Fair Point, Dave.

April 14, 2011

It’s Media Day for Fed Cup! Yay!

Aside from providing lots of photos of my favorite non-Eastern-European-tennis-playing-ladies in adorably unflattering gold tracksuits (why can’t we take the green side of green-and-gold more seriously, for reals), Tennis Australia works really hard to put together videos for us of press conferences and whatnot. You’ll also have a chance to play “pick-the-accent” of our players and coach to determine international influences. Hint: There are many.

According to Dave Taylor, Australian Team Fed Cup Coach (and coach of another lady you might know, Ms Samantha Stosur), we’re not to worry about Sam skipping out on a return to Oz to play for her country, opting to strap on a helmet for the barrage of ranking points that are about to fly on her head if she doesn’t gear up pretty quick (I’m viewing it as when you’re trying to pull out one board game from underneath a stack on the shelf at the top of the cupboard, and they’re all about to come flying over your head… anyone? OK…) by staying in Europe to get ready for clay season.

And rightfully so. We must chillax. Stubbsy has retired, Jelena Dokic is just plain tired, and Sammy is doing what any top-10 player would do in her position: Avoiding an extremely exhausting and difficult ordeal that tends to take more than a day or two to recover from, in order to maintain her level – in fact, at this stage, it’s just about living up to it. No blameskies here. To quote DT, Sam’s played ties for the last nine years, except for when she had Lyme Disease. That’s a helluvalotta patriotism all stacked up nicely for London 2012.

(Read more about it at The Age)

Though this brings in a question which the good journalistic folks at The Australian have dared to breach: Who decided to have the tie this week, anyway, and what’s up with that whole home-and-away thing?

Who woulda thunk you’d ever hear me complain that there is world-class tennis being played in a small local court not far from my home (okay, measure in kms and Kooyong and Melbourne Park are probably closer, but Glen Iris just feels all homey and local neighbourhoodish), which is why I’m not bashing Home and Away, at least not right now. But the timing is difficult, and as someone who’s braved the Australia-to-Europe-via-Asia flight once or seven times, I can whinge gracefully and tell you that it bloody sucks. I know tennis players travel all the time and are expected to be superhuman wonderpeople with tiger blood that’s immune to any type of.. oh wait, what was that, Serena? Anyway. Heading over to the other side of the world at the start of clay season is tough on anyone, and for Sam, it’s a completely respectable decision to opt out.

Much appreciation to Jarka and Rodi for making the trek over, despite both having bits of serious defense to do on clay next month. And we know Sophie Ferguson’s a gun on clay, so it’s great to have her on board the team.

And isn’t it lovely having Sally Peers join us! This girl is adorable. I can’t wait for you to get to know her. Girly group hug, everyone!

Photo: Tennis Australia

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Can’t Wait for Casey

March 18, 2011

According to the fabulous Linda Pierce of The Age, there’s a certain special someone on her way back to a tennis court near you.

Casey Dellacqua, best-known for her Target-clad hometown run in the 2008 Australian Open, is finally coming off injury #2, not exactly fun when it’s the second time in nineteen months your body’s decided to pack up on you. Instead of rushing into the Aussie Open, where we all pretty much love her after the beauty of her 2008 run, Casey kept up with her training and rehab, which hopefully means she’ll stick around a little longer this time. Very smart, because while a hometown crowd at the Australian Open is fun, isn’t another five years or so of your career, well, funner?

Casey’s been on the board for the last month or so, playing the Australian challenger circuits at Burnie, Sydney and Mildura, and there are still a couple more to go before she heads to play with the big boys and girls. This isn’t the first time I’m thanking heaven for protected rankings, but dear G-d this is a good time to do so. The article mentions Wimbledon, and not sure if that means she’ll be heading over for Clay, or starting at Wimby and going on for the rest of the US swing. Either way, it’ll be so damn good to have another girl in our stable.

Despite the fact we’ve missed having our girl on court, Casey was kinda, well, happy to just be Case:

”For the last couple of years I’ve been just Casey Dellacqua, and not really Casey the tennis player. I have to get used to now being a tennis player again, because I think I got into the reality of life and what normal life is … but the time’s going by, so I want to get back into it. Tennis is what I want to do, and I have to get used to just being back on the road, being out of my comfort zone a little bit, but I’m sure it won’t take long.”

Jelena’s back. Casey’s on her way. Can I get a woot woot, Aussie girlie tennis fans?


Watch Your Backs, Bondarenkos

April 20, 2010

World Group, Here We Come!

According to the latest news from Tennis Australia, the Aussie team is all sorted for Fed Cup this weekend. I’m taking that to mean that all the girls now have a way of making it over to Kharkov – despite the fact that Stubbsy had a mild panic attack on Anastasia’s Facebook page the other day.

The dramas of making it tennis tournaments this upcoming week have been nicely covered on Twitter for those of us who feel that life outside a closed down airport just isn’t half the fun. It’s been relatively easy for the boys, who were in the neighbourhood anyway to make it a road or train trip and trundle through the the gorgeous scenery to reach Barca.

Not the same for the ladies, who will have to be anywhere and everywhere over the weekend for the Fed Cup. Vika’s whinge through her car service ride have made the annals of Twitter gold, and also reaffirmed the most important thing: The girl has an iPhone AND a Blackberry. Another piece of random news that we so love over here at Court 13.

So with A-Rad on her way, we just  need to make sure Sammy can pack that big silver cup in her wheelie and turn up to lead the team to victory. With Stubbsy and Alicia making up the rest of the team, all signs point toward what could be a happy shiny time for followers of Aussie tennis.

