Jan 19, 2008

Australian Open 2008: Marcos Baghdatis in anti-Turks row

Probably this is one of the most controversial Grand Slam ever. Earlier of the week, we heard about clash between the police and some spectators who appears to be Greek supporters. Then Sania Mirza was accused of being disrespect to her national flag.

And now, Marcos Baghdatis who has just beaten Marat Safin, has landed himself in a bigger mess. He has been accused of being racist.

Want a kiss? I think people want him out instead.

Marcos Baghdatis has appeared in a YouTube video showed the Cypriot socializing with a group of Greek supporters called Hellas Fan Club (HFC). In the video, Baghdatis was holding a red flare above his head and chanting anti-Turkish slogans with others.

Baghdatis' home island of Cyprus has been a flashpoint for ethnic tensions since winning independence from Britain in 1960. Turkey invaded and occupied part of the island in 1974 in the wake of an attempted coup by Greek Cypriots.

Baghdatis said he just wanted the matter to go away.

"There has been a lot of coverage of me appearing in a video on," he said in a statement.

"In that video from 2007, I was supporting the interest of my country, Cyprus, while protesting against a situation that is not recognised by the United Nations.

"Now I would like to concentrate on the tournament and ask everyone to respect that. I love the Australian Open and want to do well here."

The Hellas Fan Club, which is part of a worldwide network of supporters of Hellenic athletes, said the slogans chanted had been misconstrued.

"The 'Turks out of Cyprus' chant is directed towards the well documented illegal occupation of Cyprus, and is not directed towards citizens of the Turkish ethnic minority," it said in a statement.

Earlier in the tournament, Baghdatis defended the Greek supporters involved in the ugly scenes this week during a match between Chilean Fernando Gonzalez and Konstantinos Economidis of Greece.

The Australian Turkish Cypriot Cultural and Welfare Association on Friday demanded an apology from Baghdatis.

"This is a straight-forward provocation of our community and he is playing a different game to sport, he is not being a sportsman and should apologise," president Hakki Suleyman told reporters.

Baghdatis is scheduled to play Australian Lleyton Hewitt today.

Australian Open 2008: Looking at tennis in a different angle

This is the second part of my 'Tennis is NOT boring' post.

No wonder Andy Roddick lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round at the Australian Open. He is too busy to see the ball coming.

"Roddick, your habit is inappropriate on court!" Philipp Kohlschreiber is trying to teach Roddick a lesson. And he did.

Elena Dementieva showing off her sexy back. She is definitely too hot to handle by Shahar Peer, who lost to Dementieva in straight sets in the third round yesterday.

What the heck is Richard Gasquet doing? Oh no, tennis forums will be discussing about his gay rumour again!

When you win, everyone will be there and cheer for you. When you lost, you'll be crying alone. Try again next year, Mauresmo!

(All pictures from Getty Images)

Jan 18, 2008

Saddest song ever

If you are an up and coming singer and want to make an impact in the music industry, here is one tip for you. Make sure you have tearjerker songs in your album. Whether it's about being dumped, breakups, physical and substance abuse, frustration in life and feeling useless, etc, it all works.

I'm just wondering what are some of the saddest songs you ever heard that touches your heart. For me, the first song that came into mind is Simple Plan 'telling his dad he is not perfect but will try to make him proud'.

Sinead O' Conner's memorable music video of the song Nothing Compares 2 U is sad enough to make it one of the saddest song ever. And I definitely can't forget Eric Clapton expressing his grief in the song Tears In Heaven.

There are so many polls in the magazines and internet listing the top saddest songs like this one. However, I believe each one of us have our own sad songs, that we love to listen especially when we are down. So what are your favourite sad songs? (Warning: Self pity is contagious and it will eat you up. So cut down on the sad songs)

Oh, what the heck? Today is already Friday and this is supposed to be a happy day.

Maria Sharapova bored of Djokovic and the same shrieking complaint

Finally, Maria 'Shriek'apova is done with Novak Djokovic. In portraying the Russian court diva, he preens before serving and imitates her habit of sweeping her long, blond hair behind each ear.

Djokovic did it again at the 2008 Australian Open!

Now it seems that Sharapova looked to be retaliating.

"We'd need a really long time, because all I'll need is a tennis ball," she said of the leisurely Djokovic serve. "I'm just going to stand here and bounce the ball for a really long time before I serve. We're going to be here all day long."

Sharapova then called the Djokovic act "kinda boring," adding: "He's got his own little thing going on. So let him do it, I'm sure you guys are going to get bored of it. But it's fun any time you can get some entertainers out there."

Djokovic, the tennis clown has also done other impersonations including Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer.

Oops, I shriek again!

Back to 'Shriek'apova, an Environment Protection Authority officer recently
measures the raucous Russian with a decibel counter during her match against Lindsay Davenport, the quiet American.

The results proved what was painfully apparent to opponents and fans.

Her loudest shriek was 71.5dB -- louder than a vacuum cleaner (70dB) and approaching the level of a power drill (80dB).

And that was from a distance of 30m. The only thing louder than Sharapova are the clapping and cheering for Davenport.

Jan 17, 2008

Tennis players are NOT boring

Well, you might not be a tennis fan simply because you judge the sports as boring. Here's what you might missed on the court (or on sports channel) at the 2008 Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic was demanded by the spectators to impersonate Maria Sharapova. He is more likely to kick ass(es) rather than being kicked at the Australian Open.

Jelena Jankovic is a charismatic player on court and off court. No wonder everyone wants to take a peep into her life right now.

Venus Williams is concentrating on the Grand Slam to fall on her laps.

Anna Chakvetadze might not be able to match Maria Sharapova's popularity when they came to Singapore recently, but trust me, many fans would love to know what's behind the towel.

Justine Henin might have a failed marriage but I'm sure she's balancing well between her personal life and tennis.

Well, that's all for today. Hope there will be more interesting photos to be shared here. All pictures are from Getty Images.

Australian Open 2008: Nadal advances & his Kia Motors print ads

Rafael Nadal continues to shine at the Australian Open by punishing Frenchman Florent Serra 6-0 6-2 6-2.

With the new slower-paced court surface, I supposed Nadal has more confident to go even further than the third round. Perhaps this Grand Slam will be a good head start for Nadal to win his first title of the year and be the best training ground for him to chase the fourth French Open title, which is even slower-paced.

And by the way, if you have been reading The New Straits Times and The Star, you'll get to see Nadal in a full page print advertisement for Kia Motors. There are two different version and the first one was first published yesterday (which I don't have here). Nadal is the global brand ambassador for Kia Motors for two years (until 2008). But this is the first time I see him in a local print advertisement which to me, it proves his significance and presence in Malaysia.

Australian Open 2008: Sania Mirza advances despite flag disrespect controversy

Earlier this month, at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Sania Mirza has landed herself in hot water after a photographer captured her in a simple act of resting her bare feet near a small Indian flag.

Mirza, a tennis star from India, could be put behind bars for allegedly disrespecting her national flag. A complaint has already been filed against her under India's Prevention of Insult o the National Honour Act.

However, this allegation does not deter her from advances to the second round at the Australian Open after defeated Iroda Tulyaganova, of Uzbekistan, 6-4 6-2 yesterday.
"It's not easy to deal with things like that off the court. There are some misunderstandings happening," Mirza said.

"At a (grand) slam, the most important thing now is playing tennis. Under the circumstances, I'm just happy I came through the first round.

"It's in court right now. I just know I wouldn't do anything to disrespect my country. I love my country. I wouldn't be playing Hopman Cup otherwise. I'm not allowed to comment right now. It's in court."

This is not the first time Mirza has landed herself in controversies. Mirza, a Muslim, has been the target of a fatwa for wearing short skirts and singlet tops. Then she was incorrectly accused of supporting pre-marital sex.

According to tournament officials at the Hopman Cup, who defended Mirza, explained that the reason why Mirza kept her feet raised was to stop a build up of lactic acid.

I'm sure many would have agree that, Mirza is a talented player, but all these continuous controversies and judgment against her are definitely going to destroy her future career in tennis.

Jan 16, 2008

Faizal Tahir stripped at 8TV birthday bash

Faizal Tahir, the first runner up of the reality singing programme, One In A Million, is giving 8TV a shocking birthday present, by stripping in front of thousands of viewers at Central Park Avenue, Bandar Utama.

Now you see...Now you don't...

