Review: Tennis at the London 2012 Olympics

For years, Andy Murray has been looked upon as the perpetual #4. The punching bag to Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal. The one unable to capitalize on opportunity. But last Sunday, in a furious display of beautiful tennis played by one individual, Andy Murray won his first big title, defeating Roger Federer in straight sets 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, and earning the Gold Medal in the Men’s Single’s tournament at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was the first time that Murray has triumphed over Federer in a five-set contest, and with the victory, Murray also became the first male competitor representing Great Britain to win the gold in singles play since 1908.
But what does this mean for all of the competitors in this year’s tournament? Well, let’s break it down for each player:
Andy Murray
Murray shows that he can close out a championship against top competition under major pressure
Murray’s struggle in the past has been his own mind. It’s usually the situation that overwhelms Murray when he gets a shot at winning a Grand Slam title, especially when it came to the Wimbledon final last month. Murray soundly beat Federer in the Gold Medal match, which isn’t easy to do, even if Federer wasn’t completely at 100% for this match. Federer’s the established king of the grass court, and Murray showed everyone that he’s capable of performing his best against the best the sport has to offer. Andy beat the #1 and #2 players in the world to win the gold medal, and that speaks volumes regarding the state of his game.
Shows he belongs as a Top 3 contender, and a valid replacement when Federer retires from the game
The Top 3 players in the world have always seemed to play this perpetual game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with each other: Federer has the capability to defeat Djokovic with his low slices, finesse, and net play; Djokovic can beat Nadal with his ability to change direction on Rafa, as well as capitalized on Nadal’s short returns on serve, and Nadal can consistently beat Federer with the lefty topspin forehands kicking high to Federer’s righty backhand. But when Federer retires in a while, Andy Murray can insert himself as a legitimate contender in Roger’s stead, and you’ll be seeing him win many championships in the future.
Not just a volcanic counterpuncher anymore
In the past, Andy was considered the best player, with multiple skills at his disposal to beat just about anyone. However, he had two problems – one was his temperament, and the other was knowing how to utilize shot selection in the most effective way. He would sometimes fall into a neutral, counterpunching style of play, and was very indecisive when it came to being aggressive. Working with Ivan Lendl has helped him immensely – he sees opportunities better, uses his shots effectively, and he’s much calmer on the court, much like Lendl was in his day. This is a new Andy Murray we’re seeing, and people might say he’s overdue, but he’s going to become an even bigger threat now that he’s come through in the clutch, and he’s going to carry that momentum to New York in a couple of weeks.
Roger Federer
Wins one of the first medals for Switzerland in the 2012 Games
With his Silver Medal, Roger Federer becomes the first of two athletes to win a medal for Switzerland. He won’t look at the Silver Medal as a blemish to his career – if anything, it’s another accolade to add to the many that he’s gotten throughout the years. He might not be a Career Golden Slam winner, but that just puts him in the same column as Rod Laver, Fred Perry, Don Budge and Roy Emerson, and still ahead of people like Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, and Ivan Lendl. Given what he’s done in his illustrious career, Federer has nothing to be ashamed about, and being a Silver Medalist won’t hurt him too badly.
Making history and building the new generation
Even though he came up short in the final against Andy Murray, Roger Federer still made history in being a part of the longest 3-set tennis match in Olympic history, where he beat Juan Martin del Potro 19-17 in the third set after four hours of play. Also, in playing against del Potro in that epic match, and putting over Murray in the championship, he’s helped to push the new stars to greater heights. Juan Martin del Potro’s performance at this year’s Olympics may mark a return to form after his wrist surgery a few years ago, and Murray’s win will elevate his game in the major championships to come. Federer’s credibility as a Grand Slam champion and one of the greatest of all time makes him the one to beat, even if he isn’t the #1 in the world at the time. So when a newcomer can triumph over Federer, it’s a big career rub for that newcomer. It was much the same when Federer defeated Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 to get to the Quarterfinals – Sampras was the king of grass back them, and for Federer to win against Pete spoke volumes of his future.
Still #1 in the world
Let’s not forget that at 31, Roger Federer is still currently #1 in the world. Roger’s revived his game to epic form, and he’s been playing as well as ever, starting the year with a winning streak including the BNP Paribas title, and winning Wimbledon with the odds against him. He’s shown that he can beat Novak Djokovic on a regular basis, and that he’s still one of the best closers in the game, as long as it isn’t Nadal on the other side of the court.
Juan Martin del Potro
He’s baaaaaack!
Juan Martin del Potro has been on the long road back to the top of the mountain, but his performance at the Olympic games was one to remember. Juan Martin had to beat some big names to get onto the podium, including Gilles Simon, Kei Nishikori, losing to Federer in a heartbreaker, but then beating Novak Djokovic to earn a bronze medal. Also, with that with, he becomes the first athlete from Argentina to become a medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games. This is a major plus for del Potro, and I will expect him to contend much more in larger tournaments down the road.
Novak Djokovic
Picking up the pieces
This might be an Olympics that Novak Djokovic would like to forget. If he didn’t come through at the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, many would say that he’s been having a lackluster season. Not all of this has to do with Novak’s level of play – he’s still consistently in the semifinals of most tournaments. It’s mainly been Novak’s head as of late, which might have had to do with a tragedy that occurred in his family earlier this year. Novak’s play just hasn’t been the same since, but I expect him to be back to his normal self very soon. He needs time to heal, and when he does, he’s gonna be back at top form, and a force to be reckoned with.
Technical jargon
Here’s just a couple of footnotes I had for the Olympic tennis tournaments:
– Andy Murray, in his win over Roger Federer, held his serve every game he was on serve, dismissing 9 break points in the process. Federer has historically been bad at capitalizing on break chances, but Andy’s elevated play and stellar serving proved to be a tough combination to beat.
– Also, Andy Murray’s service returns were second to none. The placement and depth of his returns kept Federer either on a dead run to cross-court shots or far behind the baseline on defense.
– The Gold Medal match also showed the fewest games won by Federer in the first two sets, with only 3 games won. Previously, the low number of games won by Federer through the first two sets was against Nadal, where he had a total of 8 games.
– The 19-17 final set between Federer and del Potro lasted 36 games, which could be the equivalent of playing an entire three-set match in one set. If you were to logically distribute the number of games played in the third set as if they played five sets, the score would have been 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.
– People have all but forgotten who TIm Henman was at this point
– The Bryan brothers finally earned their Olympic Gold Medals in Men’s doubles play, which means they have completed the Career Golden Slam (They have 5 Australian Opens, 1 French Open, 2 Wimbledon titles, and 3 US Opens together to add to the Gold Medals), and they are arguably the best doubles team of all time.
– Other winners: Mirnyi/Azarenka win the Mixed Doubles, Serena wins Women’s singles, Williams sisters three-peat in Women’s doubles

An idea for restaurant ratings guides

If I were to make a restaurant rating guide, or maybe even a restaurant review program, I would assign three people to each restaurant. One is your typical food critic, dressed nice in a suit and tie, and ready to take on the special on the menu and give his thoughts on how “the barley garnish complements the overall essence of the meal” and all those fantastical, fruit-filled comments that those guys are wont to say. You know, the traditional stuffed-shirt, silver fox food critic.

The next guy is a really unkempt, egregious, carnivorous, swamp creature of a man wearing a Tommy Bahama polo, slacks from Loudmouth Golf, socks and sandals….hell, maybe even a pith helmet, looking for the cheapest thing on the menu. He’ll be incredibly difficult to deal with, he won’t care about the presentation, he’ll tear things apart on the plate with his hands, and he’ll be a sweaty individual who’ll ask for countless moist towelettes. And he will tip like SHIT. I mean it, he’ll give you 5%, maybe 8%, which depends on how many towelettes you bring. (To those objecting to the tipping part, don’t worry, the production team will pay for the rest, so relax)

Finally, the last critic is someone religious, who isn’t able to consume certain foods for religious reasons. A very nice, sensible, and polite person, but with limitations (like being a vegan, or not drinking alcohol). I have a feeling that this would really test the actual merit of a restaurant – not just serving some higher-class douchebags who debate about the texture of risotto for a living, and assigning three stars to a restaurant. The idea is to have one person be the ideal person to serve, the next testing the boiling point for a restaurant, and the third really testing the variety of the menu, because honestly, for most of the three-star restaurants out there, they don’t know how to handle the second and third types I have listed here, and they get really bitchy when it doesn’t abide. A restaurant should be rating on atmosphere and service, sure, but it should also be judged on the entirety of the menu. If someone isn’t being accommodated (like me, who bears a multitude of food allergies), chances are, there’s going to be another person that won’t be accommodated further along the line. A shitty restaurant won’t be able to accommodate everyone, and this needs to change.

