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Old 06-06-2005, 05:49 AM   #1
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Smile Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

Parting shots
My 50 random musings from the French Open
Posted: Sunday June 5, 2005 11:12PM; Updated: Monday June 6, 2005 12:43AM


Cleaning out the notebook from Roland Garros. Herewith, 50 scattered thoughts...

1.Rafael Nadal showed as much mettle beating Mariano Puerta in the (surprisingly entertaining) finals as he did beating Roger Federer a round earlier. There's an inevitable letdown after beating the world's No.1; your nerves surfacing, you're off your game, the other guy is swinging away with reckless abandon, the crowd wants the underdog to win, the conditions are less than ideal. When you still find a way to grind out the win, it says a lot.

2. Justine (Allez cat) Henin-Hardenne, the women's champion, has now won four of the last seven majors she's entered. She staves off match points against poor Svetlana Kuznetsova in round four and then doesn't drop a set. In fact, her destruction of Mary Pierce in the final was her toughest match of the tournament.

3. Did we read right, Nadal is entered in the singles AND DOUBLES in Halle this week? Nadal on grass is an intriguing prospect, but boy has he played a lot of tennis heading into the tournament.

4. What's this we hear that Larry Brown has been furtively interviewing for TonyRoche's job?

5.The most feared weapon in women's tennis is Henin-Hardenne's guts. It is she -- and not Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova -- who now has the regal aura and intimidation factor good for a few games a set.

6. Answer: Igor Andreev. Question: Who was the last player to have beaten Nadal?

7. On his 25th birthday Marat Safin beat Federer in the Australian Open semifinals. On his 19th birthday, Nadal beat Federer in the French Open semifinals. Coincidence? Hildegard Vandromme of Brussels notes that Joachim Johansson has a birthday on July 1. Hmmm.

8. Federer has lost three matches all year and hasn't reached a Grand Slam final. Think he might fear Nadal a little? He is 1-2 against him with the one win coming on hard courts when he was two points from defeat.

9. Who says Americans can't play on clay? The Bryan Brothers reached the French Open final before wilting in the third set against Max Mirnyi and Jonas Bjorkman. The Bryans are a terrific team and a lot of fun to watch; but their record in finals is troubling at best.

10. Unseeded Marin Cilic of Croatia beat Antal Van de Duim to win the boys title. Agnes Szavay beat Raluca Olaru of Romania to the girls draw.

11. Is there a more underrated tennis story than the success of Virginia RuanoPascual and Paola Suarez? After beating Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final, they won their eighth Grand Slam title.

12. The incongruous team of Fabrice "The Magician" Santoro and DanielaHantuchova won the mixed doubles, beating the ageless Martina Navratilova and Leander Paes in the finals.

13. New Rule (a nod to Bill Maher): Can we stop referring to the Paris surface as the "slow, red clay"? It ain't that slow. In fact, sometimes, the balls skidded as if the courts were glazed.

14. Nadia Petrova has now made it to two French Open semifinals, and she still hasn't won a WTA singles title.

15. Nice tournament for Russia's Nikolay Davydenko. And now that he's reached the semis, we wonder if he's getting along any better with Kirsten Dunst's hidebound father? (Thanks to Nestor of the Philippines for calling Davydenko's Paul Bettany likeness to our attention.)

16. Props to Elena Likhovtseva for reaching the women's semifinals. Too bad she didn't come close to playing her best tennis in the biggest match of her career.

17. Anyone else notice Sandra de Jenkin in the chair for several men's matches including Federer's first rounder? Good for the ITF and official supervisor Mike Morrissey a) for making the move and b) for not drawing attention to it.

18. The points Nadal loses are often more impressive than the ones he wins. The guy's defense is just unbelievable. He was at his best in his "Latin quarter" match against David Ferrer, scrambling from placard to placard to retrieve shots.

19. A few of you noted this and I wholeheartedly agree: big props to Anastasia Myskina. She loses in the first round of singles and then sticks around for nearly two weeks to reached the mixed doubles semifinal.

20. Baylor's Benedikt Dorsch held off a determined comeback from Pierrik Ysern of San Diego to win the NCAA men's singles championship 6-2, 7-6 (6) on Monday. After dominating the first set, Dorsch was leading 6-1 in the second-set tiebreak before Ysern rallied. Ysern fought off five match points to tie it at 6, but Dorsch won the final two points to end his college career with a national title.

21. The USTA and American Express announced a new sponsorship and marketing agreement extending American Express' designation as the "Official Card" and "Official Travelers Cheque" of the U.S. Open. In the new agreement, American Express also becomes an "Official Sponsor of the U.S. Open Series," the six-week summer tennis season that links all major North American tournaments to the U.S. Open.

Speaking of the Open, tickets go on sale today through USOpen.org or by calling Ticketmaster at 866-OPEN-TIX. The early-on-sale promotion will be supported by ads on local radio and in newspapers.

22. Sam Querrey, a lanky 16-year-old from L.A. was the last American junior remaining, hanging around until the quarterfinals. Querrey's on-court body language is vintage teen -- he looks like he's been dragged out of bed to play sets against his aunt -- but he has a crushing forehand and when he fills out his 6-6 frame, he'll be a player to watch.

23. Speaking of tall juniors, keep an eye out for Juan Martin del Porto of Argentina. Like Querrey he is, unmistakably, more boy than man. But there's an awful lot of game there.

24. Here are five features that, among storied sports venues, are surely unique to Roland Garros:

1) An on-site post office.

2) Restroom attendants.

3) An on-site newsstand.

4) A wine list at the concession stand to rival most fine restaurants.

5) Courtside orange trees.

25. Which WTA player blew off an Elle photo shoot last week, after a top photographer had already been commissioned?
26. Last year's two finalists -- Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio -- lost within minutes of each other last week.

27. Last year's women's finalists (Myskina and Elena Dementieva) plus Venus Williams were in the same quarter. The winner? Elena Likhovtseva.

28. Note to Nike: if you're going to insist on manufacturing those clamdiggers, could you at least make them wedgie-proof?

29. Nice tournament for Ana Ivanovic, the Serb teenager who beat Amelie Mauresmo and advanced to the quarters. She hits a huge, flat ball and ought to have more success on hardcourts this summer. Definitely top five before long.

30. Andre Agassi assesses other players with such acuity and intelligence. We hope he's as perceptive about his own tennis future. No one wants to see him retire; but you hear words like "cortisone shots" and "pain all the way down my leg" and you cringe. You hate to think that Agassi will have trouble getting out bed in 20 years just so he could fulfill a few tournament commitments and sponsorship obligations.

31. Best interview room exchange:

Q: I read in some information that you used to like Pipi Longstocking. I also like it. I buy [it] for my niece.

Maria Sharapova: Maybe we should start a book club.

32. You know who is an excellent television commentator? Mats Wilander, that's who. Hell of a nice guy, too.

33. Word is that Tennis Australia is looking to set up a base in southern Spain. Something the USTA might want to consider?

34. One Australian absentee whose name we scarcely heard mentioned last week: Lleyton Hewitt. One Australian absentee whose name mentioned plenty: Alicia Molik. Make of that what you will.

35. Weirdest moment: In his fourth round match, Gaudio turned to Ferrer's coach and said: "Don't worry, I'm not going to win this match." Sure enough, Gaudio went down in five sets.

36. In the fourth round last year, Kuznetsova had match points against Myskina. In the first round this year, she squandered match points against Henin-Hardenne.

"She was afraid to win the match; that was very clear," Henin-Hardenne said. "When I can see [fear] in the eyes of my opponent, that is very good for myself."

Ouch, bebe.

37. If you're in the market for a tennis documentary check out Anna's army: Behind the Ruse of Russian Tennis, soon available at Tenniswarehouse.com


38. For our Euros, Tommy Robredo nips Rollickin' Richie Gasquet in the "Most Gorgeous Male Backhand We Saw Last Week" award.

39. Sharapova has her name embroidered on the back of her shoes.

40. If you're looking to kill some time, check out the winners of past junior Slam finals. Some of the winners will be eminently familiar; others won't ring the faintest of bells.

41. The best press conference last week came not from a player but from Christian Bimes, head of the French Federation. In a de facto State of the Union address, Bimes -- how to put this?-- julienned few words.

Assessing the play of the French players, he noted, "I would like to end by saying that we were disappointed by what Amelie Mauresmo did because, once again, she was not able to face the pressure." (We're waiting for the day a USTA executive makes that kind of a harsh assessment about, say, Mardy Fish.)

Bimes also noted referee Stefan Fransson "is extraordinary because he's cold like a Nordic person, but he's friendly like a Frenchman or a Spanish man."

Where, oh where, do they find these characters?

42. Dustin Chad Alligood of Perry, Ga., duly notes that our "Understatement of The Week" award goes to Robredo, after defeating Safin: "In the end, I think I was more calm than he was.''

43. Jeff S. of Placentia, Calif., writes: "Note to Genworth Financial: If you're going to be the TITULAR sponsor of a world-renowned, two-week sporting event, spring for more than ONE commercial. I used to think the Steffi / Andre commercial was cute, but now that I've seen it at the top of EVERY commercial break, I'm ready to buy Andre's life insurance policy for him!"

44. Predictably, we were flooded with complaints about the television coverage, I feel a bit like this is a deceased equine, but here's contact info:

ESPN

ESPN Plaza Bristol, CT 06010

NBC Sports

30 Rockefeller Plaza

NY, NY 10112

My advice if you write: be as concise as possible and try hard to suppress your inner crackpot.

45. This will be an acid test for determining tennis' levels of screwed-upness: the Slams announced that they are pushing to start play a day early, thus adding an additional day (a weekend day, no less) of tennis and an additional day of television coverage. Makes sense, right? If you think this will pass without major bloodletting and horse trading, I have some Lucy.com stock options to sell you. Four words for the ATP, WTA and tournament directors: "Good. Of. The. Sport."

46. Speaking of the "good of the sport," for as bent out of shape as tennis agents get about the size of sponsor patches and the names on the "aluminum exempt" lists and similarly trivial flotsam and jetsam, you'd think there would be a real uproar over injury-o-rama. (as usual the trainers in Paris got more air time -- or Per time, if you will -- than any players and the draw was pocked by retirements and withdrawls from everything ranging from pinched nerves to pulled muscles to headaches.) How about demanding that the tours and ITF address why so few players can make it through a year without a bodily breakdown? We'll say it again: eliminating best-of-five matches in Slams (at least in the first four rounds) is a start.

47. An idea sure to the warm the cockles of Arlen Kantarian's heart, many (including Mary Carrillo) floated the suggestion that on that first Sunday, kids ought to be allowed in free.

48. Hustle Award goes to Ted Robinson, who called the weekend matches for NBC, flew back to New York to work a few Mets games and then flew back to Paris for the finals.

49. Can we settle this for once and for all: 001? Or 011?

50. Only because I've been asked to help spread the word, I'll be appearing at the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Book Festival this upcoming weekend. Chicagoland readers, feel free to stop by if you get a chance.

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Old 06-06-2005, 05:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

i see 12
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

46. Speaking of the "good of the sport," for as bent out of shape as tennis agents get about the size of sponsor patches and the names on the "aluminum exempt" lists and similarly trivial flotsam and jetsam, you'd think there would be a real uproar over injury-o-rama. (as usual the trainers in Paris got more air time -- or Per time, if you will -- than any players and the draw was pocked by retirements and withdrawls from everything ranging from pinched nerves to pulled muscles to headaches.) How about demanding that the tours and ITF address why so few players can make it through a year without a bodily breakdown? We'll say it again: eliminating best-of-five matches in Slams (at least in the first four rounds) is a start.

good idea :|
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by its.like.that
good idea :|
It's a shit idea always has been and always will be reducing the sets in Slams, cheapen the event, yes that's in the best interests of tennis.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

definitely agree on 32. i love Mats!

ps. is Hildegard Vandromme an mtf poster?
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bebop
definitely agree on 32. i love Mats!

ps. is Hildergard Vandromme an mtf poster?
Yes, hildegaard is and as for Wilander it's common sense.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 06-06-2005, 04:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

4. What's this we hear that Larry Brown has been furtively interviewing
for TonyRoche's job?

Great way to cause panic among some of the Federer fans.

5.The most feared weapon in women's tennis is Henin-Hardenne's guts.
It is she -- and not Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova -- who now has the
regal aura and intimidation factor good for a few games a set.

I agree. Justine is the WTA version of Roger. She's made out of steel a la
Graf and I've been waiting for someone like her to come along for a long
time. Plus, she gives hope to petite tennis players everywhere that they
can compete with the power-hitting amazons.

6. Answer: Igor Andreev. Question: Who was the last player to have
beaten Nadal?

Great. Now Nadal is inspiring his own version of the Rogeresque triva
question games.

8. Federer has lost three matches all year and hasn't reached a Grand
Slam final. Think he might fear Nadal a little? He is 1-2 against him with the
one win coming on hard courts when he was two points from defeat.

Maybe. I'd be curious to see if Roger becomes undone if he should have to
face Safin again in a final (USO perhaps?)

25. Which WTA player blew off an Elle photo shoot last week, after a
top photographer had already been commissioned?

Maria. tsk, tsk.

34. One Australian absentee whose name we scarcely heard mentioned
last week: Lleyton Hewitt. One Australian absentee whose name mentioned
plenty: Alicia Molik. Make of that what you will.

Ok, what does this mean then? That people are more excited about Alicia
and nobody misses Lleyton? Whatever. I noticed, too, during the Wimbledon
preview show that aired after the French Open final that nobody mentioned
Hewitt as a favorite going in until Johnny Mac piped up. As Lleyton would
say, Wimbledon is between him and Roger and nobody else.

35. Weirdest moment: In his fourth round match, Gaudio turned to
Ferrer's coach and said: "Don't worry, I'm not going to win this match." Sure
enough, Gaudio went down in five sets.

Gaudio

41. .... Bimes also noted referee Stefan Fransson "is extraordinary
because he's cold like a Nordic person, but he's friendly like a Frenchman or
a Spanish man." Where, oh where, do they find these characters?

Pfft. In Europe it's "character" but if some American official said something
stupid like that, WWIII would break out and people would scream for his
resignation.

43. Jeff S. of Placentia, Calif., writes: "Note to Genworth Financial: If
you're going to be the TITULAR sponsor of a world-renowned, two-week
sporting event, spring for more than ONE commercial. I used to think the
Steffi / Andre commercial was cute, but now that I've seen it at the top of
EVERY commercial break, I'm ready to buy Andre's life insurance policy for
him!"

Or at least replay the Taylor-beats-Jaden ad from last year. That one was a
classic.

44. Predictably, we were flooded with complaints about the television
coverage, I feel a bit like this is a deceased equine, but here's contact info:

Predictably, some tennis fans don't realize how good they had it with this
year's coverage: Ten hours of LIVE coverage, with a wrap-up every evening.
Interviews with non-American players (including Nadal! They got a translator
for that one ). They even showed Canas-Puerta which surely had
to be their lowest-rated match, instead of re-running a Sharapova, Williams,
or even Roddick's match. Quit the brainless "ESPN sucks!" war cry already
and give credit where credit's due. Some idiots here actually thought ESPN
wasn't going to show the Federer-Nadal semifinal match, that's how stupid
people have gotten about ESPN.


46. Speaking of the "good of the sport," for as bent out of shape as
tennis agents get about the size of sponsor patches and the names on the
"aluminum exempt" lists and similarly trivial flotsam and jetsam, you'd think
there would be a real uproar over injury-o-rama.... We'll say it again:
eliminating best-of-five matches in Slams (at least in the first four rounds) is
a start.

Rotten idea. How about giving the players a real off-season and not just four
weeks off?

49. Can we settle this for once and for all: 001? Or 011?

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Old 06-06-2005, 05:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangerine_dream
49. Can we settle this for once and for all: 001? Or 011?

I think this has to do with the country codes for international calls because it's 001 to dial to the US and 011 to dial to the UK? What this has to do with anything I have no idea, lol...it's not really a thought on the French Open at all...
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
8. Federer has lost three matches all year and hasn't reached a Grand Slam final. Think he might fear Nadal a little? He is 1-2 against him with the one win coming on hard courts when he was two points from defeat.
I don't think Roger "fears" anyone. He is 1-2 to Nadal but it's not exactly 0-5.
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

Quote:
Predictably, some tennis fans don't realize how good they had it with this
year's coverage: Ten hours of LIVE coverage, with a wrap-up every evening.
Interviews with non-American players (including Nadal! They got a translator
for that one ). They even showed Canas-Puerta which surely had
to be their lowest-rated match, instead of re-running a Sharapova, Williams,
or even Roddick's match. Quit the brainless "ESPN sucks!" war cry already
and give credit where credit's due.
I agree- I thought that this year's coverage on ESPN was pretty darn good and a vast improvement over last year's. I did have some quibbles- such as I thought that they should have switched some from the boring Henin Hardin quarterfinal to show more of the Coria and Gaudio losses. But overall, much, much, much better than last year.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clara Bow
I agree- I thought that this year's coverage on ESPN was pretty darn good and a vast improvement over last year's. I did have some quibbles- such as I thought that they should have switched some from the boring Henin Hardin quarterfinal to show more of the Coria and Gaudio losses. But overall, much, much, much better than last year.
I agree. Kinda makes me wish all Americans would go out by the 2nd round of all Grand Slams.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

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Originally Posted by seleshfan
I agree. Kinda makes me wish all Americans would go out by the 2nd round of all Grand Slams.
What?
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

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Originally Posted by Tennisfan1981
What?
It was a joke. Typically the beef with ESPN is that they focus solely on the American players with their coverage. If there were no Americans to cover, then we could see a variety of players from different countries. But I wouldn't want Andy to lose, I like checking out his body.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

Thanks, TF. Jon must have jet lag. Did he even go to Paris this year?? He's done better major wrap ups in the past. Several of his points had nothing to do with RG and he made too many individual points on Rafa. All his Rafa observations should have been in one bullet.

* NO, NO, and, again, expletive NO to reducing the number of sets in early round matches of MAJOR tournaments. Reduce the annual schedule, you greedy idiots!!

* Sveta has too much talent not to see a sports psychologist. This has been an issue since she turned pro. COME ON SVETA! Kimmy psyched herself out, too.

* I'm so glad the no-nonsense fighter Justine is BACK! Now, bring on more serious females and let us fans see some real tennis. There may be hope in the next crop.

* Roger's losses this year are less than big deals. This is a transition year. Last year was incredibly good. Everyone wants a piece of him. He's continuing to improve his game. He's still the shizzle. There's no headline here, lazy commentators.

* Tommy's statement was so true!

* In reference to the French official's blunt assessment of Amelie, JMac had the audacity to be just as blunt for a split second during the Wimbledon preview. That's all we'll hear about that.

* No kudos from me for Ted Robinson. He should have stayed in New York. No offense to him as a person. I'm just ready for a new non-tennis or no non-tennis co-commentator now. (I watch waaaaay too much tennis. ) One more thing on commentators... Who did JMac and Mary C. think they could convince that the ladies' final had a chance of being competitive?!?!! There were many prayers and good wishes for Mary P. But, I'm pretty sure everyone who knows tennis knew how that would play out. Congrats to Mary P. for her great run this year.

* Mats didn't comment for US TV. But, I caught a clip of him on the Internet. Very nice. What a great guy!

* ESPN did a decent job this year. Props to them for showing both semis AND to NBC for staying on the air to cover Roger-Rafa in its entirety. Thumbs down to ESPN for pulling that parade deal on us last weekend and to NBC for cutting up Marat-JCF last Saturday.

Now bring on the GRASS!!
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Wertheim's 50 Random Thoughts on the FO

on the lady ump and on not making a big deal about it
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