A Word from @Noleksa: Nole’s Numbers – or Top 9 Reasons Why Novak Djokovic is Particularly Amazing

April 8, 2011

One person who’s been making a fair few headlines lately is the incredible Novak Djokovic. A long-time favourite on this blog, we’ve been more than delighted to see the awesomeness streak that Nole’s been leaving across Australia, the Middle East, and the USA – in fact, Dubai excepting, pretty much any continent where I’ve been over the last few months. Huh, how’s that.

But there’s one continent that matters more than the rest, and that’s Nole’s home of Belgrade, Serbia. Luckily there’s one lady who knows better than the rest of us just how fabulous this man has been – because she’s our resident Serbian on Twitter, and lover of all things Nole. Even my Davis Cup envy can’t get in the way of jumping into a Nole Love Bubble with this girl during his matches.

To wax lyrical from her fountain of knowledge, I present to you… the lovely and fabulous NOLEKSA!

9. Nole finished ATP World No. 3 for the four straight years and he achieved it in the era of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (2007-2010).

8. Novak has won 7 ATP Masters Titles which makes him the 6th player on All-Time list of Masters Champions behind Rafael Nadal (18), Roger Federer (17), Andre Agassi (17), Pete Sampras (11), andThomas Muster (8).

7. Only four active players have reached semi-finals of all Grand Slams: Roger Federer, David Nalbandian,Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. And the feat was achieved in that chronological order.

6. Also, in 2008 at 20 years of age by reaching Australian Open semi-finals, before winning his first Grand Slam Trophy, Nole has become the youngest player in Grand Slam Open Era history to reach the semi-finals of all four Grand Slam events, separately and consecutively.

5. Nole is the fourth player since 1990 to win the three biggest titles (Australian Open, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells, and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami) in the first three months of theseason (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, and Pete Sampras).

4. Nole is the first player since Roger Federer in 2006 to win both Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.

3. Nole has won 24 straight matches since the start of 2011, which is the third longest streak to start theyear behind Ivan Lendl (started 25-0 in 1986) and John McEnroe (started 39-0 in 1984).

Bearing in mind that during the aforementioned streak Nole has achieved 5:0 score vs. the Rafael Nadal and the Roger Federer we can arguably call it “the mother of all hot streaks”.

It takes greatness to inspire greatness.

2. Nole is 23 and Rafa is 24 and yet they have played each other 25 times already.
Rafa leads their H2H 16:9 but Nole is the only player to score 9 wins against Rafael Nadal.
Out of these 25 matches Rafa and Nole played thus far seven (7) were Finals matches, eleven (11)were Semifinals, three (3) Quarterfinals, three (3) were Round Robin matches at the ATP Year End Championships (World Tour Finals), and one (1) was Round Robin match in Davis Cup World Group tie.

1. Nole is the most loved athlete in Serbia, a very sport-centric country, and is a proud double winner of the award ‘The Best Sportsperson of Serbia’ and award for ‘The Best Sportsman by Olympic Committee of Serbia’.

NUFF SAID. THANK YOU, ALEKSA!

Now I’ll say my bit… Here are some of my own reasons we love this man:

He’s hilarious when he talks, entertains anyone and everyone, looks fabulous with his shirt off and, oh yeah, he plays a mean game of tennis.

Also, along with a lovely little elf called Juan Martin Del Potro, he is the only man aside from The Big Two of Nadal and Federer to win a Grand Slam within the last six years.

I rest my case.

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Word Of The Day: AJDE

December 7, 2010

It’s no secret to those of you familiar with us that we have a penchant for anything Eastern European, especially in tennis.

Maybe it’s Grandma’s Russian blood that has us Davay-ing left right and centre for Misha, Dima and Kolya (Marat needs no explanation, obvs) but it’s a little inexplainable what’s drawn us to Ajde left, right and centre.

The boys of Serbia have been mates of ours since way back when. LP will tell stories of Novak hugging her and handing her his towel, and I’ve already shown y’all the fabulous footage where we sang back to him the joyous Christmas songs.

Ajde became a favourite when, drunk on joy and nothing else (true story) following Rafa’s triumph at AO 09, we roamed around Melbourne Park taking what are now famously our ‘farewell’ pics on the last night we attend the AO. We pose by the Rod Laver Arena sign, we frolic around garden square, and even farewell our favourite toilets (for the record, the ones by Court 10 are totes the best).

On asking some lovely fellow spectators to photograph us, we noticed a foreign accent, and always up for making new friends at the tenny, discovered they were Serbian.

