Male concern for {tennis} balls – Rafa versus Djokovic 2012

Having just spent some mindless hours watching various Roland Garros 2012 tennis matches on the television, there are two things that drive me bonkers. The first are Rafa Nadal’s incessant superstitious ticks.  The hair tuck, the nose wipe, the shirt tuck, the jock strap fix and the ball bouncing.  It’s bad on the 1st serve.  It’s OTT on the second serve.

Ticks of Nadal, The Myndset Digital Marketing Strategy

The second issue I have is a more generalized habit of dropping balls by ALL the men on the tennis pro tour.  In case you [general public] didn’t know, the balls are renewed every seven games (16 new balls at a time, at least on the ATP).  Granted they hit the ball hard, but that’s pretty good service.  That said, you know that the habit of selecting the most lively balls has gone overboard when the players  do the same farcical act with the brand new balls as well.  Below, we have (literally) a screen grab of Rafa playing Djokovic in the Roland Garros 2012 finals.

Rafael Nadal, Three balls, The Myndset Brand Strategy

The thing that got me riled up is that the first service percentage for both players in the men’s final was near or below 50%; so the real impact of the “best” ball was absolutely negligible.  But, the second thought was that the women — even in Sharapova’s noisy and historic final — do not go through the same song and dance of selecting the best ball before every service.  They just get on with the game.  Hurray.

I would like to ban this ridiculous, petulant, if not arrogant, selecting of the best balls.  After all, once the ball is in play, it’s the same for both players.  Secondly, I would wish the voodoo of ticks were less indicative of success!

Oh, and a final hat tip to Djoko for his sportsmanlike conduct when he acknowledged that a ball was miscalled out and over-ruled the “rules” to allow the point to be awarded to Nadal (in the 2nd set).  Wish we could see more sportsmanship like that (and forget the racquet throwing!).

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer headline exhibition for flood relief – ESPN

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer in benefit

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play an exhibition match on Sunday ahead of the Australian Open to raise funds for the country’s flood victims.

Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters will join Lleyton Hewitt in a “Rally for Relief” match at Rod Laver Arena. Also participating will be Sam Stosur and retired star Pat Rafter, who both come from the affected state of Queensland.

Stosur said the flooding, which has killed 25 people since November and trashed the city of Brisbane, is an “enormous disaster” and “lots of us just want to make some sort of contribution.”

Federer, Nadal and Clijsters took part in a similar fundraising match last year — that time following the earthquake in Haiti.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

I think this is a marvellous statement of the mindset of Federer and Nadal, the top two dogs of tennis, putting their rivalry aside the day before the beginning of the Australian Open to put on an Exhibition match in favor of the flood relief… A Rally for Relief… There are several other top tennis players doing this as well. Sports — and the athletes playing them — can provide such an powerful platform for sending “values” messages to the public. This is one strong message by Feds and Rafa, reputting the focus on life over titles. Bravo. Tickets only cost $20, a steal!

Roger Federer is William Tell. Just amazing!

Roger rogered this one…twice.

If you needed any extra proof that there is talent behind those hard hitting, charming chestnut brown eyes, you need to see this. Whether or not you play tennis, you will appreciate the unedited skill. Note that he is NOT wearing a tie.  Still, I don’t think that suit can feel like a Nike outfit.  Posted on Eurosport’s site, there has been a grand total of two views of this video since being posted mid August… Bizarre.  Presumably, Eurosports’ settings are off.  In any event, imagine this, he is just the third best player in the world (although he’s still number 1 in my eyes).

I certainly hope there will be a few more views herewith!

Beautiful, no?

Many Tennis Players Would Benefit From Going All Out on Second Serve

It happens throughout every match — players uncork a first serve with as much force as possible, confident in the knowledge that another chance awaits. And on the second serve, they hit a much different, more timid, perceptibly slower serve.

The ball is more likely to go in. The subsequent rally, however, is also far more likely to be lost.

And the question persists: would players have a better chance of winning the point, even after factoring in the sure rise in double faults, by going for it again on the second serve — in essence, hitting two first serves?

The answer is yes, over time, for many of the top players. Continue reading

US Open Tennis 2009 Winners

In a slew of late-in-the-tournament rain delays, the US Tennis Open 2009 provided two shocking winners for both the men and women’s tournament. Both sides produced what I might describe as wonder kids (or if you prefer wunderkinder), but with a twist.

