“You are lucky! Seriously lucky!”
-- Nadia Petrova, to Nole in the locker room.
“For sure, it’s fairer like this. I think it’s better for both of us to have a day of rest.”
“For us, it would have been better that it had not rained today, because Djokovic might have been a bit more tired. But it was fairer like this.”
-- Uncle Toni
“Obviously, Rafa would have preferred to play today, and Novak was praying for rain, so I suppose what I take out of things is that God is Orthodox. He’s been listening to Novak.”
-- Benito Perez Barbadillo, Rafa and Novak's publicist.
That was sent by CBS *during* the second men' semifinal yesterday.
Yes. It was corrected. By this guy:
"If I am not wrong, I think that he will play the final against Roger. It's gonna be a tough match, because I think Roger play really good in these conditions. It's going to be a very tough final for Rafa if he plays against Roger in the final. I think if I need to bet here, I will bet for Roger. I think that he won five times here and he like these conditions."
-- Fernando, on Rafa's chances.
"Well for sure Roger is the favorite of the tournament.... Everybody's free to think, and what Fernando says is completely fair."
-- Rafa, when asked about Fernando's comments.
Well, Fer, at least you broke Rafa. You're the only one to have done it this tournament. Then again, you only did it once (early in the first) and you couldn't hold on to the lead. After Rafa was able to secure the first set 75, it was all downhill in a match where the wind was gusting, the temperatures frigid, and Rafa en fuego. The wind in particular was a damn shame. After their AO09 clash, I always get excited whenever these two play. This could have been pretty great. Or it could have been the same. Either way, I hate when matches are influenced by wind.
Hair and facial expressions aside, Fer should be really proud about what he did this week. I'm not sure anyone, even his diehard fans, thought he would play as well as he did at the USO. Unfortunately, his good run ended as many of his memorable ones have: He ran into Rafa.
There are still five Spaniards into the Round of 16 (there were six but Montanes lost to Sod). Unfortunately, four of them have to play each other in the next round: Rafa vs. Feli, Fer vs. Daveed. Quit dominating all the sports, you swarthy sexy bastards. It's unfair to all the pasty ugly people who lose early in Grand Slams despite getting all the hype.
No, I'm not over it.
So I have this weird thing about pics. If there's a huge crowd I generally won't venture through to get a clean shot unless my favorite players are involved. This typically applies to Rafa, who is always surrounded by crowds that go 5-7 rows deep. I just assume that everyone else there is a bigger fan than I am and thus I let them get the prime spots and go merrily on my way.
So there I was just chilling out when I saw that little corgi-colored ponytail flopping about. I'm not saying how I got to the front but let's just say a few kids had to die. That's all I'll cop to. Oh and to the guy who kept at me to sit down: Shut the fuck up.
So you guys can thank Sam for not only these Rafa pics (which aren't that great, sorry) but also for rather hilariously scurrying over to stop an errant ball that was about to roll onto Rafa's court as he was serving. She's a RafaKAD, after all. Can't have him going down on her watch.
Corgis are protective like that.
Smell the pit, Rafa. Smell it all. day. long.
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.
So I leave Cincy for New Haven on Friday and while I'm in the air and on trains, this happens:
I mean, really.
So now Cincy gets what they want. An American in the final (Fish) and their beloved (Fed). Seriously, I saw so many Fed fans roaming about in their red Swiss shirts and whatnot.
Enjoy that. I've moved on.
Some gems from Rafa's Tuesday presser:
[R]ight now I don't think if I am No. 1 or I am No. 5.... I am Rafa, and I go to every tournament to try to play well and to try to be competitive and win as many matches as I can. For me, important thing is that I feel that I play well, feel that I am competitive to try to win everybody. And when we finish the season, we will see where I gonna be, no?
Physically I'm perfect. Give me two weeks to broke everything. (Laughter.)
