Leave it Rafa to pander to the English crowd.
Q. You talk about passing Billie Jean. Looking at the names ahead of you, do you ever take a look at that and say, Wow?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I know Martina and I guess five other people are ahead of me. I didn't even know I was six on the list or seven or whatnot. I'm telling you, I don't think about that kind of stuff.
My thing is I love my dogs; I love my family; I love going to the movies; I love reading; I love going shopping. Like it's not on my list to be, you know, this.
At the end of the day, I would love to open more schools in Africa or in the United States, and I would love to help people. I would like to be remembered, Okay, yeah, she was a tennis player, but, wow, she really did a lot to inspire other people and help other people.
That's what I think about, not about Serena Williams won X amount of Grand Slams.
Q. Is there a chance you'll still be playing at 38, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: 38?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If I am, I want you to personally take me off and escort me off the court. There's no way I need to be out here at 38.
Q. Looked like you held up some fingers shortly after the match, pointing towards your family. What was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was 13. I did 10 and 3. Then I thought, I hope I got the number right. You know me, I tend to forget (laughter).
Q. In some way do you take in some pride that not only the USTA apologized to you, but it really did lead to Hawk‑Eye and your getting messed over that night led to a huge change in our game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Could that have been 14? That could have been 14 today.
Man, yeah. Like, I don't know. I just feel like if it's yours, if it's your point, if it's your goal, it belongs to you. It doesn't belong to the other person. Now that it's 2010, about to be 2011, I guess on other planets they have way more sophisticated things, so...
Q. How does it feel to be so popular with the crowd here at Wimbledon?RAFAEL NADAL: You know, probably is the best crowd of the world, no? More respect. They have a lot of respect for every player, I think.
If I speak about myself, was always amazing with me, the crowd, especially yesterday or two days ago when I played against Andy Murray, a British player. For sure the crowd support him, but the same time was supporting me a lot, no? That's unbelievable. Just can say thank you very much.
I quite loved Rafa going out of his way, both in his winner's speech and his presser to give props to the Wimbly crowd. A fantastic passive-aggressive dig at the Roland Garros crowd who, despite all the great performances he's given, still haven't warmed up to him.
I plopped down on the couch to finish it and came across this, from Ed Helms, aka, Andy Bernard:
Dear Ed: I really, really want to be famous, but I don't have any talents. Acting, literary, or otherwise. I'm not even that attractive. Now: How do I get famous? -- Christopher, St. Paul, MN.
Dear Christopher: I admire your moxie and determination! It is clear from your letter that you already possess all of the necessary requirements to become famous. In particular, I would encourage you to cultivate your lack of talent, since that has clearly worked well for numerous celebrities. In addition, fame can often be obtained through association. To wit, try hanging out in nightclubs with people who are already famous, like Lindsay Lohan or Dick Cheney. Or might I suggest trouncing Rafael Nadal in the finals at Wimbledon. However you go about it, I wish you good luck and godspeed in your worthy and noble quest! -- Ed.
Highly recommend the book for shits and giggles if for no other reason than this gem from Samantha Bee:
"Your Lady Flower is a gift to be shared with anyone who asks. Or shouts at you. Especially if they keep shouting at you. That's really macho."
Love me some S. Bee. Stop knocking her up, Jason!
**Ok, yes, that's a link to Amazon. But I'm a big proponent of local independent bookstores so to clear my conscience let me say this: Try and find the book in your local bookstore or library. If you can't, then yeah, buy it off Amazon. Support your local businesses. [/soapbox]
It is finished.
What more can be said about Rafa? He did what he does. At this point in his career he virtually impossible to beat when he is healthy and full of confidence. He had a respectable hard court season before going on a tear over the last 3 months. Since stepping foot in Europe in the second week of April, Rafa has lost ONE MATCH. And that was in Queens after he had gone on 22-0 on his way to capturing three Masters shields and Roland Garros. He's 47-5 on the year.
