Friday, June 29, 2007

A Bad Blogger

With five days of The Championships complete, I feel as though I've slacked in the blogging department. More than anything else, it's self-discipline that makes me feel guilty about it...curse me for having parents who instilled hard work!

I guess I'll save the slacking for another time.

I do have to say, the tennis has been pretty entertaining. Venus survived her first round Graveyard challenger; Tiger Tim wowed, then fell; Tatiana showed her true colors while Hingis and Blake were shown the door.

I've been lucky this past week to sit down and watch some great tennis players alongside some great tennis minds. What a thrill for me; what a learning experience.

If week one is any indication, week two will be a treat. Hopefully as beautiful as the Friday-night sunset beyond the Manhattan skyline.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

And Then it Got Hot...

Today New York got hot. Really hot.

My runs on Brooklyn Bridge have become a staple in my typical New York day. I get up at 7, on the train by 8, at the office by 8:30 for a full day until 5. Train home, run on the bridge, talk with friends, catch up on my writing. Tonight my run was around 7; it's 9 o'clock and I still haven't stopped sweating.

Just too hot.

The one place I can take refuge (my room in my apartment is small, windowless and without AC) is the magazine. TENNIS keeps it a cool 72 degrees in the office. Just cool enough to be relaxing and perfect coming in from the sweltering heat and humidity of Manhattan's sea of concrete.

With Wimbledon underway, my co-workers spend a good chunk of their time in the conference room, in front of the TV. I only feel validated when two or three of them are watching too - but how great is it to be doing 'research' with Wimbledon on the set? My dream come true!

The work I'm starting to do is certainly enjoyable, and I feel as though I'm (slowly but surely) hitting my workplace stride. There have been bumps in the rode - and I know I'll hit a few potholes along the way - but I finally feel like I've settled a little, especially writing this piece.

I went out to dinner last night with my friend Carla. Carla is an advertising rep for the New York Times - the mother of all publications. It was great to sit down with someone around my age and compare office quirks, talk about the world from an intern's point of view and get some friendly advice about how to break up the 9 to 5 day.

Monday my fellow intern, Troy, has his first day - shrinking my work area from 16 square feet to 8. But I'll be glad to have someone there with me for the ride. Thursday I fly back to Seattle for a wedding - how incredible that we can span the country in a half day's flight. Can't wait!

Until then, I just hope I don't melt.

Hopefully the First of Many

...TENNIS Magazine posts.

I'm online; and finally somewhere other than this little thing I call my blog.

My first post on can be found here.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Hushed Crowd

This picture is from Wimbledon 2006. But I believe it tells us the story of the game in England. The respect the fans have for it.

Not a single seat empty. Not an outlandish fan in the crowd.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

British Blow

Wimbledon hasn't even begun and British tennis fans are already groaning.

Andy Murray, the country's new-found sports star and lone help for a home-grown title has pulled out of the tournament due to an injured wrist.

This isn't the start that anyone was hoping for.

And to think, we could've had something like this - with a pro-Murray crowd. Yikes.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

New York on My Mind

Early in the week I decided that I wanted to try one of those cheesy New York bus tours. You know the ones: double-decker buses, with the open-seating tops that the tourists flock to. Yes, those. So yesterday, my friend Troy and I went on said tour, and - for the day - became tourists ourselves of a city we both currently live in.

New York is like no city I've ever been to before, and (correct me if I'm wrong), like no other city in the world. The architecture is incredible. The pace is vibrant. And the history oozes at every turn.

I think I described it best in my first post about the city: it pulses. There's no other way to put it.

Two of my favorite things about the city involves bicycles: the bicycle delivery boys (food of your choosing, anytime, anywhere) and the bicycle tours. The bike tours - or pedicabs as they're called in the city - are everywhere. A New York Times article I read a while ago called it the "only true bohemian line of work left in America." There's something romantic about the old-fashioned act of pedalling around such an urban and modern place like New York. It's simplistic. I like that.

