Monday, April 30, 2007

Court Identity Crisis

This court might be a little confused.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Clip of the Week

Fifth-set tiebreakers are certainly a rarity, especially since the US Open is the only major to have them in place. They are nevertheless dramatic, no matter who is involved in them.

Yet these two players - Safin and Nalbandian - provide the character that we LOVE in tennis. Their quirky tennis (watch Nalbandian slap a ball over early in the TB and Safin's drop shot later) and their even quirkier personalities provides the classic drama we all crave. The men's game certainly isn't lacking their fair share of crowd pleasers.


And That Makes 70

Rafael Nadal won his 70th straight tennis match on clay yesterday. His total domination of the tennis world - Roger Federer included - has yet to subside, and the way this kid is going, I doubt it will end any time soon.

I am continuously amazed not only with Nadal and his game, but how together the Spaniard is. On the court, off the court...even on the internet. It takes a lot to put together champions like him - more than big biceps and a drive to win - a maturity that a lot of up-and-coming ATP teens need to aspire to.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So Much for the 'Farewell'

Kim Clijsters may as well just retire now, and save us all from this ongoing circus.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekend Warriors

Rafael Nadal is proving himself to be quite the weekend warrior, just in time for the French Open.

Following his success at the Pacific Life, Nadal - for the second year in a row - defeated Roger Federer in the finals of Monte Carlo, this time in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

What was telling about Nadal's performance this weekend wasn't the flashy part of his game, but rather his ability to stay clean on the dirt. Compared to Federer's 38 errors, Nadal committed just 19, holding his nerve and his game for his second title of the year.

Not only is Nadal looking good on the court, the Spaniard has also racked up 67 straight wins on clay, dating back to 2005. The next few weeks will be telling for Nadal's confidence heading into Roland Garros, where he's the two-time defending champion.

Meanwhile, Vania King, the 18-year-old American who vaulted herself into the top 100 last year, saved the day for the U.S. Fed Cup team, substituting for an injured Serena Williams to give the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Belgium.

King beat Kristen Flipkens 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 early in the afternoon before Venus won her singles and King teamed up with Lisa Raymond to give the Americans a 5-0 win. Now if King, ranked 83rd, can turn this weekend Fed Cup success into some tournament wins, we might see her inside the top 50.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Clip of the Week

With Fed Cup coming up this weekend, I thought it would be fun to find a little blast from the Fed Cup past.

In 2005, Russia and France faced off in the finals of the Fed Cup with all-star rosters. This is a point between Mauresmo/Pierce and Dementieva/Safina.

Pete Bodo raises concern this week about the media coverage of the Fed Cup. Interesting points he makes. Certainly the WTA is on par with the ATP, so why aren't they getting the same Davis Cup coverage that the men are?

While Seles makes her comeback return plans, what about Mary?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Walk in the Park

Venus and Serena: check.

Kim and Justine: not this time.

The Williams sisters are set to save the day this year for Zina Garrison's squad, taking on a Henin and Clijsters-less Belguim team.

The match-up couldn't be more lopsided.

Meanwhile, the defending champs, Italy, are without Francesca Schiavone as they take on a tough Chinese team in the opening round...this could be interesting.

Ties take place this weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Technorati link

Technorati Profile

Link to my Technorati profile - just a formality.

Manic Monday

I'm guessing that the ATP is wishing that it was still Sunday. Really wishing.

Steffi Graf, rather, is wishing that Sunday was, well, basically that it just didn't happen.

Ivo Karlovic is hoping for more successful Sundays. As is Jelena Jankovic.

The Bryan Brothers captured their fourth title of the year. Making Sunday somewhat of a successful day for American tennis.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

American Miss

The American clay court swing almost ended with the perfect scenarios, almost.

James Blake fell to Mariano Zabaleta in Houston while Venus Williams was outlasted by Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals of their respective green clay tourneys.

And while tournament organizers had originally dreamed of a Blake-Roddick final in Houston (that was spoiled by an injured Roddick withdrawal prior to the start of the week), Charleston saw its top four seeds bow out before the start of their event and then Serena, Vaidisova and Schnyder all crashed out in the opening two days.


Perhaps everyone in the game of tennis - Americans included - is playing their cards correctly. The French Open is a mere five weeks away, and while the WTA still has Charleston underneath the "Tier I" title, players are making decisions that are more geared to the majors these days, and for these two American tournaments, that meant less than impressive fields.

Though dreamy American finals at not-so-dreamy American tournaments would've capped off a solid North American swing, there is much to look forward to in the weeks leading up to the dirty red at Roland Garros. And at least from here, it can only get better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clip of the Week: Wouldn't it be Fun?

