Me, Watching Tennis

Me, Watching Tennis
Me, Watching Tennis

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Highlights from Auckland

Heeey Rowan here, I told Paula I was gonna post something about the Auckland WTA and ATP tournaments, which took place just before the Aussie Open, then I forgot, then I remembered, so here you go.

We had a great field for the women’s tournament this year, with Sharapova, Kuznetsova and Safina all coming for the first time. Defending champ Yanina Wickmayer was there too, and she got Safina in the first round, ouch, but she came through in a good three setter. Kuz lost to Peng Shuai (happy Chinese New Year everyobdy!) in the second round and Sharapova lost to Greta Arn (who?) in the quarters, but it was nice to see them live and in person. Poor old Maria, she’ll always have that never give up attitude but she still has some big issues with her game. Plus sexy German Julia Goerges was wearing the same outfit as Maria and filled it out better than she did. Not Maria’s week.

Lots of sightings of Alize Cornet and her nose which made me happy. She came back from a set and 2-5 down to win her first round match in three sets, screaming things in French all the way. She lost to Goerges in the second round but then made the semis in the doubles, where she was nice enough to lose to hometown Kiwi Marina Erakovic. Merci Alizé, à la prochaine.

In the end Greta Arn (who?) won the whole tournament (what?) beating Wickmayer in the final. See if something like this happened in professional wrestling, I mean an unknown midcarder getting a series of impressive upset victories, then you can bet the matchmakers in the back would have a plan for this person. This would be the beginning of what we wrestling fans call a push, the first step on Greta Arn’s road to becoming a championship contender. But unfortunately tennis is not like wrestling, and this Greta Arn victory will probably not lead to anything at all. This is part one in a twelve part series called Why Wrestling Is Almost Better Than Tennis. Nah I’m just playing. Twelve parts is too much.

In the men’s tournament we had Ferrer, Nalbandian, Isner, Robredo and other solid guys. Nalbandian looked really good all week, he dismantled John Isner’s giant serve and deconstructed Nicolas Almagro’s fiery one handed backhand. But then he forgot how to play tennis in the final against Ferrer and lost 63 62, it was a bit of a let down. See if this was wrestling, Ferrer and Nalbandian would have put on a 45 minute best two out of three falls classic. The young top ten lion Ferrer would have won in the end, but not without a heck of a battle. Nalbandian’s valiant losing effort (during which he would have got busted open and bled all over the ring, and the referee would have said, David I'm gonna have to stop it, but Nalby would have shouted DON'T YOU DARE STOP THIS MATCH, and Ferrer would have been reluctant to keep beating up on his wounded opponent, but Nalby would have slapped his face and told him to bring it, and then they would have wrestled another twenty minutes until Ferrer finally eked out the win) would have done more for his standing than any victory, as he would have won the hearts of the fans and shown that he is on his way back to the top ten and one final shot at the world heavyweight championship that has eluded him throughout his storied career. Or at least a run with the tag team championships. I mean Davis Cup.

Happy 2011 everybody! It's gonna be a good season, I can feel it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The 2011 Australian Open Women and Men's Finals

Ladies First.
The Beginning of this match was all about boob sweat. Poor Kimmy had two perfect circles of sweat on her boobs. It made her lose the first set. RR and I like both Kimmy and Li Na, so we were excited to see either win. In the second set, Kimmy's sweat morphed into all over body sweat, undoing the unfortunate boob circles of sweat. This made her play much better, because she didn't have to be so embarrassed and instead, she could concentrate on stepping into the court and whacking the crap out of the ball deep into the corners. Funny, how much boobs affect tennis.

Here are some really dumb moments that happened during the ladies final. The commentators said some dumb things and some things they said, like, over and over and over again. For instance, Will Li Na Be The First Asian to win a grand slam? This was asked over and over again. I was like, hm, maybe we should stop asking this and instead, like, wait and see what actually happens. Then Rick Rock said, "Will Kim Clijsters be the first Asian to win a grand slam?" This made us crack up. Then there was the reeeeeeeaaallly unfortunate moment when after Li Na played an awesome defense to offense winner of a backhand, Dick Enberg yelled out "The Great Wall of China"! RR and I looked at each other in disbelief. The box got suddenly very silence after that and I could just see the programmers whispering to Dick, "Dude, you CANNOT say that??!! OK??!!" In that kind of whisper which is angry even if it's not loud, because, anyway, the whole thing had to go away and be covered up. Anyway, then Rick Rock said, "General Chow's Chicken!" and we cracked up again. We were making fun of Dick Enberg, BTW, not poor Li Na.