While I continue to acclimate myself to the city each day, I have settled into a comfortable schedule at TENNIS. Friday afternoon, Billie Jean King, the single most influential woman in all of tennis history, stopped by our magazine office for an interview with one of our writers. (For more Billie, click here.)

She came in with a small entourage - an assistant named Roberta - and the writer greeted them at the door. The writer asked if Billie Jean would enjoy a short tour of the office - I guess she had never been there before. She obliged, and so the tour began.

As the writer approached my desk (mine is the first in a small series of cubicles) I tried not too look too busy; too young; too nervous. But the writer just made her way past my desk, then, as they turned the corner, she said (almost as an afterthought) "That's Nick, the intern." Inside, I was laughing. It was a classic intern moment - something I should have been ready for.

And, for the most part, I was. I stood up and stuck my hand in Billie Jean's path. "It's great to meet you," I said. We made brief eye contact and she proceeded. Ceremony over. Intern out of the way.

Now I love all my co-workers, I really do. This is an incredible magazine with a small, tight-knit group of hard-working individuals. But it's instances like that that will stick in my mind forever. When I find myself as a journalist - somewhere, someday - I'll make sure to be remember such moments and do my best not only to make that intern, new employee or whomever feel bigger than life...not just like a fly on the wall.

Or will I? I certainly hope so. Now, Wimbledon tomorrow...

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Wonders of Wimbledon

If Wimbledon looks anything like the tournaments leading up to it, we're in for a good treat. First there was Nicholas-Andy. Then Jelena-Maria. And today Justine-Amelie.

And the first ball hasn't even been hit.

The draws (men's ~ women's) were released yesterday, and while interesting match-ups are abound, the sheer excitement of having a Wimbledon draw before us and know that time of year is upon us again is really what gets me.

Though all the slams have their character, there truly is no other tournament - nor sporting event - quite like Wimbledon. So for players link Jankovic, Roddick, Nadal and Hingis, who have come tantalizing close to winning this title (minus J-squared), this is the tournament that they all look forward to for the entire year; for their entire tennis lives.

Monday morning will find many of us glued to our TV screens (or computers, for that matter) to take in another two weeks at SW19. I know I'm looking forward to it. And I hope the tremendous matches we've seen already on the green stuff carry themselves over.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Clip of the Week: A New Kind of Character

Novak Djokovic is getting to be known as quite the quirky one on the ATP Tour. You've just got to love his imitation of Nadal and Sharapova here, classic!

Thanks to Erwin and his blog for finding this one - it's hilarious!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back In Action

After tragically losing my phone on Friday, and following five days of a courageous, phoneless existence, DHL delivered a new cell to me today at work.

It's scary how 'disconnected' I felt without my phone. I pride myself on being someone who is reflective, who builds relationship of value, and a person that - while having a great support network - is relatively independent as well. Yet any tipping of the scale can rock any of us, and being that I had just arrived in NYC, I was thrown completely off balance.

(My apartment building in Brooklyn Heights.)

But I feel like I'm back in action in many ways - finding my footing underneath me in New York with each passing day, I have figured out my train schedule to work (which includes two transfers!) and am continuing to explore the coffee shops in the neighborhood of my internship for something good.

New York has terrible coffee. Lots of terrible coffee. I know that I can find the nuggets of good stuff, I just have to search a little. I'm not expecting a Morning Light or a Katy's, but a place that can make a decent latte would greatly be appreciated - not this Dunkin Donuts crap everyone loves out here.

Today we had an editors meeting at TENNIS. The meeting lasted all day and was absolutely fascinating. First, the editors - there were 12 of them in the room, TENNIS is a small operation - critiqued the last issue, section by section, and offered up better advice for the future. Then each person pitched ideas for upcoming issues. It was just a day-in-the-life for them, but for me it was incredible - we talked about tennis for seven hours!

