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Archive for the ‘tomas berdych’ Category

Decision 2010: Who Gets Your Vote?

Posted by gauloises1 on May 6, 2010

Update: Please note that polls will stay open until midnight GMT tonight, in the grand electoral tradition. There’s still time to campaign …

So. It’s time to face up to the elephant in the room. Even the most optimistic estimates acknowledge that we are facing a long, barren summer/autumn/winter/future without Delpo on the tour, and whatever news we do get about him is likely to be depressing. It’s also true that, for some inexplicable reason, Delpo has become the main mascot, poster-boy and raison d’etre of New Balls, Please. He’s our tagline. He’s the majority of my posts. And while it’s safe to say that this will always be the case, now that the first shock of the news has worn off and the reality of Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Davis Cup and almost certainly the US Open without him is sinking in, the mind turns inevitably to coping strategies. Not for me personally; enough drinking will almost certainly take care of that. For this increasingly sporadic blog of mine.

Henceforth, I propose the following: the immediate adoption of an interim ultrafave as the stand-in recipient of my most obsessive blogging attention. I’ll do my best to watch his matches and rhapsodise about them or bewail them at length; I’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest news about him, no matter how trivial; and I won’t let a week go by without posting new (or old but suitably appealing) photos, no matter how specious the excuse. I’ll even change the tagline of the blog to reflect the shift in focus. And in the spirit of election day in Great Britain (I get excited about voting, OK?), I thought I would make this a democratic decision and hold a poll. Obviously whoever it is will probably get dumped like yesterday’s empties when Delpo comes back, but in the meantime … You, the reader (there may only be one of you these days), will decide.

So, without further ado, I present to you my shortlist for the stand-in mascot of New Balls, Please.

Marin Cilic

Pros: basically Delpo, but a bit less good (but with two working wrists); I blog about him all the time anyway; a specious excuse to talk about Delpo; much adorable Goran-age is implied, if not necessary; a nice line in deadpan; excellent hugger; did I mention the Goran-age?

Cons: frustratingly inconsistent; once climbed over a fence to avoid me (OK, it was a small fence so it was more of a step, but still); hugging technique very much dependent on the recipient.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: If you’re reading this, he’s already lost. Or he’s winning really well. What week is this?!”

David Ferrer

Pros: friend to the animals; well-established Davis Cup warrior, thus making it less annoying when Spain inevitably win; besties with Boss in an adorable fashion; prone to ripping off his clothes; he’s so adorable it’s even bearable when he beats Murray; yummy tummy; rumoured to be a smoker, which we like.

Cons: depressingly often found next to Rafa holding a small plate.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: Tightly locked inside David Ferrer’s punishment box.” 

Tomas Berdych

Pros: he’s really quite attractive; has a token comedy resemblance to a maniacal liver-eating serial killer; card-carrying Davis Cup warrior; often does well enough to justify frequent bloggage.

Cons: I’ve been anywhere between ambivalent and downright mean about him in the past, thus risking increasing my well-established (and deserved) reputation for fickleness; only known bromance is with Steps; frequent discussion of his sandwich-avoiding girlfriend will also probably be necessary; he may find out about me and eat my liver.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: Feeding the masses on Lucie Safarova’s leftovers.”

Juan Carlos Ferrero

Pros: he owns Valencia, and you too; can wear this hat and still somehow be hot; proven to improve with age; living dinosaur, in a good way; looks amazing in a suit.

Cons: kind of old, so we might see a lot of this; I already blog a lot about him already.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: We know who our daddy is.”

Thomaz Bellucci

Pros: Provides both hot and hilarious photoage; gets noticeably and suspiciously more attractive and less nasal with each off-season; sometimes wins stuff.

Cons: Not that much actual news about him, so I would have to make it up find some.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: Nobody nose Bellucci like we do.”

Henri Kontinen

Pros: former Wimbledon boys’ champion trying to make it on the tour, offering you a unique chance to get in on the next big thing very, very early; prolific tweeter; supplies a lot of his own cute photographs; well-established bromance potential.

Cons: would force me to blog a lot about Challengers and Futures and such; potential massive loss of investment if he isn’t, after all, the next big or even a thing.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: In three years’ time, we’ll look amazingly prescient. Maybe.”

Ernests Gulbis

Pros: Starting to capitalise on his huge talent (not a euphemism); hilarious press conferences; never dull.

Cons: Inconsistency, prostitutes and taking lateness to a whole new level.

Suggested tagline:New Balls, Please: Where we’d do Ernests Gulbis for free.”

