Thursday, February 09, 2006

What we learned Down Under

Random Australian Open ramblings:
1. Will Serena's descent toward the rankings basement serve as motivation for Venus, or a cushion? If Venus doesn't right her ship and turn in a decent performance at Wimbledon, they're going to be the Rochus brothers of the women's tour, except taller, and women. I've always rooted for the Williams sisters. It's always amazing to see someone who looks like you (young, black, skinny, hair full of beads) dominate a game. But when other players took time off for injuries and ended up with rankings in the 100s, there was always a sense that they'd be back, even with Martina Hingis. Got a hard time seeing the motivation in Serena Williams, especially, to dig herself out of that 40th-ranked hole by the French Open.
Girls, it may be time to make some choices. Richard Williams was right about preparing you for life after tennis. But there's no way you can enjoying playing mediocre tennis, and the pressures of school and running a business. Do us a favor. Pick something.
Incidentally, this is why I find it better to do nothing, as opposed to having too many options.
2. Sharapova and Roddick? I guess they're kind of cute, in a Shrek-Fiona (before she became an ogre) kind of way. Also, if they get hitched, both of them will actually see another Grand Slam trophy, which probably won't happen any other way.
3. Yes, I said it. Roddick is a One-Slam Wonder, and Sharapova might be, too. It was huge for her to win Wimbledon over Serena, but I couldn't help but get that feeling I got when I saw Anastasia Myskina and Gaston Gaudio win the French (why does the French seem to produce the most one-slam wonders?!). 'You'll never see them again.' She's got an incredibly strong game and fine form, but no real plan, it appears. When was the last time you saw Maria Sharapova serve and volley? Does she even know what a drop-shot is? Mix it up, Maria. Everyone's winning majors right now. Hell, some people think majors are so easy to win that they tank out of final matches because of a stomachache. The women's game is up for grabs. In America, we call it striking while the iron is hot.
Also, I thought it was really selfless of Maria to volunteer herself as a model for Nike's maternity tennis dress line. Bet it motivated expectant mothers everywhere to pick up a racquet.
4. I didn't forget about young Andy. He also appears to have problems mixing up his game. His serve is not a shock anymore. That's why he's losing in the first week of majors. Once you block the serve back and stay away from that forehand, the game against him opens up. Know what else doesn't help Roddick's cause? He's being coddled by the American commentators. They can't say enough lovely things about him, his game, his clothes, his girlfriends, his one major, his determination, his love for the Cornhuskers, whatever. I'd love to see what would happen, for example, if Patrick McEnroe stopped picking him automatically for Davis Cup. Right now, Robby Ginepri and James Blake are improving by leaps and bounds, and they could take Roddick right now.
Could it also be that coaching is at issue here? Brad Gilbert sure does talk a lot, and he's got those Bill Clinton hand gestures going, but he appears to know a little bit about tennis. (ahemahemtakehimbackandyahemahem)
5. Still no takers on pushing back the Australian Open, huh? This reminds me of when I was a kid, and the church bus would arrive for Sunday school at 8:00. No one in my house was awake, let alone dressed and ready. This happens every year for this major. Everyone shows up, sleepy-eyed, half a step slow, and wearing maternity clothing.
6. Overall, big upsets for Aussie Open winners. I didn't see Federer winning it all, that's for sure. I was half-expecting that Bagdatis guy to quit after the third set, citing a lack of en-ER-gy. Speaking of upset, I wonder how that stadium of people felt about shelling out $300 to watch the women's final. Hey, Justine, read that Pepto-Bismol label again. I know there's something in it for getting your ass kicked.

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