Just a collection of musings, a slacker’s version of Jon Wertheim’s wonderful “50 Things”
1. Roger = human perfection. It’s just a matter of time before the creationist nut-jobs start putting his photo in their pamphlets. Because truly, is he not proof that heaven really does exist? And the “luck” that he has in his matches (I mean, come on, Djokovic had seven set points!) supports the idea that the big guy/gal/all knowing-blob in the sky must also be a tennis fan.
But seriously, it’s amazing how Roger manages to take all of the pressure (French Open), unreasonable expectations (losing to Canas – twice!), cocky upstarts (Djoky), forces of nature (Nadal), and quotidian concerns (boredom, jet lag, putting pants on backwards) and create a storyline worthy of a Zane Gray novel. He’s pushed to the brink and emerges victorious over all.
When Roger lost in Indian Wells and Miami, failed to beat Nadal in the French Open final, was taken to five-sets by the same guy at Wimbledon and then lost to Djoky in the Montreal final, it seemed like us Fed Fans were being faced with the fact that our star was in a slow, yet inevitable, state of decline. Oh, the despair! But how wrong we were. Looking back at Rog’s achievements this season, I’d have to say that this year tops all. He just keeps getting better. As Agassi said when watching him play Roddick, “Roger’s the only player I can think of who you’d bet money on winning four majors a year instead of two.”
2. Justine! I don’t buy the whole “kinder, gentler” thing, but who cares? This woman’s game really does trump any off court iciness. Her match with Venus on Friday was gorgeous, with both women hitting with awe-inspiring conviction, style and power (anyone who claims Justine’s game lacks power is a hack – like Roger, her phenomenal footwork and magical shot-making serve to take the sting off.) Venus’s one-of-a-kind power game was a remarkable foil to Justine’s crisp perfection. Just shut your eyes and I bet you can envision Venus’s awesome serve, thrown down on the court like Zeus with his thunderbolts, or her early preparation on the backhand, or her miles-long legs propelling her towards that impossible-seeming volley.
I just hope that the year-end WTA event in Madrid will see Serena, Venus, Justine, Jankovic, Ivanovic and Sharapova all competing and healthy. Maybe they can use some of the momentum from this and make 2008 a much brighter season for tennis fans.
3. US Open fashion: Sharapova’s outfit was an improvement over the ice-skater cum Breakfast at Tiffany’s number. Too bad she didn’t stick around the tournament very long. Spying her in Djoky’s box today (oooh, Roddick must really be feeling like a has-been, now!) I was taken by her stylish civilian duds: crisp white shirt, cute cropped pants, perfect hair, subtle make-up, and those awesome Ray Bans that I’ve been coveting. So chic, so cool and so refreshingly un-touched by a stylist (or maybe she just has a really, really good one.)
Roger made the big fashion news on the men’s side this year, and while I was uncomfortable with the whole tuxedo concept (read towards the end of my blog posting from last year) he still looked smoking! Unlike the Wimby get-up, the all black gear was totally bad ass, leading to amusing Darth Federer references in the press. Too bad Nike is going to lose their poster boy – rumor has it that Roger’s ditching them soon and moving onto a lucrative deal with Polo.
Venus! Wow, she’s definitely the hottest woman in tennis right now. She rocks hot pants like no other. It was fun to see her self-promote her cheapo Eleven line of clothing (it’s for Steve and Barry’s a la Sarah Jessica Parkers much-hyped “Bitten” label.) Supposedly everything she wore on court cost less than $20, including the shoes (that’s scary, Venus, you need to take care of your feet!) I’m thrilled that I can afford the duds, but how will I ever afford the trainer who’ll get me in shape to wear them?
This is Fabrice Santoro in the Lacoste pastel striped shirt that only he can pull off.
My must-have outfit from the Open was Natalie Dechy’s Lacoste outfit, with the flowy paint-splattered skirt and the crisp 20’s style top with red trim. I also liked the Fila tops and skirts worn by Chan and Chuang, the women’s doubles runner-ups.
4. Speaking of doubles, thank you USA/CBS for putting some on t.v.! And congrats to Safina/Dechy for taking the women’s title! It was really sweet to see the joy on Dinara’s face when she accepted her trophy – obviously pleased to have a U.S. Open title just like her big brother. Awwww. She’s looking trim and fit by the way – perhaps she’s ready to have another good run in the singles, too. Shout out to Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi on their mixed dubs title. I saw these Belarusians play on Labor Day and thought they looked like Champions. Victoria, a young’un who I can see doing big things in singles next year, more than pulled her own weight playing with the big hitting Beast.
5. My top matches:
Blake vs. Santoro (almost any match involving the Frenchman is a blast – I just hope he can keep it up in his old age – don’t go the way of Tim Henman, Fabrice, or there really won’t be any good early round matches anymore!)
Venus vs. Justine (I think I already expressed myself on this one)
Djoky vs. Juan Monaco (live and in the flesh, baby!)
Roger vs. Roddick (there’s just something about this match up that brings out the mind-boggling greatness in Roger)
6. I used to like Kuznetsova because of her big forehand and her almost defiant lack of pretension and glamour as compared to the other Eastern European Amazons on tour. But I’m sorry, her lack of fitness and crappy play in both the semis and finals were just embarrassing and painful for the knowledgeable fan to watch. Ughh.
7. What’s up with Berdych? Gasquet? Murray? Monfils? Baghdatis? Are they all on one smelly Greyhound Bus headed straight out of the top 50 or what?
8. Liza Minelli’s God Bless America almost made me throw the pricey L.C.D. television off the balcony. I bet Roger caught her spastic singing and scary eye-makeup in the locker room and nearly lost his lunch – how else to explain his less than stellar play against Dkjokovic. NEVER AGAIN, USTA!!!
9. Andre Agassi should stop whatever “jobbies” he and Steffi are dabbling in right now and become a serious tennis commentator alongside John McEnroe. He managed to tell tennis fans some things we didn’t already know about Roger Federer, the most talked-about player in the game. I loved how he described the almost 4-dimensional nature of Roger’s “wheelhouse.”
10. What a sweet and melancholy feeling is sweeping over me at the “end” of the tennis season. It’s the late-Christmas-night, last-day-of-summer-vacation, taking-a cab-to-the-airport-at-the-end-of-a-good-trip-feeling – the I-know-I’m-lucky-but-I still-want-more-feeling. We have been lucky, haven’t we, to watch Roger and company compete on the clay, lawns and hard courts of the world, displaying all of the beauty the human body and spirit possesses when pushed to the limits of its athletic potential. So I’m going to enjoy this time of relative quiet, as I’m sure Rafa and Maria will do in their respective beach side properties, preparing for the season’s splashy finale and looking forward to next year, and all of the beauty that’s yet to come.