Things We Learned on Day 10 of the Australian Open

In case you missed it, here is what we learned on Day OneDay TwoDay ThreeDay FourDay FiveDay SixDay SevenDay Eight, and Day Nine.


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.

Juan Jose:

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:

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!

8 Responses

  1. marron
    marron January 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

    Jeebus. Just when I think I can start to like Tsonga, he blurts out something like that. Moron.

    (oh, is that my fragile hormones talking? $%&*%%&^!!!)

  2. Jonatas
    Jonatas January 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

    Sorry but the argument is weak. If serve is the most important or make a really diference Nadal would not be a #1 for a long time or Hewitt! About best of 3 sets, the most masters gets with the big 4 and they are best of 3 sets. Women are more emotional, is natural and there is nothing wrong with that. Like latin people ( I’m latin) are more emotional than european people in most times. The term “emotionally unstable” I do not see how offense in this context.

    1. Karen
      Karen January 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

      Jonatas, the next time someone labels you as emotionally unstable when they decide to give you the pink slip, not offer you a job, take your children away from you or grounds for a divorce, come back and let me know how inoffensive that comment is.

  3. Ingrid
    Ingrid January 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm |

    I feel Murray wearing the same kit may be down to his complete disinterest.
    Before the Australian open started he said somewhere (I’ve tried locating the article, it just doesn’t want to be found) that adidas had offered him personalised shoes for the AO and he though the notion was ridiculous, something along the lines of ‘Why would I want my name on my shoes?’

  4. Ophelia
    Ophelia January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

    I’ve learned that it’s impossible for Tsonga and Berdych to get through a Slam draw without exactly one of them causing some kind of drama, good or bad. We had Berdych’s refusal to shake Almagro’s hand at the AO last year, Tsonga’s near-upset of Djokovic at the FO, Berdych’s straight-sets loss in the first round of Wimbledon, Berdych’s upset of Federer at the UO, and now Tsonga sticking his foot so far into his mouth that he’s currently gnawing on his kneecap.

    It’s as if they really are two sides of the same coin, a coin that’s flipped by the God of Tennis at each Slam to determine which one of them will be the rabble-rouser this time around. Who wants to take a brave guess at the kind of drama they’ll create at this year’s French Open?

  5. Amit
    Amit January 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm |


    The “big 4 would get beaten more often if slams were best-of-3” doesn’t work out. The Masters-1000 have been dominated by these 4 for a long time. I think the top-4 collectively have 65+ Masters Shields. Borderline insanity…

    They don’t get beaten simply because they are THAT good, and that consistently good. About Tsonga’s comment – doesn’t look like the Tomic/Raonic/Harrison/Dimitrov generation will be able to produce this level of sustained excellence, and it won’t be because of hormonal reasons.

  6. lauren
    lauren January 24, 2013 at 2:50 am |

    Thank you, Amy, for calling Tsonga out on this latest piece of nonsense. The casual sexism on the ATP tour is getting out of hand but as ever remains unchallenged. And for Jonatas, above, consider why women’s ’emotions’ are always seen as bad but men’s are not. Apparently shouting, chest thumping and bashing raquets is better than showing frustration like a girl.
    Look at the fines per tournament for unsportsmanlike behaviour and compare the women to men – those poor emotional men just can’t help busting racquets, destroying advert boards, abusing umpires, throwing water in court officials face in the toilets afterwards. Not to mention the ‘I won’t shake his hand’ drama that we get regularly.
    To Tsonga, I’d half-jokingly say that the reason the top 4 on the men’s tour is so stable is because the players ranked 5 to 15 are too emotional to challenge the top. They show too much respect, and too little determination, especially when they are playing their countrymen. At least on the women’s tour each person believes in their chance and fights for it.

    I wonder if the ATP and WTA, press and media would be so comfortable with this casual, constant abuse if the comments were racist rather than sexist. Call me when the men’s tour has evolved enough for a male player to be openly gay.

  7. MattV
    MattV January 24, 2013 at 8:20 am |

    While I think Tsongas comment lacked tact or poise, I also think he was misinterpreted. I think what he was trying to imply (also quite crude TO imply in a presser anyway) was PMS, periods and those “emotional” changes.

    Pretty dumb of him – he basically wanted to say women have periods, and are therefore more unstable when playing tennis, in a post-match tennis conference. Silly French…

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