Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A nice little rout

The Monk follows tennis only tangentially, but he knows who he dislikes and Justine Henin is near the top of that list. The petite yet steroidal-looking Belgian is the worst in-match sport on the tour -- frequently using bathroom breaks, phantom injury timeouts and other dilatory or distracting tactics to undermine her opponent. The Monk remembers dubbing her the "little sh*t" when she pulled about three BS tactics in a row to disrupt Jennifer Capriati at the US Open about 4 years ago in a match that Capriati was winning. The tricks worked, Capriati lost momentum and the match. Whereas the Williams sisters are notoriously lacking in grace after losing (they only credit the opponent for good play most grudgingly, and started doing so after years on tour of bad press for not doing so), Henin will deploy every trick available to thwart her opponent during the match -- a far worse trait.

This morning, Henin got smoked. For the first time since 2007 Wimbledon, Henin lost -- this time in a 6-4, 6-0 rout by Maria Sharapova (prettier than Anna Kournikova and Sharapova has actually WON major tournaments) in the Australian Open quarterfinals. For those who don't know, the Aussie Open is the #4 of the four top tennis events known as the Grand Slam (in order of importance: The Championships of Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, Aussie Open). It was the first time in six years that Henin lost a set 6-0. Surprisingly, Henin was the favorite of the Aussie crowd, which proves that the Aussies are generally losing their taste: first politics (the loss of John Howard), now sports.

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