Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terrorists and their sponsorers must be hunted down and killed like the retarded mongrel dogs that they are. Wake up and Fight India.

By now, all of us who have been watching the gruesome events unfold in Bombay know the following based on the reports;
- The Mongrels came on boats from Karachi ( I refuse to call these ba$tards terrorists, they are mixed breed retarded dogs and that's how they must be treated)
- They had help from Indian traitor mongrels
- This is not the usual mongrel operation - its been planned by the likes of a military unit - ISI and Paki Army is the obvious suspect
- They sought out US and British citizens
- The real intent is to harm growing and vibrant Indian economy and culture.

Its obvious even to the blind and deaf that these are muslim renegades bringing shame to their community and trying to cause further pressure on peace loving muslims.

Irrespective, its now very clear that the cancerous tumor that is Pakistani agencies, must be removed from the body of earth but not through a surgical cut - they must be grinded, poked and burnt so that generations of these agencies will shudder before they even attempt to think of being born again.

Indian and global agencies must act decisively, quickly and with fierce retribution to eliminate these evil elements from the face of the earth and ensure that our continent is rid of these evil ba$tards.

Do note, that I don't believe that a general muslim in India or Pakistan wants to fight anyone and should be disrespected by either side. Lets not categorize these mongrels with general muslims just because these mongrels are paki muslims.

These mogrels are illegitimate, depraved, ugly dogs vomitted by their mixed breed parents and reared by wolves, fuc#ed by AIDS filled ISI, and thrown out to India as revolting sick mongrels who will finally be tortured, killed and hopefully dragged in Indian streets while hung by their b@lls. They must meet this fate and later their sponsors must meet the same end.

Wake Up and Fight India - before its too late

My salute to the heroes of Bombay police, firefighters and of course the police leaders - Anti-Terrorism Squad Chief - Hemant Karkare, Terrorist Specilaist - Vijay Salaskar, and Additional Commissioner of Police, Ashok Kamte.

Salute also to the Hotel Staff at the Taj and Oberoi Trident as well as scores of Civilians who came through in this tough time.

Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Vande Matram

If you have any doubts about Paki sponsorship read this news from CNN/IBN;
3 suspected terrorists arrested from Taj Hotel

Press Trust Of India

TimePublished on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 00:59, Updated on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 04:04 in Nation section

Mumbai: Three suspected terrorists, including a Pakistani national, were arrested by the security forces from the Taj hotel on Thursday night.

Ajmal Amir Kamal, a resident of Faridkot, Multan in Pakistan and two others were arrested from the hotel, official sources said.

Kamal told the investigators that they had come in a merchant vessel, which dropped them at 10 nautical miles ahead of Indian waters.

From there, they took a dingy fiber glass boat to enter the Indian waters, he said. There were 12 people on the boat, he said.

The arrested militants belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba, officials said.

Earlier, the police had arrested a man named Ismail, believed to be a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, in connection with the attack.

However, the big concern and where questions would be focused in the next couple of days is loopholes in India's maritime security.
While the chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh did agree the that the sea route was used, he claimed there were no intelligence inputs

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is Nadal done! Will Real Roger Stand up! Will Murray take over!

Postmortems are always ugly but someone's gotta do it and much as I dislike scraping fresh wounds, I think sometimes we need to do it so we can be healthier.

So I looked at some of Nadal's comments, after his US Open loss to Andy Murray and have to say that, to me they were almost Rogeresque! Let me explain what I mean.

For many months now, Roger would make comments after tournaments that I thought were kind of partial denials of reality - for example his comments after the French Open and before the Wimbledon that he was still the favorite to win Wimbledon and that grass was his best surface. While the comment was partially correct, it ignored the fact that other contenders specially Nadal was snapping at his heels - grass or no grass. Sure enough, Nadal did a Roger at Wimbledon and won the title. No denying that Roger played extremely well but no denying the end result either. I kept feeling that Roger was reluctant to acknowledge that his crown was in danger - that unlike any other time in the past four years, he was being chased very closely by Nadal and maybe a bunch of others.

Coming back to Nadal - Even though a good number of predictions were that Nadal will win USO, my reading after watching him in initial matches, was that Nadal's busy and demanding season was taking its toll on his body and he was surviving the USO matches plainly on skills and will power and not on stamina.

And now after the USO, asked if he might cut his schedule next year to avoid the match fatigue, Nadal said that "playing so many events is what enabled him to become the world No.1."

"If you want to be in the top position, do you think you have any chance if you play less? No," he said.

As you may know, next on Nadal's agenda is the Davis Cup semi-final and then the Masters Series event at Shanghai.

I think this is a potentially dangerous line of thought and a risky way of going into the next season considering that Davis cup starts within next 9 days and even though the Masters Events thankfully starts a month later, on November 9, it is still, way too short a period to recover from grueling matches. Is Nadal cutting it too fine physically, because the Australian Open then starts on January 19th.

Maybe I'm getting paranoid for nothing, after-all Nadal is supremely fit looking athlete but something to me is not right in this picture. I would rather have him skip the Davis Cup (or maybe just be a reserve for the Davis Cup), take longer rest and then go to Masters in Shanghai.

Even some of the other comments he made like, ""You know how important it was for me to win Wimbledon after two years playing the finals," Nadal said. "For sure after Wimbledon I had the big goal - Number One and Olympics and finals US Open", appear to me as unlike Nadal. Is he already sounding like Roger! Your call!

Moving on to Roger- He's the US Open Champion and winner of 13 slams and I hate to write anything that takes away from his achievements but I've got to say that even though he won the match from Andy Murray, he didn't convince me that he will rule the courts the way he used to. Many are predicting that this is the return of the old Roger - the invincible, but I'm going to wait & watch. He showed the glimpses of his old self when Andy was making mistakes but not when Andy was firing back. To me that is the difference between old and current Roger. Old Roger would make the best look like ordinary and the current Roger makes ordinary look like good! Great player no doubt but old Roger, not yet.
I do hope that he gets to at least 15 slam titles so we can wait, pant , anticipate to see if there will be a successor to his crown. To me he can easily go beyond 15 too but only if the old Roger resurrects.

Andy "Muzza" Murray - watching him up close during the US Semis and in practice matches made me think that this man could very well may displace Djokovic from # 3 position in next 6 months or so. Its not only his tenacity and good play, the man can think on his feet and play deceptive shots to fool opponents. He can cover the ground well from coast to coast and his shot arsenal is getting wider too - we have all seen him hit those running cross court forehands that are tough to handle and are winning shots more than ever before.

Djokovic - I like him but I am getting the feel that he will really have to step it up. I will keenly follow how he performs at Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. I do want him to do those impersonations of other players. This man is genuine fun.

May the Best Player take it all.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Didn't I say so! King Federer tames new heir apparent Prince Andy

Well, as I thought and wrote earlier, Andy made it to the finals but was somewhat overwhelmed by Federer. As a Fedex fan, I still don't know when will he start playing like his old self but in the end he prevailed and that's heart warming for Roger's Fans. At the same time can you think of any other player that you love to watch, who will make you happy & sad at the same time.

I mean, come on Roger, OK we knew that making it a 6-0 final set was little too much to ask but why did you scare us by getting the score go to 6-2! This is the part where I get to seriously question on why is Roger still not closing out like he should. I don't deny that anyone would tighten up at such a special time but we are so used to seeing Roger play these points nonchalantly and almost without being unaffected mentally, physically and emotionally that this new Roger is a bit scary.

I know I should just enjoy the victory for now but I just can't. I mean
-he's become the first player to win 5 consecutive titles in two grand slame events
- his streak of being undefeated since 2004 in US Open is still intact
- he is the first man since1920s after Bill Tilden to win the tournament 5 times in a row
- he is now just one title shy of beating Pete Sampras' record of 14 slam titles - in fact, as I write this blog, I notice that 91% of more than 6000 people polled said that he will break Pete's record in 2009 and we all know that he will
- For a bad year, he's won slam, was finalist in two others and in Semis of the another, has a olymic doubles gold to boot

and yet, I feel a slight vaccum when it comes to his closing skills in a game, set or match. I still feel a certain hesitancy, a trepidation, a wavering when he's up be a good margin against an opponent. I do think his decision making during plays is a bit of question mark and that reflects in his volleys going out of the lines or his drops catching his own side of the net. I just can't get over the fact that he's great and yet he's only playing excellent this year.
Even the match stats are revealing;

Murray Federer

1st Serve % 45 of 81 = 56 % 48 of 81 = 59 %
Aces 3 3
Double Faults 3 0
Unforced Errors 28 33
Winning % 1st Serve 23 of 45 = 51 % 38 of 48 = 79 %
Winning % 2nd Serve 17 of 36 = 47 % 15 of 33 = 45 %
Winners 16 36
Receiving Points Won 28 of 81 = 35 % 41 of 81 = 51 %
BreakPoint Conversions 2 of 5 = 40 % 7 of 10 = 70 %
Net Approaches 7 of 11 = 64 % 31 of 44 = 70 %
Total Points Won 68 94
Fastest Serve 133 MPH 126 MPH
Avg. 1st Serve Speed 108 MPH 114 MPH
Avg. 2nd Serve Speed 82 MPH 92 MPH

as can be seen practically Roger's first serve gave him the edge with about 26 more winners was the difference, by no means a small feat but I'd like to see his overall stats to improve a lot specially the unforced errors that he's making more and more.

