Posts Tagged ‘tennis’

federer vs. nadal: best tennis match ever?

July 7, 2008

Yes there is a reason for my hiatus to this blog, and I promise that I will definitely be back in full force in the future, but for now I’m still on a break. However, the experience I had yesterday morning was too good, too surreal, too euphoric, to pass up for a blog entry. Federer played Nadal in the Wimbledon finals for the third year in a row. The previous two meetings, Federer came out the victor. Now, Federer was bidding for his sixth straight Wimbledon victory, a feat that would put him past Borg’s five in a row in the record books. Meanwhile, Nadal was bidding to become the first player since Borg to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back: not an easy feat considering the two slams are only a couple weeks apart. The past few years, it seemed like the Wimbledon grass was Federer’s home court, while the clay of Paris was Nadal’s. However, with each passing year, Nadal has been getting better, beating Federer more easily at the French, and making it tougher for Federer to win at Wimbledon. This year Nadal finally took the crown in what could be the best tennis match, ever, and most definitely the best Grand Slam final in the history of tennis. Federer lost the first two sets 4-6, 4-6. He was actually up 4-2 in the second set, but choked and ended up losing it. Then, with the mental fortitude of a champion, he clawed himself into a third set tiebreaker, winning it decisively. The fourth set was even tougher, as it pushed into another tiebreak, and Nadal was actually up 5-2, and was ready to serve the match away! Fighting off multiple match points, strike that, championship points, Federer came up with monumental aces and laser like winners, seemingly out of nowhere, maybe from the tennis gods. Since there are no tiebreakers in the fifth set, Federer and Nadal fought it out through the waning light, barely able to see each other on the other side of the court, finally finishing with a less than triumphant Federer unforced error to end the battle at 9-7. Oh, and I forgot to mention the two rain delays scattered throughout the match which upped the tension and which allowed the players to stay fresh and play at a consistently high level of tennis, and which also allowed the audience to reflect on and appreciate the epic match they were watching. As the trophies were handed out, you could hardly see the players, only illuminated by the flash bulbs of digital cameras around the stadium. This was a classic, ending with both players crying, defeated, and at the same time winners. This was the heavyweight struggle that you tell your kids about years later. An extended fifth set, two rain delays, changes in momentum, clutch shots, a storied rivalry, Wimbledon grass, #1 vs. #2, 17 grand slam titles between the two, and neither player dropping their level of play: all the ingredients of the best match ever.

 

I have to say though, it’s unfortunate for Federer that the fifth set doesn’t go to a tiebreaker, or else he most likely would have won that. Will Federer win another grand slam this year, now that he’s lost in three straight? Probably. You have to understand Wimbledon and grass should no longer be considered his favored surface. Grass is now slow, almost as slow as clay, which allows for people like Nadal to unleash their lethal topspin. The U.S. Open now has the fastest courts, and should cater more to Federer’s serving and shot making prowess. Some interesting food for thought: although most people agree that the title of the greatest tennis player of all time goes to Federer, including Federer fans like me, there are some who say the greatest is Nadal, right in front of our eyes the whole time. Well, let’s see, there is a good point there: at age 22, Nadal has 5 slams already, whereas Federer only had one at that age. Nadal seems to be constantly improving, while Federer’s level of play lately hasn’t been his best. There are a few factors to consider though: Federer could be a late bloomer, Nadal’s style of game could be too punishing on his body, resulting in injuries (he already tapes up his knees!), and there’s still the question of Nadal’s performance on hard court slams. Although I still give the title to Federer, I definitely have to say that Nadal has at least inspired me to experiment more with an extreme top spin game (Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex test drive, here I come!). The next few years should be quite interesting.

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what’s in my tennis bag

April 26, 2008

What's in My Tennis Bag

Clockwise (kind of) from bag:

1. Wilson Tour Super Six Pack with Thermoguard – I think this is the ’05 model. Don’t quote me on that. Anyway, the great thing about this bag (aside from its cavernous space) is that there are backpack straps on the back for easier carrying.

2. Volkl Tour 10 V-Engine Mid Racquet – This is a 93″, 18×20, 18mm thin beast, strung with a hybrid setup (Luxilon Mains, cheap synthetic crosses). It is still selling for an “on sale” price at Tennis Warehouse for $99, but I was able to find it at some random tennis shop in a chinese mall in Houston for $65. They only had one though :-/ Too bad. This racquet swings around quick, almost whip like.

