Saturday, November 27, 2010

London: WTF Semis

The top 4 players in the world squared off in the O2 Arena in London.


These two boys trained in the physical and mentally grinding Spanish style sure do love each other.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) hugs Andy Murray of Great Britain (R) after winning his men's semi-final match during the ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 27, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)



Ahndee Muurrey played the aggressive tennis that we know he's capable of, and had the match on his racket until he played two loose drop shots on his serve early in the 3rd set to let Rafa back in the match.

Mandy this is why you need to show no mercy when you have a short ball from Rafa. Rip a forehand instead of going for too much drop shit. Because eventually he'll wrong foot you and you could hurt yourself slamming on the brakes.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Andy Murray of Great Britain falls on the ground during his men's semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during the ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 27, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Then again maybe the reasons Mandy can't win the big matches are his facial expressions.

TMF was in full Jedi mode playing fantastic defense to frustrate Nole to a 61 64 victory. Fed has not dropped a set in London.



Frankly Nole didn't look mentally sharp and seemed to miss that extra bit of determination to dig out a win. My guess is that he was looking at a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win the Davis Cup at home in Serbia.

On Sunday, whose box does Maradona choose to sit in?

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Roger Federer of Switzerland (L) and Former Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona attend the ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 23, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)






Oh, BTW, I'm cheering for Barca in El Classico tomorrow to beat Real Madrid with two most hated men in soccer: the Special One and Ronaldo (sorry Rafa). For you philistines about soccer, it's the biggest rivalry match in Spain's premier league.

Friday, November 26, 2010

London: WTF ... Cheesy Rock Star Entrances

As the season winds up, the World Tour Finals in London need to hype up the matches by introducing the players with cheesy rock star entrances.

You can almost hear Rafa saying "What's happening here? Why do they make me walk through this smoke?"

Spain's Rafael Nadal arrives for his singles tennis match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals in London November 24, 2010. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT TENNIS IMAGES OF THE DAY)


TMF is looking pretty sultry here.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Roger Federer of Switzerland arrives on court before his men's singles first round match against David Ferrer of Spain during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 21, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


The Djoker is a man of the people making fun of his eye troubles from the previous night.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic wears an eyepatch as he arrives for his singles match against Andy Roddick of the U.S. at the ATP World Tour Finals in London November 26, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Sod looks awkward.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Robin Soderling of Sweden walks onto the court before his men's singles first round match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 21, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Ferru is trying to enjoy his chance to hang out in the pantheon.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: David Ferrer of Spain walks on to the court during his men's singles match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 25, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Chin up, Murray, you're playing in front of your home crowd.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Andy Murray of Great Britain walks onto the court before his men's singles first round match against Robin Soderling of Sweden during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 21, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


At least your terrier Maggie enjoys the media attention.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Remembrances of the Fall Indoor Season 2010

Sorry for the radio silence over the last month and a half. My excuse is that I've been busy with a job transition. As Rafa's Knees tweeted over a month ago, the fall indoor season is anti-climatic as the pros are clearly looking forward to the off-season. A collage of images start blurring one into another as the season winds down.

In yet another apparent shock to the credibility of the WTA, a new slamless world #1 was crowned: Caro.

BEIJING - OCTOBER 07: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark poses for photographers after securing the world number 1 ranking on the WTA Tour after her win over Petra Kvitova the Czech Republic during day seven of the 2010 China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 7, 2010 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