It looked like all that work would finally take it's toll on him against Petzchner, as his knee problems seemed to flare up. I don't know what they did after that match to get him ready, but I'm guessing it involved a lot of that "magic spray" more likely to be seen on a football pitch than a tennis court. But whatever happened, he played his last three matches with conviction and thankfully, with no pain.
Much like in the women's final, it simply didn't matter who was standing on the other side of the net today. Sorry, Tomas. Hell of a month for you, though, and welcome back to the top 10. Here's hoping you can back it up on the hardcourts.
Rafa now sets his sights on completing his career slam in New York. He'll do it ostensibly in good health (he's skipping Davis Cup) and after a much-deserved vacation of fishing, partying, and family back in Mallorca. There's no reason to think he can't do it.
Especially when he says shit like this:
Q. How have you changed your game to become so comfortable on grass where you now have two Wimbledon championships?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. The main thing I think is if you want to play well, you gonna find a way. So if you really want to play well in one surface and you are a good player, I think in the end you gonna find a way.
It was over in a little over an hour, and in the end it was nothing surprising. Serena successfully defended her title, passed BJK in the all time slam list, and reaffirmed her status as the top dog in women's tennis. Not that anyone needed any reminding.
The story of her run is in one single record-breaking stat: 89 aces. 89 aces in 14 sets. Want some perspective? Here you go: If you take Isner and Mahut out of it, only three men served more aces than Serena for the tournament: A-Rod, Jo, and Tomas. She served more aces for the tournament than Fed, Rafa, Sod, and Novak, and the same number as Muzz. She served *69* more aces than the next woman on the stat sheet, Venus.
With those stats it didn't matter who was across the net today. Sorry, Bepa. I'm sure Sergey knows a few different ways to cheer you up. Dropping trou is Step 1.
Q. What about Andy, you said to him after the match that he could win a major.
RAFAEL NADAL: I wished him best of luck for the rest of the season, and sorry for today. I know it was an important match for him I think because he play at home, and this is a chance for him to win probably the most important title for him win here at home in Wimbledon.
Just I felt sorry for him because he's a very nice person, very good person. I am sure he gonna win a Grand Slam very soon, because when you have final in US Open, final in Australia, semifinals here this year and the last year, you are there all the time. So one day you win. I am sure he gonna win. He deserve to win.
Q. How well aware are you that he's such a big fan of yours? He kept talking about you're his favorite player to watch.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, just can say thanks. He don't need to admire a lot of things of me because he's too good to admire me.
Q. Did you feel you got into the rhythm of your own game during the match?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah. But, I mean, you're not going to be able to play every single point on your terms against the best player in the world, one of the best players ever. You can't.
You know, you're going to need to, you know, go through periods in the match where he can be dictating, and there's periods in the match where, you know, I was dictating.
You know, it was tough. But, yeah, I didn't feel like I wasn't in a rhythm. I won a lot of points off my serve. You know, until the end of the match, he didn't have a breakpoint until the last couple of games. Was obviously doing something right.
Q. Talk about the extra weight on your shoulders because of trying to win it for the home team here.ANDY MURRAY: I mean, there's a lot much pressure playing here. You know, it doesn't affect the outcome of the matches. It's not a valid excuse to make. I've played really well the whole tournament. I obviously want to win for myself. I want to win for the guys I work with. I want to win for, you know, the UK.
You know, a little bit more disappointing than other Grand Slams because this one is, you know, the biggest one of the year for me. And, uhm, yeah, it's tough.
Q. What did Rafael say to you after the match?
ANDY MURRAY: He said, Bad luck. I just said, Good luck for the rest of the tournament. You know, that was it.
But, you know, I've said it for a few years. I love watching him play. He's my favorite player to watch. That's why I enjoy playing him so much. So I hope he wins.
Q. Is it annoying to have to wait so long to receive serve?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I don't care. He can take as long as he wants on any point. I love watching the guy play. No, I don't care. He can take as long as he wants.
Q. Coming off court, Rafa said he thought you'd win a slam and win one soon. What does that mean to you when someone you respect so much has got some faith in your ability?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, yeah, it's nice. Nice obviously to hear. Uhm, doesn't make losing in one any easier.
