Doubles Heaven

March 14, 2011

Rafa’s given us the lowdown on why Indian Wells is such a doubles treat, aka Olympic Practice Ground:

Q. What do you think about the fact that you’ve won this tournament in doubles and the Bryans have not?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am better than them. (Laughter.)
That’s not the case, no? So the thing is probably I have the best partner of the world, yeah. I have a fantastic partner. Marc, he has amazing talent, and when we play together, we have a lot of fun.
You know, I would love to play more tournaments doubles, but for me is impossible for the calendar and everything. Is too much.
But when I have the chance, I play. I played this year in Doha. I normally do in this tournament because is a long tournament and I have a few days in a row that there is a lot of – with the super-tiebreak helps a little bit to the players, but can have more chances to keep helping the players to play more and more doubles.
Because I think if the best players of the world play doubles, is a very good fun for the crowd, and for us, too, because we play a little bit more relaxed. At the same time, we practice, you know. If we have more facilities, is easier to practice playing doubles and is better practice playing doubles than practice only on the practice courts.


An Australian Girl in Paris – Part Un

June 9, 2010

An Australian Girl in Paris – Part Un

Readers of this blog from the January era may recall the thrills and adrenaline experienced every year by myself and my tennis-watching partners in crime, L and M. We stake our claim on Melbourne Park early in Week 1, and by the end of Week 2,we’ve camped out in style and made our way into every court, stadium, nook and cranny.

It’s the dirty time of the year, and I’m on Fabulous Tour of the Universe TM. Which meant only one thing: travel needs to be arranged with tennis in mind. While setting up shop in a sports bar to watch tennis with litres of beer and friendly bartenders has worked until now, for the final weekend of Roland Garros it was time to take it up a notch.

It was time to go to Paris, and view La Vie En Paree. I had to know the important things about the tournament: How much does a beer cost? How pretty are the uniforms? Where are the practice courts and which is Rafa’s favourite? Most importantly, where are the toilets?

One of the most striking things about attending a tennis tournament is the colour. Tennis has embraced fluero colours more than most sports – they’ve got the Day-Glo yellow tennis ball, the flashy fashions on the field – I mean, court – and the sweet hues that rival any Pantone book on the purple Hartru of Indian Wells, the blue Plexicushion of Melbourne Park, and of course, that glorious red dirt at Roland Garros.

The most difficult task, of course, was to attend a tennis tournament without constantly comparing it to my spiritual home and tennis birthplace, Melbourne Park.

Which didn’t suit me when I exited the train at Bois De Bolougne and was bowled away by the colour differences – instead of bright blue and orange, I was faced with luscious dark green, from the trees that line the streets leading to Stade de Roland Garros to the leaves that hang over the walls of the courts. Complemented by the Roland Garros red, the burnt orange clay colour that accents all the logos and shows up brilliantly on the court. The cream of the officials’ uniforms, the muted tones of the Haagen Daaz logo, all scream French, classy, cool and collected.

Arriving at Roland Garros on Friday, I noted the streams of people leaving the stadium but knew that there was still close to a set of tennis left to complete for Jurgen up against my boy Rafa. Turns out the ticket box was closed, tickets can’t be reused, and I was close to tears. Until some well-practiced high school French came to my rescue, and suddenly I had evaded several black suited security guards and was in the holy grail, the region of Roland Garros.

Passing by the Haagen Daaz girls selling ice creams and the everpresent gangs of roaming ballkids, I was in the main circle area between Court 1 and Phillipe Chatrier, where a big screen broadcast of Rafa and Jurgen was in progress. Let’s be honest. I can’t say I saw much of the tennis. There were French men in their jeans, blazers and loafers, lounging around with women in sundresses and cardigans. The volunteers and workers in their cream silky dresses with burgundy sashes and ballet flats stood guard at the entrance to the court with men in cream trousers (trousers are the only word for these) with very RogerWimbledonesque cardigans. Everyone in sight is eating a baguette or smoking a cigarette – usually both. The colours are vivid and dazzling. I’m stunned by the bright green and cream, but what I really want to see is a dark red clay court.

So once the match is over, and Rafa lets Jurgen know who’s boss, I’m negotiating the steps up to Court 5 and photographing the clay through the holes in the cyclone fence. I want to touch it, feel it, even taste it, Francesca-style. I’m in Roland Garros, babies.

Even the rubbish bins have my name on it.


On This Day…

June 1, 2010

It’s been one year, to the day.

