Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wimbers post-mortem

Having just watched the end of the thrilling Federer-Nadal men's singles final this seems like as good a time as any for a few thoughts on the last fortnight.

Men's singles

For all my kind words about Tim Henman in my previous Wimbledon post, it was quite refreshing that his second-round exit and Andy Murray's wrist injury removed any British interest and allowed the less partisan of us to sit back and enjoy the tennis. It was a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest, Roger Federer cruising through serenely with only a couple of brief moments of concern against Juan Carlos Ferrero (and the extra help, as if he needed it, of a bye when Tommy Haas pulled out injured). Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, had to battle through five-setters against Soderling and Youzhny, and was lucky to have been spared another in the semi-final against Novak Djokovic when his opponent had to withdraw with a foot injury at one set all.

I was disappointed that Marat Safin didn't give Federer more of a match when they met in the third round, but that's the engima of Safin for you in a nutshell - massively talented, but unlucky with injuries over the years, and fundamentally a bit mental. It looked as if he was going to dominate men's tennis for years after he blew away Pete Sampras in the 2000 US Open final, but it hasn't quite worked out like that, although he did win the 2005 Australian Open, and his epic five-set defeat of Federer in the semi-finals there makes him the last man other than Nadal to beat Federer in a Grand Slam event, fact fans.

Anyway, we got the final we wanted, and it was all very exciting. It's a classic rivalry, really, Federer's touch and elegance against Nadal's pace and thunderous power, the rapier versus the broadsword if you will. If the progression from last year's final to this year's is continued next year then Nadal should win. To be fair he should really let Federer have the French Open in exchange.

To everyone's surprise, given the weather, the major competitions were finished on time, but some people had to cram an awful lot of matches in to achieve it. I wonder if the prevalence of injuries in the later stages of the men's singles - Djokovic and Gasquet in their respective semi-finals, and Nadal's knee twinge in the final - might have been down to the compressed schedule?

Women's singles

Less to say about this, really. Much respect to Marion Bartoli for getting to the final, but unless Venus Williams' weirdly long and slightly scary Anansi The Spider-Woman legs snapped off or something she was never going to win, and so it proved. Some dramatic matches on the way, though, of which Jelena Jankovic (of whom more below) against Lucie Safarova was probably the best one I saw; Jankovic against Bartoli was pretty good as well.

As was, for different reasons, Serena Williams against Daniela Hantuchova. Much to be said about the Williams sisters: they are incorrigible drama queens, and, I suspect, not above faking or exaggerating the odd injury to gain an advantage (not that Serena's initial calf injury was faked, by the look of it), and they both play a thwacking, grunting style of tennis that is far from aesthetically pleasing to watch. But, more importantly than all this, they really, really want to win. There was a moment when Serena came out after getting injured and losing the second set to Hantuchova where she looked across the net at her as if to say: I'm on one and a half legs, at best, here, but I still reckon I can beat you. Do you have the balls to prove me wrong? I don't think you do. And she was absolutely right, as Hantuchova promptly went to pieces so fast people in the front row of the crowd got hit by the shrapnel. Which is one of the reasons Serena is an ex-world #1 and multiple Grand Slam champion and Hantuchova, while making a nice enough living out of the game (and the modelling contracts) will never win a major tournament. The other reason is that Hantuchova is the frail willowy type and Williams looks like she could go ten rounds with Iron Mike Tyson and still have enough energy left to crack walnuts with her buttocks.


The only thing I have to say here is: I'm watching the mixed doubles final now and if the fevered tabloid rumours are true regarding the off-court relationship between Jamie Murray and Jelena Jankovic, then he is an extremely lucky boy, as he is a slightly weedy pale Scotsman who looks a bit like Doogie Howser MD, while she is what I can only describe as Very Fit Indeed.


The Black Rabbit said...

Of "Wimbers" and the weekend's sport in general then...

Nice to see Federer equal Borg and take a fifth on the trot.
Nice to see Borg congratulating him afterwards also.
I'm sure "Rafa" will eventually beat "Roger" on grass, maybe as early as next year.
And I'm also sure the reverse will not happen on the Parisian clay.

As for my outside tip, the biwwion-foot tall monster, Ivo Karlovic, well that fecker exited in the first round. Just as well I didn't have a couple of squid on him eh?
And as for your tip, "A. Rod", well, maybe he's still in with a shout at Wimbledon, though Nadal and Federer do seem in a different league at present.

