Wimbledon 2010: Venus’ Heartbreaking Loss

“I wasn’t overpowered or hit off the court or anything, I just kind of let myself exit.”

After an impressive early 2010 season and consecutive wins in Dubai (vs. Victoria Azarenka), in Acapulco (vs. Polona Hercog) and in Madison Square Garden Exhibition (vs. Kim Clijsters),  Venus Williams submitted herself with 2-6, 3-6 loss to unseeded and world’s number 82 in the world from Bulgaria, Tsvetana Pironkova, during the Wimbledon Quarterfinals.

This is reportedly the worst loss experienced by the Five-time Wimbledon Champion since 2007 and she bravely admittedly it during her after-match interview.

Q. Did you have an injury problem today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just didn’t get enough balls in today. I just, uhm, let it spiral and didn’t get any balls in. I mean, I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of short balls. I just seemed to hit each one out.

You know, obviously she’s played well to get this far, but I don’t think I did anything right today.

Q. This is a player who has now beaten you twice. What is about her and her game that does give you difficulty?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I don’t even really remember anything from last time. I think, you know, one of her biggest strengths is she’s pretty quick around the court.

Q. You said you hadn’t done anything right today. You had breakpoints at 3‑2. You started reasonably well.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I feel like this is the kind of match I could win. You know, I didn’t get enough balls in.

Q. You have your new book out and you have your clothing line. You’re at an age when a lot of players start to walk away. Do you find the same motivation to want to win and compete? Is it harder to find that with your life moving on, as normally everybody’s lives do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I work hard every day, day in, day out.

Q. But do you think you want it as much when you have so many other positive things going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hate losing, so…

I think anytime you accept losing, it’s definitely a good time to walk away.

At this time I feel like I’m playing great tennis, but obviously I have to avoid having days like this. It’s not a good thing for me.

Q. The statistics had you down for 29 unforced errors. That’s probably more than you committed in the first four rounds, wasn’t it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think in the first round, you know, most of my rounds, it was in the single digits, you know, for two sets.

So I just didn’t do myself any favors. I just think, uhm, you know, I just kept ‑‑ I don’t know. It was not a good match today.

Q. She played well, obviously, but some of the errors were not as a result of her good play.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I felt like she played solid. But, I mean, you know, if I hadn’t contributed to her effort, I’m not sure that it would have gone as well. So I definitely made too many contributions today to her.

Q. Obviously you’ve played mostly great matches all year. You have had a handful of these. You say you have to stop having these. What can you do during the match to fight this off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it’s important to stay in the moment. I think sometimes when you miss some shots you get caught up in the ones you miss, not the ones you need to make.

Obviously I expect a lot from myself. Of course, I’m disappointed if I’m not playing the tennis I think I can play. It’s important to stay in that moment, and that’s not always easy.

Q. Was it the forehand that let you down the most today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I missed all shots today: forehand, volley, backhand. You know, if there was a shot to miss, I think I missed it.

Q. What was the problem with the serve? Was the sun an issue at one point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The sun was on the far side. But, you know, I didn’t get it in.

Q. When you won yesterday, you said you felt you’ve been trying to play too many perfect shots, not settling for good shots. Was that something that affected you today at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t remember saying that. But, you know, I think a lot of those approach shots I was missing because I felt like I got a short ball literally every point.

I just felt, you know, you have to have the mentality on the short ball to hit the approach and be ready for the volley. And I felt like I didn’t slow myself down enough, and I just kept trying to hit too good of a ‑‑ you know, you have to not want to win the point, especially when the ball’s bouncing low.

On the grass, the bounce isn’t always true, so you have to adjust your shot. I think I just let things start going too fast.

Q. Losses and wins both can be either triumphs of the emotions, mentality, technique, or strategy. Which would you say was most responsible today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: All (laughter.) Like I said, you know, I didn’t bring my best tennis today. And sometimes, like I said, you really have to live in the moment. I got too caught up in the mistakes I was making instead of just letting it go and moving on.

