Saturday, January 20, 2007

Never a dull moment at the Australian Open

Drunkenness--imagine your surprise--has been added to the list of unsavory activities at the Australian Open, and several people had to be removed from the stands yesterday (today, if you're in Australia).

The heat is causing the same controversies it always causes, with many people asking that the heat rule be changed again. Once it hits 90 degrees, players are not allowed to play on uncovered courts. But if you are on one of the show courts and it goes to 90 degrees or above during play, the retractable roof cannot be placed over the court. This is an absolutely ridiculous rule, opposed only by the freak-"manly" types like Lleyton Hewitt.

Though it is true that being fit helps one withstand heat, the kind of heat players get at the Australian Open can knock down the fittest of players. Maria Sharapova almost lost her first round because of it, and no one can accuse Sharapova of being unfit.

But heat isn't the only problem this year: Rain has caused very significant delays, also. One wonders--between the heat and the rain--if there is any way to even finish the Australian Open.

Not all of the heat is coming from the weather. Former top-10 player Vera Zvonareva, in what was apparently a stunning display of both offensive and defensive tennis, ran over phenom Ana Ivanovic, 6-1, 6-2 to get to the round of 16. Now Zvonareva faces Sharapova, and anything could happen. Zvonareva is loaded with talent (check out the stinging double-handed backhand), but has had difficulty in the past with her emotions on the court.

The other big upset on the women's side was that of fifth seed Nadia Petrova, who fell to a suddenly resurgent Serena Williams in the third round.

Alona Bondarenko played well against Kim Clijsters, despite going down 3-6, 3-6. I am probably the only person who actually liked her tennis dress, but where on Earth does Pam Shriver, of all people, come off handing out fashion criticism?

And finally, former tennis star and sometimes-announcer Jim Courier became "interested" in a woman sitting next to Bev Cartright (Lleyton Hewitt's wife) whom he could not identify, and when told she was Emma Gurney, the wife of Justin Cohen (Hewitt's manager), said "That doesn't bother me." Cohen wasn't too happy about that last remark, and I leave you, dear reader, to discern why Courier would be so over-the-top.


I liked Bondarenko's outfit too. It looked comfortable and it wasn't neon like the current Nike line seems to be.
I am surprised at Jim Courier's comment. In part because I always thought he was gay. Maybe he is and misogyny is just his cover.
My personal annoyance this (Sunday)morning: ESPN2 showing the Roddick match--again. It was on when I went to bed last night. And looking at the ticker there are so many more interesting women's matches to show

By Blogger ken, at 12:53 PM  

Well, I've always thought Courier was gay, too, and I think that's why he feels compelled to make remarks like that. Some of these male tennis players are going to have to come out, some day.

The Roddick-Ancic match was fantastic, but they really don't have to show it over and over and over, no.

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