Q. Now, earlier you said that you don’t set the rankings. That was your reaction to what Serena Williams said. But what were your thoughts about the fact that she did make those statements?DINARA SAFINA: I don’t care. I don’t care. Really.
Q. After you won Wimbledon you spoke very entertainingly about the No. 1 ranking and what your thoughts were about it. After this summer with Dinara still at No. 1, what are your thoughts about the No. 1 ranking?SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't talk about that anymore. I'm sorry.
Q. How come?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've talked about it a lot, and if you want to read some answers that I said, you know, you can, but I think we should talk about something else. It's more exciting, more new.
Q. Do you have regrets about what you said after the Wimbledon victory?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What? I mean, I'm very excited to have won Wimbledon, Australia and this tournament last year, so I have no -- I don't live with regret. Do you? (laughter.)
SERENA WILLIAMS: I try not to. You shouldn't. (laughter.)
Any other questions that's not about No. 1?
I guess Sunday was a day for reemergence. Nole popped up out of nowhere and so did Dejan. I so confused. But it seemed to put Team Pinky in a darn good mood.
Girl, give those bike shorts back to Lena. They do not work. Ever. Even Z looks confused.
Man. Sveta *really* likes those shorts from the company that no longer sponsors her, huh?
Sven is looking particularly adorable in New York. Hair cut? Weight loss? Ditching the uncomforably bright Adidas tops? Who knows. But as Sodapop wrote, "Sven and the camera are BFFs." Indeed.
And before I forget: SQUEE!!!! Sania!
And look who else is back! Richie Rich hit the courts for a hit, though it looks like he and Pamela had a rockin' wet t-shirt party right before. Some never learn.
And the rest of the French buffet.
In pretty awesome news, we've got some FDers on the ground in NYC and lucky for me they've been extremely forthcoming with their pics and anecdotes. So here we go:
Well, well, well, look who decided to show up. The Falcon has been pretty MIA during the off-week before the USO. No promo appearances, no interviews, no...nothing.
But he hit the practice courts yesterday and we actually have pictorial evidence.
Well done Sabrina and Amanda!
Thanks again to Sabrina and Amanda for these pics.
As for Sodapop and Carrie...
Get some sleep, ladies. Tomorrow's going to be a long one. I mean, *surely* you bought night session tix for Williams/Roddick, no?
Here we go:
Arthur Ashe – 11 a.m. start
Viktoriya Kutuzova(UKR) vs.Kim Clijsters(BEL)
Roger Federer(SUI) vs.Devin Britton(USA) (Not Before 13:00)
Alexa Glatch(USA) vs. Serena Williams(USA)
Vera Dushevina(RUS) vs. Venus Williams(USA) (19:00 Start)
Bjorn Phau(GER) vs. Andy Roddick(USA)
Can anyone honestly stop Roger Federer? After a tearful loss to Nadal in the Australian Open final, the Swiss swordsman won the French Open (without having to beat Nadal), Wimbledon (without having to beat Nadal) and watched his (ahem) top seed produce a pair of twins with his wife Mirka (also without having to beat Nadal). He even won a tuneup in Cincinnati. Barring an upset-or a legitimately healthy Nadal-Federer will probably NetJet to his record 16th major title. And, of course, cry about it.
Kim Clijsters, who retijred in 2007, announced in April that she was comijng out of retijrement. The 25-year-old Belgijan will make her rejturn from hijatus in Queens. "I stijll have that craving," Clijsters said recently. "I look forwajrd to the chjallenge." Clijsters would face Venus in the fjourth round.
And on how to tell the difference between P-Mac and J-Mac, who will be commentating together now that USA has been dropped: John will be the one criticizing James Blake, a member of Patrick's U.S. Davis Cup team, during his perennial early exit.
The big money stars came out to entertain the kids on a wet Arthur Ashe Kids Day. And it looked like good times were had by all, even that unidentifiable popped-collar-dbag on the the left.
It's always something, with Serena, no? She was a born entertainer.
