Kamakshi breaks down Davis Cup 2009. It's gonna be a cracker for the get go.
Great. Now when I google "Ana Ivanovic" I get all these Tabasco articles. Luckily, that's not such a bad thing today.
Some great Davis Cup reading:
I just love the Spanish team. You stay classy, Spain.
Well, holy crap. They did it, they actually did it. Against all odds when pretty much everyone was writing them off, they pulled it out. It wasn't pretty and Lady Luck was on their side, but you know what they say, you make your own luck.
Who would have thought that the heroes of the team that would bring home Spain's first Davis Cup won on foreign soil would be FeLo and Nando? The boys better known for the their looks and their black books (and more than occasional HoYay) sealed this one up for Spain. FeLo with his gutsy win over Elf on Friday, both of them for their doubles win yesterday, and Nando, whose win today avoided a deciding tie between FeLo and Nalby. And let's face it, Nalby would have taken that one.
But boy, it wasn't easy. Because of Elf's leg injury, Mancini subbed in Acasuso and Emilio responded by tapping Nando over Farquaad. I was streaming the match from my hotel room and at the airport and I was one tense mothercrapper. Fer came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and clearly overmatched a very nervous Chucho, taking the first set 64. But then the serving yips (one of the few things he has in common with his girlfriend) hit him and the second and third sets were just ugly. Fer and Chucho broke each other back and forth, and just when one seemed to have the momentum they would go on stretches of gutless play. It really was infuriating.
But Nando righted the ship in the fourth, and as I predicted, Chucho just didn't have anything left in the tank. They guy hadn't played a match in weeks and he was clearly not match fit. By the time the fourth set was over, Chucho was on the Argentine bench begging his abs rubbed down for something, and he was barely there in the deciding fifth set. Nando would eventually win 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Get ready, Ana. You better start stretching now. Daddy's coming home and he had a pretty big day.
Not enough can be said about the fantastic job Emilio did with this team, especially in contrast with Argentina's Mancini. People will always second guess Argentina's choice of surface (indoor over clay). The supposed infighting within the team, with reports of Fatty being pissed at Elf for going to Shanghai instead of focusing on Davis Cup, allegedly coming to blows with Calleri after their doubles loss, and blowing off the post match presser and getting fined. All this should have been nipped in the bud early. I feel bad for Mancini. He got dealt a shitty hand with the injuries and what not. But a huge part of being a good captain is managing your personnel. I get that Fat Dave wanted this more than anyone, but dude, it's a team competition and you have to be a good teammate. So immature. I hope you enjoy your Twinkies. Just remember, they're food, not feelings.
In contrast, Emilio, much like Patrick McEnroe last year, built a team that put country first. They were true teammates. They liked each other (some might say they *more* than like each other). It was a smart move from him to tell Rafa to stay home. Genius to tap FeLo over Fer in the second rubber against Elf. Nando and Fer clearly took their doubles roles seriously, as they had been entering tournaments all year to hone their teamwork. And then, tapping Nando to face Chucho instead of the slumping Ferrer. So smart.
Unfortunately Emilio announced that he'll be stepping down as Captain after this. So no more hottie McHottie pics of Emilio. Sad face.
This is a hard one for Argentina and their fans to swallow. They came in as such presumptive favorites. But really, their chances pretty much went out the window the minute Elf pulled up lame on Friday. I think the assumption has always been that Spain would taket he doubles tie but Argentina would dominate in singles. So without Elf, it was an uphill battle. I really really really thought they were going to pull it out though. I didn't think Nando had the balls to gut it out against Chooch.
How can you not love Davis Cup? Wheel that big ass trophy out and men transform right before your eyes. Rankings and reputation go out the window. The boys just whip em out and measure.
And today was all about FeLo and Tabasco. Sure, they got a little headcasey in the third set, blowing a 5-1 lead and having to gut out a tiebreaker to take the set. But in the end they got it done, beating Nalby and the useless Calleri 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. They're now one win away from clinching the DC. You have to believe this is huge for the Rafa-less Armada. FeLo and Tabasco in particular, given that no one really takes them seriously for their tennis during the year and they are obviously always in Rafa's shadow. A win here would clearly make them national heroes
And how about FeLo? The Pretty One has clearly emerged as the leader of the Armada in Rafa's absence. If he can beat Nalby tomorrow they're going to be erecting beautiful statues of him all over Spain. Then again, knowing his luck, Farquaad will win his rubber first, rending FeLo's rubber meaningless. I don't think FeLo would mind though.
