September 14, 2011
Well, that was quite a US Open wasn’t it. Had some incredible matches, some rain delays, some controversy over the rain delays and Serena Williams once again proving her total lack of class. Roger Federer showed that he may be finished as a Major contender as he, for the second time in a Major this year, blew a two sets to love lead and two match points in his semfinal loss to Novak Djokovic. Congratulations to Djokovic and Samantha Stosur for bringing home the final major trophies of the year. Djokovic is on his way to having one of the greatest years in the history of tennis while Stosur finally put it all together for an entire tournament. I truly thought that Djokovic might be in trouble after losing the third set of the final against Nadal. But after a timely visit from the trainer (gamesmenship?) after the first game of the fourth set he was dominant the rest of the way.
The Women’s Doubles Final was the best doubles match I have watched in a long time. Congrats to Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond for winning their first major together. I can’t comment on the Men’s Doubles Final since I did not see it. The only thing I have seen is a clip on Youtube showing the lack of sportsmanship shown by Philip Petzschner of the winning doubles team, along with Jugen Meltzer. Marcin Matkowski had hit a ball that, replays show, hit Petzschner in the leg and careened over the net for a winner. The chair umpire incorrectly ruled that the ball had hit Petzschner’s racket. Matkowski asked Petzschner if the ball had indeed hit him and not his racket. Petzschner claimed that it did not hit him. Matkowski, quite correctly, refused to shake hands with Petzschner at the end of the match. Congratulations also to Jack Sock and Melanie Oudin for winning the Mixed Doubles title.
Which brings us to the Women’s Singles Final and Serena Williams. I don’t need to go over again what happened. We have seen it shown over and over again. But no matter how you many times you see it, the fact remains Serena Williams was in the wrong. She has shown time and time again that she believes she is above the game. Case in point. While the other women semi-finalists were meeting on court with tournament officials to discuss the safety of the courts after the rain delays guess who was the one person not present? That’s right, Diva Serena, who sent “a representative” instead. After the final, in the press conference, she repeatedly sidestepped the question of whether the court officials should be treated with respect. Are you kidding? Remember this is the same woman who has called Maria Sharapova a bitch on court during a match. The same woman who threatened a lines person two years ago at the Open. The same woman who has demonstrated her arrogance over and over again in press conferences and with on court celebrations. Compare Stosur’s subdued celebration at having won the Final with the display Williams put on after winning her semi. And don’t give me that bullshit about everything that Williams has been through just to get back on court. Stosur went through a similar thing a few years ago with Lymes Disease and yet still exhibits a quiet dignity about herself. Maybe Williams own mother said it best when she mentioned that things always happen at the Open but that “they always seem to happen to us”. Yeah, go figure.
Best wishes do go out to Venus Williams, let’s hope that she is able to overcome her disease and be back on court soon.
As always, good luck in your matches.
July 5, 2011
Number one in the world, Novak Djokovic. Let’s face it, Djokovic was going to be number one in the rankings regardless of whether he won the Wimbledon Final against Rafael Nadal. But would anyone have considered him the true number one if he had lost? The answer is no. The computer rankings mean nothing. Case in point is Caroline Wozniacki, the number one ranked woman according to the computer. Number one in the world but without a Major. Sort of like being called the Super Bowl Champ without making it to the Super Bowl. I don’t think Wozniacki will ever win a Major, but of course that is my opinion. Djokovic, on the other hand should win many more.
Congratulations also to the new Woman’s Wimbledon Champion, Petra Kvitova. In case you missed the 14 times that it was mentioned during NBC’s telecast, Kvitova was one of the two players (Maria Sharapova was the other) not named Williams in the final. Is the women’s game so lacking in players that Serena Williams, who had not played in a year, is made the betting favorite coming into the tournament? True, give her time to get in shape and she will be back in the top ten shortly. After all, having not played any tournaments, she has no points to defend. Still,, I think it is ridiculous for the announcers to continually point out that neither Williams sister was in the final. They should have been talking about Kvitova and Sharapova, giving them the credit that they deserved.
The flag bearers for the Heroes of the Huddled Masses, the Bryan Brothers, won their 2nd Wimbledon title and 11th Major overall, tying the Woodies for most titles by one team. I’m pretty sure they will soon have the record all to themselves.
As always, good luck in your matches.
June 9, 2011
Well, that was it. Roger Federer will never have a better chance to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open than he did last Sunday. He was doing everything right in the first set and still managed to lose it, somehow dropping five straight games after having set point on Nadal’s serve. He fought back to reach a tie break in the second set before throwing it away. He wins the third set and has Nadal 0-40, triple break point to start the fourth and……………………. And then he remembered who he was playing. Let’s face it. Federer will never beat Nadal on the red clay of Roland Garros. It will be interesting to see if he ever has the chance agaon. If he stays at his current number three ranking then the chances are that he will have to once again go through both Nadal and Novak Djokovic to win the title. As he showed this year, he may be able to beat Djokovic, but he cannot beat Nadal.
Which brings us to the matter at hand. The question arose during the final as to how can Federer be considered the best player of all time when he is not the best player of his generation? The general consensus is that Nadal, having a career 17-8 edge over Federer, is the better player. Why then, is he not called the best of all time? The numbers favor Federer, 16 Majors to Nadal’s 10. But that difference is shrinking fast. Nadal has won four of the last five Majors. Federer has been in the finals of just one, last week’s French. Not a good sign for Federer. If he stays healthy, Nadal will eventually pass Federer for the most Majors. By virtue of his career dominance over Federer we will concede the title of “greatest player” to Nadal. We’ll call Federer the “greatest champion” of all time. For the time being.
May 13, 2011
Just when you thought you would never see a written word from me again I decide to post an article on the upcoming French Open. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you have them planned.
