Sunday, August 23, 2009

US Open Series Champions

CINCINNATI - AUGUST 23:  Roger Federer of Switzerland holds the winners trophy aloft after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the Singles Final during day seven of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters on August 23, 2009 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I've resisted calling him The Monogram, but that damned thing is ubiquitous. In my lexicon, he's evolved from Precious Rog through The Name to Raja and will remain so. But it's awfully tempting to use The Monogram moniker henceforth.

After his convincing wins en route to his third Cincy title -- Novak Djokovic didn't know what hit him today -- he's also looking like he's ready to win his 6th consecutive US Open in a few weeks.


TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 23:  Elena Dementieva of Russia poses for photographers after defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia during the final of the Rogers Cup at the Rexall Center on August 23, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Elena Dementieva outserved, outreturned, outfought and outlasted Maria 100% Sharapova to win her first Rogers Cup.


oddman said...

Nice win by Dementieva. I'd like to see her holding that US Open trophy, actually.


Karen said...

Dont hate, appreciate - LOL. You know I always told myself that once Roger had won the French Open, I would find some other deserving person and start cheering for them. I also said that once Roger got that monkey off his back, the French Open that is, he would start playing more freely. I thought my words would fall on stony ground, but I think that with the French Open out of the way, Roger can now start playing dizzying tennis once again. He said as much himself, no longer will he have to go into press conferences and be asked whether he can win the French Open. I dont even think he cares if he never wins another one. He just wanted one. Now, he has his sights set on just playing good tennis. Raising his daughters and being a good husband to Mirka. The guy has everything. Right now as Fed fan I dont care what people call him, he will always be Yummy Prince Fed to me. Did you see how poor Novak had to raise his hands to the skies when he finally won a game. It was hilarious.

Karen said...

Oddman, really. You want to see the Demented One, who is the most ungracious person on the WTA Tour (even though she hides it behind smiles). If it is one person I just cannot stand on the women's tour it is Dementieva. Cannot stand her. Her game is just as ugly as Safina's and that awful sound she makes is just horrendous on the ear drums. Man, did you guys see the coaching exchange between Sharapova and her coach. Hilarious.

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, make up your mind, will you?

Either you're off the Fed bandwagon or you're on it.

What will it be?



I'd like to see a WTA player who's been nothing but potential and is still rather young shock the system and take the USO.

I have a player in mind, but I don't want to jinx her.


Matt said...

Me too Oddman. Me too. Would be incredible if she can win her 1st Slam at Flushing Meadows. I think her chances are now better than ever!

Meanwhile, I agree with Craig about a HUGE yawn for the Monogram. That jacket he's wearing is cheap and nasty.

Matt said...

Ooohhh.. Craig! Do tell of your premonition! At least give me a little hint ;)

Craig Hickman said...

Her first name has more than one syllable.

Karen said...

Craig, you know my heart is with the Monogram. He is the only reason I watch the ATP. I know I said that I was becoming disaffected with all the media hoopla especially after his Wimbledon victory, but after seeing his meltdown in Montreal, and seeing the usual death obits being written about him, I am back in the cheering gallery. I never really left actually as I feel that there are more deserving players that I can pay attention to, but when I see him play like he did in the first set of yesterday's match, as well as the first set of today's match and completely befuddle his opponents, I just have to wax poetic about him. I always say whether you are a fan of the man or not, when he is in full flight mode, it is a joy to watch him. You dont have to be a fan of his to appreciate good tennis. Plus, I just freaking love those feet and the way they move to get into position, almost like a ballerina.

Karen said...

And Craig, I cannot believe that you want to pick someone over Serena. Really now. I am dying to know who that player is, I hope it is not Flavia

Karen said...

are we going to have to play 20 questions - where is she from; is she top 10, or top 20; does she speak english; is she white or black; right handed or left handed; 2 handed or 1 handed; do tell

Craig Hickman said...

She's pretty.

Craig Hickman said...

Serena won three of the last four Slams. I'm a fan, not a glutton.

rabbit said...

Craig, I'd really appreciate it if you don't call him the Monogram. Raja is good!

rabbit said...

I'm unabashedly a glutton. Roger and Serena, one more time! :)

Karen said...