I'm looking forward to the weekend in the city: my friend Matt is back from vacation in Montana, so it'll be great to see him. Plus, my friend Troy (a New York native) and I are going to do one of the cheesy, double-decker bus tours of the city. I'm very much looking forward to that - more exploration and discovery!

Closing In on Wimby

The greatest slam of the year is just a few days away, and it's fun to feel the electricity of the event not only just in my head but in an office setting as well.

I always hope for the fairy-tale: for the better-than-scripted Wimbledon to play out before the home crowd. Perhaps Andy Murray can give us such a script, or maybe a Dokic/Stevenson-like performance can be found in the form of a Brit.

Lately, I think that's something that tennis has been missing - the performance of the home-grown heroes at a major. The last time an individual won his or her home slam: Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open. That's nearly four years gone now - a long time in tennis terms.

Perhaps the formidable line-up the British women have assembled can make some noise. They won seven matches between three players in Eastbourne this week, including three main-draw wins. Put that string together for one player and we could see a resurgence in tennis patriotism via the Union Jack. And, hopefully, for tennis across the globe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Birthday Boys

Tennis isn't just serious, sometimes fun and games can be involved, too. Wait, tennis is a game...oh well, check out these fun snapshots of the world of tennis:

This court looks likes it had to make a split-second decision.

Marcos didn't win, but I think he liked his edible trophy compared to Thomas'. And I don't think he wanted to share.

Guillermo Canas just isn't having fun.

And Richard Gasquet joined the birthday train with a victory - and cake - of his own.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day One: An Intern in Manhattan

Training into the city was a spectacle in itself this morning: dozens of people filled the streets of my quaint neighborhood, creating a flow - a wave - that pulsed toward the subway stops.

With my John McEnroe book in hand, I found my train (not too crowded) and rode it through lower Manhattan into Penn Station, at the heart of the city. There I followed the same pulse into the streets, a part of the crowded sidewalks we've all seen on TV and in the movies - making my way to day one of my internship.

One thing that has awed me about New York is the entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone you turn, someone has a new idea on how to make a buck. Now, I'm not much for consumerism or useless goods, but I appreciate people's hard work to do what they can to support themselves and their family, and in NYC it adds flavor and culture to the streets.

As I walked to work, I passed dozens of street-side carts: peanuts, hot dogs, coffee, pastries, magazines, beverages, gum, sun glasses. You name, they got it. My favorite by far is the media cart: those guys with the magazines yelling out the headlines. I would love that job. Well, for five minutes at least. It's so Newsies.

TENNIS Magazine is on Madison Avenue and 27th Street, in a part of Manhattan known at Murray Hill. It isn't an incredible building - 17 stories tall, probably built in the '30s or '40s - and the magazine itself is on the 8th floor.

Introductions were nerve-racking and I certainly wanted to put on my best face for the first day. But as soon as the office tour was over and I was struggling to keep names to all the faces I was meeting, I began to feel in place in this big city office.

I spent much of my day fact-checking for SMASH, the magazine's junior publication. And worked for the online editor on adding content in the men's profile section. Boring work to most of you - fascinating to me!

The office is simple, sophisticated and - most importantly - laid back. Everyone was extremely nice to me and I can tell that they enjoy their jobs. Sure, there will be personalities that I just don't click with, but I can tell - if day one is any indication - I think I'm going to like this place.

City Solitude

Saturday was probably one of the most chaotic days of my life. But all in all, it turned out just fine. What started out as frantic phone-cancelling, police report-filing and insurance calling day, ended with a dinner out by myself (thanks, Mara) and a walk through the beautiful neighborhood I now call home.

During that walk I stopped for ice cream - I NEVER can resist ice cream. I sat outside on a bench, watching people walk by; some stop and ponder a tasty treat, others walk by without giving it a second thought. I loved the joy on the kid's faces as they ran up to the window: "ICE CREAM MOM!" Man, they're so adorable. And I was crushed for the little boy who, two steps out the door, took an aggressive lick at his chocolate cone and the ice cream went plummeting to the ground. Been there buddy, it sucks.

