Archives for June 2011

Wimbledon quarters: Big 4 reduced to Big 3 plus Jo

Federer fell in the quarters for the 2nd straight year.

It has been about two years since folks stopped taking Jo-Wilfried Tsonga very seriously, which was two years after he was tagged as a surefire top-5 player-to-be with serious Slam winning potential when he shocked Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open semis. Then came the injuries, the doubts, and the poor performances after very good ones. It seemed that his time had passed and he would return to being a chronically injured underachiever. Just a year and nine months after he had fallen to Novak Djokovic in the Aussie Open, Juan Martin Del Potro soared past him as the next big thing when the Argentine won the 2009 US Open. The memories of Big Jo leaping up to the rooftop of Rod Laver Arena dissipated.

But now Tsonga has risen again and this time pulled off an even more impressive win then the one he threw down on Nadal when he knocked six-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer out 3-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4 and earn himself a semifinal match up against Djokovic.

It was the first time that Federer had lost a Grand Slam match from two sets up in 179 tries, but really, the Swiss did not play badly. He only had one break point in the match and converted it. Tsonga served huge, volleyed well and dictated with his forehand. Federer should have found a way to get more returns back in play and but he didn

Fish not just happy to be there vs. Nadal

Tsonga’s big task is to stop Federer.

Women semifinals will be headbangers ball

There were no real quarterfinal upsets, with Sharapova and Azarenka showing off their best stuff, Kvitova surviving and Lisicki during off tired Bartoli

“Courts of Babylon” released in electronic form

Renowned tennis journalist, author and blogger Peter Bodo, has released his classic work, THE COURTS OF BABYLON, in electronic format. Bodo, who has covered tennis since the dawn of the Open Era. was there to witness this transition and what it promised, what it delivered. THE COURTS OF BABYLON is more than a collection of essays, most of them growing out of a deep familiarity and, often, relationship with subjects that include Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Evonne Goolagong, Jimmy Connors, Tracy Austin, van Lendl and Martina Navratilova. It is also a commentary on what was lost and what was gained by the transition to professionalism, and how the new, “Open” era delivered – or failed to make good- on the promise that professionalism would make tennis a more inclusive, egalitarian, accessible game.

Relying heavily on formal, in-depth interviews conducted over two decades and his status as an “insider” in an insular game, Bodo’s book is both a meditation and expose, a polemic and a tribute to the players who dragged tennis, often kicking and screaming, to the forefront of the public’s imagination – even when those players got it all too fast and too young.

Bodo delves into the darkest and most controversial areas of the game, chronicling the follies of overzealous parents and pampered athletes. He fearlessly wades into sensitive issues stemming from sex and gender, politics and commercialism. He celebrates the game while holding it to task, all the while acknowledging the reality of the demands and distortions that come with a way of life that is both difficult but glamorous, and eagerly embraced by athletes who, in some cases, are no older than fourteen. Go here for to purchase a copy:


Withdraw From Wimbledon To Rest For Davis Cup? It

With Rafael Nadal withdrawing from next week

Wimbledon: no rest for weary on Manic Monday

Is Nadal injured?

There is a certain charm to Wimbledon

Wimbledon Men’s 4th Round Picks: Eight men soon to be out, and eight to stay in

Novak will try and fend off the charging Llodra.



Novak Djokovic received the booby-trapped gift of Del Potro in a similar round at RG and now Nadal has tall task of finding away to stop the consistently Argentine at Wimbledon. The Spaniard did take the DelPo down Indian Wells, but that was less than three months into Del Potro’s comeback and he looked pretty good in overcoming a motivated Gilles Simon 7-6(8) 7-6(5) 7-5. Del Potro is still not that comfortable on grass though and Nadal is. So much will depend on how well both men serve and whether Nadal can find away into Delpo’s backhand side. He absolutely must not allow Del Potro to climb into the zone on his forehand side. Nadal will scrape through in five dramatic sets.