Lots of people hate on her game, and her lack of big time results this year (not even a finals appearance in the Slams). While I prefer the all court tennis of Henin and Federer, I respect the counterpunching grinding tennis that Caro plays. It's very difficult to sustain a rally for 20+ strokes without missing, and getting balls back with just enough interest to make them miss. If you haven't tried to do this yourself, it's very easy to sit on a couch and call that "pushing." At any rate, Caro has the mental strength and willingness to improve her game that she will win a Slam one day. Yeah, I know ReeRee has merely won AO and Wimbly out of the 6 tournaments she played, but as the Woody Allen said, part of life is showing up. It's a professional tennis player's job to stay healthy so that they can compete. ReeRee hasn't done that and she knows she should. Lots of people think Caro is like Lady JaJa because of her lack of apparent weapons. However, like Tigs I think she's a lot more like the Rafinator who celebrates every victory like he had just won Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his win over Viktor Troicki of Serbia after the semi-finals match at the Japan Open tennis championships in Tokyo October 9, 2010. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Rafa took home a measly title in Tokyo and was ousted in Bangkok and Beijing but after his stellar three Slam year he can be allowed a mediocre Fall season (by his standards).

On the other hand, the Greatest Shanker of All Time has been closeted. Jedi Fed his best game at this time of the year, getting to the semis of Paris, the finals of Shanghai, and winning Stockholm & Basel. But, clearly, winning in front of his two cute daughters in his hometown tournament was the most emotionally significant for him. If the Logo is an emotional basket case when he wins a Slam for a significant record (exhibit: the tears streaming down his cheek at Roland Garros 2009), can you imagine the blubbering speech he'll give when his daughters are old enough to walk out on court when he wins his next Slam?



Muzzard, of course, won Shanghai by beating Federer. Kudos to him for executing the game plan of forcing Fed to try to win with his backhand. The moment of the trophy ceremony has to be win the MC calls out Muzz for not smiling (4:09). Such a bright and cheery lad!



But the absolute highlight of the fall tennis season, by far, is the debut of Andy Murray's dog, Maggie, on twitter. That cute thang tweeted after Andy's victory:

Can't decide if the weird blue thing or the rolex is a better chew toy for me.


Of course, when you're the beloved of a tennis superstar, life just gets too stressful sometimes watching him run down a lot of balls.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Beijing 2010 Preview

It's been quiet here since the US Open, and now with the season ending, the pros are no longer preparing for Grand Slams (so don't be surprised if ReeRee doesn't come back until next year).

That said, the top men and women are trying to collect ranking points to qualify for the year end championships in Asia. The men and ladies are together in Beijing to play at the site of the 2008 Olympics.



Site: here

Draw: women's singles and women's singles


Men's top seeds: Nole, Muzz, Sod, Play Station

It's a coin flip at this point of the season. Nole had a great run at the US Open. Muzz had a great hard court season, but had a disappointing US Open loss to Wawa. Sod can always bash his way through folks. Play Station looks like he's still finding his game after a wrist injury kept him out from Indian Wells to Wimbledon, and I would be surprised if he made it past Nando in the 2nd round.



Women's top seeds: Caro, Bepa, Lady JaJa, Sam

The big news is that Caro only needs to win two matches in order to become the world #1 due to ReeRee's strike injuries keeping her off the tour. This is emminently likely as here potential opponents are Errani/Peng and then Flavs/Kvitova/Kanepri/Pavs. If Caro becomes the world #1, then she joins Lady JaJa and Dina as women who have been #1 without winning a slam. While her game is similar to Lady JaJa (beat your opponent by consistency), she has the mental game to eventually win a slam as she never gives up, applies a strategy and is constantly trying to improve (e.g. her serve this year). I hope she takes over the world #1, so that the obvious retort to ReeRee doing this is that you can't play 6 tournaments in the year and expect to stay #1.



That said, I'd like Nails to win to give the Chinese something to go bananas about.

Monday, September 13, 2010

US Open 2010: Champions

Caro showed that her game still needs development to win a slam as Bepa was able to keep her off balance with variety.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark reacts to a poor shot during her match against Vera Zvonareva of Russia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 10, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Vee's power and athleticism was not enough to overcome her inconsistency or Kimpressive's defensive.

Flushing Meadows New York US Open Tennis 2010 Day 12 10/09/10 Venus Williams (USA) makes an awkward return during semi-final defeat Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom



Bepa felt like hiding after getting manhandled by Kimpressive.

