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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 09:09 PM   #1
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Baggie Awards

Just in case you haven't had the time or inclination to go to SI.com for Jon's annual award presentation, here they are:

"Baggie awards 2004
From Roger Federer to Paris Hilton, revisiting the crazy year that was
Posted: Monday December 13, 2004 2:51PM; Updated: Monday December 13, 2004 3:15PM


It's mid-December, which means that it's time for our seventh annual Baggie Awards. Or is it the sixth annual? We'll check with Wimbledon chair umpire Ted Watts and get back to you. In any case, it is time to recognize the best and most bizarre from tennis in 2004.

But first, a quick detour from our usual cynicism to say thanks again for another great year. We say this every year, but if you guys have half as much fun visiting this page as I do responding to your consistently thoughtful/informed/offbeat/entertaining inquiries, then we're all doing pretty well. So keep the mail coming, and we'll do it again in '05.

When the ATP and WTA brain trusts come to their senses and hold a joint year-end event, maybe we'll have an actual Baggie Awards ceremony. Until then, the virtual trophies go to (envelopes, please) ...

MVP, men
Roger Federer

Not even close. Three Majors, a Masters Cup title, multiple titles on every surface, an undefeated record in finals. The abiding question for next year: Can anyone challenge this guy?

MVP, women
Maria Sharapova

Smashing those "next Anna" comparisons like low-flying lobs, Sharapova announced her arrival in '04, first by winning Wimbledon and then (perhaps just as important) staring down Serena Williams to win the WTA Championships. We've known for years Sharapova had game, but who knew she competed this well?

Match of the year, men
Marat Safin d. Andre Agassi, Australian Open semis, 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 1-6, 6-3

Safin is not known for mental toughness, but in a high-stakes match against the defending champ the Russian showed poise to match his shotmaking.

Runner-up: Federer d. Lleyton Hewitt, U.S. Open final, 6-0, 7-6, 6-0

The match wasn't even close -- which is the point. On a Major stage against a top-shelf opponent, Federer simply put on a clinic, more evidence that he is essentially playing solitaire these days.

Match of the year, women
Serena Williams d. Amelie Mauresmo, Wimbledon semis, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4

In a year that featured few personal highlights, Serena should fondly recall this three-set epic. Beating Mauresmo in a tight match is ordinarily no distinguishing feat, but this just-add-water classic was as much about Serena's grace under pressure as it was about Mauresmo's iffy nerves.

Comeback player of the year, men
Tommy Haas

So chronically injured he wasn't ranked in '03, Haas regained his health and his form and climbed to No. 17.

Runner-up: Guillermo Canas, who moved from No. 274 to No. 11.

Comeback player of the year, women
Amy Frazier

Up goes Frazier. The evergreen Michigander finished last year outside the top 50 for the first time since -- get this -- '88. She swallowed her pride and played a few challenger events and regained her form. Quietly and dignifiedly, she finished her 17th year as a pro ranked No. 26.

Doubles team of the year, men
Daniel Nestor and Mark Knowles

This longtime partnership struggled through the first half of the year before gaining traction, winning the U.S. Open, two TMS events and finishing with the top year-end ranking.

Doubles team of the year, women
Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual

They often pin themselves to the baseline. They serve modestly. They volley unremarkably. But they have a synchronicity that quietly enabled them to win three Majors. Their success is the most underrated story in tennis.

[As we said last year, it's more important we stop smoking, cut back on our fast food intake, fill out that organ donor card, quit golf cold turkey, and stop letting our New Yorker magazines pile up. But somewhere on our list of New Year's resolutions, we ought to vow to do a better job of supporting doubles.]

Class move of the year, men
After defeating Andy Roddick to clinch the Davis Cup for Spain, Carlos Moya practically shoved his exuberant teammates off of him so he could get to the net and shake Roddick's hand.

Class move of the year, women
After losing the U.S. Open final, Elena Dementieva had both the poise and presence of mind to deliver an eloquent speech about the evils of terrorism and importance of unity between the United States and Russia.

Newcomer of the year, men
Tomas Berdych

Since we already knew about Rafael Nadal and Joachim Johansson, we'll go with Czech teenager Berdych who moved from No. 113 to 45, reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open and beat Federer at the Olympics.

