I mean, you can't blame me. The practice courts were calling and I was so excited to see my friends. Well, there was also the issue of having to spend some time working out some technical issues with my laptop (2 hours wasted!).
Fram bolted to a quick 3-1 lead before Fran started sucking it up a bit and basically left it up to Sam to keep them in it and force a tiebreak. See? Even when she's on the same team as Sammy she finds a way to make her life difficult. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME, FRAN???
Nooooooooot so much for Team Fed Cup.
Fed Cup would bounce back in the second and rather inexplicably steamroll Fram. I was getting worried. But in the super-tiebreak Sam put on her chapstick:
And Fran pumped her fist:
And everything was as it should be.
Good times for all. I really loved how packed the court was and the crowd was loud and appreciative. In fact, when the ladies retook the court for the super-tiebreak play was held up for a bit as the crowd was whooping and hollering. You don't see that often at a doubles match let alone a WTA doubles match.
You rule, Indian Wells crowd.
I uploaded some video of the match, which you can find at the Forty Deuce YouTube channel.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
So the Three Stripes seem to have unveiled a new slogan here at Indian Wells: Adidas Is All In. Kind of random and not the most inspiring choice, especially when "Impossible Is Nothing" works so well. I'm guessing it's less directed towards consumers and more a statement of reassurance for their stable of players. "We got your back," is perhaps what they intend, while all I hear is "We bet the ranch on you so go out there and win or else we're homeless. No pressure!"
As it is, Adidas literally does have their backs, although again, if you really think about it, sense it makes none:
And yes, that is "All Fernando" goosing Rafa. The dude likes titties and he doesn't care what they're attached to.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
Delpo practiced early this morning and was mobbed by a slew of ballkids. I just can't help but smile at that fact. His popularity among tennis fans and kids, given his quiet and reserved nature, just cracks me up and warms my heart.
Thankfully he'll live to fight another day. He absolutely rocked Steps, a player he had never beat, 64 60. He's got a tough draw here and I'm not expecting much from him results-wise, but you have to like his form coming out of Delray Beach. He's got Old Man Ljube Job next.
Would it be too much to ask for a Delpo/Sod fourth rounder? Yes, yes it would. But I'm greedy and take great joy in tempting the gods.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
I was in the car yesterday when I got word that Ivanorazzi, rather inexplicably, lost their doubles match. My reaction was well-reasoned and full of perspective and rationality. I am nothing if not level-headed.
So you can imagine the amount of scrambling and sprinting involved when, thanks to the glorious combination of Twitter and cellular telephone (or "cell phone" if you're one of those "hip" kids), I found out Petko and Ana were practicing with each other.
It was awesome.
Except for the part where Ana kinda sucked at tennis. Lots of quiet frustration from her throughout their practice set, which continued through her practice set with her hitting partner. Her timing just looked off.
It's ok, Ana. You're still pretty.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
It's time to get my stalk on!
Well, one man's "stalk" is another Asian woman's "blogging". As you all know, I've been looking forward to Indian Wells for quite a while now. It's my favorite tournament and I love getting the chance to hang out with my bestest tennis friends, soak in the glory that is glistening shirtless players, and of course, take in some quality tennis matches, all in a picturesque landscape. The air here just smells different. There's a hint of honeysuckle that floats in the air that adds to the sense of comfort and relaxation that Indian Wells inspires. It's like you're living inside a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy.
Or that could just be my perfume I'm smelling. Whatever. It's awesome.
Of course, the BNP Paribas Open 2011 is a little bit different. Sure, they installed more practice courts. And yes, they're now the first and only tournament to have Hawk-eye on all courts (get on it, REST OF THE WORLD). Yup, they added lots of seating to the outer courts as well. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm a Grade A narcissist so obviously I'm talking about me.
I have a credential.
What?!?!?!?!? I KNOW, RIGHT?
So here we go.
(Pic: Forty Deuce)
It's been a while, I know, but in case you haven't noticed it's been a little busy around these parts. But Victoria, Lexi, and I set aside a Saturday to talk tennis, Australia, Indian Wells, and Miami. Hope this wets your whistle for the coming weeks.
Here's the men's draw for Indian Wells. Andy falls in Rafa's half and Nole's in Fed's. If Nole makes the final he'll rise to #2. I would not mind if he notched his third straight win over Roger along the way.
All in all, I'm looking forward to it. I think the draw turned out fairly balanced.
Yeah, you heard me.
You know you're big time when you get papped in the States, TMZ thinks it's newsworthy, and they're too busy wanking off under the desk to fact-check.
That said, I cannot, even in the slightest, blame them. HOLY HOT.
Thanks for the tip, Kelly.
(Pic: Alina Jidkova's Twitter)
...the bad news is...yeah.