SERBIAN! Sez LP and M, eyes open wide.

Indeed, was the reply.

We of course asked for Serbian words, and were given a full rundown on the word Ajde. Apologies to those Ivanovic fans who have been familiar with the vocabulary for years on end – we were new to it, in all honesty, and fell in lurve with this delicious new vernacular.

We’ve been Ajde-ing ever since.

And never louder than during yesterday’s triumph.

Apologies to my Brooklyn neighbours who may have been bewildered at the noises coming through the thin walls. YES, YES, JUST LIKE THAT! I shrieked. AJDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Came a long, loud utterance.

Yes, babypies. We did it. Serbia are the Davis Cup champions, and LP and I, along with most of ‘my’ known Twitterverse (apologies to the lovely Lindsay), couldn’t be more rapt.

The boys were pretty happy too. Callin’ a bad bromance?

Here’s our Vik.

Despite it being a well-publicised fact that the boys planned to shave their heads if they won, Janko wasn’t so sure about it.

But the shaggy crop is gone, and instead we have lots of gorgeous baldies. Anyway, we saw him with that beanie during the match. He needs nothing framing the face, my hairdresser will agree.

Oh, and we love Nenad too, I promise. It’s easy to lose focus on the stalwarts of the team when heroics pull you through (think Janko in the semis, and all the three years of playoffs to get to this point), but while Viktor may have been riding high, we have all the other boys to thank. I’m going to put it out on a limb and say that aside from Nole pulling them through in singles rubbers, every friggin’ time, he also needs to be recognised for being there as an inspiration for the team. Nole’s success in slams was definitely something that would have taken this otherwise average team and propelled them to the top, knowing they can do it. There’s no shortage of talent there either – let’s hope Nenad’s doubles awesome teams up nicely with sad Mika Llodra, who bawled his eyes out yesterday and made even the most hardcore Serbian supporter melt for the poor Frenchies. So I will end with congratulations to them, for doing well and all, and then…

Let’s end with a word from the wise, shall we? Janko Tipsarevic, Speccie-Wearing PHD of all that is techno, speaks:


Nole: It Must Be Love

April 14, 2010

Those of you who have been with me from the start may recall that my sisters, M & LP, are my premier tennis partners and in fact the original tennis fans of this family. They may not contribute to this blog physically, but they are influential in the tennis outcomes of this family, and the Nole Love is no exception.

LP will tell you the story of Nole hugging her but that is for a different day and time. This is about Kooyong, and a Day in the Life of Stalking Nole.

First of all, all Non-Nole Pics have been condensed into here

It started at his match, where we lined up to watch him walk in with Tommy. I was desperate for Tommy’s attention – LP was all over Nole.

He played Tommy, and then the stalkerage attempts began.

Signing her tennis ball did not suffice. LP was on a mission, and she found the perfect partner to join her.

After following Nole back to the clubhouse, he was discovered to be pumping those muscles in the gym upstairs. Note the one way glass up on the first floor? He was there all right, because a crowd soon gathered and the Djoker had a grand old time waving at his fans in a queenly fashion. (This was the grass of Kooyong of course, it totally fit.) Most people gave up after a few minutes (I did after a few seconds – Fernando was on court, I have my priorities) but LP and Miss Novak persevered. They even made the lovely signs you see above.

So it didn’t take long for the below video to happen. Yes, we are the girls yelling. And our accents are Aussie. And Nole, totally, loved us.

MVI_6861

As expected.

For more Nole pics, try this


Further moments of joyness, with some nailbiting thrown in

February 2, 2010

I think I was supposed to be inside RLA that day, watching Lleyton and Sammy do it for the Aussies. But Baghdaddy just put on too much of a great show. Let’s hear you sing it now… marco le ole.. Ah as if I can pretend I know the lyrics. M has made up her own fabulous version. I know one word is “parking lot”. The one I can guarantee to get right is Marcos Baghda-tis (clap clap clap clap). Awesome.

It’s worth the ground pass just to see those guys go.

Here’s Nole, before he had a sore tummy…

Our Lleyton, finishing off Donald Duck and shutting up the Americans behind us “dynamite goes tick tick tick” like summer camp all over again.

Fenja doing his best to make a glorious twilight tennis match boring – how? Lucky for MCA crowds.

Taylor and Jo Willie leaving little breathing space in Hiisense with all the testosteron-erone present.

The next set of matches gets its own post. You will see why momentarily.


Day 4… still no pics. If you read on, I’m impressed.

