Sunday, 12 July 2009

Davis Cup Round Up, and other bits'n bobs

-- I said in my last post that its been the season of fairytales and injury comebacks. Can I add pukeworthy scheduling cock ups to that list?

I thought we'd seen the last of it with GlamourGate at Wimbledon, but scheduling the quarter-finals of your sport's premier team event the week after arguably
the most important date in the tennis calendar, makes me feel a couple of nine-year olds are in charge at the ITF.

-- Google Analytics reports that 70% of traffic generated by keyword searches was on the hunt for 'Are you looking at my Titles?'. Considering keeping a closer eye on Serena's inspirational T-Shirts. And an open mind re her writing aspirations. Or maybe just the T-shirts.

-- I'm rarely super enthused by anything that happens in pre-semis Davis Cup Tennis. But this week
Israel beat Russia 4-1 to seal a place in their first ever Davis Cup semi final. Not that I expected any match that involves Marat not to go the distance, or to feature anything less than the entirety of his suite of emotional convulsions.

But Davis Cup is the one place where where Safin and Blake generally drop their 'I can't believe this is happening to me' demeanours and burst forth upon the world in an effusion of patrotic spirit. Didn't happen this time round. Blake went out in straights to Cilic today and Safin didn't even feature in the singles. An ominous sign for both their careers.

Players are kindly requested to return their overalls back to the flagpole they found them fluttering on...
(Photo: HRVOJE POLAN/AFP/Getty Images)

-- In the remaining two matches, Spain came through against Germany with Ferrero assuming virtual hero status after coming through in straights opposite Beck in their deciding singles rubber (move over Rafa), and Stepanek and Berdych saw the Czech Republic past Argentina. Didn't manage to see either, but I'm thinking the match featuring the Czech Headcases would make better viewing. What say you?

Ah, the "Shotokan Horse Stance"...

The "Driving Instructors' Victory Pose"

And...something else...
(Photo: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

-- I've generally not been super impressed with what I've been seeing and hearing of the new crop of juniors on both the boys and girls side. Loutish behaviour, lack of discipline, an unwillingness to apply themselves to their chosen sport, boozy late nights - and all this with opportunities most around the world can only dream of.

Perhaps what I find most revolting of all is the way a large proportion (though not all) of them seem to think a couple of sponsorships and a half decent game, means a ticket to success and the right to lead a slightly premature A-list Celeb lifestyle.

It's not just tennis of course. We live in an on-demand age that values the rewards of achievement above the graft and talent required to get there.

My poor opinion was unchanged this week after hearing of the not-so-curious-but-quite-alarming case of Brydan Klein, a former junior Aussie Open Champ, suspended for sixth months and fined in excess of £14K, for racially abusing his opponent during the
qualies at Eastbourne last month. He also spat at his opponent's coach.

. And a little relieved the authorities acted as swiftly and strongly as they did.

-- Rajeev Ram of the US, ranked #181, has just defeated Sam Querry to win the ATP 250 Title at Newport, Rhode Island - his maiden ATP Title at an event
where he was forced to pull out of qualifying with a leg injury - later readmitted as a lucky loser.

Dude can volley well, by the looks of things...
(Photo: AP)

That's got to be some sort of a record surely!?
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