I'm not proud that I took part in this charade, but I did. And the whole Halpert/Petko Twitter flirtation has now become one of the most uncomfortable things ever. What started out kind of adorable has somehow morphed into this game of who can make the Twitter world yell "GET A ROOM" first.
But really, doesn't this all just seem like the entire German Fed Cup team is just following the whole thing and laughing at John? Which they have every right to do, really. The guy asked a girl who cites Bloc Party and German dance music whether she likes an Avril Lavigne song. He deserves what he has coming. But I totally feel like this is some tween comedy where Petko's going to convince him to strip down, put on her panties, and wait for her blindfolded inside a closet, and the door of that closet will actually turn out to be the entrance to Arthur Ashe.
OMG. I should write movies.
Anyway. Here's their exchange:
(Oh god. Here we go.)
(Petko plays it cool. Totes veteran move.)
(Oh, clearly you two don't know each other very well.)
(Wait. Canadians think Avril's an upgrade from Celine? Huh.)
(Andrea Petkovic is so awesomely normal.)
(Oh god. This is veering toward the David Brentian level of cringe-worthy. If you suggest a song and a girl starts laughing her ass off, unless it was a track off a Tenacious D record, you're fucked. I mean, insofar as you're not getting fucked. Gently or otherwise.)
(Translation: Here's why I was being sarcastic. That pop shit ain't my jam.)
(Oh, puppy. So excite!)
(Red alert, John. Her friends are getting in on this now.)
(And they're so brazenly fucking with you they're tweeting around you in German but totes letting you know that they're talking about you. This is so pro I can't even high five them enough.)
(Puppy want more treats!)
(Seriously, are you 13?)
(Love that she brought up Avril and the chest business, which let's face it, is comedic genius.)
Also, if I may take the time for a PSA for the boys: Asking a girl if she likes the new Avril Lavigne song is a really easy way to ensure that you will forever be known among her and circle of friends as "The Avril Dude." The Avril Dude NEVER GETS LAID. Trust.
72 hours later, same result, which, is kinda shocking, actually. Milos bounces Pink FeVer *again*, though this time it was a tough three-setter that saw Milos walk away with a 64 36 76(5) win, and FeVer walking away ready to either pull out his pretty faux-hawky hair, or beat the ever-living crap out of the 20 year old.
Yup. Still using this. Because I love it.
Yeah, I think Fer's had his fill of maple syrup for a while. Our good friends on the scene tweeted some quotes from a visibly frustrated Pinky:
I mean, I've seen Milos play. He's no Karlovic or Isner. I think he has more variety and way better movement than those two giants. But yeah, the kid has baseline skills and an eye to get to the net and terminate a point as quickly as possible. So, I mean, I'm sorry that he doesn't play a game that makes you comfortable, Fer, but this kid who doesn't play "real tennis" has now beaten you twice in 4 days and is 3-0 in tiebreakers.
I never understand why these big servers get knocked. Is it fun to watch? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I love watching Milos play, am lukewarm on Isner, and you couldn't pay me enough to watch Ivo. Is it fun to play against? I'm going to go ahead and guess no. There's obviously not as much rhythm in the match and yes, it's hard to get yourself into rallies if that's your game.
But if I can hit one stroke so well and you can't do a damn thing about it, I think I've probably earned my win in the same way you would have earned it if you hit 40 winners from the baseline with your retardedly huge forehand, or a grinder earns a win by hitting 5 unforced errors for the match but running down every damn ball.
It's all tennis. Let's not pretend one brand is purer than another. Isn't the goal of the game to make your opponent as uncomfortable as possible? Well, mission accomplished, Milos.
Now seriously? Run home as soon as the bell rings. Don't stop for anyone and whatever you do, DO NOT LOOK BACK.
That is a badass picture of Nails. I'm hoping that whatever hatches out of that purple WTA egg (LIKE SPECIES!) grows up to be as awesome as Nails and they use this silhouette as the new WTA logo. Because they can't keep that egg forever, right? RIGHT???