I am just hoping that 2009 will be Back To Fedex year in a big way. All in all, we couldn't have asked more of this great athlete than to close out the year on a winning note.

Whatever the new year may bring up, for now I'm just going to enjoy this win.
Roger Rules

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Prince Andy Sets up showdown with the King Federer

Take a good look at the picture. This is your own Desiwriter as the chair umpire on Court 17!

So Doubters, hope you trust my forecasts now!
When I wrote 10 days back that I expect Nadal to be out and Andy to storm into the finals - many a doubts were raised! Someone even commented that I was not only writing my blog but was also writing my own comments (this was because someone wrote a comment on my blog, agreeing with my assessment).

Before I get drunk in my own heady minor success, let me say that I also forecast in the same article that while Roger would get into the semifinals, he will lose to Djokovic, so I was off on that! I have to say that I'm delighted that Fedex is rolling back again and the way he played in the last two sets, I felt that old Roger was surfacing back again, if not almost back. Hope he wins the final and is resurrected. On the other hand, i saw him practice today and was confused - why! Lets come back to that later.

Getting back to the match, watching the match live at Arthur Ashe stadium with my family, almost as always, I was the only one amongst the group who was supporting Andy Murray, and very vociferously too, if I may add. In fact, the people seated right ahead of me complained that I was too loud, thankfully they were nice people and knew that I was a true sports fanatic and meant no ill will for their ear drums. In fact, if you were at the stadium, you'd think that there was barely any Andy supporter. Court would erupt if Nadal won a point and would have a smattering of applause when Andy carved a point. Of course, Nadal is a great player and that kind of support is expected in a way but I was still surprised that Andy didn't have more support than I saw. Well, the good part of being in minority is that when you are vindicated, its doubly satisfying and thanks to Andy, I could celebrate.

Now before you jump to the conclusion that I don't like Nadal, as I have seen many people do, whenever I write anything that happens to go against popular sentiment. He is a great player, someone who was just considered a good clay court player and is now feared on every surface. I just felt that the long season was about to catch up with him and I had expected him to be out in the quarterfinals of US Open and he still made it to the Semis. just goes on to show, how good a player he is.

Getting back to the match, what I liked about Andy was that even though he lost the third set, he never appeared to not have the guts to take the game to Rafal. I for one was not surprised at his win even though almost the entire staidum seemed to!

Moving on to his bigger challenge, the Men's final - obviously, he does have a chance, a good one at that to upset the overwhelming favorite - the King - Federer. Andy is playing with great confidence, he has the skills, he hits the shot with convictions and just if you didn't know or forgot, his record against Fedex stands at 2-1. Oh, and don't forget, Andy won the US Open title in 2004 in the Junior championship so he knows this surface very well.

However, something tells me that Roger is not about to give up, just like that. The man is on a 33 consecutive wins streak at US Open, since the last one and half sets is playing like his old self again and is a master of the craft. I must mention though that, as the Andy/Nadal match was in progress, I saw Federer come into the practice court. Thinking that, it was going to be a good practice session, I temporarily stopped watching the Andy Nadal match and focused on what I though was going to be an intense practice session by Roger. I have to say that I was surprised that Roger stayed not more than 20 minutes on the court. he hit a few balls with his hitting partner, hit out a few serves and was gone before I could say Roger Federer. I don't know, maybe he was out there just for the heck of it or just to stay loose or maybe changed his mind about a long practice session but I was surprised that he left so quick!

even though, I felt uncomfortable, I think, Roger will win the title. In the last one and half set he played against Djokovic, I felt that he was sharp, gained confidence rapidly and didn't let up. I do thaink that it would be a four setter and we'll see some good action in the second and third set with Roger prevailing. All in all, it would be a great match and I know that you are as excited to see this one as I am. I do wish that I had tickets for this one too - I would have really enjoyed watching it live in the stadium but then, that would have burnt a deeper hole in my pocket. The semis have alreday done it so I think I'll better watch it on TV.

Good luck to both and may the best player win!

Some of the pictures, I snapped today;












Above- India's Leander Paes is listed on the winners board for his win in the Mixed Doubles Final












Above- Roger Federer practicing while the Andy/Nadal match was in progress












Above- Roger Federer sitting in the practice court












Above- Andy after the win












Above & Below - Andy/Nadal match in progress

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What a Semis showdown! Fedex is back on rails, Nadal temporarily saved by rain!



Ok So I was wrong (well at least 50%) but why does it feel so right!

I know I said that Roger will reach Semis but will lose to Djokovic and here I was, sitting in the stadium and watch unfold the Semis drama while the clouds hung overhead.

Soon as Roger came into the stadium, I started pumping my fists. No longer had he served his first serve that I was screaming into the ears of people in front of me. My kids were very confused, said my son; "Dad, you wrote earlier that Roger will lose to Djokovic and here is the first serve by Federer and you are already screaming in his favor! What's the deal! We thought you didn't like Roger!

I had to correct them and tell them, look, I love Roger, I want him to break every record there is, because he's a master, BUT make no mistake, a few years from now someone younger and talented will come and attempt to break all of Roger's records and I will be cheering that guy to go all the way. I like this cycle of prepetuity, Roger should break Sampras' records and if someone more capable comes along then let the new kid break Roger's records. That's how I like it.

But I digress, I gad to explain to my son that despite that I love Roger, I don't like the current Roger - the tentative Roger, the hesitant Roger, the overanxious Roger, or simply missing the Roger that I and other fans have known for last few years. I don't like the stubborn way he is playing these days without making necessary changes, the adjustments.

I think today, Roger heard me, his fans and their prayers and came a little bit back into his own, but he was still kind of really missing, well at leats till the third set against Djokovic. He had a fair opportunity to carry the second set to the tiebreak but at 30-40 down and knowing that he must get a deuce and then win next two points, he chose to hit a shot that I have seen him over/under hit many a times this year and there it was, 7-5 in favor of Djokovic! I was getting nervous again! Will the Real Roger please stand up!

To get back a little bit, I liked how Roger came out in the first game, won it and continued to play well. Not surprisingly though, he was still over anxious on many points in the first two sets, but in the third, as Djokovic started misfiring a bit, Roger strated getting his groove back. With every game, we were seeing the Roger "the King" Federer hitting the shots with supreme confidence and finally he relieved Djokovic from his misery with a clean forehand, with the final score at 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-2 , Roger has booked his ticket to the Final.

More importantly,
- Federer is now 7-2 against Djokovic.
- This was Federer's s 33rd consecutive victory at the US Open. Can you believe, his last loss was in the 2003 (against David Nalbandian)
- If Federer wins US Open, it will be his fifth consecutive US Open trophy
- If Federer wins US Open, He will be the first man to win 5 consecutive titles at two grand slam titles ( Wimbledon and US Open)

One side fun fact of the match was that while there was some support for djokovic (I was actually surprised by that, I thought he would have zero support and will be solidly booed after his comments at the end of match with Roddick), BUT every time Roger was on the go, he got a huge cheer from the crowd. By my guess, Roger's fan outnumbered Djokovoc fans by roughly a 100o:10
As for me here's my thought;

"GO ROGER GO"

I have got to tell you, I was almost stunned when I heard the announcer say during the second set of Fedex/Novak match " Because of inclement weather, Nadal/Murray match will start right now in the Louis Armstrong stadium". I was like, "No freakin' way. I came here to watch both the matches, not half of this and half of that." Since rest of my family wanted to see Nadal and I definitely wanted to see Andy ( he was so gracious the other day when I got his autographs and asked him to pose for a foto, Andy is real cool), we reluctanly made our way to the other match.

Man, was I happy to see Andy play so well! He was calm, not trying too much extra and was on the ball. I think in the whole stadium, there were probably five of us, Andy supporters and it sounded like it was a Rafa fan convention. Everytime, Nadal would get up, go to serve, make a good return, the whole stadium would hit a high octave. It may sound silly, but even though I was outnumbered as an Andy fan, maybe 1:3000, somehow, I felt good and I think it was mainly because Andy made his racket talk. Thank the lord, that Andy won the first and then the second and put a little bit of lid on the Rafa fans. More than him, I was relieved.

I do think though, that Andy was both a bit relieved (having won two sets) and, out of focus at the start of the third set. I was little startled that, he proceeded to go 0-2 in the third and of course, right now, the score stands at 2-3 with Nadal up a break. What I dislike about that as an Andy fan, is the fact that,
- one, if you are Andy, you can't afford to be out of focus even for a fraction of a second, against world's current best player
- two, with a rain break, now there is a chance that Nadal will gather himself and unleash his missiles on Andy.

As for Nadal, he looked slightly out of sorts right from the start! Was he thinking too much, too ahead! Did he think, he will walk on the court and Andy will roll over! Was he already planning for the Finals! I don't know Man! All I saw was that he was lackluster and Andy's great play made it look very ordinary ( don't get me wrong, even an ordinary stroke from the world number one is extraordinary, but something was missing!)