So those are the candidates – but only you can decide. Please cast your vote, and then elaborate on your choice/suggest alternative taglines/ let me know who should have been on the shortlist and why in the comments. Remember: destiny is in your hands.

(Please note that I’m going to do what I want regardless of your vote, just as soon as I’ve figured out what it is I want. I did say this was inspired by the UK’s general election.)

Posted in david ferrer, ernests gulbis, henri kontinen, juan carlos ferrero, thomaz bellucci, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , , , | 77 Comments »

Monte-Carlo: Marin Labours, Verdasco and Berdych Cruise

Posted by gauloises1 on April 13, 2010

It’s funny how a match that can seem like the most epic, fascinating struggle when you’re forced to follow a scoreboard that behaves like the universe in the time-skips episode of Futurama is a mindnumbing, error-strewn slog when you actually get to watch it. Or so I gather from the comments I’ve been reading on Marin Cilic’s exhausting three-set win over Igor Andreev today.

Like Brockian Ultra Cricket.

Marin eventually prevailed 64 in the third, but it doesn’t seem like this is going to be his year in Monte-Carlo. Again. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was also made to work hard in overcoming Nicolas Almagro.

In stark contrast, the other second-round winners today positively breezed through. Fernando Verdasco demolished Julien Benneteau with the loss of just three games, while Miami finalist Tomas Berdych went one better in a 62 60 victory over Richard Gasquet. And they’re slated to meet in the next round. Good times.

It’s on.

Full Results

Singles – Second Round
[4] M Cilic (CRO) d I Andreev (RUS) 67(4) 61 64
[5] J Tsonga (FRA) d N Almagro (ESP) 76(5) 75
[6] F Verdasco (ESP) d J Benneteau (FRA) 62 61
[10] T Berdych (CZE) d [WC] R Gasquet (FRA) 62 60

Singles – First Round
[12] T Robredo (ESP) d H Zeballos (ARG) 63 63
[13] S Wawrinka (SUI) d V Hanescu (ROM) 62 64
[15] J Melzer (AUT) d P Mathieu (FRA) 63 62
A Montanes (ESP) d [16] M Baghdatis (CYP) 64 62
M Llodra (FRA) d F Fognini (ITA) 63 63
V Troicki (SRB) d L Kubot (POL) 46 62 62
F Serra (FRA) d S Robert (FRA) 76(6) 36 64
[Q] T de Bakker (NED) d E Schwank (ARG) 63 75

Doubles – Second Round
[5] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) d M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 76(3) 76(7)

Doubles – First Round
N Almagro (ESP) / I Ljubicic (CRO) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) / R Lindstedt (SWE) 57 75 11-9
J Melzer (AUT) / M Youzhny (RUS) d M Cilic (CRO) / C Kas (GER) 64 76(8)

Wednesday’s OOP is brought to you by Marin Cilic’s giant … shoes.

COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
B Becker (GER) vs [9] J Ferrero (ESP)
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs F Serra (FRA)
[Q] T de Bakker (NED) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP)
P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [3] [WC] A Murray (GBR)
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) vs [WC] R Gasquet (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA)

COURT DES PRINCES start 10:30 am
[Q] A Golubev (KAZ) vs [11] D Ferrer (ESP)
A Seppi (ITA) vs A Montanes (ESP)
[8] I Ljubicic (CRO) vs M Llodra (FRA)
D Nalbandian (ARG) vs [7] M Youzhny (RUS)
[4] W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL) vs N Djokovic (SRB) / V Troicki (SRB)

COURT 2 start 10:30 am
E Gulbis (LAT) vs [13] S Wawrinka (SUI)
[12] T Robredo (ESP) vs V Troicki (SRB)
[14] J Monaco (ARG) vs M Berrer (GER)

COURT 9 start 12:00 noon
[15] J Melzer (AUT) vs P Petzschner (GER)
D Ferrer (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) vs [3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) – After Suitable Rest

COURT 11 start TBD
E Butorac (USA) / M Kohlmann (GER) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / S Wawrinka (SUI) – After Suitable Rest

Posted in fernando verdasco, jo-wilfried tsonga, marin cilic, monte carlo, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Monte Carlo: Off-Piste

Posted by gauloises1 on April 13, 2010

Monte Carlo always generates cool picturage … and you know how I like my pictures.

In the ever-growing list of random yet oddly inspired publicity stunts the ATP comes up with, sending Nole and Jo to visit the Oceanographic Museum in Monte Carlo has to be right up there.

Nole, Jo, and the remains of charismatic megafauna. These are a few of my favourite things.

No, really.