We’ll start with the ladies first, hence the expression “ladies first”. I am pretty positive an American woman will not win the French Open. Actually, I’ll be surprised if we have more than two American women make it out of the firat round. Serena Willaims has already announced she will not be playing, although supposedly she is back in training. Look for sister Venus to be announcing shortly that she will not be playing either. So who will win? Kim Clijsters is recovering from an injury. Caroline Wozniacki has not shown that she can come through in a Slam. Sam Stosur is not playing as well as she was at this stage last year. As much as I would like Francesca Schiavone to pull off a repeat of last year’s win, I don’t see that happening. Vera Zvonerava is as unpredictable as they come. So I’m picking Victoria Azarenka to somehow win her first major. I had to pick somebody, right?
On the men’s side it’s pretty much a two way show. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on one side and everyone else on the other side. It’s pretty sad that I’m lumping Roger Federer in with “everyone else” but that’s where his game stands right now. He can’t beat Nadal and Djokovic has his number now also. Soderling and Berdych can beat him now on their good days. Even Richard Gasquet (gasp) beat him at the Italian. Don’t expect much out of the American men either although they will probably have a player or two advance to the third round.I’m picking Djokovic to come through with the title and roll into Wimbledon halfway home to a Grand Slam.
On a sad note, one of my old tennis partners and high school teammate, Greg Foley passed away this week. RIP Greg, you will be sorely missed by all who knew you.
As always, good luck in your matches
February 3, 2011
Just a few quick words about this year’s Australian Open. Congratulations to Kim Clijsters and Novak Djokovic for their efforts in bringing home the trophies. Clijsters is now halfway to the “Kim Slam”. If we are going to make such a big deal about the “Rafa Slam” then we have to give Clijsters her due also. Anyway, Nadal lost in the quarters so we won’t have to debate over whether he would have won a real Grand Slam (he wouldn’t have) or whether he just would have been the title holder of all four Majors consecutively. Congratulations also go out to the Women’s Doubles winners Gisela Dulko and Flavia Penetta who solidified their number one ranking with a Slam win (are you listening Caroline Wozniaki?). The Heroes of the Huddled Masses, the Bryan Brothers won their fifth Men’s Doubles title and now are only one Major away from tying the Woodies for most in the modern era. When will they let the Mixed Doubles play out a match instead of that stupid third set superbreak? Anyway, congrats to Nestor and Srebotnik for winning the Mixed Title.
As much as I’m a fan of Roger Federer I’m sticking to my earlier statements that I do not believe he will win another Major. Too many players have his number now. He has always had trouble with Nadal and I don’t see that changing. Djokovic has beaten him now in two straight Majors. Soderling is not afraid of him now and Berdych never has been. I thought that Federer had turned the corner once more with Annacone as his coach and would play more of an attacking game. But against Djokovic he got into too many long rallies where he just was content to rally and wait for the mistake. Djokovic is too good for him to play that way now. If he wins another Major I will be the first one to retract my statements but I don’t think it’s going to happen. In the same breath I’m still saying that Andy Murray will NEVER win a Slam. I don’t know if the pressure from the British press or what but when he gets in a Slam final he doesn’t bring his “A” game with him. If he ever wins a Slam I will devote an entire column to his doing so. I promise. Shocking to hear that Stan Wawrinka has left his family to concentrate more on his tennis. Unbelievable.
I’m still not buying the whole “injured foot” routine that Serena Williams keeps throwing at us. I still think she had plastic surgery. Too bad for sister Venus to go out with an injury ( a real one). The announcers keep talking about her like she is ancient but she is only thirty. Justine Henin announces her retirement again, this time for good. Or so she says.
Continued good luck in your matches. If you see me on court and actually know who I am you win a “Jerry Rules” tee shirt. No kidding.
December 6, 2010
As many (or few) of you know, I rarely post columns anymore. Call it laziness, indifference, whatever you want, I never make the time to sit down and put thoughts on line. Part of it is there is not too much going on in tennis that I am motivated to write about. I can’t stand the Williams sisters. I don’t like Justin Henin. I can’t stomach watching Nadal pick his butt throughout an entire tournament. There are very few serve and volleyers on tour anymore. But I still like watching Davis Cup. This weekends final between Serbia and France was a great example. As most or all of you should know, Serbia won the Cup by a 3-2 margin. France had all the momentum going into the final days matches after Llodra and Clement came back from two sets down to defeat Zmonjic and Troicki. Troicki, especially, seemed to fall apart in the crucial doubles match. After Novak Djokovic rolled past Gael Monfils in the first of the reverse singles on the last day it was again Llodra against Troicki but this time without partners and with the Cup on the line.Llodra had not lost all season in Cup play and Troicki should have been disheartened after the doubles loss. You would think that France would have the advantage but such is not always he case in Davis Cup. Viktor Troicki picked this time to play the match of his young career. He dominated Llodra in straight sets to set off a wild celebration that included Djokovic getting his head shaved. Not necessarily a good look for him but, what the Hell, they had just won the Davis Cup.
Good luck to everyone in the upcoming mixed season. Hopefully you will not have to travel to the four corners of the globe like our team.
October 10, 2010
It was great to be back on the court yesterday, 94 days after having surgery on my left hip. The movement is not 100% yet but I can serve and volley and cover my side of the court. That’s all that can be expected of a middle aged man with two titanium hips. Special thanks go out to my PT, Lindsey, who has helped me get back on court.
On a side note. Am I the only one who thinks that Serena Williams has had plastic surgery on her face? When they showed her in the stands at the US Open I would not of known who it was if the announcers had not said so. Also, how do you manage to cut your foot at a restaurant? I know all the Serena fans are going to jump on me for saying these things but the whole thing seems kind of fishy to me. Just saying.