Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Feeling Childish: Candy in Paris

"Where is Zone 1?"

This should be a basic question for any security personnel, anywhere. There is always a Zone 1. It's the same in English as it is en Francais. Zone. 1.

My friend Will, a Minnesota native, is close friends with Eric 'Booty' Butorac - the doubles sensation famous for winning three titles with and later being dumped by, Jamie 'Stretch' Murray. Booty called (haha) and put some tickets on hold for Will at will call (hahaha). The tickets were for Zone 1. Because I am important, I could go pretty much go wherever I wanted besides Gasquet's box - but more on that later. Will's ticket however, had many more limitations. Somehow one ticket could get you into the luxury lounge but still ban you from the elevator. We spent a good portion of the morning testing these boundaries.

But when it came time to actually finding his seats, we learned that Zone 1 will join 'The Twilight Zone' and 'The Zone Diet' on a long list of unsolved Zone mysteries. Every time we asked the personnel where the Zone 1 seats were, we got a different answer. Take the stairs up. Take the elevator down. They're behind the player seats. They are the player seats.

One hour later we found our Zone 1 seats, they were behind the player seats.

We made it just in time to see Djokovic get thoroughly owned by the pastel-clad, suicide inducing (see Marat Safin) Fabrice Santoro. Djokovic looked sluggish on court and indifferent to close calls and great shots. His demeanor during his press conference was actually much improved. He was in good spirits. He admitted he was only at 30% and was still recovering from wisdom tooth surgery. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the conference was the fact that he was wearing a Chicago Bulls sweatshirt.

Nadal followed Djokovic with a routine win over Filippo Volandri. The big event of the day (following Fabri's big upset) was the clash of the French titans: Gasquet versus Tsonga. I was surprised at how fresh Gasquet was on court. He admitted after his loss in Lyon that he probably wouldn't be ready to play in Paris. But he pulled out a great match against Tsonga and seems like a convincing contender for at least a quarterfinal berth. At his press conference, he was flanked by radio press and later bombarded with questions from the French press.

At one point, we made eye contact for what seemed to be eternity. I saw stars, the room got foggy and I swear I heard a Celine Dion song playing in the distance.

But our moment was soon over and I had bigger and better people to investigate, like Mirka. Mirka was in top form tonight. She was talking to her friends, texting on her pink cellphone, flaunting her "I love you very much" ring and simultaneously ignored her boyfriend's match. Her status as a courstide remains intact, fear not.

Then her boyfriend won and said some words.

Although it didn't feel like Halloween, at the end of the night I still felt like the lucky kid with a pillowcase full of candy.

Post and photos by Troy Venechanos.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day One at Paris

It was my first full day at the BNP Paribas Masters and what a day it was. It was a day of the usual monotonous first round play as well as some doubles disappointments. First up on the chopping block: Janko Tipsarevic. Our favorite 'other Serbian' gave Tommy Haas all he could handle. Unfortunately, it was not enough to throw the German off course for a Shanghai berth. I will give the Serbian the advantage for edgy, borderline-Clement eye wear though.

Our favorite 'other brothers' were playing doubles together. They brought out the best in one another. Jamie played incredible and quick points at the net when it mattered. His older brother showed off his knack for choking. Andy squandered two match points, including a double fault on one.

The most interesting part about their doubles loss was the press conference. Andy was in a foul, borderline rude mood. He started the press conference with a scowl and short answers. He mentioned a car accident briefly and a few questions for specifics followed. Then talk continued about Davis Cup and both of their plans for the rest of their seasons. However brief the discussion of his car accident was, the press jumped on it and created headlines. For some reason, English people in Parisian car accidents just grab attention. (Yes, I went there).

Fernando Verdasco, the 'other finalist' from this weekend, played a strong two sets against Dr. Ivo in his first round match. Karlovic held serve in standard fashion and Verdasco made two flagrant unforced errors to give Karlovic a third set break and eventually the match. A fitting end of a streaky season for the Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal, the 'other major name' to bow out in doubles, also lost in a decisive tie-break with his compatriot Feliciano Lopez. The Spanish duo played their usual brand of 'stay back, attack only when convenient' tennis but managed to pull off several great points, not to mention matching outfits. Because we all know, Rafa will not play doubles with you unless you dress up like him.

Happy Halloween!

Photos and post by:
Troy Venechanos

Post(card)s from Paris

Two falls ago, I spent an evening rummaging through my grandma's attic in the Bay Area. It's filled with all sorts of interesting trinkets - mostly from my grandparents' lives growing up and raising a family in Southwest Montana.

After hours of digging, I came upon a roll of four or five worn-down posters. When I unwrapped them I discovered beautiful water colors (prints, not originals...this isn't an "I'm rich, bitches!" story...) depicting a French cafe, the Moulin Rouge, the Eiffel Tower and a beautiful garden. As cheesy as it all sounds, I thought they were beautiful. And though my grandma's love for "Parie" burns on, her possessions have outgrown her fragile home in San Jose.

So I took the posters back to my dorm room in Seattle and piled booked on top of them to begin to flatten them out. A few days later they were on my walls. Since moving to a house last summer, they've traveled with me and have permanently staked their claim as my bedroom decor. I had found the needle in the haystack.

Though not as fancy, Troy's post(cards) from Paris are of similar origin. No, Troy was not discovered in some obscure attic of an 80-year-old woman, but he did take the round-about way to get to where he is today.

Life gives us all second chances and unique opportunities. When Troy first inquired to intern at Tennis Magazine, the timing wasn't right and the match between what he was studying and what the magazine was looking for just didn't mesh. But when Troy pursued the opportunity a second time, things fell into place and he found himself sitting in a New York City office doing odd jobs for editors and creating brilliant depictions of the Holy Mother Mary (Pierce).

(Troy Venechanos illustration.)

Troy is one of those people you meet in life that you know will have impact on everyone he comes in contact with. He dreams of working for the ATP or the WTA and has an odd fascination with Daniela Hantuchova, the Williams sisters and a French boy named Richard Gasquet.

So it shouldn't be surprising that Troy himself is in Paris this fall, "studying" abroad and creating his own postcards of the City of Love. He's been kind enough to provide us with post(cards) from Madrid and Lyon already, and this week he is at the Paris Masters Series stalking Richard...I mean being a 'journalist', all because the cards were lined up just right.

