Monday, June 30, 2014


by Karen

I have not blogged in awhile.  There is a reason for this.  I have had it up to here with tennis fans.  They are without a doubt spoiling the sport for me. 

Earlier this year I ranted about the everlasting complaints from players about the heat in Australia, to then hear about why there is no roof at the French Open, to now why there is no play on Middle Sunday at Wimbledon, it is enough to make me want to choke someone. I am sure by the time the US Open rolls around and we start having rain delays or hurricanes and tropical storms passing through, we will again hear the cries of why does the US Open have no roofed stadiums.  Let me tell you why, because the tournament is built on swampy ground and it cannot accommodate a roof.  There, reason and explanation out of the way and it is only June.

Here's the thing.  Wimbledon has been around since 1877.  That is 137 years now.  There are some things that are not going to change about The Championships, Wimbledon.  These are in no particular order:

One of the traditions that I have always loved about Wimbledon, is seeing both players walking off court together after the match.  This tradition seems to be going the way of everything that is traditional about this tournament.  It was brought home even more forcefully to me when Serena Williams lost.  After losing to Alize Cornet, Serena had her bags all packed and was waiting for her opponent to finish her joyous celebrations (she lost in the next round by the way).  She eventually had to tap Cornet on her shoulder to signal to her that she was waiting on her so that they could walk off together.

None of the commentators on my stream or on the television made mention of that.  Alison Riske after being beaten by Sharapova, basically ran off the court (she took the time to tweet about her match seconds after losing so clearly she just could not wait to get to her phone) after her match.

There are some players and fans who do not understand the history of the sport, and these are the ones who do not appreciate the traditions of the sport.  The people of Wimbledon Village give up their privacy, peaceful and quiet lives for the benefit of us tennis fans.  The only thing that they ask of us is that of the 2-3 weeks that the tournament sees thousands of people descending on their little village, is that they be allowed the Middle Sunday.  Is that too much to give to people who open their homes and their hearts to us? How is that so difficult?  Why must we bitch and moan about this every single year? It really needs to stop.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wimbledon Day 6 Preview

Not posting much today. Too depressed.

Day 6 picks

Sharapova over Riske
Williams, S over Cornet
Bencic over Halep
Ivanovic over Lisicki
Bouchard over Petkovic
Kerber over Flipkens
Zvonreva over Diyas
Shvedova over Keys

Thursday, June 26, 2014


by Karen

How good is Madison Keys? She is very good.   I watched her match in its entirety today. While she should have won in straight sets, she took the long route home, but got there in the end.  In the third set, after serving a double fault, she could be heard urging herself on to hit it Madison, hit it.  The next serve was an ace. 

Serena Williams is looking good.  Talk about focused.  The World's No. 1 is here to set things right.  After her abysmal performance in doubles the day before, Serena came out and virtually dismantled Scheepers' game.  There is nothing quite like seeing someone who has an incredible game use it to full effect. 

There were a few matches on my list today that did not get to be played, but I am really looking forward to Simona Halep's match against Lesia Tsurenko as well as Radwanska going up against deBrito.  I am calling the upset here.   I am thinking that deBrito may have finally found her way through her talent after years in the wilderness. 

Tomorrow's Order of Play is below with the Spin's picks in red. 

Player A
Player B
Centre Court
Venus Williams
Petra Kvitova
Court No. 1
Na Li  
Barbara Strycova
Court No. 2
Lesia Tsurenko
Simona Halep

Agnieszka Radwanksa
Michelle Larcher de Brito
Court No. 3
Caroline Wozniacki
Ana Konjah

Lucie Safarova
Dominika Cibulkova
Court 18
Belinda Bencic
Victoria Duval
Court 16
Ekaterina Makarova
Caroline Garcia

Shuai Peng
Lauren Davis
Court 17
Bojana Jovanovski
Tereza Smitkova


This is going to be more of a rant, rather than what I overheard in the booth.  Martina Navratilova is a bitter woman.  She really needs to take stock of her life and learn to let it go.  
I found myself tied to my computer this morning listening to Martina doing commentary on Serena Williams' match against Scheepers.  From her disparaging tone in critiquing Serena's style of play, to her sense of outrage that Serena would aim for her opponent whilie at the net and using that legitimate play and terming it "Serena trying to scare her opponents", to bringing in comparisons to Mike Tyson while describing Serena, it was all I could do to keep my cool. 