Anyway, (DISTRACTO!) that picture is perfect. Except for the part about how it was taken during Nails' three set loss to Wicky, 67(6) 76(6) 62, wherein she had four consecutive match points in the second set tiebreaker and couldn't close it out. So...not so much nails.
But that's ok. I'd still buy your ice cream over her waffles. And no that wasn't meant to be dirty, though I will still go ahead and pat myself on the back for how it *could* have been dirty.
Have I mentioned that I'm kiiiiiiiiiiinda already over Dubai? I just really really can't stand this tournament, despite the fact that it draws a killer field every year. My faves never do well here and the whole vibe of the tournament blows hypocritical self-serving chunks.
So Sam? Go ahead and lose today, honey. It's ok. Let's pack our bags and go home.
The real star of this video? Bepa's eyes. And her skin. Suck it, Proactiv.
And I have to vouch for Nails' choice of ice cream. Coming from California, particularly San Francisco, I had no idea that Green Tea ice cream wasn't, like, a thing. We have it everywhere and no one thinks twice about ordering it. It's light and subtle, and since I'm not huge on chocolate, it's always the perfect cap to a meal. But when I was in Australia I can't count the number of times where I saw someone blanch at the idea of it. So yeah, green tea flavored ice cream. Get on the train. You know Nails wouldn't lead you astray.
Look. I get it. In these technologically advanced times life moves really fast, if you don't stop, blah blah blah, Bueller. But that is no excuse to not Google words whenever you're not sure you're using them correctly. I mean, isn't that the whole point of the "life moving so fast" thing? We now have the means to look up and process information that would have taken 5000 times longer in the past.
So. Unless Bepa's striking some sort of Biblical pose that I'm unaware of (and trust me, I have been known to dabble in that dusty book every once in a while) then I really don't understand the aggressive description of what is going on in this picture by Mr. Naamani.
Bonus Value-Added Observation: Bepa in blue. Awesome. Her eyes are poppin'.
"I am not like Serena Williams as I can't serve aces," she said. "I am not like Maria Sharapova, as I can't hit a winner on every single ball. I don't have all these things and I am still among the top three players out there. So if you think I am not mentally tough or something, well how can I win the tennis matches then?
There is a big difference between being mentally tough and being emotional. It's a huge difference. I will always be emotional. As long as I use those emotions to my advantage, that's only a plus to me. If I need to break the racket to pump myself up, then I will break the racket. I don't care."
-- Bepa, telling people to just get over the fucking "emotional" angle already.
"It doesn't matter if you're skinny or fat. I will always love you. LET'S EAT HAAGEN DAZS!"
While researching this extensive post (I know, right?) I came to learn that Haagen Dazs is an American ice cream company, not a European one. That totally blew my mind. Also, the deal is worth over $1M for Nails. Get it, girl.
I am also totally craving a pint of Vanilla Swiss Almond despite it being dark and rainy outside. So...this marketing ploy totes worked.
"When most players at the Dubai Championships finish their matches, they mingle in the clubhouse eating and chatting. For Shahar Peer, it's back to a guarded compound where she watches movies with her father Dov.
But it could be worse for Peer."
I'm sorry, but this piece of "reporting" is just a sorry piece of steaming shit. It could be worse? Shahar Peer has security detail, has to be kept separate from her colleagues and friends, has to give press conferences in a bunker, and see dudes with machine guns surrounding her. Basically, Shahar Peer has to attempt to play one of the biggest tournaments of the year under constant reminder that people in her host country might kind of like to kill her.
But don't worry, you guys. She's "comfy".
Yo, WTA: If a tournament can't ensure the safety of a player without completely segregating her and discouraging her from actually travelling around the country that she's in, you should probably NOT HAVE A TOURNAMENT THERE. Seriously, how ridiculous is it to see Ana bounding around an amusing park, and fucking Vera Dushevina at the Sook, but Shahar's basically under house arrest. I know I go through this every fucking year when Dubai rolls around but seriously, WTA, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING???
Yank the tournament. Get the money elsewhere or don't get the money at all. It's not worth it. This is just pathetic.
Chakky chopped off her ponytail. Like, she just...chopped it. IT'S GONE. And her facial expression there pretty much reflects mine when I heard the news.
This is the end of an era. An era of innocence and freedom. A post-modern bohemian renaissance that embraced the free exchange of ideas and culture, that strove for enlightenment and knowledge at all cost, that honored individuality and shunned corporate conformity. An era where it was totally dope to have a ponytail that hung down to your ass. An era when having it whip back and forth didn't automatically cue up horrible music made by children that adults pretend to like, but really, it's children making crap music that panders to adults and goddammit, why can't children just be children anymore?
Like I said. End of an era. Arcade Fire won Album of the Year at the Grammys. THE FUCKING GRAMMYS. ARCADE FIRE.
We live in a different world now, you guys, and to be honest, I don't know what the rules are anymore.
Then again she beat Dani in Dubai, so...I don't know.
Maybe this is a good thing.
Finally back in the States after my six-week jaunt Down Under. Lots of fun, but let's catch up on some news, shall we?
Uh...thanks. First of all, I can't take liquids on the plane. Second, why are you giving me shit that I have at home? Third, a hockey sweater? Are Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion going to serenade me next?
Congrats to Milos (can someone please explain to be everyone's insistence on giving this kid a cocked up stupid nickname? Milos works pretty fucking well) on his first ATP title, taking out an, from what I hear, in-form Pink FeVer in straight sets. Weirdly, these two will play each other in the first round of Memphis today.
Two snaps and around the world, girlfriend!
The match ended on a bit of sour note with an idiot fan yelling out while Milos was serving on match point, the yell distracted Fernando, and he got understandably pissed before walking to the net to shake hands. I would absolutely love to buy a beer for the two ladies who gave the fuckball an earful.
Super good stuff from Milos. I obviously didn't see him play in San Jose, but the kid was crazy impressive in Melbourne. I really do think he's the real deal and there's no reason he won't be top 30 by the end of the year. That said, can everyone please just get off his jock? The Raonic Bandwagon is way out of control right now. I feel this way a bit about Petra, too. One month does not a "Next Big Thing" make. Let's see what happens when, especially with Milos, you play a full schedule and guy start to figure out your game. That's where the rubber meets the road and the cream rises to the top.
This isn't to rain on Milos or Petra's parade. They absolutely deserve the privilege of expectation. But let's not get carried away.
The news out of Pattaya was Dani beating Vera on the way to her first title since Linz 2007. I mean, really, who thought Dani had it in her to go through a top 5 player to win a title?
But the hilarity came from Vera's slow-burn indignation in the semifinal after the umpire followed up a disputed line call with a conduct warning to Bepa right before Dani's match point. She claimed she heard Bepa cuss, which, Bepa was all "Say what?"
"She's reading my lips?!?!" is my new "We're talkin' about practice???"
Anyone watch the match live? What's the real story here?
There was a tournament in Paris last week. Kim clinched in the #1 ranking (which Caro can reclinch this week with a SF run in Dubai -- so calm down journos hailing "order restored" and all that bullshit) and Petra then beat her in the final and will reach a career-high ranking of #14. The tournament was so pissed they wouldn't even let Petra keep the free racquet that comes with the trophy. These are all true things. Kinda.
But the only thing that matters whenever Paris rolls around is Momo picspam. The woman wears retirement well.
And scarves. And blazers.
(Reuters, AP, Getty)
I've never understood this whole "dinner on the beach" business. Why do you want (a) sand in your food, (b) wind turning your hair into a Bride of Frankenstein fro, (c) having to scream over the sound of crashing waves and wind to have a conversation, and (d) sand up your butt?
Have I mentioned that I'm not fond of the beach generally? Or Valentine's Day? (High five, Petko. Concert and beer. Word).
But side-ponytailed Bepa asking for a surprise? I just heard a lot of men and women squee their pants.
Ana's trial run with Greasy is over and she's kicked him to the curb. Apparently he tried to add to her game and thought she had lost too much weight.
Never, ever, comment on a woman's weight, Grease. That's, like, the rules of feminism. Also, don't walk around in RF t-shirts. That's, like, the rules of not looking like an idiot.