I love Jo’s demeanour in these photos. He’s acting like you do when you aren’t really interested at all in what you’re being shown – or are too interested in the person who’s showing you – so you concentrate hard on everything with painful politeness.

Nole, meanwhile, is the Instant Expert. I love it.

So, remember that case file I mentioned?


Meanwhile, Rafa talked to the press …

… Marin popped up to be very serious about something …

… and Nole turned up to, well, not be:

I love how Monte Carlo is like Noleville. Except for the bit where he actually wins the tournament.

Posted in jo-wilfried tsonga, marin cilic, monte carlo, novak djokovic, rafael nadal, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Boys Are Back In Town

Posted by gauloises1 on April 13, 2010

The leading lights of the Monte Carlo field got cleaned up quite nicely for the player’s party:

Those shoes. They’d better be special shoes for vulnerable knees, a la Fred Couples’ deck shoes at the weekend, because if not, there’s no excuse.

I love Jo’s serious tie.

So much happiness in this photo.

Someone’s mum ironed him a shirt between awesome blogs.

Further evidence to add to the ‘how did it take me so long to notice Tomas Berdych is gorgeous?!’ case file.

Dame Shirley f**king Bassey!

Hello, boys.

… Caption competition?

Posted in andy murray, feliciano lopez, fernando verdasco, monte carlo, novak djokovic, rafael nadal, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Miami: A Good Week’s Work

Posted by gauloises1 on April 5, 2010

Andy Roddick d. Tomas Berdych 75 64

I want to tickle underneath his chin.

Ten years after appearing in the Sony Ericsson Open for the first time at the age of 17, courtesy of a wildcard, Andy Roddick won his second title in Miami after beating Nadal on the way. Nice work. I’ve only seen highlights from the final, but it looks like Roddick did a nice job of keeping Berdych discombobulated and on the back  foot, not really allowing him to build any rhythm.

He may not have been really in the final, but Berdych did brilliantly to get there against the opponents he faced and mastering the trick of actually stringing big wins together. Still, the story is Andy this week. It’s true that with Delpo and Kolya injured and Murray, Djokovic and Federer losing early, the only higher-ranked opponent he faced was Nadal, but with the way Rafa was playing earlier in the week, that was a huge win. And it’s fantastic to see someone who has repeatedly been written off or marginalised proving, once again, that he deserves to be in the conversation.

His pressers, as always, are down to earth and charming, too:

Q. Could you talk a little bit perhaps about the maturing that you’ve undergone? 
ANDY RODDICK:  I get a lot credit.  I’m not that mature.  I get a lot credit for it right now for like the last six months.  I went from the most immature person on the planet to maturity.  I like it. 
Q. It’s fairly commendable, though. 
ANDY RODDICK:  Thank you.  Your turn.


Q. You hadn’t won a Masters Series event since 2006.  Did you ever doubt you could win another one, and is this a big relief for you?
ANDY RODDICK:  There’s always any athlete who says they don’t have a “what if” moment probably isn’t being too honest with you.
I’ve certainly what my share of them throughout the course of my career. You know, I talked about this a lot after Wimbledon last year, but even after ’08 Wimbledon I openly talked to Brook and wondered if the best of it was gone.
I didn’t know. I honestly didn’t know. But I knew there was a way to find out, and that was to kind of go back to the drawing board and give myself every opportunity to succeed. 
Luckily, that’s given me some good days.


Q.  Given the in past year you’ve been known for your many achievements outside of tennis, do you feel that maybe the fates were with you, that you also won because today is Easter Sunday and we’re in the middle of Passover? 
ANDY RODDICK:  Hadn’t thought about it.  But I’ll take some divine intervention any time it wants to help me out.  I’m not above it.


And oh yeah, he also found time this week to appear alongside Gonzo, Jim Courier and Guga Kuerten in a charity exhibition which raised $125,000 for victims of the Chilean earthquake:

So yeah. I think we can call that a full week.

Posted in andy roddick, fernando gonzalez, miami, titlists, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

The Many Faces of Tomas Berdych

Posted by gauloises1 on April 3, 2010

I am constantly amazed by how Tomas Berdych can go from ‘cute’ to ‘animatronic puppet of a serial killer’ in the click of a shutter. Observe.






Posted in miami, tomas berdych | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Miami: Quite a Lot Like Indian Wells

Posted by gauloises1 on April 3, 2010

So correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this all oddly familiar?

Rafa, the only member of the top four still standing, loses in the semifinals after looking well-nigh unbeatable earlier in the tournament.