The look of shock and confusion is pretty great.
And the looks didn't really change for Serena either.
One of these things is awesome. And one of these things is James Blake.
And based on Andy's reaction here, I think you know which is which.
So here's some news. Dani's switching from Nike to Adidas and will wear the Adilibria line during the US Open. I really didn't see that one coming. Me thinks Nike has tapped Vika as their new #2 face.
Interesting choice, but doesn't it seem right for Vika to be in the Nike staple and Dani to be with the Bunny Ranch girls? She's already booking her ticket to Vegas:
One of the aspects of the adidas approach that is so attractive moving into the next stage of my career is the adidas Player Development Program. Knowing that I can seek guidance from the best in the world as part of the adidas team makes for an invaluable partnership.
Anyway, here's hoping the Adilibria line's billowy tops will take care of her chronic headlight sitch.
A-Rod's off doing some cross training at Yankee stadium.
(The jury's out on the "comfortability" of the Cole Haan gear.)
And then everyone and their mother showed up to the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis event as if it were a free buffet. Even the Daveed's sensitive soul couldnt say no to that. But trust me, he was way emo about it. Well, or whatever the Spanish equivalent to emo is.
Shit, even Bepa showed up. BEPA!!! That's how crazy this is! And dudes! She even went to the K Swiss event! Dammit, now I want to just do Patron shots with her. And that's saying something. Because I feel about Patron the way Bepa feels about her racquets.
Let's face it, when Bepa is the only Russian at your cocktail party, something's gone horribly awry. Unless it's like...a U.N. peacekeeping envoy cocktail party, in which case, you better get ready for a shot of peace with a harmony chaser.
But seriously, where are the Serbs in all this? You're telling me a party was thrown and Ana wasn't the guest of honor, Nole wasn't invited, and JJ didn't crash it? What is this world? And where the fuck are Marat and Dina? My head hurts.
Pikachewy was on hand yesterday for qualies and he just happened to wander by some outside practice courts where a little pink Coconut was having a hit...
with her coach...
...and hanging out with her brother:
in the photos, Marat was resting, perhaps having just practiced. his sister was next up, and she and z then opened some cans (well, z did) and they began hitting with each other. everyone in this camp was jovial and in great spirits on this sunny day.
Dina checking Serena's latest tweet.
I love this pic. It's just so...right.
Thanks again for Pikachewy for sending these along! Given all the skewed press coverage over the past few days, I was beginning to forget Dina was even here.
Love all those super insightful tweets by the likes of Muzz and Serena? Tough luck. Apparently Serena's sleep habits may be considered "insider information" by the Tennis Integrity Unit (that exists?).
Jeff Rees, a former Scotland Yard detective who is now the director of the Tennis Integrity Unit, has sent an email to players warning them that their 'tweets', the posts which they send to the website, could be violating the sport's anti-corruption rules on "the passing of inside information".
Even discussing the weather or the court conditions at a tournament could be seen as divulging 'inside information' about the circuit.
Under the heading, 'Important player notice – Twitter warning', the email informed players that they should not be sending 'tweets' that include "sensitive information" which relates to their own matches, or to other players and their matches.
Rees reminded players that inside information is defined in the anti-corruption rules as 'information about the likely participation or likely performance of a player in an event or concerning the weather, court conditions, status, outcome, or any other aspect of an event which is known by a covered person and is not information in the public domain'.
In the rules, players, their coaches, agents and their family, and all tournament staff, are regarded as covered persons.
You know a lawyer drafted that language because it vague enough to pretty much cover anything and everything. It's so fucking ridiculous. If tennis has such a problem with it then ban betting. Otherwise, if Andy Roddick wants to tell the world that he had a shit practice before his semifinal match, let him.
The players have been hitting the practice court at the BJK center.
Which of course means practice pics.
No one needs to see a concave chest.
Lots of folks were on hand for the DirectTV ESPN promotional event, which saw a bunch of players showing off their USO kits. Basically its a whole lotta color. And James Blake. Ironically.
