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Tennis happenings post Australian Open


It’s been a week since the Australian Open and there is still a week to go before we see Roger Federer in Rotterdam but in the meantime, the tennis world still had plenty of buzz and activity to keep any withdrawal symptoms in check. Here’s a list of tennis happenings this past week in no particular order.


Rafa met Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera

  • Rafa’s back! He has chosen Viña del Mar (an ATP 250 clay court tournament) as the stage for his comeback. He is signed on not just for singles but also the doubles tournament with long time friend Juan Monaco aka Pico. Chile is his first stop on the Golden Swing ATP tour; he is set to play in São Paulo (single as well as doubles with Nalbandian) and Acapulco too though I’m still not sure whether Buenos Aires fits in there as well.
  • He is yet to play his first match. However, we have already caught glimpses of the Bull practicing and he looks like he is rearing to go. In the meantime, he’s given autographs, held babies, took countless photos, and met with the Chilean president – all in a day’s work for a tennis superstar. Viña del Mar has probably never had such a high profile season and all eyes will be firmly fixed on Rafa to analyze every detail of his game as he toils, grunts and vamoses on his beloved red earth. 

Davis Cup runneth over…

Wawrinka and Chiudinelli of Switzerland talk during their Davis Cup world group round 1 tennis doubles match against Berdych and Rosol of the Czech Republic at Palexpo in Geneva

Wawrinka and Chiudinelli talk before the final point in their Davis Cup Round 1 doubles rubber against the Czech Republic

  • The first round of the Davis Cup took place this weekend and clearly the most outstanding match was the historic doubles rubber between Switzerland and defending champions Czech Republic. With Stepanek pulling out with injury, Berdych teamed up with Lukáš Rosol to face off against a Federer-less Swiss team. Wawrinka paired up with Roger’s long-time friend Marco Chiudinelli, ranked 139 in the world.
  • Marco surprised most everyone by playing far and above his ranking which was more apparent especially in the beginning when Stan was having trouble finding his serves and made quite a few unforced errors. Rosol meanwhile was certainly no Stepanek both in terms of doubles experience and skill level.
  • Thus somehow, the two teams were quite evenly matched. But no one expected just how evenly matched they were. The Czechs took the first and third sets and the Swiss took the second and the fourth to send it to a 5th set decider. In Davis Cup as we know there are no 5th set tie-breaks and that is where the drama started. The 5th set itself took 215 minutes (Other Davis Cups doubles rubbers across the world began and ended in this time-span). The Swiss served 2nd in the set which in my opinion made it infinitely harder from them to keep defending time and time again; they saved 12 match points. But finally, when serving to go up to 23 all, Marco was broken for the first time in the entire match, he double-faulted on the 13th match point. The Czechs finally won with the scores as follows: 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(3), 24-22. The match was 7 hours and 1 minute long, by far the longest match in Davis Cup history. It was also the 2nd longest match in tennis history only behind the Isner-Mahut Round 1 match at Wimbledon 2010.

    Wawrinka in his final Davis Cup Round 1 rubber vs. Berdych

    Wawrinka in his final Davis Cup rubber vs. Berdych

  • Stan Wawrinka would say he’s been having the worst luck the past 2 weeks. After that intense 5-setter he lost to Novak at the Australian Open, and losing the doubles rubber, he went down in 4 sets to Tomas Berdych in the singles rubber of the final day of the Davis Cup. He was almost about to push it to a 5th set being a mini-break up in the 4th set tie-break. But a momentary lapse in concentration saw Tomas sneak in and take the match away, ensuring a QF place for the Czechs. It has now been 9 years in a row that the Swiss have failed to make it out of their first round Davis Cup matches.
  • While Stan must be understandably gutted, I look at these matches in a positive way in terms of how far he has come. It’s rare for Djokovic to have to fight so hard against players other than the rest of the Big 4 and yet Stan pushed till the very end. Same with both the matches at Davis Cup. He just needs that 2% extra something to push himself mentally to the top but otherwise I would say this has been a solid start for the man.
  •  In other Davis Cup news, the biggest upset was Spain crashing out to Canada in the first round. The Spanish Armada was missing several key players with Nadal, Ferrer, Almagro and Verdasco all either opting out or injured. The remaining Spaniards ultimately found the force of Milos Raonic and Co. too much to handle. This was the first time since 2006 that Spain faltered in the first round of the Davis Cup. On the flip side, this is the first time in Canada’s history that they’ve made it through to the Davis Cup QFs.
  • The Italy vs. Croatia and USA vs. Brazil matches cut it really close and Italy and USA needed the last rubber before they found themselves the winners. But the results of the other ties went mostly according to predictions. Thus, Italy, USA, Czech Republic, Canada, Serbia and Kazakhstan all won three rubbers and are through to the QFs. France and Argentina did a comprehensive clean sweep over Israel and Germany respectively, each winning all 5 rubbers.