On the Women’s side, the Belgian Kim Clijsters took full advantage of a wild card entry to sweep through 5 seeded players — not least of which both of the Williams sisters — to win in comfortable style 7-5, 6-3 against another surprise finalist, #9 seeded Caroline Wozniacki, from Denmark. Clijsters, who ‘retired’ prematurely in 2007, had taken off 2 years to have Jada, her daughter, who came on court (with father and basketballer Brian Lynch) to help her mother with the Trophy. Not since 1980, when Evonne Goolagong Cawley defeated Chris Evert at Wimbledon, has a mother won a Grand Slam title.  Along the way, Clijsters also became the first wild card entry to ever be crowned US Open champion.  The unseeded Clijsters jumped to 19th seed in the world immediately after the victory, now that she has completed her third professional tournament. A fairy tale tournament and year for Clijsters, whose father died at the beginning of the year.

In the Men’s draw, it was Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, the 20-year-old sixth seed, who twice came back from a set down to win a monster five set match 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 against the perennial favourite Roger Federer. Federer had been carrying a 40-match, 5 crowns-in-a-row unbeaten streak into this final. Ironically, another Argentine, David Nalbandian, was the last man to beat Federer at the US Open (in the fourth round of 2003). Del Potro joins Guillermo Vilas (1977) as the only other Argentine to have won the US Open. And it was the first time in 10 years that the final had gone to five sets. Federer was undoubtedly flustered yet again by the hawk eye, a technology that has earned Roger’s general disapproval (“I think it’s nonsense…”). So Federer will go down in history with five consecutive wins at the US Open, behind Bill Tilden’s 6 wins (each time over the feckless William Johnston) and Richard Sears (7 in a row at the end of the 19th century). Del Potro was an unlikely winner as far as I was concerned to the extent that he even managed to get beyond the high-potential Cilic in the quarters. Then he blew aside a lame #2 Nadal 6-2,6-2,6-2 in the semis.

For the doubles, on the men’s side it was the fourth seeded Leander Paes (IND) and Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) who beat third seeded Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) and Mark Knowles (BAH) in three sets 3-6,6-3,6-2, having also beaten the top seeded Bryan brothers (USA) in three sets in the semi-final.

And on the women’s side, the 4th seeded Williams sisters (USA) powered to victory over top seeded Cara Black (ZIM) and Liezel Huber (USA) by a score of 6-2,6-2, to redeem their singles performance.

Interesting fact on the men’s front: a right hander has won the title every year since 1985 (Lendl). However, from 1974 to 1984, it was a left hander who won (11 years in a row, and featuring four different players: Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Guillermo Vilas and Manuel Orantes). See more US Open Stats here.

Top Ten Recent Posts on Minter Dialogue Blog

Taking a cue from one of my favourite blogs Being Peter Kim, I thought I would take a step back and write down which are the top ten posts read on this blog over the last month. As Peter says, “blog content can be both highly perishable and easy to miss.”

  1. Coffee Latte Face Art – New Level of Personalized Service (curiosity)
  2. Alain Delon on stage (not really worthwhile, sorry!)
  3. Perpetuum Jazzile Africa Slovenia Nature meets Music Storm (worth the visit)
  4. How to import Hotmail .csv into Apple Mac Mail (techy)
  5. Getting even with world’s tennis ranking systems (if you want to know your level)
  6. Wimbledon Tennis 2009 Winners – A fine vintage
  7. Tennis Wimbledon 2008 Winners
  8. Hopital Pitie Salpetriere à Paris – Du Chemin pour la Loi Bachelot (healthcare in France)
  9. Roland Garros 2009 — Recycling of tennis balls
  10. In case you didn’t know about the Woman with the Longest Nails in the World (curiosity)

What does this list tell me? I have an eclectic audience, reflecting in large part that majority of my readers are coming via Google Search. The top three posts are broadly speaking “cultural.” With 4 posts on tennis, maybe I should become a tennis writer? Anyway, tennis is probably a seasonal affair. There is only one French post in the top ten — which is close to fair representation (15% of the posts to-date on this blog have been in French).

Wimbledon Tennis 2009 Winners – A fine vintage

Wimbledon Tennis 2009 LogoAfter Roland Garros, the tennis world turned its attention to Wimbledon 2009. Perhaps to help us forget about the economic woes and, certainly, to usher in the summer, we were treated to another glorious green grass tournament. If the French had a bad tournament, the US contingent of tennis players did themselves proud on the grass courts and, on the men’s side, like the U.S. men’s football (soccer) team at the 2009 Confederation Cup, were proud losers in both of the hotly contended finals. On the women’s side, the Williams willed it all.

