For the first time in her career, Masha will kick off her Australian campaign at an actual, real, live WTA sanctioned tournament. Go nuts, people of Auckland. You got a supastah in town.
For the first time in her career, Masha will kick off her Australian campaign at an actual, real, live WTA sanctioned tournament. Go nuts, people of Auckland. You got a supastah in town.
TMZ, you know the, the ALWAYS RELIABLE NEVER WRONG TOTALLY UPSTANDING TMZ, is reporting that Sasha popped the question to Maria on Tuesday. Uh...they don't say whether she said yes (nice, reporting, geniuses), but they have heard from a friend who heard from a friend who heard from a bouncer who heard from a dog that Masha's been wearing the ginormous rock.
So Mazeltov, if it's true!
Fuck you, TMZ, if it's not.
Also, for the record, I'm really hating myself for having to link to TMZ.
As the rest of the tour limps and loses their way to the finish line, these ladies have all decided to shut it down for the season. Jay-Z is having wrist surgery, which may force her out of the AO. Aga has a stress fracture in her foot (which she played on for TWO TOURNEYS) and may also miss the AO. Venus' left knee is keeping her on crutches and out of the YECs and Fed Cup. And Maria and Sveta are also shutting it down due to injury, though with Maria, you have think it's more of a mental issue even if she has been hurting since the USO.
So there's your roundup. Rest up and heal up, ladies. The tour needs you.
Well, except you, Aga.
Ok, at first it was cute. But now it's just annoying. Ok, no it's actually not annoying at all. But goddammit, why'd you have to go and beat Masha when she was trying to defend her Tokyo title and send her plummetting out of the top 20? Why'd you have to do it, Kimiko?
Oh. Because you're awesome and it was your home tournament in front of a home crowd? Ok, fine. That's a damn fine reason if I ever heard one.
Also, Masha? Betty Draper sucks, ok? In particular, she sucks balls this season on Mad Men. If you wanted to channel some awesome then you'd be dressing more like Sally, not her horrible tool of a mother. So I fully expect you to come out in Beijing wearing nothing but Jon Hamm's t-shirt. Take your fashion cues from awesome people, not emotionless hacks played by people who used to date Ashton Kutcher.
I really don't think this is news.
You know what is news? Ana winning a match, beating Kleybs easily in fact, after her dismal Heinzless showing in Seoul last week. And dudes, Ana played WELL. Great serving, fantastic movement, and phenomenal hitting on her forehand side. It was ridonk and a truly pleasant surprise.
But of course, the laws of the universe kicked in and Dinara lost to Julia Goerges.
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT BESTIES DO.
So I'm sitting here catching on a month's worth of Tivo and I started going through my files. Sometimes, as you're surfing the interwebz, you just see funny or interesting photos and you save them, not having any idea if you're going to actually have a reason to use them in the future.
So here's me unloading a few randoms on you.
Vania and Shveddy at the Wimbledon Champions Ball.
I...don't want to talk about it.
If there's one thing we know about Igor, it's that he likes pretty things.
Ah. A classic.
Masha, about to eat her dinner.
Robbo and one of her two pooches.
Leather brings out the best in everyone.
Where was I?
Oh, right. I realized this afternoon that I never did a proper Pic This entry for the USO. Shame on me.
So here we go....
Posted by C Note on September 14, 2010 in Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Francesca Schiavone, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Janko Tipsarevic, John Isner, Kim Clijsters, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova, Melanie Oudin, Novak Djokovic, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Richard Gasquet, Sam Stosur, The Mighty Fed, US Open | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
It's 3:15am so I'm gonna make this quick. That was a hell of a win for Caro today. She took down the biggest scalp of her young career, dusting an in-form Masha in straight sets, and never really looking all that threatened while she was doing it. She defended well, served well, and was as aggressive as she needed to be to get Masha running and, more importantly, to get inside Masha's head.
You could almost see Caro cribbing from Kim's tactic against Ana:
I knew once I got out there that Ana is the type of player -- she's playing with a lot more confidence, and if I can stay with her in the beginning of those first few games where she was playing really good tennis, if I could just stay with her and kind of just, yeah, make her once in a while doubt a little bit. Or just, you know, even when she's playing her best tennis, trying to retrieve a lot of balls and just try to get her to make the mistake, I really felt that was the case in the first five games we played today.
She starts making a few little unforced errors and a couple of double faults. I really tried to use the chances that I had, and that's what I did really well.
Yup, pretty much. The kid went out there and absolutely won this match. She's ready for Primetime.
I'm going to need more time to ruminate on what I think this loss means for Masha. I know it means something. It's not just a random blip that you just dismiss. But I need to tumble with it for a bit.