 Federer in sloooow motion…

  • In the midst of Davis Cup madness and Rafa’s return, there was a bit of Federer magic perfectly timed to make sure we didn’t go stark raving mad missing him. Roger might still be in sunny Dubai but Credit Suisse launched a three-ad series to give us something to Oooh! and Ahhh! over in his absence. Each clip is only 36 seconds long but it’s enough to keep us happy for the time being. Here’s the link for the ATM machine commerical and also the one at the Mercedes dealership. About the commercial at the florist’s I can only say Credit Suisse must have peeked inside my dreams because it looks eerily similar ;-).

7 days till Rotterdam, let the countdown begin! Allez!



14 thoughts on “Tennis happenings post Australian Open

  1. Yes! We continue here 🙂 Looking fwd to that as well. Don’t ever worry btw, about being late replying and all that. I am fine with everything. I’m actually not always very quick myself either… So all good.

    Loved your write-up about DC. What a weekend it was. I have moments where I don’t know what to think about the Davis Cup (I have always found the format weird and the scheduling not very beneficial to the players) and there are times when I love it, like this weekend.
    My heart went out to Stan, really… Facing 3 tough losses in a month’s time is incredibly hard and I thought his fighting spirit and the way he handled it, was amazing. He has taken his play up to the next level and I really believe he can achieve great things this year if he keeps it up. Top 10 maybe even. And if not this year, maybe 2014. It took a while before Stan got in my good books again tbh. I had a hard time dealing with the things he said about Roger and the Davis Cup and only was able to let that go when he said something about regretting he did it that way and when I found out him and Roger had been in touch… And then there were a few conversations on Twitter, which helped immensely and I saw him play and fight against Novak and that all did it… So, back in my good books. Oh, and his own tweets helped too! 😉 And 7(!!) hours… can you imagine?? I saw it when I got home and was like ‘what’… Couldn’t believe it…

    And Rafa’s back. I am very curious how he’s doing. It took me a long time to get used to him on court. Still working on that, if it comes to all the little rituals he has (I’m too impatient for it I think ;)…) Always thought he was a brilliant player though. And off court, I do like him. I hope he’s gonna do really well, cause Fed can’t make Novak’s and Andy’s life difficult on his own… 😉

    I think you can safely say something here about the Credit Suisse commercials btw. All part and parcel of the off court tennis passion that we have, isn’t it?! Yes, that sounds like a reasonable excuse to me… 😉 Speaking about that: I have been watching some JC interviews from 2010 in the weekend. Forgot all about that. They all are brilliant and I wish there was a DVD.

    Anyway. Let’s just leave it at this. Cause there is always something to write about 😉


    • Thanks for reading and for the comments! Again we’re on the same page pretty much. I had a very hard time with Stan’s comments about Roger and DC and he had fallen out of the good books for a while. Exactly like you said, because of recent events, he has crawled back in. And I genuinely felt for him after those 5 setters. I also think he’s the first non-top 10 player in over a year to cause that much problems to Novak so I really felt like he’s come a long way. we need more of such performances from the rest of the top 10, and top 20 against Novak and Andy. It is totally unfair for Federer to have to handle them alone. And that brings me to my next point.