On my way home, fireworks started popping off in the distance and I went to check out what the big deal was. People were running down the streets in utter delight - it was a scene from a 4th of July movie. Where I'm living, Brooklyn Heights, is just across the bay - literally a couple thousand feet away - from the lower Manhattan skyline. With fireworks glittering off these humongous skyscrapers, my Montana eyes twinkled with wonder.

There's something about solitude that opens all of us up to a part of ourselves that we rarely tap into. Saturday night was a good time for me to reflect on the past six months of my life and be able to look forward to the next couple. I am truly blessed. Not only did it calm the chaos that had consumed me for the last 24 hours, but it showed me that even in New York you can have a quiet night, something I've come to cherish about Seattle as well.

Perhaps not having my phone for a few days will do me good. Something I would've never expected thinking when I felt that empty pocket.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Beating the Unbeatable

Sunday was a similar day for Jelena Jankovic and Andy Roddick: they both fought back from difficult deficits and both picked up their first grass tournament victory of the year.

Actually, there's more these two have in common than one might realize: one player stands between them and what they want (well, actually two).

For Jelena, it's Justine. For Andy, Roger. Both have admitted to their struggle with said foes, both will be looks to quell the on-court spells that have them just 1-19 against these opponents.

Both want a Wimbledon title.

The All England club is clearly a magical place for both Roddick and Jankovic. In 2006, it was Jankovic who pounded her way past then-defending champ Venus Williams in the third round to launch a season revival and vault herself into the upper echelon of women's tennis.

For Roddick, he's been to the finals of Wimbledon twice, losing to Federer both times. For Andy, the pain came at the '04 Championships, when he lead by a set and a break before rain dampened his game and the hope for a trophy.

So on this odd Sunday - not because of Father's, but because we're one week removed from both the French and Wimbledon - both are clinging to the glory of their early grass season success.

But both are hoping for a late bang to beat those players that have been so elusive and take home a title they both want.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Place, Same Challenges

Getting settled over the last two days has been quite the adventure. My room is tiny (smaller than the one back in Seattle!), and its only window looks into a sort of sun roof/storage area. Not the Waldorf Astoria by any means, but just enough space for me for the summer.

Last night I met up with my friend Troy. Troy is going to be interning with me at TENNIS and is quite familiar with the city having grown up just a few minutes outside of it. We had dinner at a great pub in Tribeca (near the World Trade Center) and then met up with his friend Rory (I'm hoping to meet Lorelai soon, too!) at a very swank Manhattan club.

It was at this club that I realized my phone was not in its usual pocket. And after inspection of all pockets in my jacket, pants and bag, I realized that my phone was indeed somewhere between Tribeca and our current location - also known as - lost.

Losing anything - especially your phone - is a hard experience to go through. You're angry at yourself, your idiocy, carelessness; but also feel frustrated that you're frustrated - hey! It's not that big of a deal.

So today, as I took to the streets of Brooklyn (first Verizon - cancel the phone; then the police department - file a report; then a random payphone - call the insurance company) I decided to take on the attitude of "Hey, you're a pretty lucky guy...don't worry about this!" Sure, I was freaking stressed out, but after a calming phone call to Mom (thanks, Neeners) I took a walk through the historic part of Cobble Hill Brooklyn and enjoyed the tree-lined, shade covered streets.

If New York has taught me anything so far it is that you have to Choose Your Attitude (CYA!). It's hardest when things aren't going your way, but knowing that in the end everything will turn out, I take refuge in one of my favorite sayings: "It's fine."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Final Thoughts (French Style)

I'm going to leave the post-tourney wrap up to Mr. Wertheim. I always enjoy what Jon Wertheim has to say over at SI-CNN. He's got a different set of lenses than the rest of us. Make sure to check out the link to Serena dancing - classic! And well, weird.

For me, the emerging stories out of this year's French will come into fruition over the few months. Can Rafa use his clay dominance as a platform to perform well elsewhere? Is Roger in a slumperer? Will Amelie ever win another slam? Has Justine found new life in family?