I expect a lot from myself, especially at this tournament. When I missed a few shots, I think I just kind of, you know, maybe was a little too hard on myself.

Usually I stay, you know, for the most part, pretty positive. But, you know, yeah.

Q. Since the millennium, five titles, three times in the final. How disappointing is it to fall so short this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, you know, it’s very disappointing. I felt like I played some players along the way who played really well. You know, I think she played really well, too, but maybe not as tough as like my fourth round or my third round or even my second round.

You know, to not be able to bring my best tennis today and to just make that many errors is disappointing in a match where I feel like, you know, I wasn’t overpowered, you know, hit off the court or anything; where I just kind of let myself exit.

So obviously I’m not pleased with this result, but I have to move on. What else can I do? Unless I have a time machine, which I don’t.

Q. They are announcing the next Fed Cup is in San Diego. Is that something on your radar that you’re considering?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven’t really thought about Fed Cup, especially right now.

Q. You’ve had quite a year. You’ve had some good wins, rising to No. 2, but also some tough losses. In terms of the Grand Slams, to win seven straight matches in a row at the highest level, do you feel that’s something you can achieve again and again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’ve done it before and have the experience to do it. So, uhm, definitely. I mean, that’s not a doubt for me.

But obviously losses like this aren’t fun. But, you know, I’ll be back obviously at the US Open.

Q. Serena is about to win. Will you stay and back her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m in doubles tomorrow, so…

Q. You’re staying in the doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, so… I don’t just pull out. Even if I’m injured, I play. There’s no such thing as a pull‑out for me. I continue until the very, very end, win, lose, or draw.

Q. Will a win in the doubles help you get over what happened today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to get over it. I have to play another match. I want to win that match. I don’t want to lose that match. I have to move on rather quickly.

Q. Were there any niggles or injury worries you could put down to the fact you didn’t play at your best?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t talk about injuries ever, so…

I congratulate her for hanging in there for me to make yet another error. So, yeah.

Q. When you have a match like today, to what degree does it make you think about the possibility of having a limited time left in your career; that maybe this isn’t what you want to pursue all the time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, why wouldn’t I want to pursue this? I’m pretty good at it most days. Today I didn’t seem to be the best tennis player, but for the most part, I rock and roll this game.

I’ll give it up when I’m just terrible. It would take more than just a few bad days in a year to make me quit tennis. So that’s not even in the equation.

Q. Looks like Serena might play Kanepi. Do you know much about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve played her a few times. Everyone always comes out and plays their best. You know, I haven’t played anyone this tournament who wasn’t ready to play. I’m sure she’ll come out and play.

Serena has played so many matches, she’ll be able to adjust to whatever during the match.

Q. Do you expect Serena to retain her title now that you’re not around to push her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would have loved to have been around, you know, to come close and hopefully make it an all‑Williams final this year. But that won’t be this year.

Obviously she has the experience ‑ more experience than anyone left in the draw. Hopefully that will be, you know, really a lot more than enough for her.

Q. Based on your experience and relationship with Serena, what does it do for her when you’re out of a tournament and she doesn’t have to think about maybe having to play you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure, because regardless, you have to win your match no matter who you’re playing. So theoretically I should have won today. So if she was too busy thinking about, Oh, my gosh, I might have to play Venus, that would throw her game off.

You can’t be worried about who you might or might not play. You have to get through the draw. You have to focus on that match or else it doesn’t work, so…

Q. Do you think it makes her life easier not to have to deal with the issue of playing you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I mean, hopefully it makes everybody’s life easier in the draw maybe (laughter.)

But, you know, regardless, I hope that she can win.

Q. Yesterday she said she was wearing your necklace. Is it the Venus Rosewater Trophy, and is she wearing it again today? Is it a replica of the trophy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it’s not a replica of the trophy. We have a few of those sitting at home. But, yeah, she borrowed some jewelry from me.