It finally looks like we have a team that can pull themselves together and get us the win. If Sammy isn’t too tired from the marathon she’s been running over the last week, she should be full of confidence to take on the Ukrainians and get the Aussies a shot back into the World Group team. After also being the first Aussie with 2 WTA titles in quite a few years (I believe Jelena Dokic would have been the last one), she’s made us so happy that it only seems fair that she takes it down the logical route and gets us back on the map, tennis-wise.
My lovely neighbour, Anastasia, who I still haven’t managed to meet down at the shops but will one day, will also be making her Fed Cup debut.

Alicia has made a steady if not spectacular comeback. Our favourite spokesmodel is back in the Top Hundy and even if there’s no Garnier face cream left, she looks pretty damn fantastic, as you do when your name is Alicia Molik.

And with Stubbsy and Sammy, together again as they belong, can anything stop us?

Ah, it’s these scary ladies:

Oops – I neglected to mention the most important team member. With this guy on board, the Bondage Sisters should be sent packing in no time at all.

YES, IT’S SKIPPY!

(Not Casey. She’s not coming this time, Mum said).


All the Aussie Ladies (All the Aussie Ladies)

February 7, 2010

Apparently we should be proud of the fact that our Aussie girls are good enough to be in World Group II. At least we don’t completely suck.

Plus we’ve got Alicia and Casey back in the swing of things, and they’re our girls.

And of course Sammy is there, to give them a talking to when needed.

So we gave Alicia a go, cos that’s what we do. First Rod Laver Arena at Prime Time, then she gets switched from doubles with Stubbsy to a real grown up match.

I didn’t watch the match, but looks like we had some struggles from Our Leesh.

“What was I thinking leaving behind the free facials and spangling sequins for this?”

Leesh did tell Hughesy and Kate one morning before the AO that she prefers playing to commentating. Apparently it’s a breeze – get up and have a coffee instead of going to commentate all day. That might be what she’s thinking right about now.

Our Case didn’t fare too much better.

I’m glad Leesh was there to comfort her.

Don’t get me wrong – I love these girls. They’re our girls, in their Target-wearing, Garnier-slopping, Dancing-with-Stars, AO-video-narrating ways.

But of course Sammy came out, guns blazing, superstar that she is.

Girls, she says, I’ve got this one.

So while Sammy rocked it out on court, Case and Skippy had a look and decided that all is not lost for the Aussies after all.

So the ladies had to try for a doubles match.

Lucky we still have the winning team of Sammy and Stubbsy in the cupboard to pull out when the going gets tough. These girls have won 3 titles as a team and a fair few more with their respective doubles partners so it was a good go from the beginning. They won in straight sets, 6-4 6-2.

We like to pretend we’re good at tennis because for so many years we were. The fact we have a (nearly) top 10 ranked player in Sammy and a huge doubles player in Stubbsy means we got past this one, but what will happen next time?

Come on Aussie, Come On!


Moments of Joyness

February 2, 2010

Well its once thing to hang up your sunhat (yes, I did purchase an Australian Open branded sunhat on one emergency sunny afternoon) and say, tata to a summer of tennis, it’s time to reset our body clocks and watch random overseas tournaments on livestream with Portuogese commentary. I mean, I will most certainly be falling into that category in a week or so.

But for now, we’re Aussie girls, and we don’t get tennis very often. (Watch us count the days to Davis Cup against – that’s right – Taiwan – in March.) So we’re going to milk this a little while longer, with a few more recaps and photos from the summer of tennis.

It doesn’t feel like only three short weeks since the girlies and I loaded up on sunscreen, confirmed our (MY!) credit card details on Ticketmaster and packed our everpresent “tennis bags” for what promised to be an awe-inspiring summer of tennis.

Here are some of our favourite moments from what has been an incredible whirlwind, of train rides and ticket “appropriation” and umpire chasing and sunburn and phone-charging in RLA concourse and toilet queues and big screen cheering and Aussie Aussie Aussie and hot Spaniards and live bands and IBM Slamtracker and EPIC EPIC TENNIS.

It started out with Hit for Haiti, where we remembered just why we love this sport, even if we only get it once a year. It was described so perfectly by one of the tennis writers I read avidly but who’s name I can’t recall, who reminded me it serves those tennis geeks among us who just love to remember that these people actually have, you know, personalities. And stuff.

Hit for Haiti

The teams squaring off on each other...

Kim & Andy

Kimmy & Andy

Team FabulousSo we had Kimmy and Andy sizing up Rafa, Novak, Serena and… who’s that in the yellow? Why it’s L L Lleyton… Awkward, anyone?

It has been uttered, perhaps blasphemously, that Hit for Haiti was probably the best part of the whole two weeks. I’m inclined to agree. Here’s hoping they do the same every year.

What else happened during the week?

– We nearly melted from the rain, and we got to know Little Bernie just a wee bit better….

Day 1 brought all the rain... and the dressed up awesome people of Australis to MCA.

We became riveted by the racquet stringers in the middle of garden square

And watched “our Jelena” crack it, despite being surrounded by a Stadium full of Love (true story).

On Day 2 the sun was shining, so we abandoned our post in the RLA concourse and went out to find adventures. Which we did. For example, one particularly hot, Spanish adventure on Court 16, who proceeded to sign LP’s tennis ball binoculars, my AO program, and essentially our hearts for good.

And our favourite celebrity on the circuit….. FETTE TONI!!

Some of his mates joined him too.

We watched the Magician’s Swan Song…

Caught up with Target-wearing Casey

Sang “we just had a barbecue noweh, noweh” and other assorted Greek favourites with Marco

Located our favourite umpire…

And watched Soda Water get bitten by of all things, a Granola Bar!! Happiness and Joy!

Found some hunky Spaniards on Court Fourteen, always a favourite location:

And most importantly, harnessed the power of DAVAI MIKHAIL to prevail over intense fifth set cramps.

To be continued


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