I loved Li Na's speech at the end. That thing about loving her husband no matter what, even if he got fat and old? It was so cute. I was worried she was going to complain to the Chinese fans of whom she complained a lot to the chair, which was a bummer, because she needed to just not pay attention to that and focus on her amazing tennis. She got distracted by them and they were loud. At one point, Nick said, "what's up with the Chinese fans, have they become Serbs?" Which I thought was a very good question.

Then Kimmy's speech which started out with thanking the dentist who fixed her chipped tooth. Now, that was hilarious. But I did want to know how she chipped her tooth. I hope her husband didn't punch her. I hope she drunkenly fell down and smacked her tooth on the kitchen table...that would be a "fun" way to chip your tooth- drinking and partying and shit--as opposed to being punched.

Men's final commentary to follow!

Djoker and Murray. I like both these players. I felt that the Beeg (Brad Gilbert) was wrong in his prediction of Murray in five and as we are in the third (back on serve) and Djoker is playing way more solid that Murray, I was right and the Beeg was wrong!!!! I like the Beeg, don't get me wrong, I like his "color commentary" for the most part. The confusing thing about the Beeg is that we have the same name! Rick Rock calls me "beeg" all the time! (It's short for "baby girl".) Anyway, when I get to meet the Beeg, I think we'll bond on that issue. I look forward to that day. Someday soon, I'll add a little link here to the time I met Killer Cahill.

Murray is not being mentally tough. He's not moving well. I think it's the stress. Thank GOD he didn't get bagelled in that second set! Sheesh. This third set is way more fun. I like the skull and crossbones on Murray's mom's sweatshirt. I walked by her once or twice in Canada last summer and she's a little lady. His father must be a bruiser because Andy's a big strong man. Anybody have any info on Andy's dad? We got his hot brother, Jamie, and his hardass mom. But what of his dad???

Which leads me to- The Serbs. I have not seen the Djoker's parents? Is that right? And what of the Serb fan who is in a skin tight wrestling uniform and you can see his nipples and the outline of his penis? That was WRONG. People love to hate the Djoker's parents, (notice that Maria Sharapova seems to have quietly fired her father and this whole Serena "injury" thing -I worry she's getting work done too, because she looked really different the last time I saw her on TV, but I digress) but let's take a quick look at their likely history (now, this is just theory, I actually don't know these things for facts). First, all Serbs are Greeks that got the short end of the stick, so to speak. Greeks- everyone loves the Greeks. But the Serbs are the Greeks that got chased up to the mountains, probably over some disputes about a goat, and hey, just because they got chased up the mountain, doesn't even mean they stole a goat, it could mean the other guy had a big old shovel or pitchfork and got him on the surprise and like, he just had to run to save himself from getting smashed over the head or, like, stuck in the gut with a pitchfork all Friday the 13thy. Or he could have stolen the goat. Regardless, for centuries, these poor "really are Greeks" have been stuck in the freezing ass mountains, barely getting by by running pizza and pancake restaurants, occasionally getting pillaged and raped by Mongol hoards from the East, and Viking-bear fur-wearing barbarians from the North. So because of this, they sort of are ill behaved raging desperate people, who really can't help it because they've been cut off from the good life for so long.

Oh man, I feel for Murray. The Djoker is just too solid. I really had hoped this would go longer. But the dude kicked the Fed's butt so maybe this is not so surprising.

I would love to console Murray or celebrate wildly with Nole. Either the consoling or the decadent celebrating would involve nudity and lots of touching. The consoling would be melancholy and soothing touching and nudity, the celebrating would be joyous and aggressive fun nudity and touching.

Nole is getting naked now, in preparation for his celebration. I am so sad I'm not there. I'm jealous.

I still believe in Murray. Clijsters lost her first four times at trying to win a Major-so - Murray has a chance

Yours Truly,


3:31 AM

Hi everybody. My name is Mike Young, and Paula is graciously letting me liveblog. What I mean is that I promised I would live blog the Australian Open Final if Murray got into it, so here I am. My friend Jack and I are sitting in his house, surrounded by ice and snow and weird hipsters walking home from Saturday night doo-wap dancing. We have coffee and Ezra Brooks whiskey. Jack is explaining to me that the Woz told everybody a kangaroo bit her. Now he is talking about how his wife looks like Kim Clijsters, and his wife is deeply asleep in the other room. Meanwhile, ESPN is showing really melodramatic close-ups of Andy Murray's chin scraggle.

