Occam’s Razor

November 24, 2007

I Was There

No full blog update just yet (on airport wifi waiting to board the plane) but I just wanted to share these photos I capped out of Fox Sports Telecast of the match — well the ones with me in the background goin all fanboy.

Top left, the one on dark blue shirt — that’s me behind Pete Sampras!

And then again frantically taking snaps of Roger Federer here:

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November 23, 2007

Teaser…

Alright just a quick teaser… I’m not sure if you’ve seen my throat screamin on tv but I was just right behind Roger and Pete during the match. How did that happen when those tickets were sold out? I’ll tell you more when I get more time to really blog. For now, here:

November 2, 2007

Cocaine

Filed under: tennis — Tags: , , — lesturla @ 4:54 am

I woke up today freezin. Seems like Winter came early — well, that or Autumn is just on exaggerated mode. I went on my daily routine upon waking up, check the weather forecast, go to CNN.com, inquirer.net, check what new countries have been reading my WordPress Blog and check tennis results.

Turns out Nalbandian got the best of Roger in Paris (again). Less than two weeks ago he beat Federer in the Madrid finals, too. That’s not exactly bad news since that means that there are actually players out there who can beat Federer so this one actually makes for interesting match-ups to follow.

The horror came when I saw a news item on Martina Hingis — my other Swiss tennis idol. It came as a surprise since she hasn’t been playing lately due to injuries so I wasn’t really expecting to hear any news about her until the Australian Open come January. She is retiring (again) amid allegations of cocaine use.

Martina vehemently denies this and claims that the testing conducted in Wimbledon (an idenpendent Swedish agency does the testing for Wimbledon) was inaccurate since she has never taken any drugs in her life. She even offered to have her hair tested for drugs (which supposedly has more accurate and long term traces of drugs in the body.)

However, Martina is down and beat. She’s been tennis’ little young girl who took the sport by storm in 1997 at the young age of 16 through 1999 when she established her domination and has graced the sport with the most entertaining tennis style and craftmanship on court. Tennis hasn’t always been good to her, in 1999 she was berated for her petulant behavior in the Roland Garros championship against Steffi Graf. There have been rivalries and criticism on how she can’t match up with the power players like the Williams sisters and Sharapova. Such is sports, when you reach the top, the way down is not always pleasant, in Martina’s case it has been short of traumatic getting badgered on everything she does on and off the court.

So Martina decides to retire yet again. Whatever allegations she is facing now, the fact remains that Martina has provided the sport the best tactical tennis we’ve ever seen in the women’s game. Cocaine or not, her greatness will continue to live on. This sentiment was echoed by the WTA proclaiming her a “tremendous champion” amid this controversy.

You’ll always be our Swiss Miss, Martina! Cheer up! You’re still great!

_____

Martina Hingis’ press statement:

Throughout my career, I have always been open and honest with you.

I have been accused by an outsource testing company of taking cocaine during the Championships at Wimbledon.

I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous, that I have decided to confront it head-on by talking to the press.

My weapon on the tennis court is and always was one single thing – the game, the ingenuity on court. And for this style of tennis, there is only one performance enhancer – the love of the game.

They say that cocaine increases self-confidence and creates a type of euphoria. I don’t know. I only know that if I were to try to hit the ball while in any state of euphoria, it simply wouldn’t work.

I would think that it would be impossible for anyone to maintain the co-ordination required to play top class tennis while under the influence of drugs. And I know one other thing – I would personally be terrified of taking drugs.

When I was informed that the A Test I took following my defeat at Wimbledon apparently came back positive for a cocaine metabolite, I was shocked and appalled.

Acting upon the advice of my family and my management, I immediately took the hair test which can prove whether or not someone has taken cocaine.

This test of course produced a negative result, the same negative result as all the countless doping tests that I have taken over the last twelve years.

However, the B Test from Wimbledon once again produced the opposite result – positive for a metabolite that apparently stays in the system for some time following cocaine use.

I immediately retained an attorney. Anybody who even attempts to take on this doping machinery alone has no chance.

The attorney and his experts discovered various inconsistencies with the urine sample that was taken during Wimbledon.

He is also convinced that the doping officials mishandled the process and would not be able to prove that the urine that was tested for cocaine actually came from me.

However, this attorney and others have also pointed out to me that a case like this one can sometimes take years to resolve, especially if both sides repeatedly appeal the case and take it to the next level.

And this is the reason for my announcement. I have no desire to spend the next several years of my life reduced to fighting against the doping officials.

I am frustrated and angry. I believe that I am absolutely, one hundred percent innocent.

The fact is that it is more and more difficult for me, physically, to keep playing at the top of the game.

And frankly, accusations such as these don’t exactly provide me with motivation to even make another attempt to do so.

I attempted a comeback after a three-year break and succeeded in winning three tournaments, bringing my ranking to six in the world.

But in the meantime, I’m now 27, and realistically too old to play top class tennis.

So now I’m standing before you, confronting the situation. Today I also informed my sponsors.

And so, considering this situation, my age, and the problems I have been having with my hip, I have decided to no longer play tennis on the Tour.

Upon advice from my attorneys, I’m afraid I am unable to answer any questions. My answers could insult someone and create even more problems for me.

Therefore, there is only one more thing for me to do – to thank all of you for many years of goodwill, and also to assure you: I have never taken drugs.

October 16, 2007

Dans La Crainte

Some explanation on why I am passionately awed by this robotic-balletic-perfectly idyllic tennis god named Roger Federer. His peers praise him on end. People whom he should have as idols like Borg, Becker, McEnroe all bow to him and his talent. They pronounce him the greatest ever. Who am I to question that even for a bit? Watch him play and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Here are some quotes from Tennis Planet. One of ’em blogs I stalk.

What Roddick said last year when he lost to Roger in Cincinnati:

INTERVIEWER: Last time, at Wimbledon, you said “Next time I may have to punch him.” Do you have a plan B?
RODDICK: Kick him.

INTERVIEWER: Do you feel like Federer is the guy everyone is chasing?
RODDICK: Yeah basically nobody stands a chance against him… maybe we should all join together, you know like Power Rangers or something….

-”I am getting really sick of this guy,” Ljubicic joked. “But I guess he likes the same tournament as me, so I will have to keep seeing him. It is the first time I have done something like this. It seems I have to be careful choosing my tournaments in the future.”

-“He’s the most gifted player that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen a lot of people play. I’ve seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players – the Samprases, Beckers, Connors’, Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all.” – John McEnroe, winner of 7 Grand Slams.

-“I’d like to be in his shoes for one day to know what it feels like to play that way.” – Mats Wilander, winner of 6 Grand Slams.

-“Roger can produce tennis shots that should be declared illegal” – Tracy Austin

-“But there’s probably — I don’t think there’s anyone that hits the ball like that. Sure, if you take Roddick’s serve and Agassi’s returns and my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, then you’ve probably got a good chance against Federer (laughter). That’s a lot of people involved in, you know, one player.”  Tim Henman

A quote from an article on James Blake:

Despite his recent play or, more likely, because he represents the Great American Hope, Tennis Magazine picked Blake to win the U.S. Open.

“Someone there hasn’t been paying attention if they are picking against Roger [Federer],” Blake said. “If you poll the top 200 guys in the world, about 199 are going to say Roger. The only one who won’t is Roger because he’s too nice about it.”

“I just have a very strong belief in my capabilities, in not showing my opponent how I feel fighting like crazy even though it doesn’t look like I am.”– Roger Federer on himself after beating Richard Gasquet in Toranto Masters.-

“I’d love to cook an egg on Rogies head.”-Tiger Woods.

 ___________________________

reposted from Tennis Planet

August 16, 2007

Obsessions

Filed under: play, tennis, travel, work — lesturla @ 4:31 pm

There hasn’t been a tennis season more exciting than this year’s. The profusion of talent especially in the men’s field simply leaves me with no adjectives (perhaps it’s the vodka). In last week’s Roger’s Cup in Montreal, the young Serb Novak Djokovic beat the top 3 players in the world en route to capturing this year’s title. The last time this happened was years ago circa Boris Becker times. (From the top of my head I think Steffi Graf did this in the women’s field at Roland Garros in 1999 when she beat Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova and Venus Williams <?> as she earned her 22nd Grand Slam title).

I have been following Novak Djokovic’s rise and I am convinced that barring any injuries, he is destined to become world number one someday. The kid is extremely talented and can whip amazing winners from both wings. He also has a very interesting personality and doesn’t take himself too seriously. No toxic intensity from this kid at all. Sure it might be an absolute blast for anyone to beat Roger Federer but Djokovic has fun in the court no matter what the circumstances are and no matter who he beats.

The best part is he will be in Bangkok late next month for the Thailand Open along with Rafael Nadal, Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick. The only players in the field missing are Marat Safin and Roger Federer to complete my favorites list. Why are they my favorites? Here’s why:

  1. Roger Federer – the greatest and most complete player of all time. He’s lost quite a few times this season but for a learned tennis fan, this does not matter as much as talent and consistency does. Roger is the complete package, he is the idol of his tennis idols. How weird is that? He’s that good. Gee, how do I explain his goodness? Watch his matches.
  2. Rafael Nadal – no doubt a great talent too. His intensity on the court and his dedication to improving his craft is bound to get him to higher heights in tennis. His dominance of Roland Garros will remain for a long time.
  3. Novak Djokovic – believe me when I say that he will be world number one someday. He’s got what it takes. He will beat Rafa and Roger again for sure and when he gets that habit he will be unstoppable.
  4. Tommy Haas – again talent profusion. One of few who’s beat Federer. His movement on the court and backhand to forehand transitions are just a beauty to watch.
  5. Marat Safin – he is insane but in terms of talent, there are only a few in his company namely Federer, Gasquet and Djokovic.
  6. Andy Roddick – he sure makes watching tennis a lot of fun. No other tennis player makes post match interviews as interesting as he does.

I am seeing 4 of 6 in this list next month — here’s to hoping that none of them withdraws as they usually do when it’s an Asian tournament. Ugh!

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