Over the next few days, look for posts from Troy including tremendous pictures and hopefully some raw video. For now, here's the link to my latest Sportingo post (about Hantuchova and Murray) and a link to the ongoing Bhutto crisis in Pakistan.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

Daniela Hantuchova and Andy Murray had become quite comfortable in the state of California. Five years ago it was Hantuchova, a tall teen with penetrating strokes and subtle good looks, who made then No.1 Martina Hingis look like an amateur in capturing her first WTA Tour title at Indian Wells.

Then, in 2006, Murray announced his own arrival on the tennis scene in similar fashion, dismissing Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt on his way to his first ATP title at the SAP Open.

This past year, the two players each captured their sophomore titles. At first glance, their wins don't come off as anything peculiar – for Hantuchova and Murray are both established players in their own rights, briefly holding top 10 rankings and scoring the occasional win over a Grand Slam-winning champion. But their second titles were both captured in the exact spot where they had won their first – the Slovak triumphing at Indian Wells and the Scot in San Jose.

So this week, as Murray continued his comeback from an injury in St Petersburg and Hantuchova took to the courts in Linz with a crop of second-tier players, few expected either to be holding the winner's trophy at the end of the week. Murray had been focusing on consistency and Hantuchova – always a bit shaky on court – was making a mad dash to qualify for the season-ending championships in Madrid.

But with goals comes results, and on Sunday both won in straight sets, beating worthy opponents in the process. What was more surprising than their titles themselves was the fact that Murray and Hantuchova weren't in California at all – they were in Europe, playing on indoor courts in front of small-sized crowds of knowledgeable tennis fans.

So what does this mean for Murray and Hantuchova?

For Murray, it's a return to the form that not only brought him his '07 title in San Jose, but took him to an epic showdown at the Australian Open against Rafael Nadal. It gives him the confidence that once had Britain ringing with pride and hoping for a home-grown Wimbledon winner. Though Murray will certainly continue to face more hurdles, he has proved himself not once, not twice, but now three times.

By winning in Austria, Hantuchova reaps the immediate benefit of qualifying for Madrid. No doubt this was a goal of hers from the start of the year, and her tight-nerved win over Nicole Vaidisova and rather easy win against Patty Schnyder are certain to help her in the confidence department when she faces foes like Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in Spain.

Whether both of these players will continue such form in the new year is hard to say. I would argue, however, that the two have a little more tennis to play in 2007. Murray potentially faces Novak Djokovic in the third round in Paris, while Hantuchova will be up against the aforementioned queens of tennis in a few weeks.

If anything, the past week has shown both players that they have the ability to win somewhere else other than the state of California. And while winning is something tennis players love to do, knowing it can be done all over the globe must be mightily reassuring.

Finals Videos

Daniela Hantuchova defeats Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-2.

St. Petersburg
Andy Murray defeats Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-3.

Federer takes the court on his way to the title.

That Thing Called Life

As fellow bloggers know, life can catch up with you sometimes. This weekend I had grand plans to do a post on Mary Pierce featuring her now-famous scream fest from Linz last year, and commentary about Andy Murray and Daniela Hantuchova winning their third titles, each.

That, however, did not happen. We all have busy schedules, and while one principal is trying to change that, life still keeps us on our toes - whether we're blogging or not.

In one jumbled way or another, this is what you have to look forward to on Tennis Chatter this week:

--Mary Pierce: A Year After Linz
--Breaking out of Their Comfort Zones: Andy Murray and Daniela Hantuchova
--Tennis Chatter
--Clip of the Week
--LIVE! Blogging from Troy at the Paris Masters Series

For now, it's back to the homework front for me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Paris Draw...

is up!

The Case of the T3S

More from our roving Eurpoean reporter, Troy. Troy is witty as usual in describing the Tier III event he attended in Lyon this week. Along with this post, we'll have pictures and video coming from Troy in the near future both of his experience in Lyon and of next week's Masters event in Paris. Enjoy!

I have never been one to self-diagnose. I can never really pinpoint my symptoms, identify possible causes or gather any possible idea of what malady I could be suffering from. Although since my arrival at the Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, my affliction has become abundantly clear: I am suffering from Tier III Shock.

Also known as Tier I Withdrawal, people diagnosed with T3S may suffer from the following:

Paranoia – The lack of security at what seem like vital check points may have you looking constantly in every direction for streakers and/or German Steffi Graf fanatics.
Confusion – The overwhelming sense of ‘where are the players on all
of the posters?’ may temporarily disorient you. Those suffering from this symptom should relax, take deep breaths, and come to terms with the fact that ‘Yes, you are looking forward to the Falla/Gicquel semi-final and you will enjoy that match thoroughly.’ Repeat this phrase as many times as necessary.
Fatigue – Weak, overused legs and general fatigue is also a warning
sign. This is usually caused by walking in constant circles around the
Center Court complex, looking for secondary show courts that will never be found.
Claustrophobia – The feeling that usually very large spaces are
constantly shrinking around you is an indicator of T3S. You may feel crowded by the fact that the nosebleed seats are only ten rows behind the snub-nosed box seats. If you suffer from these claustrophobic fits, close your eyes and imagine yourself in the cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium. Breathe into a paper bag if necessary.
Indigestion – Eating large amounts of decent food may cause an upset stomach. The affordable, sit down meals at certain Tier III’s are disruptive to stomachs that are used to the expensive bottled water and five pretzels of higher budget tournaments.

I have accepted my illness, dealt with my symptoms daily and am taking the necessary steps towards recovery. These symptoms, however exaggerated they may be, speak to the humongous gap between Tiers on tour. However, lower Tier events like Lyon, do have their advantages over their more privileged peer tournaments.

Information and player accessibility is the main edge. While everyone in Basel was marveling over Federer’s new match record, I was able to get an honest view of the players from the spectators and tournament staff. For instance I learned how well Andy Roddick is received by the French audience. Fans I spoke to enjoy his ‘energy’ and ‘charisma.’ Staff I spoke with say Roddick is actually very nice “for an American.”

When asked about the reaction of Tsonga’s upset over Gasquet, a press handler admitted to being relieved. Apparently Gasquet “is not very nice” and Tsonga is “much more agreeable to work with.” No other opinion was very surprising. The general consensus seems to be that Grosjean is always a crowd favorite and that Santoro is always “great to see on court.” The Gicquel’s and Benneteau’s of the draw seem to be just be filler, players meriting an “Allez!” in the absence of one of the (previously mentioned) favorites.