So let's keep the focus on the kid. Look, I don't think I'll ever be a fan. And that's not you, Caro. It's me. I just don't like your brand of tennis even though I absolutely recognize, particularly after seeing all the improvements in your game which have been on display over the past few weeks, that it is an excellent brand of tennis. You're consistent, you do everything well, you've developed just enough pop on some of your shots to make yourself more than a "pusher", and you're just getting better with each year, and you're mentally strong. On top of all that, you're a perfectly nice kid, a good personality for the sport, and you seem to have your head on straight. Good on your parents, Piotr and Anna, for raising such a sweet kid.
But at the end of the day, I like Coke, not Pepsi. I like Budweiser, not MGD. I like BMW, not Mercedes. I like...other tennis players, not you.
It's nothing personal. It's just a preference.
Now go out there and make the final, hopefully against Kim, and let's see what you can do. You finally have our attention. Do with it what you will.
Nike's Primetime Knockout, held at Pier 54 in NYC last night, sounded like a hilariously cute little PR stunt that probably could have been awesome, but ended up falling short into the "that was pretty cool" realm. Each of Nike's main cast of characters debuted their NYC night kits and I thought everyone looked good.
I know, the collar is kind of weird, but don't even try to tell me that's not a trophy hoister. Or that Masha's not a dork.
Even Serena was there, rocking the boot, which was disappointedly unbedazzled. What happened? Did JJ monopolize the glue gun? At least get some Elmer's and drop some glitter on that shit. I'm sure you still have some in your hair from the NYTM shoot.
Sigh. Admittedly, I kind of fell off the bandwagon once he decided to start playing douchey DudeBros. But I will forever hold a place in my heart for the getting-fucked-in-the-ass-by-Michael-Ian-Black/nerdy best friend, B-Coops. Those were good times.
Vika doesn't have a night kit so she was all day-glo under the lights. But it looks like everyone was having themselves a good time, which is always nice to see the week before a Slam kicks off.
Yeah, we think he's the favorite too, Roger.
Nike gives a photoshopped preview of their stable's USO looks. I'm still not sold on Masha's Betty Draper day kit, but I'm definitely a fan of Nails' clean blue and whites.
I will say this: Roger, Rafa, and Masha's night kit? Total troiphy hoisters.
The players will be unveiling their looks tonight at the Nike Primetime Knockout Event at Pier 54.
Not that Kim's voodoo doll had much to do with the outcome of this match. Masha had three match points before the super weird rain delay and couldn't convert any of them, missing two returns and going for a winner on a long rally that went wide. Then the skies opened up, the players were off court for over an hour, which, as Kim said after the match, she used to go back to the hotel room to get her serve, Kim held serve and Masha somehow hurt her foot. She says she felt it in the tiebreak.
Don't worry, Pam. She'll be ok.
The last set went quickly, as Shazz couldn't serve for shit, move for shit, or hit for shit. Credit to her for sticking it out and not retiring. A rough way to end yet another fine week for her. And in case there was any doubt, Masha's withdrawn from Montreal.
As for Kim a solid start to her USO defense, though let's face it, she was a wee bit lucky through the week with the foot injuries and whatnot. But that shouldn't take away from what she did here. Her match against an in-form Flavia was probably her best of the week and it was an impressive display. I don't think she's serving particularly well but we'll see if she's shaken off the rust once she crosses the Canadian border.
It's downright scary how Masha's been playing through this USO Series. She demolished Mono tonight, and barring a minor hiccup trying to close out the match, she looks absolutely unstoppable. She's moving well, huge off the ground, and most importantly, that serve is looking pretty damn solid.
If she's not the USO frontrunner, I don't know who is. Oh yeah, Serena. But seriously, I don't know...
Hell of a final (or at least a first set) that Vika played to clinch her first title of a season and a nice scalp of a fairly in-form Masha. That first saw some nice hitting off the ground and if there are a few things I've been forced to recognize from watching a hell of a lot of Vika this week, it's that she is (1) a really consistent returner, (2) she's healthy (withdrawal from SD notwithstanding), and (3) when she's playing well she's like a muthaeffin' backboard.
But, no sadness on my part that she was able to raise the bear in victory on her 21st birthday weekend (as she consistently reminded us in her interviews, she's "leeeeeeeeeegal!"). She had a fantanstic tournament, beating Believe, Mono, Sam, and Masha, all of whom, were playing pretty well. You can't begrudge someone a title when they beat a bunch of in-form players.
No matter how much she annoys you.
She was all smiles and giggles in her presser, talking about the work she put in since Wimbledon, her old coach, and how all she wants to celebrate her birthday are "some cake, and ice cream, anything but salmon."
