Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grass Court Awards

For once, you-know-who wasn't the best grass court player of the year.

**2008 Grass Court Awards*
1. Rafael Nadal/ESP's all over except for the shouting. Well, at least until the U.S. Open.
2. Roger Federer/SUI
...second-best is never enough for Roger. Could he possibly go an entire season without winning a slam?
3. Marat Safin/RUS
...he's alive!! He's alive!!.
4. Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic, CAN/SRB
...two guys who can seemingly be great doubles player no matter who they're partnering with combine to form a slam-winning Men's Doubles team. Go figure.
5. Rainer Schuettler/GER
...he's alive!! He's alive!! (Is there an echo in here?)
HM- Bob Bryan/USA
...he might only play Men's Doubles with his twin brother Mike, but with his Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title with Sam Stosur he's now claimed five career Mixed grand slam crowns with five different women (Zvonareva, Srebotnik, Azarenka & Navratilova). At SW19, he even defeated Mike and Srebotnik in the Mixed final.

1. Andy Murray, GBR
2. Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI
3. Nenad Zimonjic, SRB
4. David Ferrer, ESP
5. Feliciano Lopez, ESP
6. Philipp Kohlschreiber, GER
7. Janko Tipsarevic, SRB
8. Robin Soderling, SWE
9. Fernando Verdasco, ESP
10. Ivo Karlovic, CRO
HM- Marcos Baghdatis, CYP & Frank Dancevic, CAN

1. Marin Cilic, CRO
2. Ernests Gulbis, LAT
3. Jeremy Chardy, FRA
4. Gilles Simon, FRA
5. Chris Guccione, AUS
6. Simone Bolelli, FRA
7. Philipp Petzschner, GER
8. Grigor Dimitrov, BUL (jr.)
9. Henri Kontinen, FIN (jr.)
10. Bernard Tomic, AUS (jr.)
HM- Juan Martin del Potro, ARG & Jesse Levine, USA

1. Chris Eaton, GBR
2. Rainer Schuettler, GER
3. Phlipp Petzschner, GER
4. Ilia Bozoljac, SRB
5. Simon Stadler, GER
HM- Massimo Dell'Acqua, ITA & Prakash Amritraj, IND

1. Marat Safin, RUS
2. Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic, SRB
3. Rainer Schuettler, GER
4. Bob Bryan, USA
5. Arnaud Clement, FRA
HM- Fabrice Santoro, FRA & Stefano Galvani, ITA

1. Mario Ancic, CRO
2. Marat Safin, RUS
3. Rainer Schuettler, GER
4. Xavier Malisse, BEL
5. Thomas Johansson, SWE
HM- Lleyton Hewitt, AUS

1. Andy Roddick, USA
2. Novak Djokovic, SRB
3. Richard Gasquet, FRA
4. James Blake, USA
5. Nikolay Davydenko, RUS (you've got to play to win)
HM- Dmitry Tursunov, RUS & Gael Monfils, FRA

Wimbledon Final - Nadal def. Federer 6-4/6-4/6-7/6-7/9-7
a contets that lasts nearly all day long, has history dripping off every shot, and is called "The Greatest Match Ever Played." At least now we know what it takes to make the cover of Sports Illustrated... which means tennis will get another cover in about, umm, how about half past never?

THE SIGN: Nadal defeats Roddick on grass in the London SF, then Djokovic to win the title. He becomes the first man to win the Artois Championships a week after claiming Roland Garros since Ilie Nastase in 1973 and the first Spaniard to win the title in thirty-six years.
THE PROOF: three weeks later, Nadal is the first player to sweep both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same season since Bjorn Borg in 1980 and is the first Spanish man to win the title in 42 years.

Wimbledon 4th Rd. - Murray def. Gasquet
...Murray comes of age with a howling mad comeback from two sets to love down in fading light. Of course, then he was too dead-dog tired -- mentally and physically -- to avoid getting his Scottish butt kicked by Rafa... but, aha, British hope continues to spring eternal.)
Wimbledon 4th Rd. - Ancic d. Verdasco
...also from two sets to love down, 4-1 down in the 4th, and with a 13-11 5th set. Along with Cilic, it's nice to have a Croatian presence back at Wimbledon (especially since Karlovic is apparently going to bomb out in the first few days every year no matter how well he might be playing coming into the tournament).

...for quite a few years, Justin Gimelstob was a great radio guest on Washington D.C.'s "Junkies" show, easily coaxed into making "extreme" statements about life on the tour (or, to be specific, life on the tour AND opinions about and "relationships" with the players on the women's tour). One would have thought that becoming a television commentator would have taught him to zip it with the comments that could now get him into trouble. Acknowledging the danger, he did, too... for a while. Recently, he reverted to past form, made a few typically howl-inducing comments about Anna Kournikova for the four hosts, and all hell broke loose from the Tennis Channel to the U.S. Open Series promotional department to World Team Tennis. He'd always talk about how if people actually heard the things he said on the air, he'd get into trouble. Turned out, he was right. And, shockingly, it had nothing to do with the loud hotel room story about former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez he "broke" on the same radio show about five years ago. Go figure.

Marat Safin (first slam SF since '05 Australian)
Rainer Schuettler (first slam SF since the '03 Australian)
Arnaud Clement (Wimbledon QF is best slam result since '01 Australian)

O JIMBO JIMBO, WHEREFORE ART THOU?: Janko Tipsarevic knocked Andy Roddick out of the 2nd Round of Wimbledon. I guess Brooklyn Decker teaches better groundies than Connors... or something like that. Brad who?

Roger Federer's 65-match grass streak
Roger Federer's 40-match Wimbledon streak
Roger Federer's five-straight Wimbedon titles

Thus, Phase Two commences. First up, an attempt to win a first Olympic medal. Second, trying to claim a fifth consecutive U.S. Open crown to get within one of Pete Sampras' all-time slam record. If only Rafa could have the chance to have something to say about that.

To sleep, perchance to dream.

All for now.

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