And then there was this exchange, which I found funny and then interesting:
Q. Do you think that if the US Open was at the start of the year rather than at the end of the year that you would have won it by now? Is the timing of the tournament part of the reason why you've yet to win it, given all your efforts to do what you do throughout the year getting to this stage of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't understand nothing. (Laughter.) (Through translation.)
I don't know. I really don't know. That's is impossible to know. The thing that I can say is little bit easier for me, no, because I lose a lot of energy with the clay season and grass court season. That's true, no? It's a lot matches for me, a lot of tension in that three months, so was ‑‑ it's a very important part of season for me, and I put everything there. And after that, it's normal go down. Since everything is very good like it was this year, it's normal go a little bit down.
But I am perfect mentally. I say if I didn't win the US Open, it's because I wasn't ready to win the US Open in the past. I don't know if I gonna be ready this year or in the future. That's what I gonna work, and that's what I gonna try every year.
So I am focus on keep improving my tennis to have more options to do and to have more options to do when the matches are difficult in that tournament. But I gonna do all what I can all my career. But remember, is a Grand Slam, and every Grand Slams is very difficult.
Q. So you don't think it's a physical thing?
RAFAEL NADAL: Was a physical thing a few years; another years wasn't a physical thing. 2005 I was perfect physically. That's true. I was worse playing on this surface in 2005 than what I am today.
2006, I still was worse than what I am today on this surface, but I lost in quarterfinals because Youzhny played better than me. In 2005 I lost against Blake in third round because he played better than me, and that's all.
In 2002 and 2007 I had problems on the knees, and I lost against David Ferrer in fourth round.
In 2008 I arrived perfect physically but destroyed mentally winning in Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Toronto, Olympics. So it was crazy for me. Very hard season.
And last year was another time. I broked my abdominal in Montreal, so I played here with a little bit broken abdominal. But every match was bigger and bigger ‑‑ (through translation) the tear, the abdominal tear was bigger.
I finished the US Open destroyed, so for me it was amazing result being in semifinal last year.
A day after Rafa bummed through a practice sesh, he was back to his jolly ways, hitting with Sam Q for a good two hours, much to the delight of a horde of fans who braved the heat to just get a glimpse, a touch, maybe a lick.
Maybe Sam's laid back California style rubbed off? Let's hope not, actually. Sam just went down to Daveed today, which means he hasn't won a match since beating Moose for the LA title two weeks ago.
Grinny McGrinnerson over here.
This is what it feels like to be 5'2'' in the midwest trying to get a view of Rafa. It's pretty awesome. I know you're jealous.
But if you tough it out, it's pretty well worth it, methinks.
I caught the last 45 minutes of Rafa's two hour practice session and to say the kid wasn't in a good mood is a bit of an understatement. Now, to be fair, I'm not a RafaKAD. I don't go out of my way to watch his practices or matches or anything. So these are observations from a fairly unsophisticated eye for Rafa.
He kept fiddling with his right knee when I saw him, bending over to rub it. Could be something, could be nothing. But, you know, it could be something is all I'm sayin.
But like a good boy, he stuck around and signed for his adoring fans. For long time, actually.
Looking forward to seeing him practice again. It's always a sight.
A fantastic pair of back-to-back matches for Moose, as he backed up his dominant display over Nalby with an equally impressive straight setter over Rafa. He's moving well, serving well, and, to the relief of his fans, cracking that forehand aggressively when he should. It was sexy stuff.
And Andy knew it:
A little bit of this...
A little bit of slap...
I'm right there with you, Rafa. Right. There.
(pics: Yahoo! Sports)
The big boys are back, which means I'm happy. Don't get me wrong, I like the smaller tourneys as much as the next guy. But shit gets real when you have the #1-5s playing. Throw in a resurgent Nalby (who destroyed Robredo today to set up a 3rd rounder vs. Sod on Thursday) and we got ourselves a happy C Note.
Rafa sported some craaaaaazy hot pink and was pushed hard by a "why won't you go AWAY" Stanley. The first set took over an hour and half and saw Rafa finally take the breaker 14-12. I didn't see the match but from what I could tell via Twitter, that breaker was insane. Rafa would take the second 6-3 after a total match time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. How's that for a welcome back workout?
As for my headcasey stable, Andy somehow took the first set over X-Man 75. Seriously, I don't know how he did it. I could be wrong but I think X was serving for that first set at one point. Anyway, he got away with it and cruised in the second.
And as for the Tiny Thoraxed One, it seems my predictions via the podcast may come true. The dude was WHEEZING throughout his match, clearly bothered by the heat and humidity. I just feel so sorry for the guy. It's not that he's not fit or isn't working hard. He clearly has a physiological issue that he hasn't found an answer to. He struggled in his win over Benneteau but he was hitting some amazing groundies that gave me hope. Who knows if he'll be able to get through this US hardcourt season though. It'll only get more brutal in Cincy next week.
The shit gets real this week as the USO Series gets two top level mandatory events for the men and women. The top ladies, sans Serena (foot), Venus (knee), and Sam (forecep) are in Cincy and my big question is whether Vika and Masha can back up their form and results from Stanford. They both took last week off.
As for JJ, THE NUMBER TWO PLAYER IN THE WORLD (it's on her business cards), she'll get a chance to rebound from her loss to Kleybs in the second round of San Diego. She blamed the loss on her injured ankle, which she said she couldn't practice on at SD, but she's been on the courts in Cincy. So...I'm assuming it's better? I guess we'll get the definitive answer if she loses, which she shouldn't, seeing as how she's got two qualifiers in the first two rounds. Then again, if I'm one of those qualifiers, I'm smelling blood.
Cincy also sees Kim returning to action. I mean, who knows how that's going to turn out. And Aga will be playing her third tourney in three weeks. I get that she's fit now and everything, but she was fiddling with her foot throughout yesterday's final.
Early round jaw droppers: Sveta vs. Masha, Ana vs. Vika, Flavia vs. Zheng. Other fun ones: Dani vs. Pavs, Petko vs. Coq au Vin. If only because I get to keep using that nickname.
Here's a fun game: Who will get dumped out first: Aga or Franny. Discuss.
Cincy draw and OOP.
Center Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Vania King vs. Nuria Llagostera Vives
2. Dinara Safina vs. Roberta Vinci
3. Marion Bartoli vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
4. Victoria Azarenka vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.20hrs)
5. Gullickson/Gullickson vs. Kleybanova/Makarova
Grandstand (from 11.00hrs)
1. Monica Niculescu vs. Sabine Lisicki
2. Jamie Hampton vs. Sara Errani
3. Shahar Peer vs. Olga Govortsova
4. Mirza/Niculescu vs. Hampton/Oudin
5. Craybas/Gallovits vs. Coin/Hradecka (NB 19.00hrs)
Court 3 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Bojana Jovanovski vs. Aravane Rezai
2. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Alona Bondarenko
3. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Alexandra Dulgheru
4. Ayumi Morita vs. Arantxa Parra Santonja
Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Kimiko Date Krumm vs. Akgul Amanmuradova
2. Vera Dushevina vs. Anastasia Rodionova
3. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Alla Kudryavtseva
As for the dudes, we've got a sausage smorgasbord in Toronto, as all the top guys are in action. So far, the story has been Rafa and Nole playing dubs together, starting tonight, but apart from that piece of marketing genius it feels like a whole lot of "wait and see". Rafa and Roger are on opposite sides of the draw and can't meet until the finals but each of the top four will have some work to do to get there. Ok, maybe not Nole. His draw is pretty cake. He just has to survive himself.
Rafa's got A-Rod is his quarter (and Sam Q in his 1/8), Moose has Sodz (who, incidentally, could move up to #4 depending on how those two do here), Fed has Big Berd, and Nole has the Broken Playstation.