The draw took place this morning. Nalby and Daveed will kick things off in the first match on Friday.
So no Granola and Spains hopes rest on the beautiful shoulders of FeLo. Yeah, if I were Ana, I'd stay home too.
But they sure are pretty.
Videos of the Spanish Armada prepping for the DC Final:
I'm such a sucker for men who wear scarves. I don't know what it is.
So...if I'm reading this article right, and by that I mean if Google Translator is reading it right, Baby E is in fact coming to Argentina for the DC Final. This is what the Translator spits out:
I hope it's true!
Also, I think the article pokes fun at Fernando's hair.
UPDATED: Thanks to Kiki, who found another article reporting that she won't be there. So basically we're back where we started.
From Matt Cronin:
I totally forgot about the Spain/Serbia tie in March. Baby E and her camp better start working on their response to the "Who are you rooting for" questions now. That's a dicey one.
Spanish Davis Cup captain Emilio Sanchez-Vicario, who looks like he's been beaten to "a bloody palp" there, announced that Marcel Granollers will "replace" Rafa and play singles in the DC Final. He'll join a hurting Spanish squad comprised of Daveed, Tabasco, and FeLo.
I'll believe it when I hear it from Rafa, to be honest.
UPDATED: It's being confirmed everywhere so I guess it's true. Too bad. Weird to think he only has two months to rehab that knee and get fit for Australia.
From this week's mailbag:
-- Darise, Amherst
• Not gauche. And depending on where the event is held, it might not even be dangerous. I do think you've also highlighted a...I don't want to say a flaw, but maybe an "odd dimension" of Davis Cup. In this era of globalization, who can really get worked up in a nationalistic frenzy, cheering against those dastardly Swiss?
Now that Rafa is the year-end No. 1, Sampras' record of six years
as year-end No. 1 remains. Am I right? You had mentioned earlier in one
of your mail bags that "it's one of sports' most underrated records." I
thought I would point that out now. Fed was year-end No. 1 for five
-- Shanky Fremont, Calif.
• Good point. Pete Sampras, take a bow. Long as you brought up Sampras, as many of you know, I've been spending this fall trying to write a book about Federer, Nadal and the 2008 Wimbledon final. In the course of the research, I've really been struck by how classily Sampras has handled the "Greatest Ever" talk and his relationship with Federer more generally. Hard to imagine too many other athletes embracing the guy who's gunning for their record.
I am wondering. Are you getting any questions about Sharapova
those days? Or more generally: how long does it typically take for a
player (injured or retired) to be "forgotten"? I guess you can judge
this from the mails you get.
-- D.P., Europe
• Interesting question. I'm not sure this is the greatest barometer for her relevance, but, as one would expect, the Sharapova questions have slowed to a trickle. It's funny, though, because I think she (more specifically, her health) is a fiercely relevant subject. Before her shoulder went back on the fritz, she was playing exceptionally well to start the year and is/was, I think, the obvious heiress to the top spot, the player best suited to grab the top spot and make some order of all the chaos in the women's game. If she is unable to come back, the WTA is a much weaker product.
Have you ever seen Mario Ancic and Marin Cilic in the same room at the same time?
-- Brett Davis, Los Angeles, Calif.
• When Cilic starts showing up at Croatian CLE classes, we'll know something is really up.
Looks like Rafa has tendinitis in the knee and he's questionable for Davis Cup. From the AP:
Medical tests Tuesday confirmed the tendinitis, and Spain team doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro said the top-ranked player would undergo treatment through Saturday.
Nadal will have more tests Monday to assess the injury. Spain plays Argentina in the final on indoor hard court at Mar del Plata from Nov. 21-23.
Spanish Davis Cup captain Emilio Sanchez Vicario will not pick Nadal if he is unfit, Nadal's uncle and coach Toni said Tuesday.
That's some tough luck but it's not surprising. I hope this doesn't signal a trend of Rafa's body breaking down. That would suck Nando balls.
Fed must be reading Leaves of Grass during his off time. The Mighty One has decided to reward us all and give us, the world, the gift that is his game by committing to Switzerland's Davis Cup tie against the U.S. The tie will be held in the U.S., right before Indian Wells.