      Rafa NEEDS to come back. I honestly became a Rafa convert because of Roger himself. Their styles of play are diametrically opposite to each other and I clearly like Roger’s style of aggression mixed with pin point accuracy, over solid defense and long rallies. That being said, I think the pair has given a lot to tennis. I am a firm believer that Rafa helped Roger raise his game (and obviously vice versa). They became more creative and unique in order to figure out how to play each other. And I think Roger has said many times that initially he just liked winning against everybody but with Rafa in the mix, it added some spice and the rivalry has taken them and tennis to new heights the likes of which will not be matched in quite a while (sorry Andy vs. Novak will NEVER excite me).

      I also love their combination off-court, perhaps even more. We take it for granted these days how friendly and well behaved tennis players are to each other and on court with umpires, ball kids and so on. But honestly before Roger, bad behavior was more the norm. McEnroe and Connors hated each other and Sampras and Agassi are barely cordial even after so many years. Roger and Rafa ushered in a whole new era of respect, dignity and camaraderie in the sport. They are friends off-court and yet nobody can ever accuse them of not fighting till the end when they play each other on court. They can both separate this very easily. I started liking Rafa because Roger clearly likes him. Their personalities are different and yet they somehow get along very well. Roger respects Rafa’s opinions which made me (reluctantly) respect Rafa too. I hear you about his mannerisms and rituals and I get impatient as hell. But it’s a part of what makes their combination exciting…. this whole opposite thing they have going, so I accept it.

      I guess my long answer can basically be boiled down to this: I’m a Roger fan first, a “Fedal” fan second, and a “Rafa” fan third. And I think it is crucial for Rafa to be there to shake up this Novak and Andy thing that the media keeps building up. Think of Rafa being in the Australian Open this year. Most likely the semi would have been Andy vs. Roger and Novak vs. Rafa. And as much as I adore Ferru, he knows it and I know it, he has issues challenging the Big 4 regardless of whether he’s ranked 4 or 5. It’s probably 80% mental but the AO SF showed he wasn’t up to it. Yes he was tired after the Nico match but so was Fed after Tsonga. Whereas an SF with Rafa would have left Novak ridiculously tired even if he did win. As long as Rafa is there and he and Roger are ranked #2 and #1 respectively, (the way it was for SO MANY years!) I will be eternally happy!

      Don’t think I can catch Rafa’s match live (it’s at 3am my time and I DO have to get to work!) But I will try to find it on YT or something because I am very curious to see how he plays. Rafa is the king of lowering expectations (he does it at every RG despite winning it 7 times). But that’s why I almost don’t believe it. I think he’s probably playing a t a higher level than he’s letting on, so we’ll see.

      Ok this was one looooooong comment but felt good to write it out! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of talking about tennis. Will see you on twitter and/or here soon! But for now I should go and at least pretend to work! 😉 Till later!


  2. Great minds… There are so many things you write about Rafa, that I can relate to. For instance, I actually also started to like him more because of Roger. And I love them together, no doubt. With him it was always a bit weird, cause on the one hand I lóved to see him play. Cause he is unique in many ways. On the other hand, there are the rituals that make me a bit nervous and he can be só focused during matches that it becomes a bit ‘scary’ sometimes… Hard to explain, but maybe you see what I mean… But all in all, happy he is back and very happy to see him hopefully playing Roger again this year. And I think that now he’s back and hopefully will stay, tennis will be a bit more spicy again, at least in the top 4. The whole Nole/Andy thing is massively overrated in my opinion and I think both Roger and Rafa will make them push themselves more and play better and different… So that’s all good.

    And you’re right about Ferru. He acknowledges the issues himself even. Although I do think if he were to be more confident, his potential to achieve more would actually get loads bigger… I think he is too modest sometimes. He’s not the one who has the huge shots or anything, although that is beginning to develop. But he needs to work more for it, it seems, instead of it being a given talent from the start that needs developing… His strenghts are his speed and his mental spirit… The guy can fight like no one else, really… Although I have to say I was tempted to write after last weekend that Stan was the Swiss version of David Ferrer if it comes to fighting…

    Anyway. I loved your long comment! I write them too a lot, so completely understands how that works… We are having Rafa play this week, Rotterdam in about 5 days’ time… Tennis life is good 🙂