Newcomer of the year, women
Nicole Vaidisova

After beginning the season unranked, this Czech 15-year-old is currently ranked No. 77 after compiling a 31-8 mark (and beating a slew of veteran players) during the year. When the age-eligibility shackles come off, look out.

Runner-up: Jelena Jankovic

The best player you've never heard of -- though that won't be the case for long.

Best comeback, men
Australian Open fan to Taylor Dent: "I paid good money for this."

Dent: "This is costing me a lot in pride, too!"

Best comeback, women
Down 6-0, 5-0 in her first-round match at Roland Garros, Lisa Raymond rallied to beat Lubomira Kurhajcova 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good-bye ...

Men
Wayne Ferreira, Goran Ivanisevic, Juan Balcells, Julien Boutter, Renzo Furlan, Andrea Gaudenzi, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Todd Martin, Magnus Norman, David Prinosil, Marcelo Rios

Women
Iva Majoli, Amanda Coetzer, Barbara Schett

Best exchange, women
Question to Mauresmo at the Italian Open: "Who are you in love with now?"

Answer, with pitch-perfect comedic timing: "I'm really in love with an Italian journalist."

Best exchange, men, part I
Question to Roddick: "I think everyone in this room would say that you're an incredibly loyal guy, a good friend and so forth ..."

Roddick: "Thanks, buddy. I think you're swell, too."

Best exchange men, part II
Question to Roddick after he was humiliated by Hewitt in the Masters Cup semifinals: "Your volleys seem like they are a lot better right now. Have you been putting a lot of time into improving your volleys?"

Roddick: "I'm glad you still say that after today."

Q: "Definitely. This week, I couldn't have been more impressed."

Roddick: "Where have you been the last hour and a half? You just get here? Did the rain throw you off?"

Q: "Yeah, actually, I didn't see the match today."

Roddick: "All right then (smiling). Yeah, I'm the man. In that case, I kick ass. I'm great. I'm volleying like a machine."

Best exchange, men, part III
Tim Henman to Roddick after beating him in a tiebreaker for the sixth time in their past 11 sets. "Nice match."

Roddick: "Thanks. We'll have to play a close one next time."

Best exchange, men, not involving Roddick
Q: "Andre, do losses like today make you rethink your future on tour?"

Agassi: "No, but questions like that do."

In a shameless co-opting of Esquire's Dubious Achievement Awards, here are some of tennis' more peculiar snippets from '04
And Patrick still found a way to diss him

ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale opened the Nasdaq-100 Open afternoon television coverage by himself when his partners, Patrick McEnroe and Mary Joe Fernandez, were trapped in a stadium elevator for 30 minutes.

And he was suspended for the next six days. Or as he likes to call it, a week

Wimbledon chair umpire Ted Watts inadvertently awarded Croatia's Karolina Sprem an extra point in a second-set tiebreaker. Amazingly, both Williams and Sprem played on without protest.

Ewe are the weakest link

A celebrity entrant on The Weakest Link, Roddick was asked to name a female sheep that sounds like a letter of the alphabet. His answer: baah. (Correct answer: ewe.)

It's just me and my four billion or so supporters

Explaining his lackluster play after a match, Paradorn Srichaphan remarked, "I often feel like I'm representing the whole of Asia -- it's a lonely journey."

And the weird thing was there was an hour-long rain delay during the match

Roddick was asked whether he watched the Wimbledon match between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati. [Serena defeated Capriati 6-1, 6-1.] "No. I was in the bathroom. I came out, and it was done."

Really, I meant it in the best possible way

Jerome Haehnel on his French Open defeat of Agassi: "I spoke with many friends, and they told me I can win against him today," Haehnel said. "He lost one week ago against a guy like me [Nenad Zimonjic] -- a simpleton, a bad guy, a bad player."

And it goes well with a side of Zimonjic and a splash of Haehnel

After losing to Mardy Fish in the San Jose final, Agassi was asked what he thought of Fish. Agassi responded: "I eat it all the time. It's got lots of protein."

But otherwise, he's a pretty good mate

Writing a column in the London Sunday Times, Pat Cash had the following to say about Mark Philippoussis: "He is a sulker who likes to blame everybody else but himself for his failures. Anybody with sufficient substance wouldn't have resorted to the telephone to vent his annoyance, but confronted me face to face. Such cowardice is the main reason he will never be a champion."

