Monday, January 24, 2011

A Message From A Grateful Tennis Fan: Thank You For Tweeting

I feel like tennis is spoiling us nowadays. We tennis fans are definitely enjoying some legendary times. These are the days of the Rafa Slam and the Petko Dance. The Fedophiles and the Rafanatics. The Berdy Army and the Samurai.

We enjoy – let alone understand – words like FlaviGise and Quisner. We refer to our fellow tennis fans as Twitteratis, Facebookers and YouTubers.

We live for our TwitPics and our @-Replies. We refer to our favorite Grand Slams in the form of hash-tags and we’re loving it. In fact, I’ve always wanted The Australian Open to be an actual person I could admire and compliment – now I can, and I must say I’m eternally indebted to my favorite tweeter, @AustralianOpen. She responds when I have a question, she retweets when I say something smart, she gives us an endless supply of shirtless Nando pics and above all, she ultimately knows her tennis. Afterall she IS from Melbourne.

We get videos of Federer giggling with Rafa. Videos of Federer giggling with Pedro Pinto. Videos of Federer terrorizing a stranger with a William Tell trickshot.

We get photos of Rafa half naked in Armani underwear. We have competitions from Nike to design Rafa’s shoes. Two-week blogs from Rafa 4 times a year.

We watch YouTube footage of Djokovic dancing on-court with Kym Johnson, wearing nipple tassles for Head, or playing footy-tennis against Rafa.

We get to improve our Spanish skills figuring out tweets between the Spanish Armada, be it Charly Moya, FerVer or F-Lo.

We catch John Isner tweet-flirting with Wozniacki. Monfils cheering on Wawrinka, one day after losing to the Swiss. Murray showing a sense of humor no one would have believed he ever had.

This tennis-loving generation has had so many liberties and I just wanted to acknowledge that. There’s a tennis revolution going on and we are part of it.

The social media frenzy has allowed us to find character in each and every player, tournament director, commentator, journalist, and above all the average tennis fan. It has connected a global community no tennis venue could ever contain. It added so much depth to a game we already adored but has now helped us explain to our non-tennis-fan friends why there is an element of fascination to this single-player, character-driven, mental game.

There is no doubt that our 21st century ways have helped expand our beloved sport.

We really are a lucky bunch of tennis-obsessed freaks and I gotta say I am proud and thankful for being one.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Australian Open 2011: Comedy Spots - Clijsters Busts Woodbridge During On-Court Interview


Seriously this Australian Open is slowly becoming my favorite tournament EVERRR!! Kim Clijsters said "boobs" on-court on Wednesday. Enough said!!

Way to go Kimmie, poor Todd!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Australian Open: Venus Williams - How To Scare Fans And Alienate People

First of all, I refuse to discuss Venus Williams' tennis as long as she insists on scaring the hell out of me by dressing under the influence.

She certainly upped her game in Melbourne for her on-going quest for the world's ugliest dress.

Here's a small slideshow of the American's outfits. A slideshow I'd like to call: Venus Williams - How to Scare Fans and Alienate People

And here are a couple of reactions on Twitter to Venus' latest diarrhea-inducing outfit:

I thought Venus' outfit last night was just a bad dream.... Then I watched @SportsCenter this morning and realized THAT really happened.

@AmerDelic Vee's dress was so bad I am sure it is what caused her groin injury... it sure kicked me in the nuts.

Hit me up in the comments section on which one of the dresses above was Venus' most outrageous fashion faux pas! (who am I kidding, nothing trumps the current Australian Open disaster?!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Australian Open 2011 - Day 1 Quotes - Henin & Monfils

Gael Monfils pulled off a major turnaround as he escaped from the brink of defeat against young Dutchman, Thiemo de Bakker, who was serving for the match at 5-3 in the third, before the 12th seeded Frenchman decided he wasn't ready to leave Melbourne yet.

