By Jackie, TW Social Director
Good morning, TWibe! Thanks again for putting up with the change in scheduling. Speaking of which, we're thinking of officially moving the Deuce Club from its regular Thursday evening timeslot to perhaps Friday or sometime during the weekend. As we're looking to use this space more to build a profile of our readership, we'd like to make sure that the new time is convenient for the bulk of you. Thus, I need to know what works for y'all - what do you think about a Friday afternoon timeslot? Or early Saturday? Or are you keen on another time altogether? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments or by sending me an e-mail here. Thanks for cooperating, guys!
Before we jump into this week's topic - another Australian Open-related one, naturally - I had to share a photo of a TWiber who had some AO fun of his own. Above is our beloved naughty t, enjoying himself in Melbourne. I had him pegged as one of the finalists, but it just wasn't meant to be - better luck next year, naughty. And many thanks for sending the fabulous photo!
As the AO draws to a close (*sniff*), I thought we should use this space to reflect on the past two weeks. (Sure it's not over yet, but perhaps it makes some sense to look back at the tournament without the knowledge of who won/lost the whole thing coloring our perception of events.)
We've seen numerous matches, some that we're certain we'll remember come this time next year, others we'd rather forget. Regarding the former category, the following two matches immediately come to mind:
- Fernando Gonzalez d. Richard Gasquet 3-6, 3-6, 7-6(10), 6-2, 12-10: What word befits this match more than ... heart? (Okay, so "riveting" also works!) I was reminded of Gonzalez's stellar 2007 run in Melbourne as I watched him gut out the victory, coming back from two sets down. I also gained tremendous respect for Gasquet, who demonstrated not only his full range of talent but true tenacity, as well. It almost seemed a turning point of sorts for both men, and I can only hope that they bring the same level of intensity to their future matches in '09.
- Jelena Dokic d. Alisa Kleybanova 7-5, 5-7, 8-6: This match contained all of the components that made Dokic's comeback story intensely compelling - namely, hard hitting, waves of emotion, and a raucous crowd that wouldn't let her quit. Kleybanova, too, made quite the impression, as she more than held her own amidst all of these elements. She also proved that her third round victory over Ana Ivanovic was far from a fluke.
As for the forgettable matches, I imagine we're inclined to list those that didn't go "our" way, rather than those that just featured, well, blah tennis. Still, I bet most of us would agree that the Moore-McHale "Cramp-Gate" ordeal or the Monfils-Simon head-scratcher are perfect examples of matches we aren't planning to watch a second time.
But as is so often the case, sometimes the greatest takeaways from Grand Slams aren't the matches themselves but the storylines and characters therein. I already mentioned Dokic's Cinderella story, but what about the emergence of Fernando Verdasco, Giant Killer? Or the near upset-of-the-year-even-though-it's-only-January of Roger Federer at the hands of Tomas Berdych? Plenty happened that made us gasp, cheer, tear up, and yell (and no, I'm not referring to the ESPN commentary).
Keeping all of this in mind, I'd like you to now share your AO impressions. It's likely that the next couple of days' events will alter whatever you're feeling at the moment, but please don't hold back because of that! We can always revisit this in next week's DC, if there's interest. So ... tell us:
- What are your picks for the the best and/or worst matches? (Include a sentence or two explaining why you've chosen each match.)
- What was the biggest shocker? Can be an isolated incident or a match result or an outfit ...
- What will you remember most about this year's AO?
(Reminder: Check out our TennisWorld > Real World Facebook group and make sure to join, if you haven't already. Current members - there are several new photos and discussion threads up, so take a few minutes to catch up on all the group's goings-on!)