There were some extended, powerful, long rallies with both guys hitting some tough, ground hugging shots but Andy got the best of, many of them. On the other hand, I was worried for Andy, for suddenly at the start of the 3rd set, he didn't have answers for the Rafa serve and that to me is a dangerous sign. As much as Rain has helped Rafa escape a NDE ( near death experience), I think, Andy needs to use this break to get his act together, he can't afford to slip up. Its Do or Die trying for him! No third option.

As for me, I'm happy, Not only Fedex is back but I'll get a chance to get back to the stadium tomorrow and see the completion of Nadal/Murray match. In fact, if the rumors are correct, my ticket will enable me to watch Cara Black & Liezel Huber battle it out against Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur in the Women's Doubles - Finals. Well, lets just say that I consider my $1000 spent on the tickets, really worth every penny.

Friday, August 29, 2008

US Open; Nadal out, Roger , Djokovic in Semis - Djokovic moves to Finals to meet Andy Murray

Ok I know that lots of matches are yet to be played before these predictions can come true but my observations are based on the very few matches completed and that few practice matches I got to see. Here we go;

1. Nadal - Not only will he not make the semis but he will fold up at the first hard core resistance he meets, in other words, any guy who can take him to five sets or wins the first two sets from him will defeat Rafael. Right now he's just riding on sheer will power and some great talent BUT he has no juice. He's tired and will not go beyond quarters, specially because he will end up meeting either Blake or Nalbandian in the quarters and specially if he ends up meeting Blake, he'll lose it.

2. Roger - Everyone and the media in general is going all gaga over his first win and saying that he's back on track based on how he played against Maximo Gonzales BUT I'm not buying it. He's still hitting many erratic shots, playing in a somewhat casual fashion and not closing out the points and to top it, still refuses to admit that he needs a strategy and/or game change. Even though his side of the draw should easily take him to the Semis since his true good poential opponents are Verdasco and Stepanek, I'm so unsure of him that I put him into Semis gingerly. At the moment though, I don't see him overpowering Djokovic in the Semis so that should be the end of the road for him. If however it is Andy Roddick who ends up defeating Djokovic and meeting Roger then I give Roger a 60/40 chance.

3. Djokovic - So far looking good but he's mentally a wee bit less sure than he was at the end of 07 and start of 08. The early exit from Wimbledon has definitely made a dent on his psyche and both, he and his opponents know that he is vulnerable. He does have enough though to make it through to Semis. He will be looking at some potential good opponents like Marat Safin (revenge time!), Cilic , Moya. Even the quarters could be against Andy Roddick and that will be a tough test.

4. Andy Roddick- So far I have only seen his first match and he came out looking the best of the entire lot of players, but again, even though Fabrice is a very good player, he has his on & off days so I'll give Andy 75 out of 100 for that match and that's a high rating from me. To me he's got an easier draw and than makes him potential Semis candidate. He is capable of defeating Djokovic, specially if he can take Djokovic to four or more sets. Djokovic's stamina to me is a real question mark and smart players should be able to use that fact to their advantage. Irrespective of that though, I don't see Andy winning the title.

5. AndyMurray - looking good and impressive early but not hugely impressive or let me further clarify - Andy will certainly fly into the quarters because the most tough opponent he will meet is Wawrinka and though Waw is playing well, Murray should have a slight edge. Again he's potential Semis candidate to me because he's capable of defeating Ferrer or lets say Ferrer is capable of losing to Murray. Makes Sense! To me yes, to you I don't know! Based on sheer determination he could find himself be an a very good situation.

Now couple of guys that deserve a mention
6. Monfils - Man, this guy looks good. I'm not sure how far will he go but I saw him practice, and then also his first match and he looks good. He has a tough matche coming up against Nalbandian but if he maintains his confidence he should do well. He's an emotional athlete and so it would matter that he win the first sets of his match.

7. Juan Martin del Potro - Can this man keep his winning streak running! Considering that he plays Giles Simon and then Ferrer - could this be the end of the road for him in the Open or would he continue his big strides ! An exciting player to watch for sure.

8. Cilic - Is he playing well or what! The only issue is that if he wins from Bobby Ginepri then he meets Djokovic and I'm giving Djokovic the advantage between the two.

I would have liked to mention Tsonga here but haven't seen him play at all so need to skip it but I hope he does well.

I have to end this post here, but it's on a happy note. Fedex (not Roger) just delivered my US Open Men's Semifinal tickets and boy am I excited even though I'm paying far more than the list price.


I'll share the experience of my first grand slam attendance when I get to that.
Ciao.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

US Open - Reporting Live for your convenience - Day 4 of qualifying rounds

Can you imagine walking to the grounds of US open and smacking straight into Youzhny! That was me today! That was also the first and the easiest autograph I got, I just couldn't believe my luck and I knew my day was going to be a good one. I was not disappointed.

Though much as I want to talk about the players I met and the autographs I got, as you already know, the qualifying singles began on the 20th and today was the fourth day, so lets talk first about a few matches that I saw.

I got to see a few qualifying matches including that of Bjorn Phau of Germany against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania- it was a good match to watch and Bjorn made it through, though not too easily.
The match right next to theirs, was being played between Robert Smeets of Australia and Ginaluca Naso of Italy. Naso shows some signs of brilliance but had no answers for Smeets tough returns. Smeets looks really young and his tennis is very impressive.

On the women side I saw bits of the Shenay Perry (USA) mtach, that she won 6-4, 7-6 over, Olga Savchuk of Ukraine - actually it was a tighter match than the score shows but Perry managed to eke out the win.

In fact, qualifying rounds matches were much better than the practice games played by the top ranked players- Safin, Murray, Monfils, Moya, Ferrer, Mathieu, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Robredo et al.

On a personal front, the best part of the whole experince, was that I got to have autographs of Murray, Safin, Moya......well, everyone that I mentioned above. A bit disappointing part though, was that even though I saw Jankovic, Serena and Venus from close quarters, I couldn't get their autographs. Serena, I don't care because she acted like a diva but I would have loved to have Jankovic's signatures - the girl has a genuine smile and is very charming. Though we spectators were separated by a screened fence, you could see that she was enjoying the attention but very focused and practicing hard with her coach. I think her mom was on the side line and even though she was sitting close to the fence, I never got to see her (mom's) face since she had ber back to us.

One very interesting fact, I want to share with you is that, almost every player, looked much younger than what we see on the TV. Maybe there are a couple of players who don't appear young compared to their TV images, but everyone I saw at close quarters today, was definitely better looking in person.

I have to mention that, when Safin took off his shirt during his early practice on one of the practice courts, you could hear all the girls - young, old and very old, shriek and swoon with delight. He got almost all the attention, when he came in, even though, Venus was practicing on the left most court and Jankovic on the right most court. I think the court numbers were 8 and 10, but I wasn't really noting down the court numbers. It was too heady an experience to watch the players up close and personal and also too hot at that time ( around 10.30 am).

Before I ramble on, also worth mentioning is the fact that, when I asked Safin to pose for a picture as he was walking the tunnel in the grandstand after finishing his game with Mathieu, he was a perfect gentleman. More of that later though.

First for sightings and autographs - Ladies and Gentleman, I'm proud to announce that as of today, I'm the proud owner of autographs of;
Safin, Murray, Monfils, Moya,Mathieu, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Shahar Peer, and of course YOUZHNY!

NOT only that, I have the videos of everyone signing their autographs except, Youzhny - I didn't get to take my camera out at all when I walked to him- I had just walked into the stadium grounds and there he was, walking with his coach and a girl (friend, hitting partner, girlfriend???) .

Regrets - Serena, Jankovic, Ferrer, Gasquet - I was either too late in the tunnel or just missed them - excpet for Serena - she has too much of an attitude and lots of spectators were pissed at her for not signing their papers/hats/shirts - I certainly didn't appreciate her attitude.

As for watching the action, if I go just by the way all the players were playing their practice games, the only players who looked like they deserve the top ranks, were Andy Murray and Monfils.
Safin was playing so bad that I think he lost the set to Mathieu; 6-2 or 6-3, no one was really keeping the score except for the players and their tense looking coaches, who were on the courts and I mean coaches were right on the courts as the players played on. Safin was erratic, his serve was completely off and his volleys were not going beyond the net. As expected though and to the delight of the majority of watchers, he slowly started getting angry and then his frustration caused a mini explosion, he smacked a ball in anger, that sky rocketed to the big TV screen , bounced-off back towards the court and interestingly enough landed in the stretched hands of an off-duty ball boy sitting in the lower court side seats.

Everyone knew who was playing.

To me the surprising part was that as Safin finished the game and came out, I was hesitant to ask his autographs, thinking that his unhappiness could spill all over me, but Man, was I wrong! He smiled, stopped, signed and continued on his way. I was highly impressed. This man is so different than what I had imagined all these years, based on the TV coverages and expert commentators, that talk of his volatile nature. On-court he may be explosive but off-court, the man is a gentleman.