On this day, one year ago, we were reeling from a change in the natural order of things. It was this day in 2009 that the world order changed and we were unsure how, or why, or who had allowed such a thing to happen.

Rafa was losing a tennis match. He was losing, a tennis match, on clay. He was losing, a tennis match, to a formerly barely-known top 50 player, Robin Soderling. He was losing, a tennis match, on clay, to Soderling, in his own backyard and living room, at Roland Garros.

We cried. We held hands in solidarity and took to Twitter to ensure it was real life and not a parallel universe. We changed livestreams in hope that we had ended up in a livestream wormhole but were found to be firmly within reality. We ranted on Facebook and spurred a Roger/Rafa debate of epic proportions among the tennis watching laymen of the universe. We fell asleep at 3am, clutching each other with tears and disbelief. It was 2009, and the Rafa era had shifted.

So on this day, being that it was before the Twitter days, I thought I’d show you an (edited) version of what the girls from Court Thirteen were up to, on my facebook page. EnYoy.

Rishe does rafa have a booboo tummy or something?
June 1, 2009 at 12:58am • Comment • Like

Mushka me thinks maybe
perhaps he has pain in his most famous ass?

June 1, 2009 at 12:59am •

Freda i think the wedgie pulling is a compulsive thing.
ROGERRRRRRR
June 1, 2009 at 1:01am •

Rishe im looking for dodgy random pubs with foxtel
June 1, 2009 at 1:02am •

Mushka world number one mallorcan adonis has earned his right to pull wedgies. rogers compulsive tucking hair behind ears into headband routine is resemblant to maria shrieka sharapova….go figure
June 1, 2009 at 1:04am •

Rishe hahaha freda and mushka, rafa vs roger… bring it on!!!!!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:04am •

(Please note the remainder of the Rafa/Roger debate has been removed as it is not vital to this conversation. I also want to protect my friend Freda’s credibility as a human being.)

Mushka ive virtually infected my laptop with viruses trying to find a LIVE STREAMING LINK THAT DOES NOT PAUSE EVERY FIVE SECONDS
June 1, 2009 at 1:06am •

Rishe soderling fifty friggin four winners, ouchhhh
June 1, 2009 at 1:08am •

Rishe ok i found a link but its insanely slow and commentary in portuegese.. apparently the US isn’t showing the match live either so 17,210 viewers are all watching this dodgy link from peru…
June 1, 2009 at 1:16am •

Leah oy va voy
rafale rafale
if you dont win fete toni might have to give you a spanking, on your famous ass!
June 1, 2009 at 1:21am •

Rishe LEAH PESHA… u made me cry
June 1, 2009 at 1:23am •

Rishe leah welcome to the world outside my limited profile
June 1, 2009 at 1:25am •

Leah shplikering?
June 1, 2009 at 1:26am •

Rishe potentially two games from the biggest upset in history… I THINK SO!
June 1, 2009 at 1:26am •

Leah i just got my tennis tummy ache..
June 1, 2009 at 1:27am •

Rishe THEY JUST CALLED FETE TONI “UNCLE TONY” ON RADIO
June 1, 2009 at 1:28am •

Rishe AGDSGKSADHGLDSAGHLKSDHJGSDLGSDKGHADLGHSDLKGAHSDGDSGDS
June 1, 2009 at 1:29am ••

Mushka sympathetic nrvous systems is out of control
June 1, 2009 at 1:30am •

Rishe ok good i think rafa has the set
can i go toilet now?
June 1, 2009 at 1:32am •

Mushka u’ll have to kick leah off and beat me to it!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:32am •

Mushka DAMN
FIVE ALL
toilet postponed
June 1, 2009 at 1:33am •

Leah get with it rish
5-5
June 1, 2009 at 1:33am •

Mushka cause u had a bad day (8) say what u liiike and how does it feel one more timee?
June 1, 2009 at 1:34am •

Leah lol
just heard you guys running upstairs
was like facebook live
June 1, 2009 at 1:35am •

Rishe can u hear me laugh w hen u say something funny?
June 1, 2009 at 1:36am •

Rishe rafa keep slooking at fete toni naughty naughty
June 1, 2009 at 1:37am •

Mushka hahahah
time for prayer ya recks?
June 1, 2009 at 1:37am •

Mushka ok i dont know what to do now
out of witty comments….
rafa rafa RAFA
WHAT ARE U DOING!
June 1, 2009 at 1:40am •

Mushka THEORY – all the players i chose to ‘follow’ in that box on rolandgarros.com are all out….and rafa is hanging by a thread…..
June 1, 2009 at 1:41am •

