Sunday, 27 September 2009

Such Finery...

“For a long time people spoke about my lost finals,” Monfils said. “But now the curse is over. I’m happy with this victory. I managed to win, and on top of that it was in France.” The 13th-ranked Monfils added that he wouldn’t be satisfied “until I win the French Open, which is my ultimate goal.

(Source: Yahoo! Sports)

Not quite
RG. But a win's a win. And a win in France against such a seasoned opponent quite rightly means so much more.

(Photo: AP)

Kohlschreiber is no slouch. In fact I'm fairly certain he's completely unfamiliar with what that is. (Is it me or has he dyed his hair?)

And as to
RG, let's take a moment to consider how ridiculous the prospect of Soderling making the final there would have seemed not six months ago, before dismissing Le Sliderman's chances at the drop of a hat.

"I have been blessed with all the wonderful friends and opportunities to be able to compete at the highest level," said Sugiyama, who won three Grand Slam women's doubles titles and was a singles quarter-finalist in the 2000 Australian Open and at Wimbledon in 2004. "Tennis has given me so much. It has allowed me to meet so many people. I would like to give back what I received maybe through tennis, maybe through other sporting activities," said Sugiyama, who will play Nadia Petrova of Russia in the first round.

(Source: Times of India)

My rant flag has been drawn to half mast.
There'll be no WTA lampoonery here today. Not when there are such fineries to be had.

(Photo: Getty via

Today belongs to
Ai and Kimiko.

I have a very special affection for
Ai, whom I used to follow with some interest as a teenager, and who's probably the only player I can think of as still active, from back then. Except for Kimiko of course.

Sugiyama's career spanned 17 years, over which she made 62 consecutive Slam appearances (read "not missed a Slam since the age of 17"), reaching a career high of #8 in the rankings.

But I'll always remember her for her work ethic. Thinking back I can only seem to recall two images of her: the focused expression of a competitor at work, or the smile of that same competitor
enjoying her work.

"I have learned so much from you not only as a tennis player, but also as a person, how to treat people, how to behave with fans, with the media," Hantuchova said.

(Source: Times of India)
Seems to me many younger players besides Dani could learn from her example.

Kimiko I knew less of. I learnt today she retired back in 96 and made a seemingly unsuccessful return to tour last year going out in the first rounds of all eight tournaments she entered.

But to raise the
trophy in Seoul she had to battle past Kleybanova, Hantuchova and Medina-Garrigues.

Talk about stopping the rot.

I know many will say that a 38 year old winning an event (the oldest since Billie Jean King in 1983) is an unsurprising sign of the times, and yet another indictment of the tour. Signs I normally leap on any opportunity to highlight. But funnily enough, this says more to me about organic talent remaining unaffected by the passage of time. And rising above the sea of more
synthetic talent. The type manufactured so unlovingly nowadays.

I'm guessing
Kimiko's in lesser shape than she was at her peak back in the 90s. But she can hardly be described as out of shape either.

(Photo: AP)

She could pass for 25.

Besides, physical fitness is not always the prerequisite it's sometimes made out be.
Match fitness almost always is.
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