Baumer on Couch; Madhitter in Melbourne

Madhitter,

I guess it’s not much of a surprise that someone nicknamed, “Rusty” would fall into the Foxworthy category. There has always been something a little barnyard about Hewitt. His game has relied on grit and endurance, with little in the way of elegance. The traditional Aussie stars have been viewed as sportsmen on the court and gentlemanly troublemakers off it, while Hewitt has been neither. He’s actually more American: contentious in competition, and then litigious when questioned about it.

Do they like Tomic? I caught a little bit of his match against Nadal and I’m not quite sold on his long-term prospects. It’s difficult to get excited about a 6-foot-5 junkballer. The primary asset for a men’s player that size should not be guile. Nobody fears a pit bull because of its intelligence. A forehand slice? It’s fine in desperation, but otherwise save that shot for practice courts and journeymen. It looked bush league against Nadal.

That’s a great picture you took of Schiavone during the changeover against Sveta. Is squeezing under a woman’s breasts a new technique for treating cramps? Those players are two of your favorites, so I’m sure you loved that match. 16-14 is a manageably overlong final set; there’s enough drama to keep you glued, but it ends before getting monotonous. After the fifth set of Isner-Mahut hit 60 games, that match was trafficking in tedium. My favorite post-match comment came from Schiavone: “I was watching the clock and I say, ‘Bravo, Francesca, you are tough!” She has now ascended to “speaking about herself in third-person” status.

Did you catch any of Sharapova’s demolition? I didn’t, but I have to imagine most are labeling it a bad loss. When Venus retired from her match last round, that section looked wide open for Sharapova. Now she’s shopping. She earned a reputation for being such a steely competitor, but I don’t see it much anymore. At least she gets in better ads (above) than Sam Stosur’s frozen dinners.

Roddick got sent on early vacation, too, and I was a little surprised; such a comprehensive beat-down by big Stan. I thought he’d at least make it to Federer. I wonder if this year will turn out to be Andy’s death knell. Did you see what he said in the presser: “Obviously wasn’t the showing we wanted, you know, but I’m doing what I can.”

Not exactly inspiring. Speaking of Rog, what’s your take on his form? In the twilight of his career this seems to be his standard operating procedure: stumble through the first week, then stir the echoes for the money rounds. I think having Wawrinka, his little Swiss brother, in the quarters is a huge bonus. Federer won’t have to be good, probably just present, to win that one.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the matches.

Take it easy,

Baumer

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