Q. Will those double‑faults play on your mind as you go home, do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don't know. It's not just double‑faults. It's just I wasn't going for the shots too much. You know, I was kind of waiting for him to make mistake. I was wrong.
Q. Must be frustrating for you. You were so close and it's not happened for you today.NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is. You know, nobody likes losing. Neither do I.
But the fact of the matter is that I didn't deserve to win today, you know. It's just as simple as that. I congratulate my opponent because he was a better player.
He's beaten the #2 and #3 consecutively and now gets his shot at the #1 in his first Grand Slam final on Sunday. Against Nole, just as he did against Fed, Tomas was steady and played within himself, hitting big but also being patient. That patience and his improved movement were really impressive. He was willing to engage in rallies with Nole until he worked out a good opportunity to take a crack.
As for Nole, this was heartbreak. To work his way back into that second set tiebreak with some stunning play and overcoming some cringeworthy bad luck (how the hell do you miss a call on a lob on the baseline???), he fought off set point after set point and even held a set point himself. And then, of course, because the Tennis Gods insist on keeping him in the cellar, he double faults on set point to give the set to Tomas.
From there the kid was emotionally drained and couldn't summon the energy and drive to fight in the third set. All credit to Nole, he saw the match right: Tomas was the better player today. But I hope the kid takes heart. This was a redemptive tournament for him. He came in as an afterthought and comes out as the #2 player in the world, playing some solid tennis along the way. I hope he sees the positive and doesn't dwell on the negative. This was a great tournament for him.
That's what you are. Relentless, unforgiving, immovable, gutsy, and courageous.
You put everything I love about you on display today to absolutely crush my heart.
Oh, Andy. Andy, Andy, Andy. Unlike against Fed 6 months ago, you brought your game today. You showed up, you played well. In fact, for some stretches of the match, you seemed like the better player. You served so well! You were moving beautifully. You were serving and volleying and otherwise getting to net!
But you couldn't summon your absolute best when you needed to. Serving for the second set, after Rafa gifted you a set point with a double fault, you couldn't get your first serve in. Up a break in the third, you couldn't capitalize on Rafa's dip in form and gave the break back and then couldn't hold off Rafa's charge. You absolutely did not play poorly. You absolutely played well.
And I am absolutely gutted for you.
So this is news.
Justine suffered a tear in her elbow in her match against Kim and is out for the next few months. So no JuJu at the US Open. She'll also be replaced by Serena in that Best of Belgium exo thingamabob.
This leaves France without both Jo and Rick in their Davis Cup tie against the Rafa-less but oh so tanned and beachy Armada.
For 99.9% of FD readers, tomorrow is an awesome day. Fed's not involved and there's every reason to root for each of the final four to win. For Tomas, it'd be a hard earned reward for accomplishing the impossible. For Nole, it would be a roar of "I'M RELEVANT, GODDAMMIT!" and further cement his #2 ranking. For Rafa, it would be a cap on an amazing two-month run and further solidify him as the #1 player in the world. And for Andy, it would finally shut up the British press. OK, that last one is wishful thinking, but it would at least make him the first Brit to win a Slam since Fred Perry.
All great narratives. All worthy of a final berth. All feel good stories.
You should be rooting for Nole and Andy. And here's why:
Nice comeback today against the still impressive Pronk to make her first Slam final! And no, she didn't lose her shit. Sadly. But we have one match to go. Losing your shit on Center Court? Now that's some legendary shit losing.
This is just so great to see from a woman who busted her ass to get to the top 5, was a Slam semifinalist and Olympic medalist, was on the upswing, then suffering a horrific ankle injury. She's been working her way back over the past year but I don't think anyone was prepared for her to make such a statement here at Wimbledon. But she's been playing vintage Bepa tennis: moving well, serving solidly, hitting relentlessly, and changing the direction of the ball with ease and conviction. When Bepa plays well I get giddy. I love watching her game.
Another thing I love watching? This piece of hot in her box (heh):
He is slightly more attractive than Sam Sumyk.
