Here is an attempt to try and get this blog more active during the season, not exactly sure whether the balance will be right between quality and quantity.
This is a summary of the recent events after the Aussie Open and will be a mix of ATP and Challengers, as that would make the most sense plus I have been two recent challengers, one not bad the other one has a lot to improve upon.
Last week had 2 first time winners on the tour. Big Kevin Anderson won Jochallengersburg which was good for a local to win the event, also that he was the best player left in the draw, it would have been a crime against tennis if van der Merwe won an ATP IS event, but there was a tennis crime committed last week at another venue. Sadly, Jochallengersburg won't be on the calendar. It wasn't a bad idea per se to have an event in South Africa but why was it put there initially. Was it the fact that former CEO and all round incompetent Mr. Disney Etienne de Villiers is South African or that South African Airways a sponsor of the ATP.
The timing of Jo'burg was wrong coming after the Aus Open and it's quite a long trip. The altitude would be a factor, but personally more events at altitude wouldn't be too bad, not pissy altitude like Madrid, which they go on about being like Mt.Everest and K2 combined. If they were to have an event in South Africa, the first week of the year would be better and preferably at sea level. Congratulations to Anderson, he has improved quite a lot and Devvarman pushes more than an Amsterdam street dealer.
In Zagreb, it was a true bolter Ivan Dodig won the event over defending finalist the German he-man with the very soft voice Michael Berrer. Dodig is an example of hard working triumphing over natural talent. He has worked relentlessly on the serve and the forehand and while being far from the most talented player around, has managed to win a title very quickly in his career. He has lofty ambitions about where he'd like to be ranked, while he is limited anything can happen in this game. The funny part at the end where he threw his racquet in the crowd after he thought he won and needed it passed back to him, as he hadn't done the job.
Sadly for the game of tennis took a monumental beating when the talented yet fragile Santiago Giraldo served for the title against Tommy "I don't believe in sportsmanship" Robredo, but he shat himself when it came to the crunch and Boredo played a solid game to get the break back. Once it went to the tiebreaker, then the chance was gone for Giraldo to make it the first time that 3 people won their first title within a week.
Boredo fights hard and maximised his talents, that's the best thing I can say about him. Though I had to chuckle at his fight with Fabio "the Fog" Fognini. If they were playing Slams on strutting ability then the Fog would be a multi Slam winners. Plenty of needle in their match and Boredo doesn't shake his hand at the end of the match, he showed his true class. The Fog calling him "hombre de mierda" was priceless, this and the Stakhovsky incident this year has been good to Boredo.
Burnie was quite fun and enjoyable this year, well not result wise as most of the players that I was cheering for lost early in the week. This doesn't mean there wasn't some fun to be had watching matches.
There was a lot of shit weather around, so there were some days where doubling up of matches happened. Cipolla carried on his excellent start to the year by winning the title, though he didn't play the final against the "Gooch" Chris Guccione who had to withdraw with an achilles problem.
It was great to see the sexy Guccione back on track, after the injury problems and the Green Card issues which meant he had to miss the Aus Open playoff. Best of all he took out Bernard 'the Golden Child " Tomic in a 3rd set buster. Interesting fact that the Gooch doesn't like night matches, as he can't pick the ball up very well. Of course he did in style, didn't even come close to losing serve and then serves for it at *5-4 in the 3rd and plays a lax game, but justice was done in the end.
There is good access to Challengers which is something I like and while Burnie is not the best place on the planet and very quiet, there were enough humourous moments during the week to make it worthwhile.
McDonalds in town the only place open after 9pm, this was the epicentre of the event. The ridiculous waiting times on the food sent Matosevic even crazier than usual. Ivo Klec in fine form with the ladies. The locals with some good mullet action looking bemused at these tennis people in there.
Rain delays were a feature in Burnie, but thankfully there was an Xbox there which got plenty of use. The highlight was big Sam "the Cockatoo" Groth, yes he is called the cockatoo after his hairstyle teaching me how to play Smackdown vs. Raw. After a few attempts, then playing David Lenar the former coach of the man Kavcic and now coaching the talented but lazy Grega Zemlja. It was a very tough battle that went for ages but the Undertaker (myself) managed to get over Shawn Michaels, which was almost as good as their Wrestlemania matches.
This week, I'm at Caloundra. This challenger has a good club as in facilities, but lacking in a lot of areas. There is no internet for the players, the courtesy cars show up randomly, there are no ballkids until Friday, these three are annoying. Worst of all, the website is a joke, there is no ATP livescoring at all, even little Burnie could do that. The lights on centre court aren't good enough to host night matches, they need to be a certain wattage and don't make the grade. This apart from the fact that in the wonderland of Queensland there is no daylight saving, so there is a window only of 8 hours of play from 10am to 6pm due to the lack of light.
To end on a more positive note the man Andre Ghem qualified for Costa da Sauipe, the place where he defeated Guga Kuerten. He has had a lot of injury problems and making a comeback. Won a Futures 2 weeks ago, then taking out Junqueira (aka Danny Devito) and then Navarro to make the main draw. Hope he can be inspired to beat Craplocq, but the Carlos has the power of the mullet.