I am going to go all Chrissie Evert here - Dear Martina, stop being a hater.   There is a reason why of all the former legends in the game, you are perhaps the only female champion of the past era who has not been called upon to coach today's talented players.  Why is that so?  You have indicated that you are available to coach but no one has called you.  Why is that Martina? Could it be that tennis players, those people with fragile egos, have heard you doing commentary and decided that you are not for them?  Could you be any less disparaging when talking about players and how they volley? There are a lot of players out there who love and admire you, but for whatever reason, no one has picked up the phone to call you, even for a consultation? 

Of the many players with whom you used to played doubles, none of them have come back to you for coaching advice.  Why is that Martina? Look at Chris Evert. Her tennis academy is spewing out champions even more than the USTA, the LTA and the Australian Tennis Federation. Look at Amelie Mauresmo, she is coaching Britain's Andy Murray.  Justine Henin has an academy of her own and has been seen at many Grand Slams with junior players from her academy.  Kim Clijsters, recently retired has been assisting her fellow countrywomen with coaching advice.  Venus Williams, a current player is a mentor to so many of the young women from the US.  Steffi Graf, recluse that she is, has worked with many of the young women who form part of the Adidas Player Development Programme and don't get me started on Billie Jean King.

Come on Martina, you are a champion in this sport. People admire you and love you.  However, many fans are turned off by your commentary.  They think you are bitter and they think you hate women's tennis. I know you probably don't but I hate listening to you doing commentary on women's matches.  

Give back something to the women.  They are waiting on you. Make it happen Martina

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Day 3 saw some pretty exciting matches.  Lauren Davis has continued her gradual ascent up the rankings by making the third round of Wimbledon by taking out No. 12 seed Flavia Pennetta.  Maria Kirilenko did not back up her performance against Sloane Stephens.  She went out in straight sets to Shuai Peng.  Li Na was clinical today against Meusberger as was Kvitova, and Radwanska.  Venus Williams showed today in singles and doubles why she is considered the Queen of Wimbledon.  Venus started off slow against Nara but once she got going she was like a freight train.  She followed up her impressive performance in singles by taking over the doubles court in a wonderful display of tennis.

Victoria Azarenka went out of the tournament in a very puzzling manner.  Up 40-0 on serve, Azarenka would lose the next 5 points a lost 8-6 in the third.  She played well but the rust is still there. Hopefully she will get more match play by the time the hard court season rolls around.

Day 4 sees some tasty matchups and hopefully we will have some excellent matches.  Master Ace’s picks are below:-


S Williams over Scheepers
Cetkovska over Cornet
Petkovic over Begu
Bouchard over Soler-Espinosa
Kerber over Watson
Flipkens over Dominguez Lino
Giorgi over Riske
Sharapova over Bacsinszky
Halep over Tsurenko
Bencic over Duval
Vekic over Zvonareva
Suarez Navarro over Diyas
Ivanovic over Zheng
Lisicki over Ka Pliskova
Keys over Koukalova
Kanepi over Shvedova

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


by Karen

Day 2 is over and what a day it has been.  From stunning upsets to come from behind victories, Day 2 had it all.

  • Eugenie Bouchard is the real deal.  Down for most of the first set against Hantuchova, she staged a successful comeback and won in straights. 
  • Taylor Townsend went down in straight sets to Koulakova.  Koulakova did to Townsend what Bencic did to her in the Girls final last year.  She moved her around and took advantage of her fitness.  Townsend and her team really need to work on that. 
  • Serena Williams means business.  16 aces in a straight set victory is nothing to sniff at.  She had a bit of a tough time in her opening service game, but once that was out of the way, it was guns blazing.  Serena and her sister Venus are scheduled to play doubles on Day 3 of the tournament.  The fact that they are playing doubles tells me that both Sisters are fighting fit. 
  • Kaia Kanepi reminded all of us today as to why she is a Wimbledon quarterfinalist. She dismissed Jelena Jankovic in straight sets today 3 and 2 and it was not even that close. 
  • As predicted Pavlyuchenkova went out to Alison Riske today in 3 tough sets. 
  • Madison Keys is playing tennis like she really wants to win a Grand Slam.  She routed Monica Puig today 3 and 3
Tomorrow's Day 3 matches promise lots of excitement.  Master Ace has his picks for tomorrow below