A lot to ask as we head to the greens of England.

Cheerio all!

Start Spreading the News

I arrived yesterday on the East Coast to begin my journey for the summer. Flying into Newark, New Jersey isn't the most exciting of adventures...I'm not necessarily a 'fan' of suburbia New Jersey, but it was the cheaper ticket and got me close to my destination.

Taking the train into the city was something I knew would be both a challenge and a whirlwind. First I got off in downtown Newark at the wrong station, walked aimlessly around for awhile, grabbed some delicious pizza and waited for another New York train.

Getting into Penn Station in Manhattan was incredible. The place is packed and everyone is in a rush. After living in Seattle for two and a half years, I have gotten used to a lot of urban trends. The hustle and bustle of New York is one thing that Seattle doesn't compare to.

The one thing I've noticed in my so-far NYC travels (yesterday and Thanksgiving break) is that people here are incredibly nice and helpful. Everyone is in a rush - but every time I ask someone for a little direction they are happy to give it. That doesn't happen in Seattle, period.

I have the weekend to unpack and explore before starting at TENNIS Magazine on Monday morning at 9 a.m. This morning I went running on the Brooklyn Bridge and took in the enormity of the Manhattan skyline(s) while simultaneously cursing each dry public water fountain I came across.

No wonder those guys with coolers of water bottles make bank.

Thanks to everyone for their continuous support via Facebook, texts, phone calls and letters. More to come - both from me and the tennis world!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tennis Chicks

Some comic relief prior to flying out for NYC.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Week Away

Off for a summer interning at TENNIS Magazine.

Am I ready for this?

I hope so.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Different Kind of Love

Mark Philippoussis is playing a different kind of game these days. One that requires a lot of practice and slick moves, but no groundstrokes, volleys or overheads.

The former top-10 player is now the subject of a new reality TV show on NBC, set to debut this Tuesday in the States. The show has Philippoussis as its bachelor while two groups of women - one in their 40s and another in their 20s - will compete for his "love".

While the Aussies are unsure of what to think about Philippoussis' new aspirations, the one-time Wimbledon finalist has fallen out of the top 100 for the third straight year and is expected to fall even further after the grass court season, where he has points at Wimbledon (2R) and Newport (W).

Is this the tennis-turned-celebrity syndrome that Anna caught? Perhaps. But it will be fun to see whether the Scud is a stud or a dud, that's no doubt.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Missed Opportunity

This is the stat that screams for attention to me: one of 17 break points converted.

One of 17? That's 5.8%. A percentage that no grand slam champion would be proud of, and the percentage that kept Roger Federer from capturing his first Roland Garros title.

Yet 59 unforced errors is another stat that Federer should blush at. Though his post-match press conference had more of a tone of "Yeah, I'll try again next year" compared to "Man, I really blew it out there" like it should have.

Certainly, Federer will prepare himself properly for Wimbledon. But will he ever give himself a 100% chance to win this tournament? After this performance, it's hard to tell.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Quick Work

Justine Henin certainly deserves her third-straight French Open title.

A 6-1 6-2 drubbing of Ana Ivanovic was no more of a final than the other three she has played - in 2003, '05 and '06. No one has taken a set from her in any of those matches. In fact, Henin hasn't lost a set since the fourth round in '05, when Kuznetsova had match points but couldn't put it away. 35 sets in a row.

Henin, obviously, has the world at her finger tips when it comes to clay court tennis. She has showed utter dominance over her career on the red stuff, going 35-4 since her debut at Roland Garros in 1999.

To me, the story isn't in Henin herself, but in the quick work that she has made of her opponents in the recent past, and the inability for the top women - specifically the younger top women - to deliver in crucial moments.

Just two days ago, we watched Sharapova crumble in the semis to Ivanovic. It was as if Maria had gone far enough at the French, and she had no more to give. But later in the day, a repeat performance from Jankovic, winning just seven games between the two.