Rabbit, I am with you on that one. I dont want the gravy train to ever stop. Then again, after he wins this year's USO, I dont mind if he takes a little mini break. Someone said earlier over at another blog that once Roger leaves the game, we will have a revolving door on the No. 1 ranking as from the current crop of players there is no one who can sustain any momentum for the period that he has been able to sustain it and that is so true.

oddman said...

Yes, Karen, I do. I don't find her the most ungracious person, actually. There are others.

Each to their own. I don't find her game ugly. I appreciate that she is prenaturally ready for that first ball, so quick off the mark, compensating for her weak serve. That's adapting well.

'Ugly game' - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We look for different things, Karen, no?

oddman said...

And re: the noise she makes, well, it's not as bad as some of the others. My least fave? Lleyton's squeaky grunt - he sounds like he's been castrated.... sorry everyone (shrug)!

Craig Hickman said...

oddman, castrated and suffocated at the same time.

Tennisfan said...

I have grown to like Dementieva lately despite her grunting. :)..

oddman said...



Eee-yughhhhhh! Eee-yughhhhhhhh!

oddman said...

Karen said...
Dont hate, appreciate - LOL.

Were you meaning me, Karen? I meant 'next up on the tennis scene, or next up New York'. Nothing more. I don't hate. And I have a hard time with ppl telling me what to do. Don't you, Karen? It's kinda human nature, that. :)

Pamela said...

Call me a glutton and a dreamer.

Serena and Rafa - end the year just like it started. It would be nice to see Serena defend a slam. She hasn't done that in a long while.

Everyone is writing Rafa off, and I understand why. I still can dream and hope that he fixes his issues, regains some confidence and thinks in terms of first strike offense instead of defense.

Karen said...

Actually Oddman, the dont hate comment was meant for Craig, and was done with tongue in cheek, not to offend. I thought we were doing the friendly banter thing here. I cannot stand Hewitt's grunt. Really does sound like he is dying. Dementieva's grunt and Venus' shrieks leave me cold as well. But you know who is the biggest offender, Safina.

oddman said...

Me too, Karen, let's continue friendly banter. I obviously misunderstood your remark.

rabbit said...

Pamela, at least I am not writing Rafa off. He is too great a champion to be written off. The 5 setters should give him plenty of opportunity to get into good rhythm.

I'm just hoping Murray and Rafa are on the same side of the draw!

Matthew said...

Is it Wozniacki?

I would also love to see Dementieva hold the US Open trophy. I think she has a great game especially with her improved serve. She always gets so close and it would be nice to see her finally get one.

As for the men, I think it would be nice to see a surprise winner. It's been forever since that's happened.

Karen said...

Did you guys see where Verdasco has a hat with some sort of nickname on it called FerVer and it looks like a logo. I tell you everybody has one these days. Anyone else here planning on buying Serena's biography. Perhaps we could all buy it and have a discussion about it

tangerine said...

The men's final was anti-climatic, I wish they'd bring best of five sets back.

Roger was solid, but I don't think he did anything special to win. He didn't have to, Djokovic was nervous and pushed the ball around the entire time. His aggressive game diminished, as well as his fighting spirit.

Tennis needs the arrogant, bold, nd ballsy Djokovic back. He is too acquiescent these days which is unbecoming of him.

Thrilled for Dementieva. Please, please let her win USO. She is deserving.

Matt said...

I think I've guessed her Craig! Is it Sabine Lisicki? Or Sorana Cirstea?

Josh said...

Hey why don't you like Roger? He is simply the best. There are very few players as good as him around.
Just stumbled and submitted your site to Viralogy. Hope you get some great traffic from it. Your blog is here

- Josh

Guy said...

Ummm, just a quick POI - Federer didn't win the US Open Series. Murray did.

Karen said...

Who cares about the USO Series, certainly not the players, because if they did the big dogs would have come over from Indy. Anyway, it was a nice series. If it is Sorano I think she has a really nice game and I love her attitude on court. Very precise. Sabine is too streaky plus I think she may be injured right now. Wozniacki needs to get some more power and find a serve. Girl gets broken way too easily, and why is she playing a tournament a week before the Open. Bizarre.

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Craig Hickman said...

Guy, anyone who wins a USO Series title is a USO series champion. At least on this blog.