Flushing Meadows New York US Open Tennis 2010 Day 13 11/09/10 No hiding place for Vera Zvonareva (RUS) as she slumps to defeat in one-sided Ladies singles final. Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


The Mum Train paraded Jada out for another year.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Kim Clijsters of Belgium and daughter Jada pose with the championship trophy after Clijsters defeated Vera Zvonareva of Russia during their women's singles final on day thirteen of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)



Head Banger came out flat, and could only sustain the intensity he knew he needed to beat the Rafinator for only one game.

Mikhail Youzhny of Russia rests during a break in his match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2010.   REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Federror struggled with his forehand and first serve, and could not convert two MPs on the Djoker's serve.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Roger Federer of Switzerland waves to fans as he leaves the court after losing to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the men's singles semifinal match on day thirteen of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


When you face the wall that is called the Rafinator, you'd crack your rackets too.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia slams and breaks his racket during his match against Rafael Nadal of Spain in the men's final at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 13, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Rafa took him the trophy to bite, and join the rarefied air of men who have won a Career Slam in singles (Federer, Agassi, Laver, Perry, Budge, Emerson). Like Rafa did, let's hold off on GOAT debates and just enjoy the moment.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the men's final at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Courtesy of Forty Deuce, here's the trophy ceremony which was interrupted by ESPN2's rush to get to football.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

US Open 2010: Fedal Salivations

C'mon, if you're a tennis fan, admit that you've been think about this for a week: these two dorks could face off again. Yeah, Rafa has to beat Nando and then Misha/Wawa. Rogi has to beat the Djoker. But it looks extremely likely given their form. Rafa has been cranking the MPHs on his serve, getting them up to 130s (and more importantly the free points). He has not been broken in the entire tournament. Fed is headed toward hitting the most aces in the tournament; he has currently clocked 74 aces, which is two behind the current leader Tree.



They are clearly like laughing together.

NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: Tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal attend a press confrence at the Nike Tennis Primetime Knockout event at Pier 54 on August 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)


They like hugging each other.

Spain's Rafael Nadal defeats, 6-4, 7-6(5), Switzerland's Roger Federer in their Men's singles Final match of the Madrid Open Series tennis tournament at the Caja Magic sport complex in Madrid, Spain on May 16, 2010. Photo by Enfoque/Cameleon/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom


They conspire to wear the same kinds of clothes at media appearances.

ROME - APRIL 27: Tennis players Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the new centre court with Coni President, Gianni Petrucci during day three of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on April 27, 2010 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


They like goofing off on a tennis court

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: Roger Federer of Switzerland and of the Red Team plays a backhand to Rafael Nadal of Spain and of the Blue Team during the 'Hit For Haiti' charity exhibition match ahead of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)


Rogi has even tried to steal Rafa's forehand.



And the 21 matches they've played over the years have been a magic carpet ride for the fans of the game.

DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 03:  Roger Federer of Switzerland and Refael Nadal of Spain attend a photocall to Launch the ATP Qatar Exxon Mobile Open at the Souq Waqif on January 3, 2010 in Doha, Qatar.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)


The only places they've been able to play each other in the last two years have been Madrid. Rogi, are you working on your espanol?

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Roger Federer of Switzerland (R) and Rafael Nadal of Spain share a moment during the prize giving ceremony after the mens final during the Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 17, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


They did play each other Down Under on hard courts even longer ago. A good friend is always there to console you even when they don't have to, no?

04256732 date 01 02 2009 Copyright imago Schreyer Award Ceremony the Australian Open 2009 Winner Rafael Nadal Spain left in Conversation with Roger Federer Switzerland premiumd Highlight Vdig vertical Award Ceremony Victory Winner Cup Trophy Australian Open 2009 ATP Tour Grand Slam Melbourne camaraderie Tennis men Singles Group photo optimistic Rand motive Human Beings Objects Photo via Newscom


Even in their ceremonial pics, you wonder if they're about to bust out laughing.

