Sunday, August 31, 2008

Commentary US Open 8/30/08 Day 6

by Savannah

Speaking of the United States keeping with their policy of featuring American's at night tennis fans were treated to a match between James Blake and Mardy Fish. As was repeated over and over and over the two men are best friends. James is going to be in Mardy's wedding next week, yada, yada, yada. Maybe James wanted to give Mardy an early wedding present since he never really showed up for this match. James played unfocused, uninspired, brain dead tennis and to this viewer there was no reason for him to do so. Best friends have played before and we've had good play. It's not as if they're related after all. James played inspired tennis against Donald Young and had split the first two sets with Steve Darcis of Belgium before Darcis back forced him to retire. Why so blase in this one?

Savannah's World

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Commentary US Open 8/29/08 Day 5

by Savannah

Andy, despite the histrionics, reined himself in and ended up using the experience he's garnered over the years to beat Gulbis in four sets 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5. Patrick McEnroe seems to have a steadying effect on Andy. I'm sure his fans wish PMac would stay in the players box but that is impossible given his commitments to the USTA.
Savannah's World

Friday, August 29, 2008

US Open 8/28/08 Day 4

by Savannah

"Lack of practice. Lack of practice. Lack of practice."
Tracy Austin's
mantra after Ana Ivanovic's second round exit from the US Open says all that needs to be said. Tracy has been spot on so far this Open and she said it during Ana's sketchy first round win. She was not alone in noticing the lack of precision and focus that Ana showed that day and many predicted that she would not go deep in the tournament.
Savannah's World

Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Open 8/27/08 Day 3

by Savannah

All of you know that I am not a fan of hard court tennis. But there is hard court tennis - the Blake vs Young match for example - where the skill and artistry (yes I used the word artistry and James Blake in the same sentence) of the players are put on display. Tommy Haas and Richard Gasquet played good hard court tennis. Then there is hard court tennis of the type I saw last night where there is very little tennis and a lot of serving. This is a style peculiar to the United States and one that I'd hoped to see the end of. Roddick came to serve. Santoro came to play tennis. It made for a very bad tennis match for this viewer.
Savannah's World

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Commentary US Open 8/26/08 Day 2

by Savannah

I wish I could tell you more about the actual play of Haas and Gasquet but USA switched to coverage on Ashe where Ana Ivanovic, who romped to a 6-1 first set over Vera Dushevina suddenly seemed to go on walkabout and lost the second set to Ms Dushevina 4-6. Someone in the booth said that the top WTA seed had never gone out in the first round at Flushing Meadows. The fact that the statement was made shows the level of play that Ana had sunk to in that second set.
Savannah's World

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

US Open 8/25/08 Day 1

by Savannah

If you like high wire, fast paced balls to the wall hard court tennis that was the match for you. Even if that style of tennis is not your favorite is was a joy to watch. Both men played with unbelievable speed and accuracy, daring each other to hit a better shot than the one his opponent had just hit. Young didn't seem fazed by the court or his opponent and going into the fifth set it was anybody's guess as to who would win the match with many of the fans still in attendance - it was a work night after all- and many at home pulling for Donald.
Savannah's World

US OPEN 2008: Men's Top 10 Preview

By Mad Professah

Yesterday I posted my predictions for the Top 10 Women players at the 2008 US Open. Today is my prediction for the Top 10 Men.