Ok, yes, I was giving Aga a shitload of shit via Twitter today. I mean, I'm sorry, she's normally boring as hell to watch. So imagine my surprise when I was sitting in the media center watching Billie Jean King talk about the formation of the WTA and Title IX (seriously, I was tearing up listening to her) when I glanced up at the TV to see Aga up 5-1 on Masha. I was rolling my eyes pretty hard.
But once I settled into my seats with Steph and DonkeyGrooming, I had a thoroughly good time watching the ridiculous rallies between Masha and Aga. Aga was doing what she does but she was doing it better than I had seen in quite some time. I can easily say this was the best match I've seen her play against a top player in a few years. Their cat and mouse game left me in fits of giggles.
Even if Shazza tried to kill her at the net.
The key to the match was Masha dialing back her game, hitting less aggressively, and accepting the idea that she couldn't engage in first-strike tennis in an attempt to hit through Aga. She had to rally and work the point until she got a short ball she could put away. It was was an odd contrast to last night's match, which saw Mash and Elena hit the fuzz off the ball. Maria had to use her head in this one and realize that if she dialed back Aga shouldn't be able to get a sniff on her serve. She did, Aga didn't, and entertaining rallies aside, she cruised to victory.
After the match Masha was told of Marion's comments on a Sharapova/Azarenka final. When asked whether the crowd should expect a loud match, "Your call. That seems to be her call."
The ball kids here at Stanford really take their jobs seriously. But that doesn't mean they don't notice what goes on on-court. Chris Oddo interviewed some ball kids this week. His results kind of surprised me.
I guess Ana wasn't here long enough to make an impression. She *always* wins these things.
Marissa and I spent a good 45 minutes debating an interesting question: Who's the "better" competitor: Serena or Masha. We both agreed that they were far and away the best two (we struggled to come up with a "top five") but in the end, we were at an impasse, primarily because we each defined "better competitor" differently. For my money, I say Maria, primarily because I think that if you put her in a parking lot and made her play a playground match for $5, she would still kill herself for it. Marissa's point (oversimplified for the purposes of this point) was that if you had to pick a player who could find a way to win while not playing their best, you have to go with Serena. I think we both agreed with each other's propositions, but we disagreed over which was "better". Either way, it helped us get through what was a frigid night in Stanford as we watched what was, we debated, one of the best WTA matches of the year.
It obviously wasn't a perfect match. Both players struggled with their serves. But once the ball was in play it was ridiculously heavy, hard hitting, with both players showing that they could track down balls and get them back with angle and interest. It was a fun match to watch and I was really happy to see my Twitter feed blow up with complimentary things to say about both players. Remember, this was only Elena's second match since retiring in RG and only Maria's third match since losing to Serena at Wimbledon. Given the circumstances, this was a high-quality match that was worthy of a final.
In the end it was Masha on top, as I expected. Elena played great off the ground but her serve, as always, was too bit a liability to overcome. Masha always had a shot at breaking, taking advantage of short serves and absolutely pummeling some returns. After the match she said it took her a while to warm up and swing through the ball. Could have fooled me. She seemed to take a hack every chance she got. The quote that kept running through my head was from Spinal Tap: "But it goes to 11."
It wasn't until we got back to the press room and started reading the blogger coverage of the match that we learned that there was some controversy surrounding the ESPN court mics picking up some coaching from Mike. I guess they overheard him in the box telling Maria to serve to Demmy's backhand. I haven't seen the ESPN coverage yet so I can't really comment but for me personally, at the end of the day, I don't really care. I don't have a problem with on-court coaching and I don't have a problem with sideline coaching either. If it means we get more high quality matches, so be it. But I'm sure people disagree.
But a great win for Masha, who picks up her first Top 40 win and Top 10 win of the season. To me she's virtually booked herself into the final as she's facing Aga in the semis, a match I expect her to win easily. She's playing and competing well and she can only get better.
Watch out, world. She's back and she's relevant again.
Business-like win over Govortsova. Not much to say other than the fact that Maria dealt with Govortsova's serve, which was fairly big, well. The kid looks good. Not super-high form but I think she's playing better with each match.
As for her presser...nothing much to report.
She'll face Elena in Friday's night match.
It was a solid revenge win for Masha over Jay-Z last night. She was absolutely solid off the ground and served well for one and a half sets before getting the tossing yips towards the end of the second, giving away some DFs to give Jay-Z some hope. It was really powerful and impressive hitting from both ladies. And credit to Jay-Z for fighting to the end. I really thought she was going to force a third set. But she definitely earned the respect from the record-breaking crowd (it was the largest session attendance for the tourney). They gave her a hearty ovation as she left the court. It really is amazing how someone so small can compete and compete well with these big hitters.