French players may be the stars of the draw, but French gastronomy is not too far out of the spotlight here. Lyon, not Paris, is the epicenter of pure French cuisine. The Tennis Village of the tournament is the embodiment of this fact. Every sponsor has food. This is not an exaggeration and cannot be stressed enough, as I learned on my quick tour of the village.

Every sponsor, be it car manufacturer or insurance company, has either a restaurant or a bar. You cannot fill out a credit card application without leaving with a glass of champagne. You cannot test drive a car without eating at Peugeot’s brasserie. This tour de force of sponsor handouts and gourmet food sets Lyon apart from any other tournament I’ve seen. If the way to the heart is through the stomach, this event has won the hearts of the French tennis community over and then some.

After the food has been digested and the "Allez's!" have all been shouted it’s easy to see the GPTL for what it is: a small, proud tournament that has successfully infused its home players into its draw and home culture into the tournament. It has been a welcome change from the bright lights and big wallets of the recent Top Tier events. Although having a seeded player make it to the quarters should be more of a priority here, the beat goes on in Lyon.

My prognosis is hopeful. I will drink plenty of liquids, take in next week’s Masters Paris and call the doctor if I’m not feeling well in week or two.

-Troy Venechanos

Tennis Chatter: Foggy Saturday

It's a foggy Saturday morning and I've already been up for three hours. But things have been slow at the coffee shop, so I get to peruse the internet and catch up on emails and blogging.

Yesterday the "Yikes factor" went up three fold with Nicolay Davydenko's fine from the ATP for "lack of effort". Is this really happening? See what Tennis Planet has to say about how our sport is handling a rather embarrassing scandal.

Speaking of turn-around matches, Andy Murray came back to beat Dmitry Tursonov in three sets in St. Petersburg yesterday. Is Tursonov going to get a fine now too?

Wertheim chats it up about all the goings on in the tennis world.

Things are getting sloppy between Andre Agassi and Target.

Patty Schnyder beat Anna Chakvetadze in Linz today. It took 39 minutes. Ouch.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This Doesn't Look Good...

Yikes. What next?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Maria! Maria! MARIA!

I saw Maria Sharapova in Seattle today!

Okay, that's a lie...but a fan can dream, right?

The truth is, Maria Sharapova is a lot of places these days. She's on billboards, web sites, commercials and, most importantly, consumers' minds.

Maria has fully embraced the world of advertising (thanks to IMG) since her dive into the tennis world in the summer of 2004, and the world of advertising has welcomed her with open arms.

Maria's latest endeavor is with Gatorade. And Land Rover. And Canon. And Nike. And Motorola. And Pepsi.

Anyway, you get the picture. While Serena Williams does electronics, Maria is doing electrolytes, and they're both making a lot of money. So is this latest commercial a boom or a bust? Is Maria's habit of musically-driven commercials a good or bad idea? And with all this marketing, are we bound to see the Russian go the way of Kournikova in the near future?

Questions aside, enjoy the clip.

TIP: Troy in Print

If any of you are clock watchers, you would be correct when you thought my mid-term was in 18 minutes.

Yet the cramming is there anything I'm actually going to retain 20 minutes before the test? Probably not.

So in my post-cram and pre-test perusing of the internet, I found a surprising entry on's homepage: one by fellow intern Troy Venechanos.

You all remember Troy, that guy that I carried manikins around Manhattan with, and more recently, our Madrid correspondent.

Well, he's all grown up now, writing for the big boys at TENNIS.

But don't worry, Troy sent me a message earlier this week promising a full wrap-up from Madrid including all the juicy gossip on Mirka he could get.

Boo School

...and boo the mid-term I have to take in one hour and four minutes.

Anyone want to brush up on their free speech law? You're completely welcome to take the test for me :)

Meanwhile, I'm SO thankful for this woman. She's been hanging out in my headphones during my cram sessions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Clip of the Week: Back to the Commercial

After reading John McEnroe's book this summer, I have to admit I was a big fan of the "Brat". Though I disagreed with a lot of his actions throughout his life, I enjoyed the way he wrote and saw that he had made an honest attempt to do the best in his life.

A lot of people would disagree with that stance on Mr. McEnroe. They say he's snobby and arrogant - a kid from Queens who thinks that he owns the world.

Besides all that, John McEnroe has done some pretty good tennis commentating over the last few years, and has also been featured in several ad campaigns.

This commercial was just added recently on YouTube and feature McEnroe along with a more-liked character in Bjorn Borg. The two are in fierce competition at a supermarket. It's funny in its own right, but also reminds me of the classic AmEx commercial featuring Monica Seles.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bammer Bummer

Sybille Bammer lost a bummer of a match at her home tournament today in Linz, falling to Ai Sugiyama 2-6, 7-6(5) 6-0.

Other than 2005, the Austrian has struggled at her home tournament. Her '05 campaign garnered a quarterfinals appearance while ranked No. 93.

This year, however, as the 8th seed, the famous mom was not able to repeat that success and leaves the singles draw in utter disappointment.

The A-Train on the C-Trail?

Is Alicia Molik on the comeback trail?

The Aussie spent much of 2005 on the sidelines following a debilitating ear infection that left greatly affected her balance.

Now, a year and a half into her comeback, the former Australian Open quarterfinalist may be on the right track.

After beginning the year 10-6 (including a third round performance at the AO), Molik went 3-11. Losing three straight matches this summer and falling in the first round at the US Open.

But since leaving North America, the 26-year-old has looked sharp, going 9-4 and putting together several nice performances. In that span, she hasn't lost to a player outside the Top 60, and took Moscow title-winner Elena Dementieva to three sets in the quarters of that tournament.

Just today, she beat Agnieszka Radwanksa (aka Maria Slayer) from the US Open in Linz.

Another run at the Aussie for the Aussie? We sure hope so! Alicia is one of my favorite players on tour. Always kind and good-natured, but a fierce competitor.

Henin-Golovin Highlights

In case you missed it, Justine Henin just won her 20th match in a row this last weekend by defeating Tatiana Golovin in the final of Zurich.

Here's a great highlight reel of the Belgium in her 6-4 6-4 victory.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tennis Chatter: It's Monday!