1. Rafael Nadal, Spain. The new #1 player in the world comes into the final Grand Slam of the year having one of the all-time best years on tour, having won three ATP Masters Series titles, the French Open, Wimbledon and an Olympic Gold medal (singles). Nadal has a pretty good draw (except for a possible 4th Round match-up with Ivo Karlovic) and is clearly playing with confidence since he has only lost one match in a Grand Slam tournament all year long (to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open semifinals). Nadal has historically underperformed in New York, having lost in the quarterfinals the last two years. This year as long as he can get past Karlovic, James Blake and Andy Murray he should make his first US Open final. PREDICTION: Finalist.
2. Roger Federer, Switzerland. The once and future #1 player in the world has been having an incredibly disappointing year (for him) despite having been in two Grand Slam finals and winning an Olympic Gold medal (doubles). For the first time, since 2003 he has arrived in New York not as the #1 seed and this time he has Novak Djokovic in his half of the draw. Despite having won this tournament for the past four year in a row, he can not be considered the favorite, considering his performance this year and his difficult draw. (Radek Stepanek could be problematic in the early rounds.) I believe the tournament will be decided in the semifinal clash between Federer and Djokovic on Saturday September 6th and until we see how the Serbian and Swiss are playing in New York it's difficult to predict the winner of that showdown. PREDICTION: Semifinalist or Champion.
3. Novak Djokovic, Serbia. The third member of the triumvirate at the head of men's tennis is the only other player besides Nadal and Federer to have won a major title since May 2005. Although he lost (in a 3-set match) to Nadal in Beijing, I believe that if Djokovic or Federer gets to the final, they will be able to figure out a way to win. Really, Djokovic should have won the title last year, it was only through a series of unlucky breaks that he was down two sets instead of up two sets in his final against Federer, which ended soon afterwards. This year Djokovic has played some excellent matches against Nadal, losing a very close final at Queens and having his revenge in the Cincinnati semis. It is true Djokovic beat Federer at the Australian Open but we know now that was not Federer at his best although with his confidence shaken I think the Federer-Djokovic semifinal is currently too close to call, but I am confident that person will be the 2008 US Open Champion. PREDICTION: Semifinalist or Champion.
4. David Ferrer, Spain. Got to the semis last year by defeating a hobbled Nadal. Doubtful the incredibly fit Spaniard will be able to repeat that feat this year if he faces a much improved Andy Murray in the quarters. PREDICTION: Quarterfinalist.
5. Nikolay Davydenko, Russia. The Russian is in a weak part of the draw but it doesn't take much to defeat him on hardcourts. It's doubtful he will be around long enough for a quarterfinal match-up with Federer--unfortunately for Federer. Possible replacements are Dmitry Tursunov, Jarko Tipsarevic and Richard Gasquet (or Tommy Haas). PREDICTION: 3rd Round.
6. Andy Murray, Great Britain. I think this US Open is a great opportunity for Murray to show that his first ATP Masters Series title (in Cincinatti over Djokovic) was no fluke and that he is coming into his own a bit later after his contemporaries Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils have made large noises at major tournaments. Murray wants to do more than make a large noise, he wants to win and some people think he can. I would be surprised to NOT see him deep into the second week. PREDICTION: Semifinalist.
7. David Nalbandian, Argentina. Oh, what can you say about an hombre like David? He's in Nadal's quarter but I'd be shocked if he gets through the gauntlet of Monfils, Paul-Henri Mathieu and James Blake. He is still one of the great ball-strikers in the game with impeccable timing, however his fitness (both mental and physical) are always annotated with a question mark. PREDICTION: 3rd or 4th Round.
8. Andy Roddick, U.S. Roddick is in Djokovic's quarter and Federer's semi. If (and its a big if!) he gets through some tricky first round matches (Fabrice Santoro, Ernest Gulbis and Andreas Seppi) he might make it to a quarterfinal blowout by Djokovic. But I doubt it. And so does he, and that's the problem. PREDICTION: Quarterfinalist.
9. James Blake, U.S. Blake finally got another monkey off his back by defeating Federer in Beijing on a(nother) bad day for Federer. Has the skills and weapons to beat anyone else in the Top 10 on the right day, hopefully (for him) that could happen in a quarterfinal against Nadal but he'll have to go through another American player in Mardy Fish as well another Black player in Gael Monfils. PREDICTION: Quarterfinalist.
10. Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland. The other Top 10 player from Switzerland (and lympic Gold Medalist in doubles) is in the Ferrer/Murray quarter and will probably not prevent that match-up from occurring. If Murray loses early Wawrinka could be a shock semifinalist by beating Ferrer in the quarters. Yeah, right. PREDICTION: 4th Round.

Are You Kidding Me?

Did I really mis a five-set thriller between James Blake and Donald Young on Arthur Ashe Stadium last night?

Someone, please, tell us about it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

US OPEN 2008: Women's Top 10 Preview

By Mad Professah

You've probaby already read Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim's predictions for the 2008 US Open that starts today but here are my predictions for the Top 10 seeds results in the next two weeks:

1. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia. The past, current and future World #1 has not made it past the fourth round at the glitziest Slam in three previous attempts. In order to do equal her previous major performances this year she will have to get past the hottest player on the tour, Dinara Safina, (who Ivanovic defeated to win her first major title in Paris earlier this summer) as well as either Nathalie Dechy, Flavia Penetta or Nadia Petrova in the early rounds. However, I think that the Serbian's performance in New York will be closer to her London form than her Paris form. Fourth Round.
2. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia. The best player in the Top 10 never to have reached a Slam final had her major breakthrough in New York a mere two years ago by reaching the 2006 semis but despite having achieved numerical superiority over the rest of the field Jankovic still has not been able to get deeper in a major tournament than that. She has a pretty good draw this year, but Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Marion Bartoli and Vera Zvonareva will all be competing for that semifinal slot. I think Jankovic will make it that far, but not any further. Semifinalist.
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia. The 2004 Champion clearly has the game to win the title again but does she have the head (and the heart)? Sveta could make it to the semifinal against Jankovic or lose to a qualifier in the first round. I'll split the difference: Third Round.
4. Serena Williams, United States. The 8-time Grand Slam champion looked great in London until she lost to her big sister in the Wimbledon final and not so great in the hard court season or in Beijing. In New York the draw unfortunately has Serena in a quarterfinal match-up with Venus. Somehow I doubt that this clash will actually occur, I think that one of them will fail to make the fifth round. I'm just not sure which one it will be. Serena won this title in 1999 and 2002 and Venus won it 2000 and 2001 following Wimbledon wins in those years. I do think that Venus win makes Serena hungrier for another major title--but 2008 will not be that year. Fourth Round.
5. Elena Dementieva, Russia. Oh, Elena! The Beijing Gold Medalist has always done well on hard courts and in New York especially. This year she has a particularly friendly draw and should make it all the way to the final if she is able to make it past fellow Russians Anna Chakvetadze and Svetlana Kuznetsova, possibly the only other Russians who are more mentally fragile than she is. Finalist.
6. Dinara Safina, Russia. The hottest player on the tour somehow was unable to win the Gold Medal match against Dementieva due to a sudden return of pre-2008 form (14 double faults?!) but it is doubtful a similar lapse will happen at a major that the Safin family has previously won. In order to do so, Safina will have to go through the World #1 who beat her in Paris as well as a Williams sister--and that's just to get to a final against the person who denied her the Gold Medal. Champion.
7. Venus Williams, United States. The reigning Wimbledon champion reached the semifinals last year and then wilted against the eventual champion Justine Henin. This year she she finally defeated her sister at Wimbledon to win the title and I believe that she will get further in the tournament than her younger sister, although probably not any further than last year. Semifinalist.
8. Vera Zvonareva, Russia. Zvonareva has been playing well this year, winning a title. She's in Jankovic's quarter but I doubt she will make it past Bartoli, Lindsay Davenport or Jankovic herself. Fourth Round.
9. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland. Last year Aggie Radwanska surprised some by taking out the defending Champion Maria Sharapova in the third round. This year she is firmly ensconced in the Top 10 but unforunately she is likely to face Venus Williams in the fourth round. It's possible that Aggie might make it two consecutive US Opens with huge upsets, but I doubt it. Fourth Round.
10. Anna Chakvetadze, Russia. Last year Chakvetadze broke through to her first major semifinal and then played one of the most hideous matches of the year against Svetlana Kuznetsova for the right to lose the US Open final to Henin. After being horribly victimized by criminals in the 2007 off-season she has not been the same player since, but hopefully she will be able to regain some of her confidence by again playing well in New York. However, it is likely her tournament will be ended by another Russian, this time Dementieva on her way to the final weekend. Fourth Round.

Of course I'm going out on a limb by not accounting for any really early round losses by a Top 10 player. Hope springs eternal. Who do you think will flame out early?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

You Catch More Flies With Honey...

by Savannah

Now that he has announced that he is gone as of December 2008 more is coming out about the why of his departure. Thanks to Tennis Week's Richard Evans we have the following information about the departure of Etienne De Villiers from the ATP.

Charming one minute, he could blow a gasket the next. Staff below the executive level were afraid of him; players who were only trying to put forward alternative opinions were shocked at being yelled at and the leaders of other tennis organizations such as the ITF and Grand Slam chairmen quickly tired of his outbursts.

Savannah's World

Denver or Bust

After a four-hour delay in Chicago due to engine trouble, I finally arrived safely in Denver in the wee hours of the morning. I'll be blogging about the convention on my other blog throughout the week. My first post is here. Unfortunately I can't be in two places and the same time and won't get to see much of the first week of the US Open.

Savannah, MadProfessah, Helen W, and Tangerine will hold down the fort throughout the first week. Enjoy the final Slam and I'll check in from the Democratic National Convention whenever I can!

Heard Around

By Savannah

McNamee(of TA) said that the "fall from grace of Australia as a tennis superpower was highly attributable to the demise of clay courts".

More on the tempest brewing in Australian tennis as well as other commentary can be found on
Savannah's World

Saturday's Winners

by Savannah

Marin Cilic Men's Champion

Caroline Wozniacki Women's Champion

Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa Men's Doubles Champions

Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond Womens Doubles Champions

Congratulations to Lucie Safarova who won Forest Hills

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Seen and Heard Around

by Savannah

The US Open starts on Monday, August 25. The forecast is for showers. That means Tuesday should be big fun out at the BJK National Tennis Center. I'm not sure if I'll brave it. I know, who am I kidding? But forecasts are just like any other prediction. We'll see what happens. I know that I will be there Wednesday night. I just bought the tickets today. I hope I get to see some good matches. Nights during week one aren't bad because if the main event is stinking up the joint you have other choices. It's during week two that it gets iffy. You pays your money and you takes your chances. I'm already excited about my first day out at Flushing Meadows. The unisphere. The overpriced food. The scene kids. The hipsters. Even an emo or two or three. Middle aged and old. Drunks. The staff sneaking off to inhale medicinal cigarettes. Children young enough to be Olympic gymnasts up way past their bed times. And oh yeah, the tennis. In the three ring circus that is Flushing Meadows the tennis still gets played.

