Saturday, January 19, 2008

Australian Open 2008

"Love the Australian Open, always love the Aussie Open. The late nights, the bright courts, the blistering sun that you can almost will yourself to feel on a cold night in New York, the bleary-eyed exhaustion the next day—it’s like a nighttime winter vacation for American tennis fans. Something about the extra effort it takes to watch makes it that much more worthwhile. Anybody can flick on CBS in the middle of a September afternoon and watch the U.S. Open. To keep up with the Australian is to join an exclusive club of obsessives—very classy obsessives, of course. " -Steve Tignor

And what joy! Roddick is OUT! American men's tennis has never been worse. James Blake barely scraped by Grosjean tonight, and Roddick continues to play his "all brawn, no brains" game where he invariably ignores the net, thinking that sheer strength will bring him a win. You'll never beat Federer that way.

Venus plays tonight around 3:30 AM on ESPN 2; so, those of you with not only a television but ESPN access, enjoy. I just spent the evening at Columbia's fine Flat Branch, a local brewpub a few blocks away that not only has great, friendly service, but a menu that includes a plate of raw broccoli and carrots. All I had to do is ask the bartender to change the channel from the Pistons game to the Open. And he did! Gladly! I love my new city.

I bring your attention to a link located to the right of your screen. A fan of my favorite player, Richard Gasquet, has been running this blog about tennis, going to tournaments, posting notes about matches. Mr. Gasquet and Racquet has found a new job that involves tennis and now he doesn't have as much time for his blog. Nevertheless, scroll down on the Lindsay Davenport post to read his thoughts on the first round of the Australian Open. Gasquet looked good, he says, but I didn't get to see it.

I'm lucky to have a tennis coach who agrees with my taste in players. He's a big fan of Lendl, Edburg, Graf. We grew up during different tennis eras, but he understands my loyalties and he, too, doesn't like Roddick. I'm reminded that moons ago, Mats Wilander told Roddick that he'd have to diversify his game if he wanted to win Wimbledon. Years later, he's playing the same game, with the same strong arm, with the same clumsiness at the net. And he's out of the Australian Open in early rounds.

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