All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

Posts Tagged ‘roger federer’

Australian Open Tidbits

Posted by hiphopmama on January 22, 2009

In addition to just plain sucking in general, I’ve also been fighting a cold/flu so I haven’t been paying as much attention to the tennis action as I should. I started getting back into it today and came across a few interesting nuggets, to say the least. I now share them with you, in all their partial, incomplete, editorialized splendor.

  • Venus, what happened?? Seriously? She lost a painful three-setter to Spanish upstart (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) Carla Suarez Navarro, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. The elder Williams squandered opportunities left and right and generally looked listless after a breezy first set. She let one match point slip away and had many more chances to have the match on her own racket or at least force a tiebreak. Instead, she unforced-errored her way to an early round loss against an opponent she should have beaten. All credit to Suarez Navarro. She didn’t fold under pressure, even after being outplayed in the opening set, and she remained aggressive for the big points. It will be fun to see if she can keep it up for another match or two.
  • Novak Djokovic had more pleasantries to deliver for this Grand Slam. Is anyone really surprised at this point? He had this to say about Andy Murray and the Aussie tournament: “What’s his ranking and my ranking? The thing is that you cannot put somebody, I mean, all the respect to Andy (Murray), I like him as a person and as a player. He’s done a lot in the last couple months, and he’s a very talented player and we can expect him to win some Grand Slams in the future. But you cannot put him as the favorites next to Roger and Rafa and myself here at Australian Open.” Like I said, it’s not unexpected for little Nole to make pompous, obnoxious comments at any give moment, and by his standards this one is rather tame. I agree to an extent; you can’t consider Murray the favorite with Roger and Rafa hanging around. Other than that, the Brit isn’t far behind Novak himself in the pecking order. I know Djokovic is the defending champ, but he hasn’t exactly been in sparkling form lately and Andy has. There’s no need to go flaunting your ranking like it has all the bearing in the world on the outcome here, especially when you’ve been getting knocked out of smaller tournaments by opponents with vastly inferior rankings. It’s Slam time – expect lots more whining on my part about my favorite player to hate…

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Fed Makes It Five

Posted by hiphopmama on September 9, 2008

Federer became the first man to ever win five consecutive titles at two different grand slam events – Wimbledon and the U.S. Open – by beating Andy Murray in straight sets, 6-2 7-5 6-2. It was a satisfying victory for Roger, who has looked noticeably subpar by his stratospheric standards, having made it till September without a Grand Slam title after winning three out of four the last two years. It’s a testament to his dominance that this year has been perceived as a disappointment when he made it to three finals and one semi-final with one major title to boot. Hopefully this will get him back on track for ’08. As he said, “One thing for sure, I’m not going to stop at 13. That would be terrible.” He’s one shy of Sampras’ record of 14.

Andy Murray was essentially outclassed. His one glimmer of a chance came in the second set when he broke back, then broke a second time to take the lead. It all slipped away, however, and it was downhill from there. 

I’ve been a Murray hater for a while, but he looked, played, and acted great this tournament, almost winning me over and converting me to comfortably neutral. He got a little down on himself toward the end, but who doesn’t against Federer? He was gracious in defeat as well. Most importantly, he put himself on the map. I believe he’ll move up to number 4 in the rankings, and I would wager he’ll stay in the top 5, top 10 at least, for a while to come. If Federer and Nadal ever give up their stranglehold, he and Djokovic will be the next ones waiting in the wings.

And finally, will Mary Carillo please shut the fuck up? She’s always bitching about something, and tonight it was the challenge system. She’s been one of the few to dislike the system since its inception, and she’s always coming up with different reasons why it sucks. Tonight, it was the mere existence of line callers that irked her, as she asserted that all the lines should be called by Hawk-Eye. I agree, in the sense that tennis should begin moving in this direction. But I feel like the current system is a good middle ground, a stop gap until they can make sure the technology is just right and get everybody on board. For such an old-ass, traditional sport, I’ve been impressed that tennis has incorporated the line-calling machines at all. As for Carillo, her whining about it seems to just be an excuse to talk some more. With her reasoning always on the move, I don’t really believe she has some principled opposition to it. Her argument that you shouldn’t have to stop a point to get the call right is correct in the abstract, but at least having the opportunity to do so and check where the ball landed is an advantage the challenge system provides, rather than having to just take the calls as they come. I’m sure the system will continue to get better, hopefully getting to fully automated line calling sooner rather than later, but in the meantime I think it’s working just fine. Get over it, Mary.

