I would prefer to not move on from Roland Garros. I’d like to bottle that tournament, put it in my back pocket and end my run as a tennis fan. But, much like in years past (US Open 2006 was one of the best ever for me), I know I won’t be able to help myself. Plus, there are people who I can’t possibly stay away from in this sport (faves and friends, alike) so I “play” on.
However, before I completely wash off the virtual dirt stuck on the soles of my shoes and dream of rolling around the pristine grass at SW19, let me revisit, for the last time on this blog, the moment from Paris that I’ll draw inspiration from for… ever?
When you score a Sharapova tribute to Beyonce, you’ll have me.
“I always listened to my own voice, and it always told me that for some reason I’m meant to be better. I’m meant to succeed again. And I did.”
My thoughts after Maria’s win were summed up nicely in the last paragraph of this blog post (which had nothing to do with me or tennis) by a fellow photographer, James Nord:
“The old man cast his line out one more time, this time impossibly far into the ocean and as I turned around I imagined him pulling in a fish he would talk about for the rest of his life because we all deserve a brush with greatness to remind us to strive for it.”
And with that, it’s time to move along.
Ready? P… NEVER. Question though, is the women’s draw wide open at this Major? Is it?!
Lindsay Gibbs talks Andy Roddick. And the h-word. (After his Eastbourne win today, Andy has now won at least 1 title for the last 12 years. He’s definitely given fans reason to always h…)
The annual WTA pre-Wimbledon party in photos! Oh, here’s a gallery just for the Williamses. And, oh, for the World No. 1. Swag away, ladies. I certainly don’t disapprove of you having your own galleries. #oh
Petra Kvitova and Novak Djokovic won their first ever Wimbledon titles at this year’s Championships. Tough weekend for me as I was rooting for the other players. It felt a whole lot like Melbourne earlier this year. Well, that only means New York will be good to me, right?
Props must be given to the winners because their titles were well deserved. No flukes but great tennis and hard fought battles from both.
What else is there to say about Petra’s first grand slam title except incredible? She was a semifinalist here last year so this run to the finals did not come as a surprise to most. The only question going into the championship match was if Petra would be able to hold her nerve and play her game as well as she can. Well, she shattered that question into bits by the second game of the opening set. After getting broken to start, she broke back at love and never looked back. She played fearless tennis and went for her shots like she was the one who’s been there multiple times before. Wimbledon finals? No big deal.
Petra flat out beat Maria Sharapova for the title. Masha could not hit her off the court- groundies just did not penetrate like usual and that allowed Petra to control the rallies. Sure, it was part nerves and tightness but it also had a lot to do with how aggressive Petra was playing. Too good.
With the composure she showed during the finals, I’m almost positive Petra won’t disappear into the night after a slam win. I like her game and would be thrilled to see her stay at that top tier of women’s tennis. This next few months will be an interesting transition for her, her team best be ready.
Nole’s only lost one match this year. ONE FREAKING MATCH IS ALL. He is also the new World Number 1. I think I actually saw some of that confidence dripping out of Nole’s pockets that Janko Tipsarevic was talking about. Except for that error-filled third set in today’s championship match, he looked as sharp as he has all year.
At the elite level of professional sports, it is all mental, I heard someone say last week (or was it a line from a TV show?). Boy, ain’t that the truth. Rafael Nadal is the last person I would think of if asked about mental midgets in tennis. But Nole is in Rafa’s head so much that he causes the 10-time Grand Slam champ’s game to surprisingly collapse under pressure. Rafa played the most horrendous game late in the fourth set that eventually gave Nole the title.
Of course, this is all cumulative for both Nole and Rafa. Getting beaten and beating the same guy 4 (now 5) straight times will have that effect. I’m interested to see what changes Rafa will make and how Nole will handle them as this rivalry progresses. It’s been an exciting change for men’s tennis this year, can’t wait to see more.
Masha and Rafa are both having a relatively great year. They’ll have more shots at the big ones and getting over their respective humps. (hahamashplease) They’ve been there before and understand more than you and me what it takes to get it again. So, you no worry about them. I think.
All right, The Championships, Wimbledon. You’ve been good, so close to being amaaazing, to me this year. Thank you for the sleepless nights and making me go through that rollercoaster of emotions… until next year!
For showing me that Maria Sharapova can win the big ones again.
For alerting the fans of Venus Williams, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer that their clocks are ticking and maybe it’s time to find other players to learn to love. It doesn’t necessarily mean right away but sooner than later. Harsh but true. I wouldn’t want you any other way.
For leading Tomas Berdych back home- at the top with the big boys.
For maintaining the balance between crazy and reality by, in spite of the explosion this fortnight, still having both World Number 1s win the Championships.
And most of all, thank you for making me fall in love with tennis all over again. It’s been seven years but you made me feel like the best has yet to come and all of us are really only getting started!