Robin Soderling bashes and batters his way to the semifinals, only to then lose in straight sets quite tamely.

Andy Roddick is in the finals, a bit surprisingly, and will play an even more surprising opponent, in this case Tomas Berdych, who started this tournament at 125-1.

I’m pretty sure I can see nostril hair.

Posted in andy roddick, miami, rafael nadal, robin soderling, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Please Stop Making Her The Top Seed

Posted by gauloises1 on March 29, 2010

An ailing Svetlana Kuznetsova was comprehensively trounced by Marion Bartoli, 63 60. I know Marion is a tough match for anyone on her day, but dear oh dear. There’ll be some incomprehensible twattage tonight. Poor Sveta.

Also racking up the comprehensive victories? Agnieszka Radwanska, 1 and 4 over Yaroslava Shvedova, and Yanina Wickmayer, 0 and 1 over Timea Bacsinszky.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych will meet in the fourth round after Roger made somewhat heavy weather of Florent Serra, needing two tiebreaks to win despite being 5-3 up in the first set and 4-1 in the second.


Which Rafa enjoyed.

Posted in marion bartoli, miami, rafael nadal, roger federer, svetlana kuznetsova, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

D Cup: Czech Republic 3, Belgium 0

Posted by gauloises1 on March 7, 2010

Congratulations once again to the well-oiled Davis Cup machine that is the Czech Republic’s Team Birdworm, a.k.a Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek.

After fairly destroying Belgium’s Olivier Rochus and Xavier Malisse in Friday’s singles, the fearsome doubles duo sealed the deal over the Rochus brothers in three sets, one of them a bagel.

Birdworm bump.

I’m probably wrong and I’m a bit too disguised to check, but I believe this means that Stepanek and Berdych as a team have lost just the one doubles rubber (in last year’s final against Spain). Anyway, they face a very winnable tie against either Chile or Israel next. Will it be another semifinal showing for team Birdworm? Probably.

6-3  6-0  6-4
6-2  6-4  7-6(3)
7-6(0)  6-0  6-3

Posted in davis cup, radek stepanek, tomas berdych | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

D Cup Final: Domination

Posted by gauloises1 on December 7, 2009

Spain 5, Czech Republic 0

Rafael Nadal d. Tomas Berdych, 75 60 62

Well, hello there, Rafa. Nice to see you.

Big statement from Rafa in his penultimate match of the year. Can we stop with all the ‘Rafa is done’ talk now? He obviously thinks he isn’t, and that’s the only opinion that really matters:

I am lucky to play tennis. Is my hobby and at the same time my job. So for me is not very difficult wake up every day and practice hard. Always the motivation is important, wake up every day with the goal to improve something. The day when I wake up and I don’t feel this thing, I going to play golf or another thing.


David Ferrer d. Radek Stepanek, 16 26 64 64 86

Oh, Ferru. You little five-set warrior, you. One of my favourite matches of last year was watching him come back from 1-2 down against Roddick in the semifinals (a match that also ended 8-6 in the third). I didn’t get to see this one, but he basically clinched the tie with his comeback victory, ensuring that Navratil was forced to tap Berdych and Stepanek for the doubles, leaving them exhausted even if they managed to keep the tie alive into Sunday. (Which they didn’t.)

And of course the cheering!Boss photoage was just a bonus:

Feliciano Lopez / Fernando Verdasco d. Tomas Berdych / Radek Stepanek 76(7) 75 62

You kind of knew it was going to end up this way.

I don’t know what it is with Lopez, Verdasco and Davis Cup, but whatever it is, it seems to work. They handed Berdych and Stepanek their first ever Davis Cup doubles defeat, and they did it to clinch the tie and the defense of the trophy. Cue the celebrations that slashers love …

The dead rubbers were also efficiently wrapped up by Spain, with Nadal beating Hajek, 63 64, and Ferrer beating Dlouhy, 64 62.

Really tough weekend for the Czechs, but they’ve done amazingly to get this far. Spain just have too many good players who have the ability to rise to the Davis Cup occasion. Once Ferrer beat Stepanek, it was really all over bar the shouting, hugging, champagne-spraying and trophy-biting …

So that’s the Davis Cup done and dusted for 2009, remaining firmly in the hands of Spain. I do just want to say how pleased I am for Jewell, AmyLu, Rafadoc and the other Rafa/Armada fans who comment here and have not had the best time of late … hope you’re smiling now 🙂

Posted in david ferrer, davis cup, feliciano lopez, fernando verdasco, juan carlos ferrero, lukas dlouhy, radek stepanek, rafael nadal, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »