1. Sabine Lisicki is in fact really, really good on grass. Let’s take a look at her record:
Lisicki’s career win percentage on all surfaces is 60%. That number is 74% on grass. She’s 11-25 against top 10 players on all surfaces, but 7-5 against top 10 players on grass.
For me, the question remains whether she can translate her game as well to other surfaces. I hope she can, because she can be really fun to watch.
2. I don’t think any uproar over Radwanska’s chilly handshake is warranted. She didn’t pull a Berdych and refuse to shake Lisicki’s hand, and it’s a big ask for someone to be very friendly after a devastating 9-7 loss in the third set of a Wimbledon semifinal. Chalk it up to disappointment.
With due respect to JJ below, who has a different perspective, I think the fact that Janowicz and Kubot have a very close relationship, being Davis Cup teammates and friends, makes it an entirely different (and incomparable) situation to Radwanska and Lisicki.
3. One tournament can change everything. Look at the two women’s finalists, Lisicki and Bartoli. A month ago, many might have written them off as perpetual underachievers. Now, one of them will be a Grand Slam champion, and the other will have a Grand Slam final to add to their accomplishments. Particularly in looking at Lisicki, consistency is a really great thing for a tennis player, but a player doesn’t actually have to be consistent to make an impact.
1. Marion Bartoli is simply on fire. The French oddball, a cult favorite of sorts, made an emphatic statement about her intentions to go one step further at Wimbledon than she did years ago, when she was demolished by Venus Williams. Poor Kirsten Flipkens didn’t really stand a chance, even if that knee of hers was giving her all sorts of trouble. Really, the only blip in Marion’s performance was getting broken after Flipkens took a medical timeout to add some more tape to her already bulky bandage.
Really, what a dominant performance. I tip my hat to thee, Marion Bartoli.
2. I understand why Sabine Lisicki has a loyal, yet traumatized fanbase. Boom Boom can explode in all sorts of ways, both positive and negative. And as it’s been made evident in many matches in the past, Lisicki can take you through all sorts of peaks and valleys throughout a match.
I had Lisicki losing this match many, many times. First after she botched a straightforward volley on game point at 1-0 in the second set, which would have consolidated her opening game break. Then I had her losing when she was down 0-3 in the third set. Then I thought she was done after failing to serve out the match at 5-4. Then again when she served at 5-6 and 6-7. And even when she broke through at 7-all, I thought she’d get broken back straight away.
Turns out, Sabine Lisicki might be one win away from confirming that yes, she’s a slam-winning player, one who can overcome all sorts of self-inflicted adversity in order to triumph on the biggest stage. I never really thought I’d write that sentence.
3. Agnieszka Radwanska’s second serve is an enormous liability … but everyone knew that already. It’s simply astounding how the fourth-best female tennis player in the world can survive tennis matches when she tosses those 60 MPH second serves smack in the middle of the box. Whenever you wonder why she hasn’t risen higher in the rankings, or why she hasn’t won a slam, remember those second serves.
4. Speaking of the fourth-ranked Pole, I thought it was slightly jarring (for me) to see her flee center court after the quickest of handshakes with Lisicki. Why? Two reasons:
1.) Just the previous day her countrymen Janowicz and Kubot showed exemplary sportsmanship at the end of their historical quarterfinal. Kubot had to be crushed to lose out on becoming the first ever Polish male to reach a slam quarterfinal, yet not only did he and Janowicz have an incredible moment at net, but Kubot patiently stood on the court and waited for Janowicz to get his act together, just so they could exit the court together. It was a wonderful example of pure sportsmanship.
2.) If the semifinal against Lisicki had been full of screaming, staring and the like, sure, that kind of handshake would have seemed inevitable. However, after such a tough, enjoyable battle that had no contentious moments whatsoever, that kind of acknowledgement to a colleague just seemed strange. Like it belonged in a different match.
Anyway, Radwanska is free to do whatever she wants, but if you ask me what I’d prefer to see out of fellow competitors, I’d quickly point to what happened yesterday on Court 1 between the Poles.
1. I am a bit devastated today as I still try and process Aga’s loss, and I’ll have more stuff about that later today. Because I’m honest with you guys always, and this is our safe-space blog, I must say that I haven’t felt this bad after a loss like this in a long, long time.
That being said, writing is always the perfect therapy for me, and by writing about Sabine’s win I realized how happy I really am for her as well. But more on that in a minute.
As for Aga, I must say that I was very impressed with the way she fought back today and stayed calm as Sabine was zoning. She has played a lot of tennis over the past week and had to grit out a lot of tough matches, and it was clear that she didn’t have her legs later in the match. But no excuses. She was up a break in the third set and was two points away from the match a couple of times. These opportunities don’t come every single day, and gosh, did she know it. I’ve never seen her so disappointed after a match.
I’m going to address the handshake non-controversy later. I need a beer or two first.
2. Sabine Lisicki wears her heart on her sleeve, and boy, is she charismatic. I used to really be a big fan of hers back when she won Charleston in 2009, but over the years I will admit that the dramatic ups and downs have made me keep my distance. But I always thought that she should be a top 10 player and be competing with the best of her generation, so it is wonderful to see that she is putting it all together. She beat both of last year’s finalists on her way to her first Grand Slam final, and that’s pretty special.
Plus, there’s something about Sabine that just draws people in, and that is–cue the cliche–really good for our sport. As you guys know I do writing-for-hire for other sports sites. Let’s just say that going into today my assignment was to write a preview for the men’s semifinals, but after Sabine’s win it was changed to a piece on her. I thought that was pretty awesome, and to me it was a sign that she has really resonated with the general public this tournament, not just hardcore tennis fans. That’s pretty cool.
