1. I was set to write about how great the five set match was between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but then Tsonga said this:
Q. Seems like very often in the last four or five years on the men’s side it’s been the top four seeds getting to the semifinals … Do you have any sense of why it’s not that much on the women’s side?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: You know, the girls, they are more unstable emotionally than us. I’m sure everybody will say it’s true, even the girls (laughter). No? No, you don’t think?
But, I mean, it’s just about hormones and all this stuff. We don’t have all these bad things, so we are physically in a good shape every time, and you are not. That’s it.
Some have tried to defend Tsonga by saying this is just a joke. But if it’s a joke, it’s not funny. And either way, it’s unacceptable to call his female colleagues emotionally unstable.
I’m constantly troubled by the ATP’s willingness to bash their female colleagues, and the willingness of many to defend them. Sometimes these guys don’t deserve a free pass.
Also, for the record, the reason there are more upsets on the women’s side is because the women’s game is less dominated by the serve, and because women play best of three. If the men played best of three at Slams, you’d see the Big Four upset more far more often than they are now.
2. Back to the tennis, Tsonga and Federer played a tight, exciting quarterfinal match. I was amused by the ESPN commentators’ assertions that Tsonga is a completely changed player due to his new coach, Roger Rasheed. I’m sure Rasheed is doing fine with Tsonga, but I am skeptical that Tsonga has undergone a miraculous on-court personality transformation in the short time he’s been working with Rasheed. Narratives are funny.
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova can still look great … for a set. The two-time Slam champion gave World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka everything she could handle and more during the epic first set of their quarterfinal match, which lasted 77 minutes. Midway through the marathon set, it seemed that Kuznetsova’s variety and power was proving to be quite the challenge for Azarenka. It ended up being a temporary problem for the top ranked Belarusian, who came up with some great shots at the end of the set and then delivered a breadstick in the second. The only troubling sign from Kuznetsova’s performance was seeing her do the splits on that surgically repaired knee. It was slightly cringe-inducing.
2. Jeremy Chardy’s forehand reminds me a little of Robin Soderling’s forehand. The Frenchman doesn’t stiffen out his right arm when he releases his thunderous shot, nor does he have that violent torso turn that’s the trademark of the two-time French Open runner-up, but there’s something about the way he sets up to pummel the ball that reminded me of General Sod. When I mentioned this on Twitter, people got bummed out. The General is missed.
3. Sloane Stephens is no longer a prospect: she’s a reality. Playing a hobbled Serena Williams in Stephens’ first match at Rod Laver Arena, the 19-year-old came back from a break deficit in the third set to clinch the upset that send shockwaves throughout the world. I love her athleticism, and her poise. Also, I don’t think I knew this about her:
Random Fact: Sloane Stephens, who just beat Serena Williams, is the daughter of former Patriots RB John Stephens: twitter.com/si_vault/statu…
— Andy Gray (@si_vault) January 23, 2013
4. Adidas apparently doesn’t think it’s worth it to give their top tennis player a new kit for the year’s first Slam. Andy Murray showed up to Melbourne wearing the same outfit he wore last year at the World Tour Finals. Interestingly enough, he’s the only adidas player who doesn’t have new stuff. A rather bizarre turn of events, but at least he isn’t wearing those hideous yellow shorts from London.
5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga … is still Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
1. Twelve hours later, and I’m still buzzing from the Sloane Stephens victory. As much as the story was Sloane’s ability to perform under pressure and seize the moment, I’d also like to point out just how classy and gracious Serena Williams was afterwards. As she’s gotten older she’s become much better about handling defeat with dignity, and I think it’s crucial that she gets the credit she deserves.
2. It turns out a fit, aggressive, and tactically improved Tsonga still loses to Federer in Grand Slams and says idiotic things in the post-match presser. It’s really too much for my fragile hormones to handle.
3. Take a bow, Jeremy Chardy. You had a great tournament. Now please, build on this.
4. It’s great to have Sveta back in the mix. I forgot how much I missed her. Now if she can stay healthy and get fit again she could really make things interesting at the top.
5. As exhausting as this tournament has been, it’s also going by really, really, really quickly. There are only six singles matches left!