Thursday, June 30, 2011

Martina Hingis to launch 'Tonic' sports wear for women's tennis


Nice to see her venturing out into the fashion world :).  I'm probably one of the very few people that always liked her tennis style (even back in the 90's).

Granted not all of them were flattering but certainly better then most of the outfits today.

I have really disliked the Williams sisters, or Maria Sharapova's fashion choices especially in recent years (I'm all for glamour in tennis, but a cocktail dress belongs at a party not a tennis court).

I'm sure Martina's brand of style will be a nice contribution (and perhaps a cool new trend) for the WTA.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Martina Hingis chats tennis, and this year's Wimbledon with MSN Sport

<a href=';vid=83fe5be1-1a88-429e-a486-a10e3ba18dd8&amp;src=v5:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Exclusive Interview: Martina Hingis'>Video: Exclusive Interview: Martina Hingis</a>

Well, it looks like one of Martina's predictions might come true. 

Still don't know about Maria. 

Very analytical interview, I think Martina has been working on her English again as well.  Nice to see.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Federer stunned in yet another quarter-final loss at Wimbledon

This just in: Roger Federer is definitely human. Twelve months ago the world rocked on its axis when the six-time champion lost at the quarter-final stage here to Tomas Berdych. 

The unthinkable not only happened again, when he fell in the last eight to an utterly beguiling display from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga; more significantly, Federer surrendered a Grand Slam match from two sets up for the first time in his career.

The semi-final line-up will not comprise the much-vaunted Big Four after all, and Tsonga deserved every bit of his 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory. The Centre Court crowd do not forgive many who defeat their beloved Federer, but what the Frenchman gave them in charm, they roared back in approval.

Yet brave was the punter who backed Tsonga to win after the opening two sets. It was not that he was blown away by Federer's brilliance. For a crucial phase in each set, his concentration went walkabout. He gave himself no chance, and the match seemed over. 

He opened with a thoroughly poor service game and in six minutes he was 3-0 down. He began to warm up a little and sent down a burning return for a chance to break back, but Federer served crisply to save. Another chance went by in similar fashion. Tsonga was at least in the match, but the set was gone in 27 minutes.

Tsonga's problem as much as anything was that he was failing to engage the crowd, who so often respond with such warmth to him. The second set went with serve to the breaker, and it felt crucial that Tsonga must take it. Instead it all went wrong. 

He made an early mistake to concede the mini-break and then just couldn't stay with Federer. No wonder Tsonga shook his head in frustration when he managed to save one set point for 2-6, and he got another back after that. But Federer made simple work of the formalities. The trainer was called to treat a sting on Tsonga's wrist, but his pride was hurting more.

When a muffed smash from Federer gave Tsonga two chances to break at the start of the third, it seemed an irrelevance, especially when Federer batted away the problem with ease. 

But Tsonga forced a third with a cross-court backhand and suddenly the crowd were roaring for him - and they roared louder still when he sent down an extraordinary forehand to clip the line. Federer challenged the call in vain. Twice in the set Tsonga would be 0-30 down on his serve, and such was Federer's resistance that Tsonga required four set points to get the job done. But an ace did the trick. 

He wasted no time in the fourth. Powerful strokeplay gave him the leverage he needed, and a fabulously swashbuckling rally nabbed him the break for 2-1. Just as well the Centre Court roof was not closed, as the bellow of the crowd would surely have lifted it off. Tsonga sprinted back to his chair with his fist raised in exultation. Another of those handy aces on set point levelled the match, and this time Tsonga went back to the chair with his face set in concentration.

Was it in Federer's mind that he had never lost a Grand Slam match from two sets up? He could not reassert himself, and netted a backhand to give two break points. A scorching Tsonga forehand sealed the deal, with the crowd now positively yelping. 

Nor would he yield on his own serve, delivering a stunning drop volley for a tough hold. He never looked back, taking victory on his first match point. Federer may yet win a seventh Wimbledon crown, but it will not be in 2011.

I'm too depressed to write anything cohesive right now.  I don't really care who wins this thing anymore.  I'm just gonna go and wallow in my sadness for a while *sigh*.

