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Archive for the ‘Tennis’ Category

Marat Safin in Melbourne

I found this photo of Marat Safin at Jezebel. Never knew they were in to tennis. I can’t wait for the Grand Slam season to start.

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Here’s hoping Andy Murray ignores the hype and gets to work. He’s got a lot going for him right now.

I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to watch the matches without cable TV. Last year Wimbledon let you purchase a 2-week online pass to watch all the games. That seems like a really good idea which it doesn’t appear any of the other Grand Slams have tried. There’s a few sports sites around, but I’m not sure if the Australian Open will be available.

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…professional athletes make fun of the prize money at the U.S. competitions. Here’s a quote from Andy Murray who was a finalist at the U.S. Open.

And despite the defeat, Murray remained sharp enough to make a joke when asked how he felt about picking up a cheque for US$1m.

“That’s about £10, isn’t it?” he said.

It’s funny as I was watching the trophy ceremony on TV, I remember feeling something was wrong about Dick Enberg’s aggrandizing vocal intonations when he announced the prize money for both Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Perhaps it was the somewhat(?) blank expressions on the two athletes. Now I realize what it was. It reminded me of the Austin Powers movie where Dr. Evil puts the Earth at ransom for 1 million dollars and everyone in the room starts laughing.

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What a match. I’m truly beside myself. Now that I’m calm and collected, I can say that Murray definitively outplayed Nadal in the semi. He was coming up with amazing dexterous shots that I don’t think even Federer could have tracked down. On the other hand, I’ve seen many a player outplay Nadal only to lose to him in the end. Nadal is brilliant at saving the points that matter, and this was truly a nail biter.

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Currently they are:

1. Roger Federer

2. Rafael Nadal

3. NovakDjokovic

4. Nikolai Davydenko

5. David Ferrer

6. Andy Murray

It’s very exciting to see Andy Murray at number 6. I hope this marks him as a potentially great tennis player who isn’t just popular because Britain needs him to be.

Britain’s Andy Murray has climbed to a career-high of number six in the world after winning his first Masters Series title in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Murray’s victory over world number three Novak Djokovic in the final saw him rise three places in the rankings.

And the Scot, who now heads to the Beijing Olympics, feels he has proved he is capable of winning a Grand Slam.

“I think I have the game to win a Slam,” Murray said. “My results here show I have the potential to do it.”

“I’ve started to play more consistently in the bigger tournaments,” Murray added. “And winning my first Masters event makes a big difference to my confidence.

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What is it about Asian Americans that makes some of them be ashamed of being Asian? I’ve noticed this phenomenon in the past on a NPR cartoon where Adrian Tomine talks about how the character Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles ruined his life. Now I read a very interestingly titled article “Dear Michael Chang. You ruined my tennis career. Thanks for nothing.”

Even if you allow that Chang influenced Chinese-Americans to participate in sports beyond the Academic Decathlon, he still shackled us with another stereotype. Thanks to him, we were all seen as determined counterpunchers, tireless tongue-lolling retrievers who compensated for our lack of physical gifts by outlasting our opponents because we couldn’t outplay them.

Before Chang, we were free to dream about becoming Boris Becker, that Teutonic badass who strutted around the baseline, blasting aces, or Edberg, the square-jawed Swede with a stylish attacking game and a hot blond girlfriend. Now we were stuck with the introverted, 5-foot-9 (on his best day) Chang, a devout Christian with a cream-puff serve who scrapped his way to the French Open title with borderline bush-league tricks (moonballing, crowding the service line on returns, the instantly legendary underhand serve). Worst of all, his dragon-lady mother once stuck her hand down his shorts after a practice to check if they were wet. At the Junior Davis Cup! In front of his friends! After Becker retired, he impregnated a woman in a restaurant’s cleaning closet; when Chang hung up his sticks, he studied theology at Biola University.

I’m not sure I understand the author Huan Hsu’s point. I mean Michael Chang is a Chinese-American and he is a real person subject to all those real person qualities that are appealing to some and unappealing to others. Hsu’s basically saying he wants Michael Chang to be white, you know like Agassi, or Boris Becker, or one of those guys. Why should he be? He was a fabulous tennis player any way you slice it. An athlete. A French Open champion. What I really loved about Michael Chang was how short he was compared to his competitors. He may not have been born with a tennis body, but he sure made good use of what he had.

I get it, Hsu doesn’t like the fact that Chang is a Christian. Okay, but Chang is a tennis player so who cares? You don’t hear a lot of African Americans ashamed of Venus and Serena Williams because they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses. You don’t hear Russians bemoaning Davydenko as a stereotype because he could be involved in game fixing? No. It’s just some Asian Americans who seem to have a problem with being Asian. Now you do sometimes hear about some straight-acting gays putting down gay gays. I’m not sure if there is a tennis connection, but I’ll be all over it if there is.

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I woke up at 6am today just to watch the Mens Wimbledon Final. Six hours later, it’s still going although now they have paused with a rain delay.

Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate Nadal despite my first impression which admittedly was formed by his tennis shorts rather than his game. What I like about Nadal is that he plays so hard. So many times I’ve watched other players seem to outplay him — but never at the right time. This match is no different.

Before the match began, I thought Nadal would be the champion. Now I’m not so sure. Federer’s serve is just so good. Still the fifth set has no tie breaks, so perhaps that will give Nadal the advantage.

I’m really going to be bummed if this match doesn’t end today.

Update: Well the match is over with Nadal the champion. What an incredible match and even though it’s the 4th time in memory that John McEnroe has said it’s the best Wimbledon Final he’s ever seen, it very well may be true this time.

In that last set Nadal was just coming up with some remarkable shots. This was a morning/afternoon well spent.

Update 2: Hours later, I’m still thinking about the match. I’ve always suspected that in addition to Nadal being adept at tennis and athletic, his greatest asset is the fact that he always seems to operating under the impression that he is going to win. I think of Djokovic in the 2007 U.S. Open Final. He was playing better than Federer, but nerve prevented him from closing the deal. Or Tipsarevic’s epic 5 set match last year against Federer. Again, nerve held him back where his talent didn’t seem to.

It made me appreciate more this young Spaniard who seems to have no problem believing he can beat the world number one. His game has improved so much that he seemed a very safe bet to win this tournament. I didn’t think it would be a match like this, but I’m so glad it was. We could all us this “belief” in ourselves.

He added: “When I lost the fourth set I sat down and said ‘I’m playing well.’ I had a very positive attitude, l felt confident with myself.

“It’s the final of Wimbledon so I have to continue fighting all the time.

“I’m playing well so why do I have to go down? I lost two tie-breaks. I played a terrible two points with serve at 5-2 and later he did very well.”

And as the drama unfolded in the fifth set, Nadal remained calm.

“I was just focused on every point,” he said. “It’s impossible to think too much. Just point by point. I didn’t want to think about the title.”

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