And now for the understatement of the year, by Sandra Perez, the Swiss Team spokesperson, "That increases our chances.''
Davis Cup is going awesome next year. That is, of course, assuming that the top players "reward" us by playing.
Here's the world group draw:
Argentina(c)(*) v. Netherlands
France v. Czech Republic (c)
USA (c) v. Switzerland
Croatia (c)(*) v Chile
Israel v Sweden (c)
Romania (c) v Russia
Austria v Germany (c)
Serbia v Spain (c)
Man, what a rough draw for the four teams that I want to see in the semifinals: U.S., Switzerland, Serbia, and Spain. It sucks that two of these four teams will potentially face relegation.
So Team Suisse is going to bring their HoYay show to the States, with the U.S. presumably choosing fast hard courts. The other highly anticipated tie between Serbia and Spain will probably be played on clay. How rough is that? What if Serbia loses to Spain and the U.S. loses to Switzerland and they both get drawn to play each other in the World Group playoffs? That would be worst case AND best case scenario, worst because one of those teams would be relegated, but best because we'd get to see that tie.
Augh, I'm already super excited.
These matches will be played March 6-8.
It is a good day for Argentina but an even better day for Crazy Elf, who officially let all the doubters know that yes, he can perform on the big stage under massive pressure. And he looks awesome shirtless. And he cries when he wins too. But more on that stuff later.
The day started with Shamil Tarpischev looking like a genius. Yesterday, Tursonov either jokingly or seriously told the press that Tarpy told him to keep Nalby out on the court as long as possible in the doubles match, in an attempt to get him tired for today's ties. Headbandian, who played in the first rubber on Friday, the five set doubles rubber yesterday, was indeed asked to turn around and play the first rubber today against the sneaky Kolya. Heady won the first set easily before completely losing it and dropping the match to Kolya, 36 63 76(2) 60.
Which put the pressure on the young 19 year old Argie phenom (and future suitor of Baby Elephant if I have my way) to win and send Argentina into the Davis Cup finals against Spain.
And as expected, the Argie Orgy that followed was awesome! Not as much HoYay as the Spanish celebration, but much Elfier, wetter, and shirtlesser. Heh.
So it'll be Spain vs. Argentina in Argentina. Argentina has choice of surface, and because they're sane and actually want to win, they're not choosing clay this time. Word is that they're scouting for a super fast indoor surface.
Is it just me or is it weird for grown men to sit on each other's shoulders like that? Like, I don't know, does anyone else think it's kinda gross that Rafa sweaty "business" is firmly resting on Feli's neck? And is Tobasco about to give Rafa a butt massage? I'm so confused!
HoYay -- originating from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the show, not the movie), refers to "Homoeroticism, Yay!"
And Davis Cup, particularly yesterday when it was all doubles all the time, brought the HoYay in Costco sized palettes.
The Mike and Mardy show kept the US in it with a hard earned victory over Team Hotness (Tobasco and Feli Lopez) 46 64 63 46 64.
Spain continues to lead the tie 2-1, needing just one win in today's reverse rubbers to clinch a spot in the finals. A-Rod vs. Nadal will be the first rubber.
Russia is also still in their tie with Argentina, grinding out a five set doubles win over Nalby/Canas, 62 61 67(9) 63 86. Was Russia's drop in form in the second two sets the result of Russian headcasiness? Or was it strategy:
The mischievous Tursunov said afterwards that Russia’s captain Shamil Tarpischev had wanted a five-sets win more than straight sets. ‘When we were up two sets to love he basically said "keep David out there as much as you can because if you win in three sets it’s not really helpful because he’s still going to be able to play tomorrow, so we tried our best to keep him out on the court."
In some ways it is Argentina’s worst case scenario. The captain Alberto Mancini never intended to play Nalbandián in the doubles, but gambled on him after his quick win over Igor Andreev on Friday. Now he’s played five sets in the doubles, and must play a live rubber on Sunday. And the way Tursunov played, it would surprise no-one here if Nalbandián faces Tursunov in the first of the reverse singles.
Either way, Argentina leads the tie 2-1, needing a win to get to the finals and probably play Spain.
Ah, the Kings of HoYay! It was a Beijing redux with the hugging and the totally inappropriate and somewhat creepy laying on of hands by TMF. But the two man Davis Cup team of Stan and Rog handily defeated Belgium 3-0 and as such will be promoted to the main World Group next year.