Honestly, I have to say that every player with exception of Serena was nice. Andy Murray was so nice that even though my camera refused to work as I chased him for the photo, he kept asking me - are you ready yet, are you all set - all this while continuing to walk, but he asked with a genuine care rather than just to parry me off. He is so mature beyond his age.
Monfils was another one who didn't hesitate to stop and sign and of course, with a great smile.

All in all, it was a great day for me and for the tennis lovers. I'll try tomorrow and see if I can put the edited video online for your viewing pleasure - the challenge is that I have never tried converting and putting a video from the camcorder to the computer. If I can put it together, I hope Sportingo has provision to host a video inclusive article, if not, you may be able to see it on my blog http://rantmaker.blogspot.com/ .

We'll see about that, but all in all, a great Tennis day for the thousands of the spectators.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ooh. Losing hurts! Grow up Blake

So Olympics are on and as expected, the tennis fun continues and so does Federer's downward slide.

Of course, not withstanding Fedex's loss, some scintillating tennis is on display. If you watched Nadal/Djokovic match, you know what I mean.

Can you imagine this kind of intense rivalry in an Olympics tennis tournament! Such rivalries always seemed only to be meant for Grand slams. I would have loved to see this level of competition in the earlier Olympics, but this one is compensating for all the previous ones! I'm so glad that top tennis players decided to play in this Olympics and give us fans, such a treat.

Before I go on, I have to say that I didn't like the bitching and moaning coming from James Blake about Gonzalez, he kept on saying;
-how it was unsportsman like for Gonzales,
-how he lost faith in a fellow competitor,
-how Gonzalez should have conceded the point,
-how who Gonzales does everything in his power to win, “usually” within the rules.

In effect, Blake brought everything possible into press conference about his opponent EXCEPT the fact that he failed to convert three match-points in the final set. The real reason for his loss.

I have high respect for Blake, and if you have read his biography, you'd agree with me too - the man is fighter. He has faced high odds and lost his dad to cancer, a man who shaped him and his career and inspired Blake to achieve these lofty heights. In fact, he mentioned his dad in the post-game conference too though I wish, he had used his Dad's reference in a better context.

Blake just came out as a bitter man, venting out his frustration, of losing in a crucial match, winning which could have gotten him to a Golden final.

What is surprising to me is the fact that if you look at the match TV footing, you can see that Gonzales genuinely didn't seem to have felt the brush of the few fibers of the ball on the BACK of his racket.
Sure, Blake was close to the action and even if we presume for a moment, that Gonzales knew for sure that ball had hit his racket but didn't acknowledge it, would you blame him!

I mean, its a match and a crucial one at that. I've seem many a top players, simply look at the umpire and wait for the chair to call a point and not concede a point on their own, EVE when they know that the point belonged to their opponent.

By crying out like he did, Blake has only come out as a cry baby and not someone who can take a rough day stoically.

Oh Nadal! Man is he good and lucky or what! If you watched the match you know what I mean! Poor Novak- he blazed through Nadal in the second set only to get a little tight and then smash himself out of the match and for chasing the gold. I don't blame him for being emotional in the end. He was so close.

Novak, my man, its not you! Nadal is on an unbelievable run and apparently supprted by Gods of Tennis.

Now to my favorite Federer - he just doesn't have the confidence, does he! I was already thinking that he's not gonna go far when I read the news that he had decided not to stay in the Olympic village and was lodged in a hotel. This is what he said;
"It's not possible for me to stay there," he said. "There are so many athletes who want their pictures taken with me. "I don't mind it, but every day? I can't escape it. It's not the ideal preparation for winning Olympic gold."

Doesn't it sound like he's almost afraid. Some would say its arrogance but, I don't take his statement as a display of arrogance. I've always thought that this man speaks the truth, always, though at times, it can appear that he has airs.

I just think the Fedex is suddenly hugeky unsure of his game and, what seems to be worst is that, NO One in his entourage has the guts to tell him that by tweaking everything except his confidence, he's only losing a chance to make a forceful come back.

I always thought that a key legacy of Federer will leave behind is, his humbleness, his graciousness, his style and the fact that he's a perfect gentleman. Looks like he may lose a bit of the gloss on his leagcy by the acts like staying away from olympic village.

Even more intriguing was his comment after winning the doubles matches against Bryan brothers - “I’m very excited,” Federer said. “Having beaten the best in the world and going for gold, it’s an incredible scenario. This is a big moment in my career.”

So should we think that he's reconciled to the fact that he's no longer a force in the Singles and is resigned to being a good doubles player! I knew it had to happen some day but so soon!

Big moment in the Career! Get out of here!

McEnroe tirade - you have likely already read the news " McEnroe got tossed from his opening-round match at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup on Thursday for cursing, arguing with the chair umpire and making an obscene gesture at fans."

Somethings will never change! I recall that couple of years back I took my kids to the US Open on Arthur Ashe day - a dfay meant for kids to involve and indulge in tennis. As we were going around, we saw that McEnroe was on one of the tennis courts playing with some one, (I think the guy was a ski athlete and good one at that). So my kids pleaded that they would like to watch the game and wait to get his autograph at the end of the friendly game. We all patiently waited in the hot sun for McEnroe to come out of the gate and get his autograph, once the game was over. Imagine our shock when McEnroe walked off the court and in a high voice went on to say someting to the effect that " I'm late for appearance at another court so I can't scribble on your booklets", I felt so bad for my and other kids who had braved the sun for more than an hour for this man to just move two fingers and here he was almost yelling to the people, kids really, who were his fans. I silently said, shame on you McEnroe - this day is meant for kids and you choose to insult them! I really thought that he was pits as a man.

Later as the days went by and I watched him on the TV speaking so well as a commentator and oh so gently, about all the players, coupled with the last year's American Express dispute-resolution commercial, in the commercial he travels to meet an an umpire from the 1985 US Open to mend fences with the umpire who McEnroe had called "Evil" for an 'Out' Call.

The magic of TV make-believe led me to presume that, this McEnroe was a changed man, a mellowed man, boy, was I wrong!

The man is a raging lunatic and will remain so.

Now for the the last word , everyone talks about how China and India are going to be superpowers. Just going by Olympics medals , looks like there is a great disparity between China and India.

India Shining - well not in Sports at least. With its gowing middle class I would like to see a growing Medal class!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

English can't write English! WTF!!!!

Indians better at English than the British, say lecturers

Ok, for a change, I am not writing my thoughts, just reproducing the astonishing news that I saw a few moment ago. So Britishers can't speak English now. That's true gobalization, ain't it!
What is interesting about this news, if you are not British, is that even though British are going down, they would still like to rub the noses of those who are humbling them at their own home turf - see the enlarged words to see what I mean...

Indians better at English than the British, say lecturers Students from India
and other former colonies (so my friend had this comment - colonies, like US, right! you've gotta be kidding me. Is that the best you can do to hide English embarrassment - call other countries former colonies - do you see how fast those colonies are becoming world powers! Beware Englishmen! At this rate You will be someone's colony in next two decades), have better English language skills compared to their local British counterparts, academics feel.

Many undergraduates in British universities have such low competence with spelling, punctuation and grammar that despairing lecturers often spend time teaching the basics of English to the English.

Lecturers say that international students from India and other former colonies often have higher standards of basic English than their British colleagues in the same classroom.

Some of the most common mistakes are in spelling, often using 'their' when students mean 'there', 'who's' for 'whose', 'truely' for 'truly', 'occured' for 'occurred' and 'speach' for 'speech'.

An Indian-origin university lecturer said that British students even in their second year of degree study, use 'atrocious' English language in their assignments.

He said that he often found it challenging to figure out what students wanted to express in English. International students, in contrast, had better English language skills, he added.

English language standards have deteriorated to such an extent that one leading academic has been forced to ignore common errors altogether.

Ken Smith, a senior lecturer in criminology at Bucks New University, told The Daily Telegraph that many students failed to apply basic rules, such as 'i' before 'e', except after 'c'. The words 'weird', 'seize', 'leisure' and 'neighbour' are regularly misspelt by students, he said.

Some universities have already extended courses by a year to give weak students extra tuition in core subjects that they failed to pick up in the classroom.

Bernard Lamb, a Reader in genetics at Imperial College London, said those from Singapore and Brunei made fewer mistakes in their work, despite speaking English as a second language.

Many British students appear to have been through school without mastering basic rules of grammar and punctuation, or having their errors corrected, he said.

Writing in the Times Higher Education magazine, Smith said mistakes were now so common that academics should simply accept them as 'variants'.

He wrote: "Teaching a large first-year course at a British University, I am fed up with correcting my students' atrocious spelling. But why must we suffer? Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea. University teachers should simply accept as variant spelling those words our students most commonly misspell."

Jack Bovill, Chairman of The Spelling Society, said, "All the data suggests that there are more and more students at university level whose spelling is not up to scratch. Universities are even finding they have masters-level students who cannot spell.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nadal does a Federer, Djokovic does a Nadal and Andy is the (not so) Surprising Winner

" More things change, the more they remain same".

Federer is a OK, hard courts will favor him - Ivo Karlovic proved that wrong
Nadal couldn't be defeated in his current form- Djokovic proved that wrong
Djokovic will make a strong return after Wimbledon- Andy Murray proved that wrong

So you say Andy is the best right now - not so fast my friend.