I couldn't care less who finishes atop the USO series rankings.

Guy said...

Okay fair enough, I was misled by the title of the blog post. But anyway, the series is completely token. The pre-US Open tournaments are no different to the pre-Roland Garros ones IMO.

Helen W said...

rabbit says:
Craig, I'd really appreciate it if you don't call him the Monogram. Raja is good!

I find it amusing that folks don't object to The Monogram's in-your-face vanity, but they do object to people calling him on it. Besides, according to Karen, everybody has one these days. At least, Fernando Verdasco is rumoured to have "FerVer" on his hat -- what more proof do you need?

Craig Hickman said...

If Andy Roddick ever put an ever-present AR or A-Rod or some such, visible to the naked eye, on any piece of his clothing that he wore onto a tennis court, I'd likely kick him to the curb as a fan.


Guy, I agree. And if there were some official name for the series of events leading up to Roland Garros, I'd probably call the champions of those events by the series name as well.

Craig Hickman said...

tangerine said...

Tennis needs the arrogant, bold, nd ballsy Djokovic back.


Care to explain why?

I think ATP tennis needs an older teenager to start beating members of the Top 10 with some consistency, winning a title here or there, and making a decent showing at a Slam.

I'm frankly tired of the "Big Four" and most of the Top 10 as well. When only two players have what it takes to win Slams, it gets boring real quick.

Karen said...

@Craig, finally, you have said something that I really like. When someone apart from Rafa and Roger steps up then we can talk. I agree with you on the fact that no one seems to be willing to step it up to these guys. Murray is all talk and not much else. He is beefing it up, working out, doing all sorts of stuff, but is still not ready to cross the finish line. The question surrounding Nadal these days is whether his body can hold up to the rigours of the tour day in and day out over best of 5 sets. What can he do to make himself have a longer career. Right now Roger is playing with house money. On the women's side it is the same thing. The only person who had a chance to win majors if the Sisters were not around is Sharapova and her career is basically done as that serve is now a glaring liability. She cannot play tournaments or even days back to back because of that shoulder. It gets tired and mentally she just cannot deal with it. While watching the Nadal/Noval match recently I noticed that Nadal was bending over after a rally. Del Potro gets tired if he has to play a 5 set match and will have nothing left. It is just too much right now.

rabbit said...

Helen_W, I also find it amusing that some folks ignore Roger's tennis, the aspect of him he is most loved for, and concentrate on his jacket or awkward pauses in interviews.

About the RF logo, you see it as vanity. I see it as just a personalized symbol, nothing more or less than Rafa's bull. The money that comes from selling the merchandise goes towards a noble cause, and if the stylized logo makes people more willing to buy the stuff, I don't see the harm. In my opinion, using the presence of the RF logo to analyze Roger's psychology is Freudianism on the extreme side.

About not wanting him called The Monogram, I freely admit that it's my bias. I suppose you'd also not like to have Rafa called the AssPicker, even though that habit revolts some people more than the RF logo does.

Guy said...

I don't think you have to worry about Roddick doing that - he's such a no-frills kind of guy, which is why I like him.

As for the teenagers, there's a distinct lack of them having any success at the moment. Not sure you'll have much luck in them challenging the top 10

These were the top 10 teenagers back in May and I'm sure not that much has changed.

1. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 116 (56) 29/12/89

Talented guy and exciting to watch. I thought beating Ferrer in the 3rd round of the US Open last year would be his big breakthrough but he's injured all the time.

2. Donald Young (USA) 162 (73) 23/7/89

I can't take Mr. Wild Card seriously as a contender.

3. Brydan Klein (AUS) 186 (186) 31/12/89

Mostly a ball basher, and not a very nice person by all accounts.

4. Inigo Cervantes-Huegun 289 (289) 30/11/89

5. Junn Mitsuhashi (JPN) 296 (296) 1/6/89

6. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 307 (307) 13/11/90

Really just a big server, he has a decent game but nothing special.

7. Dan Evans (GBR) 316 (316) 23/5/90

Shown some good progress but a product of the LTA so success is unlikely.

8. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 344 (344) 16/5/91

Now this guy is talented, he's actually just broken into the top 300 and he's pushed Simon and Nadal to 3 sets as well as beating Berdych. I think he could be big.