Match I want to see: Nalby vs. Sod (R3). Hell, how about Ernie vs. Sod (R2)?
Match you couldn't pay me to watch: Fabio vs. Radek (R1). Barf.
Toronto draw and OOP:
Rafa in a hockey sweater. Of course you would, Canada.
Rogers Cup draw is out. Enjoy. As for me, I'm a little too tipsy to analyze it right now. But I'm definitely not happy to see Sodz in Moose's quarter, though Tomas in Fed's is quite intriguing.
In some notable news, Lleyton and Isner pulled out due to injury.
New USO Series commercials are out. Well..."new" is kind of overstating it. But even though they look and sound the exact same as last year's series, there are some gems. Here they are, in order of C Note entertainment value:
Things I know: Spain won.
Things I don't know: How I got from the bar to my bed.
Things I know: Iker Casillas is the greatest thing ever made by the hands of god.
Things I don't know: Why I would buy champagne for 20 total strangers.
Things I know: Rafa is the most adorable fanboy ever.
Things I don't know: How I'm going to fill the cavernous hole in chest now that the RG/Wimby/World Cup swing is over. I'll probably just sit in a chair, stare out a window, and listen to Lykke Li as the seasons roll by. But it's ok. The pain will remind me that it was real. That it really happened.
As we all suspected, Rafa's in South Africa, clothed in red and gold, face painted, and armed with a vuvuzela. Wait...hold on...ok, upon further fact checking only one of those things is true. But we can dream.
As for me, I will be with my trusted groomer of donkeys at a bar tomorrow morning rooting on Iker and his band of merry men. Don't let me down, Spain. If you thought I was despondent after you booted by Mannschaft, you don't even want to know how much rage will well up in my body if you lose to the Dutch National Diving Team. La Furia Roja, indeed.
Pack your speedos!
For my entire tennis-following life I've been told that "the Channel Slam" is, like, impossible. Only four players have accomplished it. So how is it that it's been done three times in the last three years?
Q. How does it feel to be so popular with the crowd here at Wimbledon?RAFAEL NADAL: You know, probably is the best crowd of the world, no? More respect. They have a lot of respect for every player, I think.
If I speak about myself, was always amazing with me, the crowd, especially yesterday or two days ago when I played against Andy Murray, a British player. For sure the crowd support him, but the same time was supporting me a lot, no? That's unbelievable. Just can say thank you very much.
I quite loved Rafa going out of his way, both in his winner's speech and his presser to give props to the Wimbly crowd. A fantastic passive-aggressive dig at the Roland Garros crowd who, despite all the great performances he's given, still haven't warmed up to him.
I plopped down on the couch to finish it and came across this, from Ed Helms, aka, Andy Bernard:
Dear Ed: I really, really want to be famous, but I don't have any talents. Acting, literary, or otherwise. I'm not even that attractive. Now: How do I get famous? -- Christopher, St. Paul, MN.
Dear Christopher: I admire your moxie and determination! It is clear from your letter that you already possess all of the necessary requirements to become famous. In particular, I would encourage you to cultivate your lack of talent, since that has clearly worked well for numerous celebrities. In addition, fame can often be obtained through association. To wit, try hanging out in nightclubs with people who are already famous, like Lindsay Lohan or Dick Cheney. Or might I suggest trouncing Rafael Nadal in the finals at Wimbledon. However you go about it, I wish you good luck and godspeed in your worthy and noble quest! -- Ed.
Highly recommend the book for shits and giggles if for no other reason than this gem from Samantha Bee:
"Your Lady Flower is a gift to be shared with anyone who asks. Or shouts at you. Especially if they keep shouting at you. That's really macho."
Love me some S. Bee. Stop knocking her up, Jason!
**Ok, yes, that's a link to Amazon. But I'm a big proponent of local independent bookstores so to clear my conscience let me say this: Try and find the book in your local bookstore or library. If you can't, then yeah, buy it off Amazon. Support your local businesses. [/soapbox]
It is finished.