Q. Will she give it back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I probably won’t get it back (smiling.)

Q. Matches like this, normally you get back quite quickly. I watch you all the time. How did you feel? What was in your mind that affected you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, normally I always expect to come back and to win the next two sets. I even had a break in the second set.

But, uhm, I just should have hung onto that.

(Personal Insights: I don’t know if Venus can still win another slam after this landslide loss. Perhaps, she can win it next year but all these assumptions and predictions are all easy to say. Truth is, age is a big factor in tennis and as expected, the former world number one is getting older and although grass remains her favorite surface, Venus will and is expected to experience flaws in all areas of her game, especially in her movement.)

But who knows, tennis is unpredictable and miracles do happen. Let’s see what the future holds for Venus 🙂

Usher Live in Concert SM Mall of Asia (July 9, 2010)

Three reasons why I can’t see Usher in concert:

1) My family does not want me to go. I explained to them this is my once-in-a-lifetime want and it will or it will not happen again. Of course, it will be expensive. I am spending the money I am paid from work and I am willing to spend it to see the R&B Artist I grew up listening to since high school.

Unluckily, my family does not want to take risks. They don’t want me going in the concert alone and on a wheelchair. They are telling me all the possible events that may occur (people are standing and I can’t see, inevitable accidents, rain etc.) and can only destroy my once-in-a-lifetime event.

2) Timing is not just right and I have no enough savings at the moment. Usher is having a concert on SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds, which is miles away from where I live. With that, I need more money for airline ticket and more money to pay my excess baggage. It’s not that I will bring loads of things— I just need to bring my wheelchair and my walker with me.

3) Inadequate venue. My family would have allowed me to go if the concert is held in Araneta Coliseum, Folk Arts Theater, CCP Theater or any concert hall that has a roof. Endless number of risk to take and for some reasons,  the Open Ground is an ideal place for concert sales but not for persons with special needs like me.

Tennis History in Wimbledon 2010

After three days of 215 aces, 980 games and 490 winners (combined), John Isner finally won the longest match in tennis history (6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68) over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

This first-round-match was not played in its highest quality. The rallies are regularly short and these two players heavily relied on their serves to win a point. But no matter what, this was a match history and both players showed unparalleled firmness to hold games.

And the American who ranked 19th in ATP Singles Rankings (June 21, 2010) but seeded 23rd coming to Wimbledon came on top.

John Isner: “Not often do I steal the show from a guy like Federer, but I think I did.”

Earlier that day, Queen Elizabeth II visited the All England Club after 33 years and got the chance to talk with Britain’s number one, Andy Murray, and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen after the match.

Are You An Addict?

Definition of Addiction

“Addiction is a catch-all term for a complex behavioral disorder. The most obvious symptom is that addicts reach a point where they cannot control their own actions. Even when they can see the harm, they continue the compulsive behavior. The inability to stop, more than any other attribute, marks addiction.”

Types of Addiction (Source: My Addiction)

1.) Alcohol Addiction

Definition: “Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is characterized by a persistent, habitual use of alcohol, even when the alcoholic is aware of the harm being done. This is different than alcohol abuse (drinks to get drunk).”

How to know if you’re an alcoholism?

“The chief characteristic of alcohol addiction in either model is excessive craving and an inability to abstain from alcohol. The form doesn’t matter. Alcoholics may prefer beer, wine, or any other intoxicating beverage – the common ingredient is alcohol. The craving to drink has been compared to that for food when starving or water when dehydrated.”

2.) Work Addiction

Definition: “Work addicts, better known as workaholics, are people who seem to be constantly either at work or involved in some aspect of the work they do for a living. Similar to the word ‘addiction’, the term ‘workaholic’ gets thrown around rather lightly, attached to anyone who someone perceives as working too much.”

Signs and Symptoms

a) approval-seeking

b) low self-esteem

c) control issues

d) authority issues

e) perfectionalism

f) escapism

g) preoccupation with work

h) lying

3.) Video Game Addiction

Definition: “…those who managed to spend entire days playing.”

Signs and Symptoms

  • “A person who spends money they cannot afford for virtual goods or memberships in a gaming community.
  • They develop relationships online with other gamers that trump real life relationships.
  • Gain or lose significant weight due to playing.
  • Play in inappropriate circumstance – at work or in lieu of taking a friend’s phone call.
  • Change regular sleep patterns to play – all-night binges.
  • Loss of interest in other activities that they once enjoyed.
  • An inability to see game playing as ‘just a game’ and tying in self worth to their success in a virtual world.”

4.) Smoking Addiction

Definition: “Smoking addiction includes cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, although smoking cigarettes represents the most substantial problem within the smoking addiction.”

Why find it so hard to stop smoking?

a) “Ritualism: Smokers inevitably ritualize cigarettes, habitually twining them to their daily lives; to various activities (driving, work break) or to times of the day (first thing in the morning, after a meal).”

b) “Cravings: Nicotine provides artificial receptor stimulation in the brain, and the brain responds with dependence: it slows production of its own neurotransmitters and it ups the . When nicotine use stops, the brain is left with an excess of receptors that crave the sudden shortage of the artificial stimulant.”

c) “Associated Withdrawal Symptoms: The cessation of nicotine results in irritability, hostility, headaches, anxiety, depression, decreased heart rate, and an increased appetite, to name a few.”

5.) Internet Addiction

Signs and Symptoms

a) compulsive surfing

b) web dependency

c) inexplicable sadness or moodiness when not online

6.) Shopping Addiction

Definition: “For those who use shopping as a relief from stress, anxiety, and depression, it certainly seems so. Just like other addictions, excessive shopping can lead to job loss and financial ruin. And there is no doubt that a compulsive buying disorder can harm relationships and wreck families.”

7.) Pornography Addiction

Signs and Symptoms

a) “An inability to lessen use despite a desire to do so.”

b) “A great deal of time is spent in viewing pornography.”

c) “It substitutes for other activities that are important.”

d) “Use is continued despite the knowledge that it is sociologically harmful.”

8.) Sex Addiction

Definition: “Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts (Mark S. Gold, M.D).”

Signs and Symptoms

a) “Having sex with multiple and/or anonymous partners.”

b) “Engaging in chronic sexual activity with prostitutes and/or sex workers.”

c) “Masturbating excessively, even to the point of injury.”

d) “Habitually using pornographic materials and engaging in sexual objectification.”

e) “Having or desiring to have sex in response to some psychological issue such as stress or depression.”

f) “Improper pursuit or forcing – rape, pedophilia, or stalking might be the criminal outcome.”

g) “Compulsions to have sex in circumstances that are harmful or inappropriate, without regard for consequences.”

9.) Drug Addiction

Any person who takes drugs, prohibited or not, in excess is a drug addict. There are numerous “more specific” types of drug addiction and these are explained thoroughly in My Addiction.com

French Open 2010: A Slam of Unpredictability

New champions are crowned. And you know what, only one person was left in my prediction’s list.

It’s none other than the King of Clay- Rafael Nadal. Rafa, who celebrated his 24th birthday on June third, ended his 2010 clay season with a loud big bang. He won all his matches in Monte Carlo, in Rome, in Madrid and in Paris. Let me do the math and that is equal to 22 matches in a row and only two of them are played in three-sets.

I was expecting Rafa to get a little tired coming to Paris. Of course, I want him to win the title but I kept my expectations low. During his French Open finals with Robin Soderling, all my assumptions that Rafa was thrown out the window. Rafa was the dragon slayer in clay and outplayed (defensively and offensively) Soderling in straight sets (6-4, 6-2, 6-4).

Rafa has numerous reasons to celebrate this victory;

1) This is his fifth French Open title and the seventh Grand Slam win.

2) He returned as the ATP Number One in the world.

3) His seven consecutive matches in Paris soil were all played in straight sets. Even the thunderous serves/forehands of Soderling were not enough to dethroned Rafa. This is surely a memorable post-birthday-gift for himself.

Question: You always defend very well, but today you are against a guy who has a very big game. Your defense seemed even better than at some times in the past. How did you…”

RAFAEL NADAL: Was very difficult to play against Robin. I think he’s a great player. But at the same time, very difficult to play against because he has a big serve, very flat shots are long from the baseline, very good shots from both sides, forehand and backhand, and is very difficult to control.”

“It’s almost impossible to have the control of the points against him. Today I felt great physically. I felt perfect mentally, too. I run. My movements was much better today than the rest of all the tournament.”

“So I am very happy how I played today, because I play with very good tactic, I think, and the movements was at my best level today.”

4) It was a successful ‘sweet’ revenge. Robin Soderling was the only person who gave Rafa his first loss in clay slam back in 2009. But yesterday on LIVE TV, Rafa did not only acted the expected. He was totally in control of the match all throughout.

Both men ended their first service games with an ace. In fact, Soderling has his big moments (booming serves, remarkable forehand winners and some excellent footwork) but his shaky level of confidence devoured him as the match heated up.

That’s fine though. Being a runner-up in two consecutive years putting much pressure to the GOAT and the King of Clay were all worth remembering.

The day after the main draw was released, I had no expectations with the Swede. However, Soderling made me realize expectations were nothing in clay. After watching his first round with France’s Laurent Recouderc, I immediately knew Soderling was once again a dark horse in the race.

On the women side, Francesca Schiavone entered a milestone of her career. This 29-year-old Italian veteran upset commentator’s big favorite Samantha Stosur of Australia (6-4, 7-6) and became the first seeded player outside the Top 10 to win a Slam since 1933.

“Question: You said yesterday that the most intelligent will win the final, so you are. (Laughter)”

“FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Yes, I am. (Laughter)”

Schiavone came to French Open with a clay title in Barcelona. She was not clearly the crowd’s favorite. In fact, if she did not play Maria Kirilenko in the fourth round, I haven’t watched a match of hers in LIVE TV.

In the quarterfinals, Caroline Wozniacki was absolutely powerless with Schiavone’s aggression. Schiavone was quite in trouble when she faced Elena Dementieva in the semis but she survived. The beautiful Russian in blue chose to retire due to injury after she lose the first set, 6-7.

In the finals, Francesca Schiavone played tennis like there’s no tomorrow. She successfully put the Australian in frustration, putting pressure in Stosur’s shots all throughout.

Disappointing Exits

French Open 2010 is a slam of unpredictability. I have my ups but just like a popping bubble, strings of losses came next. Apart from the debate whether the event should be moved from Roland Garros, this is the type of slam that every round has something huge to talk about.

As early as the first day, it was already a bad day for some of the seeds.

1) Dinara Safina, the 2008 and 2009 finalist, suffered a first-round upset (6-3, 4-6, 5-7) as Japan’s Kimiko Date Krum turned the tables in her favor. This was absolutely a special victory for Krum. Even when she’s 39 and playing Safina with an injury,  the former world number four still managed to hit 37 winners over Safina’s 12.

2) The Sharapova-Ivanovic slayers in 2010 Australian Open were back in action. Argentina’s Gisela Dulko handed Belarusian Victoria Azarenka her third first-round French Open loss since 2006 (6-1, 6-2). Although playing regularly on the baseline left and right, Dulko successfully dismantled the injured 2009 quarter-finalist with two aces and fourteen winners under her belt.

Maria Kirilenko also did her part. For the second time in a slam this year, the alluring Russian took down  defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round. While unforced errors piled up, Kuznetsova took the fall by only only four total won points (3-6, 6-2, 4-6).

3) This was kinda not a surprise anymore but it’s still a disappointing loss no matter what angle you’ll look at.

Ana Ivanovic got bageled by Alisa Kleybanova in the second set of the second round. Unseeded and titleless since November 2008, Ana committed seven double faults throughout the match and only produced 48% in her first serves.

After a Slam’s first-round and second-round exits in USO 2009 and Australian Open 2010, this is Ivanovic’s earliest exit in French Open since 2005. It’s painful to say it but the unexpected Ana’s rebirth in Rome was nowhere to be found during her two matches in Paris.

4) Justine Henin (6-2, 1-6, 4-6), Serena Williams (2-6, 7-6, 6-8) and Jelena Jankovic (1-6, 2-6) were stunned by the eventual runner-up Samantha Stosur in back-to-back-to-back rounds. Thinking on this part makes me feel frustrated with Stosur’s loss to Schiavone during the finals.

It was nearly like a fairytale dream for Sam (just like Kim Clijsters’ comeback run in USO 2009). Stosur has not only upset a number of big and popular names but also the remarkable players in clay.

5) In men’s draw, the upsets of the seeds began in the third round. David Ferrer faced a third round exit in two consecutive years after a runner-up and semifinal appearance in Rome and Madrid (4-6, 0-6, 6-7).

Former Champion Juan Carlos Ferrero also ended his campaign at the same court and the same round where Ferrer got bageled. Ferrero was defeated in five by a dark horse and the only American left standing in the fourth round Robby Ginepri (5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6). Only two total points separated the two 147-145.

6) Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were ousted in back-to-back quarterfinals. Day ten, Robin Soderling tested the defending champion and the Swede came on top after four sets (3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4). I slept unconsciously after the second set and the next day, I wanted to kill myself upon reading the news, lol.

Hopefully, I can still watch this match in its entirety. This was absolutely a noteworthy match in the history of tennis. Soderling ended his twelve in a row loss to the Swiss and Federer was not in the Slam’s last four for the first time since 2005.

7) Day eleven, Novak Djokovic handed Jurgen Melzer his first semifinal in a slam after the third seed Serbian returned a forehand long during the 4-5 (Ad to Melzer) in the deciding. I have only watched the final stretch of the match in LIVE TV but without a lie, this was a very heart-pounding set.

Nole, who defended a title for the first time in Dubai, convincingly won the first two sets (6-3, 6-2) but the left-handed Austrian looked more confident after destroying Ferrer and the inspired qualifier Gabashvili (A-Rod’s slayer) in the previous rounds. For that reason, Melzer secured a front seat during the three last sets (6-2, 7-6, 6-4).

More Dark Horses & Ace Leaders

The 2010 French Open has allowed us to see a lot of seeded and unseeded dark horses along the way.

Men

1) Robin Soderling– At 82, Soderling gets the top spot in Ace Leaderboard followed by Berdych (70) and Isner (55).

2) Jurgen Melzer– The ‘surprising’ semifinalist fired 44 aces and ranked fifth in Ace Leaderboard.

Women

1) Yaroslava  Shvedova -Apart from Schiavone, Shvedova was the next big revelation in French Open 2010. Reaching her first slam quarterfinal in singles, this 22-year-old from Kazakhstan bags the fourth place in Ace Leaderboard at 23.

Shvedova also reached the mixed doubles finals with Austrian’s Julian Knowle.

Other Winners in French Open 2010

Men Doubles– Daniel Nestor/ Nenad Zimonjic

Women Doubles– Serena Williams/ Venus Williams

Mixed Doubles– Nenad Zimonjic/ Katarina Srebotnik

Juniors (singles)– Boys: Agustin Velotti of Argentiina | Girls: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine

Wheelchair– Men: Shingo Kuneida (Japan) | Women: Esther Vergeer (Netherlands)

Grass season is next, any personal bets?