04256682 date 01 02 2009 Copyright imago BPI Rafael Nadal Spain left and Roger Federer Switzerland before the Final the Australian Open premiumd Vdig vertical presentation Australian Open 2009 Grand Slam ATP Tour Final Melbourne Tennis men Singles Group photo optimistic Rand motive Photo via Newscom


Here's their last hard court match.



May you meet each other next Sunday and give us an epic.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

US Open 2010: Spanish Shots of the Day

And I must emphasize Spanish shots of the day.

Nando comes back from two sets down to take out compatriot Daveed in the tiebreaker with this epic shot.



Rafa continues his quest to do everything Rogi can do.



This, of course, sets up a rematch of this great match from AO 2009.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

US Open 2010: Labor Day Weekend

On Saturday, I was on the grounds of the US Open catching a bunch of the matches. I'll post on this later even though it will be anti-climatic. I spent the rest of the weekend recovering from watching several hours of live tennis (and I did sneak out to hit some balls myself).

Swiss precision triumphed in the form of Ewok.

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates his victory against Andy Murray of Britain during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 5, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


The triumph made a Scotsman surly, and edged him closer to the dreaded category: best player never to have won a slam (yet).

U S Open 2010 D7 05/09/10 Andy Murray (GBR) loses fourth round match Photo Anne Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


The best WTA player never to have won a slam was in tears, because she couldn't convert 4 match points, on her own serve which is sadly the weakest part of her game.

Elena Dementieva of Russia reacts after missing a shot to Samantha Stosur of Australia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 5, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


The shyest player in the WTA showed real heart in fighting off those match points, even though she was a break down in the third to come back and win it in a run away tiebreaker.

Samantha Stosur of Australia celebrates defeating Elena Dementieva of Russia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 5, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


In the battle of glamazons from Nike and Adidas, Shrieka couldn't hit the ball hard enough (and into the court).

U S Open 2010 D8 06/09/10 Maria Sharapova (RUS) loses fourth round match Photo Anne Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


A shriek did knock down Caro when she couldn't run down a lob in one of her few forays to the net.

Flushing Meadows New York US Open Tennis 2010 06/09/10 Going,going gone, Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) sees the funny side after she takes a tumble in fourth round match but gets up unharmed and beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


The jinx showed up in the player's box of TMF.

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale watch Roger Federer of Switzerland play Jurgen Melzer of Austria on day 8 at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City on September 6, 2010. UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom


Alas, Jurgen, the tennis gods just didn't give you enough.

US OPEN 2010 D8 06/09/10 Jurgen Melzer(AUT) in fourth round match Photo Anne Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Methinks, TMF worked super hard after Wimbledon on his defense and speed. It shows.

Flushing Meadows New York US Open Tennis 2010 06/09/10 Roger Federer (SUI) in hurry as he wins fourth round match in straight sets Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Friday, September 3, 2010

US Open 2010: Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

For those old enough to remember Mia Hamm, she did a great Nike commercial with Michael Jordan, based on this classic jazz standard.



Watch Franny do it better



We already know Fed can do it again.

Watch the Magician school Fed. It's a bummer he retired. No wonder Feddy felt like he had to add a shot to his repetoire.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

US Open 2010 Fashion Grades (Women)

The ladies have always gotten to do more then the men with their kits, but the women I know who hit balls want to look good.

Number one seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark gets ready to hit a forehand to Chelsey Gullickson of the U.S. during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Stella McCartney has finally hit the spot with Sunshine by actually designing something that fits her body. The shorter dress accentuates her legs, and the simpler lines complement her figure. And they actually depart from monochrome.

Grade: A


Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts after defeating Jarmila Groth of Australia in the first round of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City on August 31, 2010. Sharapova defeated Groth 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.     UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom



Shrieka's dresses continue to accent her skinny figure. I don't think the collars work. But kudos for Nike for the colors: retro with anthracite and rattan.

