Saturday, December 5, 2009

Goodbye Amelie

Women's Tennis was poorer by a beautiful player today, Amelie Mauresmo, when she announced her retirement.
Of course tennis followers had been expecting this one way or the other. Either she would revamp and declare to the world she is ready to work hard again or accept that yes it is becoming tougher and retire gracefully.

For a long time Amelie was considered a choker, you could defeat her from any point in the match, you could expect her to collapse at any point in time, a trap of her own making, but finally in the year of 2006 and at the age 26 she convincingly conquered her demons when she beat Justine Henin at Wimbledon, her 2nd major title. She will always be an inspiration to me!

Although after 2006 she never really won any significant title, she was always a beauty to watch. In an era where power and baseline bashing rule, her's was a game made up of all this and complemented by a beautiful one handed backhand, classy volleys and rare athleticism.
Thanks Amelie we will miss you!

Here is a very nice article written by Perotta, sums up her career and legacy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Matches Enjoyed at USOpen 2009

Roger Federer Vs Robin Soderling in the Men's Quaterfinal.

Roger won 6-0,6-2,6-7,7-6
It was such an entertaining match.I am glad Soderling did not give up inspite of going down 2 sets. I am glad he broke his racquet, he seemed a much better player after that.Yet again Roger wowed the crowd and proved why he is at the so very top.
His amazing serve seems to pull him through any number of breakpoints life throws at him. His attitude no matter if he has lost a set or just been broken is so inspiring: Focus on the next point! thats what he seems to tell himself
and ofcourse his hunger to win always makes one smile.

Rafael Nadal Vs Gael Monfils
Rafael Nadal won 6-7,6-3,6-1,6-3

For the first 1 and 1/2 sets Nadal and Monfils were well matched, well they were killing each other and then ofcourse Monfils runs out of gas. He had to, it was not humanly possible to do what they were doing for long. Can you imagine they had 4 27 rally points! in that much time.
Nadal's indomitable spirit carried him over. But ofcourse I wish Nadal would learn to flatten out some of his shots and thus shorten the points. It is sometimes painful to see him physically grinding out there for every match.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Let kids be kids

..the BallsKids at US Open that is.

Photo Courtesy:

Most of ballkid volunteers at the US Open seem to be adults or really big guys. In my opinion ballskids should really be kids, not more than say 16 or 17 years of age. Perhaps just the captain of the team should be a big kid.

I know the reason why they need such adult looking people. You see there are 6 ballkids in all:4 kids behind the baseline(called backs) and 2 on either side of the net(called nets). After every other game the tennis balls have to be transferred from one side of the court to the other in addition to the interim ball exchanges that have to happen because of serving faults or player errors. Usually the ball is rolled from one end to the nets and then the nets in turn roll it to the backs at the other end. US Open is the only tournament that boasts of "throwing" balls from one end of the court to the other side, One "back" to the other "back" in between games. I guess you need strong hands to do that and good catchers on the otherside and "kids" wouldn't usually be able to do that with as much accuracy hence the adult ballkids :(

I wish someone at the US Open would see the real reason for having ball "kids"
one, because it is a way of encouraging kids to play tennis and letting them be close to the game and two, adults really crowd the tennis court. Imagine 2 players plus 6 to 8 lines men,of course a chair umpire and add to that 6 adult ballkids. 6 "kids" would really slink away in the court but adults are much more visible!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lucky me


Yay, we tennis fans are a lucky lot, we witnessed History being made.

A lot has already been said about the Wimbledon finals, about Federer and about Andy Roddick but as a Tennis player myself I have to say you do not let your opponent win unless "you" first give up and there was none of that happening on either side of the court that day. Andy didn't give in, Roger just grabbed it!

Having played many tiebreaks I had come to believe they are a matter of luck and not necessarily the better player wins. But yeah on Sunday it seemed like Federer had a command over them too, else how would you explain a come back from 2-6 down to win!

In retrospect I think Federer does not admonish himself when he makes a mistake, he is always on his own side that way he is just playing one person:his opponent.
and that is perhaps what makes him a champion. That and his unwavering determination to win.