    • I hear you about Rafa and his rituals and yes he has an almost scary focus and intensity but then so does Roger though. When Roger let’s out his roars and ‘Allez!’ and ‘Come On’, it can be quite scary… just that we are all so in love with me it makes us love him more 😉 Also he doesn’t do it very often, so when he does, it gets me going! 😛 Anyway, so far Rafa has seemed a tad slow at the start of both his singles and doubles but then quickly found his groove. I think he was quite nervous, especially in the singles in the beginning, but then of course found his rhythm and made his way out. Honestly though it’s good he’s doing the Golden Swing without Roger, Andy or Novak. Yesterday, any of them, well definitely Roger and Novak (Andy’s clay prowess is not much to speak of – though he has said he can win RG!) would’ve beaten him in straight sets perhaps. He’s not ready yet to face the big boys so I think his decision to not face them till IW was a good idea.

      Ferru, ferru,… It is most definitely mental because he basically beats everyone ranked under him; and he does it consistently. Like you said, he’s a fighter and the Nico match at this AO showed how he was able to crawl back up. When it comes to the big four, or actually most the big three, he somehow mentally becomes a lower ranked player facing giants. Wish he could get a little bit more confidence. After all he did beat Rafa at AO10 ending his hopes of a calendar grand slam. I like the similarities you pointed out between him and Stan though I feel Stan is only beginning to develop this whereas Ferrer has been working at this for a while longer.

      I cannot believe it’s only 4 days till Rotterdam! Apparently he’s flying there today! It seems so close and yet so far! And I’m so excited to see the new Deep Royal Blue kit! Or will he just wear that in IW? Important questions, no? 😉


  3. Well, you’re right about the focus. They can both be somewhat scary at times… 😉 Although there is a different temperament in both of them, so that makes it a little different for me tbh 🙂 I don’t know actually, Ferru in a way has the same temperament as Rafa (not quite, but close) and in him I can only admire it… I was very pleased Rafa won both times! At first, yes, he seemed cautious, careful… And of course he is rusty… Nothing else can be expected I think, not even from the greatest players we have. And knees, that just takes long. Take it from someone who knows 😉 I’m a knee expert and it’s just a really tricky bit of your body. You can be perfectly fine, but still it can feel a bit shaky, wobbly… And you just need to get your confidence back that you can do what you want to do and not make it worse again… It works like that in daily life, but I can imagine that it also works in sports like that, even more so actually…! I think he’ll surprise the world again at RG tbh… I really think that. Which is good, cause that’d get Murray out of the picture a bit (it’s just not his time yet to win RG, imo)

    And Ferru, yes, the big 4 obviously make things difficult for him. Cause everyone else ranked under him… Well, exactly as you said. You see it also in the way he talks about it in interviews… Being the nr 4 now?? No way, that’s actually not a proper number, cause that *only* happened because Rafa has been injured for so long… One of the things he repeatedly said… And similar things… And of course that has something to do with it, but not just that… He did have a really good year last year so it’s also well-earned… Oh and another one “well, there the best players in the world and I can only do my best, no?” Almost a literal quote… I wonder sometimes: he seems genuinely that modest, but I could imagine one would think that’s also an act… Don’t get me wrong, I *adore* Ferru (no surprises there then ;)…), but the modesty is sometimes só obvious, that I could imagine it makes you wonder… I do think people who are wondering, are wrong btw…

    And yes, not that long a wait now til Rotterdam! And I heard that too yes, about him flying here today… I was thinking ‘oh… I so would want to be there already’… But that’s all practically not possible, so I let that go again 😉 Today it’s been announced that Monfils always confirmed to come to Rotterdam btw. To make the line-up even stronger. It’ll be quite a draw. I’m a tiny bit nervous about it, as always, but I also feel confident at the same time, that he’ll pull it off and takes the title again. As long as he has practiced, recovered from AO (I think that was really needed tbh), and he’s playing again like he did the 1st 4 rounds at the AO, I’m perfectly happy 🙂 I guess, again we’ll just have to wait and see. That’s what I’ve always find one of the not so nice bits about being a tennisfan…

    Oh and finally: the special match he’ll play against Esther Vergeer, seems to be definite now. I’m very curious how that’ll be. I hope they stream it somewhere. She is the very best and I think it won’t be easy for him actually! I’m ready for a week of tennis again! And very happy that I can actually gó! Now he only needs to make it til the semis (nightsession) and the finals and then I’m 1000% happy… Btw, I won’t say that too often, really, cause I know how it is if you can’t go…