Here's an explanation of how Monfils came back in that match, in his own words:

"I know Thiemo a bit. I know sometime he snap in the head. So this is like a strong belief. We know like he can snap. It's a weakness for him. So you play with that. You know, before the match, my coach, Rog, told me, Sometimes Thiemo is not a big believer. When I saw that, you get it (snapping fingers). So you tank, be ready in the fifth, because I will. Maybe this is play for me today."

Monsieur LeMonf, FILTER, my friend. It's not very nice saying your opponent chokes under pressure, or has no self belief, especially that he said in his press conference he got injured and could barely hit the ball for the last 2 sets. It was a great comeback but be careful what you say...

Justine Henin played her first competitive match in almost 6 months and had to fight back from a set down to beat Sania Mirza and make it to the second round.

Here's a question the Belgian received during her post-match press conference on Monday:

Q. Do you sympathize at all with Wozniacki and maybe Safina coming to the No. 1 ranking without a Grand Slam and all the questions that they face?

JUSTINE HENIN: It's not that easy. Of course we wish that to be No. 1 you have to win Grand Slams. I think ‑ as I was thinking about that in the last few days ‑ if I have to remember something, it wasn't really that I was the best player in the world, but it's all the Grand Slams I won. That's what gives really the emotions.

So of course they have been very consistent, not injured, so they could play. Wozniacki is still very young. Safina has been in trouble. Jankovic I think played a lot and also has been tired from that at a certain time of her career.

But I wish them to win Grand Slams because they will feel the difference. When I became No. 1, I was so happy because it was in 2003. I did win the French, US Open that year, and I think it was big accomplishment, the dream of a little girl to be the best in the world.

But the feelings you get at the second you win a Grand Slam, yeah, winning a Grand Slam, it's seven matches, two weeks, it's the hardest, I think. Serena proved that many times as she, you know, didn't play a lot, but in the big moments she was there. And I think it's the most important.

Justine, you could have just said no, I don't sympathize with them, instead of raining on their parade and making them feel worse about what they're missing... hehe

Australian Open 2011: The Long Overdue Preview (Part 2)

The Nadal Quarter

Nothing is more anticipated or drooled over, than the thought of Rafa completing the Rafa Slam. Can you imagine how huge it will be if Rafael Nadal wins his 4th straight Grand Slam? Achieving a feat that no one has managed to achieve in 42 years, and even then, there were only 2 surfaces for Grand Slams, not 3. I certainly can’t stop thinking about it, so I’m trying to imagine how Rafa is dealing with that very thought?! He is the master of mind control but this is one tough thought to squash!

The top seed has quite a few bumps on the road to the Rafa Slam, I don’t know why people are saying he has an easy draw. Is there such a thing in a Grand Slam anyways?!

Nadal [1] opens his Oz Open campaign against Brazil’s Marcos Daniel and could meet his compatriot and good friend, Feliciano Lopez [31] in the third round.

The Spaniard could then meet Marin Cilic [15], Radek Stepanek or John Isner [20] in the 4th round, before a possible quarterfinal against another friend of his, David Ferrer [7], or Mikhail Youzhny [10], or David Nalbandian [27].

Nalbandian vs Hewitt

The 1st round match to watch is definitely David Nalbandian [27] against former world number 1 and home favorite, Lleyton Hewitt. Those two have a history in Melbourne where they played an infamous 5-setter in the 2005 quarterfinals which Hewitt eventually won 10-8 in the 5th. Hewitt has a slight 3-2 edge over the Argentine in their head-to-head record but the last time they played was in 2009 in Sydney, where Nalbandian won.

Nadal on how it would feel like if he wins his 4th straight Slam:

“I think is better if we continue with another questions because for me, seriously, I can't answer this question because I didn't imagine (laughter). I think if that's happen, for sure for me I gonna be more happy to win in Australia because is the Australian Open more than is because the fourth in a row. That's hundred percent true.”

Nadal on whether he considers himself the favorite in Melbourne:

“But I for sure am feeling less favorite than him [Federer] and not more favorite than Djokovic, Murray, Soderling, these kind of players, no? So that's true. That's what I think.”