As usual, Ed McGrogan posts an entertaining and intriguing "Monday Net Post" over at Tennis World.

While I couldn't find any video of the Henin/Golovin final, there was plenty of footage of the Nalbandian upset over Federer. This one is full of match highlights.

Anna Chakvetadze is the top seed in Linz this week at the Generali Open. Tatiana Golovin is on the bottom half of the draw along with Daniela Hantuchova. (Link opens PDF file.)

Meanwhile, the men are in Basel this week and Tennis Planet is wondering if it's a good or bad thing that Mr. Nalbandian happens to be in the draw.

I'm loving the photo gallery over at this week. From racquet throwing, to award presenting to ball girl's full of the week's best tennis moments.

Justine Henin is officially on a roll, according to Aasim Shaffi over at Sportingo. 20 matches in a row.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

RANT: For the Love of the Comeback

As we speak, Troy is making his way back from Madrid into France, where he's doing a study abroad program for the semester. We'll have wrap-up commentary about his Madrid excursion sometime this week, along with pictures and (I'm hoping) maybe some video. I'm jealous that Troy got to experience so much high-quality tennis compared to my New Haven trip, but also so thankful that he was willing and able to share with us his journey.

A few thoughts from this weekend:

First off, David Nalbandian played some great tennis. I think tennis, and perhaps sport in general, is the second great arena for comeback artists. The first would obviously be Hollywood, where people are re-making themselves everyday.

It is rare to see a player display such different personas on court in one calendar season. Sure, tennis has seen the comeback stories of Agassi, Seles and Capriati (along with more recent small-scale comebacks like Serena and Henin), yet for a player to play so poorly and brilliantly in one season is something we don't witness much.

Now before you jump off your seat and say "You idiot! Players go through valleys and peaks all the time!", let me explain what I mean. To me, there is a difference between a player stringing together a few quality matches after having a lackluster season and a player beating the Top 3 ranked men in the world AND winning a Masters series event after having a lackluster season.

David Nalbandian did the latter. Just a couple weeks ago, I did one of my "Where Are They Now?" updates in a post, in which I called Nalbandian an "overweight has-been". Looking at those words now, they look harsh and un-called for, but a few weeks ago, I think they were particularly true and accurate. Nalbandian was just 25-17 coming into this week in Madrid. And though those numbers aren't alarming by any means, he had reached just one quarterfinal in his entire full-season schedule. And we're talking about a guy who made the quarters or better of 8 out of 11 slams played between the US Open '03 and the French '06!

His feat this week (beating the Top 3 players in consecutive matches) makes him just the third man since 1994 to do so. And while some tennis fans think that the current state of the game hovers at a level below what it once was, I think Nalbandian's accomplishment should be marked with high praise; he salvaged an embarrassing season in a single week, or, three days to be exact.

In his press conference after the match, Nalbandian said that he thought the timing of the win couldn't be better. He believes it gives him a fresh start for 2008, and I would have to agree.

The one thing the Argentine must continue to do is stay healthy. He has always struggled with his fitness - his belly a sign of where his work ethic is hovering - but it's his health that is most important. If he can stay healthy, and in turn get into great shape, he showed this week that he is among the greats in the game...and not just for a match or two.

To say that Nalbandian is "back where he belongs" or that he will be a sure-shot contender for the Australian Open would be rather foolish. He did, however, show that he's capable of playing great tennis for multiple matches, and that's all the professional tennis tour asks of its great players: play good, and do it consistently.

Perhaps the disinterest that Nalbandian exhibited at last year's Wimbledon, when he tanked a match just to go watch a soccer match (hasn't he hear of TiVo?) caught up with him this year. The injuries, the lack of off-court training and the disinterest all pooled together in '07 to make a great player just mediocre. And as a professional athlete, mediocrity can be worse than failure, especially for someone who's tasted the cake at the top.

If anyone can love a great comeback story more than the sport or screen world, it's the individual himself. There is nothing more motivating to hear bad things said about yourself, or whispers about the person/athlete/actor you once were and then turn around and say "Ha! I proved you wrong!" And if Nalbandian can keep his hunger - for something more than just a Masters Cup - alive...perhaps for something called a Major, we might just see his comeback story continue.

David Beats Goliath

David Nalbandian stunned Roger Federer in the finals of Madrid today, winning 1-6 6-3 6-3.

We'll have a re-cap later on from Troy about this shocking development.

Meanwhile, Justine Henin continued her dominance of the women's tour by knocking out Tatiana Golovin 6-4 6-4 in the finals at Zurich.

A great day of quality tennis!


For your information:

Notice that on my blog roll (left-hand side of the page, scroll down) Erwin's blog is now listed under "Tennis Served Fresh". The direct address is

Also, Troy, who has been our master of Madrid exclusives and a regular contributor to my dictionary of tennis banter, has a blog about his wild adventures across the Atlantic in Europe. That link has been added to the roll too. Or, just click here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Chatters

After being up and running for nearly a year now, I'm excited to say I've enjoyed most of my blogging experience.

Last winter, while home in Montana for some family time and much-needed rest, I decided that my love for tennis and writing didn't need to wait for a marriage until a degree was in my hand. I logged onto Blogger and started navigating my way through the Create-A-Blog tutorial, and soon enough I had my first-ever post up bidding Lindsay Davenport a fine farewell.

In January of this year, I took a class called "Online Journalism" as a part of my major's re-vitalized curriculum. It was taught by a brilliant young producer named Tiffany Campbell, who started her career with CNN and now works for the Seattle Times.

Tiffany was a guiding hand in a lot of what I learned about blogging. She taught me rules on linking, crediting photos, layout, posting consistency and much, much more.

A lot of people scoff when I tell them I'm a journalism major. They say that journalism doesn't require a college degree. And while I might agree with them some days, I think that so much of what I've learned in my four years of school will be extremely beneficial as a professional - and I can already feel the benefits as a blogger.

As the year comes to a close I'd like to introduce a new feature that will end 2007 with a bang on AIPT: The Chatters. The Chatters are our awards for the tennis year that has just past. We'll award in categories like "Player of the Year" and "Most Compelling Match" while also having fun with "Why Did You Actually Say That Out Loud?" and "Please Don't EVER Wear That Again".

Can you guess what this match might be up for?