Look hard enough and you'll see your fave being escorted to the players area or their next match. Head for the practice courts during the day and you'll see any and everybody working on their games rain or shine. No bitching about slick lines on those courts. Fans of all ages have their faces pressed against the chain link fence while conversing on outrageous topics some of which has to to with tennis.

Myself I prefer the day matches. You sweat like a pig right along with your fave but you're surrounded by people who know tennis. They're not there just to be able to say they went to the Open. They're there because they know the game and love it. One of the best tennis commentaries I've ever heard was between two matrons sitting a couple of rows behind me during a day match. They were not being paid to commentate, they were just talking. If ESPN would hire those two the public would be well served. That is why I like day matches.

I'll post as soon as I can after I've been out there. I'm bringing my camera. I hate uploading pictures but if I have any worth uploading I will.

Tennis This and That

As you all know by now Etienne de Villiers has said he will step down at the end of this year. Thanks to a friendly judge in the corporate friendly state of Delaware the ATP was found innocent of all charges brought by the Hamburg Masters Event. It's not my style to dog someone out when they're down but to Mr de Villiers I have to say don't let the door hit you on the way out. It appears that Brave New World will go ahead as he and his minions planned and that means that European tournaments have taken a kick in the gonads. Hard court events are now being favored over diminished clay court events all with the aim, in my opinion, of favoring American players. I'm not sure who the ladies and gentlemen are who will gain by this but it's well known American stars like James Blake, who ran to de Villiers causing the Las Vegas fiasco and bringing an end to the Round Robin experiment, were firmly behind the Brave New World ideas. How old is Blake now? Roddick is having what I'll call a most unusual year and, well, who is there after them?
De Villiers is going to help pick his successor. You best believe it's not going to be someone looking to put aright all the things that were done in the name of improving tennis. I think it'll be someone on the present board. I hope I'm wrong.

The US Open Women's Draw

Last year there were howls of protest from some fans because the WTA draw looked as if it were designed to complement those cup cakes that were baking in the oven for Maria Sharapova. Miss Maria is not playing the Open this year due to shoulder issues as I'm sure you know but once again we have one of those weird ass draws where the Grand Slam event is taking place in the top half of the draw while the Tier II is taking place in the bottom half. I mean come on guys. Serena, Venus, Ana, Dinara, Alize, Aggie, A-Bond are all in the top half. So are Nadia, Ai, and Dominika Cibulkova. The bottom half? Marion, Vera, Lindsay, Chaks, Schnyder, Shahar and of course, Jelena. The one player there who could benefit from this is Elena Dementieva. It's going to be interesting to see if she follows up her Olympic Gold with a good showing here. Can she make the semi's? Who knows? In 2004 Sveta took it all. She's in the bottom half. When she plays well no one can touch her. Jelena, it's nothing personal. Forget about how things turned out for Maria last year. Prove to people your getting the number one ranking was not a fluke and that you can play your way to a Final and maybe even win. You never know.

When I party I party hearty

There have been tennis events all over Manhattan this week leading up to the Open. On Wednesday night Maria Sharapova appeared at an event thrown by Canon promoting a diamond encrusted camera. Naomi Campbell was not seen among the folks who attended but Maria was there smiling for the camera. She could've called Naomi and asked about the shoes though. She has horrible taste in shoes.

Dominika Cibulkova

Nicolas Kiefer
Then there was the Taste of Tennis event Thursday evening where tennis players and chefs mingle to serve up what one can assume is fabulous food for those who paid to rub elbows with their favorites. It was well attended and the players got to show off a little on the red carpet.

Juan Carlos Ferrero and a fan

Andy Roddick
Also taking place Thursday evening was a little soiree thrown by Nike. Nike closed off Mercer Street in what I guess is now called NoHo, the area north of Houston Street in southern Manhattan that is just so chic right now. Lots of Nike wearing athletes were there. I'm sure it was all suave and sophisticated.


Spike Lee, Serena and Roger

Thursday, August 21, 2008

ATP Boss Etienne de Villiers To Step Down

London, U.K. – Etienne de Villiers, Executive Chairman and President of the ATP, governing body of the men's professional tennis circuit, today announced that he will not be renewing his contract at the end of the 2008 season. Executive Chairman since June 2005, Mr de Villiers has overseen the most extensive set of changes to the ATP Tour since its inception in 1990.