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Serena Bests Jankovic for U.S. Open Title

Posted by hiphopmama on September 8, 2008

It was a fun match to watch, at least if you were a Serena fan. She didn’t exactly tear through her like I thought, but it wasn’t much of a struggle, either. Serena won the first set handily, 6-4, but Jankovic rallied to capture then lose then re-capture a break advantage in the second, eventually losing it 7-5 after failing to convert a couple set points. 

I’ve been unsure how to feel about Jelena Jankovic since she came on the scene, but she definitely won me over tonight. She can come across as a bit of a pouter sometimes, but she was all smiles here, even in defeat. Plus her mom is awesome. I’ve never seen another tennis parent be so calm and objective about their kid, even when said child is losing. Nothing seems to faze her. I also respect how she made Jelena stay doing school, which prevented her from rising up the rankings earlier and faster than she did. If she would cut out her Djokovic habit of calling the trainer for every hangnail, I’d be able to root for her wholeheartedly. 

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s men’s final, even at the odd hour (5 eastern/2 pacific on a week night?). Andy Murray has looked much more mature and composed, but I still can’t forgive him his previous sulking. Maybe if he sticks with the new approach for a little longer. In the meantime, go Federer. Let’s make it five in a row.

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Djokovic Admits to Overreacting to Roddick’s Comments

Posted by hiphopmama on September 7, 2008

Maybe the guy does have an inkling of sense after all. Having complained to and about the fans at the U.S. Open and gotten all prickly over Roddick’s poking fun at his frequent need to call the trainer on the court, Djokovic finally softened up after his loss to Federer in the semifinals and conceded that his response was out of hand.

“He made a joke and it was a misunderstanding. 

Maybe I exaggerated and reacted bad in that moment. I apologise if I reacted like that. This was just impulsive.”

It feels a little like Hillary Clinton endorsing Barack Obama way after the fact – like, great, now that we’re all past the point of no return let’s go ahead and make things right. Still, I’m impressed he owned up to his fussing at all. It’s not usually like him. Birth of a kinder, gentler Djokovic? I think not, but here’s hoping.

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Nadal-Murray In Suspended Animation

Posted by hiphopmama on September 7, 2008

It was a bizarre day at the U.S. Open. Because of the certainty of rain later in the day, they moved the start time up for the matches, with Federer and Djokovic starting an hour earlier than originally scheduled. Then, around the second set of that one, they started the Nadal-Murray match on Armstrong simultaneously instead of having them wait till the conclusion of Federer-Djokovic to play on Arthur Ashe. Fed managed to finish off Djokovic in four sets before the rain kicked in, but Nadal and Murray had to stop short in the third set. Nadal had lost the first two sets to Murray, who was playing simply out of his mind, although Nadal was up a break in the third when play halted.

It was a disappointing (start of a) match to say the least, especially for someone who roots against Andy Murray as avidly as I do. I hear he’s toning it down a little lately, but he still acts like too much of a baby out there. My husband and I always laugh about his yelling at his coaches from the court, at one point in one match shouting, “I’m trying my hardest!” Oh really, Andy? I’m pretty sure everyone is at this level, so get over it. He’s no Djokovic, and I’d be much less disgusted to see him win the whole thing than Novak, but if he pulls out the win over Nadal I’ll be pulling that much harder for Federer. Not to count out Rafa yet, which you should never do, but he’ll need a major overhaul tomorrow if he wants to force a fifth set. We shall see.