Tennis as seen from my point of view;

Lets start with Fedex ; Federer looks far from OK.
Iis he a great player - no doubt!
Is he in his best elements - NO,
Will he win Olympics and US - can't say though you can bet that he will make the Semis in both tournaments.

Just when I thought he was getting more realistic - he actually joked that he was on a "one game winning streak" after his first match win at Cincinnati, and then he comes up with this " The bigger picture is the Olympic Games and the U.S. Open. Those are the places where I want to win." WTF!!!

Really Roger!! I mean after you lose a tournament you talk about the next one as if nothing happened in the one that you lost! As one of your fans, I am getting concerned that at this rate, if you lost Olympics and US, you will say " This was a good year but my focus is on regrouping for 2009"

I think instead of focusing on anything else, he should only focus on his confidence level - both overconfidence as well as bouts of low confidence. This may sound absurd - but he needs to make sure that he's confident of closing - closing a point, a game, a set and the match.
He needs to play tight, even play safe like how every player does including Nadal & Co., when they know that a single point can tip the match one way or the other, but since Roger refuses to do it, my assessment is that he will remain in trouble. In my mind still the greatest but still the most obstinate in not making the badly needed adjustments during a match. He seems either overconfident or starts playing over anxiously and then seems surprised that he lost! Whew!

Nadal - the guy is so much improved in his determination, his game and knowing that other players get mentally fickle when he makes those unexpected results - he's truly unbelievable. You can say so many things about this guy - how he is winning on all surfaces, how focused he is on his pursuit of number one position and how he as taken his game to next level, but there is no need. Everyone can see it clearly, so;

Does he deserve # 1 ranking - Absolutely.
Is he self-effacing and humble - Yes
but here's my thought;
Is his game as complete as Roger - I don't think so.
C'mon. don't pretend to be shocked. Roger on a good day is still ahead of Nadal, Nadal surely is snapping at the heels of Roger, in fact, he has taken Roger's # 1 position but Roger is Roger.

Djokovic - He seems to be getting his groove back. Looks better prepared and determined to retain his number # 3 position after the stunning loss to Safin in Wimbledon but his stamina is not the same as others in the top 10.
He can win his matches on skill and talent but I'm gonna say that every time a match goes to four sets or more and his opponent retains the mental poise, Djokovic can be defeated, In fact, looking at the young and veteran players, he may have tougher time retaining his # 3 position for too long.

Andy Roddick - can you step it up and make a comeback! I know it looks impossible right now, but the guy has got game. He's in a bit of Roger situation! Over Anxious most of the time.

and now to the latest sensation - Andy Murray!

Man, isn't he showing glimpses of Nadal in his game! Unbelievable returns, great passing shots, speedy running all over the court!
If anyone can truly take the tag of MOST IMPROVED Player in top 10, it has to be this kid and what I like about him is the same humble streak as Nadal - realistic in what he says!

So Andy is a great winner but I'll repeat what I said at Wimbledon time - this kid is OK when he wins the first set but when he doesn't, Lord have mercy!

Not to take away anything from him but if you watched Cin. final - you know that Djokovic in second set was trying to lose and not playing to win. Couple of good shots from Novak and Andy's body language hit a down turn. In fact it looked more and more, that it would be tough for Andy to win if Djokovic could get his breath back. Again, I think Djokovic lost rather than Andy won but in the end I was happy for the result and for Andy.

He has put in hard work and it was paid. I still think though that Andy has a long way to go - the good news is he can.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Uh Oh! What's Tennis coming to!

I mean isn't it getting exciting now - Safin defeats Djokovic in the second round of Wimbledon, we get to see an amazing match between Schuttler and Clement and then of course in the finals Federer defeats himself and hands over the championship to Nadal

Action moves to Canada and the top seeds start stumbling in the Rogers Cup like Stock market during Mortgage crisis. I knew Roger was not going to make it to the finals but second round!

Fedx was ousted in the very first match he played - who is Giles Simon anyways! Well as we know well by now, the 'Roger FeDenial amazing circus show' continues - his comments after the match were no different than his comments after Australian, French and Wimbledon losses - Sure I lost but what can I do. the other guy was playing better, and for the gem of his talks - I am focused on m y next tournament, this is all behind me.

Surely, if you are a big fan of Roger, like I am, you are in a shocking stupor.

Roger- please hear me out, one of us is drunk or smoking something really really edgy, if you say something like "I'm OK, I'll be OK, Next tournament is mine" as you have been saying all along AND I know I'm not drunk or smoking so it must be you!

I admire your guts to put everything behind you after a loss BUT wait a minute, you seem to really forget everything including the bad decision making you do in all the matches you lose.

Man, all I can say is that now the whole Tennis circuit knows, you are not be feared - why -

Because - you stick with one game plan that you come to court with and don't change anything even if your plan is falling by wayside even as your opponent starts getting aggressive.

Ok the only redeeming feature in this tournament so far is that Djokovic, Roddick, Davydenko, Gasquet and Blake are all out of the tournament but that should be a warning not a relief.

Nadal has not looked too good either but at least he's surviving on his will power and slightly improved game.

By far, Andy Murray is the one I'm really impressed with - I saw his match against Djokovic and boy - is he playing like Nadal! I loved the fact that he's learnt to hang around each volley and despite serving something like 50% first serve, he's still winning.

I'd like to think that he can win over Nadal later today but I think Nadal has a little too much motivation going in this match. If I'm not wrong, he'll earn enough points by winning the this title to become number One.

Even though right now it looks like that if Andy can walk into the match like he did against Djokovic - relaxed and confident, he could give a surprise to the Wimbledon Champ.

We shall See!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pappu Can't Dance Saala or White Man just can't Dance - Bon Jovi Concert

So thanks to my wife, I got the VIP tickets to the Bon Jovi concert on Saturday Night at the Central Park. Oh I mean I was among the 2000+ VIPs. Other thanks go to Mayor Bloomberg and Bon Jovi & his band, of course.

The concert was scintillating- Bon Jovi looks as fresh as he was long time ago - three years back I'm gonna guess, and the crowd was up on its feet all the time - well, there was no place to sit.

Nah, I just kid you - It was a summer picnic and central park is a cool place to be at, in summer. Throw in a band like Bon Jovi and you have a perfect summer (satur)Day

I loved some great things about this concert
- The concert started on exact time it was supposed to be - 8 pm.
- There was no unnecessary stops during the concert - just a smooth flow of one song from another, no useless MCing or wasting of time
-The concert finished on time - a bit of tease before the band finished it but they let the croed know that it was about to finish.

As a spectator, it was flawless event to attend.
BUT, that's not why I'm blogging though.

I blog today 'coz I have to sadly admit a fact, that I suspect you already know and my feedback through this blog is, but just a confirmation
- Ladies and Gentlemen, I have no doubts left that white male just can't dance. Can you imagine 50-60 thousand people in the park and not one white guy has a reasonable move!

A white woman on the other hand Can & Will JUMP!
They didn't show much dance moves either but at least they did jump. The vertical elevation scores against no elevation indeed, no movement.

Yes, that's what my observation(s) are.

I mean you must have heard the recent Desi bollywood song "Pappu Can't Dance Saalea", which is kind of a hit song right now - about a bunch of college kids ( I suppose middle class) who sing in a dance video in a bollywood movie, about another student who is rich with many luxuries handed to him by his parents so the student gang is envious, BUT these students revel in the fact that despite all his riches (the rich kid has Rado watch on the wrist, Gucci cologone et al) - The rich kid just can't dance.

I was instantly reminded of that song moment the concert started.

Before you jump on me - Imean before you WASPs John, Les and Luke jump on me and call me wonderful names like; " you browny, how dare you" etc. - do note, that the "White man Can't Dance" is just an observation and not an accusation. As a homo spaien either you have the natural rhythem in your body or you don't.And my ivory skinned friends - you just Don't, god gave you many things - skin cancer when you are exposed to sun, the american and european continents, wall and fleet street but he kept away the most important thing from you - the ability to enjoy in tough situations - dancing.

Of course, I couldn't help but compare this concert with another concert I went for a few months back - that one had Sean Paul, Talib Kweli and a host of Spanish hip-hop stars ( unfortunately, I don't know their names) - now that was a big contrast - everyone was moving, shaking and stirring, Surprise, surprise - even the white girls were actually putting on some moves that could shame anyone - black, brown or any shade in-between.

I know you are wondering white girls are OK tell us about the white guys in a hip-hop concert.
so here is the answer! The white guys couldn't dance there either. In fact, you could spot a white guy from a mile - those were the onlu guys looking perplexed - as if they expected that they were told it was a bar and somebody failed to inform them that it was not.

The other side observation was that, while Bon Jovi's concert had lots of Lighting special effects there were practically none in the other one! Do the whiteys feel that technology will fill-in for the natural effects. I don't know but the good news is they don't seem to know either.

I'm just messing with you readers (I mean son). Oh you ask, Why do I Say Son!
Well, I'll let you on a secret, no one reads my blog except for my son and least of all - you, John Q.

In fact, if this blog was being read by anyone outside my family - I might die due to sheer ecstasy of knowing that I have a readership beyond three people! Shoot - now you know that there mine is a three person family! When will the brownies learn to hid etheir moves like whiteys!

So relax Caucasians ( why does Caucasian have an "Asian" in it!) and go beyond jumping

- Dance!
Will Ya!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fedrinator Vs. Nadambo - Tennis the clash of the Titans on the world's biggest Tennis stage -Will it be Titanic results for Federer!

Ok, I admit both lack the physique of a Terminator or a Rambo but you'll agree, both annihilate the competition.

Fedex made short work of Safin and Nadal stepped it up when he really needed against Schuettler. Even though both won, we all saw that they are not invincible.

Nadal looked more shaky of the two and looked definitely rattled when Schuettler got ahead in the second set. As expected though, he managed to win against the german. This however, was the first time in a long time that I saw, Nadal being a defender than an aggressor and apparently he's neither used to nor likes being in that situation.

Under pressure, he was making the mistakes that any player does, hitting long balls, making unforced errors and even double faulting. Before I say anything else, I need to acknowledge that Schuettler despite his two-day marathon match with Clement didn't look jaded as I thought he would and instead looked fresh enough to bring it to Nadal and boy, did he do that. If he had won the second set, who knows what would have happened. When I saw his first two games in the match against Nadal and though he eneded up losing the first set, I felt that if anyone could defeat Nadal, this is the man. Oh what a loss! Spain overcomes Germany again.

Federer on the other hand had a relatively easier match against a resigned-to-lose Safin. I mean Safin seemed to believe what he had said earlier; I'm playing semifinals, but that doesn't mean that I have a chance there .... To beat Federer you need to be Nadal and run around like a rabbit and hit winners from all over the place...... It's another chance for me. But I think it's just a little bit too difficult it would be for me to beat him.

Again, I felt somewhat, if anyone could trouble Roger - Safin could be the man but then we all know the result.

Coming to our match on hand - the £700,000 question is - Can Fedex retain his title! Notice that I didn't say " Can Nadal win the title" - I truly believe that Federer has a mental block against Nadal, a lack of confidence if I could stretch a little bit.

I've also felt that Roger is trying to pscyhe himself up and gets quite a bit defensive when asked about his potential loss to Nadal. His comments, in my opinion, even refelect a certain desperation; "But this is different because this is now crunch time, it's playing the second best player in the world, somebody's got all the chances to beat you on any given day, you know. So you definitely respect that.

It's make or break, and that can sort of put you under more pressure or make you more nervous. I've been in this situation so many times that for me it's not really a whole lot different because for me I know I'm playing very well, and from that standpoint I don't have much to worry about. And I know if I do play well, I'm most likely, you know, going to win the finals."
Here's the full interview link of both players R. Federer Interview - 5 July & R. Nadal Interview - 5 July

Now don't get me wrong these interviews by themselves don't appear to intense, even appear to be nice conversations with nice comments about each other but the overall drift that I catch from these and other comments Roger has made - to me its all one sign - he's great except when he plays Rafa and then he hits a road block.

To me this match's result is going to be a combination of two previous matches
1. Andy Murray and Nadal match
2. Fededx and Rafa French opem final match.

1. If Fedex can win the first set, in my opinion, he will win the match
2. In the French Open final, in my mind, Fedex lost the match in the second game of the first set when he was one game up and had a chance to break Nadal's serve and didn't do it. It brought him down but pumped up Rafa.

Keys to the match;

Roger
1. Do a Schuettler - be highly agressive, not necessarily rush to the net but make Rafa run coast to caost - keep him reacting rather than set up his shots. For gos' sake, win the first set.
2. Be a closer - make sure to break Rafa's serve when you get a chance - if you are up 15-40 on Nadal's serve, play very tight, control your volley's and play be percantages. Try being your usual self and you will neither win the game nor the championship

Nadal
1. Remain aggrassive, win the first set
2. Don't do too many drop shots, Roger is very fit and covers the ground very well and will put you in trouble if these are not ball-dead-on-arrival drop shots.

Good luck to both and as tennis fans, we hope for a good treat as we set glued to our TVs.
Yeah, I wish I was to watch this live but I have to wait till I'm sponsored.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Spain wins after 44 yrs. Now China looms! Tennis World

Ok I admit, the title may be little confusing there! Of course I refer to Euro Cup when I say that Spain won after 44 yrs.

So you may question, why mix Football/Soccer with Tennis. The reason is kind of weirdly obvious to me, at least as far as the Ladies Singles go. Can China do an encore of Spain and win their first ever Grand Slam title!!!

As for as Men's title; The question in the mind of fans in the tennis world is; can Nadal do the same in the Tennis World!! on Grass!
Would he be able to say Your Ass is Grass to Federer or would Andy Murray bring back some long last glory to British tennis and end up meeting Federer for the top honors, eventually.

Would Federer be even in the Final!

Either way, it is a yummy set up on the Wimbledon stage right now. Federer, Safn, Nadal, Murray, Ancic, Lopez, Schueletter, & Clement - could there be more variety here! I guess you could say that a Baghdatis or a Youzny may have been not bad either but, it is what it is.

However, before we delve deeper into Men's side, let say three Cheers for Zheng Jie of China. The first wild card to reach a grand slam semi-final of the ladies' singles and the first Chinese woman in the last four of a Grand Slam semi-final. Wow! And I believe that if anyone can defeat Serena ( besides Serena herself) Zheng is the one!

As for the other semi between Venus and Dementieva, the question is who will fold up first mentally and I think so far, Russians have shown a tendency to be highly fickle in that department. Would it be a Zheng Vs. Venus, Serena Vs. Dementivea, Venus Vs. Serena or the highly improbable though not entirely impossible; Zheng Vs. Dementiva!

Ooh! the possibilities and potentials! I'm ready to watch some action now.

Circling back to Men's corner now, lets look at the quarterfinal line-up and evaluate;

Fedex Vs. Ancic - would Ancic's marathon match with Verdasco take its toll or would he show the same grit as he showed in that match! I think Fedex may be little too much for Ancic.
Winnner - Fedex

Marat Vs. Lopez - Before I comment on the upcoming quarters match, I must vent a bit on Safin. I have to admit, I was surprised, no - was stunned by Safin's demeanor against Dojokovic in their match - I was expecting almost all through the match that Safin will explode in anger, frustration or both whenever he lost an easy point but boy, was I in for a big surprise. He kept his cool and got under the head of Dojokovic. Yes, I do believe that Dojokovic didn't play too bad except maybe in the third set but I think what got his goat was the fact that like me he expected Safin to implode and that never happened.

Anyways, coming to the quarters - Lopez has couple of good victories under belt specially the last one with Baghdatis but I think Safin is capable of taking care of business.
Winner - Safin in a tight finish

Schuettler Vs. Clement - Schuettler defeated Tipsarevic and Blake on his way while Clement won over Cilic and Bjrokman - I would like to think that Schuettler will win over Clement but given the fact that Germany lost to Spain in Euro - an absurd comparison but a kind of sign!!
Winner - Clement ( because Germany lost Euro cup)

and now Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps the most anticipated quarterfinal match-up

Nadal Vs. Murray - Murray has kep his head with wins over Gasquet, Haas and that old fox Santoro ( God, I love that guy, he makes the best players look ordinary with his game) while in my opinion Nadal has not really been battle tested so far, really speaking and where ever he was tested, he came up with mental toughness to win. He looks to be the fittest player on the circuit and his reputation alone gives him a one set lead over opponents but you know what, I like Andy's chances here. I'm not sure if Andy can keep his head and the focus but if he can, he has a decent chance. I know, I'm being a little ambiguous here but you know this is amongst the toughest to call. In my mind, whoever wins the first set will take the match and the honors.
Winner: the winner of first set

So there, this is how I read the matches and hopefully I'll be correct in predicting All of them - yes, modesty is my middle name.
If that doesn't happen, I'll cry in my towel till I go to sleep.

Lets meet again after the Men's quarters and Woman's Semis are done and see how I fared.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fedex, Rafa, Dojokovic and a Superidiot - Gimelstob

So, the first week of Wimbledon came to a close y'day and Federer and Nadal continue on their run. Neither of them looked smooth to me though I have to admit that Fedex looks little better then I thought he would but he still continues to play some loose games in almost every match.

Till such time he starts playing more sharply and starts closing out games that he should, he will not re-gain his status as the most dominant player on the circuit. In fact, I think he's in real danger of losing his wimbledon crown this year to Nadal - if Nadal makes it to the finals, which I believe he will.

On the other hand Nadal excfept for his y'day match with Keifer hasn't had the kind of matches that he had in French open and almost every match has started tighter for him compared to his clay court matches, but there is no denying that for a clay court player he is far ahead of the pack. With every win, I think he's getting better here. We'll see how it pans out.

Fedex on the other hand has a tough match coming up with Hewitt. Since Tony Roche has previously coached Roger and is now coaching Hewitt, it will be interesting to see if Hewitt has a major strategy coming into the match and causes extra concerns to Roger. I do except Roger to come through but only with a whisker.