The Ladies draw for Indian Wells is out, and I should have known it wasn't going to turn out great the minute I saw pictures of Coco at the draw ceremony. Hrmph.
Some quick observations:
Pavs successfully defends her title in Monterrey by coming back after dropping the first set to beat the surging-yet-still-sputtering JJ, 26 62 63.
She celebrated by eating this:
And here I thought she knew her way around a cake. I was horribly mistaken.
Dear Mr. Sheen: This is what *actual* winning looks like.
Much love to Jelena Dokic for capturing her first title since 2003, beating Fran, Bojangles, and Lucie. That's a super-high-quality run and one that should make everyone sit up and take notice.
Watch her get drawn as Ana's first round opponent in IW. JUST WATCH.
I'm guessing this one tastes pretty damn sweet.
Meanwhile, in doubles...
Dinara Safina: Doubles specialist.
Liezel will be calling shortly, Hamster. Just say no.
Davis Cup never fails to shock and awe. Les Bleus, or "The Rejected Musketeers", came into this weekend depleted. No Jo, no Gael, and no Reeshard. So Guy looked down his short bench and tapped a dude who hadn't won a match SINCE OCTOBER, to be his singles #2 behind "I Suck at Davis Cup" Gilles.
Well, you're looking like a genius, Guy. After Gilles imploded against Melzer (he lost in five sets despite being up 2 sets to one and a break in the fourth), getting bageled in the 5th in case you were wondering, Jeremy stepped up and saved France with a four set win over Martin Fischer, a player who, to be quite honest, I have never heard of.
But whatever. A win is a win and France lives on to play Germany. Your timing is impeccable, Chards.
The A-Rod clinched the tie over Chile and Spain clinched yesterday in doubles, which means the U.S. will host the Armada in the quarterfinals. So far, rumor has it that the USTA is considering Austin, San Antonio, and Albany (N.Y.).
One of these things is not like the other.
ZOMGHAVEITINAUSTIN. First of all, Austin is Andy's hometown. Second, Austin is awesome and you will have no problem getting tennis fans from all over the States (a.k.a., me) to fly to a fun city like Austin to see this tie. Third, the other two cities are SAN ANTONIO and ALBANY.
This is a no-brainer. Which is why I'm sure the USTA will go with Albany.
(Pics: AP, Getty)
You got Kush'd!
WowWowWowWowWow. In a tie that I have to think everyone thought would go to the Czech Republic, World Group newbies Kazakhstan pulled off a shocking upset, with Mikhail Kukushkin clinching it in the fifth rubber over Halek. Sure, the Czechs were Steps-less, but still.
While KushKush will get the hero's welcome, let's not overlook the fact that he got his moment because Andrey Golubev (who I find totes adorbs) upset Tomas earlier in the day to keep the tie alive. Tomas? What happened there, buddy?
So Team Borat (comprised of four former Russians) advances to meet Argentina in the DC quarters, while Team Actual Russia got tossed by Sweden and will have to fight relegation to World Group II.
This. Is. Davis Cup.
(Pics: Getty, Reuters)
"I can’t walk a single step. I thought I would be in better shape, but I have felt really bad since the first set. I could finish the match because this is Davis Cup. If it were a tournament from the tour, I would have retired in the second set. But here, I play for my country, with my people supporting me and that is a great motivation...It was one of the worst things that happened to me in my life."
No doubt inspired by Nalby's play-through-pain performance, Pico was fired up.
I mean, the guy literally looks like Team Sweden fiddled with some dark arts and resurrected him from the dead, WHICH, given what we all know about Evil General Sod, may have actually happened. However it was that he found his way on court, Joachim "Pim Pim" Johansson came out of retirement and took out T-Gabs, putting Team Russia in a 0-2 hole.
Meanwhile over in Serbia, STRESSSSSS!!! Viktor needed 5 sets to take out Rohan Bopanna, and then Janko, despite being up a break in each set, lost in straights to Somdev. So the Falconless Serbs finds themselves 1-1 after the first day. An unexpected result, indeed.
To quote Mr. David Bowie: "We could be heroes, just for one day."
Paul Capdeville. Wee little Paul Capdeville. Wee little Paul Capdeville who once got into a tiff with Mario Ancic. WLPC came back from two sets down to take out Big John, 67 67 76 76 64 to even up the US-Chile tie 1-1. It was gutsy stuff from the little one, who played the fifth set as though he had no doubt that he would come out on top. He ran down every ball, even ones clearly out of reach, sending a signal to an exhausted and cramping Halpert that he was fresh as a daisy and could go all day.
You have to feel for John. That's yet another heartbreaking loss for the big man in 2011.
The Americans should still be ok behind the BryBros and A-Rod. But these are the matches that make Davis Cup magical. A dude who's been playing Challengers, puts the flag on his back and in the city of his birth, slays the big man. Epic stuff.