In all fairness Federer didn't play bad, Tsonga just played better.  I may not even bother watching the rest of the tournament at this point.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Roger Federer makes it past tough test into another quarter final at Wimbly!

Mikhail Youzhny did what no other player has done this tournament - namely, take a set from Roger Federer. The problem for the Russian was that Federer breezed through the next three to take the match 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. 

That's pesky six-time Wimbledon champions for you. They have a habit of winning.

Federer even came up with a repeat of his own signature flourish, - his superb "hot dog" shot, first seen at the US Open in 2009 and repeated in Australia in January . 

Not the variation on the theme recently favoured by Andy Murray - played while facing the court on a point that looks eminently winnable - but Federer's superlative version, running away with his back to the net to reach the ball on the baseline, playing the ball through his legs so fast that even though Youzhny was poised at the net, all he could do was dump the ball on the netpost. To say the No.1 Court crowd loved it is an understatement.

There was no such levity in the first set, which was a hugely intense affair. Youzhny's concentration, as he refused to give ground, was tangible. It hinged on an eventful tiebreak, with challenges, overrules, swings of fortune and momentum changes. 

At 4-4 Federer attempted to pass Youzhny at the net but the Russian sent a winner down the line. Then Federer sent a forehand way long to give his opponent two set points. On the second Federer sent the gentlest of backhands too long, and Youzhny had the set.

But the Swiss had not lost to Youzhny in 10 previous jousts spread over 11 years and he was not about to start now. At 2-2 in the second he stepped up a gear and broke. Federer pushed on, forcing the pace to take three set points. Youzhny would not yield but a fourth tested him too far and he pushed a volley wide on the run. The match was level.

Frustrated, Youzhny notched up four break points at the start of the third, only to see them all go by. Instead it was Federer who broke for 2-0, courtesy of a double fault at the worst moment. Then came the hotdog, on his way to 4-0. At 0-5 the set looked as if it would inevitably be a whitewash, but Youzhny clung to his self-respect, delivering successive aces to get his name on the scoreboard. 

Federer unexpectedly gave away break point, and when Youzhny sent the winning point down the line, he galloped back to his chair as if the cause was not lost. It was an illusion. Federer not only took the set and then, to be certain Youzhny was stripped of any misplaced optimism, stole a break at the start of the fourth.

They have something in common, these two 29-year-olds - fatherhood. Federer's twins turn two next month, while Youzhny's son is almost 17 months old. Perhaps they have chatted about parental issues in the locker room. But on court, there is no room for sentimentality. 

At 2-4 a Federer return hit the net, and yet somehow still trickled over, leaving the waiting Youzhny raising his arms and eyes to heaven. But Wimbledon crowds love a fighter, after all, and Youzhny did not give up the battle. But he has now played Federer 12 times, and lost 12 times. In tennis, one set is not enough.

wimbledon website

All top 4 players are still in it on the men's side.  Should make for some awesome semi's at the end of the week. 

Lots of upsets on the women's side however, for the first time in forever both Williams sisters are out before the quarters (woo-freaking-hoo!). 

Why, oh why did Kim Clijsters have to get injured again darn it!. This title could have been hers!. 

World #1 Caroline Wozniacki squandered her chances at a first grand slam falling to Cibulkova (too bad she was actually my pick to win). 

If Maria Sharapova manages to win I'll be happy for her, although that's a big if.  Otherwise I'll be happy for whoever ends up winning it for the first time in their career. 

Definitely looking forward to the men's matches more then the women's once again this year.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Roger Federer Wimbledon cruise control continues

(Reuters) - The first words Roger Federer thought of when he realised he would face Argentina's David Nalbandian in the third round at Wimbledon may have been "panic" and "danger."

But it took Federer less than two minutes on Saturday to realize that he did not need to panic as the man standing opposite him posed no danger to his hopes of winning a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown.

The 2011 version of Nalbandian bore little resemblance to the player who tormented and tortured the Swiss in their first five meetings, all of which the Argentine won, and on day six of the championships Federer glided into the last 16 with a delectable 6-4 6-2 6-4 win.

"A guy who has beaten me eight times knows how to beat me again so I am very pleased to go through," Federer, who has not dropped a set this week, said after setting up a fourth-round date with Nicolas Almagro or Mikhail Youzhny.