(I'll give you a hint: It has to do with the third set and the opposite of being exciting. Get your thinking caps on! Photo by The Otta via flickr.)

We'll preview The Chatters categories throughout the next six weeks before our presentation post on Friday, December 14th.

Exclusive: Day at the Masters Pt. 2

Troy is at it again on semifinal day at the Madrid Masters (or as he calls it, "Quadruple M"). Check out his latest post, complete with pictures:

Things are wrapping up quickly at the Quadruple M this weekend. Nalbandian's run continues as he takes yet another Top 3 victim in Novak Djokovic. Ironically enough, Nalbandian's run is looking more and more like Novak's at this summer's Masters Montreal. Djokovic's game seemed intact all around excluding his serve which disappointed on several key points. It seems he is also suffering something common among the elite Serbian tennis players: burnout. Novak admitted that he felt "really exhausted" during the match and smiled at the prospect of a week off.

Mirka, no stranger to R & R herself, continued her courtside reign this weekend. Last night she spent most of her time on her new pink cellphone and chatting with her friend. Today was no different, although, judging by other's reactions, she seems to have picked up a strange odor today. Too much arroz con habicheula's?

Meanwhile, Mirka's unidentified boyfriend continued to live up to his reputation and seemingly permanent number one seeding during a semifinal routing of Nicholas Kiefer. Kiefer, the only man to play Federer in all four Grand Slams (as recalled by Fed himself), took a respectable eight games off the Swiss. The 6-4, 6-4 victory kept
Federer's straight set record intact at this year's MMMM. People have started to run out of things to ask Roger, as the latter part of his press conference was dedicated to his F1 Racing predictions and the whereabouts of Juliette the cow (which he received as a gift for winning the Swiss Open at Gstaad in 2003). Federer admitted the cow was slaughtered.

The Bryan Brothers kept their slaughter of the doubles game alive with a win over the resurgent Argentine team of Nalbandian and Guillermo Canas. There was plenty of belly-bumping and Argentine ball abuse to be had during the entertaining match-up.

Tomorrow's finals should be interesting. Although the number one seeds in both singles and doubles are through (again) this time, it seems like they will all have their hands full. Anyone else smell an upset? Or is that just Mirka?

All photos by Troy Venechanos.

Forget Tirade...This is Brilliant

I never found the clip of Stefan Koubek's tirade. I did, however, find this clip of an amazing point between Koubek and Feliciano Lopez from recently. Enjoy the superb tennis!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Madrid Exclusive: A Day at the Masters

Troy's live in Madrid giving us the play-by-play with his always-witty commentary:

Tennis balls in Madrid are big. So big that they need large Sony Ericsson WTA Tour labels and their own velvet ropes.

Madrid is wrapping up the first of its two big tennis 'balls,' and today its host left the party early. In fact, today was a day of grand exits and entrances. Let's review:

Novak Djokovic entered the semifinals with a convincing win over Mario Ancic. He rarely seemed threatened and despite an awkward landing on his foot that resulted in medical timeout, he closed out the match with ease. As he moves forward, we can wave goodbye to any clear idea of the world's second best player.

As we know, Rafa exited the Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid earlier than anyone (here) expected. The MMMM's pride and joy didn't leave them without a few words on his regrets and overall disappointment with his performance. Surprisingly he was in good spirits during the press conference. He cracked jokes and seemed at home and at ease with the Spanish press. Although its so hard to tell - emotional subtly is definitely his strong suit.

Good-bye Rafa. Hello to the Nalbandian we once knew. It's hard to argue with David's performance today. You may think the match was closer than the score indicated, but it wasn't. The slimmed-down Argentine played flawless tennis when he had to and even when he didn't, too. I had never seen him smile until today during his post-match comments. He should enjoy it while it lasts; I'm sure he has Federer at the back of his mind. (Nalbandian next plays Djokovic in the semis, but could face Federer - whom he beat at the Masters Cup in '05 - in the final.)

Federer made his way to the semis with a straight-set win over Spain's last hope, Feliciano Lopez. In typical Federer style, he has cut himself an easy path through the draw. He steamrolled who everyone thought would be his biggest pre-final hurdle, Guillermo Canas. Although for some reason Willy seems less than intimidating

All photos by Troy Venechanos.

Clip of the Week: Ouch!

I'm not sure which is more embarrassing: that the Madrid Masters still insists using female models as ball girls or the fact that Novak Djokovic hit one of them with a misfired return.

The crowd (and Djokovic and Fernando Verdasco) were all a little scared for the victim for a second before she assured everyone that she was okay with the wave of a hand.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal was shocked by David Nalbandian in the quarters, winning just three games in a straight-set loss. A disappointing exit for Rafa in his comeback tournament, especially because he's the hometown boy.

More From Madrid

Even though Andy Roddick withdrew due to a recurring injury, Madrid is still in full-flight with the top three seeds (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic) all competing in top form.

Fellow blogger and former co-intern Troy is there taking in the action live and will have exclusive photos and recaps for the AIPT over the weekend and early next week.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Madrid (In Case You Forgot...)

In case you forgot, there's this tournament known as the Madrid Masters. It's going on as we speak. And from what I've gathered so far, it's a pretty big deal.

We'll have semifinal and championship coverage over the weekend. Cheers!

RANT: The Future is Now

I'm always looking for the bigger and better in life. I grew up in Montana and my eyes were constantly fixed on the cities of the future: Seattle or San Francisco would be where I would go to college, there was no question about it. So after three-plus years in Seattle, my tendency has been to think: What next? New York? London? Paris?

It's a common theme for many individuals: the grass is greener, the buildings are taller, the paycheck is bigger and life is better than what we have right now.

Yet for the ATP Tour, I would argue that the tour is experiencing some of the best rivalries - both established and forming - that is has seen since Agassi/Sampras or McEnroe/Connors.

Mind you that I'm a 21-year-old college student who missed tennis' heyday in the 70s when top players were comparable to rock stars and tennis experienced class A treatment as a sport to be reckoned with.

Besides the US, however, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are international superstars. Novak Djokovic is on his way there. Andy Roddick reaches all markets, as does James Blake. Andy Murray is the savior of British tennis, while an entire wave of successful (and personable) South American players are making their names (and games) known on the tour.