What more can be said about Rafa? He did what he does. At this point in his career he virtually impossible to beat when he is healthy and full of confidence. He had a respectable hard court season before going on a tear over the last 3 months. Since stepping foot in Europe in the second week of April, Rafa has lost ONE MATCH. And that was in Queens after he had gone on 22-0 on his way to capturing three Masters shields and Roland Garros. He's 47-5 on the year.
It looked like all that work would finally take it's toll on him against Petzchner, as his knee problems seemed to flare up. I don't know what they did after that match to get him ready, but I'm guessing it involved a lot of that "magic spray" more likely to be seen on a football pitch than a tennis court. But whatever happened, he played his last three matches with conviction and thankfully, with no pain.
Much like in the women's final, it simply didn't matter who was standing on the other side of the net today. Sorry, Tomas. Hell of a month for you, though, and welcome back to the top 10. Here's hoping you can back it up on the hardcourts.
Rafa now sets his sights on completing his career slam in New York. He'll do it ostensibly in good health (he's skipping Davis Cup) and after a much-deserved vacation of fishing, partying, and family back in Mallorca. There's no reason to think he can't do it.
Especially when he says shit like this:
Q. How have you changed your game to become so comfortable on grass where you now have two Wimbledon championships?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. The main thing I think is if you want to play well, you gonna find a way. So if you really want to play well in one surface and you are a good player, I think in the end you gonna find a way.
Q. What about Andy, you said to him after the match that he could win a major.
RAFAEL NADAL: I wished him best of luck for the rest of the season, and sorry for today. I know it was an important match for him I think because he play at home, and this is a chance for him to win probably the most important title for him win here at home in Wimbledon.
Just I felt sorry for him because he's a very nice person, very good person. I am sure he gonna win a Grand Slam very soon, because when you have final in US Open, final in Australia, semifinals here this year and the last year, you are there all the time. So one day you win. I am sure he gonna win. He deserve to win.
Q. How well aware are you that he's such a big fan of yours? He kept talking about you're his favorite player to watch.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, just can say thanks. He don't need to admire a lot of things of me because he's too good to admire me.
Q. Did you feel you got into the rhythm of your own game during the match?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah. But, I mean, you're not going to be able to play every single point on your terms against the best player in the world, one of the best players ever. You can't.
You know, you're going to need to, you know, go through periods in the match where he can be dictating, and there's periods in the match where, you know, I was dictating.
You know, it was tough. But, yeah, I didn't feel like I wasn't in a rhythm. I won a lot of points off my serve. You know, until the end of the match, he didn't have a breakpoint until the last couple of games. Was obviously doing something right.
Q. Talk about the extra weight on your shoulders because of trying to win it for the home team here.ANDY MURRAY: I mean, there's a lot much pressure playing here. You know, it doesn't affect the outcome of the matches. It's not a valid excuse to make. I've played really well the whole tournament. I obviously want to win for myself. I want to win for the guys I work with. I want to win for, you know, the UK.
You know, a little bit more disappointing than other Grand Slams because this one is, you know, the biggest one of the year for me. And, uhm, yeah, it's tough.
Q. What did Rafael say to you after the match?
ANDY MURRAY: He said, Bad luck. I just said, Good luck for the rest of the tournament. You know, that was it.
But, you know, I've said it for a few years. I love watching him play. He's my favorite player to watch. That's why I enjoy playing him so much. So I hope he wins.
Q. Is it annoying to have to wait so long to receive serve?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I don't care. He can take as long as he wants on any point. I love watching the guy play. No, I don't care. He can take as long as he wants.
Q. Coming off court, Rafa said he thought you'd win a slam and win one soon. What does that mean to you when someone you respect so much has got some faith in your ability?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, yeah, it's nice. Nice obviously to hear. Uhm, doesn't make losing in one any easier.