9. Ilya Belyaev (RUS) 350 (350) 9/8/90

10. Bernard Tomic (AUS) 362 (358] 21/10/92

Lot of hype surrounding him and he has a good all round game but his dedication has been questionable

Helen W said...

rabbit if you can't see the difference between calling someone who plasters even his pillow cases with his monogram "The Monogram" and calling someone "AssPicker" then there's really nothing left to discuss.

You think The Monogram's tennis prowess excuses his conceited, arrogant, narcissistic excesses; I don't. Just like I don't think Michael Vick's undoubted football skills excuse his love for dog fighting. And please -- don't bother telling me that dog fighting is much different then plastering yourself with your own monogram -- I already know that.

Rafa's picking at his shorts is a habit, not a character flaw. To me there's a big difference.

edma1022 said...

Craig, if it's not Gisela Dulko, it's gotta be Agnes Szavay.

Do I win a prize?

Helen W said...

Craig I see a poll in our future ...

Karen said...

As a Roger Federer fan, I too do not much like the name The Monogram. I think it smacks of jealousy, envy, and is rooted in some people’s penchant to tear down other people’s accomplishments by latching on to something that they can ridicule. People cannot put down his tennis (which for me is the only reason to even discuss people like Roger), so they use whatever means they can to do so. Is he ungracious, classless, a poor sport, egotistical, in some ways, yes he is, but those instances have been few and far between. A lot of times people post snippets of interviews which makes Roger look like the second coming of Lucifer and I have posted here in the last couple of days snippets of interviews that he has recently done which have not only praised other players but have been really inciteful and to me quite gracious. A lot of these interviews have been done when he has lost as well as when he has won matches, so there has been a fair distribution across the board. You almost never hear about his commitment to the one woman that he has been with for so many years. As a woman who has been through many bad relationships, I can more identify with someone who sees very good qualities in a woman and holds her up for the world to see and is not afraid to show his emotion about the said woman. Recently he said that before he met Mirka he had not won a title, and since he met her he has won 60. He gives her all the glory, all the honour and all the praise, yet these aspects of his character are never taken into account. In yesterday’s trophy presentation he made mention of Novak’s abilities and ask that the crowd applaud him. I don’t think I have ever seen another player do that at an awards ceremony. He has put tennis in the spotlight for so many years and he is now the standard bearer for the sport. There are days when even this fan gets tired of Roger and I know that I have said in the past that I am getting off the train as for me he has nothing else to prove. He has won the French Open, got back his Wimbledon crown and regained the No.1 ranking. As Craig said, I am a fan, not a glutton.

The issues for me that we should be discussing in relation to tennis are many. One of the more compelling issues is who is going to take over the mantle of No. 1 when Roger finally decides to hang it up. Right now there is only one other person who has really captured the tennis communities fascination and that is Nadal. Unfortunately, while Nadal has captured many hearts, it has also caused a bit of a divide amongst tennis fans. Hopefully, at some point in time this divide will be bridged. Already, as a Roger fan I have grown to appreciate him. I have also grown to like Novak and hopefully he will continue to make improvements in his game. There are some younger guys coming up that look like they will have potential, but I am not sure that they will ever be able to step up to the bigger stages. At that point, what will happen to our beloved sport? Will we have to be trolling the internet trying to find live streams of matches as the networks will no longer broadcast tennis because there is no market, or will we have rivalries between players who are ready to have their names written in the record books. This, to my mind is what needs to be discussed, not whether someone sleeps on monogram pillow cases or picks his ass before every serve.

Craig Hickman said...

As a Roger Federer fan, I too do not much like the name The Monogram. I think it smacks of jealousy, envy....


C'mon, Karen. That doesn't even make any sense.

I could develop a monogram for myself in about 5 minutes and have it emblazoned on a line of clothing in less than a week.

The notion that Raja's tennis is so great that we need to look for something else to pick on is also ridiculous.

Even before Raja ever won a Slam, when he was an erratic basket case who could hardly win titles, I thought he was a narcissist.

The notion that his success has resulted in envy in someone whose desire to play tennis was extinguished decades ago just doesn't apply here.