It was a beautiful match with a fitting end and we have to thank Andy for making a thriller out of it :)

ps: I have a new found respect for not just Andy's game but his character and his sense of humor.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Too soon Too Fast

My oh my the year had just started and the 3rd grand slam of the year(Wimbledon) is almost over, with only the Men's final remaining.
~Seriously without Nadal the Men's side seemed so empty.
~My only hope is the final is not lopsided but anyways I hope it is again Federer's day and what a day it will be "if", fingers crossed :)
~There were some good performances from Soderling,Stanislas Wawrinka and ofcourse the two Andy's
~On the Women's side the two sisters definitely deserved to be in the final and I am so happy I was able to watch the Serena-Dementieva semifinal in its entirety. I have a new found respect for the latter now. I love Dementieva's new improved serve and her awesome physique.

Monday, June 22, 2009

French Open 2009- My Take

Photo Courtesy:
I know it is too late and already Wimbledon 2009 has started in full swing but I wanted to reminisce about the French Open before the highpoints in Wimbledon take over.
~ Of course Federer finally won French Open completed his career grand slam,
But this French will also be remembered for the Nadal Upset by Robin Soderling.
~ I am glad Soderling made is to the finals, he did really upset the No.1 seed and it was not a fluke
~ The Soderling-Gonzalez match was thriller, with huge momentum swings and what a comeback Soderling made in the 5th set when he was trailing 4-1.
~ On the Women's side it was really inspiring to see Sharapova make such a gutsy run to the Quarterfinals after a 10 month layoff. truly her love for the game is inspiring!
~ I was so Happy that Kuznetsova won her match against Serena Williams quelling her lingering demons and finally winning the Title itself.
~ Although I felt bad for Safina for having lost again, I do feel she needs to put in a little more in the finals.I mean she may be a good player but on the court there during the finals she looked more stressed than enjoying being there. Good luck to her!

so there it is, the French Open in a Nutshell, now I can say ...Welcome Wimbledon.
PS: It is heartbreaking not to see Nadal in the Wimbledon draw :(

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The towel issue


Talking of tennis and the problems that it brings along
This issue really intrigues me :)
-- where does a player or rather where does the ball kid keep the towel handed to him during match play--

For instance currently at the French Open the towel is placed on the line's person's chair --poor linesman-- but I know that is not a permanent solution; elsewhere is placed on the "serve speed display box". Infact in many courts especially on outside courts the ball kids are asked to place the towel on the court itself

We have comeup with technology to make line calls, 
solution to correctly indicate when the ball hits the net chord,
come up with technology to measure not just the serve speed but also the speed of every shot that is hit,
but it surprising no one has come up with a solution to the towel problem!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ooh La La

Picture Perfect

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Parallel to life?

When playing a tennis match the word momentum is thrown around quite often.

To begin with I knew what momentum is but to understand how it really affects... well that took a long time!

It is quite hard to explain, when going strong and confident in a match and the opponent serving; the server calls out the score 30-15; my mind is asking is it really 30-15?(30 being their score), didnt we win the first point,shouldnt it be 15-30? and in that haze and scrambling to create the sequence of events from the beginning of this current game, we lose this point too and the score is quickly announced as 40-15.. aww jeez thats when I start to protest verbally and voice my doubts
but it is too late! coz a point has already been played after the questionable score
and it was with everyone's agreement. duh we lose the game.The frustration only mounts.
I make an effort to quieten my mind and bring myself back to a positive frame of mind
but you know something had just happened, something akin to going downhill, may be lose of concentration? the opponents only felt stronger, we lose points, games and right before my eyes the winning match was snatched away from me.. ouch that hurt
(Later I learnt there is term of this situation!"bleeding" they say "you have to first stop the bleeding")

picture this - another match; this was mixed doubles match, we are coasting along, ready to switch to cruise mode and lo I make another confused call, curse myself, embolden the opponent and lose another 5 games, but this time the opponent makes a mistake when leading at 5-2 and we still havent given up and perhaps thats how the momemtum swung back in our favor and lead us to victory.

