somethingotherthan's profile

somethingotherthan
526
Gender: Female
Member since: June 23, 2002
Last visit: December 24, 2007

somethingotherthan has posted 4 links and 46 comments to SportsFilter and 0 links and 0 comments to the Locker Room.

Sports Bio

I am a huge tennis fan. Specifically, men's tennis.

Specifically, Jarkko Nieminen (mmm, Finns!)

I also dabble in Formula 1 and football. You know, real football, the kind they play in every other country on the globe to wild popular success.

But nothing will succeed my love for tennis, especially the kind played on slow red European clay.

Recent Links

What happens in Vegas...: doesn't stay in Vegas for long, if you are the ATP. The men's tour has been experimenting with a round-robin format at select events this year, and thus far it has proven to be a disaster. At the latest stop, Las Vegas, a rule was temporarily rewritten mid-tournament to favor the top seed and defending champion, and then the situation was mysteriously reversed in the middle of the night. Midnight overseas phone calls, a cash payoff, and inciting the fury of the players: you can't make this stuff up! Previous "disasters" inside...

posted by somethingotherthan to tennis at 05:03 PM on March 03 - 3 comments

Long-shot Serena Williams annihilates #1 Maria Sharapova to win Australian Open.: She started as a 34-1 longshot to win this event, coincidentally the last title she won on Tour (AO '05). Out of shape and will less than five events in the last 12 months, no one expected Serena Williams to compete for this Slam -- much less beat the newly-minted World #1 and US Open queen Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Does this win merely continue the tradition of "wacky" wins, or does it say something about the state of women's tennis today?

posted by somethingotherthan to tennis at 12:23 AM on January 27 - 22 comments

Greg Rusedski cries foul: after he fails a drug test for the banned steriod nandrolone. The tennis media, especially in Britian, has taken this news and run with it, and suddenly this career-threatening news has given Rusedski more publicity than he has ever had, overshadowing the results of the first events of the 2004 season. The crux of his argument is the ATP's own admission last summer that their own trainers were giving out the banned substance in its electrolyte-replacement drinks and other pills, which lead to another player being banned from the tour then being reinstated. (more inside)

posted by somethingotherthan to tennis at 10:37 PM on January 09 - 5 comments

With all eyes on Tim, will the other Brit sneak through?: Greg Rusedski, the transplanted Canuck, played a near-perfect match today against Andy Roddick and has been quietly going about his business. Now that there are no top seeds in the 4th round on the bottom half, what are the chances for an all-British final? (more. . .)

posted by somethingotherthan to tennis at 12:50 PM on June 28 - 6 comments

Recent Comments

What happens in Vegas...

The problem with the round robin system they are using is that there are 8 groups of 3 players, with one player from each group advancing to the quarterfinals. In the event of a "dead match" between two players, one of whom already advanced to the QF, a rule was instated that said retirements or withdrawals would automatically eliminate the retiring/withdrawing player and void any of his group results. Confusing enough for you yet? In Adelaide, the first event of the year and the first to try to round-robin format, Joachim Johansson gleefully blogged about how to game the system with losses and win anyway (scroll down to Friday’s entry). Indeed, he had to rely on the other two players in his group to advance to the QFs that week. At Delray Beach, eventual champion Xavier Malisse lost his last round-robin match after qualifying for the QFs, admitting that it felt strange to win a title after losing a match, and that he didn’t feel motivated to play his final match after qualifying for the QFs. The craziness really started in Buenos Aires (can you decipher that draw sheet?), after a rash of player withdrawals crippled the system. “Nicolas Devilder will contest his first career ATP quarterfinal after the 26-year-old Frenchman topped Group 8, following No. 2 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero's 6-3, 6-3 win over Czech lucky loser Lukas Dlouhy in 64 minutes. Devilder, who battled through the Main Draw Elimination round earlier in the week, beat Ferrero in three sets in round robin action on Wednesday.” (via) The only problem? Devilder left the country before that Ferrero-Dlouhy match took place and was reported missing overnight. Ferrero was due to play Nicolas Lapentti, but Lapentti withdrew before their match, meaning his results were voided, and Ferrero was also screwed because his results would be voided, as he would not face the original third player in his group -- thus, he never had a chance to play for the QFs. So – Ferrero was on site, Devilder was not, and it took a few frantic phone calls to confirm Devilder’s location and get him back to the tourney site! Needless to say, not only were the players in Las Vegas upset about what happened, but Roger Federer has added his two cents as well. James Blake lost a few fans himself after some of the comments he made on the Tennis Channel and in his press conferences while this whole fiasco was being sorted. He thought it was a "common sense decision" for him, the top seed, defending champion, and big draw, to be reinstated into the QFs as he probably would've won his last match anyway.

posted by somethingotherthan at 05:12 PM on March 03

Long-shot Serena Williams annihilates #1 Maria Sharapova to win Australian Open.