Two-and-a-half years ago Nadal played a man named Mariano Puerta in the final of the French Open. The tennis world was buzzing; not because of the Nadal-Puerta match-up, but instead because of the Spaniard's defeat of Roger Federer in the semifinals: four sets of tennis brilliance.

As much as tennis has deteriorated over the past couple of decades with the power game, astounding racket technology and often a loss for respectable strategy (other than hitting the ball as hard as possible. See: Gonzalez, Fernando), the game has also seen a rise in the anti-modern culture.

Federer slices, dices and plays every shot in the book with his cool and calm demeanor. Nadal runs everything down, looking more like a fighter ready to go twelve rounds than a country club tennis boy. Djokovic can be creative and Murray's funky style has the Brits talking Wimbledon title in the near future.

The fact is, the future of tennis is now. Players like David Ferrer and John Isner can keep us on our toes, but the leading acts of the 21st century have taken center stage, and I don't see their curtain call coming any time soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where Are They Now? Part Four

Sybille Bammer. Not only should Bammer win the "Mom of the Year" award over one Miss Lindsay Davenport, she might also be a strong candidate for "Breakthrough Player of the Year". In her 13th year on the tour, Bammer has reached a career-high #20 in the rankings and compiled a stunning 44-23 record. At 27, I can only see it getting better for the Austrian.

Tamira Paszek. Speaking of successful Austrians, one can't forget another breakthrough player from 2007 in Paszek. The 16-year-old, in her first year of competing at the majors, went 8-4, including 4th Round appearances both at Wimbledon and the Open. She had just two losses to players outside the Top 50 this year, and gave Justine Henin a run for her money more than once.

Sania Mirza. Midway through the year I was ready for Sania Mirza to finally make her run into the Top 20. She has had inconsistent success over the last three years, and after she shook off a bit of injury and immaturity, I thought Mirza would come into her own. But that didn't quite happen...though it doesn't mean it won't. Mirza went 14-6 over the summer, and her baseline game (particularly her giant forehand) loves the hardcourts. Is 2008 her year? I'm unsure of that, but she certainly will be one to watch.

Taylor Dent. Hasn't played a match in nearly two years, but has a new web site launched by (it appears) adidas and IMG. I'm guessing if you asked Dent today, he'd tell you he's still looking to get back on the tour as soon as he can.

Vania King. King was as high as #50 in the rankings last fall after she won Bangkok, but following a year in which she lost in the first round of every major and only made the quarterfinals in Thailand, the American teenager has fallen out of the Top 100. Perhaps some time in lower level tourneys might help King find her form.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kimmy No More

I've officially removed Kim Clijsters' page from my Site roll. Forever I will remain silent about the Belgium Miss unless: A. She returns to professional tennis or, B. She dies.

(Maybe Kim is the one who stole Ellen's dog? AIPT photo.)

Tennis Chatter

Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva played (at times) some high-quality tennis in Moscow on Sunday in the finals of the Kremlin Cup. Watch here for highlights.

And with that performance in Moscow, Serena's in!

Ivo Karlovic is suddenly the hottest thing on the ATP Tour.

Roadmap? The ATP has a new one.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

RANT: What Scandal?

In case you've been living under a rock for the last few months, tennis is dealing with a gambling scandal right now. But don't worry, no money ever changed and, according to every player and every official, things have just been blown a little out of proportion.

Wait, am I reading this right? Or perhaps I should say 'Am I writing this right?'

The thing is, tennis is taking this serious, or at least as serious as the sport knows how to take anything.

You see, tennis has always been (and maybe always will be) that country club sport. There's been slaps on the wrists and wagging of fingers, but minus a few rather insignificant steroid bans, tennis hasn't had to deal with scandal the way the rest of the sporting world has.

Just this past week, Marion Jones bared he soul (and some tears) for the entire world to witness. She had confessed that she had, indeed, taken steroids, and she was returning her Olympic medals and asking for forgiveness.

But forgiveness for what, Marion? For lying? For cheating? For stealing?

If she's as sorry as she says she is, she wouldn't have ever done any of what she did. You see, sport encourages athletes to cut corners. It asks them to be the best and make it look easy. Winning is everything.

But in life, there's something called respect. And dignity. And legacy.

Marion Jones has tattered all of that. And for what? A couple of gold medals?

Before tennis players, officials, coaches, agents and fans can start running to the press and saying how innocent we all are, about how are sport is 'respectable' and how such activity will 'not be tolerated', maybe we should take a look at who we are and what we stand for?

We let Maria Sharapova march he way through the 2006 US Open with Yuri practically as her side every change over, giving all his words of wisdom.

We let Justine Henin cheat against Serena Williams at the 2003 French Open. And we let Ted Watts and Mariana Alves screw up in front of thousands of fans just to smile at the players minimal interest.

We let Jon McEnroe embarrass himself on the court for decades, Irina Spirlea and Lleyton Hewitt be blatantly racist during matches and Martina Hingis be homophobic during a press conference.

Tennis is far from perfect, but so too, is sport...and, dare I say, the world we live in, too. Yet there has to be a time where we all say, 'Wait a minute, this isn't right.' Instead of doing our best to sweep it under the carpet, forget it all happened and smile when the season ends, so proud of our achieving crooks.

Are they crooks? I certainly hope not, and my gut tells me no. But can we trust our guts? Or should the press, the players and the governing bodies of tennis step up and do a little gut check. Just to be sure.

Friday, October 12, 2007

TGIF: Tennis Chatter

The keyword "tennis" brings up 86,200 videos on YouTube. It's incredible to think of all those videos added by users that include pro tennis matches, commercials, player appearances, etc., along with homemade videos of individuals playing tennis, watching tennis or whatever. A lot of the videos are table tennis related, as well, and some have nothing to do with tennis at all! ...They just happen to have a "tennis" tag.

The top few videos (most watched) fall under the table tennis category. So I wanted to find out what was the most watched pro tennis video. After a little digging I found that this video, featuring Mr. Novak Djokovic, is the top tennis vid with over 1.3 million views. Check it out:

Defending Bangkok champion Vania King won a nail-biter over Dominika Cibulkova 6-7, 7-6, 7-6. If King wants to salvage her mediocre season, getting to the semis or finals of the tournament she won last year (featuring a much tougher draw this year) would be quite the accomplishment.