(Pics: Getty, Reuters)
Credit Suisse has hired Mario Testino to do a Fed shoot. Upshot? Fed has one facial expression. He is also, in case you didn't know, classy.
More pics over at HC Foo's site. Seriously. One. Facial. Expression.
"Psst! What are we doing for dinner?"
"I could definitely do pizza. Burritos sound good, too. Sushi, maybe?"
"Although, I could do pasta. I mean, I can always do pasta. You like pasta, right? Yeah, let's do pasta. I'm not gonna lie, I could eat the shit out of some pasta."
"ALLLLLLLBBBBBBBBEEEEEEEEERRRRRTOOOOOOOOOOOO. Are you even listening?"
"What's that dude's problem? Anyway, you guys feel like some 'za?"
"Hey, you feel like pizza? Feli! FELI!!!
Fine. Whatever. Don't talk to me."
"BRO! CAN YOU ORDER UP SOME PAPA JOHNS, DUDE? EXTRA RANCH!"
Nole playing soccer in 2008.
Nole makes Viktor walk like a dog. Apologies for the cackling. But you would have, too.
Tracey and I say goodbye to Marat after he played his last career match at Indian Wells. Tracey, being awesome, makes him smile.
In part of a long-running series of "Stupid Ana Tricks", Ana plays football.
And of course, my finest cinematic moment.
You can see more videos at the Forty Deuce YouTube channel. I mean, I haven't even included the Dinara eating videos.
Here's the official statement:
“Serena did indeed suffer from a pulmonary embolism last week, and the hematoma was another unexpected scare. Thankfully everything was caught in time. With continued doctor visits to monitor her situation, she is recuperating at home under strict medical supervision.”
Says Serena, “Thank you everyone for all of your prayers, concerns, and support. This has been extremely hard, scary, and disappointing. I am doing better, I’m at home now and working with my doctors to keep everything under control. I know I will be ok, but am praying and hoping this will all be behind me soon. While I can’t make any promises now on my return, I hope to be back by early summer. That said, my main goal is to make sure I get there safely.”
Really scary stuff. NHLer Tomas Fleischmann was diagnosed with PE earlier in the year and he's been ruled out for the season.
Prayers and best wishes to a healthy recovery, ReRe. Notice I didn't say a "quick and speedy" recovery. Just a healthy one. Take all the time that you need. You're a human being first, a tennis player second, and Lord knows you could still win Slams when you're 35.
So time ain't your enemy. Whoever's holding the voodoo doll. She's your enemy.
Yeah, I said it.
I FUCKING LOVE INDIAN WELLS.
It is hands down my favorite tournament of the year to attend, and yes, that includes the two Slams that I've been to. Why do I love it so much? Well there are the non-tennis related reasons. My two best friends in the world come with (Steph, aka @bellyflopz, and Kristin, aka DonkeyGrooming), Steph and I always have a fun time doing the 10+ hour drive (spoiler alert: Celine karaoke is involved), it's the one time a year that I get to have Roscoe's Chicken 'n Waffles, I get to meet up with all of my tennis-related California friends who are based in LA (Maria, Tracey, Victoria, Katie, Uncle Jamie, Aunt Cari, etc.), I get to work on my tan, and basically have 1-2 weeks of absolute vacation paradise in the warm California desert.
As for the actual, you know, tennis, Indian Wells will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first tennis tournament I ever attended and the first year that I went, Ana and Nole won. The next year, Bepa and Rafa won. Um...I'm going to go ahead and pretend last year didn't happen.
Aside from that, I still remember being absolutely flabergasted as to the access you get to the top players. Over time I've obviously come to learn that you can get this access at most non-Slam tournaments, but at the time it was totally shocking and I remember feeling like a kid at a candy store as I sat just 15 feet away from Ana as she practiced and almost got hit by an errant ball.
The city and the venue are so chill and so relaxing, and while I can understand why some players would find it boring, I side with those players who appreciate the chill atmosphere.
And then there's the practice field, which as far as I know, is unrivaled. It has been the scene of some of the more hilarious player observations/interactions of the past three years.
Of course, Indian Wells wouldn't be Indian Wells without Steph's amazing camera skillz. Over the years she's absolutely put Getty to shame. You'd think she was like a spy or trained in taking covert candid pictures or something. She's that good.
I'll be spending the next week counting down to Indian Wells, in the only way I know how. Stay tuned.
Dinara won in Kuala Lumpur. Like, a match. In straight sets. Winning 12 straight games. She even threw in a bagel.
Granted it was over someone ranked #125, but considering Dinara's current ranking stands at #117, that's totally the same as like... Caro beating Kim 0 and 2.
That's what we call "infallible logic", kids.