Friday, August 31, 2012

No goodbyes yet

I felt a lot of relief as Andy Roddick breezed through his match with Bernard Tomic.  While it wasn't the drama and intensity that I pictured it might be, that was just fine for the time being.  I think most people were pretty stunned by Andy's sudden news of retirement.  While many were predicting it might happen soon, I don't think anyone was expecting it to be so abrupt.  In fact, he didn't even tell his parents or his brother until the day of the announcement!  With it happening so suddenly I found I wasn't ready to let him go so quickly.

I certainly have had mixed feelings about Roddick over the years.  On the one hand he can be an incredibly witty and charming guy who you can't help but like, but then he can turn around and act in unbecoming ways on court to chair umpires or lines people.  Overall,. though, when Andy was playing I would make a point to watch and I genuinely wanted him to do well (unless of course he was playing a certain guy named Roger Federer, who I never cheer against for anyone!).  

It's been fun to see some of the footage of a very young Roddick winning his first ATP title or the disbelief and incredible joy when he won the U.S. Open.  Then there was the heartbreaking loss in the 2009 Wimbledon final where even those who desperately wanted Federer to surpass Pete Sampras's record with a win couldn't help but feel the heartbreak that Andy was showing.  Overall, though, his sense of humor is what stands out for me when I think of him, and I will sincerely miss his presence on the tour.

I'm not looking forward to the final goodbye.  I'm sure it will be emotional and I will need to have the Kleenex box nearby.  But that won't be happening quite yet and I hope he makes it well into the second week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goodbye to Kim, and 2 set down comebacks

The intensity was palpable as Kim Clijsters first tried to hold her service game to stay in the match at 4-5, then again at 5-6 with some hold-your-breath type of points.  The eventual tiebreak could have gone either way, but in the end the British teen Laura Robson was able to close it out, bringing an end to Kim Clijsters' singles career for a second time.  Everyone knew each match could be her last, but I don't think many thought it would end this early.  I felt a little lump in my throat when it was all over today, and even heard Pam Shriver's voice crack a little while she interviewed her on court.

It has been inspiring to hear so many talking about what a genuinely nice and friendly person she is to everyone she comes into contact with.  (Reminds me of a particular top ranked men's player I know of!).  The majors she has won in her comeback career have been a real joy to see.  She seems happy to be moving on with her life and I hope she experiences a lot of fulfillment as she adds to her family and moves on to other ventures.  And hopefully we will still see her from time to time.

On another topic, it has been just crazy how many comebacks from two sets down there have been in the men's game in just the first three days - 9 to be exact!  What is especially crazy to me is the fact that in the last few weeks beginning with the Olympics there has been some talk that maybe there needs to be a change in the format of slams, going to best of 3 rather than best of 5.  I think what has happened in these first two days should put an end to that discussion once and for all!  If that were to change, everything about the slams would be different, and it would almost negate some of the huge results we have had in history.  I mean, just taking Roger Federer for an example, he wouldn't have won the French Open because he was down two sets to Tommy Haas, and he wouldn't have won Wimbledon this year because of his match with Benneteau.  Djokovic wouldn't have won the U.S. Open last year because he would have lost to Federer .  And there would have been nine different winners than what we currently have in this present tournament.  It would just be too big of a change.  Hopefully this was just a passing thought and not something to be seriously considered.

The 1st round for the men is finally over and half of the 2nd round for the women.  Should be some interesting matches tomorrow as we make our way to the 3 day weekend, in which I plan to do lots of sitting around watching tennis!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 1 at the Open

The U.S. Open is officially up and running!  And for good measure, about an hour into it, there was even a rain delay to make things interesting.  No big upsets on the men's side today, though for the women three of the German ladies have already gone out in the first round.  I have learned not to make too many predictions in the women's game when it comes to majors - ANYTHING can happen!

Andy Murray started out a bit shaky, though you can't tell by the scoreline.  Roger Federer had a routine first round match against Donald Young, winning his 50th match in Arthur Ashe Stadium (62-7 career W-L). This was his 38th Grand Slam 1st round win in a row!  

You can tell there is a lot of humidity when even Roger is sweating like crazy!  

