Saturday, November 15, 2008

The week (or so) that was

Just noticing that a Mariah Carey lyrics blog has been updated before mine. Wow.
1. A belated congratulations to Venus Williams for winning the women's year-end event. There were a lot of good things going on for ol' girl this tournament. She dominated matches that could have been tight. Venus actually changed the pace on a few balls, too. (I really thought the first two were mishits.) She also didn't wilt in the third set, which she's done all season. Her forehand was on point, but her serve was not. I really don't understand how you have a first serve that'll break someone's wrist, and a second serve that strongly resembles Elena Dementieva's first serve. Especially after all these years, you'd think Venus would have developed a stronger weapon with it. However, we know that forehand of hers wasn't built in a day.
Plus, it was nice to see Serena Williams stick around to watch her sister, if that's what she wants to call it. Seems she didn't stop texting rap lyrics to Common until the end of the tournament.
2. Also nice to see Tracy Austin still with a job. Did she really say that the women's field had just seven players -- singling out Vera Zvonareva, who made the final? I'm not sure if that's worse than her saying Kim Clijsters had nothing to hurt Jennifer Capriati with just before the French Open final in 2001, which ended with a 12-10 tiebreaker.
I'm just going to make a quick suggestion for Tracy. If you've never heard of someone (and I don't know how you could not know who Zvonareva is after all these years -- and after her really solid season), refrain from speaking. Just ride the camels in Doha and shriek until I have to turn the television off and count to 60.
3. And on to the men. First, has anyone seen the promo shots for the Shanghai tournament compared to the Doha event? Not only do the men look totally hot, but the ATP appears to have planned the shoot in advance. Notice the similar clothing and controlled environment. It looks like it was organized.
The women? Seriously. What the hell is that? It's just a microcosm of what is wrong with women's tennis.
4. Anyway, put on your blindfolds and stick your hand into the hat. Pick the two men's finalists. That's how random it seems to have Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko as the last men standing. I thought it was kind of lame for Davydenko to admit he'd rather play Andy Murray than Roger Federer because he had a better record against Murray. (Sure, they all think that way, but actually says it?) I'm like, "Yeah, like you'd beat either of them." But Davydenko looked good this week, dumping water on red-hot Jo-Jo Tsonga and Juan Del Potro. Of course, the only person he didn't beat in his group was Djokovic. Their first match was tight, so we'll see.
Of course, all eyes were on Roger Federer, who went 1-2 in this event, losing to Andy Murray and Gilles Simon. Poor guy. You win one Slam and finish the year at No. 2 in the world, and everyone thinks you're washed up. See, this is why you don't establish a record of excellence. You miss a step, and you're a failure. Now, if you wade in mediocrity, and win a major every now and again (ahemMaratSafinahem), everyone thinks you're doing well ... for you. You decide which is better.
5. A lot of great doubles on this week in Shanghai. Three doubles matches only in Doha. Wow. Now that's suspense.
Oh, I feel a rant coming.
Yup. That's definitely a rant.
Look, WTA, tennis fans love doubles. Four teams in Doha? Are you people out of your tree? It's bad enough that we have "deciding points" and ridiculous "champions tiebreakers" instead of a third set. The powers that be at the WTA must think their singles lineup is waay too stellar to have doubles get in the way. That would be wrong. Doubles would have helped. How disrespectful to the players who concentrate on doubles to delegate them to "whenever we have time." Hopefully, they watched the men's tournament to see what they could have had.
6. Sigh. Let's try again about the men's doubles. It's great stuff! Despite the deciding points crap and everything designed to take the suspense out of doubles. I am suppressing the rant. How about the teams of Luis Hornas and Pablo Cuevas and Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski (hell, yes, I cut and pasted those names. Are you kidding me?) making a deep run against the more established teams out there? When you think about it, it makes sense. Looks like some of those other teams didn't know what to do against new-ish teams that don't really play the run-o'-the-mill doubles. The final match is down to the Bryan brothers and Danny Nestor (so does not look like a Danny) and Nenad Zimonjic. Should be a good one.
One more thing on doubles: There's positive reinforcement between partners, and then there's "OH MY GOD, WOULD YOU GET PLEASE YOUR HAND OFF OF ME?" What is the deal with all the hand slapping after every single point? Regardless, by the way, of who won the point! What do these pros know that rec players don't? I don't even talk to my husband after every point, let alone some random person. What cracks me up the most is that even teams not used to playing together fall right into this. Is the confidence really that thin? Yikes.
Well, at least we know we won't be seeing that kind of behavior from the Bryan brothers.


yogahz said...

Yeah for doubles - I love watching singles but there are often not that many OMG points in a singles match where doubles is full of them, usually.

Yes, I hand slap and fist bump my partners after many points - not all. We usually do it on points we won with a winner and points we messed up to keep positive. Before I played competitive doubles I thought it was silly but it really does keep partners connected and in the match. That said, when I play with my husband we don't talk. Which is probably why we don't play together in league matches.

van said...

Hey Naf! It's funny you mentioned that about the WTA doubles. The whole tournament (3 matches!) was being shown yesterday on the Tennis Channel. I think that's the most ridiculous tournament format I've ever seen! And the touching and hand-slapping after every point gets irritating after a while, too. Like you said, glad the Bryans are such hands-off guys! : )

Naf said...

Hey, guys!
Yogahz, I'm with you on the husband front. My husband is very intense for the entire match, where I sort of have to work my way up to that. In fact, I'm very loose, and joke around with my opponents until the match gets tight -- even competitively. My husband just ignores every joke I make, and that makes me uncomfortable! So, we're starting to get away from playing in leagues together.
The only time I do fist bumps and the like is after a really good or really important point that went our way, but I'm very chatty, so that probably makes up for the hi-fives. And at what point do the hand slaps just not mean anything anymore?
And Van, I saw the repeats were on, and I got so mad I couldn't even watch it. Especially when you look at all the great men's matches there were. The WTA really botched this one. And yet, they'll do it again next year!

freakyfrites said...

Hey there,

I totally agree with your doubles comments and am glad to hear that someone else did a "double take" when there were only 4 doubles teams featured. I just don't understand that. The tournaments in Doha, and they can't afford to fly in more doubles teams?
Really, I was disappointed in the women's YEC in general - it was a little depressing in terms of broadcast quality and attendance. Although I was happy to see Venus win! She's my pick for the Aussie Open, but that could be wishful thinking.

Naf said...

Probably wishful thinking, freakyfrites. Although I share your hopes for Venus. She's always been my favorite, and it'd be nice to see her do well next year. It just seems like she has all the pieces, but they never work at the same time. But we'll see!