After the match the media center was packed as we waited for Masha's presser. Typically, the presser's take place about 30-45 minutes after the match. Masha strode in at about 9:40pm, pink recovery drink and black Cole Haan bag in tow. Overall it was a fairly straightforward presser, though I was surprised at her...huh...what's the best word here.... Well, put it this way, after she left I turned to Chris and said all I could think during the presser was that she was either drunk or on quaaludes. I really can't explain it any other way.
[Note: I wrote that immediately after her presser. Having now relistened to the audio I take a bit of it back. I think she was just tired and kind of over it. But her tone and drawl really was quaaludey. Kind of like how Ana's speed talking is a bit cokey.]
She was quite dismissive of her loss to Jay-Z in Indian Wells, ruefully shaking her head, "That was a really scratchy match. I wasn't playing very good there." She talked a bit about expectations, her match against Serena, and the physicality of the sport.
"If you really think about it it's so dumb. You have a grip in your hand, strings in the racquet, and this yellow fuzzy ball and you're hitting it since four years old. It's ridiculous. (laughter) It's dumb if you think about it. But it's what we do. And there's you're hitting thousands and thousands of balls from such a young age. And you're running and not only are you playing tennis but you're doing so many other things in order to get your body to where you want it be and right. I've done everything. I've been a gymnast, a boxer, I was so many things in order to help me to be stronger to be more flexible to get me to where I wanted to be in tennis."
That was actually her response to someone trying to compare golf to tennis. She doesn't put golf in the same ballpark as tennis, let alone the same universe.
All it all, it was fun to sit in a Masha presser. She definitely commands the room and despite the fact that she's only a few months older than Ana, she looks and acts like a world weary soldier. Just to be clear, the presser wasn't bad. It simply was unexpected. But that's probably more on me than her.
Presser clips after the jump:
So I was informed yesterday that not only did I go and guarantee a first round exit for Ana, I also pulled the chip that put Jay-Z up against Masha. I clearly was in a state of PTSD. I have no recollection of this. But upon further reflection I do recall making a "Of course. I pull the Asian one." joke under my breath.
Despite my personal excitement to see this rematch of Indian Wells, it's a damn shame that it's a first rounder. I mean, we have two qualifiers playing each other in one match and yet after tomorrow, Stanford will lose either Masha or Jie. Considering the large Asian population in San Francisco, San Jose, and the Silicon Valley, either loss will be tough for the tournament. Jay-Z has been a pretty big attraction all weekend and there's even Chinese press here covering the tournament.
So once again. I fucked up.
"Nah. It looks horrible. Let's just go to Cheesecake Factory instead."
"Hey, do you want to go to the Bank of the West Classic?"
"HAIL FUCKIN' YEAH! That shit looks like Disneyland got rolled up in cotton candy, smothered in glitter, and stuffed up a unicorn's ass!"
"Riiiiiiiight. I'll get tickets."
Masha's day started out with shits and giggles and goofiness...
And ended with this:
It's all good. She was clearly in a good mood. Hell, she said hi to Dinara as she left the court. That counts for something, right?
Masha was all giggles and trashtalk during her practice session under the lights, which I totally called earlier in the day (she's playing a night match on Tuesday, figured she'd want to practice at night).
Imagine my surprise when I settled down into my seat and saw this familiar face. I almost didn't recognize him without his mandals. I see how it is Scotty, you're all about the mandals when you're training Ana but now that you've graduated to Masha you're all sleek and professional and shit.
Kidding. It was cool to see him.
Anywho, Masha practiced her serve and returns for a bit and then played a mini-game with Mike, who was rocking a pretty sexy back brace. What can I say? I like my men stiff.
The game involved one person at the net, the other at the baseline, no drop shots on the first volley, first to 12, and then switch. It was pretty fun to watch, mainly for the comedy that is Maria at the net:
"You pulled that out of thin air."
"So much for covering the line."
"Covering the line, you weren't even covering the angle."
And the general giggles:
Maria from The Double Bagel was on hand to watch Masha go down in flames in her WTT match for the Newport Breakers.
Personally, I'm going with Maria's airtight logic on this one.
See you at Stanford, Shazza. Would it be weird if I brought her a Sprinkles cupcake? Nah. Creepy? Absolutely. But what if I turned it into a presser question?
"Hi Maria. C Note from Forty Deuce. I'm sure you've heard of it. I have a two part question: (1) do you like cupcakes and (2) how many bites would it take to down this one. Please feel free to demonstrate."