Yes, I'm a die hard Monica Seles fan. But if people have loved the Martina Hingis comeback as much as they have...think of what a Seles return would do!

The Houston Chronicle certainly has me thinking in those terms, so I went perusing through good ol' YouTube to find some vintage Seles.

The video quality here isn't superb, but I love the last two points where Monica shows us she can still move and then punishes Hingis with a fierce crosscourt backhand.

And the Madison Square Garden crowd loved it...

Crumbling in Charleston

There is no love story this week between the top women of the WTA and the Family Circle Cup, held in Charleston, South Carolina. After the event's four top players withdrew prior to the start of the tournament, both Serena Williams and Nicole Vaidisova fell in their opening matches.

This certainly lends some support to the WTA's roadmap for the tour, which cited that players will withdraw from events less if they have an easier schedule to work with. I'm sure the Charleston folks would have loved to been in that 'required' section this year.

While some active players were missing in action this week, an inactive player played an exhibition in Houston last week. Monica Seles, the nine-time slam winner, defeated Martina Navratilova in three sets (a third-set super tie-breaker was used) and followed up the match with this interesting quote: "I'm looking forward to playing more." Another comeback in the works for Miss Seles? The Houston Chronicle thinks so. has declared four players "The Ones to Watch" this spring. Will these stories really develop? I think I have the same response for this one as I do for Monica: let's wait it out.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Southern Sunday Strolls

Sunday turned out to be a pretty easy day in the South.

The American Davis Cup team took what was to be a hearty challenge from the visiting Spaniards in North Carolina and made quick, easy work of their European foes, winning the tie 4-1.

Meanwhile, Tatiana Golovin also made quick work of Nadia Petrova in the finals of the Bausch and Lomb Championships just a couple hundred miles away in Amelia Island, Florida.

Both the Americans and Golovin piled their eggs in one basket, the winner's basket. Too bad the losers didn't make things a little more interesting.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Thumbs Up, American Tennis

Boy was I wrong. One, two, three. That's all it took for Roddick, Blake and the Bryan brothers to knock off the visiting Spaniards in Davis Cup action this weekend.

Tennis dead in America?

Not in this picture it isn't.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Underrated Underdogs

In the Davis Cup tie between the United States and Spain this weekend, the predictions have swung heavily in favor of the Americans as the match-up draws closer. With a Nadal-less team from Espana taking on the Americans in the U.S. and away from their beloved clay, betters are putting the Roddick-Blake-BryanBros. squad as the heavy favorite.

Yet hold those thoughts, this could get a little more interesting than you might think:

First off, there's Peter Bodo, god of all tennis gods (when it comes to writing about the stuff) saying that one American's (Blake) downswing compared to a Spaniard's (Robredo) upswing could make things tight, very tight.

And then there's the players themselves. First off, Andy Roddick saying that he'll "do his best" against Fernando Verdasco on Friday, a player that Roddick is 5-2 lifetime against, including one hardcourt loss to the Spaniard at the 2005 Ericsson.

Meanwhile, U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said in a press conference Thursday that "both our guys are playing well" and he expects a good weekend for his team. Playing well? Both of them? C'mon Patrick, you know that's not true. Not to mention that Blake lost his only Cup match so far this year to Berdych back in February.

So what's it going to be all you gambling folk out there? A runaway victory for the Americans? Steve Tignor thinks so. Or perhaps an on-the-road upset for the Spaniards. I'm not going to guess either way - just sit back and enjoy some high-quality tennis this weekend, we're sure to see some.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Dja Think They Like Him?

If Andre Agassi got this reception from Americans every time he won a Masters Series tournament, he would be good friends with Clinton and both Bushes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Three Down...

Three months have passed in the 2007 tennis season and so far, it's been a year to remember. We certainly got our fill of action and drama in Australia, and the US hardcourt swing produced a couple shockers and a couple resurgent champions.

-Steve Tignor handed out first-quarter report cards today. How did your favorite player fair?

-The American women (minus V & S) just can't get it going this year.

-Maria is hurt. As is Andy, but he'll keep playing.

-Justine is tired. And Serena Williams is just plain lucky.

-Not only is Djokovic now a bona-fide top-ten player, this home video shows us (much better than TV, I think) what an athlete he is. His build is long and solid; expect great things from this kid.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Clip of the Week: Something Musical

Let's keep the Serena theme we've had as of late and watch the classic 2004 Jamie Foxx performance from the ESPY's, dedicated to Miss Serena Williams herself. You've got to love this.