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Featured Meltdowns


Finding Roger Federer Meltdown footage on YouTube is like finding a seat on the Number 4 Lexington Avenue subway at 9:30 in the morning. [Non-New Yorkers, take note: it's rare.] The Greatest of All Time usually deals with blown shots by dragging his middle finger across his forehead and tucking his hair behind his ear. Not this time. This was a semi-final match with Novak Djokovic at the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida. Djokovic just broke Fed in the third and deciding set and was up 15-0 when the Greatest of All Time took his eyes off a routine approach shot that could have evened the score. Federer went through lots of racquets when he was playing the junior circuit; wonder if he felt a little wave of nostalgia upon banging this one hard into the court.

On the Sideline

Entries from June 1, 2012 - June 30, 2012


Nadal Upset at Wimbledon, Stiff Upper Lips Quiver Across Britain

"Please, sir, put your shirt on, it's Wimbledon." Nadal, stripped of shirt and chance for 3rd Wimby title by Rosol. Courtesy AELTC.Two-time winner and world number 2 Rafael Nadal was knocked out of Wimbledon in the second round by a Czech who's never been in the Slam's main draw before.

Lukas Rosol, ranked 100th in the world, lost each of the past five years in the first round of qualifying. 

You wouldn't have known this by watching him play.  He blitzed aces and winners passed a stunned Nadal, beating him in a five-set epic: 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.  As he served for the match, Rosol showed no signs of nerves, hitting 3 aces and cracking a forehand winner to dispatch one of the greatest players in the game. 

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French Open Cake Contest Winner Chooses Chocolate

French Open men's bracket winner Surinder Singh, triumphant with his chocolate cake.Worthy Opponent and I Hate Tennis' French Open Men's Bracket Cake Contest winner Surinder Singh played a high-percentage move in his cake selection, and went with chcolate.

You can't lose with a chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate ganache frosting.  I put a little chipotle chili powder in the frosting for oomph.

Maybe if I sprinkle some on my tennis racquet....?

Singh reported that the cake was "amazing."  

"I am a chocolate addict and could have had a big slice of that cake every day!" he said.

Haters, my plan is to get Surinder in such a sugar haze that he won't be able to concentrate, and will start missing those lasers down the line that he routinely blows past me at net.

Now, how can I get the cake into my tennis bag?  See more photos in my gallery.



Berdych Ousted by Underachiever Gulbis

Ernests Gulbis upsets Tomas Berdych; now he has a reason to party all night. Courtesy AELTC.This is what happens when you practice.  You start winning.

That's what unseeded Latvian underachiever Ernests Gulbis learned today in his impressive 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) first-round upset of 6th-seed and 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych on Centre Court.

I think -- and I'm not alone in this -- that Gulbis has what it takes to be really great.  I saw him take out James Blake in the bullring at Roland Garros in 2008, en route to the quarterfinals, and I've been a fan ever since.  Okay, I admire more than his game.  He's dangerously cute.  Must be the day-old stubble and the mop of curly hair.  He's got this playboy air about him

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Worthy Opponent: Nelson Simon

Worthy Opponent Nelson Simon. It's a hard life when you're a tennis addict.My Worthy Opponent Nelson Simon is Old School Cool.  He serves and volleys.  His serve is deceptive; he's careful and accurate, rolling it in so that I think, "Ah, I'm gonna clobber this sucker" -- only to have it kick ear-high to my forehand, drawing an easy error on my return.

Nothing is more humbling than to think I've got an easy winner on my racquet, only to realize it's not easy, and I just lost the point.

I've just been Simonized. 

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Wimbledon 2012: I Hate Tennis Cake Contest Now Open!

Novak Djokovic, winning Wimby last year. Courtesy AELTC.Haters, dust off those crystal balls.  Wimbledon begins on Monday, and it's time to enter the I Hate Tennis Wimbledon 2012 Cake Contest!

Fill out your brackets for the women's draw here, and the men's draw here. Do it multiple times.  I'm going to fill out one with a highly likely scenario (e.g., a Djokovic-Nadal final) and a wildly unlikely scenario (e.g, Rafael Nadal doesn't make it to the quarterfinals, or something else that's the tennis equivalent of the sun not rising).  

Here's one long-shot: Andy Murray, Wimbledon finalist.  Have you seen his draw?  BBC Sport detailed his possible path to the championship match, and it's filled with upset possibilities, starting with the first round against former world number 3 Nikolay Davydenko. After that, Murray could face Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Nadal.

Maria Sharapova has an easy go of it until the quarters, when she could find herself in a rematch of last year's semifinal against Sabine Lisicki.  Sharapova won that, 6-4, 6-3, but it took her three sets to get the best of Lisicki in the Australian Open's Round of 16 last January. Who dares to pick Lisicki to beat Sharapova?

Other fun things to think about:

  • How far will Andy Roddick get before he tanks?  He's likely out against David Ferrer in the 3rd round, but who's willing to say he will blow up before then? 
  • What about Venus Williams?  She's 32 and has an auto-immune disease.  But she's reached the finals 8 times in the last 11 years, winning the championship five times. 
  • And Serena? She's won 4 times, most recently in 2010.  She's writer Stephen Tignor's pick.
  • Sara Errani was a dark horse in the French Open, in which she was the runner-up.  Who are the dark horses here?  How about Angelique Kerber, who's coming on strong, making her top 20 debut in February and her top 10 debut in May? Or, on the men's side, big server Milos Raonic?  In his first appearance at Wimbledon last year, he retired in the second round against Gilles Muller because of a right hip injury.  He's all better now.....
  • John Isner, Nicholas Mahut, 2nd round.  I think the psychological weight of their historic, record-breaking 2010 match will weigh more heavily on John, who finally eked out the win.  Down goes Isner.


    Such tempting scenarios.  But even more tempting is the strawberries-and-cream CAKE I'll bake you if you win either the women's or men's brackets.  Fill out your forms! And meet me back here regularly for updates.

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