BOW. DOWN. TO BEPA.
And so it goes. Serena weathered the storm and finished up Petra to keep her defending campaign going and save NBC from swearing off tennis forever. So...thanks?
Nice run, Petra. I've never been a fan but I've always been scared whenever you play one of my faves. The flat groundies and big serve concern me in a Kleybs/Kaia kind of way. I wish I could get on your train but I simply cannot abide that chihuahua-yelp. I mean, really, what the fuck is that?
A few months ago, a certain friend of mine asked me what the big deal was with Tomas. The question was basically, "Why is he relevant?" Why do hardcore tennis fans talk about him like he's a threat when he hasn't won anything? Why do people shake their heads ruefully whenever his name comes up?
AND WHY DOES HE INSIST ON BEATING FERNANDO VERDASCO ALL THE TIME???
Now there's a match that I can point at to definitively answer that question. Forget the fact that he beat Fed at the Olympics in 2004. Or that he beat Fed in Miami. Or that he beat Muzz a few weeks ago on clay to make his first Slam semifinal. Nope. The story starts here. Tomas beat Fed playing withing himself and, most importantly, by not shirking from the moment. How many Tomas fans, who have tortured themselves by following him for years, watched from behind closed hands just waiting for him to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?
And you can't blame us! HOW MANY TIMES HAS HE FOUND AN IMPOSSIBLY INFURIATING WAY TO LOSE??? SO MANY TIMES!!!
But not yesterday. Yesterday he played the match that we all knew he could play. He hit big, served well, stayed calm, and crossed the finish line, sending the six-time champ, defending champion, and GPOAT into a state of total confuzzlement with a touch of verbal diarrhea.
Fed fails to make the semis of a Slam for the second time in a month, he'll drop to #3, and he's still captured only one tournament this year (granted, it was the AO). And, perhaps a bit more worrisome, he's once again been smacked off the court by a big hitter at a Slam (DelPo, Sods, Berdy).
First of all, Chase, you should be so lucky. Secondly, the fact that you play a sport where there are "legit gays" means you've already sinned and God's not listening. Thirdly, God help the "legit gay kid" who got stuck rooming with your homophobic ass.
How exactly does one become a "legit" gay? Do you apply for a "gay visa"? Do you wear a shiny gold stamp? Is there a certification procedure? If so, can I watch?
I'm not going to lie. I squee'd in delight when I read this:
Q. How much are you worried about your knee? Is there a risk you should skip the Davis Cup tie after Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. Well, sure, I am a little bit scared about the knee. But, you know, it happen. I had a treatment after Monte‑Carlo. So I had the problem. I didn't say nothing before, but you know, guys, how is everything. I had the problem against Roddick in the semifinals of Miami.
I don't like to say nothing in that moment because when you lose, always looks like an excuse. But I can say now I had the problem after I played in Monte‑Carlo with a little bit of pain on the knee, on the left knee, because that's what happened there.
After Monte‑Carlo, I didn't play Barcelona because I had to do a treatment, new treatment. You know, I tried to play the clay season perfect because in that moment the right knee was better than the left. But at the same time I know the knees are not hundred percent recovered. But playing on clay and maybe on grass, if is not very long matches, can work well.
But the last treatments I did between Monte‑Carlo and Rome was perfect. I didn't have no one more problem on the left knee. But just I did one time, and I need to do three times.
I didn't have time to do it at the right knee before because I had to play. The clay season was my main goal of the season. After here I gonna do it another time, no? My goals for me is a big disappointment not be in the Davis Cup on France, you know. Some confrontations, if you play at home against some country, maybe you cannot play this one. But playing in France for me is a very special confrontation and a very big motivation for me.
But I talked with the captain, I talked with the president of the Federation a few days ago, and I said, Guys, I never arrive to the US Open with my hundred percent of conditions. I had last year broken abdominal, two years ago playing crazy here. After Olympics, I did arrive very tired. And I really want to try to go there with my best chances, no, to play, to play my hundred percent.
