Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Sony Ericsson Open

It started today and I barely noticed. I know I'm knee-deep in politics and all that, but this is the Fifth Slam, and this is my tennis blog.


Am I losing interest in the sport I so love? Am I slacking? I can't say that I know the answer.

I just peeped at the draws. Meh. Andy Roddick is again, as in Indian Wells, in Roger Federer's quarter. Will either of them be dismissed before that matchup this time? Novak Djokovic is on Rafael Nadal's side of the draw again, and Rafa may have to play his mentor Carlos Moya in an early round. That didn't bode well for Rafa two years ago at this event. And how is he feeling physically?

Serena Williams is in Justine Henin's quarter, so there will be no rematch of last year's stunning final. Will Serena break Justine's winning streak against her if they get there? Venus Williams is also in the top of the draw and if she can keep her serve together, she ought to make the semifinals. Unless Svetlana Kuznetsova continues her desert form. I haven't a clue who will make the finals from the bottom half of the women's draw. I can't bring myself to care either.

Maybe I'm upset because I thought I could go and see the event live but that it didn't work out. Maybe I'm just jaded because it looks as though the player I call the Serpent is actually going to ratify his stature as the Next Big Thing and ascend the throne.

At least it was good to see Gustavo Kuerten's name on the scoreboard. I already miss him.


oddman said...

I hear that, Craig. Feelin' the same way about it all myself. (not into the politics though)That last thing you mentioned as a possible reason seems to resonate with me. Didn't see much of Joker at IW, sounds like he's toned down the on-court imitations, brash statements, and suspect injury time-outs a bit. Good for him, he's not my cup of tea anyway and that just makes it worse.
I'm still slightly disappointed in Rafa's results at IW, hope he does better in Miami. Loved that photo spread of Serena and Rafa on water.

oddman said...

I'm willing to bet a virtual $100 that Novak will be in Rafa's half of draws all this year. Just watch.

quark9326 said...

Hi Craig, I read your blog frequently but have never posted before. I'm a huge Federer fan so I don't agree with some of your posts but I generally enjoy reading what you have to say. I think it's interesting that you're not a Federer fan but didn't feel jaded by 4 years of his domination--but the mere prospect of Joker's domination is starting to make you feel jaded. It's having the same effect on me--Djokovic has a very effective game, and as one of a pantheon of players it's fine to watch, but there's no artistic (?) quality to it that makes me want to watch it over and over again like I do with Federer. I'm not a huge fan of Djokovic's personality either. I'm afraid that he'll have a hugely dominating year this year--possibly even a calendar slam if Fed, Nadal, Nalbandian and other players don't step it up.

That said, I'm keeping the faith in Federer, that he'll work out of the poor conditioning due to illness and any kind of concentration/confidence issue he may be having right now, get a coach, and resume his scintillating play.

tangerine said...

I have a tennis hangover from IW, so I'm not particularly interested in "the fifth slam" just yet. I think it has more to do with FSN's horrendous coverage than anything else. It's hard to get excited about a tournament when they give you only two hours of taped coverage every other day and then they end coverage in the middle of a championship final when the two hour time slot it up. Anybody who's ever complained about ESPN in the past before needs to send them an apology because bar-none FSN has THE worst coverage I have ever seen.

Regarding "the Serpent"'s win, I'm one of the few around here who actually likes Novak so I'm not jaded by his ascension. I'm quite happy to finally see a third guy in the mix after so many years of Roger/Rafa domination. If Roddick would learn to play as consistently well as he did in Dubai then maybe we'd actually have four guys in the mix and then men's tennis would be perfect for me.

Regarding Rafa's lull, last year he'd been through this same exact bump in the road, so I think that once the clay season begins and he gains back some confidence he will go back to being the Clay God that we all know and love.

Roger is a different story. I'm still not sure if he really had mono or not, but there's definitely something wrong with him. Whatever illness affected him, he's going to have to make the decision to take the time he needs to fully heal and get his strength back. or to push himself over the limit and risk his long-term health in order to maintain his world No. 1 ranking.

Craig Hickman said...

quark9326 said...

I think it's interesting that you're not a Federer fan but didn't feel jaded by 4 years of his domination--but the mere prospect of Joker's domination is starting to make you feel jaded.

It is interesting, isn't it. I could just be coincidence, or it could be something more. I don't have a lot of awareness about my motivations in the spring.

Thanks for your comments. I look forward to more.

Helen W said...

Well, our first big upset. Kevin Anderson, ranked #122, just took out Novak Djokovic. Perhaps Djokovic will not be taking over the #1 or #2 ranking quite yet ....