I wished he served harder and had more girlfriends

Skier Bode Miller told Tennis magazine that his favorite player is Philippoussis on the grounds "he's way underrated."

The players' lounge, meanwhile, was overrun with 12-year-old boys

In a (lamentably successful) effort to drum up publicity, organizers of the TMS Madrid event replaced traditional ballkids with professional models.

Next time I'll just skateboard down the Spanish Steps

Hours after meeting the Pope in Rome, James Blake suffered a freak accident when he ran into the net post of a practice court, sidelining him for the summer Slams.

But then again maybe I shouldn't go out on such a limb

Addressing whether the International Olympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation would successfully pressure the Germans to revise their qualifying standards, WTA CEO Larry Scott remarked: "I'm not suggesting that's what the decision will be, but I can't say it's not a possibility."

But do they know about Title IX?

Capriati on being booed by the capricious French Fans: "They're kind of finical here, I guess."

Not only that, it's 24 hours a day, too

Anna Kournikova --perhaps the name rings a faint bell -- on the rigors of playing tennis. "You play everyday -- it's a job 24/7, seven days a week."

The many faces of Maggie Mal-eve

Speaking to the crowd at the trophy presentation after finishing runner-up to Lindsay Davenport in Tokyo, Maggie Maleeva remarked: "I want to thank myself for having such a good week here."

But after that, his opponent cracked

Safin received a point penalty when he pulled down his pants after celebrating a nifty shot during his second-round match at the French Open. Safin went on to beat Felix Mantilla 11-9 in the fifth set.

Oh, just 650,000 give or take a few

Paris Hilton interviewing Serena and Venus Williams at the Tommy Hilfiger fashion show in New York last September: "How many minutes apart were you born?"

On that note, Happy New Year and best for the holidays ..."


Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim covers tennis for the magazine and is a regular contributor to SI.com.
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Old Dec 14th, 2004, 11:30 PM   #2
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Class move of the year, women
After losing the U.S. Open final, Elena Dementieva had both the poise and presence of mind to deliver an eloquent speech about the evils of terrorism and importance of unity between the United States and Russia.

Best exchange, men, not involving Roddick
Q: "Andre, do losses like today make you rethink your future on tour?"

Agassi: "No, but questions like that do."
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 12:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smarties
Class move of the year, women
After losing the U.S. Open final, Elena Dementieva had both the poise and presence of mind to deliver an eloquent speech about the evils of terrorism and importance of unity between the United States and Russia.

Best exchange, men, not involving Roddick
Q: "Andre, do losses like today make you rethink your future on tour?"

Agassi: "No, but questions like that do."
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 12:55 AM   #4
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Paris Hilton interviewing Serena and Venus Williams at the Tommy Hilfiger fashion show in New York last September: "How many minutes apart were you born?"

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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 03:53 AM   #5
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Lmaoo @ Paris's comment.
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 04:00 AM   #6
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lol Paris
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 04:06 AM   #7
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Oh Paris.... that's hot.
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 04:17 AM   #8
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Oh Paris.... that's hot.
(Paris and Nicky should be asked the same question, eh?)
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 05:35 AM   #9
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Wasn't much of a fan of Elena Dementieva's game or attitude until this year. She is a class act.

Runner-up: Jelena Jankovic

The best player you've never heard of -- though that won't be the case for long.

"The best player you've never heard of" has been used to describe Francesca Schiavone and Meghann Shaughnessy in the past if memory serves me right.

How is Jelena Jankovic a newcomer?

And thank God Amy Frazier finally gets some credit!
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 05:36 AM   #10
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And Maggie Maleeva... :clap:
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 06:13 AM   #11
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And all Paris Hilton had to do to become famous was to release her porno tape on the internet. One thing I can say is that she's not dumb.. she maybe brainless but she's not dumb.
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 07:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise4925
MVP, men
Roger Federer

Not even close. Three Majors, a Masters Cup title, multiple titles on every surface, an undefeated record in finals. The abiding question for next year: Can anyone challenge this guy?
Hopp Rogi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise4925
Capriati on being booed by the capricious French Fans: "They're kind of finical here, I guess."


I am assuming she meant 'fickle'.
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #13
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #14
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Roddick's exchanges weren't even funny! He just puts on a show but it's so fake!
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Old Dec 15th, 2004, 08:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yonge
(Paris and Nicky should be asked the same question, eh?)
I was thinking the same thing.
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