January 25, 2010

Day 4

I think it’s now become clear to all of you that I can’t stay away from the Aussie Open for too long. On Day 4, I’d decided to be a good grown up and head back to the day job.

That’s until the lovely folks at Betfair offered to send me to the tennis – again – if I tweeted for them. Being that tweeting to me is breathing, it wasn’t hard to make a decision.

This time, I was front and centre on all the action – Corporate gold tickets, four rows from the front on centre court, not far from the baseline. I had lovely views of Nole, Lleyton and Carlos Ramos. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Coming in to RLA was bizarre, it gave me that feeling I usually get halfway through week 2- and only on day 4. It’s that “get me a sleeping bag and find me a tent, I’m moving in kids” feeling. Seriously. Sometimes I go to Melbourne Park during the year for a concert or show and feel like I’m  home again. This time, I had been away less than 10 hours – from 2.30 am after Tomic match, to 11am in time for Novak.

Novak’s been waltzing around quietly for most of week 1, and that day was no exception. He lost it a little in the first set but then kept on waltzing. Or like, hip hop waltzing. I think he liked my Ajde Nole, but the corporates around me thought I was clinical. Do they not speak Serbian?

Chiudinelli has some really vocal supporters right across the way from me. They look like Team Roger with a name change, all red and white like inside out nurses. They’re singing “Q Dinelli” really loudly, which is good, because otherwise I’d have no idea how to pronounce the dude’s name.

I have the best seats in the house –  technically – but the scoreboard is really hard to see. I keep getting them wrong. I think it’s break point, but really we’re right on serve. How embarrassing.

Can’t figure out who’s in the chair. Is it my good mate Enric? I think I’m the only tennis fan who looks out to see who’s in the chair at matches, and a good ump means a good match. Please tell me I’m wrong. I’ll feel much less like a loser.

I’m checking on my phone and I can see Baghdaddy isn’t doing so well against Ferrer. This is not good. However, I’m in Rod Laver on amazing tickets, so I’m not making a sprint to Hiisense to see it. Even though there is nothing like a Hellas fan club chant to make your day.

Aussie Ana’s on Margaret Court Arena, and the shrieks are getting louder. The MCA crowd know how to party, and partying they are. A little check on my phone Scoreboard tells me it’s more like suicidal howls. Then again they may be Gisele fans, which could explain the cheering.

Novak’s finishing up the match but first goes for an “equipment” change. Yes, that means his shoes. Now, I worked in footwear for nearly five years, and last time I checked footwear would go in the “apparel” category. So please, next time, I expect to hear “apparel change”. Thanks, Tennis World. I knew you’d listen.

Novak’s about to  finish off the match, but he decides to take a pisstake at Hawkeye. Classy. I love it.

He clinches the match and it’s time for Aussie favourite Sammy. Now I followed Sammy through many a witching hour through her golden run in Roland Garros, but now that she’s on home soil she’s lost her allure somewhat. At Hit for Haiti, there we had all these glitzy and glamorous tennis players bantering and hitting with the best of the best, and Sammy was like the little lost girl on the edges. Doesn’t mean she isn’t fabulous, but I’m all for cheap thrills and she don’t give ‘em to me. So I bailed, and went to find the Hellas who were sure to give me a good show.

And I did. Now the rules at Melbourne Park mean that Hiisense is available with a  $20 upgrade from a ground pass – but no rules regarding Rod Laver tix. Turns out nothing would help as Hiisense was sold out. So what did this resourceful lady do? Swap tickets with a stranger of course!

All the ladies and gentlemen are sitting outside the food court, watching the match on TV. I start with a general public service announcement: “Is anyone not planning on going bck in to this match?” No answer.

I try again. “If you’re not going back into this match, I’d love to see it. I have tickets to Rod Laver Arena.” I know the Williams girls are both up in the next two matches, and most ticket holders for the day are after Venus and Serena. Not Baghdaddy and Ferrer grunting like old men.

One lady looks up. I start my sales pitch again. I kind of leave out I have RLA tix. She hears me and buzzes. “What if I want to go see Stosur on RLA?” I relent. She looks nice. I haven’t got my phone on me – it’s dead, and charging in the betfair tent. But she looks lovely, and I’m a trustworthy Australian. So we swap tickets and I go on my merry way.

Of course, the Hellas don’t disappoint. I go home that evening with “We just had a barbecue, nowe, nowe” in my head – and for those of you who know the greek words, please don’t ruin it for us – M and L have made up their own lyrics and they’re quite passable in a crowd.