Raja doesn't need to sell merchandise emblazoned with his logo in order to contribute cash to worthy causes. But Nike has found a perfect marriage with a man more in love with his reflection than Narcissus himself and is milking it for all it's worth.

That's their prerogative.

And it's mine to call out Mr. Monogram when his narcissism warrants it.

Raja can wear whatever he wants to wear. I'm supposed to ignore what he wears because he wins Slams?


Here's what I want to know:

Why do so many of Raja's fans appear to take it personally when he's criticized? I know tennis fans have a tendency to do that, but isn't that rather bizarre? Why is it necessary to psychoanalyze those who dare to criticize the man?

What's that about?

Raja has virtually everything, as has been said here, and is living a charmed existence.

Why on earth does he, of all people, need such vigorous defense?

Craig Hickman said...

Helen W, a poll on my US Open WTA wish pick or on an ATP teenager to shake up the Top 10?

Dan Scarlett said...

The Monogram! Perfect !
Craig, the gods have just forgiven you for your recent flirtation with boredom.

Craig Hickman said...

Dan, I cannot take any credit for The Monogram. Savannah calls him that regularly. She may have even coined the moniker.

Karen said...

It smacks of jealousy, envy etc,. because every single time people criticise Roger that is what it boils down to. Look at him, thinking that he is all that and a bag of chips, strutting around like a peacock in his monogrammed clothes. Oh look, he even has them bigger now. Just once I would like to see a comment that says, man I watched that match yesterday with Roger and it was a great performance. He was just hitting that forehand so well and there was nothing his opponent could do. At the end of the Wimbledon 2008, when he had lost, there was not one mention made about how he held it together after losing such a tough battle, all you could read was that finally, an era has ended and Nadal reigns supreme. This year he has accomplished so much, and all I could hear was Jacketgate. Yes, I too felt sorry for Andy as I was also pulling for him, but nothing was made of the fact that he hung tough in a tight match and came out the victor. In addition, I posted here and elsewhere the fact that he wore a No. 14 jacket after winning at the FO, and no comment about it. I guess poor Soderling, because he is Nadal’s whipping boy, deserved to have that jacket flung in his face. At no point in time do I ever hear anyone here (including myself) give credit to Soderling for what he did. It must have been a great accomplishment for him to have come back from getting the beating of his life (he won 1 game the last time he played Nadal) and he had absolutely no belief that he could beat Nadal at Roland Garros, but all we heard about was how poor Nadal was affected by his knees, as if that was Soderling’s fault.

All of us here have our favourites and it hurts when they lose, but at the same time we are all tennis fans here and for once it would be good for us to talk about the technical aspects of the game, rather than turn this into a personality thing.

edma1022 said...

Mr Monogram does not need his multitude of apologists. (ouch! ow!). Gosh, he's laughing all the way to the bank (Mirka+twins in tow) for all we care.

Federer shows windows of vulnerability on the "other trivial" stuff because he closed the door on any criticism for the way he plays and the way he projects himself and the way he promotes the sport we love.

Helen W said...

Craig says:

Helen W, a poll on my US Open WTA wish pick or on an ATP teenager to shake up the Top 10?

Well we cant have too many polls, but I meant a poll as to which of the women you want to win the USO. You have to agree that you are toying with us ....

sykotique said...

I'm going to agree with Craig here.

Roger doesn't need our defence. Roger Federer probably cares very little about the criticism levelled at him - if he did, he'd probably put his monogrammed articles of clothing away.

Thankfully, he is not so insecure as to be guided by the 5% of tennis followers who find his vices, however quantifiable, to be irredeemable.

Thinking that Roger is extremely narcissistic, arrogant and a sore loser, does not make a person jealous of him, Karen. Conversely, thinking that Roger is not all that narcissistic, not all that arrogant and not such a sore loser as people describe him doesn't make you a blind follower either, Karen.

Fans have watched him and have followed him. Fans have quantified his vices and his virtues - and fans have reached opinions. For some, the vices outweigh the virtues. For others - well, we are referred to as the Worshipful if we dare to differ. :)

You don't have to like him - and we don't have to agree with you.

Karen said...