Nadal’s key to success:

“In tennis you can improve all your career. So is something that I always tried when I wake up every morning and I go to practice. My goal is improve, not go to practice. That's why I am here, no? If someday I lost this feeling, maybe I don't gonna come back to this tournament.”

The Soderling/Murray Quarter

Robin Soderling did to Andy Murray what Juan Martin Del Potro had done at precisely the same time last year ahead of the Australian Open. The Swede leapfrogged Murray in the rankings to grab the number 4 spot and set the media off into a speculation of what would happen if both Murray and Djokovic fell in the same half of the draw together with either Nadal or Federer?!

As everyone kept asking Murray how he felt being the 5th seed, the Scot had the simplest and most perfect reply:

“To be honest, I don't really care. Like last year, I was seeded 5 here and made it to the final. Been 4, lost in the third round of slams.”

So Robin Soderling is seeded 4th and Andy really couldn’t care less. Soderling opens against Potito Starace and Murray faces Karol Beck of Slovakia.

Other dangerous players in that quarter who are all semifinal contenders for Nadal are Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis [21], Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [13], Jurgen Melzer [11] and Ernests Gulbis [24].

Murray could meet Del Potro or Baghdatis in the 4th round, while Soderling could meet Tsonga or Gulbis.

Possible quarterfinals

Andy Murray [5] vs Robin Soderling [4]
Andy Murray [5] vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [13]
Robin Soderling [4] vs Jurgen Melzer [11]
Robin Soderling [4] vs Marcos Baghdatis [21]
Robin Soderling [4] vs Juan Martin Del Potro

Possible semifinals

Andy Murray [5] vs Rafael Nadal [1]
Robin Soderling [4] vs Rafael Nadal [1]

Murray’s thoughts on Rafa possibly winning 4 in a row:

“To me, I think if you hold all four Grand Slams, it's one of the best achievements in sport. And I really hope he doesn't do it (smiling).”

Murray on returning to Melbourne after losing last year’s final (from The Australian):

“For me, Melbourne is also the scene of my greatest disappointment. I played some of the best tennis of my career here last year, but was not able to reach that same standard against Roger Federer in the final...”

Monday, January 17, 2011

Australian Open 2011: The Long Overdue Preview (Part 1)

Am not sure how it happened but I’m actually exhausted and it’s only the first day of the Australian Open! Staying up late for the warm-up events and the qualies has worn me out which is why this preview is in fact long overdue but it never hurts to break down the draw even if the action has already started. So here are my thoughts on the 2011 Australian Open men’s draw…

The Federer Quarter

Defending champion, Roger Federer, is seeded second in Melbourne this year and had a quick first round win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia on opening day.

The Swiss has his work cut out for him though in the second round where former top tenner, Gilles Simon, awaits. I’m not saying Federer isn’t in top notch form and that he shouldn’t be able to beat the Frenchman. BUT let’s check the facts on Simon. He is a former world number 6, he is coming off a title win in Sydney where he beat Viktor Troicki in the final in straights and guess what? Simon is 2-0 against Federer. Both wins came back in 2008 but it surely helps with the confidence entering a match against the best player of all time knowing that you’ve beaten him each time you’ve played him before. Since early rounds are usually a bit tricky for everyone, you never know, this match could get interesting, maybe Gilou could snatch a set of the Fed. Maybe not, but it’s a less than favorable second round match for the world number 2.

So who else is in Federer’s quarter…? Fellow Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka [19], who like Federer, opened his 2011 season with a title win (in Chennai), Gael Monfils [12], who had a tough 5 setter against Thiemo de Bakker on Monday, and Andy Roddick [8] who cruised through his first round.

