- Robbo (Laura Robson), who played an opponent with exactly the same outfit for the second time in a row, failes to capitalise on her big chance. She just wasn't solid enough off the ground. Her concentration needs work but she's only 17 - it's allowed. There are good enough signs for the future. It give me so much respect for Masha (who totally owned her 2nd round match, 6-1 6-1 against Anastasiya Yakimova) - winning her first Slam at 16.
- Muzz, sporting an EXTREME MAKEOVER seemed to smooth out the couple of kinks in his game during his first round match. Credit to Somdev taking it to him in the first set. He'll be happy with how he's doing - lots of vintage Andy moments and some nice aggressive forehand play.
- Venus pulling out of the USO with Sjogren's syndrome just sucks hard. I liked it better when I pretended she was pregnant. Her withdrawal means she's now out of the top 100. Soderling also withdrew due to illness. Stop it guys.
- American teenage girls be killin 'em - Christina McHale upset Marion Bartoli big time. All hail McHale! She's the USO's American story and earns her spot tomorrow night on Ashe against Kirilenko. Can she handle the big stage? Only time will tell. And how bout Sloane Stephens huh? Kept pressure on Peer all through the match and held her nerve to serve it out. Oooh oooh and Vania King took out Jarmila Gajdosova, dropping only two games. Meanwhile even though she lost, Keys took it to Safarova big time. The wild, young thing is only 16 so she has an ok excuse for blowing the multiple leads she had in every set of the 3 set match. Is the future of American tennis with the ladies? It's looking likely.
- Delpo clearly had somewhere to be other than the tennis court as he obliterated Volandri in minus time. He's a dangerous dangerous man and most people's dark horse.
- Ok 14 retirements/walkovers -USO can we stop hurting out players?? Thankyouplease.
- Monfils. Oh Monfils. Hit 81 winners and 81 unforced errors during his match against JCF. Can we coin a new phrase? - "That's so LaMonf". He's just not gonna change is he? Phenomenal win from Ferrero though - talk about 'still got it'.
- Andy Roddick won ugly. Then talked ugly. But it can't be easy being at the brunt of all that "dude, retire soon, you old" speak.
- Didn't catch the match but apparently Tomic checks out when the going gets tough. If that's true, his attitude needs to change like yesterday otherwise all that talent and arrogance will go to waste. Nice in-roads for Marin Cilic though. He needs this.
- Do we even need to talk about how heads, shoulders, knees and toes Serena is above the rest of the field right now? I'm scared for the WTA.
Greethings earthlings. Well yesterday was a bit crazy no? First sod pulled out, then Venus announced her depressing news. US Open I know you guys are the party Slam but can we cool it for a bit? Or at least pace ourselves. Jeez.
Injuries and illnesses. They are every athlete's fear. Unassuming and unforgiving they can attack at any time and in any stage of a career. And they've certainly gone after Venus Williams.
2011 has indeed been a nightmare year for the American. Plagued with injury she missed five months off the tour having retired in the third round at the Australian Open with a hip injury. She then returned (along with sister Serena who had had nearly a year off with an injury and extremely serious illness of her own) in Eastbourne, making a decent run to the quarterfinals.
Wimbledon was a big test for both, and both fared very well considering the circumstances - Venus made it to the third round; Serena went out in the round of 16. But while Serena picked up the trophies of the next two tournaments she played, Venus was struck yet again. This time in form of a virus that prevented her from competing in Toronto and Cincinnati. We now learn the virus in question is Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which affects energy levels and causes fatigue and joint pain. And it has now caused Venus to pull out of this year's US Open in the 2nd round.
This recent onslaught of injuires and illnesses - which actually date back to a knee problem in 2010 - have shown no tact and ruined what could have been a decent year for Williams in light of the inconsistency of the WTA. With the US Open lacking any of the three previous Slam winners, the draw was wide open enough for Venus to make a run. And at 31 years and closer to the end than the beginning, a run at the US Open would have been a very welcome prospect. But Venus has been set back yet again and many fear time is running out. With an energy sapping disease, who knows when she'll next be able to compete.
If retirement is on the horizon, it will be a huge blow to tennis. And a shocking reminder to enjoy our players while we can. Because sometimes injury and illness get their way.