Sybille Bammer isn't the WTA's favorite mama anymore. Lindsay Davenport has stolen that title, and, it seems, #1 Mama as well. Bonnie Ford writes about Davenport's success since her comeback.

Scroll to the bottom of this news brief to see what Venus had to say after her loss to Virginie Razzano last week in Tokyo.

Paul Henri-Mathieu and Janko Tipsarevic continued their successful seasons with wins in Moscow on Friday to advance to the semifinals.

Vote on on whether you think Sharapova will win a major next year or not. You might be surprised by the results once you vote.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Serena Does HP

Serena Williams' latest endorsement includes computer maker HP.

Check out the full-length commercial (a whopping 1:30). Though different versions of the commercial ran during the US Open, this is a chance to see all the creative tidbits of Serena HP included for the ad.

Love it or hate it? Let us know.

Where Are They Now? Part Three

Mardy Fish. In case you forgot, Mardy Fish once won an Olympic silver medal. It's hard to believe, but the American was just points away from winning an Olympic title in 2004. Since then, Fish has struggled with injury and, subsequently, with results. He started 2007 off with a bang, making the quarterfinals of the Aussie and then the semifinals at Memphis, rocketing to 25th in the rankings. But a 4-13 performance through the spring and summer has stalled Fish's success. After losing in the finals of New Haven, Fish took Tommy Robredo to five sets in the second round of the US Open. Now ranked 39th, Fish hopes to stay on the right track to returning to the Top 20, where he resided for most of 2004.

Melissa Torres. Melissa Torres is my (and Mexico's) darling of tennis. Since reaching a career-high at #233 earlier this year, Torres has teetered off a bit, losing 10 of her last 12 matches.

Mirjana Lucic. Lucic made a storming comeback at the Pacific Life earlier this year, exciting the media and fans across the globe. Lucic, however, hasn't been active since May and the 25-year-old may have too many personal issues (family, etc.) to make a full-fledged commitement to the WTA Tour.

Nicole Pratt. Is 34. And still playing. You go girl.

Sam Querrey. Earlier this year, Sam Querrey was America's poster-boy for the future. He had a spread in TENNIS Magazine, was in the midst of a hot summer playing good tennis and couldn't find a reason not to believe he could keep climbing up the rankings. However, then came John Isner. And then came the US Open. Isner rocketed his way onto the map and bumped Querrey out of the I'm-Tall-And-Going-To-Win-Majors-One-Day category, while Querrey lost an ugly match to Stefan Koubek at the Open and has since lost his last two.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where Are They Now Continues...

The "Where Are They Now" series AIPT style continues tomorrow when we look at where Melissa Torres, Mardy Fish, Marjana Lucic, Nicole Pratt and Sam Querrey are today.

If you missed the first two installments, check out the links:
--WATN? Part One
--WATN? Part Two

Now, back to school...

Lady Trouble

Three of the WTA's most powerful stars suffered significant setbacks (well that was a lot of Ss!) today.

Maria Sharapova and Amelie Mauresmo both lost their opening matches in Moscow. Sharapova hadn't played since the US Open. Mauresmo, who skipped the year's last major, has now lost 3 of 4 matches in her comeback from a break from the tour.

Jelena Jankovic also lost on Wednesday, retiring due to heat troubles after splitting sets with Chinese player Yan Zi.

Meanwhile, Tommy Haas, Fernando Gonzalez, Andy Murray and my favorite Canadian, Frank Dancevic all recorded wins in various ATP events.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tennis Chatter

The Tennis Channel's Steve Fink takes a look at Justine Henin's recent domination of the WTA Tour and if her "rivalry" with Jelena Jankovic will ever become just that: a real rivalry.

Anna Kournikova still isn't playing tennis. But for some reason, people are still taking her picture.

Andy Roddick was spotted toting racquets in NYC today. Fashion shoot? Practice in the Indian Summer?

The match-fixing scandal continues to eat up the news. Are we going to have a Marion Jones-esque, tearful confession from some WTA star in the near future? I sure hope not.

Seattle University, the place that educates me so, is planning a move to NCAA Division I next year. With that, an added varsity tennis program. (So, to get that straight, I went to SU four out of the five years the school did not have tennis in the last 50 or so years. Awesome...)

Jon Wertheim weighs in on who's up and who's down this week in tennis.

The Scariest One of All

Yesterday I meant to do a Tennis Chatter post of all the goings on around the tennis world, but school got the best of me, so look for that later today or tomorrow.

One of my favorite things about TENNIS Magazine was the flexibility we had as interns. Troy and I got to work for FRAMED, do writing for SMASH and all sorts of other tasks that help put together both magazines and

For one of my FRAMED posts, I did a compilation of what I thought were the Top 5 best tennis commercials of the recent past. While researching this, I came across A LOT of tennis commercials, including some that were funny, and others that were just bizarre.

Another category, owned solely by this European commercial featuring Justine Henin, was 'scary'. Sometimes I'm just confused on what advertisers and PR people think will sell, especially in this case.

Check this one out for yourself and see what you think.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Where Are They Now? Part Two

Donald Young. The last time we checked in with America's Next Best Hope he had not only won his first ATP match in New Haven, but then followed that up with a third round performance at the US Open. The 18-year-old has gone 5-2 since the Open and has reached a career-high number 144 in the rankings. With continued fall success, Young may hope to get an automatic bid into the Australian Open.

Gustavo Kuerten. Guga has continued to nurse various injuries, and was last on the court for the Brazilian team in a doubles loss. The former world number one has been somewhat of a doubles specialist this year. Unless the beloved star can show physical and tennis improvements in the near future, however, we may hear the 'R' word from our favorite South American.

(Kuerten looked good in Davis Cup play, but won just six games in his doubles rubber loss. Photo by Marcio Nel Cimatti via Flickr.)

John Isner. After his inspired run at the US Open, Isner left fellow big-serving up-and-comer Sam Querrey in the dust. The 6'9" star came back down to earth this past week after losing in the second round in Tulsa, where Donald Young was a finalist. After his loss to Federer at the Open, Isner lost to another #01 in Tulsa: Fritz Wolmarans, ranked 401st in the world.

Li Na. China's best hope for a medal in Beijing is currently a hobbled hope. The 25-year-old hasn't played since prior to Wimbledon and is dealing with a re-occurring muscle injury. Meanwhile, the Chinese deal with the possibility that the Olympics might be a flop a year from now.

