Game, Ms. Noelle: my musings on pro tennis

Monday, May 01, 2006


I started Game, Ms. Noelle as a venue where I could spout off about tennis, compile the news I found interesting, and interact with other tennis buffs. It was to be my outlet for thoughts that I couldn't share for whatever reason on the tennis boards I frequented. It was also to be my personal experiment in sports writing and commentating.

However, recently I took some time to evaluate my priorities in life. There have been some developments in my participation on (or waning of interest in) tennis boards and in my own real-life/meatspace activities; as a result tennis has fallen down my list of priorities. I have also realized that I don't want to write halfheartedly about tennis; it would be a disservice and a waste of time for those who have been following this blog for the past ten months.

So, I would like to say thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you for giving me a space to talk about something I love. I'm not really sure what I've accomplished here, but it's been fun and I learned a lot about professional tennis, its quirks and its gems, and its player fandoms.

God bless you all.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Greetings, readers! This is to inform you that Game, Ms. Noelle will be on hiatus for the next two weeks. I need to evaluate whether I can still keep up this blog. As you can probably tell, I have increasingly had less time to devote to hunting down tennis news and information. Also, not having good tennis coverage on television impacts any desire I have to talk about tennis, and write about it on a daily or weekly basis.

Thank you for reading. I highly recommend the tennis blogs listed on the sidebar for your daily fix of tennis news and commentary. ¡Hasta luego!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

No Time to Watch Tennis

Hello! I'm sorry I haven't updated in a while; I just completed the defense of my graduate thesis and I was only able to watch two NASDAQ-100 Open men's quarterfinals in an airplane ticketing lounge. (For those who've been living under a rock, Roger Federer defended his title against Ivan Ljubicic, and Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Maria Sharapova.)

Davis Cup weekend is coming up again. I won't be getting World Group matches on television, so my only recourse will waiting for news articles on match results to appear. Alternatively, I could do what many tennis-addicted people around the world do when denied of tennis on TV: turn to the Internet.

In the past, tennis fans who couldn't get matches on TV turned to, which provided scores for punters (AKA those who bet). If you think watching a good live match on television is nerve-wracking, "watching" a match through live-scoring is even more frustrating since you only have the score to go by. Follow a match on live-scoring long enough, and your imagination can start to play games with you. A long break between points can be taken to mean: a) the score board has stopped working; b) someone's stalling; or c) the player you're rooting for is hurt! Oh, no!

International Series and Tier 1 tournaments have increasingly adopted javascript-enabled live-scoring on their official websites. Some of these score boards -- particularly those for the Slam tournaments -- have play-by-play descriptions of how each point was won, and thus give a better impression of how each player is performing.

Nevertheless, what's missing on live-scoring is the human element. You don't get to see the players sweat, toss their racquets, lose their footing, scream in delight or yelp in anguish. (Those who object to Maria Sharapova's grunting may find comfort in the silence of live-scoring.) You don't see how players who are masters at strategy work a point to hit a winner or force their opponent into an error.

This is where streaming audio and video come in. offers live audio play-by-play of tennis, not just at the pro level but also at the collegiate (NCAA) level. Sign-up is free and they send notification through email when the website is scheduled to cover an event.

For those who prefer television, some enterprising websites have set up services where you can watch cable channels for free over the Internet. Watching over involves having to download their program installer and using Windows Media Player 9 to watch streamed broadcasts from a variety of cable channels. Spanish-language offers "toda la televisión mundial a la click" and hosts feeds for many other sports aside from tennis.

The disadvantage of such streaming services is that these are bandwidth hogs and are not for the dial-up warriors such as myself. Also, some users have reported being unable to access the streams at all during high-profile and high-traffic matches.

Still, having these options available means never having to wait too long to find out who won. If it's a Roger Federer match, though (and he's not playing Rafael Nadal), you don't even have to watch live-scoring to know who's going to win.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Desert Exposure

Roger Federer def. James Blake 7-5,6-3,6-0: Federer missed a rematch with emerging nemesis Rafael Nadal when Blake defeated the young Spaniard in the semifinal. As expected, the world number 1 resoundingly took the title and handed Blake a bagel in the process.

After falling behind 4-1 in the opening set, the top-ranked Federer came back to beat Blake 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 Sunday for his unprecedented third consecutive Pacific Life Open championship.

"He really got the better of me in the beginning, so I had to react and not panic," Federer said. "I did a good job there.

"In the end, I played fantastic tennis, with some great shots once again. To pull them off in a final, it's always a nice feeling. The form is excellent right now."
Still, it was a good week for the American, now ranked 9th in the world after his great runs at Las Vegas -- where he beat Lleyton Hewitt in the final -- and at Indian Wells. Blake has overtaken Andre Agassi in the rankings and is nipping at the heels of higher-ranked but slumping compatriot Andy Roddick. Come to think of it, Blake seems to have had better results this year than Roddick, who lost to Igor Andreev in the third round. (Blake dispatched Andreev in the next round.) Roddick has slipped to 4th in the world, overtaken by David Nalbandian by 25 points. However, Roddick has a chance to make up the difference at the upcoming NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, where he has exactly one point to defend because he retired in the second round last year.

Maria Sharapova def. Elena Dementieva 6-1,6-2: Last year, Sharapova went out in two bagel sets to Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals, but this year she showed no sign of being the willing double bagel victim the second time around. In her route to the final, Sharapova steamrolled opponents Jamea Jackson, Lisa Raymond, Shahar Peer, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, and Martina Hingis. Yes, the Russian has beaten the Swiss Miss twice in a row now, but at least Martina took home the scalp of second-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the fourth round (I want to say I predicted it, but I didn't really).

"This feels really great," Sharapova said. "I had a really tough end to last year. Not a lot of people know about it, but it was very frustrating because, tournament after tournament, I'd be working hard, I'd be trying to get back in shape, and all of a sudden my injury would kind of bring me down again.

"So these kind of tournaments, they mean a lot to me, they give me more confidence because I've known I've put in the hard work. It's good to see that it did pay off today."
Here are the full results for the 2006 Pacific Life Open. This week the players move to warmer, possibly more humid conditions in Miami. Kim Clijsters and Roger Federer will be defending their singles titles, but there'll be at least one player who won't be around. Serena Williams, one of last year’s quarterfinalists, withdrew from the NASDAQ-100 Open citing a knee injury and lack of training. She has fallen to 58th in the world and has not played since her third-round exit at this year's Australian Open. gives her a tongue-lashing:
It's gotten to the point where it's become incredibly boring announcing Serena Williams' withdrawals. This time, it's Miami, but it's the same reason: She's out of shape because she's not committed enough to rehab her chronically sore knee.

If she was committed, like she was at the turn of last year when she won the Aussie Open, she could rehab, but she's not. It's the least well kept secret in the sport that she's found plenty of time to hit the New York and LA party circuit, but has devoted little time to get in shape and practice her sport.