    • Hi Natasja! Real life prevented me from replying till now! I do get what you mean about Rafa’s different type of intensity compared to Roger. And yes it can be scary, they don’t call him the bull for nothing… he’s just a dangerous live wire on court while Roger simmers underneath and shows his intensity in flashes (So sexy!) I think Rafa is getting more and more confident with each match and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he won the singles and doubles. Rafa on clay with one leg is still miles better than 90% of the ATP. Speaking of knee issues, I feel for you and the pain you went through :-(. Hope it’s fine now!

      Ferru, well what else can we say… He’s the defending champion in Acapulco but this time Rafa will be there to take that away. It would do him a world of good if he defend the title against Rafa. We’ll see.

      As for Roger in Rotterdam, I am getting quite nervous with the line-up! 😦 Did so many of these top players HAVE to go there? *sigh* We’ll be exchanging worried tweets I’m sure. And great point about Roger’s first 3 matches at AO. His play was so clean! Hardly any UEs and he served brilliantly. I know UEs are high when he’s playing the top players because obviously they cause him to make errors and try riskier shots. But his serve I feel really let him down in the QFs and SFs, to the point where I was suspecting an injury. Hopefully all that’s sorted out and his serves (both first and second) will be firing again in … OMG only 2 days!!!! YAY, 48 hours till Roger! I can’t wait! See you on twitter later this evening! 🙂


      • Finally! Wrote something twice and twice it disappeared… My laptop playing up tonight… All good now I hope! Anyway…

        The draw is out. Phew… I think the AO draw was tougher. Much. However, I’m not entirely happy with this one either tbh. But still need to get my head wrapped around it a bit more, so thoughts will follow later. And I thought exactly the same about the top players all having to go there and why on earth, etc. etc… ! Almost literally the same… Great minds 😉 I think if he serves well, and his level is at least at the level from the first 4 rounds AO, he’ll have really good chances. I was concerned about a possible injury there (AO QF/SF) as well, by the way (we seem to think the same things a lot ;)…)… Esp when he said somewhere he needed treatment right after the Tsonga match (and I got the impression from the way he said it, it wasn’t regular treatment, but I might have been wrong) But I think if that would have been the case, things are perfectly fine by now… And we’re not even sure yet, so… I have faith in all the good things happening 🙂

        Getting back to our original convo: when is Acapulco? For some reason, I keep missing that if I read through the various dates… It’d be great if he could defend his title yes. More than great actually. He deserves it really, but of course I”m really biased if it comes to Ferru 😉 But I think too that Rafa is going to take that away. If only cause Ferru doesn’t have the confidence… And that’s not the only reason. But we’ll see. He could surprise us…

        Tonight it’ll be Rafa/Chardy. I hope he’ll kick Chardy’s a**. He should. Not because I don’t like Chardy, but becacuse I haven’t forgiven him yet for crushing Delpo at the AO. I might even stay up (or wake up again) if I can find a stream that doesn’t fail on me… 😉

        To be continued!


  4. Wonderful information and I loved the videos!! I am ceirtanly happy that Rafa is back also, I must confess that I also started liking him over the years and I love the contrast of their tennis when they play together. I’m hapy to hear that Stan and Roger have been talking and I admire and the improvment he and his tennis have acomplished. I think Ferru is an amazing tennis player but he is not quite there yet to be an established top 3 or 4, he has to do ceirtain “click” to get there. Please let me know if you find out when is the Esther Vergeer match and if someone will broadcoast it.
    All the best 🙂 …


    • Hi May79! I’m so glad you liked the post! And of course, one can never have enough of Roger commercials! Do check out some of my older posts if you like his videos, like the 2012 video anthology and the trilogy of his South American Exhibition from December last year. And like you, I too love the contrast of Rafa with Roger, both in their styles of play and attitude and attire – and the fact they really respect each other. Don’t you somehow feel that Rafa’s more exciting to watch when he plays Roger, rather than Novak? Well Roger makes everyone play creatively I think because his style is so unique! My personal boring nightmare is Andy vs. Novak. I didn’t enjoy AO 2013 and I felt that USO 2012 was ridiculously long all because they couldn’t be creative enough to come to the net. *sigh* Agree with you about Stan and about Ferru too – Ferru frustrates me because I feel he’s so good and then he faces Rafa, Roger or Novak and somehow everything just goes wrong.