And thus my relationship with New York continues.
Don't get me wrong. I love New York. All those epic quotes about how New York is the greatest city on earth? Don't be shocked if they come out of my mouth because I truly believe them. The food, the culture, just life in New York generally is like nothing else on earth. And believe me when I say I have mad respect for anyone who has ever grown up in Manhattan or has lived there for a prolonged period of time.
But GOD DAMN, do I hate New York. The bottom line is that I am, first and foremost, a kid from the Bay Area. We're inherently nice people. If I'm sitting on Muni and some dude starts to take a shit in the car, NO ONE SAYS A DAMN THING. Because really, who are we to judge? Dude, probably really has to go. All power to him. But you know what really pisses us off? Bad manners. Like seriously, the only time I've ever been involved in a near riot on Muni was when this girl was clamoring away on her laptop with her earphones in on one of the "Senior Benches" and was totally oblivious to the fact that an old woman had just boarded Muni. People were screaming at her to get her attention and when she finally realized what was up, she quickly got up and apologized profusely. Yeah, that's pretty much it.
Where was I going with this...
Oh yeah, the US Open. It's coming up. And while I used to get really excited about it, I just can't bring myself up for it this year. Maybe it's because I'm dreading the coronations of Mr. Federer and Ms. Serena. That might be part of it. Maybe it's because I hate the timing of having tennis on my continent, that when I'm heading off to work, tennis is just starting. I really don't know what it is.
But I'm trying to stay positive here. So here are the things I am looking forward to at the US Open:
But the one thing that would make the USO absolute shite?
Fed taking out A-Rod, Rafa, and Muzz to capture his third straight Slam.
Sigh. I need to start preparing myself.
So let's hear it folks. What are you looking forward to?
Take a Journey Through The Slams with Bonnie Ford.
It would be pretty darn cool to complete the Grand Slam in my lifetime. It's definitely on my to do list.
Either it's boring or it's the most perplexing game in the history of all sport. At least that's what you'd think based on the celebs' expressions during the US Open.
Seriously. You'd think they were all watching Schindler's List or something. Don't worry, people, the players ARE having fun.
Stop the presses! Just when you thought (or at least a few thought) the book on The Mighty Fed had been written and sent off to the printers, a new chapter must be written (not an epilogue, mind you) wherein a new plot-altering character is introduced in glorious form. And that character is none other than The Mighty Fed's awesome alter ego, Crazy Eyez Fed.
Because let's face it. Throughout this tournament, though TMF made a few cameo appearances, it was Crazy Eyez Fed that propelled the Swiss Superstar to his 5th straight US Open title, and first (and only) Slam title of the 2008 season. This was a title that was won more out of pure guts and guile than it was sublime shotmaking and precision. The Beautiful Balanced Baryshnikov has been replaced (for the time being I suppose) with a crasser, uglier Fed, who lunged, scurried, and fought both his opponents, but more himself, to victory. And TMF knew it, which is why he gave his alter ego a kiss after all was said and done:
As for Muzzah, he will regret not bringing another eye-opening performance to the big stage against Fed. He will also lose countless nights of sleep over his failure to challenge that ball that was clearly out on break point in the second set. He will toss and turn much like Nole did after he lost his tight final against TMF last year where he had set points and couldn't covert. Or like Baby Elephant, who couldn't get the sight of her ill-advised drop shot in the first set of the AO final against Masha. Or like Rafa did after he lost the 2007 Wimbledon final. Or like Serena, who rued her choke job against Venus in this year's Wimbly. This loss will eat at him to the point where he may be driven to take his first drink of the Devil's Punch. And he will come out of it all a better player who is destined to win Slams. Because if it doesn't eat at you, you (a) never really wanted it the first place or (b) you never really believed you could win. I don't think Murray falls in either category. That he proved over the course of this fortnight.