3. Also? I think the request for more info on Lisicki was an attribute to what a fabulous match that was. Of course there were down moments, but overall it was fantastic tennis from both ladies at some really big moments. It was a pretty cool showcase for women’s tennis, and nice to see the public get to know two players who aren’t Sharapova or Serena.
4. Marion Bartoli, you are a superstar. Does anyone come across as more lovely and likeable in interviews? No. I have fallen in love with her over and over and over again today. Words can’t really do her justice, so just watch some of her videos:
Losing is a part of the job… losing graciously is a sign of success.
Excellent. Well said.
The best recent comparison is Verdasco’s handshake after his heartbreaker against Murry
With regard to the Sabine/Aga handshake controversy; I will ask, for what seems like the thirtieth time today, what was Aga expected to do? She lost a heart-breaker, she was pissed off, she DID shake hands, and she got off the court. Case closed. As much as Sabine wears her heart on her sleeve on the court, Aga wears hers off the court. The match was superb, and cannot be compared to Janowicz/Kubot.
Lisicki is all smiles when she’s winning but gives poor handshakes when she loses.
I’m not fooled.
For all the negative press they get, the likes of Serena and Maria will give you a proper handshake when they lose.
I wouldn’t put it at controversy level, but it is a sign of poor sportsmanship and an unfortunate display.
In my mind, handshakes like Aga’s are the norm: you give the quickest handshake possible and get the heck off the court when you have a painful loss. It’s the least expected of you, and if you do that, fine.
But if, after a painful loss, you can find it in yourself to congratulate your conqueror warmly and wait for them before you leave the court? You’ve gone beyond the call of duty and have shown exemplary sportsmanship.
Instead of laying into someone who’s done the least expected of them, let’s just give great kudos to those who go beyond. (and give the others a break.)
One more comment: this tournament has truly been amazing to watch.
Nicely said, Nicole! As always, we can’t expect everyone to be so steady and smiling after a crushing defeat. Maybe she wanted to cry her hearts out, not in front of an audience, but in solace. And that’s why some players leave the court immediately.
In this age of all-surface competence, Lisicki’s grass & Wimbledon specialism is rather fun.
I guess I’m not all that interested in handshakes, but really, dudes, what’s more unsporting? Giving a brief, clinical handshake and getting the heck out of there, or rolling around on the grass like a laughing idiot for five minutes while your vanquished opponent is required by etiquette to stand there and watch you?
And I’ve been obsessed with Bartoli for a long time, but she answers Tom Rinaldi’s stupefaction at her habit of napping before matches (deserved stupefaction! who on Earth naps before the Wimbledon semi? Marion, that’s who!) with “I don’t know, maybe there’s a cat inside me,” I was totally in love again. Not to mention her dismissive response to their attempts at “intellectual” questions. (“Even Brad would’ve gotten that!”)
On that handshake, I was disappointed on how A Radwanska shook Lisicki’s hand with her back turned. Reason for that is she has been voted the WTA fan favorite for the last 2 years. Also, she can get very snarky. During the Fed Cup tie, her answer to a question was less than one minute and left promptly because she did not like the Israeli crowd, who are known to be very rude to opposition(ie – Chakvetadze doing that famous chicken reaction in front of them after Peer told the crowd to distract Safina the prior day). She could have been more professional than that in my opinion. Overall, I understand that A Radwanska was disappointed that she missed her chances and I feel that this was A Radwanska last chance of winning a Slam. Reason I say this is when Wozniacki lost to Li at 2011 AO SF after having a chance to serve out the match, I thought Wozniacki would be a familiar face in the latter stages but instead, regressed and now if she makes a Slam QF, that would be a huge accomplishment.
I’ve loved Marion since 2007 when she was losing her match to Henin and saw 007 Pierce Brosnan in the stands. “I was focusing on Pierce Brosnan because he is so beautiful. I was just watching him. He was the only one – I said to myself, it’s not possible I play so badly in front of him.” The next day, prior to the final with Venus, she received flowers from Brosnan. Also, is she a Flashdance fan? first her back-bend at the end of the match and then exposing her shoulder during the interview…
RE: handshake. Do this happen more frequently among women? Most recently, in the FO, Madison Keys gave a very cold handshake to Monica Puig after her loss, and they’re supposed to be friends. Very disappointing in both cases.
By the way, love this blog. Thanks.
Contrast Radwanska’s awfully cold post match reaction with Serena’s. Serena is warm and friendly to Lisicki at the net and then waits to walk out with her. Some how, it’s Serena who gets flak for being a bad sport while everyone makes excuses for Radwanska. Go figure.
It has been almost two days and I still have not been able to get over Aga’s loss. I hope she will be able to because man what a loss. I don’t think I’ve been this upset since Andy lost the Wimbledon final in ’09. Actually I was probably more upset then. Anyway I hope that Marion wins tomorrow and Sabine can’t come on(auf gehts) after every single point she wins.
For starters, both Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova criticized Radwanska’s poor sportsmanship. As Martina said, “I can’t imagine not looking my opponent in the eye after a match.”
Are we really at the point where a disappointing loss warrants poor sportsmanship. That is exactly when real sportsmanship should shine through.
Del Potro was gutted after losing his 5 set semifinal to Nole the next day, but he hugged Djokovic. So was Janowicz, but he and Murray also embraced. And remember Serena Williams’ warm words to Lisicki after the big upset.
Aga has a great, thoughtful game and seems a delightful young woman when interviewed off court. But please stop making excuses for this bad behavior.
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