Top 5 seeds in the top half advanced to second round with Victoria Azarenka getting tested in both sets and Na Li started slow but cranked it up once Kania was serving for the first set. Sloane Stephens' streak of making the second week in six consecutive Slams came to an end as she lost in straight sets to Maria Kirilenko, who has missed a lot of time in 2014 due to injuries. Despite being pushed to three sets,Venus Williams, in my opinion was never threatened as she had her service games clicking with 11 aces and no double faults. Outside the French Open, Sara Errani continues to struggle in Slams for the last 2 years as she goes out in three sets to Caroline Garcia.

Azarenka over Jovanovski
Vandeweghe over Smitkova
Safarova over Hercog
Cibulkova over Van Uytvanck
Lepchenko over Garcia
Makarova over Doi
Gajdosova over Larcher De Brito
A Radwanska over Dellacqua
Kvitova over Barthel
V Williams over Nara
Kirilenko over Peng
Pennetta over Davis
Wozniacki over Broady
Konjuh over Wickmayer
Vesnina over Zahlavova Strycova
Li over Meusburger


Sloane Stephens has parted ways with Paul Annacone.  This was a long overdue decision.  as most people who have read my blog have known I did not think that Annacone brought anything of note to Federer’s game and he certainly did not bring anything to Sloane’s game.  Word is that Sloane will be working with Etienne Dumas.  I looked him up and saw that he has previously worked with Venus a Serena and Tornado and her sister Hurricane Black.  I don’t want to come off as racist but Sloane needs to be around her people.  She needs a strong black coach in her corner.  Only they can understand what she is going through right now game wise.  This sport of tennis is difficult and for minorities it is even harder.  There is a perception in tennis that because you are black you are automatically good.  Issues such as injuries and pressure are downplayed.  We only have to look at how the media dealt with injuries suffered by the Williams Sisters to see the truth of that situation.

Taylor Townsend suffered at the hands of her Federation’s governing body regarding her weight.  She is now in a much better place and able to work on her game and hopefully her fitness issues.  Here’s hoping that Sloane will be able to do the same thing. 

Monday, June 23, 2014


by Karen 

Day 1 saw a fantastic day of tennis and there is no doubt that Day 2 will also bring some wonderful matches.  There were a few upsets on Day 1 with Sloane Stephens (18), Sam Stosur (17) and Garbine Muguruza (27).  

The commentary of the women's matches continues to raise eyebrows with commentators stating in the Kirilenko/Stephens match that it was a good thing that both women were beautiful as it helped with the marketing. Coming on the heels on Inverdale's comments about last year's champion, Marion Bartoli, you would think commentators would have learned their lesson. Obviously they have not.  It was great to see Victoria Azarenka back to her winning ways and in shorts.   

All in all it was a drama free day on the women's side.  Tomorrow sees 30 matches from the top half of the women's draw.  This side of the draw is loaded with potential holders of the Venus Rosewater Dish.  The AELTC have deemed it fit to change their rule of having only one women's player on the 2 main show courts.  You could say that Day 2 is Ladies Day. 

On the 3 main show courts, there are 6 women's matches scheduled and only 5 men's matches, one of which is a carry over from Day 1.   

As I am writing this I am listening to Radio Wimbledon and I am being told that tomorrow on Court No. 1 is going to be filled with glamour.  I am going to leave that alone.  

What to Watch

I am looking to see whether the World's No. 1 is ready to hold a Grand Slam trophy after her dismal performance at Roland Garros.  She has indicated that she is not yet over this loss and that can either be motivation or lead to another loss.   

If Eugenie Bouchard does not play well, she could lose to Hantuchova.  Bouchard flamed out in her grass court tune up, as did Hantuchova, so both women will be looking to gain some momentum in this match.  