Madison Brengle. After winning her opening match in LA as a wildcard, Brengle lost to another petite American, Bethanie Mattek, in the first round of the US Open. Brengle is set to graduate this spring from high school and the 17-year-old is still listed as an "Amateur" on her WTA biography. If anything, it looks like the Delaware native is taking the slow track to the pro tour.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Razzano Rallies for Title

Virginie Razzano pulled off a rousing rally in the second-set ti-breaker, saving three championship points and beating Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 for the Tokyo title.

The Frenchwoman led 5-2 in the second set before Venus charged ahead 6-5. In the breaker, Williams led 6-3, but wasn't able to close out the match.

Razzano now how back-to-back titles after winning Guangzhou last week.

See a full article on Razzano's recent rise and whether or not the Frenchwoman will be able to maintain the form that has brought her such success.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Where Are They Now? Part One

Checking in with the few non-stars that AIPT has followed in the past.

Alexandra Stevenson. Last time (February) we checked in with the '99 Wimbledon semifinalist, she was in decent form at a challenger event (her norm over the last few years) in Minneapolis. Currently ranked 396, Stevenson has found recent success (she's moved up 115 spots in three weeks) on the challenger events in the US. If the American can continue such a pattern, we might see her in the qualifying draw in time for the Australian.

Amy Frazier. Is MIA. After phoning in to the WTA, I learned that Frazier is "not retired and has no plans of retiring." Curious indeed. A little more digging might be needed in this one...

Aravane Rezai. The sassy Frenchwoman continues to be a lower level mid-major player (how's that for a title?). After starting the year a respectable 9-15, the 20-year-old has gone just 1-7 in her last eight matches and is 76th in the rankings this week after reaching a career-high number 40 in January of this year.

David Nalbandian went from Grand Slam contending powerhouse (aka Mr. Consistency) to overweight has been. The Argentinian is 22nd in the rankings, but is 33rd in the Race to the Championships, showing he's had a less-than impressive year.

Frank Dancevic. Following a brilliant summer in which Dancevic went 8-3 (including the quarters at the Rogers Masters), the Canadian fell in a tough three sets to Marat Safin in the opening round of the Open. He won a tough battle against Juan Martin Del Potro in Bangkok before falling to Fernando Verdasco in three last week.

Part two will feature Donald Young, Gustavo Kuerten, John Isner, Li Na and Madison Brengle. Stay tuned!

Stuttgart, Tokyo, Metz, Oh My!

Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova are underway in their quarterfinals at the Tier II event in Stuttgart this week. I can't imagine a more dream draw for such an event. Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Tatiana Golovin are already into the semifinals.

While some people moan and groan about the fall season (I tend to join in on that chorus usually), I'm really digging the competition lately. Davis Cup week supplied us with plenty of inspiring stories, and the women seem to be in make-up mode for such a boring summer by playing every fall event they can.

In Tokyo, Venus Williams will meet Virinie Razzano (newly tagged on AIPT) in the finals. Razzano benefited from depleted draws to have a hot summer and has gained confidence into fall, especially after winning a career-first title in Gangzhou last week.

Also in Tokyo, Lleyton Hewitt couldn't be more frustrated after holding serve 12 times (and not facing a break point) but still losing to Ivo Karlovic. With 25 aces in the match, Karlovic joins the 1,000 Ace Club. Karlovic is just the fourth man to complete this feat (1,000 aces in one year) in history. (See ATP link for graphic.)

Andy Murray continued his comeback from a mid-year injury that forced him to sit out Wimbledon. The Scot defeated Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Metz to advance to the semifinals Friday.

No YouTube clip has shown up yet from Stefan Koubek's meltdown over a linecall. The search continues...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

French Toast: Koubek Defaulted After Tirade

Stefan Koubek proved on Thursday that the installation of Hawk-Eye hasn't completely taken the theatrics out of tennis line calls.

Pulling a McEnroe-like tirade, Koubek disputed with a chair judge after hometown boy Sebastian Grosjean seemed to have swayed a linesperson in a disputed call.

Hopefully more details will surface, and, of course, a YouTube video to boot.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tennis Chatter: Mid-Week Update

Ana Ivanovic destroyed Patty Schnyder 6-0, 6-2 in Stuttgart to set up a rematch of the 2004 Wimbledong Girl's final with Katerina Bondarenko. Ivanovic looks for revenge from that three-set loss to the Ukranian.

Andy Roddick got some love from the ATP this week via the blooper reel.

Changes are in place for the 2008 Australian Open. It's just three months aways - I can barely contain my excitement!

Serena Williams celebrates a 6-0, 6-0 win earlier this week. I love the hair.

Sharapova has been through quite the year, Joel Drucker writes on ESPN.

Ed McGrogan goes in depth about Richard Gasquet on the G/R.

James Martin sounds off on how the lax requirements of the ITF Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Clip of the Week: Back to the Hate Column

Last week I really tried to like Daniela Hantuchova.

But after pulling the choke job of the fall (thus far), I just have to move her back to the Hate Column.

Up 6-3, 3-0, Hantuchova managed to let Ana Ivanovic back into the finals at Luxembourg and ended up losing the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Sure, you have to give Ivanovic a lot of props for what she did, but Hantuchova seems to get tight in these sort of situations and tense up. In watching the highlights, I feel like she isn't swinging through the ball the way she should. Her strokes are abbreviated and look flat to me.

Plus, she may have remembered that she was in Luxembourg, not Indian Wells, and realized that it's against Hantuchova International Law for her to win a title anywhere other than the Pacific Life.

The Achievement of Baby Fed

Mr. Richard Gasquet now has titles on every surface. What's next for Baby Fed?

And who else is on tour multi-surfaced like Gasquet? I might have some researching to do...

Monday, October 1, 2007

School Setting In...

The reality of school setting in is hitting me this week as hard as the cold winter wind that is whipping through Seattle. I haven't taken a full course load since last winter quarter, so 15 credits is feeling like 51 to me right now.

I would love to post with all the frequency I did during the summer, but I'm beginning to see that probably won't be a possibility.

This is by no means a death-to-the-blog entry, but I might be slowing to 55 in what wasthe 70 m.p.h. zone.

Stuttgart this week? I'm loving the draw for this tourney already. Go Serena, go!