I'll work on my sentence structure, but you get the drift.
According to a poll, five of the USA's top 10 favorite female athletes is a tennis player. Man, Americans still really love Anna K? And I call BS on Danica Patrick. I have never heard ANYONE say they liked her.
But yay Mia! Before there was Sam Stosur, or my dog Chase, there was Mia Hamm, the most reluctant sports superstar ever.
Oh, and thanks YouTube. I haven't seen this in, well, 11 years.
One of my favorite sports marketing commercials of all time.
MaShasha were in Italy last week on vacay. I don't know much about Sasha really, but I do love that he makes Masha not look like a giant, which she is. And they're totally cute together.
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.
Q. Your bow had a lot of rhythm to it, tremendous depth. Some critics thought it might be a tad overproduced. Can you analyze it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My bow didn't go the way I wanted. I didn't get my wrist action that I thought I would have, and then I got nervous. So my knee kind of got tight, and I felt a lot of pain in my left knee, so I couldn't get as low as I wanted to.
Q. So you're blaming your injuries?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm going to blame my injury.
Q. Yesterday Venus told me your curtsy was unreal. She also said you'd beat her in a curtsy‑off. Do you think there was too much hype for your curtsy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was definitely too much hype. I feel like I had the number one curtsy and then I just got nervous. Next time I'll have to take more Advil.
I definitely handle pressure way better on the court than off. No comparison.
Q. How did you find playing on Court 2?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have mixed feelings about that. You know, I don't think I should be out there. But in a way, I feel like, you know, with my popularity, it's cool to see ‑‑ when I was leaving, I stayed for a while, and I signed tons of autographs. A lot of these people can't get into the Centre Court and stuff.
Other than that, that definitely made up for it, to see fans I wouldn't normally see.
Q. You talked in Paris about the strings you're using, giving you more spin. Do you feel the same kind of effect here on the grass with the ball?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always the same, no? The string can help you, but you are the person, you are the player, not the string. You play; the string doesn't play. That's my feeling.
Sure, the string can help you for moments, for maybe the string is better than the other one because give me the chance to feel the ball more time inside the racquet. That's give me a little bit more control. But that's my feeling, that you are the person. You lose, you win, not the string.
Q. How did you feel when you woke up this morning physically? What did you do to prepare for this afternoon's match? Did you weigh yourself today and whether you lost any weight?
JOHN ISNER: I actually haven't weighed. I told myself I wanted to do that. When I go back to the locker room, I will.
But I'm one of the heaviest guys actually, I am the heaviest guy on the tour. I have a little bit of excess in the stomach area (smiling). I knew that was going to come in handy one day. It was kind of the reserve tank.
It's not that I eat unhealthy. I work hard. I just can't get rid of it.
Q. Is it still there?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah. It went down a little bit, I think (smiling).
Q. After shedding so much weight in the last 24 hours, do you think you would make a good face of Weight Watchers in America?
JOHN ISNER: I guess. It's not like I'm a heifer or anything (laughter). Maybe.
Round 1 is done (almost) and 64 players are drowing their sorrows in champs and berries.
In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't suck.
Yeah, you fuck that air, Daveed. Vamos!
Aw, shit. Game on.
And by "Game On" I mean, "I'm leaving Wimbledon drunk, poor, and working off my debt owed to Pimmy by doing things that I dare not write on a blog that my parents read."
Posted by C Note on June 23, 2010 in Andy Murray, Anne Keothavong, Caroline Wozniacki, Daniela Hantuchova, David Ferrer, Dominika Cibulkova, Fernando Verdasco, Flavia Pennetta, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Maria Sharapova, Pic This!, Robin Soderling, Serena Williams, Wimbledon | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Q. How difficult was it to play someone that played a lot of grass court tennis lately?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: She's a quality opponent. She has been ranked a lot higher than what she is. For whatever reason, she slipped back. She's definitely played a lot of matches recently as well. She qualified at the French as well as here and been playing well.
So, you know, it wasn't an easy first round by any means.
Q. If someone came to you before the clay season started and said, Here is the deal, you'll get to the Roland Garros final but out first round of Wimbledon, what would you say?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Uhm, well, I guess you'd kind of be happy, but also you'd hope to do better here. Yeah, that is what happened. I guess looking at it, the whole picture, I've got to be very happy with what I have achieved over the last few months.
I would have loved to have done better here, but it wasn't to be. But I'm definitely going to look at the last few weeks and go home pretty happy.
Q. Francesca also lost. Is it kind of hard going from this huge moment of high pressure, the great run, to crank it up all again a couple weeks later?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, for sure it's difficult. But, uhm, you know, that's the way it is. The champions of the game can do it back to back. And I guess that's the kind of pedestal that you want to try to look up to and try to get to yourself.
