Archive for December, 2009



Thursday, December 31st, 2009

It’s probably quite obvious as to why it has taken me at least two weeks to write this rather bulky blog. The clue is in the title: this is a look back at the year 2009. Writing a ‘Looking back’ blog in sport is rather like writing about the history of a country with a 1000 word deadline. I.e. impossible. That is why historians write books that are around about 5 tombs in length and need a crane to get them off the shelves. A similar feat would be needed if I were to write an in-depth story of the past year in tennis.

So, how am I going to do this? By choosing ten highlights of the year as a way of looking back.

1) Federer cries at Aussie open

I know, this one has been done to death. But it just shows how perceptions of others’ emotions can be wrong. The world saw Federer dissolve into tears as Nadal took the Australian Open trophy from him after a gruelling final match, and they decided that it signalled the end of a shining career. It was soon obvious that this was not the case. Federer has hardly had a slump of a year, winning the next two Grand Slams in surprising finals.

2) Soderling takes out Nadal

We all know this one. ‘Pulling a Soderling’ is now in our tennis-related vocabulary. Soderling is now the one to watch at any tournament. And he recently topped this fantastic year with a finals appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals after Andy Roddick dropped out.

3) Serena blows up at referee, accuses opponents of cheating…

…and generally behaves a more »


Andre Agassi certainly ‘Open’ in his new book

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Yes, I am leaving these last two blogs of the year rather late. In fact, if you live in Australia or New Zealand it’s already the year of 2010. So, apologies for cutting it rather fine.

But one of the most controversial pieces of news of the year 2009 needs to be discussed before the year is over: Andre Agassi’s autobiography ‘Open’. The revelations about his father, his hair and his drug taking were rather more than the tennis world expected of a player’s autobiography.

But what were these revelations? One, for example, was his hair piece. Having a full head of hair was obviously a pressure that the star felt heavily. In the French Open final of 1990, he wore an elaborate hair piece to hide his baldness. Instead of concentrating entirely on the match, he claims he was more worried about his wig coming off. Who wouldn’t be? I’m not sure how he concentrated at all with something on my head that could potentially come flying off.

Agassi’s most sensational revelation in the book was his drug-taking. After taking crystal meth, he managed to persuade the Association of Tennis Professionals that he had taken the drugs by accident. He promptly got away with it all. It wasn’t a one off, either. With Gasquet going through hell and back to prove his innocence to an over-zealous and almost dictatorial ITF and WADA, it seemed a particular insult to his plight at the time.

Admitting that Agassi had in fact hated and feared tennis for years broug more »