hey wimbledon

August 30, 2007 at 11:57 pm | Posted in aaron d.w., tennis | Leave a comment

roger federer won yesterday while playing in all black.

roger federer

it’s a good look for him, but i still wish he’d play in his air-travel outfit.

rog fed

i know that i was really looking forward to another federer-nadal final, since the wimbledon final was the best sporting event i’ve watched on television besides that boise state game. but i don’t know if it’s going to happen. rafael nadal is still my favorite player and you can’t count him out, but he’s having some knee troubles. in fact, he said if it wasn’t the last tournament of the year, he would have already withdrawn. i hope a federer-nadal final does happen though. especially because i think wimbledon should take a clue from how awesome people look that are not dressed in all white. it’s the future right now and wimbledon needs to get on board.

can’t get laid ’cause everyone is dead

August 22, 2007 at 1:47 am | Posted in brian, fespn, tennis | 1 Comment

i can’t find anything online to back me up which means i may have dreamed this, but i swear this happned when i turned sportscenter on the other night:

that one sportscaster — the giant with glasses who looks normal because he’s sitting next to an alien — started talking about federer’s latest win. federer now has 50 wins and he’s only 26. to put this in perspective, glassy told me that at age 26 mozart had written 30 or so symphonies, edison had like 40 pattents, and john wayne and/or john ford had made 30 movies but none of them in color and stagecoach was still to come. and, of course, he mentioned how many wins roger’s best-friend tiger woods had at age 26.

so what was glassy saying about federer? that he’s going to die in a couple years playing the best tennis match in the history of the world? that he’s going to start patening his backhand slice? that he’ll become a nostalgic pop icon so loaded with possible meanings that no one will know what you’re talking about when you name-check federer?

here’s the funny part, roger federer is the fifth youngest tennis layer to record 50 wins. bjorn borg did it when he was 23. so who do you compare him to?

hawk-eye vs. the board of education

August 20, 2007 at 8:28 am | Posted in aaron d.w., tennis | Leave a comment

the men’s tournament in cincinnati and the women’s tournament in toronto both ended today. roger federer beat american james blake 6-1, 6-4 without very much trouble while justine henin beat jelena jankovic 7-6(3), 7-5 in what was probably in the top 10 matches of tennis that i’ve personally watched. henin was down 4-1 in the first set before coming back and winning in a tiebreak. in the second set, jankovic was down 15-40 in two of her services before winning 5 straight points for a win. they were tied at 5-5 when they had the best game of the day. that game saw 9 deuces before henin finally won.

so with cincinnati and toronto done, men’s and women’s tennis are ready to begin the US Open. the US open was the first open event to adopt the use of hawk-eye to decide questionable line calls. this will be the third year that the hawk-eye system is present at the US open.

when a call is challenged by one of the players, the hawk-eye system provides an animation which shows where the ball supposedly landed. there has been some controversy over the last year. in Dubai, there was a call that was challenged and ruled in, but the ball mark was clearly out. then in the Wimbledon final, Nadal challenged a call and it was ruled in. the television replay showed that it was out by at least 2 cm.

dsc01999.jpgme, brian and gavin were talking about hawk-eye (called spot shot on espn) and how we don’t understand how it works or how accurate it is. with all of the controversy we were confused as to why there were never any presentations done during breaks in matches to explain how the hawk-eye system works and what the margin of error is.

the hawk-eye system was invented by a dr. paul hawkins. he later founded hawk-eye innovations which is a company with 38 employees centered in the UK. dr. paul hawkins was a cricket player as a youth and he originally hawkeye1.jpgdesigned it to help television audiences see whether a ball that hit a batter would have hit the wicket or not. in tennis matches where hawk-eye is used, there are 10 cameras that take readings every frame on the positions of the ball and the lines. the composition of the data on position collected by the 10 cameras is used to determine the 3 dimensional position of the ball in each frame. then all the different positions are put together to give a continuous trajectory of the ball. the trajectory of the ball is then used to complete the picture of where the ball touched the ground.

sounds pretty good. so why the controversy? on the hawk-eye website, they give explanations for both Dubai and Wimbledon. they provide some good arguments, but they gloss over the controversy and dismiss any counter-arguments as absurd. also, on their website they claim that the hawk-eye was 100% accurate with an average error of 3.6mm in the ITF testing which took place over the course of one day back in 2006. statistics that good make anybody a little bit suspicious.

rfederer.jpgthe most famous critic of the hawk-eye system is roger federer. “It’s a weird thing I still don’t trust 100 percent, I probably never will.” he says that he would rather just have the line judges. “I think they do an excellent job – I wouldn’t want to be sitting on that line. I just get disappointed when they miss shocking (calls). But that can happen too.” so why does federer use challenges if he doesn’t trust hawk-eye? “why not challenge? I would kill myself if it was in and I had not challenged.” also, after the Roger’s Cup, he admitted that one of the times he challenged not because he thought the line judges made a mistake but because he thought the maybe hawk-eye would make a mistake in his favor.

rnadal.jpgit turns out rafael nadal isn’t such a big fan either. “The shit machine is not working never. Always using the machine, it’s having lots of mistakes, so ATP has to check that.”

