Monday, 19 January 2009

Going Against the Grain (or Prove me Wrong) Pt 2...

Andy 'Its My Time' Roddick

Written off by many as having failed to keep up with the latest crop of rising talents, Andy has had a decent enough start to the year in getting to the finals at Doha.

I got particularly excited by his run to the title in Dubai last year, where he beat both
Djoko and Rafa in straight sets. If it weren't for that Fedora bloke, Andy should by rights have had a couple of Wimbledon titles by now.

However despite all that, it's not a stretch to suggest that this could be as good as it gets. Aside from the A-Bomb of a serve and a much improved backhand, he
does quite often, look ordinary besides those four and a bestiary of ever increasing new talent.

But you know what? I don't care. And neither should
Stefanki. And neither should Andy.
As Dubai showed, he can still trouble the very best with his maybe less varied set of tools.

Like with Hewitt, I would love the doom
mongerers to be proven wrong about A-Rod.
Unlike Hewitt, I really believe he has a better chance to do so.

David 'It-was-Mr-Hyde-Wot-Did-It' Nalbandian

No David, you're not fooling anyone. I couldn't give a flying-forehand that you just took that title in Sydney. Besides, you'll have to do a lot more than defeat
Niemenen to convince me that you're done with the annoying and very wasteful habit of treating the year like one big warm up season, and only playing anything close to your potential in a couple of indoor tournaments right at the very end of it.

The last time I got excited about anything you did on court (Madrid,Paris '07) I spent half a year waiting for you to follow up and was rewarded with that semi final outrage at Queen's: my pick for the worst given by any player (male or female) in 2008.

Nor do I care that you had another good indoor season last year. Why? Because you're not in control: Mr Hyde is - and has been for many years now.

So go and drink an antidote, or get exorcised or something - better still show up in a Grand Slam semi - until you do I'll not be taken in again.

Marat 'Year-of-the-Swan' Safin

It's his swansong. You never know.
Ok you probably do.


It's not her swansong. And I fear I
do know.

Elena 'Too Many Break-Points' Dementieva

Prove us
all wrong by winning a Slam (which her form suggests she's well placed to do in Melbourne) with what has to rank as the worst serve the Open Era has seen.

Secret's Out Juan (Del Potro)

Not a fan. His lurching side to side movement and unimaginative 'first-this-way-then-that' style of constructing rallies has something distinctly '
WTA' about it, and has led me to consider him something of a male Sharapova. Except a little more surly. And with more facial hair.

He does, to his credit happen to be the best at that particular brand of tennis (he entered the US Open on an unbroken 23 match winning streak). But players like Del
Potro are only successful if they're given the luxury of playing the match on their terms by being allowed to dictate play; and it won't be long IMO before most of the up and comers find ways to prevent him from doing that. Fourth round at best.

Victoria 'Pennywise' Azarenka

She replaces Ana as my new 'It' Girl of the
WTA. Although in the more grim Stephen King sense of the word.

I'm sorry, but she represents
everything I feel is wrong with Women's tennis right now: the lack of creativity, the rote-like grind-it-out rallies, the avoidance of the net like it's an electrified fence, and do we really need another shrieker?

Don't misunderstand me, the poor girl's probably worked very hard to get where she is and it
does take talent to strike the ball the way she does. I probably wouldn't mind it if there were just a handful of those sorts of players around, they would add well to the mix.

I just don't like the way every player from 10 through to 30 (and beyond) feel they have to hit the same way.
all float down there.

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