"So that's also where the pressure is greater against a player like him because maybe he's not going to win the tournament but he can knock you out of the tournament. That's a danger against a player like him.
"I played well from start to finish. I am playing better than last year -- more confident on serve and more relaxed with my returns. I think I played a great match."

The 19th meeting between the two 29-year-olds was taking place on a Center Court bathed in glorious sunshine but the way Federer opened his account -- with three blink-and-you-will-miss missiles -- would have sent chills down Nalbandian's spine.

The Argentine, whose first ever match on the most famous tennis stage was when he reached the 2002 final, certainly appeared to be taken aback by the winners bouncing off Federer's racket and meekly surrendered his serve in the third game.

A slight lapse by Federer allowed Nalbandian to get back to 3-3 but in the next game, the 28th seed almost hurled his racket to the ground in disgust after Federer once again pounced to nose ahead.

In fact, as Federer steamed away with five of the next six games, Nalbandian realised that little was going his way and decided to try out some unconventional shots. His attempt at a between the legs lob won him a deafening roar of cheers but unfortunately for him not the point.

Such was Federer's single-minded focus that he failed to notice a male war-cry of "I love your Roger" or the wolf-whistles that greeted him when he changed his shirt.

While the umpire tried to restore order with a plea of "Ladies and gentlemen, let's be respectful of the players," Federer was in no mood show Nalbandian any respect and dissected the Argentine's game with the precision of a surgeon.


Nalbandian's serves started misfiring, his forehands began crumbling and his backhand struggled to handle the Federer onslaught from midway through the match.

With his mind hurting, Nalbandian's body also appeared to give up the ghost as he asked for the trainer to come on while trailing 5-2 in the second set.

The trainer tried to massage his right thigh back to life but no amount of ointment or treatment could rescue Nalbandian.

He lethargically scooped the ball into the net go two sets down and it was clear that there would be no way back for him.

Federer broke for a 5-4 lead in the third set and it was not until he was serving for the match that the Swiss third seed finally showed his frailties.

On his first match point, he had the entire court at his mercy but ended up smashing the ball long, much to the amusement of the 15,000 fans.

Following a 17-shot rally, Federer dragged a forehand long on his second match point while Nalbandian produced a dropshot winner on the third.

The crowd lapped up the drama but Federer refused to play ball and two points later, he slammed down an unreturnable serve to end Nalbandian's resistance.

"I'm using basically everything in my arsenal, the slice, the drive and so forth. I've been playing really well. I've gotten through the matches comfortably and that's very nice," summed up Federer, who failed to reach the final in 2010 for the first time in eight years.


Not much to say here, other then keep it up Fed!. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Michael Jackson gone but not forgotten....

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the death of the 'King of Pop'.

So in honor of him here's an awesome video made by a friend of mine set to one of my all time favourite songs.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Roger Federer easily through to round 3 of Wimbledon

In boxing, they would have stopped the fight after the first punch. It looked such a hopeless mismatch that Adrian Mannarino required over half an hour – and 24 attempts – before managing to take his first point off Roger Federer's serve. The Frenchman permitted himself a bleak smile. 

By that stage, Federer was deep into a virtuoso exhibition that blended the grace of Fred Astaire, with the insouciant precision of Sergeant Troy demonstrating his sword drill.

Your heart went out not only to Mannarino, but also to Conor Niland, who must have watched in the bitter certainty that he could hardly have fared any worse. 

On Monday the first Irishman to play here in over three decades had a lead of 4-1 in the fifth set against Mannarino, before contriving to lose five games in a row. Had he been here, at least he would have brought some Co Limerick sedition to the crowd, who instead watched this evisceration in rapt adulation.

You can easily picture Mannarino writing existential poetry in a café on the Left Bank, a packet of Gitanes protruding from his corduroy jacket. But you could not imagine the 22-year-old breaking Federer's serve if they played until Christmas.

The French left-hander brought to proceedings a wristy forehand and precious little in the way of a discernible backhand, especially on the volley. His only contribution of note to the first set, much to the merriment of the crowd, had been to bean an unsuspecting cameraman with the ballooned return of a long serve. 

It is to his credit, then, that Mannarino managed to salvage his dignity to the extent he did, obliging Federer to save three break points when serving for the second set. 