- Fish swam (I had to) through his match pretty much likeaboss. He came, he saw, he demolished, he probably went home and polished off a can of Bumblebee. Me like-y what me see-y here.
- Harrison failed dismally having lead all through the match and I really don't know why. Maybe the success of his breakout season has finally caught up with him? Or MAYBE HE NEEDS TO CHILL. No one should have a respected commie calling them a 'brat'. Remember when he tried to give Federer advice? Maybe he should take a page out of the GOAT's book and start to control that temper on court.
- Gutsy, courageous - no doubt two words you would've heard Heather Watson being described by when she pushed a crappy Masha to three. What impressed me the most about her was her MIND yo. She was all like: I'm playing Maria Sharapova winner of 3 Slams, no big deal, what are you doing for the rest of the week? She really thought she could win the match (and with the way Masha was playing, I could've probably won the match) and that is what you want to see from youngins. Here's to a bright future Hev.
- And then we had our 2nd upset with Li Na bowing out who said she played like the stronger word for poo. And only for the 2nd time in the Open Era, 40 years since the last we have none of the previous Grand Slam winners in the 2nd round of the USO. Which brings me back to dud article on female domination. Jeez can't catch a break. - We had 2 curses - the curse of the Japanese players with Kei Nishikori, Ayumi Morita and Misaki Doi all bowing out. And the curse of the 5-1 down retirements with Conor Niland and Jamie Hampton both retiring from their matches against Nole and Elena Baltacha respectively.
- Ernie won his match! And convincingly! Shhhh, don't say it out loud.
- Rafa was in and out of focus, actually mostly just out. Golubev lead all the way through the match, but proceeded to choke all the way through the match. Dude has some serious shot-making abilitites, it was almost annoying. And by almost I mean very. Well it was a customary slow start from Rafa. On the plus side the prodigal serve seems to be on its way back home.
- Serena steamrolling through her match isn't news. Her hilarious response to yet another journey back to Foot Fault Gate is.
Rafael Nadal has admitted becoming more open as he's gotten older. He's always been that charming, grounded, sensitive guy who never revealed much at all about his personal life. His memoir with John Carlin has allowed us to gain - rather surprisingly - much insight into the contradictory nature of this humble champion.
Here are10 things 'Rafa' reveals about Rafa:
1. His insecurities.
We always knew Rafa had that humble, unassuming air, but we didn't quite realise the depths of his insecurities. He doesn't seem to believe in his abilities as much as others (including friend and mentor, Carlos Moya,) do and often feels like his top competitors are more talented than he. Rafa admits that Toni with his harsh coaching methods is partly to blame.
2. It's more “Rafa's foot” than “Rafa's knees”.
Rafa's knees had been somewhat infamous around 2008/9 as his Achilles' heel (they even have their own Twitter account). Especially as they were the reason (physically speaking) he lost his first ever match at Roland Garros in 2009 and couldn't defend his Wimbledon title that same year. However the injury - the one that threatened Rafa's career - actually came about due to very rare foot disease where the 'tarsal scaphoid' - a bone located in the bridge of the foot failed to form as a child and thus became slightly deformed as a result of repetitive stress on the area, making it liable to splinter and causing intense pain. The injury knocked him out for four months, with the only form of treatment found in special trainers that had to be made for him. And Rafa claims it's still a work in progress. It definitely explains his reaction when he sustained a foot injury during his match against Del Potro at Wimbledon this year. The knees however have received a special treatment and are no longer a problem.
3. His pre-match rituals are not superstitions but a means for transformation.
The borderline OCD rituals (the jumping up and down before a match, the drinking from the two bottles etc.) are all a part of the transformation into Rafa's on court alter ego - the warrior - and enable him to get into the frame of mind to compete. Some have relentlessly dubbed them as superstitions despite Rafa's countless contestations. But Rafa is adamant that everything down to the tightness of his bandana is necessary to prepare his mind.
4. The extent of the love-hate relationship with Tio Toni.
We've always known Uncle Toni to be a stern coach, but the extent to which the tension between them permeates everyday situations is revealed. You can even feel Rafa’s attitude towards Toni as he writes. Many times throughout the book, Rafa will relay just how difficult it is to cope with Toni's antics - almost bitch about him (for lack of a better term) - but then will retort with praise and understanding, knowing that he owes his successes not in part to Toni.