Roger Federer's sweet 16th and more thoughts from Melbourne
Cleaning out the Australian Open notebook, a "G Moment" if ever there were one...
• Your 2010 Australian Open winner
• Welcome back
• Can this be right: More Chinese watched the
• Nice tournament for
• That sound you heard was a mass exhaling when
• The Williams sisters won the doubles title. It's pretty simple: When they're in the draw, everyone else is playing for second. And if this math is right, Serena is now ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles.
• The Bryans --
• I thought, given its new Olympic status, the mixed doubles draw would have generated a bit more buzz.
• Federer setting the agenda for the ATP: 1) Get a sponsor. 2) Pare back the schedule. 3) Improve the television deals. Sounds about right. But here's still another appeal to consider the health of the players. Nadal injures his knee. Del Potro's wrist hurts. Soderling's wrist hurts. Roddick's shoulder and knee hurts. Yes, injuries are part of sports. But there are way too many banged up players, especially a month into the season.
• Hard not to be happy for
• I remember talking to a colleague at Wimbledon a few years back about how guarded Li Na had been in an interview, deferring to her translator for even the most innocuous question. In Australia, liberated from the Chinese Federation -- which now siphons "only" 12 percent of her winnings, not 60 -- Li showed off a tattoo, a dyed red hairdo ("my husband not likes") and a charmingly outspoken personality. Compare
• Li Na cracked the top ten. If China could even come close to approximating this success on the men's side, the dimension of the entire sport could change. (Aside: Li and Jheng are both married and in their late 20s. Calling them "the Chinese girls" is maybe not so appropriate.)
• For such a pleasant tournament, does any sporting event have bigger problems with a few unpleasant/criminal/sociopathic fans than the Australian Open? In recent years, a boy was allegedly molested in a bathroom, rioting Serbs and Croats required pepper-spray, and Greeks and Cypriots have fought. This year, there were Croatian neo-Nazis, a sexual assault during an
• If one player deserves a rest, it's
• One the stranger results we've seen in a long time:
• Some of you roasted me for this, but I tried to stay away from the ridiculous "underwear controversy." Venus deserves better. Say this: If there's one player with too much dignity/modesty for tawdry publicity, it's Venus.
• Is Venus washed up at age 30, as many of you suggested? If she wins another major on a surface other than grass, I'd be surprised. But she played well for four rounds and should have reached the semis. Besides, how can you kick a seven-time Grand Slam champ to the curb so quickly?
• Trivia: When
• Ran into
• The ITF meted out 17 fines for code violations, a relatively low number. The big culprit was the heavily inked-up Austrian
• Hard to believe that a year ago, with on-court temperatures exceeding 120 degrees, the ice vest was the trendy fashion accessory in Melbourne. You wonder how many players thought to themselves: "If I knew I'd be playing in 60-degree weather every day, I would have enjoyed my scant offseason a bit more!"
• We still say the impromptu "Hit for Haiti" was one of the cooler demonstrations in recent memory. They aired the full show on television here and it's terrifically entertaining. One snapshot: Nadal executes a slam dunk over then chest-bumps his partner, Djokovic, so hard that his headset snaps. Someone needs to sell this as a video. You can still contribute
• And speaking of the juniors, the top three Americans in the ITF rankings -- including
• Unconfirmed rumor: In the spirit of unity, several parties considered the lineswoman involved in Serena-gate to be a part of the "Hit for Haiti" festivities. She was here, by the way, back working matches (and, understandably I suppose, refusing interview requests).
• Nice tournament for
• New reality TV show idea: coach swap.
• There are lucky losers, but consider the luck of
• Pity the chair umpire assigned to work the doubles match between Wozniaki/
• Trivia: Which former White House press secretary has been doing media consulting work for the WTA Tour? Answer:
• Listening to the newly-engaged
• I suspect most of you saw more of the ESPN's coverage than I did, but I thought it was quite good. Much looser and more free-spirited than it is at the other Slams; which fits the vibe down here.
• One Australian commentator noted that
• This should be a question on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." The Donald Young-
A) Rochus complained that the reflection from Young's earring was blinding him.
B) A ballboy wet this pants, soiling the court.
C) The umpire mistakenly believed there was a rule prohibiting two players under six feet tall from meeting in the first round of a major.
D) Young became so excited thinking about the iPad that he began hyperventilating.
Answer, B: "The ball kid peed on himself. It was unfortunate," Young said. "It took a while to replace him. Then they had to put the sawdust down, or whatever you put down when somebody throws up. Then they had to use the blower (to dry the court) but the blower had no gas in it, so that took even more time."
• The Williams sisters will not be playing Fed Cup. The sisters' explanation for their absence: The competition coincides with their "mandatory" NFL owners meetings. Whew, good thing the meetings weren't held a week earlier or, presumably, they would have missed this tournament.
• In other shocking news, the WTA now officially permits appearance fees. Which is great because now -- finally -- players can be compensated simply for committing to a tournament and earning income in addition to prize money. On a related note, fire is now officially hot. Water is officially wet and ...
• They're putting a roof over Margaret Court Arena in time for next year's event. For those scoring at home: Australian Open, three covered courts. U.S. Open; zero.
• We see it every year and we'll say it again. If there's a more spirited, affordable, and convenient big-time sporting event, we haven't been to it.
Have a good week everyone!