The changes, which will see $1 billion of new investment into the ATP Tour, include record breaking levels of prize money for players, new, world class tournaments, an enhanced, healthier calendar structure, unprecedented levels of promotional spend and a new brand look and identity based on extensive consumer research, designed to make the Tour more fan friendly.

Etienne de Villiers said:

"I was tasked by the ATP Board, three years ago, to create a vision that would involve bold changes for our sport. I believe that has now been achieved. I believe we have delivered the biggest modernisation of the ATP Tour since its inception, have attracted unprecedented levels of investment into men's tennis and have begun to feed the growing appetite for men's tennis globally, both in established and emerging markets. I am incredibly proud of what the Board and my dedicated team have achieved for men's tennis and I am honoured to have played a part in taking our great sport to the next level. Now that this much needed change has been realised I believe this is the right time for someone new to build on this strong platform. I leave knowing, without doubt, that finally our players, tournaments and above all our fans have the foundations of a world class sport they truly deserve."

Heineken Auckland Open Chief Executive and ATP Board member Graham Pearce said:

"Etienne has been an outstanding leader for our sport over his three year term, not least in the past months as we were forced to defend ourselves, successfully, in a Delaware court of law. He was asked to instigate change to our sport and he has done that and more. The levels of investment into facilities and promotion, as well as rises in prize money, are unprecedented for our sport and are set to take men's tennis to the next stage of global popularity. Etienne has put in place a programme of change that is far reaching and exciting, and the end result is a sport that will be reinvigorated and ready to fulfil its true potential. Men's tennis owes him a huge debt."

Etienne de Villiers joined the ATP in June 2005 as Chairman and became Executive Chairman and President in November 2005. As well as overhauling the management structure of the ATP, Mr de Villiers undertook for the first time, extensive, global research to understand the fan's perspective of the sport. The result was the overhauling of the doubles format to create a more popular version of the team game; fan friendly initiatives such as Hawkeye being introduced to the ATP Tour; a series of measures designed to improve player health including the end of 5 set finals and byes for seeded players at Masters tournaments resulting in substantial increases in player turn out and the first increases of player prize money in over five years.

Mr de Villiers, working with the tennis industry, has also put in place a series of changes designed to unlock the potential of men's tennis, not least the creation of a new ATP World Tour calendar with key tournaments strategically placed to ensure 'swings' of events leading into the sport's five 'pillars' - the four Grand Slams and the ‘Barclays ATP World Tour Finals’ (formerly known as the Tennis Masters Cup). Working together with the Sony Ericcson WTA, in 2011 five of the nine ‘Masters 1000s’, the ATP’s top tier, will be major mandatory combined events - a format that fans acknowledge is one of the sport’s major attractions and mirrors the success of the Grand Slams.

In addition, post US Open, the calendar will now be strengthened by an Asian swing of three weeks that will showcase the world's best players at new tournaments - Shanghai "Masters 1000", and the Tokyo and Beijing "500s". This will be followed by an enhanced European indoor swing concluding at the new look Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London's iconic O2 Arena. The new Tour calendar ensures a healthier schedule for players, with less travel across continents and less congested sections of the season.

Mr de Villiers will fulfil his current three year term as ATP Executive Chairman, a term that ends in December 2008 and will now assist the ATP Board in their recruitment of a successor.

US Open Men's Draw

Rafael Nadal ESP (1) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Olivier Rochus BEL
Viktor Troicki SRB v Carsten Ball AUS
Luis Horna PER v Philipp Kohlschreiber GER (25)

Tomas Berdych CZE (22)
v Sam Querrey USA
Pablo Andujar ESP v Nicolas Devilder FRA
Rainer Schuettler GER v Florent Serra FRA
Qualifier v Ivo Karlovic CRO (14)

James Blake USA (9)
v Donald Young USA
Denis Gremelmayr GER v Steve Darcis BEL
Mardy Fish USA v Qualifier
Sebastien Grosjean FRA v Paul-Henri Mathieu FRA (24)

Gael Monfils FRA (32)
v Qualifier
Evgeny Korolev RUS v Robin Soderling SWE
Juan Carlos Ferrero ESP v Brendan Evans USA
Marcos Daniel BRA v David Nalbandian ARG (7)

David Ferrer ESP (4)
v Martin Vassallo Arguello ARG
Qualifier v John Isner USA
Qualifier v Roko Karanusic CRO
Kei Nishikori JPN v Juan Monaco ARG (29)

Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (17)
v Guillermo Canas ARG
Oscar Hernandez ESP v Thomaz Bellucci BRA
Michael Berrer GER v Jose Acasuso ARG
Marcel Granollers ESP v Gilles Simon FRA (16)

