Archive for September, 2009


Ten Things to take away from the Grand Slams of 2009

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

1) Tennis talk can be used in every day life. When you want to demonstrate that the impossible has been achieved, the new phrase “Pulling a Soderling” will now do nicely. This was born from Robin Soderling’s extraordinary defeat of Rafael Nadal early on in the French Open.

You get that deal that no-one in the office thought you could clinch, and announce it to them all with a cry of ‘I pulled a Soderling!’

England win the Ashes in the cricket “Gerry, England won! Those guys pulled a Soderling!” (no, I have no idea who Gerry is)

“Robin Soderling pulls a Soderling to get through to the semi-finals!”

oh, wait….

2) Watching tennis is bloody tiring. One minute they’re in Australia, the next they’re in France, then they’re in England, then they were in America. In between that, they’re visiting a whole host of other countries. We can’t keep up with all these time zones, I have no idea how the players cope. The French Open and Wimbledon aren’t so bad for us Europeans, but I went a bit doo-lally trying to keep awake to watch matches in the first and last grand slams. I need my sleep, and trying to concentrate on a tiny ball zipping from one side of a court to the other whilst sleep-deprived is not good for one’s mind….

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Juan Martin del Potro upsets the King of Flushing Meadows

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

The King of the US Open Roger Federer has been officially overthrown, dethroned and sent packing by the Argentine Big Friendly Giant, one Juan Martin del Potro.

Last year, not many would have recognised his name when they heard it. Climbing the rankings as a teenager, he had a name for being a little flash, and caused a flutter in many a hearts with a scorching photo shoot in Open Magazine. He had the infamous argument with Andy Murray on the chairs at the US Open last year, something so sacrilegious that it even received coverage over here in England, where American tennis gets little look in. But up until this year, most people hadn’t even heard of the 20 year old from Tandil, Argentina.

But now, El Palito (“the popsicle”) is becoming a name to admire, follow and enjoy watching. And in some style; reaching the semi-finals in the French Open, and following it up with his best victory to date, winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open – and doing it by beating both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

With a name sounding like a exotic cocktail, most people love to say it in the best south American accent they can muster, but typing it out is tricky. The nicknames started when he reached the semi-finals at Rolland Garros, and they haven’t really stopped: Leaning Tower of Potro, El Palito, JMDP, DelPo, DP, Enano, and my new favourite ‘Wolverine’ (I think it’s the hair and the stubble, the long slender body, and some serious height). He has many a more »


Wildcard Winner

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Kim Clijsters proved that motherhood doesn’t mean the end to anything, blasting her way through the US Open competition all the way to the finals and then, last night, taking the title with both hands from Caroline Wozniacki.

The heights of Clijsters achievement will not have gone unnoticed to even the most disinterested of sports fans. Firstly, she’s come back to the tournament after a grand total of two years out. Two years in tennis years is like human to dog years; the body can really get out of shape in two years. On top of that, during those two years Clijsters became the mother of a beautiful little girl Jada, who joined Clijsters on the court after the final to come and pat the top of the trophy approvingly, officially confirming that her mother’s decision to come back to the game was a good one.

It was Clijsters who warned Roger Federer that becoming a parent will change everything about him, his game, his world. I doubt back then she expected to be raising a grand slam trophy as a wildcard (the first woman to do so at a grand slam), on her first tournament since returning from retirement only months previously and as a mother to an 18 month old daughter (the first woman to do so since 1980 when Evonne Goolagong Cawley achieved a title as a mother).

The match itself was a straight sets victory – barring a few nervy moments where her opponent overtook her – over Caroline Wozniacki, who looked almost as pleased for Clijsters as the Belgian d more »


Serena Williams leaves with little glory

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Serena Blew Up

That has to be the oddest end to a semi-finals match I have seen. My fingers were simply itching to type, it’s killed me having to leave it this long to write about the utter bewildering end to the Serena Williams vs. Kim Cljisters (if anyone is interested, the reason I couldn’t blog immediately was a blown charger and a dead laptop. Honestly, technology).

What on earth happened to the world no. 2 is the question everyone who has heard the news is asking.

No-one is immune from letting their temper get a hold of them from time to time, but you always assume professionalism stops a tennis player from getting in that sort of state on the court.

If anyone hasn’t heard what exactly went on, then here is what I have surmised from reports. It was 15-30 on the last set, Serena being the one flailing and Clijsters about to take a place in the finals. The 15-30 score had come as a conclusion of a foot fault called by the judge. Serena picked herself up and moved on. And promptly was called out for another foot fault.

Serena then turned to – quite rightfully, some would say – argue the point with the line judge. But it was obvious that this wasn’t just any argument over a call. Maybe Serena forgot that she is quite a tall and imposing woman; maybe she forgot to take the tone out of her voice as she tried to argue her case. In my experience, it is those two things that can get you in trouble even when you don’t necessarily intend to act ag more »


The Quarters are done….finally

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

So it’s not just Wimbledon that’s blighted with the rain. In fact, Wimbledon should be feeling quite smug about itself. Of course now they have the upper hand with a retractable roof, but they have always had sheeting which ball boys and girls were trained to pull across the court the minute rain disrupted play. At Flushing Meadows, they have a bunch of hand towels – probably borrowed from the locker rooms. I can imagine that is a pretty thankless job.

So Day 12 never really happened, a complete day of tennis stricken from the event as the rain continued to pour. Still, there’s a doozey of a semi-final along the way for both the men’s and women’s side of things.

Roger Federer vs. Novak DjokovicThis was set up by two relatively straight forward matches. Roger Federer had a bit of a scare in this third set against Robin Soderling, but all in all he appeared his usual calm, collected self. He took the first set 6-0 and the next 6-3, as Soderling struggled to get into any swing. The third set blip was a 6-7 (6-8) loss in the tiebreak. Soderling gave the Swiss world no. 1 nothing in the fourth and what was to be final set. Roger Federer clinched it 7-7 (8-6), and it seemed that ordered was restored.


Novak Djokovic had an up-and-down performance against Fernando Verdasco. Both decked out in a colour that c more »

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