But let's get back to the real story. All credit to Crazy Eyez Fed. This one meant the world to him. He was clearly a step slower than in years past and the confidence in
his groundstrokes came and went as each game went by. But his heart
cannot be questioned. He is absolutely the Swiss Lion, as truthfully
advertised. He left no doubt about that:
Doesn't he kind of look like Luke Skywalker in Empire when the Emporer goes all electric on him? Feels so good it hurts, huh?
Q. Okay. Out there on court you're sighing, you're smiling, you're laughing. You said that your personality suites this tournament. What's the one thing in your personality that clicks with this tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know what? You know, I got the trophy here, and you know what I was thinking? Because you guys or the commentators said all about this drama and all this, I thought, you know, I should have gotten an Oscar for all this drama throughout the week. Despite, you know, getting a trophy, I should have gotten, you know, a trophy for the acting, for my drama.
I think I've done a great job.
Q. Maybe best supporting actress?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Best ‑‑ no, the leading role, you know. The best one. (laughter.) I enjoy the crowd and I have fun.
Q. During changeovers when a lot of players are very focused, you're looking at the TV screen.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I was laughing at all these people dancing.
Q. Is that something you do to relax?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Probably that's why I lost, the concentration, and made all these double faults. I probably ‑‑ that's why I made all these mistakes when I shouldn't have.
I don't know. I just ‑‑ you know, I had fun. I think they should turn it off, because I keep looking at the screen. (laughter.)
Q. Did you really not know how much the runner‑up check is?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I didn't. So now I have a lot of money to spend. (laughter.) Tomorrow is my day to go shopping.
Q. Mary Carrillo said that you enjoyed watching television, especially when you're on television. Do you have any thoughts about that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What television? Who?
Q. The TV screen.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, I keep watching, because you go to serve and you see your big face up there. You cannot help it to look up. No, I think they should turn it off, you know. I cannot focus, because I keep looking at it. I don't know why. Just the ‑‑ but you see it. You watch straight, and then your eyes just go up, because you know there's something going up on top.
But it's ‑‑ whatever. It's just fun.
Q. You said in the past that your mother obviously has a hard time sometimes with, you know, what goes on out there. What did she say to you afterwards?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Actually, I haven't even seen her. You know, I don't know where she is now. I just received a vaccine, you know, so that's the first thing I've done, receive the needle in my arm and some more torture.
You know, it's ‑‑ you think it's easy being a professional athlete, what we go through? You would feel a little bit sorry for us. (laughter.)
Q. What was the vaccine for?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. It's ‑‑ all these women, I guess, for papilloma. I don't know what it is. I have no idea. I took three. You have to take three vaccines per year, and then women under 26 years old, I guess that's the time when you're supposed to take it and then you're free.
Q. After the championship match of the US Open you got this?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I just got it. Here. It's here. I have a Band‑Aid. I have to do the doping test now, so I have another Band‑Aid here. I cannot even go to the toilet, so I have to drink. (laughter.) I have to drink some more, otherwise I'll be here until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and I wouldn't feel good tomorrow for my shopping, which is not good.
But almost more importantly, was that an entertaining final or what? It was competitive, high quality tennis, beautiful shot making, and, well, a rollercoaster. And it was brought to you by none other than the Queen of all that is dramatic and glittery:
Oh, JJ. God bless you. She is the only player on tour (quite possibly on either tour) who can smash an overhead into Serena, argue with the umpire, repeatedly do the splits, serve 80mph puff ball serves, laugh in the middle of points, watch herself on the Jumbotron after points while covered in a nice layer of body glitter, and STILL make a competitive match of it. That's our girl (though she and Nole need to get tips from Ana on how NOT to get booed by a crowd).
Let's be clear, Serena played really well. It wasn't the athleticism, power, and tenacity that she displayed against Venus but she was smart enough to know that it didn't have to be. Serena played well within herself and played a very contained VERY clean game. Throughout the match I marveled at the fact that Serena just wasn't missing. All JJ needed her to do was miss occasionally. But she didn't. And that's where my respect for Serena grew. She played a smart match. She played high percentage tennis because she knew that JJ couldn't beat her off the ground. JJ doesn't have any weapons that could hurt Serena. So all she had to do was stay calm, keep the ball in play until JJ left something short, and then crack it. She did, JJ did, and she did.