Baghdaddy’s match finishes and I race back to RLA to catch L L L Lleyton. I’ve had a love hate relationship with the man for as long as I can’t remember. He was our golden hope but he was also annoying as hell. He got us in the papers overseas, but for all the wrong reasons. Then he married a soapie star and that just made him all the more irksome. But now he’s playing good tennis, so we like him again. Aah, I’ll never decide.

But the green and gold boys were out in full force, having cheered Sammy to her previous win, and they were gunning for Lleyton. The two rows of USA cheer squad in the house had not a chance. Their cheers reminded me of being in overnight camp. “What’s his name? Donald Young. Where’s he from? USA.” Puh-leeze! Oh, and the “boom boom, dynamite.” That’s straight out of year seven bunk competition.

After Lleyton cleaned up nicely, with a lot of loud COME ON’s making me feel like it was back in 1999, I wanted to head to MCA because beautiful Tommy was battling it out with Tipsy and I really love Tommy. I loved him since Lleyton made him cry, and if anyone knows which match I’m referring to please remind me? It would have been circa 1997-8 methinks. Tommy still won, but Lleyton made him cry. Good times.

Tommy was at Kooyong and I did try to do my stalkery “Tommy! Hi Tommy!” before he went on, but he was too nervous eyeing off Novak against the Channel 7 men. Then he went into his freaking out, talking to himself between points – of which the only word I could understand was a rude German word which shall not be repeated on this blog. I was unimpressed with his language, but agreed entirely with every word – Tommy Tommy Tommy!

Turns out the match was fraught with nervous tension but of course the MCA queues didn’t budget and I didn’t make it in until afterward. Oh wait, except for the two tweens who emerged right at match point. In their little shorts and Australian flag singlets with little handbags perched on their bums, they were all excited for their day at “The Tennis”. But they LEFT the court at MATCH POINT after an epic FIVE SETTER between TOMMY and TIPSY and as such, they should have their tennis watching license revoked from them. They deserve no such privilege.

It was Fenja’s turn on MCA next, but at this stage the exhaustion had set in. For some reason, living in the same timezone as a grand slam is more exhausting – for more details, see previous post. So I watched Fenja play nicely, and I made friends with a lovely Danish/Spanish gentleman sitting next to me. Then I spent a few moments in Hiisense to watch Jo Willie, pushing past all his tween fans but not making it in time for an autograph. Then I figured out what the irritating helicopter had been hovering over MCA – Prince Bloody William!

Turns out all my clever match chasing had let me head to the opposite end of the complex right when the Prince headed to RLA. But who am I kidding, I was still in a 500m radius, so I get something for it right?


Picture of the Week

January 19, 2010

Amazing

Pic of the Year - The Top Three


In case you missed it…

January 18, 2010

Today’s charity match Hit for Haiti was INCREDIBLE.

Your new favourite bloggers queued up at Fed Square at the ungodly hour of 9am on a Sunday, raced to RLA where the queues were supposedly shorter, headed home and then back for another hour in queues, only to catch the best seats in the house for what was undoubtedly the best start to a slam in history. In fact, probably the best match of a slam ever… not sure if any of this week’s activities can top this!

Let’s start with the fact that all our faves were present. No one hadn’t been catered for, the lineup was massive. Andy, Rafa, Roger and Lleyton. Kimmy, Serena, and Sammy. Even Bernard hopped in for a serve or three. Next, the amazing camaraderie between the players. The hilarious banter. The snippets of gorgeous tennis they showed us to preview what we have coming up over the next two weeks. It made me wish players would be miked up more often… some golden highlights included:

Andy and Rafa debating over who should serve, who could do it better.

Kim to Novak, re. Serena’s serve: “now you know what we girls have to put up with!”

Roger to everyone, re. Rafa “He’s going to go the backhand then the forehand, then he’ll take it cross court then….” Telling everyone Rafa’s strategies.

Roger to everyone, “He usually plays that one as a half volley…” clearly he knows his opponent all too well!

Rafa, “I can’t serve this one, I don’t have the confidence.”

Rafa re. Tomic, “Let him serve, he just won the US Open, I haven’t won a tournament for….” Starts counting months.

Novak “Yeah I don’t know if I can make it through I might have to retire…”

Kim to Novak, “Ladies first… in that case Novak can serve.”

Rafa “Novak? Should I challenge?”

Roger, “I guess we can use hawkeye… we know that machine doesn’t work anyway. Sorry, I had to get it out!”

Kim to Serena, “Only 121? Come on!”

Andy to Roger: “how you feeling roger? Nervous?” as he prepares to serve. Roger: “The usual”.

More to come…


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