Grade: A-


NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: Tennis player Maria Sharapova attends the Nike Tennis Primetime Knockout event at Pier 54 on August 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)


The night dress is a variation of the day dress but ink with black and solar flare. This color combination doesn't provide enough contrast to be as interesting as the day dress. Can't you tell that underneath all that fierceness is a real goofball?

Grade: B+


Aug. 30, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - US OPEN 2010 match play-DAY 1 at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.Billie Jean King Tennis Center-08-30-2010.VICTORIA AZARENKA. 2010.I14940JZ. © Red Carpet Pictures


Since ReeRee is injured, Vika gets to wear the dress that ReeRee would have worn. Nike seems not to care whether or not Vika wears the "night" dress during the day. Since she fainted in the middle of her second round match and had to be taken off in a wheel chair, one wonders whether she should have worn the day dress. The poor thing must be disappointed after having a great summer.

Grade: A-



It's a pity that we won't get to see the day dress on someone live.

Grade: A-

Li Na of China hits a return to Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Good Nails was around for one set, crushing returns; and then Bad Nails showed up to spray balls in the last two sets of her first rounder. We won't get to see her functional kit long enough.

Grade: B

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia waves to the crowd after defeating Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Adidas has taken a step up by allowing Ms. Fistpumps to use 4 colors: white, black, purple and pink.

Grade: B

Melanie Oudin of the USA returns the ball to Olga Savchuk of Ukraine during first-round action at the U.S. Open held at the National Tennis Center on August 30, 2010 in New York.   UPI Photo/Monika Graff... Photo via Newscom


Adidas steps out on a limb and puts Courage in purple. It actually works better on the ladies than their attempt to do so with Nando earlier this year.

Grade: B

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia returns the ball to Simona Halep of Romainia during first-round action at the U.S. Open held at the National Tennis Center on August 31, 2010 in New York.   UPI Photo/Monika Graff Photo via Newscom


Anta must think Lady JaJa secretly wants to wear an Adidas kit. It's a pity that it's been so hot and humid that she can't look glamorous sweating up a storm.

Grade: B

Venus Williams of the U.S. waves to the crowd after defeating Roberta Vinci of Italy at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Vee continues to blur the line between a nightie and a tennis dress with her shiny black lace dress. At least she isn't flashing flesh-colored knickers.

Grade: B+

Venus Williams of the U.S. celebrates her win against Rebecca Marino of Canada during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Vee goes unconventional with her day kit: it looks perfect for going to the beach. Just for creativity

Grade: A-

Samantha Stosur of Australia hits a return to Elena Vesnina of Russia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Sam's LaCoste whites are professional as the Hammer should be.

Grade: B+

Samantha Stosur of Australia returns a forehand to compatriot Anastasia Rodionova during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


The purple version of the same kit works even better. See how hard it is to tweak a design.

Grade: A-


Flushing Meadows New York US Open Tennis 2010 Day 1 30/08/10 Defending Champion Kim Clijsters (BEL) wins first round match Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Is Mum Train's Fila kit camouflauge? The diagonal stripes against the blue work.

Grade: A-

US Open 2010 Fashion Grades (Men)

The US Open's liberal dress code with its night matches set in fashionable Gotham has given wide parameters for what can be worn on court. New Yorkers know their style, and the sponsors for the pros have got to raise the bar. With matches at night for the top seeds and grueling day matches in humid heat, this means some folks have a night kit and a day kit. So here come fashion grades which are below their respective pictures.


Roger Federer of the USA hits a ball between his legs and wins the point in the second set against Brian Dabul of Argentina in the first round of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City on August 30, 2010.     UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom


Fed's night kit stays conservative: navy blue with button placket and white trim on the collar. The only major change (gasp) is that his logo is on the chest and the swoosh is on the sleeves. See his day kit below.