Yeah, neither of us had made it that far at the French and then had to turn it around in such a quick time frame.
You know, that's the way it is. You have to deal with that, try and cope as best you can.
Q. Can you talk us through your outfit today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we dubbed it Strawberries and Cream. Strawberries, is that the correct enunciation of it? I don't have a good British accent. The red is strawberries and the white is cream. It's not like a pure white; it's more of a cream. Also the red kind of symbolizes a lot of things I do in Africa, along with a lot of the work, like the red laces. Everybody that buys a pair can pretty much save a life in Africa.
I really kind of wanted to tie that all together with this championship. Since it means so much to me, I thought it could work well. The tournament means so much to me as well as the things I do in Africa. I thought it could also work well together.
Q. Your nails look good today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: They have strawberries on them, too. If I would have thought about it, I would have put a strawberry instead of a heart. They're hearts. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. I could have had a strawberry.
Q. What are your thoughts about Thursday with the Queen's visit and how are your curtsy practices going?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was going to curtsy today on the court afterwards, but I think I flubbed it. So I'm definitely going to work on it a little more. I'm trying to tone down my wrist action (laughter).
But my curtsy is really fun. It's something that she'll definitely never forget, if I ever even get a chance to meet her.
No, we really don't do that so much in the United States, so I'm really working hard on it.
Q. Going back to the Queen, quite a lot made of a suggestion you might not bow to her on Thursday. Can you tell us about how you're feeling meeting her, if you will bow, and what you might say if you meet her?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know what I'll say exactly. I'll probably be a little bit nervous, understandably. I guess I don't want to mess up at all.
But, yeah, the plan was to bow to the Queen, as everybody would. It's just you wanted to get the right etiquette for what we were doing on the court. A few years back it definitely changed. Both players, when you went on Centre Court bowed, and they went out together. When they left the court, they left together, bowed again. Obviously, it's changed.
What I was trying to say, which I think was unfairly reported, was I wanted to make sure what the etiquette was before we went out on the court.
Q. I wanted to ask you a question about the tour. You've had a great early career, reaching No. 2, great run in New York. You're not going to be a teenager much longer. There really hasn't been a big breakthrough by a teenager on the WTA Tour since Maria here. Why do you think that is?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I think I'm an exception to that. And I think that reaching No. 2, it's not easy. Not everyone can do that.
I think the tour has just become very tough. A lot of players are playing well. Just look at the clay court results that have been, you know, Martina Sanchez winning Rome, Rezai winning Madrid, Schiavone winning French Open.
I mean, there's a lot of good players out there. It's not easy to be in the top of the rankings. I'm happy about my own progression, the way I've been playing.
Tennis is an individual sport. So I think about myself. I really think that age doesn't matter. I think you can be 30 and be on the top of the ranking, and you can be 17. It really doesn't matter. It's just about going out there, doing your best, and you can see how far you can go, how far your own limits are.
Q. Have you gotten to talk to Sasha much about his championship and did you get to watch any of the parade online or anything?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. But I got a lot of pictures from it. It seemed really crazy. Yeah, I'm very happy for him and the team.
Q. Couldn't have been much easier, could it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, it always could (laughter).
The faves were looking sharp today and in the case of Rafa and Muzz, they saw their draw potentially open up. After falling behind an early break to Hajek, Muzz turned on the afterburners, blitzing his way to an easy and very fun to watch straight set win. It was a sexy performance and one I haven't seen in quite a long time. Andy was attacking his returns, cracking backhand winners, and dictating play with his forehand. Lovely stuff and hopefully an omen of good things. The other good news for him: a gassed Fernando was upset by FaBrows Fognini. Then again, Andy would probably rather play Fer on grass than Jo, who notched a four set win. So...six in one, I suppose.
Rafa notched a fairly straightforward win over Project 45, who, I thought, acquitted himself well. Kei didn't roll over, instead making tactical adjustments as the match progressed to give himself a chance. I was impressed and I hope the kid stays injury free. Incidentally, my sister, who's been living in Tokyo for the past year and is in town for a visit, informed me that it's not "Cup 'o Noodles". It's just "Cup Noodles". Check the package next time. This totally blew my mind.
I love love LOVE Masha's kit. Love the jacket, love the dress, and love that she dished a stick and bagel while wearing it. As for Serena, well, her tennis was dominant. She fired down 15 aces. And thankfully she left that piece of fabric on her shoulders in her bag while she played. All I know is that while Serena makes me want to donate blood, I feel like hiring Masha to sue the shit out of Serena for fucking up the donation procedure.
