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Sports and Stuff. 1/31
Posted by Leena on Jan 31, 2006, 13:34

Welcome.  I will be writing about a smorgasbord of sports, sports entertainment, and whatever else catches my fancy.  Yes, Iím a girl.  Yes, Iím hot.  No, donít annoy me about it.
Today will be all about the recently completed Australian Open.  As February rolls around, Iíll be getting more into college basketball, the Olympics, golf, more tennis, and other thingsÖ

No, he isnít.  This notion about how Roger dominating is a foregone conclusion at every tournament is ridiculous.  With the absence of Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi and bumbling oaf Marat Safin, I could see why people thought Roger would cruise to victory in Melbourne.  However, look at every match from the Round of 16 to the Final.  They were all tight scuffles.  Also, look at how many tight 3 set matches heís won in the past 12 months, where his opponent has gagged under the pressure of possibly beating the undoubted #1 player in the world.
Iím not slighting Roger, in any way.  Heís already one of the 5 best players of the Open Era (behind Sampras, Connors, Agassi, and Borg), at the age of 24.  However, the tour is far too talented, and far too deep to think Roger can just step out on court and stomp people.   Players know they have to improve to compete with Roger, and they definitely are. 

Now, the big question on everyoneís mind is will Roger win Roland Garros?  (And, please, everyone stop calling it the French Open.  Thatís incorrect.  We donít call Wimbledon the British Open, do we?)  At the moment, he is one of the secondary favorites to win.  After Nadalís beatdown of Roger in last yearís semifinal, heís currently the clear favorite.  However, we have to see how the clay season transpires.
Marcos was a great story in Melbourne.  But, unfortunately, heís not ready for the immediate success he earned.   Notice the 3rd set he played against Roger, the 2nd set against Andy, and many more examples.  One cannot mentally go away for periods like that and consistently survive as a top 10 player.  Thereís no doubt that Marcos has loads of game, especially with his Federer-like forehand.   Weíve known this for a while.  Marcos still has a lot of room to improve, though.   So, I suggest not putting your hopes too high on him yet.  Remember that he was regularly playing in challengers for most of 2005.  Marcos is still a youngin'.  Don't pressure him.
It was a wacky win, indeed.  3rd round Ė Michaella Krajicek retires after the first set with heat problems.  4th round Ė Nicole Vaidisova plays one of the worst matches ever.  Quarterfinal Ė Patty Schnyder, noted freak, plays ugly tennis in the first set, and tanks with gusto in the second.   Semifinal Ė Kim Clijsters, retires in the third set with an ankle sprain.  Oh, karma is a bitch.  Final Ė Justine Henin-Hardenne, retires with a tummy ache.
All credit for Amelie for playing fine tennis in all of these matches, conquering her fears in grand slam play.  However, this still doesnít prove her choking days are over to me.  Roland Garros has been the huge struggle for her, and that will be her true proving ground.   I hope Amelie does so, as well.  Sheís a joy to watch when she believes in her game, as she isnít brainless power groundstroke bashing like all the Williamsí and Sharapova clones in the WTA.
For some reason, many people love to hate Justine.  I find it sad, since Justine is truly a great success story.  She had a difficult childhood, with her mother dying at a young age, and a father who disowned her.  Plus, she would not be mistaken for an attractive-looking female, at the very least.  And, sheís a very petite girl.  But, she worked diligently through all this, by herself, and got to be one of the best players of all-time.
Then after getting to #1, she starts getting many illnesses that basically forced her out of the game for over a year.  Thatís why I give her somewhat of a pass with her weak retirement in the Aussie Open final.  Justine knows she canít work herself to death anymore.  She was worried.   Put yourself in her shoes, and youíd likely feel the same.
Would it really have been a great moment for Amelie if Justine just stood out there struggling for another four games?  I donít think it would have proven a thing.  Itís a shame for all people involved, and you know Justine is very disappointed by it.  With Amelieís past history in attempting to close out wins in important matches, Justine definitely wanted to make her earn it. 


No, thatís not a typo, stupid American tennis fans.  Venus and Serena are not #1 and #1a!  And they havenít been for nearly 3 years now!   Iíll gleefully cackle if Serena is unseeded for Roland Garros.  The struggles for both players are well-deserved since they do not put the effort into being tennis players any longer.  Letís make a decision, Serena:  Either focus on being a horrible ďactressĒ who whores around, or be a tennis player.  Because trying to do both is not working, and itís not fair to the rest of the WTA tour who do put in the hard work to be successful, but are all much less talented than you are.


Yes, the bitch is back!  Her comeback has been more successful than most could imagine thus far, with a Quarterfinal appearance at the Aussie Open, and a Semifinal showing at the Gold Coast warm-up.  And both of those losses were very close.  Granted, her draw in Melbourne was very kind, but itís hard not to be impressed with her game already.  The obvious question is how Martina will deal with power the girls have on tour now, the power that frustrated her and forced her out of the game in 2002.  That remains to be seen.  But, just taking one look at the incredible shape sheís in shows sheís very serious about this comeback.  We all wish her well, even her many haters.  Womenís tennis desperately needs her charisma and character back.

Most people ignore February tennis from the Aussie Open to Indian Wells/Miami, but thereís still some important tournaments being played.  This week, on the womenís side, we have Tier I Tokyo Pan Pacific Open.  Thereís the possible interesting matchup of Sharapova-Hingis in the Semifinal.   Other than that, the field is horrible, as Tokyo is poorly scheduled.  What top players are going to want to play immediately after a grand slam on a much, much faster surface?  Thereís just the usual Russian scrubs like Myskina and Dementieva who play 35 tournaments a year.
On the menís side, Andy Roddick is whining because he didnít get a wild card for a tiny event in Delray Beach.  Itís just match practice for Davis Cup coming up next week, so itís not too important.  And nobody cares about Davis Cup in the US, so it means even less.   That being said, Delray Beach still has a surprisingly strong draw.   Andre Agassi makes his 2006 debut, and has already won his 1st round match.  Other top players such as James Blake, Robby Ginepri and Tommy Haas are in the draw.   Thereís also a new tournament this week in Zagreb, Croatia where some European players are.  And the start of the neverending clay season for the dirtballers in Vina Del Mar, where Gaston Girly Gaudio hopes to defend.


That's all.  

Next week, or whenever I feel like writing again, there will be more than tennis.

If you must send me feedback, .  Please don't send me anything stupid.


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