But in the end, I think that JJ gained a lot of respect tonight, not only from Serena but from tennis fans worldwide. The fact is, JJ showed she belonged in that elite group of women's players. She pushed Serena, stayed with her, scratched and clawed her way to stay in the match. If anything, tonight was more of a showcase of JJ's game rather than Serena's. Looking at the scoreline, I have no idea how in the world JJ kept it so close. But she did, and it's more a credit to her wit, guile, and fighting spirit than her actual game. All credit to her.
And so Serena finally gets the Slam that she so rightly deserved in 2008. And when the rankings come out tomorrow, Serena will sit atop the women's game at #1, as she so rightly should (JJ #2, AI #3, Lena #4, Dinara #5).
The next major tournament for the ladies is the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo which starts on September 16th.
It's fitting that on his way to his first Grand Slam final, Andy also has ascended to the #4 ranking during this tournament. Is there really any doubt that he is in fact the #4 player in the world? His awesome display of counterpunching against the ultimate counterpuncher was proof positive that Andy is on his way to breaking up the elite threesome and making it a foursome. He needed to beat Rafa in order to make it legit, and he did it in convincing fashion. Have you EVER seen Rafa doubled over in exhaustion as he did during the last game of the fourth? I was absolutely shocked!
Even if Rafa was fresh I don't think the result would have been different. Murray's game is pretty to watch when it's on, but positively pretentious when it's off. His drop shots, lazy striking, and cracking winners can be mesmerizing. At one point I wondered aloud to myself "Why don't more people play like this?"
Monday's final should be a cracker if Muzza brings his A game. He actually has a winning record against Fed, beating him earlier this year. If Fed is a step slow, which I think he still is, Andy has a very good shot. Fed's strategy has to be to rush the net to put pressure on Murray early. He'll also need to serve big, obviously.
Andy Murray came out firing today, taking his game to Rafa. To be honest, Murray's play made Rafa look like a chump, and the more I see the New and Improved Murray play, the more I absolutely love his game. I love the points where he lulls his opponents into a false sense of security and then unleashes a wicked forehand or backhand winner. Amazing stuff.
But even though Muzza won the first two sets, you get the sense that Rafa was starting to figure him out in the third set before the game was called for rain. So the biggest question is whether Rafa will benefit from the rain stoppage and come out tomorrow firing. Either way, Crazy Fed must be giggling in his hotel room, as these guys at a minimum have to play over two days, and at most, will have to grind out a five setter on Sunday only to turn around and play the final on Monday. Of course, with the fitness of these two I don't think it's that big of a deal.
I for one am entirely in favor of a Murray/Fed match. I think it would be fun. Then again, Rafa/Roger 3.0 would be a heck of a lot of fun too. Either way, tennis fans win.
This semifinal match will be played on Sunday, weather permitting, on Arthur Ashe (where it belongs) not before 4pm, which means it will be less than a 24 hour turnaround to the final for the winner (unfair!).
The women's final was also rained out on Saturday and has been rescheduled for 9pm EST on Sunday.
Congrats to Crazy Fed, who heads into his fifth straight US Open final (but notably, this is the first final for Crazy Eyez Fed). Two keys to this match: (1) Fed was serving bombs, thus holding fairly easily and (2) Nole just didn't want to be there.
Nole's mindset was understandable given the circumstances, but his performance was still disappointing. It wasn't that he played poorly per se. But he played with no intensity, which for him, is a death nail. Time to go home and regroup, kiddo. Luckily for him he doesn't have to step foot back in the States for a long, long, time.
It's really too bad, too. Because though Fed played well, he still looked beatable. Had Nole gone on to win this tournament he would have actually ascended to the #2 ranking, bumping Fed to #3.