Thursday, January 22, 2009

Random Aussie Ramblings, Vol. II: Yikes, Venus. Yikes.

There's always one alternate reality day at a Grand Slam, and Day 4 might have been the one. Amelie Mauresmo went three rounds with Elena Baltacha (huh?), Serena Williams struggled with Gisela Dulko (wha?) and Venus Williams lost in three sets to Carla Suarez Navarro.
Now, Suarez Navarro is no Julie Coin, who upset Ana Ivanovic at the U.S. Open last year and will probably do nothing else. She's drawn a lot of comparison to Justine Henin in the last year or so, but Venus is her biggest scalp yet.
As far as Venus, it's a disappointment, but it was also a close match against someone who played their butt off. It's not like she threw in one of her classic 72-error/12 winner matches. Regardless, she could learn a lesson from little sister Serena, who found herself in a bit of a dogfight finishing out her second-round match. Serena was spraying errors all over creation, but found a way to come back.
Venus is running out of time to prove that she can start a season strong. She even played some exos this year to get ready, so she had matches. Maybe she'll have better luck at the Aussie Open if it's ever moved back in the calendar year.

Moving on, Roger Rasheed, Gael Monfils' coach is catching some heat for calling out some female players on their lack of fitness. I, for one, am appalled. Because folks like Casey Dellacqua, Kaia Kanepi, Baltacha, and Marion Bartoli don't deserve to be called out for looking more like spectators than competitive athletes. I, for one, would never call someone "Candy" Bartoli or tell people to pass on a snack for a change.
OK, it might be hard to hear from a man. That's understandable. But the man is right. If you're an editor, you always have a dictonary. If you're a plumber, you always have a plunger. If you're an athlete, you always have a fit body. That's your tool, and to show up on a court looking dumpy, it signals a lack of full commitment. It's certainly an athlete's prerogative not to be as fit, to surrender to the Snickers urgings, but you'd absolutely deserve to be called out about that.

Jo-Jo Tsonga just limped away from a 3 hour and 25 minute match against Ivan Ljubicic in the second round. Get the popcorn ready for that replay ...

And then there's Andy Murray. Novak Djokovic joined Roger Federer in saying that Murray shouldn't be a favorite at the tournament, despite the fact that he beat Federer and Rafa Nadal before it started. Yeah. Whatever. Anyway, it's Murray's comment to Djokovic and Federer that is cracking me up.
“They say there’s a lot of pressure on them, but then (when) people aren’t saying they’re the favorites, they want to be the favorites. Therefore, by saying they’re the favorites, they’re putting more pressure back on themselves.”
Uhmmm ... what?'

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