The seraph of the sward, clearly vexed by his momentary inattention, regrouped to win the next five points – but was fortunate, on the third of them, when dangling a miscued forehand only just inside the baseline.

As that, and one or two other cameos showed, Mannarino has climbed to No 55 in the rankings for a reason. But the fact remained that Federer had, in effect, settled each set by breaking serve at the first attempt. With his customary blend of serenity and power, he polished Mannarino off in 88 minutes, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, settling the final point with a flamboyant, leaping smash.

Having been obliged to wait until dusk to get on court, and making his first appearance under the roof here, Federer had looked a man in a hurry. 

His next opponent is a former nemesis, and the 2002 finalist, David Nalbandian. "He used to be my dark horse," Federer admitted as he left the court. "But I think I've been able to turn around our head-to-head. It's nice to see him still around, and I'm expecting a really difficult match. 

"We've come a long way since the US juniors back in '98," he added. "I used to panic and run to the net because I felt I couldn't hang with him from the baseline. Later I really started to enjoy the challenge against him, his backhand is a shot like almost no other on the tour. I'm really looking forward to that match."

Federer paid tribute to the crowd and the indoor atmosphere. "It was fantastic," he said. "They had some heavy matches before, and I didn't know what their stamina would be like. If the crowd would be talking during points, it would resonate, but they're very disciplined. It was a special moment in my career to play indoors here. I think the conditions feel slower because you can see the ball clearer."

Though he acknowledged that tougher tests await, the six-times champion is clearly suffused with confidence. "I think I've played well for a year now," he said. "I think the French Open proved I'm in a good place, physically and mentally."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Roger Federer on track in 1st round of Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — One year after escaping from his first-round match at Wimbledon with a five-set victory, Roger Federer and his commanding serve were in no mood for a repeat performance.
The six-time Wimbledon champion won 68 of the 80 points on his serve against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan and saved the only three break points he faced, winning 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2 Tuesday.
Last year, playing first on Centre Court as defending champion, Federer lost the opening two sets before eventually beating Alejandro Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0.
"Yeah," Federer said, "but the result was the same: I was able to win."
The 16-time Grand Slam champion ended up losing to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals at the All England Club last year, his earliest exit since winning his first major in 2003. But he walked out onto Centre Court this year and dominated, winning 29 of the 31 points on his serve in the first set.
"The first rounds here at Wimbledon on Centre Court are never easy," Federer said. "They're somewhat nerve-racking because you don't get a chance to practice on the Centre Courts here."
If Federer can maintain the form that led him back into the French Open final this month — albeit ending with a fourth loss to Rafael Nadal in the deciding match at Roland Garros — he'll have a chance to equal the record of seven Wimbledon titles held by Pete Sampras and Willie Renshaw.
"Obviously tying Pete in any stats means you're right up there with maybe the greatest, one of the greatest players of all times, and that's always a nice thing," said Federer, who equaled Sampras' then-record of 14 Grand Slam titles when he won the French Open in 2009. "Winning Wimbledon alone without any records is amazing."
Federer is playing in his 47th straight major championship, and he has reached the quarterfinals at every one since the 2004 Wimbledon tournament.
In all that time, which includes a record streak of 23 straight semifinal appearances, the Swiss great has rarely been bothered by physical problems.
"I think it has helped me with injuries, yes, that my game is somewhat casual, but in a good way, because I had to work on my casualness," Federer said. "I was very quickly pointed out that if I'm losing I'm not trying, and if I'm winning it's an amazing situation.
"So I had to really tie my game together, make it solid casual, really. I think I was able to do that."
And how.
Federer had 53 winners against Kukushkin and 12 aces. His opponent, meanwhile, had only 16 winners, but still managed to force a tiebreaker at the beginning of the match.
"I struggled early on in the first set to get any read on his serve, even though he's not the biggest server. But he served consistent," Federer said. "Centre Court, the surroundings were just a bit off in the beginning, and he did well. That made it difficult."
But even in difficult conditions, with the wind blowing on a cool first day of summer in London, Federer's serve did not fail him.
"I was able to actually cruise almost through lots of my service games," Federer said. "That then maybe probably relaxed me at times maybe a bit too much."
Federer also entered the tournament this year with less expectation than in the past, at least according to him. The same happened at the French Open, where Federer ended Novak Djokovic's 43-match winning streak in the semifinals.
"I definitely think also here, it's somewhat similar," Federer said. "I can play with a bit less pressure, but at the same time I want to do so well here at Wimbledon because it's some of the big highlights for me during the season, and I've won the tournament six times.
"So it feels like if things go well for me, I can go extremely far here."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roger Federer grass shave