Leah yeah, ana ivanovic GONE
June 1, 2009 at 1:42am •

Leah ooh ooh
its my fav
JUICE
June 1, 2009 at 1:42am •

Rishe THAT’S MY BOY!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:43am •

Mushka what type? orange? apple?
June 1, 2009 at 1:43am •

Rishe this would be amazing tennis to watch right now. forget the result i wanna see the shots!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:43am •

Mushka love the french
“trente – quinze”
June 1, 2009 at 1:44am •

Mushka TIEBREAK
June 1, 2009 at 1:45m •

Rishe sHIT.
June 1, 2009 at 1:45am •

Mushka cant breatheeee
cant breaaaaaaaaaaaaht
June 1, 2009 at 1:45am •

Leah he is yellow he is blue
he is about to say boo hoo
June 1, 2009 at 1:46am •

Leah go loser go
June 1, 2009 at 1:46am •

Rishe is this a match point tie break?
June 1, 2009 at 1:46am •

Mushka YESS IT ISS
if soderling gets up a break!
June 1, 2009 at 1:47am •

Rishe OUCH
June 1, 2009 at 1:47am •

Mushka k time to get into the same room and hold each other children…
this is no time for being separate
unity, come on
June 1, 2009 at 1:47am •

Mushka stupid crowd
“roobin”
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Leah fault… make it a double
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Rishe my room
now
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Leah just heard mushka go
so i guess im up
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Mushka GET HERE LEAH!
June 1, 2009 at 1:49am •

Mushka im in full fight flight General Adaptation Syndrome arousal stress response
June 1, 2009 at 1:49am

It’s been 365 days of tears, tension and difficulty, until only one month ago, the joy returned to our lives. Rafa will be avenging that merciless slaughter on Phillipe Chartrier this time last year. And all of us Rafalovers, throughout the world, will watch, and smile, and clap our hands with joy. And let us say, Amen.


10 Reasons Why We Love Clay!

April 22, 2010

This week heralds a time when the colour of our screens change and life becomes happy and breezy again.

Here are a few reasons why we love it when the dirt of Europe takes over our lives and makes tennis full of joy, love and laughter.

10. Sliding is Sexy

9. The View’s not bad from here


It’s one thing to be a jet setter and travel all over the world on your yacht and private plane.

It’s another thing to be a tennis fan, where you can head over to the most gorgeous countries – and some pretty boring, grey ones as well – and get a glimpse of what they have to offer.

So far this year, we’ve been tempted to do things like play with lions in Joburg, swim with dolphins in Miami, and play golf in the desert (by far the most daring activity of all).

Clay season takes it up a notch. Is there anywhere you wouldn’t want to be?

The View from Monte Carlo is salivating:

Nice makes you want to take a spoonful, cover it in hot fudge and dig in.

And I love the ancient statues in Rome right up against the brick-red clay.

8. Longer Rallies make pretty watching

I love it when you settle in to watch that first clay match and just like the players have to readjust their game, we’re readjusting our watching eyes. The rallies are longer and for those of us who like to watch, it doesn’t get much better than that.

7. Rafa on Fire

There are reasons this sport was invented. This is one of them.

6. Time Difference makes ALL the Difference.

Australians all let us rejoce for we are young and free….

Free. That’s right. We’re so free that we’re on the other side of the world, a 24 hour planeride from most – except a handful of Southeast Asian countries, some islands for occasional holidays, and a random nation that copies our every move and then whinges about it.

We’re also desperately alone every morning as we venture into the day ahead, stealthily creeping into Monday, or Tuesday, or the 1st of January in the knowledge that we are going where no man has gone before. We take it on the chin for those of you on the other side of the dateline, because we’re hardened up Aussies and we like being adventurers. But sometimes, when you’re all still having a party up on Sunday and we’re stuck into Monday morning, it brings on the yuckness.

That’s where Clay season is made of joy, because come 6.30 in the PM, we can sit round the Teev with our dinners and our glass of wine and have a night made of fun right in front of us (or at least, after MasterChef. And for those of us without Fox Sports, in front of the Livestream). If you’re going until the late match, you only  need to keep your tired peepers up until the relatively earthly hour of 2 or 3 am and then off to beddy-byes you go. Thanks Europe.