Fitness-wise, I still don't think she's back to where she was in 2002-03, when she won four slams in a row and five out of six, but, as she proved in Australia, she doesn't need to be. This is what I meant when I said she obviously wasn't in shape. She's by no means a cow hoofing around, but she's also not exactly in her peak shape, fitness wise. You can never count Serena out, but from the 2005 Australian Open to the 2007 Australian Open, she was barely visible at Slams. She didn't make a single Slam QF in that entire two year span. She lost early at a Tier IV event (Hobart) earlier this year. She struggled mightily in her first two rounds against players she would usually smack off the court. She was a serious longshot, and she knew it, too. It started to feel like a destiny run in my mind when she beat Petrova and Peer in tough three-set matches. After that, it was all gravy for her. Now let's just see if she'll stick with it, or if she fizzles like she did in 2005. Venus has been known to come out of nowhere and win Slams, too.

posted by somethingotherthan at 09:53 PM on January 27

Long-shot Serena Williams annihilates #1 Maria Sharapova to win Australian Open.

Serena Williams is obviously not in good physical shape, but then again she wasn't two years ago when she cruised to the title. I'm not so sure her win here means that women's tennis lacks depth so much as it means that Serena has the raw talent. If she ever devoted herself full-time to tennis, she could easily rule the roost just like she did in 2002. She moves from #81 in the world to around #14, I believe, with this win. The WTA doesn't have quality points anymore, and changed the points table for Slams to match the men's. All in all, quite an impressive performance. She's supposedly going to commit herself to tennis this year, so it will be interesting to see how she fits into the mix for the rest of the year.

posted by somethingotherthan at 12:31 AM on January 27

Tennis hooligans:

Actually, she made the final two days ago, Mr. Cutting-Edge. Heh. That'd be "Ms" to you, thank you :) And the Serb-Croat violence happened during the first part of the first week of this event. That's why I was surprised that this issue was discussed instead of Serena defying everyone (including tennis enthusiasts) and making the final.

posted by somethingotherthan at 11:45 AM on January 26

After getting spanked by Federer, Roddick lights up the post-game news conference

Blake has had some great matches over the past 3-4 years, but I still consider him a second tier player on the level of a Todd Martin. When he puts it together, he can be a thing to watch, but he lacks that extra gear to win a slam. I agree. It took him a long time to have a killer instinct at regular, optional events. He's 26 and he's never won a five-setter -- two strikes against a Grand Slam win.

posted by somethingotherthan at 11:41 AM on January 26

After getting spanked by Federer, Roddick lights up the post-game news conference

Can't wait to see the final -- I haven't seen any of Gonzalez's matches, but if he could beat Blake in straight sets, daaaaaaamn... I saw Gonzo vs Blake. It was amazing! Gonzo has always been a hard-hitter, but it was like he was brainless. With Larry Stefanki, he's learned how to put a game plan togoether and have a little margin for error in his shots. The way he's blitzed through the field has been just as amazing. Not just anybody can beat Nadal in straights, and make Tommy Haas (on a good little run of his own) look like a hacker. The final should be good stuff unless Gonzo freezes a la Ferrero at RG 2003.

posted by somethingotherthan at 11:40 AM on January 26

Tennis hooligans:

Not exactly on the cutting edge of tennis news here, are we? I expected a thread about "Fat Serena" making the final today instead of this.

posted by somethingotherthan at 01:15 AM on January 26

Australian Open: No tennis thunder down under

I haven't heard anyone complaining about the "new" surface; everyone plays on the same one, so it's kind of moot. Rebound Ace was a huge mistake. The rubberized surface not only reflects the heat back on the players fivefold (and anyone on court), but it's notorious for the foot and ankle injuries because of the "stickiness" of the court. Darren Cahill made a great point about it during last night's coverage. On what other court can you get blisters from the heat through a pair of tennis shoes and two pairs of socks?! That said, the tourney is quite progressive. The aforementioned heat policy, the way they dress all officials on court (from ballkids to the chair umpire), the sheer amount of ice they must go through is amazing. Rod Laver Arena and Vodafone Arena were the first courts of the Slams to have sliding roofs. And no matter the problems with the surface, Australia has committed to it fully: Cahill mentioned that all the state associations build their junior programs on Rebound Ace courts. The last major ended during the second week of September. Is four months really "jumping into" the next one? Well, the Masters Cup was in November. Not a Slam, but the next best thing (no matter what Miami thinks). Besides the great tennis, it was worth it to hear sweet Miss Sharapova utter an obscenity at the umpire. Sounded funny coming from her. It happens more than you know. Loved hearing the ESPN commentators sputter and backpedal when it happened, tho. he Aussie Open is promoted as "The Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific", which is a good marketing ploy given that more than half of humanity lives in this time zone, or close to it. It's a mutually good decision, for Australia and China. The next summer Olympics host has been pouring tons of money into the sport trying to develop their players; why wouldn't Australia want a piece of that pie? The tourney has also done more for the region as a whole, especially in the WC department. It's a great way to encompass the fastest-growing tennis market in the world.