Here is post match interview with Darren Cahill, which was great:

I wish it didn't take three days to get through the 1st round.  I'm already getting antsy to get to the "good stuff."  I know I need to savor this, though, as there will be a long break after this is done, so I am going to enjoy each and every day watching the amazing tennis at the Open the next two weeks.  No other place like it!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Roger at the Lindt event

Just have to share this video of Roger Federer at the Lindt event in New York City.  I'm a little envious of those lucky ones who get to meet him and get their picture taken with him!  I especially love his comment about being the little kid from Basel:


Friday, August 24, 2012

What to expect?

This time around as we waited for the draw ceremony, for once we weren't waiting to see if Roger and Novak were again going to be in the same half.  It wasn't even possible.  And for the first time in a long time Roger would be leading the field at the very top of the draw.  What had everyone's curiosity piqued, however, was who was going to be the unfortunate one to get Andy Murray in their half and who was going to be the lucky dog to get David Ferrer.  Well, we all know the answer to that by now.  On the one hand I was disappointed, but on the other hand I could already see it, if it would have gone the other way, that if Roger ended up winning, that people would have said "it wasn't fully deserved because he had such an easy draw" or other such comments.  Even though Rafa isn't there, going through both Murray and Djokovic to win his 6th U.S. Open would be a huge accomplishment.

I'm sure the guys in Ferrer's quarter are dancing for joy at the opportunity they have to get through to the semifinal.  There are any number of them who could be there.  I don't see hardly any chance that whoever gets there won't be facing Novak Djokovic, however.  In Murray's section there are a few potential upsets with Tsonga, Raonic and others who could be a danger.  The biggest threat to Federer is Berdych.  He hasn't been playing all that well lately, so we will see if he regains his form with more matches on hard courts. 

I was interested to see the predictions by the ESPN group on who they thought would win for men and women.  I was happy to see that Chris Evert, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe all thought Federer was the guy, while eight others chose Djokovic.  Interesting not one of them picked Murray as the winner.  And across the board they went for Serena for the women.

While I definitely predict seeing a Federer-Djokovic final, it's really hard to say for sure what's going to happen after that.  A lot depends on how tough their matches are leading up to the final.  Of course one of them could be upset early, but that would be big news.  What I do know though, is I can't wait for Monday to get it all started!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What more does he have to do?

Why is it that I keep coming across articles that imply that Roger Federer still needs to keep winning one more thing in order to cement his legacy, or that if he were to win the U.S. Open that it would be his biggest win ever?  Of course it would be amazing if he could win a 6th title in Flushing Meadows after the incredible year he has had since he was last there, but come on!  This is really annoying to me that no matter how much he does, it just isn't ever enough.  I mean, I would completely love it if he could win in a couple weeks once again, and every win that he gets just cements his legacy more and more.  However, he has already done so much more in the game than anyone else, which he just keeps adding to.  Why does he keep needing to do more to prove himself?

The other thing that frustrates me is when people start qualifying different wins, that they don't mean as much because he didn't have to beat one of the top players (such as the fact that Nadal won't be there at the U.S. Open, and that if he didn't have to beat Djokovic for some reason it wouldn't mean as much).  So frustrating!  It's not his fault if someone loses early or isn't there because of injury.  Winning a grand slam is a tremendous feat.  Look at all of those who are great players who have never won one.  And he has 17 of them!!

I know that people love to argue these topics, and it will continue long after he retires I'm sure, but it does get old after a while that it's just never enough - even after claiming #1 again and winning a 7th Wimbledon.  I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but it does, so since I have my own blog I figured I would get it off my chest.

If you have any thoughts, add a comment!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Roger does it again!!!

Roger Federer has done it again, winning another title in Cincinnati.  The numbers game just becomes more and more amazing - 5 Cincy titles (most of anyone), 6 titles in 2012, 9 since his devastating loss almost a year ago at the U.S. Open last year, will now continue to hold the #1 ranking, 292 weeks now and into at least the U.S. Open.  That's just the latest ones that come to mind, not to mention not getting broken the whole week, and taking a bagel set off former world #1 Novak Djokovic.  He sure is showing his age of 31, isn't he?!