5. Umpire Love

Any self respecting tennis nerd will admit that aside from having a host of player crushes, the favourite umpire fan clubs are still reigning strong.  Readers of Court Thirteen from Australian Open days (oh yeah, we still have more pics to show you from that) will recall that these particular ladies are fans of the gorgeously adorable Carlos Ramos and his Spanish bestie, Enric Molina.

Which is why the clay season brings umpire stalking to a whole new dimension, when the adorable man in chair gets off his fancy high horse and comes down to examine the line. Also provides many opportunities for cutesy umpire convos.

SO much more fun than the hawkeye “oooooooh”.

Unless you’re Gonzo….

4. Sammy is an Aussie and she plays on clay.

For anyone out there who isn’t Spanish or Swiss, it gets pretty irritating after a while when your country harps on about how title starved they are.

Aussies are no different, with a favourite topic of discussion being whether we will ever have a homeboy raise the trophy on our home slam ever again.

It’s also a rife time to whinge and complain at how hard it is to play on clay when you just haven’t been brought up with it, and for Aussies, Americans and Brits to shut their eyes and take a nap until grass season starts.

But for those of us backing Aussie Sam, it’s been a lovely time and the winnage is just going to continue.

C’MON SAMMY!

3. Spaniards Rule (always). And even more, on Clay.

Watching the hottest guys in existence, play deep into tournaments week in, week out?

Yes please.

2. Quarante-Trent

Say anything in a French accent and it will sound tres chaud. Just try listening to the scoreline being called after Jeu, Set, et Match.

1. Rafa Nadal

The King of Clay deserves two entries.

Please let me see more of this in the next few weeks?


Eleven Months

April 19, 2010

For eleven months, we’ve been tearing our hair out, and wondering, WHY?

We’ve been remembering back to that dark and dreary night, June 1st 2009 to be precise, and thinking maybe that sinking feeling we had back then was real.

We’ve been watching him bounce back, then fall back down again, to bounce back, and then choke. With each tale of being “with colm”, and “finding my confidence”, we wonder what happened to that cocky little boy who was so sure of himself once upon a time.

He didn’t want the “pression” on him today, but he made it anyway – perhaps with thanks to the “pression” on Nando, who showed us that it’s true what your high school teacher told you – too much tension will make your  neck sore, and breathing and relaxation exercises are pivotal when doing your final exams. (Or, you know, competing for your first Masters 1000 Tournament. Same difference.)

HERE IS THE KING.. He probably has clay riding inside his undies at this point and by the looks of this pic, I reckon it would have gone inside his ears by then too. But seriously, after an eleven month drought of seeing any positive results on what you’re meant to do best – would YOU care?

Kudos to Nando for making it this far – I think it’s an amazing effort and each of the guys got what they deserved. Nando’s back in the top 10, though how long he can stay there is anyone’s guess with all the activity happening between 8 and 12 these days. And he made it to his first Masters final, which proves he ain’t just a pretty face – or a fabulous underwear model.


ClayTastic Bromance

April 18, 2010

Some of you may have noticed that I prefer not to post on tournaments I can’t actually attend. And being that my usual tournament attendance is on the limited side of only one, despite some exos bumping up this year’s frequency I’m still milking the same set of pics/videos from way back when.

Of course this just means you have something more to look forward to because there are still hella heaps of juicy pics and vids from Jan that have only just made their way back into my hot little hands.

However I do want to take the time to comment on the epicness of the week that has passed, and the joy that it foretells. Clay season has arrived, and with it, we are up for a claytastic bromantic time tomorrow with a Rafando final that promises win-win for many of us tennis nerds, particularly those I am familiar with in the Twitterverse.

It also means its time for THIS

Fixating on 8:35 and 8:52 is encouraged.

VAMOS!



Purely Gratuitous

February 2, 2010

I can’t remember what else I did on this day… except see Rafa. A lot. And talk to him. Not that he answered. And feel like I was ten metres away from him. Which I was. Lucky I know heaps of Spanish, like vamos. And lucky the guy sitting next to me at MCA had taught me how to pronounce it properly. Like, Bamos. Did anyone else know that?

Nothing like a good old bum pick before you ascertain your rulership over the universe.

Who else was playing that day? Oh yeah… Anyone wanna see a pic of Karlovic? What’s that? Can’t hear anything… Oh well here it is anyway.

Check the long midday shadow situation.

And Isner too. Though Muzza did kill him, I do like the guy. The man is like a tree. Karlovic is a crane. There’s a difference.

We even made it to see ARod and Gonzo and sing our best chi chi chi le le le. Not sure why I haven’t got any Gonzo pics.


%d bloggers like this: