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Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal at the Sony Ericsson Open: Who has the better song?

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal renewing their epic rivalry Friday night in the semifinal of the Sony Ericsson Open, the question has to be asked – who has the better song?

Rafa may be better than Rog on the clay and Rog may best Rafa on the grass, but which player inspired the best lyrics and musical accompaniment? Binge, the cult pop-rock band from Hoboken, N.J., called by American sports and entertainment personality Pat O’Brien as “America’s favorite garage band,” have a song entitled “Grand Slam Man” which is about Federer and another song entitled “Vamos Rafa” which is about Nadal. Both songs are now newly-available for sale on ITUNES here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tennis-tunes-ep/id423340011?ls=1

According to ITUNES, since the songs have been made available for sale three weeks ago, Roger holds a slim lead in downloads at 3,790 vs. 3,698 for Rafa. Which fan base – Roger or Rafa’s – will lead their hero to victory on the music charts?

The lyrics to both songs are below.

Vamos Rafa Music
by John Macom

Lyrics by John Macom/Joseph Titone
Performed by Binge
© 2006 John Macom (BMI)/ Joseph Titone (BMI)

Vamos Rafa, vamos Rafa
El Toreador
Vamos Rafa, vamos Rafa
It’s you they adore

The girls go wild when you hit one down the line
You play with such gusto, mucho gusto all the time

Vamos Rafa, vamos Rafa
You’ve got them on the run
Vamos Rafa, vamos Rafa
You should show them your guns

You make King Juan Carlos happy when you win
You’ve got a nasty drop shot and serious, serious topspin

When you leave Mallorca
And get to New Yorka
You will find they adore you too
And your fancy tennis shoes
And your Uncle Tony too

Vamos Rafa, vamos Rafa
Can I borrow your shoes?
Vamos Rafa, vamos Rafa
With them I’ll never lose

Adios amigos see you next time on the courts
In the meantime, por favor, could you do something about those shorts?

Grand Slam Man
(c)(p) 2005 John Macom (BMI) performed by Binge

Roger Federer, you’re getting better-er
Every time I see you play
Roger Federer, that’s what I said-er-er
(You’re) gonna win it any way

He’s your Grand Slam Man
He’s your Grand Slam Man

He’s from Switzerland, he’s a wunderkind
But don’t get in his way
You know he’s hopin’ to win the Open
He’s got the opportunity

Roger Federer, you’re a predator
He’ll attack you from the start
Roger Federer, you’re a shreader-er
He will tear you right apart

He’s your Grand Slam Man
He’s your Grand Slam Man
This one’s for the fans

Roger Federer, you’re getting better-er
I know you always steal the show
Roger Federer, put on your sweater-er
C’mon it’s time to go

He’s your Grand Slam Man
He’s your Grand Slam Man
He’s not just working on his tan…

He’s your Grand Slam Man
He’s your Grand Slam Man
He’s not just working on his tan

He’s even won in Rotterdam…
And they like him in Japan…
He’s your Grand Slam Man

Sony Ericsson highlights: Ana Ivanovic dances the Petkovic

So how is everyone’s first week of the Sony Ericsson Open coming along? Are your favorites still in or are they already out of the singles tournament? I hope for many of you that it is an enjoyable ride so far.  It has been for me and it is not because of the news that Roger Federer tied with Pete Sampras’ 7th place with 762 victories each.  Or that Kim Clijsters is feeding daughter Jada extra jodium to counteract radioactive radiation that hit the atmosphere after the tsunami in Japan two weeks ago.  Because of that disaster Clijsters has said to the press that she will not play in Japan or Beijing for this year. In  a statement released by the WTA Tour, Clijsters had the following to say:

“Most importantly, my thoughts and sympathies are with the people in Japan,” Kim Clijsters said in the statement. “It’s heart-wrenching to see what they’re going through right now. Of course the health and safety of anyone traveling to a potentially impacted area is my top priority as well as the WTA’s, and I know that the WTA will continue to monitor the situation.”

It is very understandable that you don’t want to go play there but I also think that a tennis tournament could be the furthest thing on their mind. Ofcourse we are very greatful for the great message that Kim Clijsters and other WTA tour and ATP Tour players have sent to Japan. From benefit soccer matches to Caroline Wozniacki & Victoria Azarenka creating a huge ad. It is great to see that tennis players are so involved with the world and are politically aware . They raised money for Haiti in 2010, Australia in 2011 and now Japan.It is a great gesture.

To complete my ongoing list of  remarkable things that happened this week in the world of international tennis, the racy ad that featured a very sexy Serena Williams in a Topspin 4 commercial. Now I don’t have a problem with that advertisement but then again I am from the Netherlands. I don’t know if that makes a difference with whereever you are but it does, apparently, in other parts of the world. But then again I can understand 2K Sports for not running it. They are selling a tennis game and not subscriptions to Playboy.

Ofcourse one of the biggest the surprises this week was Andy Roddick’s demise. He didn’t give up without a fight though. He admirably finished his lost match versus Paraguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 7-6. After three visits from his trainer in the second set and his  trouble breathing because of chest congestion Roddick admitted to the press that he has sustained an injury but would not ellaborate any further.Roddick has struggled with a bronchial infection since last month and plans to see a doctor when he gets back to Texas.

More exciting news was  LeBron James and Dwayne Wade came to watch Rafael Nadal’s match. And they didn’t just watch the game but they were also part of the coin toss.

“There’s certain things in Miami that guys should experience,” Wade said. “So I had to drag LeBron out here, but I think this is something he’ll probably come back to next year and come back for years after that. This is a good experience. It’s something different and it’s a great day off, getting over here with the kids.”

Now that is interesting. Last year we had Kim Kardashian and this year we have two major basketball stars. I wonder who they will get for next year’s edition. And to be honest all this makes me wonder why Europe does not have such a pre  event. A coin toss with soccer players or former soccer players like Zinedine Zidane or Lionel Messi would be great. We did have Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos and others watch the Madrid Open of last year. That was pretty cool but no coin toss.

My highlight of the week was Ana Ivanovic dancing the Petkovic!  I was just as baffled when I first saw it as you who is going to hit play in just a moment. Even Petkovic was baffled by the fact that she managed to pull it off to have Ana dance her dance.

 

And here is the video:

And I found another funny video of Ana Ivanovic. She won the official bomb competition in Australia. Bomb competition? Yah, just watch the video and you will see what I mean!

Murray Applies the Heat in Flushing Meadows…

Despite looking suspiciously like Jasper, the dashing vampire from the Twilight films, Slovakian, Lukas Lacko failed to draw blood against an impressive Andy Murray amidst the blistering heat of a New York afternoon, losing 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in just under two hours.

Murray used his typical variety of shot to gain two break points with a drop shot at 2-1 in the first set; a fabulous topspin lob awarded him his first break of serve. A muscular looking Murray continued his aggressive style of late, in the following games, stepping well inside the baseline to attack Lacko’s second serve and approach the net; a tactic that served him well throughout the course of the match. After a closely fought game at 5-3 and a couple of erratic shots from Murray, the Scot took the first set in 38 minutes.

Murray applied the pressure early on in the second set, breaking Lacko immediately, however buoyed by an audacious defensive shot in the second game, Lacko broke back straight away to level the set at one game a-piece. After taking out his frustration on his racket, Murray decided it was time for a new one and broke back once again in the following game.

A couple of service holds later and Murray went up a gear once again to set up three break points; a double fault by Lacko handed him the game and a definite psychological advantage. There really was no return for the Slovakian as Murray served out the second set with a penetrating forehand winner.

Murray’s impressive serving and aggressive returning made it hard work for Lacko who still didn’t have the answers in the final set, going down 6-2 once again.

The signs look bright for the Briton, who looks set to progress well into the tournament and possibly go all the way. Memories of a once physically weak Murray, cramping through lack of conditioning, have well and truly faded into insignificance; he could almost give the werewolves in Twilight a run for their money; well maybe not, but a transformation has certainly occurred.

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter. She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.

LTA AS ERRATIC AS MURRAY

If you thought Andy Murray was uncharacteristically erratic in Monte Carlo on Wednesday, the whole match served perfectly as a metaphor for the strange behavior of Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in recent weeks following the findings of the government’s report. The appointment of Murray’s former mentor Leon Smith as the new Davis Cup Captain has certainly raised a few eyebrows within the tennis world, with many left wondering if the experience of mentoring the Scot during his undoubtedly temperamental teenage years is enough to merit entrusting the 34-year-old with the future of British tennis? No doubt it must have taken some strength of character to handle 13-year-old Murray in a strop, but does he have the charisma to stir the team to victory and lure his former apprentice, the black sheep of British tennis, back into the fold?

Smith’s appointment signifies a distinctly strange choice for the LTA to make considering Greg Rusedski, an experienced Davis Cup player and popular choice amongst the players, was in the running for the job. It must be noted that great players do not always make the best of coaches, but still the decision symbolized one of Murray’s wild forehands out of court, rather than a safe topspin drive two feet within the baseline for the governing body. What is interesting is the motivation for this decision.

Smith described the appointment as “a huge honour and an irresistible challenge for me,” and went on to say, “I know the players, and I know that together we can get Britain back to winning ways in the Davis Cup.” Despite only reaching junior county level tennis for the West of Scotland and never coaching anyone over the age of 16, he has been appointed LTA head of men’s tennis following the recommendations of a review carried out by LTA player director Steve Martens, along with the accolade of Davis Cup Captain. Perhaps I should have applied for the job considering my similar levels of playing and coaching experience!

Martens commented, “Leon is the perfect fit for this important role, at this stage in the development of British men’s tennis. He’s a young British coach full of energy and passion, who’s already proved he’s a quick learner, and has the respect of the players” but was it simply a case of bowing to peer pressure from Murray?

It has appeared in recent weeks that the LTA can’t seem to make an independent decision of their own, with high profile employees delegating decisions left, right and center, while the appointment of Smith looks significantly as if they were blindly following the consensus of Murray who vocalized his opinions on Rusedski and the type of coach he would want as captain, although he has gone on record stating he had not named Leon Smith personally as his choice to the LTA. They were publicly criticized for the acquisition of high profile coaches such as Brad Gilbert, but once again this would suggest a knee jerk reaction to public opinion in appointing a relative unknown, a stab in the dark rather than a reasoned choice; only time will tell whether they have made yet another mistake.

Public opinion of the governing body cannot have been improved following their president, Derek Howorth’s erratic and strange public performance at The National Premier Indoor Tennis League’s official dinner, when reportedly during his speech, instead of politely commenting on the event, he took the opportunity to tear the British press to shreds, celebrated the LTA’s achievements and commented weakly that all will be put right eventually, clearly unconvinced that there is anything wrong with his beloved institution. Unsurprisingly, like a horrendous contestant on the X-factor, he was heckled by a lady in the audience. I have an idea what Simon Cowell might have said.

Indeed, it is clear the cracks are starting to appear deep in the armour of the establishment. According to reports in The Times, the LTA made another embarrassing bloomer, when their sports journalist was the one to point out that the LTA had got their entry procedures wrong for the ITF junior tournament in Nottingham – oops! The LTA should have submitted a top 75 ranking list to the appropriate authorities, but this was not carried out thus leaving the selection to be random, leaving out a number of top British juniors. Suffice to say, there were a number of seriously annoyed parents sulking across the country, shaking their heads in disbelief. The LTA’s response was: “New regulations were introduced for 2010 allowing national associations to submit a list of nationally ranked players after players with an ITF ranking. Communication on this new rule was not picked up in time to be implemented for the first two events in GB for this year. To cater for this, any relevant players adversely affected were considered by the national coaches for wild cards into qualifying.” The LTA admitted, “We didn’t apply the regulations as in effect per January 2010. This is unfortunate and, hands up, we made a mistake. The wild cards that were given out in qualifying could cater for a large group of the players without an ITF ranking but with a good domestic ranking; however this is not perfect”. Surely with a 60 million turnover, someone could have noticed and implemented this rule change?

This echoes with my own experience as an LTA ranked junior player aged 15, when results were not put in from a ratings tournament in which I embarked on a run so impressive that I faced Britain’s former No. 1, Anne Keothovong in the final, only to be told the points I had amassed from the tournament had not been added to my junior rating. This meant that my rating did not go up to where I belonged that year and when trying to rectify the situation, my mother was faced with the same kind of ‘closed shop’ treatment as the government, who recently commented that had the LTA been more open as an organization, the report would have been much easier to compile. It’s not a coincidence that my enthusiasm for the game dropped like a deflated helium balloon as I chose the safer option to pursue higher education, rather than a career as a professional tennis player.

Unfortunately, it is clear the chasm does run deep into the junior ranks and it is of no shock that this ripple effect over the years caused the tsunami of that infamous Davis Cup loss and the subsequent earthquakes of media attention the president is so obviously riled up about. So where is the solution? Well Mr. President, perhaps a look into the pool of unemployed graduate talent could be a start as replacements for the incompetent employees missing crucial rule changes and being about as decisive as a kid in a candy shop? Now, there’s a thought. Hopefully he’ll start ranting about me next!

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter.   She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.