I'm totally "meh" on the whole thing. I wasn't all that enamoured with the hiring in the first place and to the extent he was trying to fiddle with Ana's game, me no likee. I'm not saying her game doesn't need fiddling, it does. But not right now. Right now she just needs to keep it simple (PLAY STUPID) and knowing what we know about her mind (STOP THINKING!!!) it's best to just let her see the ball, hit the ball. That's why I thought Heinz did such a great job last year. It waasn't about turning her into an all-around player or adding tactics and elements to her game to make her "the perfect tennis player". It was just about see the ball, hit the ball. In my opinion, that's what she needs right now. Just to get back to where she has the confidence to play freely and instinctively.
I don't know. Maybe Moose will listen to all idiots (read: pundits) and fire Judy and Ana can pick her up off the wire. Maybe she wins without a coach. Maybe she goes on a two month losing spree. But the kid needs a team she can trust and it didn't sound like Greasy was in the trust tree. So regardless of whether he's a good coach or not, out you go. She's got enough reasons to doubt herself. She doesn't need someone else adding to the pile, too.
My week in Melbourne after the Aussie Open was awesome. The Melbourne cafe culture and open until dawn bars suits me. I'd pack a backpack every morning, step outside my North Melbourne hostel, and just start wandering. Sure enough, I'd find something to my liking and settle down for some reading and writing. I was planning to stick around for a week and a half and just soak in the city.
That said, I think I knew the minute Sam lost in the third round to Kvitova that I would be heading to Hobart for Fed Cup. First, it was in Tasmania and I had heard nothing but great things about the scenery there. Second, between her early losses in Sydney and Melbourne, I just didn't feel like I saw Sam play that much tennis in Australia. So two guaranteed matches against top-ranked players in Fed Cup with Stubbsy playing her last Fed Cup match? Done and done. Next thing I knew I was on a plane to Hobart.
Inner Monologue: "What language are they speaking? Also, WHERE AM I???"
It's like she plays a version of tennis that only exists in her mind. She's like the anti-Neo.
It's cute that you guys all get along, but GODDAMMIT, FLAVIA.
Just wanted to confirm: She's still little.
Nice try, ladies. But despite what you may have heard, a drunk vagina is still going to get pregnant. Alcohol and bubbles ain't gonna stop those little fuckers.
As is always the case with Fran, the pictures tell the story.
In case we leave the weekend and forget, Jarka capped off a fantastic swing on her new home soil, winning Hobart, a solid run in Melbourne, and a three-set win over a top 5 player. Something tells me Australia welcomes you, Jarka.
My favorite picture of the weekend.
(Pics: Getty, Fed Cup Site)
Ah, Fed Cup. I always always always forget how much I love you and then you remind me every damn time. I don't know why I thought I wouldn't care all that much about Fed Cup this past weekend. I mean, for Christsakes I was flying to Hobart to go to a tie (more on that later), but I suppose I always need reminding as to how badass these ladies can be when they play for their flag.
First off, how about Sveta bouncing back after losing to THE CONE on Saturday (Alize had never won a Fed Cup rubber. Like...ever) to help Russia come back from an 0-2 hole (Uh...good job, Masha). But really, much props to Pavs for stepping up after Tarpi benched Masha, to beat Cones and pair up with Sveta to win the deciding doubles tie.
And then there was Flavia, who drove the business end of her Wilson racquet through Stubbsy's heart by taking her two singles rubbers and continuing her domination over Sam (she's now 4-0).
The good news is that Sam played two tough three setters and she's not playing poorly. She's just not 100% dialed in yet and I think she was overusing the slice against Flavia. I'm confident she'll be alright though, despite being on a 3 match losing streak (Kvitova, Pennetta, Schiavone). Just as with Masha, the kid just don't play good on home soil. Moving on.
Belgium destroyed the Americans. They reacted accordingly.
Funny thing I read: Mel won 7 points in one set against Kim. Like I said, funny.
Germany did what they do. They perfectly combine being badassedly adorable.
But how about the Serbian Sisters? No, no THOSE ones. The ones that are good at tennis!