I am well and truly aware that Roger Federer does not need a pleb like me to defend him. However, unlike some other professionals, Roger actually does care what the fans of tennis think of him. For all his supposed arrogance he took the time to address an issue that seemed to rock the very foundations of tennis - how could he put on a jacket with the NO. 15 on it after vanquishing so honourable an opponent as Andy Roddick. Never, have I heard another professional athlete come out and defend or seek to explain why they did what they did after a victory. Did anyone else think it was a bit off putting to see Nadal climbing all over the Federer family after his Wimbledon victory. I note that there were no sounds of dismay at that one. I guess it was just the enthusiasm of the moment. In addition, why do all fans of Federer who seek to put forward an alternative viewpoint have to be given names or those in opposition have to resort to name calling. I think it demeans the discussions and friendly rivalry of these great men and women who play the sport.

Karen said...

You don't have to like him - and we don't have to agree with you.
Best line ever

lynney62 said...

Big yawn here, Craig! I feel like I'm reliving the boring Sampras era all over again! I can truthfully say I am truthfully sick of looking at that face!

Pamela said...

No one is exempt from criticism based on their skill level in sport. Period.

Those who make observations are always labeled as envious, when some really don't even care. Personally, the Liberace clothes threw me off but the monogrammed plastic racquet covers? ... yeah, too much.

Michael Wilhelmsen said...

I've been watching Grigor Dimitrov for a while now, I was really impressed by his game and I really think he could challenge the top if we just give him some time. He's coached by Peter Lundgren, and Peter has also said that Grigor is even more talented than what Federer was at the same age. :)

Craig Hickman said...

It smacks of jealousy, envy etc,. because every single time people criticise Roger that is what it boils down to.


Karen, you are wrong.


And I'll talk about what I damn well please.

If I want to talk about a player's personality, that's what I'll talk about.

If you don't want to read about it, then walk on by.

Craig Hickman said...

Helen W said...

Well we cant have too many polls, but I meant a poll as to which of the women you want to win the USO. You have to agree that you are toying with us


I plead the fifth. ;)

Helen W said...

Well, I made my vote :)

And aren't they all pretty? That's no hint :)

PeytonAllen said...

Nice to see Roger beat Murray. Never like to see a rivalry get too one-sided. Was surprised Djoke didn't put up more of a fight.

I'm not gonna touch the Fed issue. I said my peace after the Wimby final.

I would hope someone in the field steps up and takes the man down at the Open though.

I'm happy that Rafa's knees held up. I think he'll have a chance to make a run in New York. Be interesting to see if he and Roger are in the same half of the bracket.

It's up to Murray and the Joker to prove they can win big matches right now. So picking either to win is a leap of faith.

I think Roddick winning could happen if the crowd wills him to do what he hasn't been doing this summer, which is CLOSE.

The silent threat is Juan Del Porto! Massive game and he's starting to believe. The question is, best of 5 can he last? May be a year too soon fitness wise.

It's going to be nice to have a healthy Rafa back in a slam for the first time since the Aussie Open. Can he remain aggressive? We shall see.

Craig Hickman said...

Helen W said...

And aren't they all pretty? That's no hint :)



Dapxin said...

Interesting debate. As usual.

Quite Notes:-

. The MonoGram = fitting.
. As has been said, you dont have to agree. These things stems from who we are, defined by our emotions. You wont see it if you cant see it.
. It compares to seeing Usain Bolt, turning up everywhere in UB further comments.
. Murray, bears the weight of the British lol, its killing, always

Guy said...

In response to earlier belittlings of the US Open series, if Sam Querrey beats Bjorn Phau tomorrow he wins the series. Pretty much proves how irrelevant it is if you can win it defeating only one (tired) top 10 player... Nice cash bonus for Sam though.

Mad Professah said...


Sam Querrey will win the US Open series by beating Bjorn Phau?

That's almost self-parody....

I have no comment on the Monogram debate---I do not think that FedFans (like myself) defend him any more vigorously than RafaFans defend their guy or Sharapovites defend their gal.

Karen said...

Craig, you were right and I was wrong. Rumour has it that Justine is coming back to the Tour. I have to admit, this smells like the end of a you know what suspension.

ns88 said...

Karen, great thoughts.

Every spectrum of human character contains dark colors.

What we choose to highlight says only says more about us.

Helen W said...

ns88 says:

What we choose to highlight says only says more about us.

And what we blind to says a lot about us too.