They say that you can’t please everyone. Why not?

Craziest April coming up?!

March was, in a nutshell, chaos. They don’t call it March madness for any other reason, but April’s proving to be a far greater beast, but in more of a positive way. The next few weeks are going to be hectic for good and bad reasons. One of the biggest highlights is that my friend Stephanie has finally returned from Seoul, where she’s been for the past 18 months. She was doing just about everything under the sun over there, from teaching to graphic design to taking classes in the Korean language. Tomorrow is her actual birthday, but the celebration is planned for this Saturday, so it’s bound to be an awesome turnout. I got a couple of things I need to crank out for that celebration this Friday. Also, my sister’s coming home this weekend for Holy Week, and my family was met with an interesting offer from the owner of one of the best Italian restaurants in Georgetown to come have a meal during the Easter break. That too is going to take place on Saturday, so it’s bound to be nothing short of a chaotic day for me, but it all has purpose. I get to have dinner with the family together for the first time since my mom’s surgery last month, and I get to see one of my best friends in the world to celebrate her 24th birthday. It’s gonna be sick =]

But it doesn’t stop there! My friend Lai’s birthday is coming April 11th, so I have to get her present sometime this week, and make my way up to Laurel to deliver it. The present should be catalyst for things to come, and that’s gonna be happening on the 11th, and then that next weekend, I’m going with my friend Karina to see Titanic 3D, in all its glory. I haven’t seen Karina for a longer time than I haven’t seen Steff, so I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it 😀 After that, we got tax day looming, but after April 15th, my friend who’s becoming an accountant will finally be free and done with the CPA exams, so we’re going to head up to the new Earth Treks rock climbing facility, aptly located in Rockville. We’ll be taking classes in belaying, and hopefully we won’t get wrecked by the Aggro Crag lol

So after a particularly downer of a month last month, it’s finally time to reconnect and get back into it. I’m getting lots of projects at work that’ll keep me in overtime for a while, not to mention the expected office move that should be confirmed in a week or two. I’m gonna be getting a new spot in the building that’s closer to the people I work with, and further from the chaos of the rest of the office. I’m still gonna try to be online on vent, hopefully streaming some stuff. I still have three other blog articles to write (FUUUUUUU-), and I sure hope there’s enough time to watch the Masters and opening day of baseball THIS Friday. But I’m finally getting everything in shape and in order, and getting rid of the useless stuff that’s been wasting my time (people who know me know what I mean), and now it’s go time 😀

I’ll see you guys around!

– Danny

Lackadaisical blogging habit address

Yes, I know there’s been a little bit of blog latency (not that a whole lot of you had noticed). However, there have been a couple of things that have come up since the last couple of posts – in fact, some of the things were happening WHILE I was writing a few of those posts.

The first, and obviously most important event that’s occurred is that my mom recently went into surgery to have her hysterectomy done laparoscopically. This happening March 1, and you might have noticed that I wrote a blog on that day – I was actually writing that post while waiting in the hospital’s lounge area while the procedure was being done. Overall, the procedure went without a hitch, and I have millions of thank yous in order for everyone that sent in their well-wishes and prayers to my mom and our family. She’s back to work today, so I’m definitely going to be checking up on her periodically to make sure she’s okay.

The second is that I’ve been planning a couple of projects, many of which involve this blog. I’ve decided to release the Song of the Week story that I had written for some of my friends via e-mail, which included music to accompany the stories. I’m going over the plotlines once again to see if they need tightening, because I felt some sections of the story could use some revisions since it sounded more like a teen novel than where I wanted it to be. I also wanted to work on the darker Lowest of Lows storyline, but I would need to be in a certain frame of mind to write that, since it’s really dark, edgy, violent, and somewhat political lol

On top of that, there’s a million places I have to be. I want to visit my friend in Michigan, my friend out in Northern California, my friend from Korea is actually coming back in a week and a half, and a bunch of other stuff. It’s a lot of mobility, a lot of running around, but I love it 🙂 It makes you feel alive, you know?