That's what you are. Relentless, unforgiving, immovable, gutsy, and courageous.
You put everything I love about you on display today to absolutely crush my heart.
Oh, Andy. Andy, Andy, Andy. Unlike against Fed 6 months ago, you brought your game today. You showed up, you played well. In fact, for some stretches of the match, you seemed like the better player. You served so well! You were moving beautifully. You were serving and volleying and otherwise getting to net!
But you couldn't summon your absolute best when you needed to. Serving for the second set, after Rafa gifted you a set point with a double fault, you couldn't get your first serve in. Up a break in the third, you couldn't capitalize on Rafa's dip in form and gave the break back and then couldn't hold off Rafa's charge. You absolutely did not play poorly. You absolutely played well.
And I am absolutely gutted for you.
For 99.9% of FD readers, tomorrow is an awesome day. Fed's not involved and there's every reason to root for each of the final four to win. For Tomas, it'd be a hard earned reward for accomplishing the impossible. For Nole, it would be a roar of "I'M RELEVANT, GODDAMMIT!" and further cement his #2 ranking. For Rafa, it would be a cap on an amazing two-month run and further solidify him as the #1 player in the world. And for Andy, it would finally shut up the British press. OK, that last one is wishful thinking, but it would at least make him the first Brit to win a Slam since Fred Perry.
All great narratives. All worthy of a final berth. All feel good stories.
You should be rooting for Nole and Andy. And here's why:
I'm not going to lie. I squee'd in delight when I read this:
Q. How much are you worried about your knee? Is there a risk you should skip the Davis Cup tie after Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. Well, sure, I am a little bit scared about the knee. But, you know, it happen. I had a treatment after Monte‑Carlo. So I had the problem. I didn't say nothing before, but you know, guys, how is everything. I had the problem against Roddick in the semifinals of Miami.
I don't like to say nothing in that moment because when you lose, always looks like an excuse. But I can say now I had the problem after I played in Monte‑Carlo with a little bit of pain on the knee, on the left knee, because that's what happened there.
After Monte‑Carlo, I didn't play Barcelona because I had to do a treatment, new treatment. You know, I tried to play the clay season perfect because in that moment the right knee was better than the left. But at the same time I know the knees are not hundred percent recovered. But playing on clay and maybe on grass, if is not very long matches, can work well.
But the last treatments I did between Monte‑Carlo and Rome was perfect. I didn't have no one more problem on the left knee. But just I did one time, and I need to do three times.
I didn't have time to do it at the right knee before because I had to play. The clay season was my main goal of the season. After here I gonna do it another time, no? My goals for me is a big disappointment not be in the Davis Cup on France, you know. Some confrontations, if you play at home against some country, maybe you cannot play this one. But playing in France for me is a very special confrontation and a very big motivation for me.
But I talked with the captain, I talked with the president of the Federation a few days ago, and I said, Guys, I never arrive to the US Open with my hundred percent of conditions. I had last year broken abdominal, two years ago playing crazy here. After Olympics, I did arrive very tired. And I really want to try to go there with my best chances, no, to play, to play my hundred percent.
So I need to do this treatment after here. If I play Davis Cup, I don't have enough time to recover and play tournaments, Cincinnati. Everything was perfect for me last few months, and I need to be ready to finish the season well. My goal is try to keep having the chance to be No. 1 for the rest of the season. That's gonna be difficult. But if you are not in hundred percent of condition, is going to be impossible.
"I loved you in Teaching Mrs. Tingle!!!"
Jarkko: "Dude. I'm right. here."
"But why is the other one wearing ski boots?"
"Alright, gentlemen. Whip 'em out. I brought a tape measure today."
"Psst! Judy! You brought the Bacardi, right?"
Ruh roh. Halpert started a fashion trend.
"The old hag never comes to any of my matches and she shows up to that miserable git's second rounder? Fuck 'em all."
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.