All this means that the women’s final between Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic will take place tomorrow and the men’s final will be on Monday. I’m excited, but I’ll miss the tennis when it’s over. At least the European soccer leagues have started up, so I’ll have something other than baseball during the tennis break.

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Federer Takes Third Set Against Djokovic

Posted by hiphopmama on September 6, 2008

This one is still in progress, but I had to get my two cents in. Federer probably should have won the second set, but I gotta hand it to Djokovic for hanging in there. Late in the third, however, he started letting the crowd get to him and generally lost his composure a bit, just enough for Roger to capitalize and grab the set and take a 2-1 lead. The crowd has been clearly rooting for Fed, even cheering when Djokovic would miss a first serve, and at one point he even gave the crowd a sarcastic thumbs up when he missed a shot. 

What does he expect? He was essentially taunting the crowd after the Roddick match for rooting against him, as if that was any surprise. Roddick is right: if you’re gonna dish it out, as Djokovic does in his admittedly funny impressions of other players, you gotta be able to take it too, as he proved unable to do when Roddick poked fun at his unending list of “injuries.” 

Come on, Roger, let’s finish this one off in four.

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More Boo-Hoos From Mr. Djokovic

Posted by hiphopmama on September 5, 2008

Okay, so Djokovic beat Roddick about as easily as he should have. Deep down I knew it had to happen, but I can hope, right? Of course, Novak still had to bitch and moan about his unfair treatment to the crowd after the match:

“Andy said I have 16 injuries. Obviously I don’t,” Djokovic said, drawing boos from a crowd dominated by Roddick supporters. 

“Like it or not, it’s like that,” Djokovic said. “They are already against me because they think I’m faking everything.” 

“That was not nice to say in front of this crowd that I have 16 injuries and I’m faking it. The momentum is not nice.” 

I won’t even go into what else isn’t nice about Djokovic himself, considering how many words I’ve already devoted to that subject, but I will add to the mix his shirtless strutting after victories. Really, dude, no one wants to see that.

Now my hopes rest with Fed. Everyone wants to see Federer-Nadal in the final, but seeing Roger get there at Djokovic’s expense would make it so much nicer. Payback for Australia, maybe?

I know I’ve spent a lot of time tearing into Djokovic, but I don’t want you to think I have singled the guy out. I actually bear a striking hatred for a number of players whose names simply haven’t come up yet. But don’t fret – you’ll hear about them sooner or later. Next up on my shit list is Andy Murray, so look out for that one. I know. You’re on the edge of your seat.

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Robredo on Djokovic: “Wah Wah Wah”

Posted by hiphopmama on September 3, 2008

Am I the only one that can’t stand Novak Djokovic and his obnoxious pre-serve routine of bouncing the ball a gazillion times? Yeah, his impersonations are funny, but, knowing him and his pompous family, it ends up making him look more like a dick. 

Anyway, he barely held out a win in five sets today against Tommy Robredo, about whom I generally only remember that he was named after the Who album, after which Robredo had this to say about Djokovic’s calling twice for the trainer:

“Novak was doing the show,” Robredo said. “I had pain, as well, all over my body because I think I run a lot more than him, and I said nothing.”

“So did I trust him? No. I think he took his time because he was a little bit more tired and that’s a part of the game,” he said. “I think that if you’re not fit enough, then don’t play.”

It probably didn’t need to be said by Robredo after a tough loss, but it’s got a good chance of being true all the same. Jankovic is another one who likes to add to the drama by bringing out the trainer. 

Djokovic also had the nerve to ponder, “Maybe they don’t like me anymore” after the crowd’s reaction to him throwing his racket and generally acting like a baby. I don’t care how many celebrities you have in your box, I’m not a fan, Nole. 

And can Federer look a little more vulnerable? Some of the sheen has definitely come off this year, and at this point it’s more than just the mono. I hope he pulls it together, but I’m gradually switching my allegiance to Rafa. This could be the turning point…

Tomorrow should be another good day at the Open. Venus vs. Serena. Fish vs. Nadal. Hopefully there will be some more close matches.

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