As I wrote on, this is winnable match for Fish, but 2010 finalist Berdych is playing extremely well again and will have to be knocked out of his comfort zone. The two have never played before and both are serving like monsters. Fish is a better volleyer and can match the Czech from the backhand side, but Berdych has a harder and more accurate forehand. If Mardy is going to reach his third Slam quarter, he must do an excellent job of attacking Berdych’s second serves, which I think he will and pull out a four set victory.


How exactly is Gasquet going to win this match knowing that Murray has come back from two sets down against him twice, including at 2008 Wimby, when Gasquet served foe the match at 5-4 in the third set? Sure he has tremendous talent, but the in-between-the-legs shot master Murray is right there with him, is mentally tougher and is a more solid all around player. The Frenchman will win one set, no more.


Huge props to both guys for getting here: to Lopez for his first-ever victory over Andy Roddick in the last round and to the Pole for qualifying and upsetting Gael Monfils. Kubot can really play, but with the way that F-Lo is serving, volleying and passing, he’ll get through here in straight sets.



This match will be a blast to watch, even though you have to like the Frenchman to come though on grass based on his big serve, athleticism and ability to take over the net. But Ferrer is a speed demon who has actually been volleying quite well himself. Whether he can stretch this to five sets will depend on his return, but let’s assume he will return at least decently, because you know the guy thinks he can mentally outlast the Frenchman. Ferrer may be able to for two sets, but Tsonga has become a better competitor late in matches and he believes he can win this one, which is more than half the battle with Big Jo. Tsonga in five.


The all-time great is 10-0 against the Russian, has beaten him twice on grass in Halle and has only dropped 2 of 24 sets to him. Is it clear enough who is going to win this match? Federer will enter the quarters again virtually untouched and then the fun really begins.


Few expected this fourth round contest, but Tomic is developing into a fine all-around player and the aging Belgian has gone deep twice at Wimbledon, so it should not come as too much of shock. The 18 year old has a lot of variety, as he’s able to keeps his slices low and can hammer his forehand. Malisse beat him on grass in Queens last year, but Bernie appears to be growing up mentally and will stay composed long enough to win in four. It finally looks like Australia has another top-10 player to be on its hands.


Llodra joins Lopez as another lefty serve-and-volleyer in the round of 16 and the world has seen him stifle plenty of foes, but even though Djokovic was feeling awful in his four-set win over Marcos Baghdatis, he still returns better than anyone else on tour and serves big enough to keep the Frenchman from chipping and charging a ton. This one will be a mini-thriller, as Llodra won there only super fast court meeting at the 2010 Paris Indoors. Djokovic won their other two meetings on slower outdoor hard courts, but with the weather heating up, the grass court should play significantly faster. I see Llodra making charge, but believe that Djokovic will win almost all the big points in a four set victory.


Don’t blame it on Caro

Looking ahead to Manic Monday at Wimbledon, where 16 fourth round matches will occur.

Flying Fish takes control of career

Mardy Fish takes out Robin Haase and reaches Wimbledon’s 2nd week for the first time. he’ll take on Tomas Berdych.

Restless for real Roddick

Andy has gone two years without reaching a Slam final four.

If he can get fully healthy again, Andy Roddick has to be given at least an outside shot of winning Wimbledon in 2012 and 2013, but given that his body has begin to break down, it would be foolhardy to say that he would have a reasonable shot at the title at the age of 31, which is what he will be in 2013. His 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 loss to Feliciano Lopez was without a doubt disappointing, maybe not so much to him because the dangerous Spaniard did play about as well as he’s capable of, but to his fan base, because most of his savvy supporters realize that outside of the Big W and the US Open – the tour’s fastest Slams – that his chances of going deep at the Aussie Open, which is slower, have seriously diminished, unless he gets a triple fudge cake draw. And we all know that Roland Garros is a wash for him.

Right now, he is well behind the Big 4 and is more or less ranked where he should be, somewhere around Nos. 10-12 after Wimbledon. Dress him up with any accolade you want: that he competes extremely well, that he is still one of the tour