Thursday, January 21, 2016

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Ugh ugh ugh

So this tournament has been interesting so far, and it's only been three days. You know what this tournament makes me feel like I'm watching? The Blair Witch Project. Every time I go to sleep, I wake up and one of the top seeds has disappeared. Who's next? Only the Melbourne Devil knows.
There's still plenty of tournament left, but let's go over some of the highlights so far:

1. This match-fixing scandal: I forgot the air quotes. Listen, I'ma need some names here. Not just for the sake of salaciousness, but we've been here before, haven't we? Back when everyone made a stink about Nicolai Davydenko and his alleged part in odd betting patterns in tennis? Remember what that turned up? Nothing. I want to take this seriously, but when the Daily News can't even keep track of their Grand Slam champs, (THERE'S A MAJOR IN YOUR BACK YARD EVERY YEAR!!), you just wonder if we'll ever get to the hard facts. OR MAYBE CAROLINE WOZNIACKI IS THE GUILTY ONE!

2. I can't decide whether it's better for the person who loses a match to come sulking into a press conference and mumbling one-word answers or to be rude and skip it altogether. What's Venus hiding? MAYBE VENUS WILLIAMS IS THE GUILTY ONE!

3. With all the crazy upsets going on right now, it could be time for Gael Monfils to finally make some real noise at a Grand Slam. I watched him beat Nicolas Mahut, and he's looking pretty relaxed. But can he stay that way in later rounds?

4. OK, if you're reading this, you have some type of computer advice. So watch the doubles! Or watch Victoria Azarenka beat up on some poor soul.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Aussie preview: The women

Lots of symbols on this draw. A legend:
star: match to watch. 
?: Why does Dominika Cibulkova always knock off a couple seeds in every Slam, but is never seeded herself?
* next to Venus' name: Dude, it depends.
?: Something tells me that any match Alize Cornet is in will take roughly six hours and she'll yell at the umpire. I guess that's not a question.

Overall, Serena Williams obviously is the dominant player on the WTA Tour. Yeah, that U.S. Open thing. It was a fluke. Not to say she'll never lose another major tournament, but it sure seems to me that any real challenge to her path to another title in Australia is on the bottom half of the draw. If Serena doesn't win the title, I predict she'll lose it to either Victoria Azarenka or Garbine Muguruza. Later!

Aussie preview: The men

I gotta go watch tennis! But first, my draw, for posterity, and some thoughts:

1. Baghdatis v. Tsonga: At least it will be entertaining.
2. If -- BIG IF -- Nadal gets past Verdasco, he could play himself into form. He seems to be at the place right now where he's beating the guys he's supposed to beat, but withering at the feet of the Big Four.
3. Yes, I know that you think I spelled "Djokovic" wrong in the semi slot. I'm living on the edge!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Some early thoughts on the AO draw

I will be releasing my singles draws to the public as per usual sometime this weekend. Here are some points to ponder in the meantime:

1. Hoo boy does Rafa really need some of that injury pox to hit his chunk of the draw. I mean damn: "Hot Truth" Verdasco in round one, with names such as Jeremy Chardy and Gael Monfils lurking in the nearer future and Stan Wawrinka beyond that? I believe in Nadal, but I don't know man ...
2. I did not realize Dmitry Tursunov was still playing tennis.
3. Gilles Simon v. Vasek Pospisil is going to be too good a match for round one.
4. Genie Bouchard is apparently playing really well right now, and draws Agz Radwanska in the second round if they both advance. Good luck with that.
5. Oh, lord: Alize Cornet v. Simona Halep in round two. *trying to come up with the mystery illness that will keep me home from work on this day*
6. At an early glance, it sure looks good for Victoria Azarenka to advance to the semis. Lemme check with my sources.
7. Prediction: Injury is going to be the third man for this tournament, which really sucks. Hell-like temperatures will likely be the fourth. Would it kill the powers that be to push this tournament back?

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Ready for the 2016 season? No? Too bad.

Yes, of course as a tennis fan, having the new season start roughly fifteen minutes after the last season is great. Look, it's the first week of January and Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka are going to face off at the Brisbane tournament in Melbourne. Sounds good to me!
However, if I'm honest, I'd rather see that matchup at the year-end championships in November as the culmination of a competitive season. You know, when it means something.
I've never understood this insistence that the Australian Open has to start in mid-January. It's about 1,000 degrees in Australia at this time and players drop like flies. Every. Year. So combine that with about 1.5 months to recover from the previous season and you're asking for trouble.
What kind of trouble? The kind of trouble when you think you're gonna watch Serena Williams play Hopman Cup, but she's injured. The kind where you get all geeked up about watching Halep and Azarenka play and Halep gets injured. When Maria Sharapova doesn't even make it onto the court. Even if this is athletes playing lame to get more rest time, and I don't think it is (check out Pam Shriver's Twitter feed for video of Serena trying to serve today), it points to a larger issue.
This might sound like a player problem, but I'm completely selfish here. If quality suffers, fans get to become fans of cribbage.
What? It could happen.