I still haven't gotten to watch either his quarterfinal or semi yet, which are on the DVR, and had to wait about 10 hours to watch the final after spending a weekend away in the wild on the back of a motorcycle.  I was, however, checking the hubby's iphone for scores on Friday and Saturday to see if he was going to be in the final.  I wanted to wait and have the suspense for the final, however, so when my son texted me saying "I assume you watched the final?" and I noticed that the text came only 1 1/2 hours after the final started, I knew it had been a fast match.  Then I had to wonder for hours and hours which way it went.  I certainly wouldn't have believed a 6-0 first set, that's for sure!  Just shows how strange tennis scoring can be.  If Novak could have managed a couple more points in the tiebreak and pulled off the 2nd set, momentum could have changed and been a very different result.  However, Roger held strong and he pulled off a great win, showing he is well deserving of his number 1 ranking.  It's so great to see him staying mentally strong so much more often again then he was for a while.  Truly amazing.

I am looking forward to watching some of what I missed in the next couple days, including the women's final, while we count down the days for the U.S. Open.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rafa out, and Cincy heating up

As momentum builds for the last major of the year in New York, we are all aware by now that 2012 will feel quite different without the presence of one Rafael Nadal.
While we have gotten a bit used to him not being part of the competition, going out the 2nd round at Wimbledon and not competing since, it still seems very strange to not have him even in the picture.  Having won his one and only U.S. Open title in 2010 and then reaching the final again last year to be defeated by Novak Djokovic, not having him there really changes the whole scope of possible winners and finalists this year.  I will save more ponderings on that until we get closer.  It will be interesting, however, to see how the rest of the year plays out for Rafa.  I have read everything from the rest of his career is threatened to him playing as early as September's Davis Cup, so time will tell how his knees heal up.  Hopefully he is enjoying his rest time, since he always says the season is too long.

Meanwhile in Cincinnati the tournament is fully underway now with Djokovic, Murray and Federer all winning in straight sets to advance to the Round of 16.  I have to say, being the Fed fan that I am, that Roger played a beautiful match yesterday.  He said himself that he either plays bad here or really well.  If yesterday was any indication I think the latter is his form this year.  There really was nothing his opponent could do as Roger hit winner after winner with great variety of shots.  We will see how this translates into matches against higher ranked opponents.  I am already feeling very bummed out that I am going to be out of town for Friday - Sunday's matches!  That, of course, is what DVRs are for, but not the same as watching live.  It is very seldom that I miss parts of tournaments that he is playing in, but the U.S. Open is priority and sometimes sacrifices need to be made.

Hitting autographed balls to lucky fans after his win
Though every fan will have seen this on his Facebook page, here is the new Mercedes commercial that will be coming out for the U.S. Open.  Looking very snazzy, Roger!!


Monday, August 13, 2012

291 weeks - Will it Continue?

Today Roger Federer continues to extend his record breaking weeks at #1 to 291.  What an amazing achievement!  Whether he continues to improve this in order to go into the U.S. Open as the #1 seed will depend on the results of the tournament this week in Cincinnati.

I'm sure everyone knows by now that Novak Djokovic defended his title in Toronto last week.  I didn't follow the tournament too closely due to previous commitments.  Plus, the lack of depth in the field competing last week and the frustration of rain delays made it even less riveting.  Regardless, Novak held onto all his ranking points from last year by winning the title and Roger lost 90 points from last year, since he didn't compete this year.  Thus that brings the spread in their current ranking points to only 75 once again.  

Roger needs to get to the final in order to ensure he will remain at #1.  If he loses in the quarterfinal or semi and Djokovic wins the title, Novak will become #1.  Roger has quite a comfortable draw this week, however, and it seems like it would be a challenge for Novak to win two tournaments right in a row.  It should be an interesting week to kind of see where the top guys are at (minus Rafa Nadal, who is still out with knee tendinitis this week).  How strong is Roger's desire to keep adding to 291?  How great is Novak's passion to grab #1 back before he tries to defend his U.S. Open title?  It all remains to be seen.  And if things go according to seeding, I think it will be very difficult for me that I am leaving Friday afternoon to be away from TVs and computers all weekend!  I will be very thankful for my DVR, that's for sure.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Toronto, Fed twins and Cincy

With everyone still tired from the Olympics and with injuries starting to show up, not to mention a full day of rain delay for the men in Toronto, it hasn't been the most exciting tennis week in the world.  I'm sure Novak Djokovic is silently thanking all the top guys this week for either not showing up (Federer, Nadal, Ferrer), pulling out after one match (Murray) or losing early (Tsonga, Del Potro) so he has a good chance to hang onto his title from last year while he tries to work through his personal issues that he doesn't want to discuss (hmm, can't help but make one curious!)  Of course, with all the rain he may soon be wanting to pull out too if he's going to have any chance next week in Cincinnati.