Just in time for Wimbledon:

The image was created using laser guided robots with high-precision technology to plot over 14,000 mapping points required to bring the environmentally friendly image to life.
Seven different shades of green specialist grass paint were used to create Federer’s features resulting in the portrait.
Upon seeing the portrait Federer said: “Obviously I have seen myself on posters and on screen before but to see my face shaved into grass was a definite first for me!"

Gotta give it to Gillette they're certainly inventive!.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Martina Hingis Liverpool Exhibition '11

A brave Chloe Murphy was defeated in a Champions super set earlier today, 8-2 in a pro-set.
Murphy got off to a good start, but the teenager was soon hit off the court by nine times Grand Slam Champion, Martina Hingis, who's tennis prowess shone through.
Murphy said: "It was a great experience, I loved every minute of it and will treasure it forever".

Ok, once again Martina has only won 5 Grand Slams.  Although I'm sure she wouldn't mind 9 ;).

A little exhibition event in Liverpool, the annual Eugenie Bouchard toe-wetting on the grass.

And the 17-year-old from Westmount got to play the great Martina Hingis.

The score (not that these things matter), was 7-5, 6-1 for Hingis on Thursday.
Bouchard won that event last year. Caroline Wozniacki won it in 2008.

More pics from the event can be found at the following

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kim Clijsters withdraws from Wimbledon

Kim Clijsters, the Australian Open winner, withdrew fromWimbledon on Wednesday because of a foot injury, leaving the women’s field even more unsettled.

Clijsters, who had been seeded No. 2, pulled out after injuring her right foot at the Unicef Open in the Netherlands on Tuesday.
“I have no other choice now but to rest, recover and to not play tennis for a few weeks,” she said.
The tournament starts Monday.
Clijsters, a three-time United States Open winner, hurt her right ankle in April while dancing barefoot at her cousin’s wedding. She played at the French Open but lost in the second round. She said Tuesday’s injury was not related to the previous problem.
In a 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss to Romina Oprandi in the Netherlands, she skidded to the net and stumbled on the first point of the second game. She appeared tentative for the rest of the match, although she did not call for treatment.
Well I guess this was inevitable really.  And probably better for her in the long run  
It's too bad.  
I could honestly care less if the Williams sisters succeed in their comeback, frankly I'm hoping for a brand new Wimbledon champ on the women's side anyway.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kim Clijsters Wimbledon chances in doubt after 2nd ankle injury

Kim Clijsters, the world No2 who has missed four of the past seven Wimbledons, is a major doubt for this year's tournament after injuring her ankle in a second-round defeat in straight sets by Romani Oprandi at the Unicef Open in 's-Hertogenbosch.

Clijsters skidded as she approached the net in the match's second game and although she did not ask for the trainer she appeared tentative thereafter. 

Oprandi, a Swiss who is ranked No82, tested her opponent's mobility with a series of heavily sliced drop-shot winners and, pushing the top seed to her physical limit, won 7-6, 6-3.

Clijsters, who is the reigning US and Australian Open champion, injured her ankle at a cousin's wedding in early April but recovered in time to play the French Open, in which she was also beaten in the second round.

Ok, you've gotta be kidding me!.  Is she cursed or something?. 

Damn, and I was really really looking forward to her playing at Wimbledon. 

Guess we're in for another boring tournament WTA-wise *sigh*.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Martina Hingis Eastbourne event fan signing

Not much going on at the moment.

Enjoy some pics of Martina Hingis posing and signing autographs at the Eastbourne Legends Event (while I go look up some news on the subject).

Pics courtesy of love 2002 of and

Monday, June 06, 2011

Martina Hingis/Lindsay Davenport Roland Garros Doubles Legends


Women’s Legends Doubles:

Lindsay Davenport of the U.S. and Martina Hingis of Switzerland were dominant at Roland Garros, taking down defending champions Martina Navratilova of the U.S. and Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic with a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the final round.