Bojangles and wee little AK47 took out Canada, 3-2. AK lost her two singles rubbers, but she acquitted herself well and teamed up with Bojo to win the decisive doubles rubber. She actually came back from 0-5 down in the third to Marino, only to lose it eventually, 7-5. As for Bojangles, there's no way she's not top 25 before the end of the year. Fantastic stuff in front of a not-even-close-to-sell-out-crowd in Belgrade.
(Pics: Getty, Fed Cup Site)
Apologies for the lack of bloggage post-AO. If you follow me on the Twitter you know that I've been having internet issues throughout my stay in OZ so it's been difficult to not only set aside the time to write, but also to figure out where the wifi is, how much it costs, and then determine whether or not I can write what needs to be written in the allotted time period.
It's actually an odd situation. I typically write “whenever inspiration hits”, but when you don't have ubiquitous wifi that allows you to just hop into a cafe and pop on the internet (as it is in the States), having to pre-plan what I write is a whole new thing. It's not a bad thing. It's just taken some getting used to.
I have to say, Melbourne was absolutely fantastic and hands down my favorite city in Australia so far. From the minute I stepped off the train from the airport it just agreed with me. It felt foreign enough to still be interesting, yet I felt like I'd been here before. I've intentionally been without maps or guidebooks throughout this trip and Melbourne is the only City where, if I just followed my instincts as I wandered about, I was usually right on.
Of course, I didn't get to see much of it during the two weeks of the Open. That was two weeks of cold media center sandwiches, as many “long blacks” as I could muster with my $16 per day media credit, and quickly packing up my stuff to catch the last transport back to my hostel, which left two hours after the last match, between 1am and 2am. I'd typically stop off at a dingy backpacker bar to down a few drinks to ensure I could fall asleep as soon as I got back. Crash out for 6 hours, wake up, and rip it up and start again.
Oh yeah, and then there was the tennis.
This was obviously my first Slam as credentialed media and I have to thank the good people at Tennis Australia and USA Today. It was truly the best of situations as I wasn't expected to file daily reports or write up matches, so I could enjoy and cover the tourney the way I normally would for Forty Deuce. What does that mean? That means watching a shitload of tennis matches.
It's hard to describe the scope and scale of a Grand Slam from a media center perspective. There's just SO MUCH, especially in that first week. On one hand, you have a crazy number of matches going on simultaneously, 10 of which you'd want to watch courtside if you could. On the other, you have players coming and out of their press conferences. If you want to be at the press conference, you need to physically be in the media center, which is under Rod Laver Arena. To the extent that you're traditional media, this isn't a problem. You can sit in the media center, get feeds for all the show courts, track scores on your computer, write, and when the announcement comes on that a player you need is on his/her way to the interview room, you can grab your notebook, ask your questions, and get back to doing whatever you're doing. In other words, it's pretty easy not to miss too much if you keep your butt in your chair.
But if you're not charged with covering tennis in the traditional way, you find yourself stuck right in the middle of a war between two masters. “I want to watch Sam play. But Nole's just finished his match and will be in press in 45 minutes or so. But I want to watch Sam play. But I want to see Nole's presser in-person. But I'm here to watch tennis. But you can watch tennis anytime. The pressers are what you don't normally get. BUT I WANT TO WATCH TENNIS.”
Lather, rinse, repeat, and that was the hamster wheel in my head for two weeks. It was, at times paralyzing. I would end up doing neither on some days, just sitting in my seat, watching a fave play via the ESPN feed, and then click over to the press conference feed when another fave was in the hot seat. In short, there were times where I went stupid and shut down from all the overload.
But when I didn't go dumb, usually tennis won out. Melbourne Park is just a fantastic venue for tennis. The worst seats in Laver or Hisense are better than the best non-corporate seats at Ashe. The site and the courts feel intimate without feeling cramped. Even on its busiest days (Heineken Day and Australia Day) I never felt suffocated walking around the grounds. If anything, it still felt slightly under capacity, despite the daily reports that they were breaking attendance records. This was in stark contrast to the US Open, the only other Slam I've been to, where I felt like I was constantly being swept up in a wave of people heading from court to court. The best comparison I have for MP is Indian Wells, where you feel like you can walk around and not get knocked over. It's quite fan-friendly in that regard.