But this is a tennis blog and I know you tune in to hear my always insightful analysis. So here it is:
These four players played good.
Girl, that's a really easy way to get pink-eye.
It's like a cheat sheet in case he ever forgets!
Fairly certain this is Team NewBallsPlease chillin' in the queue.
I'd flick it.
Q. The queen is going to be here on Thursday. There's an issue of whether to curtsy. What would you do?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've never had the honor to curtsy before. I think I was probably too young for that and the rule kind of went away. So, uhm, it would be kind of fun. Yeah, I'd love to do it. I think it would be an honor for all of us, yeah.
Q. So your self-belief is as strong as it ever was?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it has to be. In women's tennis, it has to be. You have to be ready to go out and play against different opponents. You know, the game is really deep right now. You have to be ready from the first round. You have to have that intensity and belief in yourself, absolutely.
Q. Does it always feel special coming back to Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It does. It certainly does. The week before when there's just the players, the groundsmen getting the last bits and pieces out there, knowing that something big is around the corner, you really feel that atmosphere, the intensity of something going on. Then you see the dark clouds coming out, you're like, Yeah, that's coming next week (laughter).
“When you’re on the court, you have to put many things in perspective and realize that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, that you’re going to have your days and moments when it’s not gonna be so fun. But we hit a tennis ball for a living, so, can’t be that bad.”
-- Masha, on playing for the love of the game. I love that she can have this perspective and still be a competitive powerhouse on the court.
The WTA player party. What can you say? Normally I tune in for the fashion, hair, and makeup disasters. But I have to say, the Ladies did ok for themselves this year. I mean, Aga's once again dressed as a Jersey hooker, but hey, the girl's got a look that she's sticking with. Commitment is 90% of fashion.
As it should be.
Posted by C Note on June 17, 2010 in Agi Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Anna Chakvetadze, Anne Keothavong, Caroline Wozniacki, Dinara Safina, Fernando Verdasco, Francesca Schiavone, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Sorana Cirstea, Venus Williams, Vera Zvonereva, Wimbledon, WTA | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)
I'm a bit busy with some personal stuff this week (don't worry, it's nothing serious or anything) so I apologize for falling behind on the blogging. To be honest, I normally don't feel bad about it (because I'm a dick) but seeing as how Wimbledon starts in less than a week, I feel particularly derelict in my responsibilities to you, the sometimes-loyal-but-would-totally-stab-me-in-the-back reader.
Thankfully there are other great tennis bloggers who aren't ignoring the tennis. I don't really like churning links, but again, it's the week before Wimbledon and I feel like if I don't set the table for all the jokes I plan to drop in the next couple of weeks, well, the jokes will fail. And nothing pisses me off more than someone making unfunny jokes especially when that someone is me.
So here's my churnalistic attempt to get you caught up with the goings on in Yellow Ball Land. And by "Yellow Ball Land" I mean tennis, not Asian porn. Get your head out of the gutter and into the game, pervies.
Posted by C Note on June 17, 2010 in Ana Ivanovic, Andrea Petkovic, Andy Murray, Aravane Rezai, ATP, David Nalbandian, Feliciano Lopez, Francesca Schiavone, Gilles Simon, Jelena Jankovic, Justine Henin, Kei Nishikori, Kim Clijsters, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova, Na Li, Rafa Nadal, Sabine Lisicki, Sam Stosur, Serena Williams, The Mighty Fed, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, WTA | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)
It was redemption weekend as Sam the Tank won his third title of the year (only Rafa has more), beating No-Socks 76 75 to claim Queens. That gives Sam a title on all three surfaces this year. Hey, have you heard that Sam's a dark horse at Wimbledon this year? Oh, you haven't? Just wait for it.
Apparently Lleyton read my little jab from yesterday and decided to take it upon himself to rewrite the script. As most of the commentators noted yesterday, this was a prime match for Lleyton to win, as Fed's form has obviously been questioned and his form in Halle leading up to the final wasn't as emphatic as one would expect. So Lleyton took his cue, beating Fed in three sets to stop his streak of 15 straight losses. After the match, Fed blamed his forehand and serve for the loss.
Not that the German crowd cared. They were too busy watching Der Mannschaft TOTALLY EMBARRASS Lleyton's Socceroos in Durban. So everyone wins! Except Fed. Tear.
And in Birmingham the seeds held up, as Nails, who beat Shazz in the semifinals last year, beat her again in the finals this year. And in totally cool, clever, and hilarious form, the two had totally nice things to say to each other after the match:
Shazzmatazz is into her fourth Birmingham final after beating Alison Riske in three sets. So how about a standing ovation for the teen, who had a crazy run through Birmingham and took a set off Maria. Well done, kid. Hope you're able to make good use of that Wimbledon wildcard.