3:35 AM

3:37 AM

Man, some kid's Make-a-Wish was to get a picture with the finalists at the Australian Open? Also, he looks like a Djokovic fan.

3:39 AM

Just to let Paula's fans down early: we are not going to talk about how attractive Murray or Djokovic are until after we drink a lot more whiskey. Also the announcers really like Djokovic because one of the announcers sounds Australian, and Australians resent people from Great Britain because Australia used to be a giant jail. Jack says Murray is going to win because he's wearing green.

3:45 AM

Brad Gilbert is talking about how he got the chance to sit down exclusively and touch Djokovic's knee. Wait, the match just started. Jack is going to make sure we have enough muffins.

3:47 AM

Djokovic just won the first game. We are talking about the dead spot controversy. We've concluded that tennis has the furriest ball of any major professional pursuit, and also the bounciest. Djokovic's dad isn't wearing the Shirt, which makes Jack sad. What Shirt? Look to your left.

3:53 AM

Jack says Murray likes to get beat early because that makes him want it more later. I said that's very British of him. I have a feeling this liveblong is going to get more and more offensive as we go. I accidentally just typed blong. Murray might get broken in his first game. Or maybe not. They just exchanged massive cross-court forehands and Murray won the point. Our other friend Sean hasn't shown up yet, and he is rooting for the Joker, so he will provide exciting narrative tension. ESPN just showed a close up of Murray's face and we laughed and Jack said "Rat grimace." We are wondering if the Australian Open rubberized courts are even faster than the U.S. Open hardcourts, but this live blog is too important to interrupt with research.

3:57 AM

Jack says the ball-kids at the Australian Open are faster than any other major. I said I want video review for a lot of things in my life. Murray still hasn't won his first goddamn service game.

4:07 AM

Murray took five deuces to hold his first service game. To celebrate, here is a picture of Murray attacking his girlfriend's nose:

4:02 AM

Jack and I agree that this is probably the last Australian Open for a while because the world next year will be embroiled in nuclear war, or gone completely, after Egypt collapses, and then every other country in the Middle East collapses, and then Israel drops a bunch of bombs on any sandy spots it can find. Also we also agree that maybe the Australian ball kids look faster because of their floppy yellow hats. Also we're eating oranges, even though it's 5 degrees outside in Massachusetts, which doesn't have a lot of orange trees. We figure this is maybe the third to last month we'll get to eat oranges before the world collapses.

4:14 AM

Murray is looking a little better, wearing the Joker down, just made a very regal overhead smash. One of the announcers just said "These guys have two hands." Whoa, Murray just went from scrambling defense to a killer cross-court backhand.

4:27 AM

They're staying on serve, some exciting rallies, not a ton. The announcer just said "Flowing brown and nasty." Jack and I are talking about the function of cataloging in prose, James Agee and Stanley Crawford, but I at least am getting a little incoherent. If Jack is feeling incoherent, he is masking it with enthusiasm. Now we are fantasizing that Jack's wife will sleepwalk to the grocery store and buy bacon and then cook the bacon for us. Murray's foreheads really hug the net, and when Djokovic hits something really hard he looks like he's about to kill a bird with mild regret. Also Djokovic is making some dumb errors.

4:33 AM

ESPN just interrupted the match to show a video of a girl jogging to court with new rackets. If the first set stays on pace, it will have taken about an hour and a half. The announcer just said "You're not buying the buddies thing."

4:38 AM

Jack just said Murray is Micky Ward and Djokovic is Dickie Eklund.

4:42 AM

Djokovic is two points away from breaking Murray and winning the set. Now when he is hitting big balls and working Murray all around the court, his close-up face looks like he is making one of those high pitched "wise guy eh?" jokes and he is relishing the opportunity to make this joke. The rallies are getting kind of insanely good now.

4:46 AM

Djokovic just broke Murray and won the first set. Murray needs to stop playing defense, man. He reminds me of that guy who waits until a girl he likes in high school is collecting Social Security and vacationing in a raft on a lake in Maine before finally telling her he likes her.

