Aussie Open 2008: Serena’s fit! Roger’s sick! Lindsay’s back! The courts are BLUE but play like they’re RED! If Rog goes down in flames and Rafa manages to find his game again, the Spaniard could take the No. 1 spot!
Now that I’ve summed up the predominant story lines so far from down under, I’m free to get snarky-as-I-wanna be about one of my least favorite tennis commentators, Chris Fowler. This guy drives me nuts! He has no right to pour Darren Cahill’s coffee, let alone talk tennis with him. Case in point: his comments on today’s entertaining Jelena Jankovic/Tamira Paszek match.
Look, we have all moaned and groaned about the craziness of women’s tennis before. It’s a notoriously spotty time in WTA history. We didn’t get the final of the 2007 WTA season until the final of the WTA season – the Henin/Sharapova match at the year end championships in Madrid. Fine, we get it, but Chris Fowler, as a non-tennis-playing talking head on ESPN, has no right to slag on what ended up being a very fine, very exciting (and yes, “nervy”) first round women’s match.
The Jankovic/Paszek battle was a real thriller in a day of competitive matches on the women’s side. It went over three hours – the third set going to 12-10 with 15 breaks of serve in the set! Paszek showed a canny, powerful game, especially for someone so young, and Jelena showed a lot of class and heart to keep going despite being injured and multiple breaks and match points down. I agree with Darren (who was defending the women against Chris’s constant “who’s gonna lose it” criticism) when he said that while it was a nervy match, both players showed plenty of spunk and brilliant shot making, too. It had me on the edge of my seat, nibbling at my fresh manicure, that’s for sure.
Okay, so here’s what really got under my skin. It’s 10-frigging-10 in the final set of the match and suddenly Jesse Levine, best known as “The Guy Who Fed Flew to Dubai,” is sitting in studio with Darren and Foul-er. Let the bashing begin.
Chris: “What do the guys think when they see 14 breaks of serve in the third set of a women’s match?”
(Now is that a loaded question, or what????)
Jesse: “I wish I could play against some serves like that.”
Jesse Levine, I, for one, would welcome you onto the WTA tour, if only to see the likes of Serena and Justine kick you butt back up to Canada.
Chris gets all giggly and mentions that Andy Roddick is playing next on that court:
“I guarantee you that Andy Roddick is not happy sitting around the locker room waiting for this long women’s match to finish.”
Okay, Chris we get it, the women’s game is vastly inferior to the men’s and if, God forbid, we have a dramatic, long, competitive and exciting first round women’s match that may be messing with Andy Roddick’s schedule, then by all means let’s have the ump stop play and flip a coin to decide the winner. Does that work for you and Andy?
Oh, and just to underline his point when the match finally ended and Jelena collapsed to her knees in triumph, Chris turned to Jesse Levine and said that he was “classy for waiting though that” – “that” meaning the whole 5 minutes it took for Jankovic to clinch her final game (in exciting style, by the way.) AS IF JESSE LEVINE HAD SOMETHING BETTER TO DO!!!
As for Chris Fowler – get thee back to Monday Night Football, you freak!