It'll be the top two seeds in the final as Nails was able to withstand a charge from Rezai to take her out in three sets. I hope Nails is ready tomorrow. She might be walking funny:
Shazz is through to the semis after beating Sesil in straights but the real story in Birmingham is American teen Alison Riske (nope, not making the easy "Riske Business" joke; come on, people, we're better than that), who came through qualies and is into the semis after beating CanWoz, Chakky, and Wicky. Her reward? A Wimbledon wildcard and a shot at the Shazza herself.
No mercy, Mash. Sweep the leg.
Shazza pulled a double-shit today, finishing off Bethanie 60 63 (after building a 4-0 lead yesterday) in an hour and five minutes and then bouncing Fashion Police Alla 63 61 in an hour and four minutes. Considering how long she takes between serves, that really translates into about eight minutes of actual on-court destruction.
AKO has to be happy about rain stopping play for the day in Birmingham. She gutted out a though three setter in the morning and was scheduled to play Nails later in the day *and* a doubles match. Phew! Eat some pasta tonight, Anne!
Masha was cruising against Bethanie before rain stopped her match at game point on her serve at 4-0 in the first. Hope that shoulder is OK to play some double days this week.
You guys, there's a reason Masha doesn't smile much.
Congrats, Justine. You flat out won that one. Well earned. Or whatever classy fans are supposed to say when they're favorites get beat.
But thanks, Maria, for reminding me why I'm a fan. Yes, everyone will point to the fact that Masha had triple break point to go up a a double break. But other than that one shot that clipped the tape, Justine dug herself out of that game more than Masha choked it. And it's a credit to Masha that even until the last point, I genuinely believed she could pull it out. Why? Because I believed that *she* believed she could.
If Maria plays this game across the channel in a few weeks, look out. And I almost pray that these two meet again in London. If Justine's going to ruin Masha's chances at a career Slam, I sure as hell hope Masha ruins hers.
As per usual, Steve Tignor eloquently says what I'd want to say about this match. Fight on, Masha.
Justine hadn't lost a set at Roland Garros since 2005. That's 40 straight sets. Somehow, inexplicably really, Masha broke that streak on a cold, wet, dark evening. For all the upsets on the men's side today, this actually might be the most shocking development of the day.
It's a shame the match had to be called for light. Masha was hitting out, Justine lost all rhythm on her forehand, and the momentum was clearly on the Screamer's side. I was a little surprised that Mike Joyce wanted the match suspended after Maria won that second set. They could have gone for another 10-15 minutes and given their respective forms, Maria could have gone into tomorrow with a break lead in the last set. But no matter.
One set for the fourth round. I think Justine will come out having righted her shambolic groundies and getting her gameplan back together. To top it all off, it's forecasted to rain all day tomorrow so if they do take the court, the conditions could be even slower. I reluctantly have to tip it to Justine. But this was a great set of tennis for Maria. Davai!
Q. I remember you talking about Australia, about the last time you had played Maria, which was Australian Open. That was one of the matches when you knew maybe you don't have the motivation to continue anymore. So can you talk about your form now and how you're feeling now versus that time?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it seems so far away. I mean, even seems like it never existed, that moment.
Q. Justine said that the match you played in Australia seems very distant to her, very far away. Obviously she retired and came back since then. A lot has happened to you, as well. You've had some involuntary time off. Does it also seem distant to you, that whole Australian Open run?MARIA SHARAPOVA: Actually feels like we never left, or it was just yesterday. (laughter.)
This is easily THE match of the tournament for me. It's the one that I wanted to see the minute I saw the draw. I'm fairly sure that Justine will take it straight sets but no one brings out the competitive intensity out of Maria like Justine. They both want to make a statement here.
The pressure is all on Justine here so you know Masha will come out and swing freely and swing big and look to crush Justine's serve. Justine, if she's smart, will play the angles and yank Masha around like a yo-yo. If she's stupid then she'll try and outhit Masha, just like she tried to outhit Serena in Australia. I think this match will be a really good barometer as to whether Justine intends to play her classic clay-court game here at RG, or whether she plans to be Kamikaze JuJu, aka, Justine 2.0.
Bring it, Short Round.
Oh, Cone. I miss you.
More after the jump.
Posted by C Note on May 25, 2010 in Alize Cornet, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Dinara Safina, Jeremy Chardy, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Juan Monaco, Lleyton Hewitt, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Pic This!, Rafa Nadal, Roland Garros, Sam Querrey, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Yanina Wickmayer | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)