So I need to do this treatment after here. If I play Davis Cup, I don't have enough time to recover and play tournaments, Cincinnati. Everything was perfect for me last few months, and I need to be ready to finish the season well. My goal is try to keep having the chance to be No. 1 for the rest of the season. That's gonna be difficult. But if you are not in hundred percent of condition, is going to be impossible.
Feli and Fernando. You just can't make this shit up. At least now we know who would be the inner spoon.
As if there was any doubt.
I think we can all agree that Serena's playing out of her mind so far. Her serving has been off the hook. So all credit to Masha for bringing it on Monday, when they had to, unfortunately, class in the round of 16. It was a 16R match that seemed unfair from the draw gods, but thankfully they played a match that would have been worth of a final.
From Masha's perspective, my takeaway was this: You're not there yet. But you're not that far off, either. Had Masha been on the opposite side of the draw, her current form could have seen her in the final. She served well, was smacking the cover off the ball, and, in a great sight, looked to get to the net. During the tournament she said that playing with the intent of getting to the net helped her hit the ball with more conviction and added an overall aggressive mindset to her game. I thought that was really evident in her play here.
So credit to both Maria and Serena for giving us a great match. Because for all the drama that we've seen on the WTA side of the draw, I can't say that we've seen that high of quality tennis.
Loved this from Masha before her match with Serena:
Q. Could you talk about a big rivalry match like this and how it compares to a standard or regular match? When you know you're going up against a big rival, do you like it? Do you find yourself more engaged? Does it change your preparation in any way?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, I'd call it a rivalry when I win a few more against her (laughter). I mean, I've lost the last few.
Do your part, Mash. Make it happen. Tennis needs it.
If you know me, listen to the FD Podcast, or read between the lines, there is only one thing I wanted from this fortnight: for Justine to lose. I was ok with Fed winning, or Serena winning, or hell, Sod winning. But I cannot abide Justine hosting that trophy. It's not mature, nor does it have any basis in anything. I just REALLY don't want Justine to win Wimbledon. I don't want to hear her philosophically beautiful waxings about how much this tournament meant to her, or how she played with the right emotions, or, well, anything. I just don't want it to happen. Hell, I was willing to let her win RG if that meant she couldn't win Wimbledon. This sentiment runs really deep and I'm not proud of it.
So thanks, Kim.
It was painful watching Halpert go down to De Bakker. Not surprising or disappointing. I think we all knew he'd have nothing left in the tank. It just...hurt.
But thanks for the memories. Enjoy your newfound fame.
Just...you know...avoid the clap, dude.
Look, Rendy's not a nobody, despite all the "Rendy WHO???" commentary that came with this match. But oh, Andy. The bottom line is that he couldn't find his A game on Monday and Rendy played an inspired match. To beat Andy Roddick on grass, 9-7 in the fifth? What an effort!
A-Rod was understandably gutted after the match. As the years tick by and Andy is convinced that Wimbledon is his only real shot at another Slam, these losses have to weigh heavily on his psyche. The window is closing. Everyone knows it. And this one's gotta hurt even more knowing what we know now about how the draw worked itself out.
But back to Rendy. First Asian man into the quarterfinals of a Slam in 15 years. What an amazing run. With the focus on the ATP and WTA on the Asian markets and the recent success of the Nails and Jay Z, this bodes well for Asian tennis. I can't wait for the day, hopefully in my lifetime, to see an Asian man or woman raise a Grand Slam trophy. Get on it, Asia!
Also, you might want to start camping out at chicken farms for talent.
And we have Tsvetana Pironkova, another non-nobody, who goes into the semifinals without having dropped a set and ousting the Queen of Grass, Venus, in straights. Let's not forget that she also took out Mono. Similar to A-Rod, Venus clearly didn't have her A game. But again, to beat Venus on grass 2 and 3, and hold your nerve to close out the match and not succumb to the "Williams Aura" is a feat in and of itself.
I saw her do an interview on Wimbledon Tonight and she's an absolute sweetheart. Good head, good perspective, and she doesn't seem overwhelmed by the moment. If anything, she looked like a kid who believes.
Watch out, Bepa.