Upset Special

Victoria Duval over Sorana Cirstea
Donna Vekic over Roberta Vinci 
Belinda Bencic over Magdalene Rybarikova 

Centre Court
Sabine Lisicki
Julia Glushko

Serena Williams
Anna Tatishvilli
Court No. 1
Maria Sharapova
Samantha Murray

Eugenie Bouchard
Daniela Hantuchova
Court No. 2
Ursula Radwanksa
Angelique Kerber

Kaia Kanepi
Jelena Jankovic
Court No. 3
Heather Watson
Alja Tomljanovic

Shuai Zhang
Carla Suarez-Navarro
Court 12
Tamira Paszek
Kirsten Flipkens
Court 18
Andrea Petkovic
Kateryna Piter

Anastasia Pavlychenkova
Alison Riske
Court 8
Madison Keys
Madison Puig
Court 16
Victoria Duval
Sorana Cirstea

Annika Beck
Jie Zheng
Court 17
Klara Koulakova
Taylor Townsend

Roberta Vinci
Donna Vekic
Court 4
Jovana Jaksic
Petra Cetkovska

Dinah Pfizenmaier
Lesia Tsurenko
Court 5
Irina Camelia-Begu
Virginie Razzano
Court 6
Belinda Bencic
Magdalena Rybarikova

Zarina Diyas
Kristina Mladenovic
Court 7
Timea Bacsinszky
Sharon  Fichman
Court 9
Karolina Pliskova
Karin Knapp
Court 10
Petra Martic
Lourdes Dominguez-Lino

Chanelle Scheepers
Christina McHale
Court 11
Silvia Soler-Espinosa
Olga Govortsova

Alexandra Cadantu
Camila Giorgi
Court 19
Anna Schmiedlova
Alize Cornet
Simona Halep
Teliana Pereria
Ana Ivanovic
Francesca Schiavone


by Karen, 

I am going to try my best to update this blog on a more regular basis especially during this fortnight.  

With so many bloggers and tennis media now paying attention to the blatant sexism in sport, I thought I would start putting more attention on what is being said from the commentary box.   Frankly, with so much attention being given to how the women are being portrayed, especially in light of Murray's recent hire of Amelie Mauresmo, you can imagine my shock when the first match that I tuned in to this morning had me opening my mouth in shock.  The commentary made me think there is a place for this heading on my blog ...


Sloane Stephens v. Maria Kirilenko - players are still doing their warm up.  Can't recall who was in the commentary box but it was a man and a woman.  In light of John Inverdale's hay fever comment about Marion Bartoli's looks last year, I would have thought everyone would have been been on their p's and q's and made sure that they took their hay fever medicine.  Nope, this was the comment from the woman in the booth during Stephens/Kirilenko "it helps that they are both beautiful as it helps with marketing them ..."

Yeah, you are right.  It was not about the fact that they are professional athletes, who are perhaps pretty good at what they do and therefore in a position to get endorsement deals etc.  Nope, it was because they were both beautiful.  Never change tennis commentator, never change. 

Fast forward to Venus Williams going up against Maria-Teresa Toro-Flor.  Virginia Wade is someone that I have always admired in the commentary booth.  Her comments about the women's game are usually all about tactics and strategy but after her eyebrow raising comments about Murray's hiring of Amelie Mauresmo, she fell another notch in my book regarding her comments in the Venus match.  Wade opined to her colleague that the Williams Sisters used to win matches based on hitting with so much power. Now all the women hit with power and are able to outhit the Williams Sisters.  Now, the Williams Sisters are winning by using brute force.  She further went on to talk about where Venus was standing to return serve and that she has no idea why Venus does not back up off the baseline in order to give herself some time. 