Interesting 2nd round match-ups:

Roger Federer [2] vs Gilles Simon
Mardy Fish [16] vs Tommy Robredo
Grigor Dimitrov [Q] vs Stanislas Wawrinka [19]

Possible quarterfinals:

Roger Federer [2] vs Andy Roddick [8]
Roger Federer [2] vs Gael Monfils [12]
Roger Federer [2] vs Juan Monaco [26]
Roger Federer [2] vs Stanislas Wawrinka [19]

Federer’s thoughts on who should be considered the clear favorite for this year’s Aussie Open:

“He [Nadal] should be favorite. He's holding the three slams. I hold this one still, but just, so... Of course, I won the World Tour Finals, I've been playing really well on the hard courts right now. But he's been the one dominating the slams. Had hardly any tough matches in the last three slams. That makes him the favorite. I don't have any problems not being the favorite really.”

The Djokovic Quarter

Third seed and 2008 Australian Open champion, Novak Djokovic, fell in Federer’s half of the draw. So a possible rematch of last year’s US Open semifinal is very possible, which depending on how Djokovic sees it, could be good news for the Serb since he got the best of Federer last September before falling to Nadal in the final in New York.

But for Djokovic to make it to the semis for a possible clash with Federer, he might have to overtake the likes of 2010 Wimbledon finalist, Tomas Berdych [6], Richard Gasquet [28] and Fernando Verdasco [9].

The real surprise that already happened in this quarter is Nikolay Davydenko crashing out of the 1st round to unseeded German, Florian Mayer, in 4 sets. Davydenko reached the Doha final earlier this month where he beat an ailing Nadal in the semis but sadly his solid Oz Open prep was clearly not enough for the Russian to make it to the 2nd round.

Djokovic however must be delighted to have one less problem to worry about in his quarter.

Interesting second round match-ups:

Tomas Berdych [6] vs Philipp Kohlschreiber
Janko Tipsarevic vs Fernando Verdasco [9]
Nicolas Almagro [14] vs Igor Andreev
Viktor Troicki [29] vs Nicolas Mahut

Possible quarterfinals:

Novak Djokovic [3] vs Tomas Berdych [6]
Novak Djokovic [3] vs Fernando Verdasco [9]
Novak Djokovic [3] vs Richard Gasquet [28]

Possible semifinals:

Roger Federer [2] vs Novak Djokovic [3]
Roger Federer [2] vs Tomas Berdych [6]

Final thoughts on this half

Federer has the opportunity to avenge one of two tough losses he had suffered at Grand Slams last year – to Djokovic at the US Open semis and Berdych at the Wimbledon quarters and since he is back to his supernatural form with confidence high as ever, Djokovic and Berdych should be worried… Very worried!

Djokovic’s thoughts on Rafa and Roger:

“I guess I'm in this small group of players behind them that is trying to challenge them in each event. How far back, I mean, I can't say. Rankings are showing everything, and results they have made are probably two out of maybe five best players to ever play this game. To be able to compete with them is a big challenge. Every time we play, you know, they take my game as well to another level. They make me play better. In case I get to play them in this tournament, I will look forward to it.”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pic of the Week: Mahut Sexy in White!

Nicolas Mahut showed up to his mixed doubles tie with Kristina Mladenovic against team USA of John Isner and Bethannie Mattek-Sands at the Hopman Cup in Perth this week, IN A DRESS!

I thought it suited him just fine, too bad it didn't do the trick against the American duo, who beat Team France 3-0 and eventually captured the Hopman Cup title on Sunday with a win over Belgium.

Federer Prepared For Fight For Number 1

" need to do something special to get to World No. 1. It's not enough to win a Grand Slam and the World Tour Finals anymore. You almost need to do more than that, and I'm prepared for that, so we'll see how it goes."

Roger Federer clearly has his eyes set on the number 1 spot after opening his 2011 season with a title win in Doha.

While 2nd-ranked Federer has 2000 points to defend in Melbourne this month as opposed to Rafael Nadal's mere 360 points, it all goes uphill for Nadal starting April as a change in the rankings could easily happen considering the Spaniard has the impossible task of defending titles in Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, Roland Garros and Wimbledon over the course of 3 months.

So like Federer said, we'll see how it goes!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

VIDEO: Martin Solveig vs Bob Sinclair at Roland Garros

Watch out for special appearances by Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils!!