Stanislas Wawrinka SUI (10)
v Simone Bolelli ITA
Wayne Odesnik USA v Fabio Fognini ITA
Nicolas Lapentti ECU v Yen-Hsun Lu TPE
Qualifier v Mikhail Youzhny RUS (21)

Feliciano Lopez ESP (27)
v Jurgen Melzer AUT
Jiri Vanek CZE v Qualifier
Teimuraz Gabashvili RUS v Michael Llodra FRA
Sergio Roitman ARG v Andy Murray GBR (6)


Andy Roddick USA (8) v Fabrice Santoro FRA
Ernests Gulbis LAT v Thomas Johansson SWE
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP v Dominik Hrbaty SVK
Hyung-Taik Lee KOR v Andreas Seppi ITA (31)

Nicolas Kiefer GER (20)
v Ivo Minar CZE
Scoville Jenkins USA v Jarkko Nieminen FIN
Bobby Reynolds USA v Qualifier
Ivan Navarro ESP v Fernando Gonzalez CHI (11)

Tommy Robredo ESP (15)
v Mischa Zverev GER
Vincent Spadea USA v Marat Safin RUS
Qualifier v Carlos Moya ESP
Santiago Ventura ESP v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (19)

Marin Cilic CRO (30)
v Julien Benneteau FRA
Robby Ginepri USA v Amer Delic USA
Qualifier v Nicolas Mahut FRA
Arnaud Clement FRA v Novak Djokovic SRB (3)

Nikolay Davydenko RUS (5)
v Dudi Sela ISR
Austin Krajicek USA v Agustin Calleri ARG
Albert Montanes ESP v Victor Hanescu ROU
Eduardo Schwank ARG v Dmitry Tursunov RUS (26)

Nicolas Almagro ESP (18)
v Frank Dancevic CAN
Sam Warburg USA v Janko Tipsarevic SRB
Laurent Recouderc FRA v Qualifier
Tommy Haas GER v Richard Gasquet FRA (12)

Fernando Verdasco ESP (13)
v Igor Kunitsyn RUS
Qualifier v Qualifier
Frederico Gil POR v Jeremy Chardy FRA
Marc Gicquel FRA v Igor Andreev RUS (23)

Radek Stepanek CZE (28)
v Potito Starace ITA
Jesse Levine USA v Chris Guccione AUS
Qualifier v Qualifier
Maximo Gonzalez ARG v Roger Federer SUI (2)

US Open Women's Draw

Ana Ivanovic SRB (1) v Vera Dushevina RUS
Qualifier v Casey Dellacqua AUS
Kaia Kanepi EST v Monica Niculescu ROU
Nathalie Dechy FRA v Amelie Mauresmo FRA (32)

Nadia Petrova RUS (19)
v Olivia Sanchez FRA
Qualifier v Evgeniya Rodina RUS
Shuai Peng CHN v Eleni Daniilidou GRE
Qualifier v Flavia Pennetta ITA (16)

Daniela Hantuchova SVK (11)
v Qualifier
Jessica Moore AUS v Melanie Oudin USA
Marta Domachowska POL v Bethanie Mattek USA
Camille Pin FRA v Alize Cornet FRA (17)

Virginie Razzano FRA (31)
v Timea Bacsinszky SUI
Alla Kudryavtseva RUS v Yung-Jan Chan TPE
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro FRA v Qualifier
Qualifier v Dinara Safina RUS (6)

Serena Williams USA (4)
v Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
Elena Vesnina RUS vJulia Vakulenko UKR
Olga Govortsova BLR v Qualifier
Andreja Klepac SLO v Ai Sugiyama JPN (30)

Nicole Vaidisova CZE (20)
v Petra Cetkovska CZE
Severine Bremond FRA vJulia Goerges GER
Maret Ani EST v Tathiana Garbin ITA
Gail Brodsky USA v Agnes Szavay HUN (13)

Agnieszka Radwanska POL (9)
v Qualifier
Tamarine Tanasugarn THA v Qualifier
Qualifier v Edina Gallovits ROU
Jill Craybas USA v Dominika Cibulkova SVK (18)

Alona Bondarenko UKR (27)
v Jamea Jackson USA
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez ESP v Sabine Lisicki GER
Qualifier v Qualifier
Samantha Stosur AUS v Venus Williams US (7)


Elena Dementieva RUS (5) v Akgul Amanmuradova UZB
Pauline Parmentier FRA v Marina Erakovic NZL
Qualifier v Anne Keothavong GBR
Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP v Francesca Schiavone ITA (25)

Shahar Peer ISR (24)
v Na Li CHN
Jelena Kostanic Tosic CRO v Sara Errani ITA
Ekaterina Bychkova RUS v Anastasia Rodionova AUS
Ekaterina Makarova RUS v Anna Chakvetadze RUS (10)