Ok, I get it. Everyone's super impressed with Isnut. They're on the front page of newspapers, the talk of all the news shows, hell, they kicked off The Daily Show. Halpert and Nick are rockstars and the pillars of everything that sport stands for.
That does not mean you all should be trying to rip that mantle away. I mean, six five-set matches today with two going past 6-6 in the fifth? Find your own schtick, you guys. I mean, congrats to Rafa, Jo, Apricot, Jeremy, Petzchner, and Brows (ok, maybe not Brows), but be original! Let's let Isnut have their day in the sun.
Q. Which one of [Roger's] records do you think is his most impressive?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every one. Every one is amazing. If I have to say something, 23 semifinals in a row of Grand Slam.
RAFAEL NADAL: Because is five years, almost six years, playing all four Grand Slams. You can have no one injury, no one bad day, so is amazing. That's my feeling, no? So 23 semifinals in a row, in my opinion, impossible to do it another time.
Q. You spoke about what you felt was Roger's most amazing record. Of your tremendous accomplishments, what do you think your best achievement is?
RAFAEL NADAL: 81 matches straight on clay. That's a lot.
Q. In a certain way is that showing consistency, day in, day out being able to raise your game even under bad conditions? Is that why you're proud of it?
RAFAEL NADAL: The 81?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that's the most impressive of my record, this one. Because, you know, in a lot of matches you have difficult moments. And not all the tournaments, not all the matches you are playing well. That's for sure. And you still winning. You still winning very difficult matches.
81 is a lot. A lot of days finish the match with the victory. And for me, that's, well, very difficult to repeat, too.
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. You may not have as much grass tennis as last year and two years ago. What is important before a big tournament like this? Is it to be used to the surface or be fresh mentally? Between both, what is the most important?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everything is important, no? If you are fresh like ice, but you are playing bad, you're going to lose. If you are playing very well but you are too tired, probably you gonna have the chances to win a few rounds, but finally you gonna lose. That's what happened for me in the US Open 2008.
But no, no one thing is happening to me. I am not very tired. I don't know if I am fresh or not probably. But the clay season was a hard clay season. But, you know, after winning three tournaments, very important tournaments for me, and Roland Garros, you lose a little bit attention for the moments. But I hope to be ready to play well on next Tuesday.
Q. You were hurt at Queen's Club and complaining of a leg injury. Has that cleared up now?RAFAEL NADAL: I am fine. I am perfect. Thank you.
Q. Our queen is going to be here on Thursday. The All England Club are leaving it to the players whether they bow to the box or not. What have you decided to do?
RAFAEL NADAL: I would love to be Thursday to have the chance to do it. I don't know. I have to win the first match before on Thursday.
Q. And if you get through, will you bow?RAFAEL NADAL: Sure. I respect everything.
Q. When you switch from clay court to grass court, what is the most important thing to concentrate on? Is it technically or mentally?
RAFAEL NADAL: Technique for me. Mentally I think I know how I have to play to play well on grass. But is difficult to do it for me, no?
Q. Technical adjustments you have to do?RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, the movements are very important, how to move. The way that you are touching the ball is very important because you have to -- you know, on clay you have more time to think.
Here, if you are not touching the ball perfect most of the times, is very difficult to have the control of the point.
So the important thing is adjust your game, adapt your game to play well on this surface. So you have to put the ball more inside the court. You can't defend on this surface because when you run to one place, is very difficult to come back, especially after the first week. After the second week is more like clay. But especially the first days is very difficult, so is very important.
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)
Rafa's going to go home to Mallorca and chill out for a bit after losing to Feli in the Queens, which if you ask me, is a good thing. That hamstring injury is a blessing in disguise.
And Andy dropped a third-set tiebreaker to Punch-and-Run Fish. So all the top seeds are out of Queens. Remaining? Feli, Querrey, Fish, and Schuettler.
So...anyone think the U.S. can actually beat England tomorrow?