In the meantime I came across a very cute picture of little Charlene Federer, on vacation in Switzerland with her icon daddy Roger and the rest of her family.  Apparently while sister Myla was afraid of the fish, Charlene had no such fears:

From what I have observed in the little bit I have seen them, Charlene (the one who looks a little more like Roger) seems like the one with lots of spunk and personality, while Myla, who looks more like Mirka, seems more sweet and quiet.  We'll see if that continues to play out.  With my twins, once I thought I got them figured out they would switch on me, so I finally gave up trying!  Hope they had a wonderful relaxed vacation in Switzerland.

Now, however, Roger is back to work in Cincy, on the practice court.  Hope the transition from grass to hardcourt isn't too difficult - and that they have better luck with weather!  


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy 31st birthday, Roger!

Today the GOAT Roger Federer turns 31.  As the new saying goes, 30 is the new 20.  Wow, has Roger ever showed that in the last year.  Since his 30th birthday, after so many people writing him off, he has compiled a 76-10 match record, winning 8 titles as a 30-year-old.  To be honest, those are stunning numbers!  His passion for the game of tennis is inspiring.  Not only does he love the game but he loves the traveling and every part of his life on the tour.  And his faithful wife Mirka and adorable twin 3-year-olds Myla and Charlene are with him everywhere he goes.  

It has been a wonderful year for Roger and his fans, winning Wimbledon, getting back to #1, and finally getting a precious singles Olympic medal.  Hopefully he is having a relaxing and special day with family and friends and we look forward to seeing him next week in Cincinnati.

Wonder what will we be talking about next year when he turns 32?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Roger talks about loss/medal

Here's a great video of Roger talking about his reaction to his loss, among other thing.  I don't know how to embed this one since it's not on You Tube, so a link will have to do: 

It's encouraging to hear the way he thought about how he was going to react to the loss and chose the positive reaction.  Great life lesson!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic tennis, over and out

It has taken me a while to write this today, partially because I was busy doing "summer" things, but partially because this one was a hard one for me to process.   Not so much because Roger Federer lost - to win both Wimbledon and Olympic gold within a month of each other would be quite an accomplishment, but because of the way he lost.  I mean, if someone would have told me the final score line as their prediction I probably would have laughed.  But it became obvious as the match went on that Roger was simply depleted, certainly emotionally and maybe physically also.  Of course, Andy Murray was playing amazing tennis too, and he fully deserved the gold medal.  If he would have been playing anyone else I would have been thrilled for him.  However, he wasn't playing anyone else, he was playing the GOAT who had just one major thing lacking in his resume, and it was difficult to see it end almost without a fight.

I thought about it quite a bit as we were on our long motorcycle ride today and came mostly to peace with it.  And when I came home and found the medal ceremony finally on my recording, seeing Roger looking very happy, and reading some of his comments I really felt much better.  Here's the one I really liked:  “I had a very emotional tournament from start to finish. I could have lost in the first round against (Alejandro) Falla. Same thing obviously with (Juan Martin) del Potro. I felt like I won my silver, I didn’t lose it. So I feel very, very happy.”

Of course his fans would have loved to see him win gold.  However, silver is awfully darn good, considering he has won 8 titles over the last 10 months, including Wimbledon, and regained the #1 ranking.  What he has done has been amazing, and he and his fans should be incredibly proud.  

And what a boost for Andy Murray.  Great props to him for not having his former post-losing-grand slam slump and coming back to win in style - not only gold in singles but also silver in mixed doubles.  And awesome job for Del Potro to beat Djokovic and win the bronze after, he said, crying till 3 a.m. after losing the semi.  Very clutch of him to come back after that deep disappointment.  The U.S. Open this year should be very interesting indeed!