Patty Schnyder SUI (15)
v Qualifier
Vania King USA v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS
Gisela Dulko ARG v Magdalena Rybarikova SVK
Tamira Paszek AUT v Maria Kirilenko RUS (22)

Katarina Srebotnik SLO (28)
v Yanina Wickmayer BEL
Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP v Yvonne Meusburger AUT
Lucie Safarova CZE v Sorana Cirstea ROU
Qualifier v Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (3)

Vera Zvonareva RUS (8)
v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova CZE
Tatiana Perebiynis UKR v Mariya Koryttseva UKR
Aravane Rezai FRA v Asia Muhammad USA
Aiko Nakamura JPN v Sybille Bammer AUT (29)

Lindsay Davenport USA (23)
v Aleksandra Wozniak CAN
Alisa Kleybanova RUS v Carla Suarez Navarro ESP
Petra Kvitova CZE v Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP
Galina Voskoboeva RUS v Marion Bartoli FRA (12)

Victoria Azarenka BLR (14)
v Klara Zakopalova CZE
Karin Knapp ITA v Iveta Benesova CZE
Emilie Loit FRA v Qualifier
Ahsha Rolle USA v Caroline Wozniacki DEN (21)

Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP (26)
v Tsvetana Pironkova BUL
Jie Zheng CHN v Qualifier
Zi Yan CHN v Sofia Arvidsson SWE
Coco Vandeweghe USA v Jelena Jankovic SRB (2)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Screenshot: Rafael Nadal, Hunk

I read somewhere not long ago that Rafael Nadal wouldn't be marketable as a world No. 1. Tell that to New York Magazine:

Take your time. It’s okay. That photo of Rafael Nadal on the back cover of this magazine is undeniably … what’s a polite way to put it? Arresting. The mussed locks curled just so above the shoulders. The biceps curved like a particularly ripe aubergine. The shadows playing across the deeply grooved abs. All demand extended scrutiny.

When you’re done, ask yourself this: Would Roger Federer ever pose for a photo like that?

Federer and Nadal, in many ways, are perfect foils. All-court finesse versus baseline power, fluid grace versus relentless will, Swiss precision versus Majorcan passion. And that opposition extends to their sense of style. Even if you’ve never watched a minute of their epic matches, a single glance at, say, the photo of them posing at net before the Wimbledon 2008 final would tell you all you needed to know. Federer wears a herringbone-patterned cashmere cardigan, emblazoned with a royal RF logo, and loose white shorts; Nadal is in a sporty sleeveless Nike-emblazoned top and shorts so long they’re practically Capris.

Male tennis fashion has mostly been conservative, built on frequent returns to the preppy classicism of Lacoste and Perry. Federer, who has an interest in high fashion—Anna Wintour famously attends his matches, features him in shoots, and throws parties for him—has flirted with that tradition like no player before. (At previous years’ Wimbledons, he has arrived at Centre Court in a white blazer.) So it’s perhaps appropriate that the year in which Nadal finally conquered him—the Spanish player assumed the No. 1 ranking last week—was also the year in which Federer’s look tipped over into full-blown prissy self-parody.

Nadal has made a point of saying “I don’t have anything to do with the design” of his clothes. Yet he’s managed to create what might be the most original look in men’s tennis history: sleeveless tees, shin-length pants, and bandannas tied with a cheeky flourish. Most tennis style revolutions have happened in the women’s game, from Gussy Moran’s lace-trimmed panties to Serena Williams’s skintight catsuit (see the time line here). Precedents for peacocking are pretty much limited to Björn Borg—known for his body-hugging outfits, headbands, and, for the time, prominent logo display—and Andre Agassi, who turned denim shorts, blond highlights, and garish color choices into a marketing tour de force.

Read the rest...

Here's the cover (click to enlarge to huge image):

Monday, August 18, 2008

Former No. 1's Pay Tribute to Rafael Nadal

The ATP has gone all out to underscore Rafael Nadal's ascension to the top spot by showcasing the remarks of a few former No. 1's including a few of the sports greatest champions:

ROGER FEDERER: "Rafa played great to get it. That's what I expected and hoped for, many years ago when I got to No. 1, that if ever somebody were to take it away for me, he would have to play an incredible tennis schedule, win the biggest tournaments, dominate the game basically, and then like this he can take No. 1. So I think Rafa totally deserves it."

STEFAN EDBERG: "Nadal is a great player with incredible charisma and fighting spirit, who deserves the No. 1 ranking. Especially after winning one of the greatest Wimbledon final ever following the French Open win. Federer is one of the best players ever to play the game and his record of 237 weeks at No. 1 is incredible. A tribute to his sportsmanship as well!"