i think the hawk-eye system is pretty cool overall. but i see the problems with it and i think hawk-eye should just own up to the fact that it’s very accurate but not 100% accurate. and maybe until it gets better (with high speed cameras?), i’ll side with rafael and roger that it doesn’t do all the wonderful things that everyone says.

it must be true that the world is a joke

July 16, 2007 at 12:15 am | Posted in brian, tennis | Leave a comment

since it’s summer, most of my sports viewing is of the tennis variety. like all televised sports, tennis suffers from a lack of nick-naming creativity. of the top of my head i can’t think of any interesting or funny tennis nickname. or any tennis nickname. mcenroe calls gonzalez gonzo and everybody calls nadal rafa. but gonzo is a lazy nickname and rafa is just nadal’s first name. so i guess it’s up to us to come up with tennis nicknames.

fight thinks we should call nadal danielson.

there’s a pretty serious resemblance there and i’m not just talking about their headbands.

i was thinking about calling roddick brody.  it’s essentially a shortening of his last name while linking him with frat boys (since they’re always calling each other bro) since he maybe slept with paris hilton, wears a while baseball cap and drives a lexus.

anyone have any other ideas?

roger federer, champion of the world

July 10, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Posted in aaron d.w., tennis | 15 Comments

rogerf.jpgthey gave him a pair of white slacks. roger said that next year he’s playing only in white slacks and a black hat. they said no to the black hat because they’re white supremacists at wimbledon. anyways, the commentator said that next year they will have to give him a white hat. hopefully a white top hat. then the following year he can play with only a white top hat on. but the way nadal looked, they might not have to worry about what to give him next year.

if you win wimbledon, you become champion of the world

June 29, 2007 at 10:39 pm | Posted in brian, tennis | 2 Comments

according to this awesome movie about women’s amateur tennis called hard, fast and beautiful. i’m going to write about that movie later, if i can remember how to write.

but let me tell you about some highlights from wimbledon.

espn’s coverage informed me that tony blair stepped down as prime minister this week. then they showed the bbc footage of blair leaving downing street for the last time, driving to buckingham palace to officially resign and blair’s replacement driving from buckingham palace to downing street. except they showed the entire thing in fast-forward. i think it was supposed to be like a benny hill joke, except they used this regal string quartet music. so i think the joke is actually about how americans, whether watching tennis or coverage of global politics down give a damn unless americans are involved.

for example, gonzalez is in the fifth set with this real bad-ass. he’s got a beard, a bead necklace and possibly a eye-brow ring. it’s 2-1 in the fifth set and they cut to blake starting out his first set.

and sharapova said that her dad has a great sense of humor.

it might have been a vulture

June 21, 2007 at 12:05 am | Posted in aaron d.w., tennis | 1 Comment

wimbledon starts next monday.  wimbledon thinks they’re so awesome, but they’ve got a lot to prove to me this year.  first of all, the french open was too cool.  that’s a hard act to follow.  remember how all the americans were out after the first round and how all the federernadal.jpgamerican sports media mostly wrote articles about that?  remember how rafael nadal beat roger federer less than a month after federer ended nadal’s 81-game clay court winning streak?  remember how hawk-eye (aka spot shot) doesn’t even work?  i don’t remember that, but brian told me and i believed him.  recently brian wrote an article about how federer probably wouldn’t pose like nadal did after winning the french open.  well, i think wimbledon’s worse i found a picture to back me up.

but still, tennis is great to watch.  even if every player has to wear white for wimbledon.  grass is federer’s surface of choice and although he has looked vulnerable a lot this year, he’s tough to beat on grass.  then there’s nadal.  he’s not the best grass player, but he’s good enough to make it to the finals and make federer earn it.  or maybe andy roddick will do really well.  he just won his first grass tournament last week and has looked good this year even though he lost bad in the french open.  i wish he was making those lexus commercials.  then i could love him.  physical love.

oh yeah, there’s other tennis players too, but i don’t want to look up how to spell djokavic and youznhy.

parts and labor

June 11, 2007 at 2:05 am | Posted in brian, tennis | 6 Comments

you have to get up pretty early in the morning if you want to watch the men’s french open final. 7 a.m. (mst) to be exact.

but here’s what i don’t get:

so nadal and federer are both sponsored by nike and, after sharapova, nadal and federer are nike’s top tennis endorsers.  so why are they wearing the exact same color scheme?

baby and navy blue.  nadal does accent this scheme with a lot of white while federer goes with the a dark colored headband.  this might have something to do with federer embracing his dominance of tennis, but nadal has to be the clay court favorite.  in the french open context, federer may even be considered an underdog — an underdog who may be the best tennis player ever.  so i’m still unsure about the significance of the slight differences in nadal and federer’s on court dress.