But all of the regularly scheduled programming is coming soon once I can get all the stuff cleared off my desk and be able to put my attention into this blog and the other blog. But until then, see you later!

– Danny

Protected: Wah Wah Wednesdays – You reap what you sow

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Introducing Music Monday

I’ve decided to start a new article on here every Monday that revolves around music that I’ve found using my Shazam music tagger. Now, there’s a bunch of music that I hear from random places – chat rooms, Starbucks, radio, commercials, etc., and I always wanted to know what those songs were. Now that I have a music tagger on hand, I’ve tagged and stockpiled a huge list of music that most of you have never even heard from, so I wanted to share what I’ve tagged with you, and reasons why I tagged it. I’m gonna be taking out 10 tags a day, starting from the bottom of the list, when I first starting using Shazam, and hopefully you guys find something you like in the process! Enjoy!

Chris Brown – She Ain’t You

Because I like domestic violence? (Nahhhh)

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am

I’ve always remembered hearing this song on the radio back in the 90’s when WHFS was still around, but none of the DJs ever said her name. Now you know.

Guns N’ Roses – Live and Let Die (cover)

As soon as I heard someone else singing this song other than Paul McCartney, I had to find out who it was.

Jason Mraz – Sleep All Day

Never liked the guy before, but he’s found his style, and he’s gotten a lot better. Great song.

Lupe Fiasco – The Show Goes On

Kept getting stuck in my head when I randomly hear it playing on a radio in the office.

Empire Of The Sun – Walking on a Dream

This was part of a mix from a friend of mine, and I just had to know what it was.

Holy Ghost! –  Static on the Wire

I like the really retro sound that this song has, despite being a more recent release from 2010

Jessie J feat. B.o.B – Price Tag

This song always gets stuck in my mom’s head, so I tagged it for her.

deadmau5 – Vanishing Point.

Because deadmau5 is awesome.

This Is My Life – Edward Maya

Big fan of Stereo Love, and this one didn’t disappoint, either. Don’t have the link, but it shouldn’t be hard to find.

That’s all for this edition of Music Monday. Drop by next week for ten more songs off of my music tagger!

Wah Wah….Thursdays – Serving non-seafood stuff at seafood restaurants


For one, be quiet. I forgot about Wednesday.

Now, If you work at a sushi or seafood restaurant, do me a favor and DON’T PUT ANYTHING FISHY IN THE CHICKEN AND VEGETARIAN OPTIONS ON YOUR MENU! Why in the hell would you bother doing that? If people want to eat chicken at a seafood restaurant, LET them eat some damn chicken. Don’t sprinkle all these magical fish flakes all over it! I myself have an incredibly terrible fish allergy, and a lot of the waiters are jerks and they’re like “Why would you come to a sushi restaurant if you’re allergic?” The truth is, I HATE it when people have to change their considerations and reservations because of my allergy, so I always go with it. Most of the time, I don’t mind tagging along to a sushi bar or seafood restaurant, because at least there are vegetarian options or some sort of poultry on the menu, and that’s cool. But honestly, if they’re vegetarian options, why have I seen some people putting seafood in the VEGETARIAN dishes? It defeats the whole purpose, and God forbid there’s someone with an allergy like me, a vegan, or someone who doesn’t eat it for religious reasons. I just find it to be the most inconsiderate thing a restaurant can do.

Even worse is that when you go to a seafood restaurant and order something with chicken, some places don’t even REMEMBER your order. I’ve been to Coastal Flats countless times, a relatively decent seafood place in Northern Virginia, and maybe 75% of the time, they forget my order because it ISN’T SEAFOOD. It’s ridiculous! That’s why I’ve gotten into the habit of checking out a menu for a place before I go there, to make sure that everything is okay for me. My friends and I went to a sushi place that did ALL of these things – they would put fish in the iced tea, if they could. The tonkatsu (which is a pork dish, for those that aren’t familiar) I ordered was covered in fish flakes and baked in fish grease. Honestly, that’s showing me that they don’t have a lot of variety. I was literally about to walk across the street and get some Subway for dinner.

With THIS being said, It’s time to introduce the second half of this post, that only some of you will be able to view. All parts of the second half are copyrighted by ME.