Both these situations confused me to no end. Later I realised life is also pretty much the same, during the course of a day say you make one incorrect decision and you get bummed about it, that leads to another mistake;you sometimes carry that negative energy through most of the day.
All it takes sometimes for things to go from positive to negative or sad to happy is probably just one small moment, one small incident....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some Reminiscing

I started playing tennis about 3 years ago with no knowledge of the rules/techniques whatsoever.
first came evening tennis with V~, then because singles was too taxing and also because I was making a fool of myself I said why not invite a few others :). It became a routine to play doubles; sometimes we would end up just three and keep furtively hunting for a 4th partner(thats another post :)

Anyways from there we graduated to taking beginners classes, started tennis clinics(which is bunch of drills run by a tennis pro for a few same levelled players). When that became a norm and with the discovery of USTA(United states tennis association) leagues; we plunged into the competitive arena and then there was no looking back.

Mixed doubles, women's(men's doubles for V~) , combo leagues etc.

USTA matches are usually timed matches, ie they end by the clock no matter where you are in the game! (except for playoffs and championship matches)

Amidst all this frenzy I realised something very unique about tennis matches!

You see the ritual goes something like this.

You reach for a match, warm up for 10-15 minutes ; play your match, finish win or lose, shake hands go home.
Now here is my point...
When you warmup for a match be it recreational like the ones I play or the professional ones-- you warmup with your opponent
Which I think is pretty unique to tennis.An opponent who you are supposed to pound,crush and defeat actually helps you warm up and that is pretty fascinating!

thank you kind opponent!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I really dig Comebacks

yesterday was one of the days when I was really thankful that I play tennis.
V~ and I usually play on court 1; the toughtest spot of all the 3 courts when a USTA league match is played. Playing on court 1 is very tricky, many a times it forces you to be at your best from start to finish

Yesterday was one such match, we started out well and we were thinking "well this team looks pretty straightforward, tough but beatable" we were at a pretty well balanced 2-2 in the first.
but somehow a tough line call that I made rendered me shaky and the opposition ran away with a 5-2 lead. but at that moment a positive outlook, ready to taken on anything attitude helped us stay composed, we not only won 5 straight games to win the first set 7-5 but riding on that high won the 2nd set an easy 6-2. Game set match

A moment of pure joy; pure happiness.... When V~ and I hugged congratulating each other on the terrific comeback :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Australian Open, tennis, roof,heat wave

I feel the extreme heat policy at the Australian Open benefited just the American players and not all the players involved......
Why did it come into play after Serena lost the 1st set...just to break Kuznetsova's rhythm? it was really unfair for the latter...however you see it.
Where was the policy when Djokovic was wilting?
feels very weird....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Doubly relieved

~ Australian Open 2009
Couldn't bear the thought of Dinara Safina losing.... I am so so so glad she got it together and won the match..yay
Federer made an unbelieavable come back against Tomas Berdych...yay yay yay.
I love the color of the outfits the linesman and Ball kids(love their hats too!) are wearing.
There should be a mandatory minimum length of the outfits women can wear...I am not trying to be moral police but come on Jelena Jankovic's outfit is too short....weird colored...that may be the only reason I am happy she lost :)
and ....I love Nadal's cute look...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Been there Played that

~ CommonWealth Championships Charlottesville, Virginia 2009.

  • This was in Boars Head Inn tennis center, one of the best I have seen and played at.

  • Enjoyed playing some outdoor tennis inspite of the cold weather.

  • Enjoyed with "Matchpoints" team, the drive to Charlottesville, the lunches, the dinners, the cheering, and most important the playing

  • Charlottesville was hilly and beautiful, cold crisp,fresh.
  • We went, we played, we reached the finals, but we just fell short ( a wee bit)

We lost but it is good to have been there done that!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Everything Tennis

cute little things I got from a tennis shop for my tennis buddies. My 6.0 mixed doubles team has reached the Common Wealth cup playoffs to be held in Charlotesville Virginia next weekend.
That is where I plan to give these goodies
There are 2 tennis photoframes, 2 coffee mugs, some comfortable socks, one christmas tree ornament, a tennis penholder, some tacky racquet grip and not to mention a tennis racquet embossed soap :)