      I think the Esther Vergeer match is definitely on schedule in Rotterdam. I’m depending on natasja0409 to fill me in on this since she’s actually attending the Rotterdam SF and Finals! Will definitely search for streams and if I find one, I’ll post it here for you. Do visit my blog again soon. Will be writing more once Rotterdam starts!


  5. Yeah I’ve chcked them up, they are really nice, his southamerican tour was amazing, I never get tired of watching the videos!!! I totally agree with you about Rafa, their matches toghether project a ceirtain “magic” to say so that makes them so much more interesting than the “new rivalry of Novak and Andy”. I’ve checked Rotterdam’s draw and again is not very convinient for our Maestro but I trust that he can keep the title. All the best.. I’ll ve reading your posts soon 🙂


    • Hi May79! Glad you enjoyed the posts! And the South American Tour was really amazing! Awesome memories from it! I have too many favorite clips form those 11 days and i keep re-watching them every other week or whenever I need a pick-me-up. And “Nolandy” is and will continue to bore me. I kept yelling at the TV during the USO final “For the love of tennis, get to the net!” their baseline rallies go on and on… i flipped through channels and came back to see them playing the same point. On top of that, I find their demeanor on court distasteful, to say the list. Murray yelled at a ball boy at the AO final while Novak was yelling at his shoes. Whatever. Give me a Roger-Rafa match any day. The draw for Rotterdam does indeed look tough, so many good players there! Hope FedEx can still pull through! I haven’t found any links for the opening ceremony or the Esther Vergeer match but I’ll keep looking. till next time, take care! Allez Roger!


    • Hi May79, the best thing about the SA blogs is that it’s all in one place, now, all the videos ánd that those 3 blogs sum up perfectly what that week was like! Glad you liked that too. I know I read it at least every other day the first week after, because I was a bit sad it was over and this made it better… 😉


  6. Hi Natasja! Sorry for the late response but got caught up with the Rotterdam Draw post as you have seen 🙂 you already know my thoughts on the draw and yes it’s not going to be easy… actually it won’t be easy for anyone it seems… a lot of good players. All it’s missing (other than the top 6) is Raonic and then the nightmare would have been complete. And I think except for Chardy, every single French player is playing! I know the Spanish have their Armada but the French are loaded with players too! Anyway, echoing your sentiments, hope Roger is OK i.e. no injuries as such. He looked strong in the small practice clips we have seen so far.

    As for Rafa, well by now we know he lost both finals. I was a teeny bit surprised but not by much. Zeballos seemed to be having the tournament of a lifetime judging by the seeds he defeated left and right. And Rafa did put up a fight. I think it’s as Rafa said, he needs to get used to the physical conditions of playing matches. He still has ways to go in terms of movement and reflexes. I assume he will get better and better with each clay tournament and I am not ready to just simply say he’s not the favorite for RG this year. I want to see a bit more and RG is far away, a lot can happen. In the meantime, if ever there was a time to defeat Rafa in a clay final, it’s now… so hopefully for Ferru, he can take that chance in Acapulco. Acapulco is from 25th Feb I believe? Rafa plays in Sao Paulo before that. We shall see.

    It’s funny how alike our thoughts are! Sometimes it feels like my sentences just merge into yours! 😀 Which makes me glad yet again that I started this blog, and got on twitter. So much fun sharing tennis thoughts and then finding awesome people who think similar to you! In the meantime, I should get back to work. And considering my fever is refusing to go away, (it’s come down now, but not leaving me!) it’s pretty annoying to have to focus. *sigh*


  7. If Ferru has worked on his issues, you know what I mean, then he can. if he believes the great Rafael Nadal is on the other side of the court and no one can beat him, then he won’t. We’ll see. Hopefully, he’ll manage. Acapulco and Dubai that week… Too much tennis going on then!! 😉

    Will reply further in your new blog!


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