Regarding the women.
You are quite correct mentioning the Williams' sisters "gamesmanship". I was bleating about that to Anna all fortnight.
Cheats. Pure and simple.

International Rugby Union
You may well be right when you suggested that the Wallabies may well be dark horses in the upcoming RWC.
Even without a great pack at present, they are slowly and surely working their way back into world cup reckoning, starting to settle on a side (rather than arseing about wih various positions like recently), and beating New Zealnd and Seth Efrika. I still cannot see past The All Blacks and The Wallabies though.
And don't mention the new Scotland RWC strip...
Why oh why oh why etc... etc...

Tour de France
I was in London on saturday evening, knocking back a few foamers of London Pride. I couldn't understand why everyone seemed to be wearing fluorescent cycling caps, until I realised that the cyclists from the tour had completed a London stage of the Tour de FRANCE, around the Mall, and allegedly 1 million people had gone to see it? Surely not?!

1)Cycling is a hobby. As a sport its boring beyond belief.
2)The Tour de France should be kept in France. As in the name of the event. You know.
3)Interesting fact regarding cyclists (professional cyclists, anyhoo). They have the lowest resting heart BPMs of any type of athlete - one as a resting BPM of 30-35! Anytime he goes to the dobby, the dobby panics, and starts administering adrenaline!
They can take their heart rates from 35 to 200 and back again in a very short time, repeatedly, and have the "biggest hearts" in athletics. Ahhh. Bless 'em.

Shame Lewis Hamilton couldn't win at Silverstone.
I didn't watch it as firstly Anna was flying over the chilterns at the time, and also I seem to remember that Silverstone never used to have that much overtaking action (its too fast), apart from during pit-stops.

Colon won at the K club, producing the best golf he's played for 8 years. (His words, not mine). Is he peaking just in tme for "Carnasty" in a fortnight?!
Maybe, though I still think his "moobs" and his silly-boy temper tantrums will prevent him from winning a major. EVARH. (They may be famous last words, but thats just my opinion).

Regarding golf, "Twenty-Six" had a good week again, making a profit, albeit a tiny profit, with Fasth coming second, and Peter Hanson coming joint "turd" as they say at the K club.
I think it was the 26th post that "Twenty-Six" tipped a first and second in a golf event (though I may be wrong there), and next weeks tournament, the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond is the twenty-sixth golf tournament that I'll be tipping on!
A good omen? Maybez? You'll just have to log on later in the week and see.

Also regarding golf, my Jenningsbet Fantasy Golf Team (8 golfersin total, in Europe and the USA) is up to 196th out of over 7,500 before this weeks tourneys. Now bearing in mind that out of my 8 fantasy golfers selected this week, Fasth, Hanson, Furyk and Woods ALL finished in the top 6, both sides of the pond, and all the udders made the cut comfortably, I'm expecting to be in the top 100 (out of over 7,500, like I said), when this weeks points are tallied up.
I'm in with a shout I reckon, if I keep it up.

Ok. Thats it.
As Gordon Ramsay might say...

Weekend's sports review.

electrichalibut said...

Well, I disagree, mostly, but not entirely, about the Tour de France. But I'll leave the details for a post specifically about it which I'll do when I get time.

Back to tennis, I think the way Federer will win the French is if some kind person takes Nadal out early doors and leaves the way clear for Quentin Tarantino, I mean Federer. By the time they meet (which as they're #1 and #2 will be in the final) Nadal will be totally "in the zone", plus I think Federer's got a bit of a mental block about playing him on clay now.

Haven't been keeping up with the rugby much; the Tri-Nations seems to have been a bit inconclusive this year what with the Springboks mucking about with their team etc.

Saw the plane pics - rather her than me I must say. Though strangely I have been up in an aircraft of similar size and found it less scary than going on a commercial jet aircraft. Probably because I could see out of the front window and talk to the pilot.

I left an annoyingly pedantic comment as well. Enjoy!

The Black Rabbit said...

Glad you enjoyed the plane photos.
The only times I've ever been up in a plane (almost) that small, I jumped out of it.
'Twas a good day, we were blessed by beautiful wevvarh, and Anna di enjoy i, which was the whole idea.

The Black Rabbit said...

I seem to have turned into the proprietor of my local chinese takeaway with my last comment.

She di enjoy i, eh?
(Velly much so).

electrichalibut said...

However scary I might find going up in a plane, I don't think the situation would be improved at all by jumping out of it. Even if I was wearing a parachute.

Half rice half chips, please.