And finally, Serbia navigated what could have been a very tricky tie with the Slovak Republic, eventually winning 3-0 with Nenad and Viktor's doubles win. Like Switzerland, Serbia will also be promoted to World Group status next year.
With Serbia and Switzerland winning their World Group Playoff ties and earning spots in the World Group in 2009, FINALLY, Davis Cup is going to be super interesting. Because it was just WRONG that the top three players in the world weren't in the same Davis Cup group.
Too bad Great Britain's doubles team lost today. I was really hoping they would also make it. As of now, it's not looking too good for Muzza. Then again, why should I care when he clearly does not. Andy has never made it a secret that he puts his career before his country, and the "niggling injury" that caused John Lloyd not to select him for yesterday's doubles play was weak. Andy will play Juergen Melzer today, who gave Andy enough bulletin board material a few days ago by calling him a choker.
So I have some bad news. It looks like Switzerland does not have Crazy Eyez Fed on the roster. This is unfortunate. Very unfortunate. BUT, Excited Like A Little Schoolboy Stan is on the roster, which is an adorable little substitute:
Switzerland is easily in front in their tie against Belgium, 2-0.
I will say this. I was shocked Andy took two sets off Ferrer on clay. So he should pat himself on the back on that one. Then again, if you're able to take two sets, you should be able to grab a third one, and Andy just couldn't. Too many unforced errors and failed break point opportunities. Pretty much describes his year, doesn't it?
Ethpana leads the U.S., 2-0.
Sylar continued his quest to destroy the human race, mercilessly using his laser finger and cutting off Kolya's skull to observe his brain in an attempt to gain additional powers (perhaps the power of invisibility?). Just kidding. He did none of that. But he did win in straight sets, 61 64 62. That? Is an impressive win.
Argentina leads Russia, 2-0.
And how about that Serbia? Nole took care of business, taking the first rubber in straight sets. But then Tipsy kept it interesting, rallying back from two sets down to take it 67(3) 46 64 76(5) 86, in 4 hours and 18 minutes.
Serbia leads Slovak Republic, 2-0.
Other World Group Playoff results that had boring pictures:
Chile 2 Australia 0
Great Britain 1 Austria 1
Israel 1 Peru 1
Netherlands 1 S. Korea 1
Romania 2 India 0
So as I've mentioned before, I live in the Castro area of San Francisco. As a single girl living in the City, this area is awesome. Hot, usually shirtless dudes walking around who won't harass you or even think of raping you. If anything they will stop and help you with your groceries and while in your house offer free interior decorating advice and help you organize your wardrobe. Um, hello! Can you say heaven?
Now, looking at the U.S. Davis Cup pictures from Madrid let me tell you, I see crap like this on a daily basis. Hourly, in fact. From my living room window.
Hot sweaty dudes givin' away some sugar.
Dudes bumping tushies. This move is way less gay than the BryBros' leaping chest bump.
Uh, this move and five bucks will get you a handjob in the bathroom at Moby Dick.
Oh, Andy. There's a reason the gays love you.
You know, for a team that's about to get their asses handed to them on Saturday and Sunday (though given these pictures I'm not sure they'd be all opposed to that), they sure are having a fun time.
OHHH!!!! I just realized who the newly shorn (stop crying, gauloises) Crazy Elf looks like!!!
Yeah, not much.
UPDATED: SEE? He totally has superpowers:
So word on the street is that Bob Bryan did not fly to Madrid with the U.S. Davis Cup team and has been replaced by The Sockless Wonder. Apparently he has a shoulder injury that needs resting. So we're sending A-Rod, Sam Querrey, Mike Bryan, and Mardy Fish to play Rafa, Ferrer, Tabasco, and Feli Lopez. Kind of hilarious considering this, which was printed on September 4 in the New York Times:
It is the 11th time in a row that Roddick, Blake and the Bryans have made up the U.S team since 2005. They hold the record for the most consecutive times a U.S. team has remained intact. The previous record was three.
“I guess they just care a lot,” said Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain. “They are great team guys.”
I mean, Blake and Bryan pull out from "exhaustion" and "injury". No offense, Bob Bryan, but you played just last week and won the US Open title. Really? You couldn't just gut it out to fly to Madrid and play ONE match?
You know it's a tankfest when you're sending MARDY FISH to play on CLAY. Sheesh.