Now you will all know that Venus Williams has won 5 Wimbledon singles titles using that same strategy. That tactic of standing on the baseline to receive serve is the stance that has now been adopted by 90% of the women on the WTA.  In addition, to standing on top of the baseline, the Williams Sisters also personified power tennis, but that is not what they are all about.  The record number of doubles titles on all surfaces speaks to their ability to tailor their game to suit the surface.   For Virginia Wade of all people to trivilize their games by stating that they were all about power and when that fails it is all about brute force does the sport of tennis and the Wiliams Sisters a disservice. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014


by Karen 

As the day draws nearer for the start of play on Day 1 of The Championships, Wimbledon, there is already controversy on the women's side.  The All England Lawn Tennis Club has chosen to have last year's losing finalist, Sabine Lisicki open Day 2 of the tournament rather than 5 time Wimbledon champion and current World's No. 1 Serena Williams.  There is also speculation that Serena will be relegated to Court No. 2, the Graveyard Court in her opening match seeing as the AELTC is sticking to its tradition of having one women's match and 2 men's match only on  Centre  Court.  On  Court No. 1, current French Open Champion, Maria Sharapova will be playing her first match against British wildcard Samantha Murray. 

I usually don't take a stance on issues such as this as I find it it too tiring to do so, but sometimes I do have to wonder what more does Serena Williams need to do to be afforded just a teensy bit of respect at this particular event.  It is hard not to think all kinds of negative things when the same garbage keeps happening year after everlasting year at Wimbledon.  At some point in time you hope it just stops. 

That being said, I am quite excited for the start of the tournament and while I may miss a few matches, I am going to try my best to watch as many matches as I possibly can.  I don't know whether the AELTC still has the paid streaming serve that they used to have where you could do match catch ups that you missed, but if anyone knows of a paid service other than WatchESPN (which is not available in my country), please do hit me up on Twitter or post in the comments. 

Day 1 features 32 matches from the bottom half of the draw.  The Spin's team picks are in red.  Remember if you are playing TAT's Suicide Pool, you will need to get your picks in by tonight.  

What to Watch:-

Venus Williams going up against up and comer Maria  Teresa Toro-Flor.  Venus needs to be very careful in this match as Toro-Flor, hits the ball well (at least on clay) and has a pretty good serve.  I expect Venus to win this one in straights if she serves and returns as we know she can on grass. 

Yanina Wickmayer and Sam Stosur.  Wickmayer did not really play well in the match that I saw of her in the TopShelf Open. That being said neither did Stosur in  Eastbourne.  This will be a hard fought battle but I expect Wickmayer to pull what may be considered an upset. 

Petra Kvitova going up against her countrywoman Andrea Hlavackova.  It would be good to see whether the hamstring injury that forced Kvitova out of her quarterfinal match against Heather Watson in  Eastbourne has got better with rest.  If not, look for Kvitova to be bundled out in straight sets. 

Player A
Player B
Centre Court
Paula Kania
Na Li
Court 1
Victoria Azarenka
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
Court 2
Maria Teresa Toro-Flor
Venus Williams

Andrea Mitu
Aga Radwanska
Court 3
Yanina Wickmayer
Sam Stosur

Petra Kvitova
Andrea Hlavackova
Court 12
Johana Konta
Shuai Peng

Caroline Wozniacki
Shahar Peer
Court 18
Sloane Stephens
Maria Kirilenko

Svetlana Kuznetsova
Michelle Larcher de Brito
Court 8
Mona Barthel
Romina Oprandi
Court 16
Naomi Broady
Timea Babos

Sara Errani
Caroline Garcia
Court 17
Kimiko Date-Krumm
Ekaterina Makarova

Kurimi Nara
Anna-Lena Friedsam
Court 4
Elena Vesnina
Patrica Mayr-Achleitner

Jana Cepelova
Flavia Pennatta
Court 5
Stefanie Voegele
Jarmila Gajdosova

Teresa Smitkova
Su-Wei Hseih
Court 6
Ana Konjuh
Marina Erakovic

Vania King
Yvonne Meusberger
Court 7
Polona Hercog
Paula Ormachea

Lauren Davis
Alisa Kleybanova

Coco Vandeweghe
Garbine Muguruza
Court 9
Alya Kudryatseva
Barbara Zahlova-Strycova

Annett Kontaveit
Casey Dellacqua
Court 10
Lucie Safarova
Julia Georges
Court 11
Misaki Doi
Elina Svitolina

Johanna Larsson
Bojana Jovanovski
Court 19
Monica Nicolescu
Alison Van Uvtyanck
Alexandra Wozniak
Dominika Cibulkova
Tsevtana Pironkova
Varvara Lepchenko