Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm Back And Missing Tennis

I arrived home yesterday after driving 1,200 miles. Weather was foggy and rainy. By Maine, it had turned to snow and ice, and I almost wrapped myself around a tree five times. It's a good thing I grew up in Wisconsin and learned how to drive on snowy, winding, hilly roads. I saw no less than four cars disabled in snow banks off the side of the road. I needed every bit of experience and calm to get home safely. Sitting on the side of the road and waiting for the storm to pass wasn't an option. That's the easiest way to get crushed by another driver who can't navigate the conditions.

Oh, yeah. This is my tennis blog, isn't it?

Haven't seen a bit of tennis since Dubai and Bangalore. I see Mardy Fish has defeated some quality opponents including Lleyton Hewitt and world No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko, to make his first Masters quarterfinal since Cincinnati back in 2003. I see James Blake, who finally beat Richard Gasquet in a Davis Cup preview, will get another chance to dismiss Rafael Nadal in another quarterfinal. I see that Roger Federer has recovered in breathtaking time from his convenient delayed mono diagnosis and has stormed through the draw to face Tommy Haas, who extended his winning head-to-head over Andy Roddick in the second round, giving folks reason to speak of the curse of Dubai. But remember, Andy has been to exactly two semifinals at Indian Wells, having to win tough matches along the way, and never a final in the desert. When I saw the draw, I didn't expect him to get past Tommy whether or not Andy had won, or even played, Dubai. Not on a hardcourt as slow as this, not in a place where Andy has lost to the likes of Igor Andreev, whose record on hardcourts is worse than Andy's on clay.

Nothing particularly surprising or exciting happening in the women's draw, unless you're in love with any of the six women who remain. Lindsay Davenport is doing quite well in her local event, the resurgence of Vera Zvonareva continues, Maria Sharapova remains undefeated in 2008, Svetlana Kuznetsova appears to remember how to play tennis, and the Serbian Vitches can face-off in the semifinals if each win their matches today.

My challenge is finding a free livestream to watch what's left of this event. And getting Mother Nature to stop sending us all this snow.


Helen W said...

Welcome home Craig!

So glad you made it safely and without incident.

Looking forward to your take on the Pacific Life Open.

Karen said...

You almost had my heart in my throat when I read how you barely escaped wrapping around a tree. Please take care of yourself. There are some really crazy drivers out there. Glad that you are back safe and sound. I never thought I would say this but IW sucks. I dont even care if Fed is playing or not. The event just sucks big time, the coverage is terrible (bring back ESPN, there I said it), Justin Gimelstob needs to realise that Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and the other Francophiles have more tennis talent in their little finger than he could ever dream of having. He should be lucky that FOX would hire him or he would be out in the challenger circuits trying to pay the mortgage on his hovel. I just cannot stand the jingoism and the blatant prejudicial comments against an entire nation. France was right and the Coalition of the willing was wrong. Live with it. I am going to be playing my third match in my local league. Wish me luck

oddman said...

Was it the same tree all five times, yuk yuk? Good on ya that you're home safe and sound. As a Canadian, yes, better to keep going than to get creamed, I know this.
I sincerely hope Rafa will dent that record of Blake's against him. Tough to do, and I'm hoping his win over Tsonga will provide him with the confidence needed. Plus Blake is going to have to have a bad day.

Tennisfan said...

Glad you are back unscathed. Matches haven't been the same without reading your blog.

Savannah said...

Karen people have emailed FSN about Gimelstob. His lack of professionalism is mind blowing and yet he continues on. I am glad I have Masters Series TV so I can avoid his sorry arse when possible. He embodies all that is wrong about American tennis.

There have been some good matches at IW. Mirza played well before crapping out of singles with what now seems to be a severe wrist injury. Juanqui had people remembering his glory days. There was another one but right now I'm too lazy to look it up. :)

Craig glad to have you back safe and sound. Tennisheads need you.

Helen W said...

Hey Oddman, you got it right again! Yee haw!

Finally Rafa won against James. And finally he played to form.

It was a great match from both of them.

Vamos Rafito!

oddman said...

Whoooohooo!!! He did it! Awesome match from Rafa, and he takes down another player who usually slamdunks him. Too bad for James, but all right, Rafalito!

Next up the Djoke? I think he can take him out too.


rabbit said...

Glad that you are back home safe, Craig!

Congrats, Rafa fans! I don't have FSN, so I'm glad I'm escaping the commentating. But I guess I should pay for Masters TV. Anyways, I heard Rafa played amazing and I hope that he can take down Djokovic too.