the pacman-agassi controversy

April 18, 2007 at 1:01 am | Posted in aaron d.w., basketball, football (american), tennis | 2 Comments

so pacman jones from the tennessee titans got suspended for the whole year. it doesn’t surprise me. the nfl suspended ricky williams for a year for being a yoga instructor. pacman’s situation is a little worse. he’s been involved in fights at clubs and other stuff. so even though he hasn’t been charged once with anything, he’s suspended for the year. i understand the league’s position. they want to assure their sponsors that they won’t stand for “criminal” behavior. they’ve got to keep the investors happy. they’ve got to keep their image “clean.” it’s the same thing the nba did with suspending jermaine o’neal, ron artest, stephen jackson, ben wallace, carmelo anthony, j.r. smith, and that other guy. they need to keep the people who can afford the best seats in the stands. so they punish “thug” behavior to make people feel safer.

here’s what i don’t get. ron artest knew he had a temper problem. he’d already punched camera-persons. so when he gets in a scuffle with ben wallace, he does the smart thing and removes himself from the situation. he lays down on the scorers table to settle down. some idiot throws a cup of beer on him. so he goes into the stands to waste him. i don’t condone violence, but i certainly understand why he did it. just because you paid $200 for your seat and $100 for your 15th cup of beer, doesn’t mean you get to throw the alcohol on players you hate. i would’ve been upset too. i’d like to say that i wouldn’t have punched him, but who knows? one time i threw a basketball at jon woodbury and i’ve felt bad about it for a long time. also one time i punched brian in the back of the head, but that was just to be funny (and it was), and he spit on my pillow the next morning to get back at me (this was 3 years ago). so they tag artest with a year-long suspension and they tell that other guy that he can’t ever come back to the arena. that’s fine. i understand that suspensions were needed, but a year? anyways, this year artest has been accused of domestic violence. he’s been issued a restraining order to stay away from his wife and kids. i think the league probably fined him and that’s it.  hitting your wife is worse than hitting a stranger who threw beer on you, right?

so why don’t professional sports leagues worry about cleaning up their image when it comes to domestic or sexual abuse? probably because the people who advertise and the people who buy the luxury boxes and the people who buy the front-row seats are more comfortable with the idea of domestic violence than they are with “thug” behavior. everybody hits their wives, so it’s no big deal for sports stars to do it. it’s non-threatening, because as males we understand that it’s probably sometimes necessary. like reuben droughns. or a million other athletes across a million other sports. but thug behavior. that stuff’s scary. thugs are capable of anything. they would probably murder you in a heartbeat if you look at them wrong. basketball players might have knives or guns in their socks, shoes, or shorts, if they’re thugs, which most of them are because they wear over-sized t-shirts and timberlands.

fights in the home result in bad p.r. fights in bars result in year-long suspensions.

agassi2.jpgcase and point: (article) andre agassi hit his wife, steffi graf, in the face on “accident” during a fundraiser tennis match. they were playing doubles and holding hands and he hit her with his follow-through. she got 3 stitches on-site in her lip by a doctor who had paid $70,000 to play against the couple. they were in houston doing a fundraiser as part of this show called the big give hosted by oprah winfrey. “she’s okay. it was an unfortunate accident.” her friends or relatives will ask about her lip and she’ll say, “oh, i slipped and landed on a tennis racket.” no big deal. she probably found out about agassi and that shark and confronted andre about it before the match. he warned her to keep quiet. she had it coming, i guess.

did you hear how t.o.’s texts kept tony romas from overdosing on painkillers?

January 31, 2007 at 2:51 am | Posted in brian, fespn, football (american), tennis | 3 Comments

revisiting my predictions:

all the americans made early exits except for serena. but i wanted her to win. and the saints did lose, but it’s because i forgot what channeling zidane’s headbutting spirit would lead to. zidane headbutted that guy in the world cup because he didn’t know what was going on. he was on a billion painkillers (from his injury earlier in the game) and suffered from heat exhaustion. he headbutted on pure adrenalin, much the way the saints tried to play the nfc championship. zidane lost the world cup and the saints lost to the bears. it wasn’t that my prediction was wrong, it was just that i didn’t follow my own logic far enough. maybe i’m not a sports-predicting savant. that’s fine with me.

moving on:

here’s what i don’t get, the football season is over and everyone at espn can’t stop talking about how much they hate t.o. what’s the deal? nearly all the personalities over at espn are acting more like estranged lovers than football analysts when it comes to t.o. related stories. i understand that t.o. is a total hunk. just look at him when he’s doing sit-ups shirtless in his driveway. i also understand that having a lasting, meaningful relationship with t.o. must be difficult with his fragile self-esteem and depression problems. at least that’s what i’ve been told about myself since i also have depression problems which negatively impacts my self-esteem. so i think i get: those espn personalities want so badly to be with t.o. but it just too difficult with t.o.’s emotional problems. plus those espn personalities have t.o.-like egos. so the whole thing end in a messy break-up and bitterness. but come on, can you really hate on a guy this much simply because he stopped returning your text messages? let me give you a hint sean s, jaws, stuart scott, skip bayless and the rest of you, if you want to have t.o. return your text messages try seeming less desperate in your texts. and don’t text him sideways smiley faces. try this: “hey bro. congrats on a stellar season. next year you’ll win mvp and mvp of the super bowl. sorry about all those things i said about you on the air. i was pressured by the higher ups to really be ruthless. and i was hurt. if i’ve been unkind, i hope you can let it slide. much love.”

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