Monday, January 26, 2009

The Tennis Equivalent Of Ultimate Fighting (And Breaking News)

First, a bit of breaking news: Andy Murray just got knocked out of the Australian Open by Fernando Verdasco in a brilliant 5 setter. Murray was a popular pick to win the whole event, but Verdasco was fitter, tougher, and your winner. Now back to the post I wrote a couple hours ago.
Monday night we get to check out tennis' version of Yankees-Red Sox, Browns-Bengals, or USC-UCLA when Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic square off in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Why is this going to be gripping competition? Because these two just plain don't like each other.
It started at last year's US Open, at least in public, when Roddick called Djokovic onto the carpet over his continous and variegated ailments. (funny clip here) Djokovic, who is rapidly accumulating the world's largest collection of irritating habits (read: ball bouncing before serves, awkward hugs after wins, and hypochondriasis) took a trip to crazytown after beating Roddick in the US Open quarters. He decided the right way to respond was to rip both Roddick and the New York crowd while standing on the court surrounded by drunk and disappointed Bronx-dwellers.
These two sluggers get to start this year off with an early airing-of-grievances, and we get to watch. Probably somewhere around 7 PM PST on ESPN2.
No fun watching Victoria Azarenka walk off the court in tears twice, then having to default her match against Serena Williams despite having won the first set. Not a great way to go out, and if you've ever had food poisoning, you know how she feels.
Very fun watching Jelena Dokic storm back into the tennis consciousness, not only with her courageous 4th round victory on a bad ankle or her ranking of 187 in the world, but with her honesty about how hard the last few years have been for her.
Between severing ties with her overbearing father, battling depression and financial problems, it's a wonder she's still playing, let alone winning. Could Dokic be the shot in the arm the women's game needs? If she wins tomorrow, she'll be well on the way.
Real quick, before we go today, here's my cousin Guy doing color commentary on Sky Sports. So cool!

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