GUSTAVO KUERTEN: "I believe becoming No. 1 in the world is the biggest glory of an athlete. Nadal deserved to be in the No. 1 position since a few years. Federer definitely helped him to become a better player. Nadal's achievement is well deserved and I believe he has the capability to hold the No. 1 position for a long period, a feat that I'm sure he is very determined to accomplish."

ROD LAVER: "Nadal's had a terrific Wimbledon, winning a tough five setter against Roger. He is a worthy new No. 1. Federer’s consistency for three years dominating all opponents is one of the great efforts in open tennis. Hopefully Nadal can continue his winning ways through 2008. The US Open will be a huge test for both of them."

JOHN McENROE: "It makes you realize that Federer is a human being, after compiling four of the greatest years in the history of Open tennis. Nadal’s made some great improvement in the last year or so and he’s followed it up with some wins at other events [beyond clay]. He deserves it."

CARLOS MOYA: "When Rafa becomes No. 1 he will totally deserve it. He's been close for three years. But until now, Federer has been playing out of this world. He's more human now, and Rafa has improved a lot. I can't say that I really helped Rafa so much - maybe a bit when I was 24 and practising with him. That motivated me; you don't want to lose to a kid. He's helped me to be a better player by his intensity in training and his desire. He knew he could ask me questions and I could answer him. I don't know what it means, but of the three guys who have been No. 1 from Spain, two are from Mallorca."

PETE SAMPRAS: "He's a great fighter and I'm impressed with him. He's had the best year and he's clearly number one. He's 22 and think about that. It's incredible what Nadal's been able to do and I think he's going to get better and better if he can."

These remarks are including in the overall tribute that includes this great video.

At the end of it all, there's this:

Nadal is the 24th player to hold No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973) and he is the third male player from Spain to hold the top position. Here is a breakdown of the 12 countries at No. 1:

United States 6 (Connors, McEnroe, Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Roddick)
Australia 3 (Newcombe, Rafter, Hewitt)
Spain 3 (Moya, Ferrero, Nadal)
Sweden 3 (Borg, Wilander, Edberg)
Russia 2 (Kafelnikov, Safin)
Austria 1 (Muster)
Brazil 1 (Kuerten)
Chile 1 (Rios)
Czech Republic 1 (Lendl)
Germany 1 (Becker)
Romania 1 (Nastase)
Switzerland 1 (Federer)

I guess it's no surprise that the United States is atop the list, though I never gave it much thought. But I must say: to see Roddick's name alongside the others warmed my heart just a bit, especially given the tailspin he's in right now. I know this is all about Rafa, but I just had to say this. As Guga said, becoming No. 1 is arguably the most coveted accomplishment of an athlete.

Again, congratulations to Rafa and his legions of fans, one of whom we know very well.

Screenshot: ATP Salutes the New World No. 1

Imagine my surprise when I typed in the ATP homepage and got this. The page automatically defaulted to the ATP index page after 10 seconds. You can click on the image above and see if it still comes up. I've no idea how long it will run.

Anyone know if this has ever been done before? I mean, I know January 2004 was the last time there was a new world No. 1, but I don't recall Andy Roddick or Roger Federer getting this kind of ATP love when they took over the top spot.

This is not a complaint, mind you. After being No. 2 for more consecutive weeks than any player in history, the gesture seems appropriate.

But I was still surprised.

Congratulations Rafa, indeed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rafael Superman Nadal, Olympic Champion

As the commentator who introduced the match on USA network said, Rafael Nadal, no longer a "claycourt specialist" can beat anybody, at any time, on any surface. If he's not careful, the moniker Superman is going to stick.

The Spaniard wins Olympic Gold on his first try. A truly remarkable feat. He has now won four of the last five big events. Tomorrow he will be rewarded with the official No. 1 ranking.

As for the match, there isn't much to say other than Rafa showed out, Fernando Gonzalez did the best he could, but it just wasn't enough to even win a set.

On to the US Open.

Williams Sisters Win Another Gold

What would American tennis be without the sisters?

Russian Sweep, Dementieva Wins Gold

Phelps Wins 8th Gold, Breaks Tie With Spitz

BEIJING (AP) — Michael Phelps won his record eighth gold medal Sunday at the Beijing Olympics as a member of the victorious U.S. 400-meter medley relay team, breaking a tie with Mark Spitz for most golds in a single games.

Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Phelps and Jason Lezak won in a world-record of 3 minutes, 29.34 seconds, lowering the old mark of 3:30.68 set four years ago in Athens.

The U.S. swept the men's relays in Beijing, with Phelps leading off in the 400 and 800 free relays. Lezak anchored the 400 free to a narrow victory over France to preserve Phelps' historic bid.

Australia took the silver in 3:30.04.

Japan earned the bronze in 3:31.18.