Yep, she's still got it!.  Already looking forward to pics from Wimbledon Legends later this month:).

If anyone knows where I can find video of any of the French Open doubles matches with Hingis please let me know in the comments. 

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Roger Federer feeling the need for speed with Mercedes-Benz

A little treat for the eyes ;).  More product placement with Rog :).

I can't decide what's more hot, the car, or the man.  Roger is like a kid in a candy store driving this thing :D.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Roger Federer breaks Djokovic to secure a place in French Open final!

Roger Federer, the last man to beat Novak Djokovic, six months ago in London, did it again in Paris to stop the Serb's remarkable unbeaten run at 43 but, more significantly, he confounded pre-tournament predictions to reach Sunday's final of the French Open against Rafael Nadal.

Not many at Roland Garros, except dreamers and charlatans, would have predicted such a scenario two weeks ago – the Swiss was 18-1 then, Djokovic close to even money in most markets – nor the dramatic climax to the second semi-final.

Federer, the world No 3, will start a slight underdog against Nadal, who needs one more championship to match the six garnered by Bjorn Borg, and has lost only once here in 44 matches – but after such a stirring performance all things seem possible again. Nadal was back in his hotel, celebrating his 25th birthday and recovering from the exertions of an edgy, wind-marred three-sets victory over Andy Murray when Federer completed a 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 upset against his 24-year-old opponent in near darkness on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic was gracious in defeat but, visibly spent, announced he was withdrawing from Queen's next week to prepare for Wimbledon. His has been a whirlwind adventure and could well resume in London in three weeks' time.

The ancien régime, meanwhile, is restored. The two players who have held the summit of men's tennis since February 2004 have, for the time being at least, held off the Serbian charge. They will give Paris a match to cherish, no doubt, as they have in most of their 24 encounters.

"I would think it is the best match I played this year," Federer said. "I did really well, a top start when I was able to break. But I know he has always got something in his racket to break me as well. There was a lot of pressure on Novak but he handled it great. It was a pleasure playing against him. He can still achieve so much more this year."

Djokovic, who had the benefit of four days' rest after a walkover against the injured Italian Fabio Fognini, was the favourite to go through but struggled to contain Federer's serve and all-round court intelligence.
"After the first set I was going down a little bit," Djokovic said. "He was taking control of the match but I managed to come back, definitely not easy against Roger. I tried to moderate myself. I think I played well. He played really well in important moments. I congratulate him. We were part of a very good match but it feels bad losing.

"I was serving for the fourth set but he played a couple of good points and he deserved it. During the tournament you feel the energy. You need the daily routine. These were the best months of my life, an incredible period. It had to end some time. Unfortunately it came in a bad moment. What happened happened. I can't affect it any more. A couple of points decided it. This is sport. There is nothing to be sorry about. I have pulled out of Queens and will take a rest before Wimbledon."

As the light died over Roland Garros, the Swiss moved with the precision of his country's clocks. Djokovic, hitherto irresistible, was fighting off the nerves that often arrested his development in the past. The tumult that consumed the court was exhilarating as Federer saved two break points to go 6-5 up in the fourth, forcing Djokovic to serve to stay in the championship. The crowd were with Federer, who won here two years ago, the nerves were with Djokovic, old turmoil replacing recent certainties, as he stayed deep.

With a tie-break in prospect, Djokovic dinked the most delicious drop shot, confounding Federer, who was rooted to the baseline. The Serb hit a forehand wide for deuce and anxieties rose on both sides of the net. The strut returned and Djokovic killed the point with his deadly two-fisted backhand from centre court. Federer, subdued behind base line, hit deep and it was 6-6.

The assemblage could not ask for better theatre, what they could see of it in the gloaming. The narrative was thus reduced to a final handful of strokes: a drop shot put Federer 1-0 up; a belting forehand from deep made it 2-0 but he was helpless to reach Djokovic's forehand for 2-1. 