Grade: B+

Aug. 28, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - ROGER FEDERER,RAFAEL NADAL.at Arthur Ashe Kids's Day at the USTA Billie Jean King.National Tennis Center at Tennis US OPen 8-28-2010 . 2010.K66199JBB. © Red Carpet Pictures


Just another day at the office for TMF with a "football blue" polo and khaki shorts. The polo is a lighter blue version of his night polo. It certainly suits the middle-age set of men who play tennis on weekends to relive their youth.

Grade: A-

Rafa, could you ever see your Swiss friend wearing neon yellow? True story: I've already seen one of the regulars at my local tennis courts wear this. We all had to put on sunglasses.

Grade: B-

Number one seed Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning a point in the first set against Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia during their first round match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


The Rafinator has decided to copy the Sith Lord look pioneered by his BFF. With the damage he's been doing this year, it works. Watch out for Darth Nadal!

Grade: A

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after winning the fourth set against country mate Viktor Troicki during first-round action at the U.S. Open held at the National Tennis Center on August 31, 2010 in New York. Djokovic went on to win 6-3,3-6,2-6,7-5,6-3.  UPI Photo/Monika Graff Photo via Newscom


Djoker survived a meltdown in his first round. His kit is two-sided as his personality: on the one hand, his Sergio Tacchini is classic a la McEnroe; on the other hand, the dragon print really suits his fiery personality. You cannot be serious if you think he is fit enough to actually make it to the finals.

Grade: B

Andy Roddick of the U.S. serves to Stephane Robert of France during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


ARod has switched kits from his tri-colored collar. His day polo is white with checkered piping. Yeah, I know tennis clothes and whites are a natural, but it's the New York, where white ain't mandatory. Show some creativity, LaCoste.

Grade: B

Andy Roddick of the U.S. reacts to a point in the fourth set of his match against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


ARod's night polo is ... uh ... blue with white checkers. Not bad. It matches his racquet. I'm sure your fans felt the way you did watching Tipsy hit you off the court in that.

Grade: B

Fernando Verdasco of Spain returns a volley to Fabio Fognini of Italy during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


For Adidas creativity means using three colors instead of two: purple, navy blue and white on Nando.

Grade: B

Flushing Meadows New York US Open Tennis 2010 Day 3 01/09/10 A rare moment of anxiety for Andy Murray (GBR) as he wins first round match in straight sets Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


In the case of Muzz, creativity means removing the neon yellow from the polo he wore in Oz. His polo is as bright and cheery as he.

Grade: B

US Open 2010: Foot Fault Gate 2?

Well, not really ... the lineswoman clearly got the call right on ARod, but blubbered the wrong foot when ARod angrily asked her which one. El Jono rightly points out that ARod was completely in the wrong and should have moved on and played the game. Had this been Fed or Rafa, it's pretty certain they would have.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US Open 2010: Hazardous to Your Health

One of the favorites of many (e.g. BG) to win the US Open had to retire from her second round match due to heat exhaustion. Kiddies, it's brutal out there.



Poor thing, I hope she recovers and gets better. I feel for you. I fell over and nearly died when I tried to make myself hit 2 sets of 20 running forehands earlier in this the New York summer.

Update: Vika had to be taken off the court in a wheelchair and treated at a local hospital. She suffered a mild concussion while warming up in the gym before her match, and almost certainly the heat aggravated her condition. For a fuller story, see here.

US Open 2010: They're Melting



With temperatures soaring into the 100s on the blue griddle that is the US Open hard courts (with humidity to boot), yesterday's first round action was a physical and mental test for many. Sure it ain't Pennsylvania, but trust me, the weather ain't that different here in New York.

In a total surprise, the Djoker passed the test due to the mercy of shade in the 5th set and actually outlasted his fellow countrymen Viktor



Novak Djokovic of Serbia breaks during his match with compatriot Viktor Troicki during the US Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010.   REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


I won't comment on his on-court interview as others already have (here and here).