Serena Williams was scary good during this entire Olympic tournament.  Wow, can you imagine being able to play like that, against the world #1 and #2?  Completely amazing!  And so happy for Bob and Mike Bryan, who finally got to win their gold medal.  They said if they are still playing after the Rio games they have agreed to shoot each other.  And the U.S. got another medal, a bronze one, from Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond in mixed doubles.  Great job, U.S.A., making tennis a very relevant sport!

While I'm sure I will watch some of the big tournaments this coming week, to be honest I'm feeling a little depleted from all this and looking forward to a little break from the intensity.  It will all start again with another major, after two Masters 1000s, in only three weeks time, though, with the U.S. Open.  Tennis never truly ends, thankfully for tennis fans.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Marathon match to set up for gold

Wow, what a day!!  I didn't know if I was going to get up to watch the match live or not - one of the disadvantages of living on the west coast of the U.S. during European tournaments.  However, when I woke up at 4:20 a.m. I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep because of wondering, so I got up and the match was just starting.  I didn't make my coffee yet because I thought it may be a quick two setter and I could go back to bed for a while before work.  Little did I know what the morning was going to hold!  After a disappointing first set and a scary second set that just barely ended well, I went and made the coffee, deciding I was up for the day.  I wonder what the match would have been like with a few less of those unexplained errors from the Fed?  Getting broken when serving for the match the first time was a big disappointment, and I couldn't help but wonder if the momentum was going to shift back to Delpo.  Who would have thought there would be 16 more games before the end!  Most Fedfans either have high blood pressure by now or very short fingernails after the tension.  What glorious relief when he finally came through in the end.  His interview on court was pretty quick as he sounded like he was choking back emotion.  He said later, "I was very tense at certain times.  I was seeing myself as a loser many times during the match."  Your fans are so glad it didn't turn out that way, Roger!

In every match there has to be a loser unfortunately, however.  Of Del Potro Roger said "I felt for him in a big way, because I've been there as well."  You couldn't help but feel bad for him seeing his tears at the end.  (This is the second time in a month Roger has had the losing player bury his head in Roger's shoulder in disappointment).  However, he is only 23 and will have a chance next time in Rio, closer to his own home nation in South America.  For Federer, even if he plays in four years, this is his time after missing out the last three.  Now he is assured of at least a silver medal if not gold for his trophy case.  

And, as a little side benefit, he gets to keep the #1 ranking a little longer, thanks to Andy Murray's win over Novak Djokovic in the other semifinal.  Though not quite as dramatic, the level of play in that match was very high, with the two of them throwing themselves all around the court in amazing retrieval of balls.  But for the home favorite Murray, who showed how deeply the Wimbledon loss affected him just a month ago, you can't help but be happy for him and the British crowd that he will get at least a silver medal.

I am happy that the Bryan Brothers get a chance to try for gold.  And I think Jo Wilfred Tsonga must have been offended that Fed-Delpo took the honor of the longest tennis match after his amazing battle with Raonic because he and Michael Llodra went 18-16 in the third set against Ferrer and Lopez to make the final against the Bryans.

And no surprise for the women.  Serena continues to crush her opponents.  Will Maria be able to make a dent?  

Would love to hear any predictions for any of the final matches!

Read more here:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Semis set, big 3 + 1

So the semis are set for one of the biggest tennis events of the year.  Each one of them would love to take home a medal, and three of the four will.  It must feel strange knowing that even if they lose tomorrow, they will still play one more match for the bronze.  Even though on the one hand this has felt just like another tennis tournament, at the same time it just has a different feel with it being the Olympics - more special somehow.

Most predicted the big 3 making it to the semis, with the 4th being a little up in the air.  But there was always a bit of the unpredictable with the best of 3 sets on grass.  Honestly I hope that each of the top three seeds end up with a medal - they all deserve it (and of course you know who I want to get the gold!).  

On the ladies side it's hard to believe it wouldn't be Serena and Maria Sharapova in the gold medal match with the way each of them are playing.  They each seem pretty fiercely determined.  

A few more days of wondering and the questions will be answered after all the waiting for the Olympics.  Big anticipation, again, different than other tournaments, even grand slams, as there is only a chance every four years.  Lots of pressure tomorrow, no doubt about that!