Roger Federer, Tennis at Wimbledon 2009Wimbledon 2009 Men’s Singles Winner: Roger Federer (world #2 but top seed at this year’s Wimbledon) outlasted a highly determined Andy Roddick (seeded #6) on a score of 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 in a 4H16 match that, with hindsight, turned in the second set tiebreak in which Roddick squandered four points to go up 2-0 sets. The historic men’s final, featuring the longest ever 5th set (1H35) in a final and the highest number of games (77), brought Federer to the summit of 15 Grand Slam titles, eclipsing in six years what the on-hand Pete Sampras (14 titles) achieved in 12 years. Little known fact: the man who has 12 titles whom Pete beat and who is now 3rd on the all-time list? Roy Emerson. In winning Wimbledon again, Federer reclaimed in the process the #1 world ranking. Roddick’s game, to his credit, was at its best and it was only in the 30th game of the 5th set that he was broken for the first time in the match, after having held 37 times consecutively. Surprisingly, in this match, Federer (27 years old) out-aced Roddick (26 years old) by a wide margin, as he hit a career high 50 aces to Roddick’s 27 — even if Roddick had a tournament high 187. Roddick has now lost three Wimbledon finals, all to Federer, his seeming nemesis. Final stat that I liked: since his first title in 2003, Federer has won 30 of 34 tie break sets at Wimbledon. Now that’s called clutch play.

Of note, in the men’s draw, one must also tip one’s hat to the great tournament by homegrown Andy Murray (#3), if only that he was stubbed out by Roddick in a quality semi-final Battle of the Andy’s match. I also would call attention to a stirring tournament by the unseeded Aussie, Lleyton Hewitt, who walloped Juan Martin Del Potro (5) in straight sets (6-3, 7-5, 7-5) and then came back from 0-2 down (for the sixth time in his career) to beat Radek Stepanek 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. The Hewitt-Roddick match was also another great match, where Roddick evened the career matchup 6-6 in a veritable 3H51 5-set slugfest 6-3, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4. The final good word goes to Tommy Haas (#24), the 31-year old ‘veteran’ whose form surged at Roland Garros and clearly extended into Wimbledon. His 3rd round 5-set triumph over Marin Cilic was only trumped by his 4-set dumping of the 22-year-old number 2 seed Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

Wimbledon 2009 Men’s Doubles Winners: The returning champions, Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serbian Nenad Zimonijic (#2) saw off the top seeded Bryan twin brothers (USA) in an exhilarating match which featured many “huge” points where literally all four men were exchanging multiple blows and volleys at the net. The four set thriller was settled with just one break in the second game of the fourth set. The final score: 7-6 (7), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Wimbledon 2009 Women’s Singles Winner: After having battled through a 3-hour grind in the semi-final against Elena Dementieva (#4) and staved off a match point, Serena Williams (#2) took it to her sister Venus (#3) in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 6-2 to win her 3rd Wimbledon singles title and 11th Grand Slam, one less than Billy Jean King on the all-time leader board (still way back from the record 18 singles titles by Navratilova and Evert). Serena avenged her loss to Venus in 2008; moreover, each of Serena’s 3 Wimbledon titles has come at Venus’ expense. Serena now holds a 6-2 edge in Grand Slam finals against her sister. Great stat: This was the third time that Serena has won a Grand Slam having fought off match points in prior rounds.

Wimbledon 2009 Women’s Doubles Winners: Whereas the American Bryan brothers were not able to pull off the Men’s Title, the American Williams sisters stormed to victory 7-6 (4), 6-4 over the Australian duo, Samantha Stosur and Renée Stabbs. In so doing, the Williams siblings won their 4th Wimbledon doubles title and 9th Grand Slam doubles victory overall. For Serena, that meant that her Wimbledon winnings eclipsed GBP 1 million ($1.4 million) at GBP1.08 million. (I didn’t check to see if by any chance Serena also played in the mixed, but I doubt it).

Wimbledon 2009 Mixed Doubles Winners: Mark Knowles (Bahamas) and Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Germany) seeded 9th beat top-seeded Leander Paes (India) and Cara Black (Zim) 7-5, 6-3.

Roland Garros French Open 2009 Winners – A Career Grand Slam signed Federer

Roger Federer Winning Roland Garros 2009
Roger Federer pulls off the Career Grand Slam

French Open 2009 Men’s Title
Roger Federer (#2) rolled over Robin Soderling (#23) in 3 sets, 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-4, the ninth time in a row that Federer has beaten the surprising finalist. The young Swede had been the giant killer for four rounds in a row, but folded against history, horrid weather conditions and a hat-bearing intruder.

Roger Federer Winning Roland Garros French Open 2009Federer’s win is a triumph overdue in many respects, but the overwhelming tears as he dropped to his knees upon winning, showed the pent up emotion. In the six matches leading up to the Final, Federer had pulled off two five-set victories, battling back from being down 2 sets to 1 against the Argentine, Juan Martin Del Potro (5th seed), in the semi-finals [3-6,7-6(2),2-6,6-1,6-4], and in the fourth round, from 2 sets to 0 down against the unseeded German, Tommy Haas. [6-7(4),5-7,6-4,6-0,6-2]. On top of that, Federer also had to see off two popular French players, Paul Matthieu (4 sets) in the third round and Gael Monfils (3 sets) in the semi-finals. With this win, Federer finally earns his record-tying 14th Grand Slam and closes out the last of Slam titles that hitherto had eluded him because of his Roland Garros nemesis, Rafa Nadal who had been eliminated by Soderling. In so doing, Federer becomes the sixth ever career Grand Slammer. Kudos. Proof that the title was a draining experience, he pulled out of the Wimbledon warm-up grass court tournament in Halle, Germany.