The Serb made a miracle save and Federer hit just long for 2-2. Federer held his second serve for 3-2 but netted a backhand for 3-3. Djokovic, nerves rattling, netted – 4-3 Federer. The Swiss hit his 17th ace for 5-3, with another big serve giving him three match points at 6-3. Djokovic clipped the net, 6-4 (and they booed the net). Djokovic served his sixth ace for 6-5 – and Federer hit his 18th to win the match.

Now that is a finish. It was the match of the championship, perhaps the best of the year, and one that ended a great run while reigniting the career of a true great of the game.

Now this is what I call a semi-final!.  Full of superb shots, tension and one-upmanship.  I was on the edge of my seat for the entire 3 and a half hours.

By far one of the best matches this year, not just for Federer but in general.  Speaking of Federer could he have played better?.

The serve was on, the backhand was on, everything was clicking for him.  It was like watching the Federer of old the one that fought with all his might in the 2008 Wimbledon final against Nadal, and the 2009 final against Roddick.

In this match I was once again reminded why I became a fan of his in the first place.  It was artistry pure and simple.

Sunday will undoubtedly be his toughest test yet, but regardless of the result, today he once again proved he still has the heart of a champion (and he can still hang with the best of them).

That should shut the press up for a while, now they'll just continue to sing his praises.  Which will be a nice change from the constant criticizing. 

I'm ready, bring on Fedal!.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

ITWA responds to fan outcry....sort of

Dear tennis fans
We have received a great many letters from unhappy tennis fans who were upset when told by the official French Open website that it would no longer be posting the post-match interview transcripts on the website. Fans who questioned this new policy were informed that the International Tennis Writers’ Association had requested player transcripts not be posted on the website.
We have noted your disappointment at no longer being able to read the transcripts and can understand why fans would want that availability. Taking that into account, we felt we should offer you all an explanation as to why it is important to the international media that the transcripts are not posted, or at least delayed until a day later.
Firstly, our newspapers and media outlets are, like many other companies, feeling heavy financial burdens these days. Quite a number of organizations have already stopped sending their reporters to major sporting events around the world, a decision we are hoping others won’t follow. Nevertheless, we have great concern that the dwindling numbers of journalists sent on-site will continue.
Those media outlets that are still sending their journalists to events spend a great deal of money to do so. The reason they continue to send reporters is that their writers are guaranteed better access and information from reporting, interviewing, and writing on-site. In truth, the media interview room is the journalists’ workplace and, like at many organizations, no matter what the business, the workplace is not open to the general public.
We are trained professionals with the responsibility of asking the important and probing questions that elicit the interesting answers that tennis fans want answered. When our exclusivity is removed by posting transcripts it makes the expense of sending journalists to cover events appear questionable to those holding the purse strings.
We have already watched as many of our colleagues have been taken off what at one time were assignments that would never be questioned. One example: in the United States the South Florida community is a hotbed for tennis fans and tennis players. Two of their three major market papers stopped covering the Grand Slams about five years ago.
The third paper is planning on not staffing any Grand Slams this year and into the future. This is the type of unfortunate scenario we are seeing happen regularly to our colleagues around the world.
If fewer journalists show up at events, tournaments are likely to decide it is not worth spending money on the expensive transcription services done by court reporter companies.
Of even more concern, journalists could eventually stop covering tournaments if there is no filter on the release of information we as professional journalists are gathering. It would quickly become cost-ineffective to show up.
The bottom line: If journalists don’t go to tournaments, the issue of access to transcripts will become a non-issue. There will be no one asking the questions.
To those not on the inside of journalism today this might seem a far-fetched picture to present, but we can assure you that it is not. It could happen and sooner than anyone might think possible.
Hopefully, this letter will enable you to understand more clearly our position on the subject of posting player interview transcripts.

Kind regards,
The International Tennis Writers’ Association

The lovely LJology emailed back and got this response from Marco Keller, president of the ITWA:

I agree with you, the 24 hour embargo would be the best solution for all involved parties and all tournaments. And that’s what we are basically aiming for and were in this case as well.
I can’t really predict how the whole matter is going to end but be assured that we have the fans in mind too!.
That's all fine and dandy however I tend to agree pretty much 100% with  the author from allineedisapicketfence blog. 

And as for the 24-hour thing?. 

I second that as well, and I'll believe that when I see it!.