posted by somethingotherthan at 07:50 PM on January 18

Australian Open: No tennis thunder down under

Any real tennis fan knows that coverage of said sport is so scarce and unpredictable that staying up late is well worth it. And if you can't stomach that, well, that's why TiVO (and those of us who are still old skool with our VCRs) was created. How many tennis fans bitched about that triple-OT basketball game a few nights ago? Each Slam is unique. Roland Garros is the endurance Slam. Wimbledon is the nostalgic-for-grass Slam. The US Open is the rowdy celeb-crammed Slam (with the "fairest" surface). The Australian is the "wacky" Slam. People come out of nowhere to score big results at this Slam more than at the others. Part of it is because of the surface (a real menace to the game if there ever was one), part of it is the heat (the only tournament in the world with a heat policy), part of it is because it's the third week of the season. This year, the play has been good, if not yet compelling, and the drama has been pretty high, between the five-setters and the heat. Darren Cahill is the best commentator since Jim Courier (now if only they'd dump Dicky Enberg...) It's been worth the lost hours of sleep to have the feeling of fandom come alive again.

posted by somethingotherthan at 07:38 PM on January 18

Part one of a comprehensive preview of the 2007 ATP campaign

Round-robin play still feels "fake" to me, probably because before this bone-headed idea, it was in the domain of exhibition hit-n-giggles. The Slams will never go round-robin. That committee is about the only sane body left in professional tennis these days.

posted by somethingotherthan at 10:24 PM on January 08

Nick Saban to leave Dolphins for Alabama

FonGu writes: Saban is likely to find that the grass isn't greener in Alabama. Their boosters and alum are in the top 10 for collegic pains in the arse. They want another Bear, and they wanted him yesterday. Saban will be forced to produce quickly or they will send him out the door. Amen, and amen. You want proof? Dig up some local media from the last month or so. This story has been TOP NEWS ever since the Auburn-Alabama game back in November. (Oh God how they wanted Spurrier!) Alabama (the state) doesn't have any professional teams, so all of that rabid fanaticism and pride is funneled into college sports.

posted by somethingotherthan at 11:32 PM on January 03

"I stood on your shoulders to reach for my dreams":

I don't think that tennis ever really had a place in popular sports fandom in the US, though. A very true comment. Tennis is a niche sport here, with the stigma of being a pastime of rich white people retiring at the country club. Meanwhile, its the second most popular sport in a lot of other countries on the globe, following footy/soccer. That's why I've always been amused at the sportswriters who turn to tennis merely to write an article about how the decline of the American generation of tennis dominence means the end of the sport. It's lazy writing and it's lazy logic. Interesting in that it never misses a beat, but dull in the long run. While I believe dominance can be incredibly boring, Federer himself and his play on any given day is never dull. People won't realize what they've missed until he's gone.

posted by somethingotherthan at 05:36 PM on September 04

"I stood on your shoulders to reach for my dreams":

Chico, I agree wholeheartedly with you. People see what they want to see, and they want to mourn Agassi's retirement as the end of charisma in the sport. I'm sure his retirement from the game will continue to overshadow the rest of the event (how many people have been calling it the Agassi Open, after all?). For sportswriters, it merely means that they won't have to cover tennis again for the foreseeable future, unless it is to talk about its untimely demise. But for fans of the sport who know the players and who enjoy a wide variety of styles and personalities, the sport will endure (ATP threats notwithstanding). There are plenty of young players on the cusp of greatness (Gasquet, Djokovic, Monfils, even the likes of Sam Querrey), and lots of interesting players with loads of personality already out there (like Irakli Labadze or Jarkko Nieminen or Jonas Bjorkman). Of course, the ultimate irony of Agassi losing his last match to a "nobody" is the fact that two years ago, Benjamin Becker was denied a wildcard because he had the audacity to win the NCAA singles title instead of an American.

posted by somethingotherthan at 02:54 AM on September 04

Halloween in September:

That outfit deserved to stay in the archives. Ouch. There's a bet on various tennis boards that it wasn't Blake's idea, but Nike's, and that they had to pay rather handsomely to get Blake to wear it. Considering how much crap Domnik Hrbaty got for his pink ensemble last year, it's probably not that far off. As for mojo, Blake needs as much as he can beg, borrow, or steal, considering his play in recent weeks.

posted by somethingotherthan at 11:08 PM on September 01

Andre The Giant

what lame Boris Becker jokes are there? I want to see them. As goddam said, JMac brought 'em all out for us last night. Tune in right now for a rehash!

posted by somethingotherthan at 07:10 PM on September 01