3. Pro Kennex Ceramic Silver Ace Mid Racquet – This is a 90″ frame, and is currently just a backup and grommet-less frame. I used to have eight of these, but being as they were all made in the 80’s I think, and were all ceramic composites, the frames did not last long and all succumbed to various cracks. This is the sole survivor. Too bad, since I was able to get them off of eBay for an avg. price of $25 each.

4. Nike Spring Basic Feather Light Hat – Dri-Fit, very light, very thin, and very cool (meaning it keeps your head cool).

5. OFF! Clean Feel Insect Repellent II – This one has Picaridin as the active ingredient (as opposed to the more popular DEET), which allows it to be non-oily and grease-free.

6. Coppertone Sport Sunblock Spray – Sweatproof, waterproof, and SPF 15.

7. Wilson Pro Overgrips – 10+2 Roll

8. Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Strings – Used for my mains, 16L gauge, Silver. These are great, last forever, and prevent your strings from moving all the time.

9. Wilson Stamina Strings – Used for my crosses, 16 gauge, White. Softens up the Luxilons a bit, and are cheap, as well as durable.

10. Nike Swoosh Bandana – Federer/Nadal style. :P

11. Nike Swoosh Headband – James Blake style. :P

12. Nike Swoosh Wristbands – Ahh, if only I could play like Federer, Nadal, or Blake. Or even a 4.5-5.0 for that matter.

13. Nike Towel – This one almost feels like microfiber. But it’s not.

14. Babolat ElastoCross String Saver Locks – Used for parts of my stringbed which are about to break.

15. Miniature Fisker Scissors – For cutting ends of overgrips and cutting out broken strings.

16. Kleenex – For my allergies to almost every vegetation known to man.

17. Pete Sampras Vibration Dampeners – Made by Unique. In Black and Red.

18. Nike Compression Ankle Sleeve – For the times when I slightly roll on my ankle and need added support.

19. Adidas Barricade IV Tennis Shoes – This is my second pair of this model. The pervious ones were black/white/red. These are the best shoes I’ve tried, although I haven’t tried the new Barricade V’s. The 2nd best shoes would be the Reebok Pumps that Roddick used to wear; not the new KFS ones, but the Match Day Pumps.

20. Express Sweatpants – For warming up when it’s cold out. Windbreaker style.

21. Hanes Socks – Backup socks.

22. USTA Code – The Rules of Tennis, 2007 edition. Great for disputing calls. :P

23. Wilson US Open Balls – Extra Duty felt. Second best balls I’ve tried. Best ones being the Dunlop GrandPrix Extra Duties.

24. Igloo Elite Cooler – 1/2 Gallon.

tennis rant

April 5, 2008

So I was watching the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, which is a Master Series tournament, and basically the second biggest tournament on U.S. soil (U.S. Open In NY being #1 of course). Recently tennis tournaments have been broadcast on Fox Sports Network, moving from ESPN2. The commentators have changed, and the new ones suck, and the coverage is just horrible. Get this. I was watching the men’s quarterfinals: World #1 Roger Federer vs. U.S. #1 Andy Roddick. Federer has been in a kind of slump lately, not winning a tournament yet this year (I think). So if there was anytime Roddick was going to avenge his 11 straight losses to Federer, and to finally get a notch on the win column of his 1-15 head to head record, now was the time. Roddick pushed to a tiebreak in the 1st set, clinched it, but then lost the 2nd set. So now in the 3rd set, Roddick is up 4-3, and it’s on serve. The clock strikes 8pm (cst), and all of a sudden the Toyota Outdoor Report comes on with some guy talking about bass fishing. Ok, so I think this is one of those “coming up next, after the match” preview things, except it isn’t! They stopped coverage on the last set of this match, the closing moments, and I had to get online to find out that Roddick ended up breaking Federer’s serve and then holding to win the last set 6-3! A huge win for Roddick, and potentially a huge win for those who want to increase the popularity of the sport in the U.S. And no one got to see it! What’s up with that?! I mean sure, I can understand tennis playing second fiddle to Football, Basketball, even Golf, but bass fishing? I mean FSN decided to cut a LIVE broadcast, and exchange it for some taped Outdoor Report. Whatev. I am a huge fan of the sport, and it’s a disappointment to see the lack of effort to promote it. I have nothing more to say except that this guy says it all pretty well.