4:57 AM

Murray just got broken again trying to make a too cute forehead drop shot. ESPN keeps showing slo-mo shots of Djokovic's legs. If anybody has a calf fetish, they are getting their money's worth.

5:05 AM

Murray is falling apart! Awful unforced errors. Also there is a Serbian in the crowd wearing a singlet.

5:16 AM

Murray showing some life down 1-5 in the second set. Djokovic is squeezing his eyes together with his fingers, say the announcers. Wait, Murray is squeezing his eyes. But Djokovic wears contacts. I can't keep up. Murray just broke Djokovic. Down 2-5 now. Now there is a bowling commercial. Jack just made a Karate Kid reference. We both agree that if someone wanted to make us bacon and eggs we wouldn't be like "No thank you, we don't want bacon and eggs," we would be like "Hell yeah, gimme dem bacon and eggs."

5:25 AM

Djokovic just won the second set. Melbourne, Australia had a confusing commercial for itself with some girl meeting herself in a puddle? There are some orange peels near my gloves.

5:33 AM

Murray has a break point. The announcers just said "The dark side." Jack said "Negative energy capacity." Boom, great forehand down the line from Murray, and a surprising winner after a series of defensive plunkies, but he found his spot. Murray up a break in the third set. He keeps shushing his camp. We think maybe he's high.

5:35 AM

The announcers just said, of Murray's mom, "Judy was a player but she never really made it on tour," and we thought it sounded like a Belle & Sebastian song. Until tonight I thought Andy Murray was Welsh for some reason? Of course he is Scottish, duh.

5:47 AM

Murray keeps going for this inside out backhand down the line and missing it wide. The announcers just said "Lots of F words from Murray on the court. He always says focus." He just biffed a backhand at deuce and gave Djokovic a break point. Okay, another ace to get back to deuce. In my experience it's a bad sign when somebody is hanging on by their aces. Jack just said "Where is his dad?" Murray just made a bad drop shot, lost the point on a cutesy lob, and got back to deuce on another serve. Then another shitty backhand into the net. The announcers are saying Murray's mom is a better competitor than he is.

5:50 AM

Finally Murray nailed that inside out backhand. Jack used a Jewish Mom accent to talk about Murray's mom. Murray's mom made a fist pump. We are almost out of whiskey. Ad Murray. He just biffed a slice backhand into the net. Jack just said "You piece of shit." Murray needs to stop checking replays and start playing some goddamn tennis.

5:54 AM

Djokovic just did a great job staying in the point and making a killer forehand down the line. It's all over but the Scottish eggs, folks. I call Murray losing in three, winning maybe one more game. 4, 2, 2 is my prediction.

5:55 AM

Braveheart, more like LAMEHEART. Announcers actually made a William Wallace/Braveheart reference, saying William Wallace needs to come back from the dead and dunk Murray in a bucket of blue warpaint. Actually I made that up. They said something boring.

6:00 AM

Jack has added a Scottish burr to his Jewish mom accent, and it seems to be working. Murray just broke Nole to bring things back on serve.

6:10 AM

I don't like how mean Murray is to his camp. I do like the guy with the sunglasses in Djokovic's camp. Now there is a very sad SPCA commercial.

6:14 AM

Every time Nole lands a fluky-ass lob, Murray doesn't capitalize and lets him back in the point and ends up losing the point. Not to say that Djokovic isn't landing some huge shots, covering tons of ground, having an amazing service game (70% first serves in!), and nailing all his spots.

6:18 AM

Djokovic broke Murray AGAIN. All he needs to do is hold serve to win the whole blooming onion. The whole Vegemite factory.

6:23 AM

Tournament point for the Jokuh.

6:24 AM

That's it. Into the net from Murray and Djokovic wins his second Australian Open. He's giving away his shoes into the crowd. Holy shit he's giving everything away. He just grabbed Murray's mom and threw her into the crowd, and she was already in the crowd.

6:26 AM
Final score: 6-4, 6-2. 6-3. Man. What a bummer. Not really even all that exciting of a match. Gonna finish this whiskey and go home in the cold, cold dawn. The TV just said "It would just break his funky little heart." Next week there will be more snow! Thank you Paula for letting me live blog, thanks to Jack for provision of house and muffins, and congratulations to Djokovic fans worldwide. Your boy has very symmetrical chest hair.