And then in the final today, Ivanovic, the same powerhouse who had easily ran past Sharapova couldn't put one foot in front of the other against Henin. The pressure was too much, they say. She couldn't control her emotions. The occasion is just too big.

Yet Ivanovic has seen pressure. Not to mention her struggle just to get to play tennis in the first place, Ana has seen the finals of two Tier I tournaments by now - so, you're telling me, that at 19, the occasion was just too big for her?

What about the occasion for Monica Seles, in 1990, when she beat world number one Graf at 16? Or the occasion for Sharapova at Wimbledon '04 when she ignored all pressure and drowned Serena in shrieks and sizzling groundstrokes?

It's no doubt that each situation is different, that each occasion calls for a different set of nerves under different circumstances. But if a player as accomplished as Ivanovic cannot find her way under the microscope of the tennis world, what are we left to enjoy out of these women in the final stages of Grand Slams? All three of the latter round matches here were lopsided, as 10 out of the last 14 women's grand slam finals have been.

When can we watch again without having to worry that if we blink, we'll miss the whole match?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Court Drama

While the rest of the nation seemed to be enthralled by Paris Hilton's court drama today, I got to witness a much different squabble.

I headed to a public tennis center to have my racquet re-strung. Filling out my request form at the desk, a woman in her late 60s/early 70s approached fuming.

"Tell him to get off the phone!" She barked to the woman behind the desk. At first I thought she was talking about the teaching pro who was fielding a call inside a glass-enclosed office, but then she continued. "Last week he was on the phone for half an hour! He's wasting all our time!"

I looked over and saw a petite man across the lobby, half hidden by the wall, talking on the phone.

It seems this gentleman - Boris - comes to mixed doubles with one thing in mind: chat time. And while most people would think that involved his partner and/or his opponents across the net, Boris prefers whomever is on the other end of the line.

And while it was easy for me to chuckle about as I left the center, the woman paced back to the court fuming, telling Boris to hurry up - she didn't waste gas to stand around on the tennis court.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Well, That Went Fast

Those were painful to listen to, I can't imagine actually having to watch it.

A new Ana has arrived. Can she have better grand slam success than the last?

Not if Justine has anything to say about it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


The last time there were three players from one country in the semifinals of a Grand Slam was the 2006 US Open, when Sharapova, Davydenko and Youzhny continued the Russian conquest of tennis.

Prior to that, it was at Wimbledon in 2005, when Roddick, Davenport and Venus Williams all flew the American flag into the semis and then finals - the most successful U.S. slam in recent history.

So this year, at the French, when a Cold War nation is not the first in the Race to Tres in the semis, we're all shocked...but not because we expected the Americans or Russians to do unusual damage here, but because a country - Serbia - is that dignified nation. A country that (in its current form) has had one Grand Slam semifinalist - ever.

Now they have three. In one tournament.

That's a pretty big deal.

Djokovic, Ivanovic and Jankovic are certainly not newbies to the upper echelon of tennis. They have all formulated their own, respectable paths to their current places in the game, and have been under the watchful eye of the tennis faithful for some time.

And the big thing is that each of these three - Novak, Ana and Jelena - have a legitimate shot at winning their semifinal bouts on the red stuff over the next two days.

Though Jankovic is 0-5 against the diminutive Henin, all five of their matches have gone the distance. And, their three meetings this year have all ended 6-4 in the third. Needless to say, it's been a tight go.

Djokovic got his only win over Nadal on a big stage this year, winning in Florida for a Masters title. But their head-to-heads have been lack luster thus far, something the semifinal promises to be just opposite of. With both youngsters playing well, we could see a neck-and-neck battle.

So while the seeds are against Serbia in the semis (playing against # 1, 2 and 2, respectively) red clay is always good to the dark horse - especially late in the tournament.

Who would've thought Serbia's the new Belgium?

Post 100

I feel like there should be champagne and balloons, but instead, just six pages left of a 10-page paper to write.