Speaking of being fan-friendly, let me just say that being a fan with a big piece of plastic around your neck is awesome. It also completely blows. Allow me to explain.
If there is one thing I learned after two weeks as credentialed media, it is that 80% of my enjoyment of live tennis comes from being able to cheer. Cheering makes you feel like you're a part of the action, as though something you say or scream could have a positive impact on the match. It also gives you an outlet for the stress and anxiety you feel while watching one of your favorite players.
Now imagine being completely muzzled. No cheering, no fist-pumping, no clapping. Just you, a notebook, a pen, a cup of coffee, and, if you allow yourself, a shaking leg, completely poker-faced, while you sit courtside and watch Ana battle but ultimately lose, Sam get railroaded, Moose with the worst body-language ever. It truly sucks and I would leave those matches far more emotionally and physically taxed than I would have otherwise. It just took so much energy to keep it all in.
In some cases I couldn't keep it in so I would go back to the media center, where I could sit in my cubicle, fire up a live blog or tweet up a storm, whispering my cheers under my breath and throw up an occasional fist-pump. This was my habit particularly once Hisense proved itself to suck ass. I don't think I went back into that arena after Janko choked.
Totally objective and rational journalism, right?
All that said, this was truly a chance of a lifetime and I absolutely had a blast. It was a pleasure meeting tennis journalists from all around the globe and get full access to any match you wanted to see. Long queue for Delpo vs. Dudi? Flash your badge and grab a seat under the shade just to the left of the baseline. I'll take it, thankyouverymuch.
So that's my super-vague, unfunny write-up of the overall experience. I'm still processing it all and I'm sure more bits and bobbles will come out over time. I know some of you have tweeted/Facebooked some more specific questions, so I'll turn to those in a bit.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
Fed Cup is this weekend, and in case you missed it, quite a few folks are in action.
The tie of the weekend is newly promoted Australia vs. defending champs, Italy in Hobart. And yes, I'll be going. Behind Flavia and Fran you have to give the Italians an advantage in experience, not to mention the fact that Sam's 0-3 against Flavia (look it up, Flavia's destroyed her every time). But Sam's undefeated in Fed Cup since 2007 (don't think that streak will continue) and Jarka's been playing *really* well.
How great would it be if it came down to doubles and Stubbsy helped get the win? SO GREAT.
Other notables: Masha and Sveta are in action for Russia against an Aravane-less France. Dinara's there too, but methinks she'll just be shagging balls and bringing Masha water.
Kim & Co take on a Williamsless American Team (redundant) in Belgium.
The only way this ends well for MJ is if Bethanie's tights cause temporary blindness among Team Belgium.
(Pics: AP, Tennis Australia Facebook Page)
It's been almost a week since the last ball skid across the blue courts of Melbourne Park and, to be honest, I'm still in a complete daze. So much happened and yet, given the gut-punch of Sunday night, it's taken me a while to even remember all the awesome stuff from this year's Aussie Open.
Thank GOD for pictures.
Don't worry. That's just how ninjas recharge. It's meditation, homes.
I hear ya, Fran. I totes hear ya.
Hey. Remember when Andy looked good in white and was also pretty good at tennis?
Yeah, me neither.
Posted by C Note on February 03, 2011 in Agi Radwanska, Alize Cornet, Andrea Petkovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Australian Open, Caroline Wozniacki, Juan Martin del Potro, Nadia Petrova, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Sam Stosur, Svetlana Kuznetsova, The Mighty Fed, Tomas Berdych | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
This. This is what it takes to pull me out of my lazy, blogless, vacationing and fire up the MacBook.
So...JJ did an ad for a Swiss sperm bank.
This ad is fail for so many different reasons, some obvious, some not-so-obvious.
But before we close the loop on this one, let's step for a second and survey the scene: Let's face it, could this have happened to anyone other than JJ? It's just so perfect.