Li Na of China hits a return to Kateryan Bondarenko of Ukraine during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Nails had the match under her control after the 1st set, but couldn't adjust to KBond cleaning up her game. According to Virginia Wade who was commenting the match, Nails just brain farted and couldn't back away brainless ball bashing. Even a hacker like me knows that the ball will fly in hot and humid conditions, and that you have to play patient tennis in those conditions. I hate you Nails; you were supposed to make the semis to take out Caro.



Bags shouldn't have played New Haven despite his promise to return them a favor.



Lady JaJa survived and didn't look all glittery against Breast Reduction Gal.



The Force is with young Gulbis but he is not a Jedi yet.

France's Julien Benneteau defeats, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, Czech Radek Stepanek in their Men first round, Day 2 of the of the 2010 US Open at the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City, NY, USA on August 31, 2010. Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/Cameleon/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom


Benneteau evoked Sampras, splling his guts in the midst of the match but closed it out to beat the Sex.

Friday, August 27, 2010

US Open 2010: Last Round of Qualies

If you're ever in New York on the Friday before the US Open officially begins, you really must make the final round of qualifying. For one, it's free. Second, it's amazing how great the players are who are competing to qualify for the main draw, and you get to see them compete up close and personal. Professional tennis is a cruel dog-eat-dog world and the difference between the fellow who makes it into the main draw of a slam, and those shut out is, well, pretty small. Lastly, all the top names are out on the practice court and you might get to see them prepare for free.

First, the first qualifying match I saw was Nicholas Mahut beat Uladzimir Ignatik to advance to the final round of qualifying (67 [4] 76 [5] 62). You heard that right: the fellow who lost the longest match in history (held in the 1st round of Wimbledon) had to schlep his ass to play the qualifying tournament. Why the French Tennis Federation chose to award their reciprocal wildcard to Guillaume Rufin (19 year old) who is ranked lower than Mahut baffles me? The best (and still lame) explanation is that they have some rule to award their reciprocal wildcard to their best junior player on the cusp of turning pro. Frankly, this smacks of a brainless failure to recognize Mahut's truly historic achievement.

At any rate, I don't know who Ignatik is, but it was pretty easy to figure out his game after a couple points: he's your plain vanilla baseline grinder who unleashes a few big serves to win free points. There's a truism in tennis: you're only as good as your second serve. Mahut's second serve compared to Ignatik is excellent. Mahut has an excellent kick serve that Ignatik had to return at shoulder height (despite standing several feet behind the baseline). Ignatik, on the other hand, was going for more on his second serve and hitting way too close for comfort to the lines (and double faulting a bit too much). That difference alone gave me the feeling that Mahut would be able to win the match.



In contrast, Mahut tries to be an all court player. While he has a pretty good one handed drive backhand, he will use slices to coax errors out of his opponent or run around it (often) to hit a strong forehand to take control of the point. You will see Mahut rush the net quite a bit. Overall, Mahut is a very entertaining player to watch simply for his shotmaking. On the other hand, I tweeted Mahut seems to be a tortured artiste: he will miss the most incredible shots when it's crystal clear he was in control of the point. Mahut really should have put away Ignatik a lot earlier but he had to gut it out.

Watching the top players practice was a highlight. Federer was playing a practice set with Monfils (he lost) on Louis Armstrong Stadium.



Both guys were serving well, and Gael was ... there to entertain the crowd.



And the usual Federer slice and dice was at work to frustrate Monfils. The Annacone-Luthi brain trust was there to coach the Greatest Shanker of All Time.



Here are video samples of their practice section.



Nando and Kohli were on the Grandstand later to jerk each other side to side.



Then Curls and Big Berd were punishing balls as hard as they can.

One interesting take away I had: some of the rec players (NTRP 4.5+) I've played with can hit the ball as hard as the pros, but the huge differences are: it's a lot harder for the pros to miss; they can place the ball where their opponent least likes it; and they have phenomenal movement (i.e. the ability to get to a difficiult ball and still do something good with it).