Why don't these Jesuits schedule their school calendar around the slams a little more efficiently? That would be much appreciated.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Quelling the Doubts

Rafael Nadal is quite intent on winning his third straight French Open.

Two weeks after pulling out a closer-than-comfortable win over Lleyton Hewitt in Hamburg, Nadal made quick work of the clay-savvy Australian, downing him in straight sets today 6-3 6-1 7-6(5).

After turning 21 last Friday, Nadal has strode into his new year with confidence and, with the win over Hewitt, a spot in the quarterfinals against childhood mentor Carlos Moya.

For Rafael Nadal to win a third-straight French Open title will take not only a continuation of said confidence and on-court success, but will most likely require a win over Mr. Federer, a daunting task after their encounter just weeks ago - in which Federer won.

Coming into Roland Garros, Nadal's star seemed to be fading a bit - his streak stopped at 81 - and his clay persona somewhat human. Meanwhile, Federer's star was on the rise, ending his skid on clay and against Mr. Nadal.

With both playing tremendously throughout this tournament, a meeting in the finals will only be appropriate. Just who will come through?

A Brief History of Bad Umpires

It seems as though the Sharapova-Schnyder match up yesterday has brought about a couple days worth of history lessons. Not only did the girls continue the 9-7 trend, but so too did the chair umpire continue a trend in the women's game for making poor decisions at key moments in tense moments. All which came at respective majors.

Case One
Maria Sharapova versus Patty Schnyder
4th Round - 2007 French Open
At 7-all in the third, Sharapova led 30-0 serving and vaulted a first serve onto Schnyder's side when the Swiss put her hand up mid-motion, letting her opponent know she was not ready because of crowd noise. But Sharapova would have nothing of it, and neither would the chair judge, Kader Nouni of France, awarding the point to the Russian, and - seemingly - the match.

Case Two
Venus Williams versus Karolina Sprem
2nd Round - 2004 Wimbledon
You all remember 2004, when Venus Williams struggled with Karolina Sprem in the 2nd round of Wimbledon. Sprem had taken the first set and the second was in a tie-break when Ted Watts, chair umpire for the match, called the score 2-2, ignoring a lines woman's call and mistakenly giving Sprem an extra point. The mistake was no doubt embarrassing, but would give Sprem an extra chance to fight back, and, eventually beat Venus 8-6 in the breaker.

Case Three
Jennifer Capriati versus Serena Williams
Quarterfinals - 2004 US Open
It was a couple months later when a weary Serena, remembering the Venus incident, argued with the chair umpire, Sandra de Jenkin, about a ball she overruled on the opposite sideline. Capriati would win the match later in the third, 6-4.

Oh, and I never made the connection that it was indeed Ms. de Jenkin who also made the infamous Henin-pressured overrule during the 2004 Aussie Open final. Jeez Sandra, 0 for 2.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

8 Down; 7 To Go

9-7 in the third.

For some reason, it's a popular play on the women's side of things when they go extra in the majors. Two years ago at Wimbledon, Venus beats Lindsay. Last year at the Aussie, Pironkova stuns V. In the first round here, Sequera beats local girl Razzano.

In fact, just three women's matches have gone beyond the tradition third-set score in this year's French. Two of those at 9-7, the other at 8-6.

Perhaps it's just something about the way the women play. Maybe they just want to get it over with.

Meanwhile, just one men's match has extended into the latter stages of the fifth. A 17-15 first-round win for Kohlschreiber, the 28th seed. That's double (32) the amount of games (16) a 9-7 decider produces. Plus 439 points, total.

Just writing these scores is making me tired.

Though 8-7 wouldn't quite be a completed match in the third or the fifth, it's where we stand right now in this 15-day major. The women's quarters are set, with 7 of 8 top seeds finding their way to the elite 8. The men are halfway there, with the rest of the field to be picked tomorrow.

Nadal or Hewitt? This one should be interesting.