In my mind its very clear that IF Federer doesn't win this 2008 Wimbledon Men's Championship then herefater he will only be playing as one of the good players and not the greatest. In other words, No 2008 Wimbledon Title - No other Tennis Final win. He may end up winning 2 or more grand slam titles to get ahead of Pete Sampras' grand slam record but he will be winning that over a long period of time, UNLESS he wins this time in AELTC.

Now coming to this moron called Gimelstob - yeah the same guy who endeared himself to many a tennis fans by his oncourt persona during 2007 US open after losing to Andy Roddick - remember the few minutes that he grabbed the microphone and started asking funny questions to Andy and jibing in general.

Alas, how were we to know that a man who appeared to be witty on the court was shitty in his head. If you don't know why am I saying all this or why tennis fans are upset then this is the background;

Earlier this week, he went on the morning show of a radio station and vomitted out filth as you can read in this article by Dan Steinberg;

But just before you start reading on what he said, wherein besides addressing Ana and other women tennis players in worst possible ways, he berated Ana's game, here's a quick look at Ana's and Gimelschlob's records

Justin’s lifetime record: Singles: 106W-168L, highest world ranking 68.
Doubles:
171W-154L, highest world ranking 18.

Anna’s lifetime record: Singles: 209W-129L, highest world ranking 8.
Doubles: 200W-71L, highest world ranking 1.

Here's the article;
And when he went on the Junkies this morning, he talked about--what else?--the female figure.

Early on, it was Brooke Mueller, the new wife of Charlie Sheen, with whom Gimelstob said he was previously "friendly. Biblically friendly. I don't think I was the only one," he added.

There were vague references to other conquests, but his most interesting remarks were reserved for Anna Kournikova, whose St. Louis Aces will face the Kastles in a late July grudge match that will surely be uglier than any World Team Tennis grudge match this town has known. Seriously, if you thought DeShawn-LeBron was ugly, just wait for Gimelstob-Kournikova.

"She's a [bleep]," Gimelstob said of Anna, using a word that rhymes with "kitsch. "We're gonna kick her [bleep]," he added, using a word that almost rhymes with "kastle."

Well then. Will he talk junk to her on the court?

"One hundred percent," he said. "If she's not crying by the time she walks off that court, then I did not do my job."

So it's pure hate then?

"Hate's a very strong word," he said. "I just despise her to the maximum level, right below hate. I think she falls into the Marcelo Rios 'Scumbag' category....And this whole bluff about her retiring because of her back? She had the yips on her serve, she can't get her serve on the court. Wait until you see on July 23, she's gonna be serving 40 miles an hour and I'm gonna be just plugging it down her throat....We do exhibitions together and I'll mock her, and make fun of her. I'll just make her know that she's stupid....I'm sure she'll rue the day that she has to come here and actually share space with me."

The Junkies asked whether she knows that they'll be facing each other; "probably," Gimelstob said. "She might not even be smart enough to read the schedule."

They asked if he would serve at her head; "No, I'm gonna just serve it right into the body, about 128, right into the midriff," he said.

And they asked what would happen if Kournikova made a move on Gimelstob. You know, a Biblical move.

"Definitely not," he said. "I have no attraction to her, because she's such a douche....I really have no interest in her. I wouldn't mind having my younger brother, who's kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits of that."

Later, he was asked to assess the top 20 players in the WTA rankings;
he called Tatiana Golovin "a sexpot,"
Nicole Vaidisova "a well-developed young lady," and
Alize Cornet "a little sexpot." ...........................

If you are a tennis fan appaled by this Schlob's comments, I encourage you to write to following;

Tennis Channel - where this a$$hole is somekind of journo
Alos note that the Tennis Channel is sponsored by
Wilson Sporting Goods (racquet@wilson.com),
Tennis Warehouse (info@tennis-warehouse.com),
Tennis Court Online (http://www.tenniscourtonline.com/ContactUs )
IMG Academies (laura.young@imgworld.com) and
Lacosta (http://www.lacoste.com/usa/main.html - contact form) to name a few.
You should cc e-mails to them as well as the tennis channel -general@thetennischannel.com

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saintly behavior - well the Guns help too

Just like Gandhi II ( check out the video link in the left column of this blog), apparently being a Holy Man is not enough a gun is needed to create the discipline.
Not getting the drift!! Ok, I refer to the shooting outside the Shopper's stop by Baba Ram Rahim's bodygaurds that killed a man.

Baba sparked a riot by making an unscheduled stop at the Mall while on his way to preach to a gathering. I guess, killing a man gives you that ultimate inner peace which you can then pass on to the audience listening to your discourse. Maybe there's some other explanation - like you can learn and preach non-violence only when you have tasted violence , first hand.

Either way, a man is dead because a so called holy man went for retail therapy. Umm, I guess I'll stay away from any place that has a holy man coming. Catholic priests have already spread enough man-love as it is and now this guy is a shining example of non-violence through violence.

You must watch Gandhi 2 video. Again, its not to make fun of Gandhiji - one of the finest men that ever lived this planet. This is just a bit of humor that I'm sure even he would have liked if he was still alive.

God knows, we do need men like him right now.
Wait a minute, we do have modern day holy men like Baba Ram rahim.

Tiger Wins, Miller Looses .... his head and respect that is

So you know the story, Tiger plays like an injured Tiger and comes back from behind, not once but twice and wins over Rocco Mediate in the US Open Golf Championship and that is phenomenal.

Rocco though can keep his head high, he challenged the best player in the golfing world and had a near-win.

In the whole game though, Johhny Miller lost his head and respect of all golfers and sports players. Now you may have never heard of this idiot Miller and hopefully will never hear of this slimeball again but for now, know that he's the "golf analyst" on the TC channel- ABC.

This is what he said about Rocco on the national TV " Mediate looks like the guy who cleans Tiger’s swimming pool."
He then went on to say, “Guys with the name ‘Rocco’ don’t get on the trophy, do they?”

Somebody should ask this low class , third rate analyst about his golf knowledge but more importantly what sewer he comes from!

As for apology after there was a commotion over his remarks, this is what he comes up with, " My intention was to convey my affection and admiration for Rocco’s everyman qualities and had absolutely nothing to do with his ethnicity." Point to note here is that Rocco is of Italian heritage.

So we are to believe that his remarks are out of his affection for Rocco. Wow. I guess I can call him an a$$hole out of affection then. Here's to you with love; you a$$hole.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To Be Or Not to be - a refree in the NBA

Before I pen my thoughts ( I think this phrase is outdated now, who pens their thoughts anymore, we just key-in/type what we think but I digress) I have to say that I realized y'day that ranting against NBA should be least of my/our priorities, what with the inflation, war, ecosystem's near-collapse, poverty, racialism and more important issues out there in the open.

Having said that, lets get back on NBA. So in my office we were discussing the NBA finals (though my colleagues know that I become a raving lunatic every time someone mentions NBA League Officials or the Referees, they can't resist to needle me and I can't resist to be provoked) and my colleagues wanted my views on NBA finals and who will win it, now that Celtics are 3-1 up in the series.

So I'll share with you the breakdown of next there games;

Game 5 - Lakers
Game 6 - Lakers
Game 7 - Celtics

I'll also share with you why I think it'll be this way;

Everyone knows that Celtics have been a ragged team ever since the playoffs started so many have been surprised at their surprising lead over Lakers who looked infallible going into the Finals. Didn't Lakers defeat such teams as Utah and Spurs and didn't Celtics seem to be bumbling idiots while playing Atlanta and Cleveland.

So what makes them suddenly appear the claimants to the throne??????

Allow me, Ladies and Gentlemen to introduce to you;

David Stern and the
NBA Referees.

These two make me easy to predict how the league is going to play off the NBAs.

It really not that hard to predict actually, just go back in previous years; Remember when Mark Cuban screamed about Stern and the Refs. - Stern had no option but to get Mavericks into the NBA finals BUT because Stern hated the screaming, had Mavericks loose to a team that was totally undeserving to win the NBA final. Heck, that year, Miami couldn't even have been in the play-offs, if the games were called the way they should have been.

Don't mistake me, Dwayne Wade is as good a baller as there are in the NBA and the Big Diesel has his own presence on the court but if you look at the tapes of the entire season twice, you will still not know how they came in the play-offs or the bigger shock - went on to win the finals.

We can go back every year and you will see the same pattern - surprising teams appear in the play-offs and surprising teams lose in play-offs - remember Golden Warriors losing in play-offs last year! If only someone could look at all those game tapes and convince me that its a fair game out there.

Anyways, back to our current series; if you read my last column you'll recall that I mentioned the fact that Lakers will win two out of three at the home court - not because I was looking at skills of either team - I just concentrate on Stern and Referees.

So my prediction is league will try to show that Lakers have got a huge shock to their system by this sudden loss(wink, wink) and hence will rebound and win the next game.

In fact, it will be such a big rebound ( read- the winning margin of Lakers in game 5 will be around 15 or more points) that they will go on to win the next game - the game 6th at Celtics home court - oh! what a shocker!

