding Lendl for Murray. He's getting paid by tv for commentating and getting a paycheck from AELTC too.

vw said...

Oh, BTW I want a Tsonga/Novak final,not the Murray/Fed final the whole world wants.

Savannah said...

Welcome back vw. It's been awhile.

You are right about Cahill of course. His commentary tends to be better than that of JMac or PMac so maybe I do let him off a little easy.

I was intrigued by your comment about how Lendl ended up working with Murray but it was incomplete. If you want it published please complete your thought. PLEASE!

A lot of work went into improving Mr. Murray. I had no idea that Nigel Sears, Ana Ivanovic's coach, is the father of Murray's girlfriend. With what you said I'd say the axis countries are all collaborating to get one of their own to win a major. They've settled on Murray.

So we've got Mary Joe and PMac with Fed and Cahill with Murray.
Cliff can be the most neutral when it comes to the men but is totally biased when it comes to the women cough cough **POVA** cough cough.

The amount and quality of coverage given by ESPN does deserve praise though. Maybe that is what got me a little carried away because of that.

Savannah said...

Let's just say we may have a surprise winner.

Karen said...

I actually put Cliffy firmly in the corner of tennis. The man's analysis is akin to Goodall and Koenig. For me he loves the sport and loves fair play. If he is a fan of any player it is Venus. He absolutely adores her. Sometimes I think he wishes he was a whole lot younger because he would surely make a play for her.

vw said...

Sorry, I tried to post and it looked like it didn't go through and reposted. On another tangent... Gimelstob said in January that his career rises and falls with a Murray GS win. It was during a show with Lindsay when they were going over their picks for 2012. Gimel said Murray was going to win big in 2011 and Novak was going to #5 after Soderling #4 He had to apologize on tv that he got it so wrong.We know the eastern european guy won most everything. What does it mean, his career rises and falls with a Murray win?
Poor Jo couldn't do it today for us.

vw said...

Sorry for the jumbled writing. Though part of it didn't go through. Hope this doesn't post twice.
Last January I was watching a program on TC with Gimel and Lindsay doing their 2012 picks for GS. He picked the top four to each win one. He had to apologise on air for 2011 picks-which were Murray to go to 2or 3 and Novak going to 5 after Soderling #4. We all know that an eastern european guy won most everything in 2011. He said his career rises and falls with a Murray GS. What did that mean? If anyone is into conspiracies, maybe AELTC paid Rosol too! They sure would love a Murray win prior to Olympics.
Poor Jo.

vw said...

Isn't it a comflict of interest for Cahill to be paid not only by Adidas (Murray's company) and ESPN for commentary? He is involved with player development and has something to do with Agassi and Gil Reyes. Agassi is always tooting the Murray horn too. And Murray is always saying Agasii was his fave player. Cahill called the Murray match today, did the pre-match analysis charts with checkmarks too. What surprised me was his really short sentence last week about how HE he was involved in finding Lendl for Murray-then dropped it. Who is paying him besides ESPN and Adidas? I think it's AELTC too trying to plug their guy. I wonder if a few people are getting paychecks from across the pond. Have they no shame?

vw said...

You know, I might just root for monogram so these fixers don't get any satisfaction. I'm so frustrated right now.

Savannah said...

What was amazing about today was that Murray hit Tsonga right in his jewels and it was a big joke, a Lendl-esque move, something to be proud of.

Tsonga said later it "burned" and that he wanted to go over the net and punch him out (words to that effect) because no way that was an accident. Once that happened I knew Murray would win the match.

Let's see if they can coach Murray past Monogram.

I haven't paid a lot of attention to Cahill's association with Adidas, Tennis Australia, and maybe with the AELTC.

Players who work with Adidas seem to flare up and then settle back into the pack (Verdasco anyone?) I've always been suspicious of Reyes and Agassi's ability to play well so late in his career.

But the man from Eastern Europe has his own axis associations. He's very close to JMac. And lets not forget the hyberbaric chamber that isn't is located in New Jersey.

This is why I prefer to listen to Goodall and Koenig. They have their faves too, Murray among them, but overall they come across as fanboys not like people with an investment in one player or another.

vw said...

Yeah, the jewels. They said the whole Henman Hill was laughing about it. It is a Lendl tactic.
AM and ND were friendly at one time, juniors,same age, etc. and when AM hired Lendl he announced to ND and his team that he would no longer play footie with them during breaks like before. Another thing, after ND beat AM at the AO2011 semis which went to 5 sets with AM losing, AM announced in his presser that that's what ND will have to look forward to from now on. He'll have to play me hard like this and if I have to hit him with the ball I will. Right before that AO, ND said in the press, if I can't lift the trophy myself I will want AM to lift it. Nice friend, huh? I have those quotes someplace. So the jewels thing was not an accident.

JMac might like Novak but I doubt anyone else does and he's not getting what AM is as far as having "friends" in the biz.
I remember they said a long time ago if AM wins he's going to be worth 100-200 million from that win alone.

vw said...

The hyperbaric chamber is in some guy Gordon Uehling's place. J-Mac said recently he spent some time in that contraption to see what it was like. He said he didn't notice anything. LOL

Savannah said...

Uh-huh. Right.

vw said...

Bad day for the axis. Both Macs, Cahill, Gilbert,Fowler etc all look depressed.
OK so monogram is having his last hurrah. It may be his last one.

vw said...

I just watched 60 minutes and they had a Michael Phelps interview with Anderson Cooper. I found it interesting because they say he's got a special machine in his house which helps him recover after workouts. He sleeps in it and it adjusts altitude. He didn't let them show it on TV. I wonder if this is the same contraption as the one Novak used in NJ. If Phelps is using this machine, I wonder what Olympic officials are saying about it.

vw said...

Here's more: