Back, in a fashion

Australian Open
I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Australian Open. The January evening matches are perfect for us Kiwis to loll around in front of with a beer and full stomach, in the heat. The top four men making the semi finals meant the ‘epic-ometer’ was going off, and the cringe-inducing Aussie commentry team had to draw even deeper from the hyperbole well than ever.

Andy Murray must be kicking himself very hard indeed – Djokovic looked like he was going cold turkey on a 3 year heroin habit midway through their semi final, but still managed to deny the Scot. Murray must be slowly coming to terms with the prospect that nothing good is likely to happen for him, tennis-wise, ever. Federer had moments in his semi final when he looked like he’d ballet-step all the way to collect the trophy, but he just can’t sustain it over a whole match these days. He’s still obviously the best at hitting a tennis ball in the game, but he’s no longer the best at winning tennis matches.

The final, however, was more gripping and harrowing (not to mention longer) than a ‘watch the Downton Abbey box set and Christmas special’ party. Nadal is still a class act, but Djokovic is my favourite. From his wild eyes, to his stumbling exhaustion, to his scarily-competitive-looking girlfriend and the guy in his entourage who wears sunglasses at night, he has it all. The Serb is a champion I can get behind.

Links: here’s an incredible ball boy catch and the fantastic In Focus photo blog covering the tournament.

Nelsen to Spurs
Somehow, we have the All Whites’ captain now, making Tottenham the most popular club in New Zealand right now, and the most likely to be turned on when ‘Arry plays international window injury funny business. To celebrate, and amuse NZ’s most popular spurs fans on Twitter @sportzfreak and @Chris_Brain, I got Ryan into some famous Spurs moments.

Update – there’s more on this transfer window genius at Sportsfreak, along with some really crappy Photo shop work.


Sportsfreak tipping comp

I’m taking on other Cricket bloggers in Sportsfreak‘s Cricket tipping competition – the IPL of cricket tipping. I tip like Wendell Sailor trying to find the hotel loo in the dark after a three day bender, generally, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this, for two reasons:

1. On the *actually remembering to make picks* front, I’m shocking. This is also my achilles heel in the Virtual Super 14 (I only lasted one week this year before forgetting). I’ve already deleted the emailed questions for the first test.

2. I’d hate to jinx anyone. I’ve picked Ross Taylor to do well, so he’s bound to injure his wrist getting his passport out of his fanny pack or something.

The Eden Park one-two

Tomorrow, instead of spending my best years sitting at a desk (I love my job, really), I’ll mostly be sleeping in then trotting off to the Cricket (if the rain stays away). Let’s see if we can wrap it up 3-0 and then play the kids. What? We’re beating them WITH the kids? OK then.

While I’m there, I’ll fire some insight (heh) through to the Sportsfreak. Their live blog of game two was a real larf and got picked up on the Guardian’s blog.

Actually, I’m just hoping to see the lights. I’ve been to two day night matches where it’s been all over before they’re even turned on. Come on, England!

Then on Saturday night, it’s Eden Park again for the Chiefs v the Blues. They will play a game called Rugby, you may have heard of it. Surreally, it’s that season again, seems like only yesterday I was wallowing in a black hovel of despair… Still, it’s not going to go away, and as much as I hate myself, I’ve got a nagging curiosity, and I’ll be interested to see the New Rules. I’ve got no idea what they’re about. It’s going to be a shambles. Nah, it IS far too early to be watching Rugby, isn’t it?