French Open 2009 Women’s Title
An all-Russian affair, Svetlana Kuznetsova (#7) outnerved Dinara Safina (#1), to claim her second ever Grand Slam title and first French Open title, 6-4, 6-2. It was an ugly game, loaded with unforced errors and not that much fun to watch. Kuznetsova has won two titles this year, and now has 11 overall. For Safina, it is the third Grand Slam final she has lost, victim of fragile nerves.

French Open 2009 Men’s Doubles: Lukas Dlouhy (Czech Republic) and Leander Paes (India) (seeded #3) fought back to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over the unseeded Wesley Moodie (RSA) and Dick Norman (Belgian), who had themselves knocked off the Bryan Brothers coming back from losing the first set to 0, then winning the second set in a tie break.

French Open 2009 Women’s Doubles: Anabel Medina Garrigues-Virginia Ruano Pascual, Spain defeated Victoria Azarenka (BLR) and Elena Vesnina (Rus) in a fairly one-sideed 6–1, 6–1.
French Open 2009 Mixed Doubles: Liezel Huber-Bob Bryan, both US, overcame Vania King (US) and Marcelo Melo (Brazil) in a gargantuan battle: 5–7, 7–6(5), 10–7.

Did you ever consider…

Below is a collection of random thoughts. Some are my own, others come from various emails in circulation. Scroll down and peruse. And if you feel so inclined, add to the fray!

Have you ever considered why it is that we write Anno Domini (A.D.) in Latin for the “modern era” and when it comes to the “olden times“, we write the term Before Christ (B.C.) in plain old English.

Can you cry or sweat under water?

Shouldn’t the O in XO (kiss & hug) be related to the O that is love in tennis scoring?

Why do you have to ‘put your two cents in’… but it’s only a ‘penny for your thoughts’? Where’s that extra penny going to?

If money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Chiffre Number 7 Seven

What did the number 7 ever do that it needed to be crossed (in mainland Europe)? If it’s because the number one has a pedastal, then what’s so great about number 1?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

How is that if a murderer gets life, a mass murderer gets multiple life sentences, but a person who kills millions of people just gets house arrest (Pol Pot)?

Why are you IN a movie, but you’re ON TV?

Why is ‘bra’ singular and ‘panties’ plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog’s face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

QYPE – A worldly social media site to search for things to do and see

Qype Find It Share It Restaurant Review
If you are searching for a good site to figure out where to go or what to do in any number of cities around the world, you might want to try QYPE.CO.UK. Based out of Hamburg, Germany, this social site offers a vast range of services well beyond just where to eat (restaurants) and drink. The other services (read: tabs) include Health & Beauty (find a spa or hairdresser), Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Shopping, Events, and a whole bunch of “other” such as cemeteries to visit and how to take care of your pets.

To suit your fancy, you can customize your favourite tabs. Areas that I found of particular use: Tennis in Paris (although I’d rather if I could just find “good tennis partners”) and Babysitters (in Paris). In terms of search functionality, the search bar is effective; but, I also liked the point & click on a map search function. Also, if you have an iPhone you can also download their free Qype Radar application.

Areas of improvement for Qype 2.0: (1) make it easier to find out how to post a review….; (2) getting over the language hump — in a perfect world, some google translator would be working transparently behind the scenes; (3) the tagging — for example, if you go to the area marked “Children” there is very little. But if you go to “Events,” you will find an area called “Kids Activities” which should also be under the rubric Children. Presumably, this is incumbent on the reviewers and social posters.

The QYPE’s top countries (per its own selection) are:

Also check out: restaurants london & pubs london.

For myself, I signed up and have put in a few reviews to see how it goes. Not too shabby. The functionality is all rather simple. To date, my friends are basically Qype employees, but I have launched myself into it and we’ll see how many show up for the gig. As with all these social sites, gaining critical mass is the heart of the matter. And then comes the famous tipping point. Qype does not seem to be there yet…

If you are asking why is it called QYPE? Here is what their site says: “Simply put, Qype is the quick, cool way to find and discover places based on the reviews and recommendations of thousands of people.” Qype is less about hype and more about another social media site with a useful function. It now has a sufficiently good (and growing) database and is worth the visit.