The game 7 will be a winner for Celtics - oh because they are at home court!

Now you may say; wasn't it the same home court that your predict that will loose the previous game (game 6 of the finals) on! How can a court change its color in two days!

If you ask that, then all I can say is you don't know this NBA league.

Stern has decided that East must win the trophy this year and that's that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eat this Stern!

So David Stern of NBA still wants to deny that league manipulates the games. All along I have been thinking that maybe I'm too harsh on this poor man! Maybe I'm biased and blinded by my own fury And of course there is no denying that I am a Rantmaker, BUT I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I'm not alone in believing that NBA sucks and the results of the series/games are pre-decided before the jump off is called at the start of the game.

The reason of this reaffirmation; the feedback comments from people, in the NY Post today, that follow the article ( the web address for the article is- http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/2008/06/11/2008-06-11_nba_commissioner_david_stern_dismisses_e.html)

The comments reaffirm my faith in Humanity.
The intelligence of human beings.
The smartness of the animals with opposable thumbs.

While you can always read the full article and the follow-up comments, I have pasted some of them below and these are just from the first page, read and enjoy them;

joebruno999 Jun 11, 2008 1:59:02 PM
DAVID STERN HAS ONE OBJECTIVE AND ONE OBJECTIVE ONLY: DEFLECT BLAME AWAY FROM THE NBA FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. ANYONE WITH AN OPEN MIND WOULD PROBABLY DEDUCE THAT DONAGHY IS TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT OTHER REFEREES DOING WHAT HE GOT CAUGHT DOING. COMMON SENSE. PLAYERS GET TENS OF MILLIONS IN SALARIES. REFS GET RELATIVELY PEANUTS. SO DOING A LITTLE BUSINESS MAKES SENSE, IF THE REF'S GOTTA PAY THE BILLS. STERN IS LIKE EVERY OTHER LAWYER IN THIS WORLD. HIS CLIENT ( THE NBA) IS INNOCENT. YEAH, AND SO WAS CHARLES MANSON.

Slugger Jun 11, 2008 2:13:53 PM
David Stern is a liar. In 2002, the NBA referees handed the Los Angeles Lakers a playoff victory over the superior Sacramento Kings basketball team. It was the most obviously fixed series of basketball games I have ever seen in my life. There was a Kobe Bryant forearm to Mike Bibby's nose which resulted in a foul call on Mike Bibby. There was a Robert Horry game-winning shot that came after the game had ended. And David Stern can only say that Tim Donaghy is the criminal, when he is the biggest criminal and phony that has presided over a major sport since the late major league baseball commissioner Mountain Landis.

vince301 Jun 11, 2008 2:14:25 PM
What????? You mean Charles Manson (AKA the 5th Beatle) DID kill those people????? And all along I thought it was the Little Piggies.......

Livinginterribletimes Jun 11, 2008 2:30:27 PM
I believe he is telling the truth. I always felt and you can tell when one team is being favored or penalized by unfair officiating. Just look at the current series.You know the Lakers are already deemed to win. Kobe is one of the last few remaining draws in the NBA and if his Lakers dont win....the commish knows his league is in trouble because we all know Kobe will pout and shout and he doesnt want his premier money maker to be unhappy.

bigbrooklyn Jun 11, 2008 2:32:13 PM
i dont think he's lying. i think his reasons for doing this aren't just, but the game was rigged, i remember game 6 like yesterday. the kings used to dominate, it was always kings vs lakers this and that. that was so blatantly obvious to me something was wrong. im not sure if they wanted the lakers to win the series or bring it to 7 games to get more money, butit was rigged either way.it seems we have no sport without flaws. i dont consider the flaws of football to be as bad as the others though

rollo555 Jun 11, 2008 3:08:13 PM
David Stern is a lying, thieving Jew. He has ruined basketball, and I am sure that Tim Donaghy is right on the money when he says this. It's been rigged for years, they should just admit it. We need more refs to stand up and state the truth now. All referrees are major slime, payoff loving, money grubbing scum.

tdl326 Jun 11, 2008 3:30:58 PM
Stern's just trying to do damage control in light of the current series. I have to believe in what Donaghy's saying. The leagues's been corrupt for years. I believe in "pro" wrestling before I believe in leagues like the NBA, NFL, NHL etc..... David "Mo money" Stern, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme...........

superman_1969 Jun 11, 2008 5:40:33 PM
So I see this guy at the gym this morning and I say what about Donaghy telling what he knows and this pea brain says he's just saying that stuff to not make himself look bad. I only called him naive. How come with everyone stealing everything that's not nailed down for the last 50 years I know of that we have never heard of one nba ref, one mlb umpire or one nfl official ever caught lying, cheating or gambling? How would you like to have lost a 10,000 dollar bet on that Kings Lakers series now? or 500 or 250, who cares how much. Now I just watch the playoffs (sometimes) and don't get s ucked in for a whole season.

FIRECRACKER392 Jun 11, 2008 6:56:55 PM
Now they want Viagra, Just because Baseball Players take it !!!

Yeshua Jun 11, 2008 7:35:43 PM
David Stern was in on the fix when he suspended the NY Knicks (incl. Patrick Ewing) for leaving the bench of a brawl in 1996-1997 2nd rounfd playoff series vs. Pat Riley's Miami Heat.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mr. Jackson - You are Right and Wrong!

I should have clarified the title a bit more - I meant to direct it to Phil Jackson, the coach of the L.A. Lakers basketball team, but I have reasons to suspect that he doesn't read my blog yet, so we'll wait till such time as he does, nonetheless, I'm gonna say my piece for now.

So Phil felt that the game two of Celtics/Lakers final was called wrongly by the Referees - and I am with him on that, but unlike the basketball experts like Mark Kriegel who exhort Phil and Lakers to shore up their defense or play it harder - I have a simple advice

Ignore it Phil

Yup, just plain ignore it Phil,

because you and I and million other NBA fans know, that you won't be here if it was not the same Refs that brought you here in the first place.

Remember, the no call on Brent Barry by Joey Crawford in the last seconds of Spurs/Lakers game. Sure you were gracious enough to say in the post-game conference that, you thought Barry was fouled and Spurs could have won that game, but you knew it then and you know it now, that Refs are Refs - they have to do the bidding of the League as well as "protect" their personal interests.

What personal interests you ask? You didn't forget Donaghy, did ya!

As if my rantings in the past have not been enough about League a.k.a David Stern, fixing up games/results/series, Donaghy gave me a great boost today, here is what Fox Sports writes; "Court documents filed by Donaghy's lawyer detailed the "inner-workings" of a plot in which top league executives used referees to manipulate the games. Donaghy claims two referees were "company men" whose job was to extend a playoff series in 2002 to a seventh game.

The full article is here; http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/8231176/Report:-Donaghy-says-refs-fixed-playoff-series

Anyways, if you are an NBA fan, you don't have to read the full article, you already know about surprising wins and losses your own teams have had all these years. You shriek with joy when they win (even though you know its not just a surprise but a big shock that your team won against a very good team) and blame the Refs when they loose (when your team was really playing their heart out) but because you have those fleeting joyous moments that kept you from saying that Refs cheated your opponents, you don't have the gumption or moral right to complain, when your team lost.

When you don't stand up for wrong things at the right time, be prepared to be wronged at all times.

I don't blame Stern much though - he has to run this league, make sure that sponsors get their money's worth (TV, Shoes, Drinks.....), keep journos happy, create "stars extraordinaire " like LeBron and others and expand NBA internationally AND all that depends on the NBA League.

All I want is that if you must manipulate games, if Golden State Warriors must lose to Utah during the season, let it be, but PULEEZZ, stay-off the Play Offs. It will be good both, for the game as well as for you in the long run. Let the real stars emerge, don't create them.

Don't give away MVP awards because someone has been playing long in the league and has not got one while a younger player deserves it, no I'm not alluding to Kobe/Paul but rather the overall design, year after year.

So Phil, just ignore the damn fouls - you know as well as I do, that you are guaranteed at least two of the three games at your home court, not because you are great and Celtics are away from their turf but because league cannot and will not let the series go down just like that. I was willing to say that you will win all 3 games but damn that Donaghy - in his statement he also mentions that league has manipulateed series in the past such that a profitable series gets extended to a 7th game, so I think David Stern as smart as he is, may not let this series to go to game 7 - it will be too obvious now. Damn! He's smart!

Sorry, the dice is already loaded and the hype about Celtics must be maintained and the sham revival of Lakers/Celtics must continue.

Based on how Celtics barely survived the earlier play-off series this year, I had marked you to win this sham series in 6 games but oops, the trophy must rotate and league wants to give it to East this year. Its not you Phil, its the money and Stern knows how to follow a good trail.

Oh Phil, another thing, I almost forgot to mention that for a change this year's finals are easy on my heart and mind and I'm not too deeply involved as a fan, so I don't care if Lakers win or Celtics carry the trophy. I'm just glad that I'm emotionally already out of the series.

About an hour is left for the game but don't worry Phil, you got at least two out of three at the home court even if your team doesn't show up or Celtics performs well.

Let the BEST TEAM (as wanted by David Stern) WIN.



 
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