Cheers to the World Number 1s! They made it happen in this year’s Championships and no one was going to stop them.
Serena Williams put up a clinic on Centre Court this Championship Saturday on how to win Wimbledon. Her oppponent, Vera Zvonareva, and some 15,000 other spectators were treated to a nice serving and hard hitting display for just over an hour.
I don’t think any of us had doubts about the outcome of the women’s final. It was Vera’s first time at a major final and Serena’s 16th. To top that off, Serena’s been flawlessly serving this fortnight landing double-digit aces in almost every match. How can someone stop that?
Final score: Serena Williams def Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2
Rafael Nadal was not as flawless as Serena in this fortnight but he had his heart (and experience) to carry him to the second Sunday. Rafa was taken to 5 sets twice in the first week by opponents one would think he’d routinely send home but he fought through them, got to the second week refreshed and claimed his 2nd Wimbledon title.
The men’s final was much like the women’s. Tomas Berdych was in his 1st major final and Rafa was in his 10th. Rafa elevated his game when he needed to and didn’t give Berd a chance to be comfortable out there.
Final score: Rafael Nadal def Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
For both finalists, they have plenty to be proud of in this fortnight. They gained a lot of experience. They can only build on it and hopefully go one better the next time.
Day 10 was the women’s semifinal. Favorites to come through, Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva, did and so it was a weird day for the women’s side at Wimbledon.
Serena was still her usual SW19-10 self. Although low on the ace count, she still served huge and over powered her opponent for most of the match. You know, it was a Serena match.
Vera’s back to her old winning-form self. Oh, what non-injury does to you. *sigh* She’s always been a solid Top 10 player, was in the Top 5 for a while but suffered a few injuries that set her back for the past year or so. Vera being in the finals of a major isn’t really the surprise rather it’s being in the finals of a major that’s played on grass. She hasn’t done well on this surface lately (1 grass title, Birmingham in 2006) to even be mentioned as a “sleeper” in the tournament but she’s snuck in there and beat Kim Clijsters, who was one of the favorites, along the way. The draw opened up for her when Venus Williams was taken out, she took that opportunity and viola! Welcome to your first major final, please do not get your ass handed to you.
Day 10 results:
Serena Williams (1) def. Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
Vera Zvonareva (21) def. Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Day 11 was the men’s semifinal. I wish we could have a 4-way tie but I see how that cannot work out. We had 2 men that are major title holders, 1 that’s an almost major title holder and a Tomas Berdych. Of course my heart went out to the ones who haven’t tasted the glory yet. I’m happy to see atleast one of them made it through and gets a shot at glory. And Rafael Nadal.
Berd’s groundies are fucking ridiculous. Excuse my language (it’s not French) but there’s no other way of putting it. He really hit his spots today and looked very comfortable for most of the match- a little nervy closing out the second set and in that TB. There was a point in the match where Berd hit a forehand pick-up winner from the baseline. That kind where you use all wrist? Yeah, that blew my mind. Among other things. It was that kind of day for Berd. It’s been that kind of few months actually and I’m so happy for him.
Rafa won a well-fought victory against Britain’s great hope. I didn’t see the entire match but from what I caught and read, both players played very well but it was Rafa who was more solid on the important points. On a close match, that’s where you want to give your heart, mind and body to.
Q. What about Andy, you said to him after the match that he could win a major.
RAFAEL NADAL: I wished him best of luck for the rest of the season, and sorry for today. I know it was an important match for him I think because he play at home, and this is a chance for him to win probably the most important title for him win here at home in Wimbledon.
Just I felt sorry for him because he’s a very nice person, very good person. I am sure he gonna win a Grand Slam very soon, because when you have final in US Open, final in Australia, semifinals here this year and the last year, you are there all the time. So one day you win. I am sure he gonna win. He deserve to win.
I’m sure Muzz will win a major soon too.
Day 11 results:
Rafael Nadal (2) def. Andy Murray (4) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
Tomas Berdych (12) def. Novak Djokovic (3) 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), 6-3
So, Day 9 was fun, huh? I know it was for me. Other than Jo-Wilfried Tsonga losing to Andy Murray, all the men I wanted to get through got through.
When the draw was released and I saw a potential quarterfinal match-up between Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer, I had no doubt who I was picking to win that match. No, not because I don’t like Fed but because T-Berd’s very confident right now. When the tournament started and Fed struggled in his opener against Alejandro Falla, I thought, shit, Fed’s not even going to get to that QF match-up. But he did and I was right. That’s all.
All this talk about Fed probably not going to win another Grand Slam is a little premature. Was it in 2008 that people said he was never going to beat Pete’s record? That went well. He might not regain the the #1 ranking again, he’ll drop to #3 next week, but I think he can still go for another major or two if he really wants it.
Day 9 results:
Tomas Berdych (12) def. Roger Federer (1) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (2) def. Robin Soderling (6) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Andy Murray (4) def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10) 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-2