As usual, he likes to take off his jacket and throw towards the audience. But this time, Faizal has a better plan to celebrate 8TV's birthday. He decided to strip his singlet and belt to bear the letter 'S' on his chest, which everyone know his craze for the Superman logo.

My colleague who watched the show last night, was shocked and said 'biar betul ni'' when seeing Faizal stripping off his clothes one by one. Although he only went shirtless on television, his act is controversial and not acceptable on local television. What more it was a live show. According to my colleague again, the show was suddenly cut off during the climax and went into commercial, fear for further advance by Faizal.

At the press conference, Faizal expressed his regrets over the controversial incident and stressed that he is not under the influence of drugs.

As for his punishment, he will have to do community service. Well, just 6 months of community work in return for an instant popularity and a new title as the latest sex symbol, perhaps it's a win-win situation for both Faizal and 8TV's One In A Million Season 2 which has already started November last year.

(Images from mSTAR Online)

Adding flavour to plagiarism?

I read with interest the allegations on Sharon Bakar's and Jannah's blogs about a local artiste plagiarizing Roger McGough's poem called Cake.

I decided to write something about this topic as I am a huge fan of McGough myself. I first stumbled upon his work in one of Penguin's pocket book series, The State of Poetry and I am amazed by his poems. They are short and yet witty.

What was Natasha Hudson thinking when she decided to write and publish Kek Coklat?
Saya mahu satu kehidupan,
Kamu mahu sesuatu yang lain,

Kita tidak dapat makan kek coklat,

Jadi kita makan sesama diri.

And this is Roger McGough's Cake:

i wanted one life
you wanted another

we couldn't have our cake

so we ate each other.

McGough's piece is genius and Natasha simply spoiled it with her direct translation plus the additional chocolate flavour. Hope Natasha understands that the cake in the original piece does not mean the 'real cake' but instead means a share in something (as in the idiom 'a piece of pie').

For an aspiring poet like her, plagiarism is simply not the smartest thing to do.

Australian Open 2008: about hooliganism and 'Darth' Federer

Hooliganism struck the Australian Open (AO) again yesterday during the match between last year's finalist, Fernando Gonzalez and Greece's, Konstantinos Economidis. Police had to use pepper spray to subdue three spectators and ejected five fans off the grounds at the AO.

Last year, Croatian and Serbian fans clashed at the same tournament , by using sticks and flag poles, which resulted 150 spectators being ejected off the tournament during it's first day of the 2007 AO.

The organizer should beef up on their security and ensure no such hooliganism acts in the
future. Fans should understand that there is no place for violence in tennis.

Moving on to some lighter note, it seems that nothing goes wrong with Roger Federer all these while until he wears the new Nike Black Collection since last US Open.

He looks nothing but like a football referee.

Maybe I am wrong. Federer looks like a winner too. So, I'll spare him the yellow card.

Jan 14, 2008

Get down to basic in blogging like Doogie Howser MD

Is blogging has reached its climax and coming to an end already?

AhPek thinks blogging is not going anywhere except circle around Malaysia while Wuching finds blogging isn't fun anymore.

I guess the main factor that kills our interest in blogging is paid post. It deviates our main intention in blogging (before people starts blogging for money) from being personal and informative to money making. And not to mention that it kills our page ranks overnight.

Perhaps we should go back to the basic. Just like the show Doogie Howser MD, Neil Patrick Harris who ended the show by
using his computer to write weekly journal entries. And it's always about his own feelings and experiences. That's the part where all of us viewers back then looking forward to.

Now, I'm thinking, blogging on weekly basis might be a good idea.

Jan 13, 2008

Australian Open 2008 starts with shirtless players for warm up

Wow, time flies and what's more exciting than celebrating a brand new year with the first Grand Slam starting tomorrow.

Prediction for 2008 Australian Open winners? What prediction? There's no prediction needed here because the winners for men and women categories will definitely go to Roger Federer and Justine Henin.
Top five men's seeds at the 2008 Australian Open: top seed Roger Federer (L) of Switzerland, Rafael Nadal (2nd L) of Spain, Novak Djokovic (C) of Serbia, Nikolay Davydenko (2nd R) of Russia and David Ferrer (R) of Spain.

Top five women's seeds at the 2008 Australian Open: top seed Justin Henin (L) of Belgium, second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova (2nd L) of Russia, third seed Jelena Jankovic (C) of Servia, fourth seed Ana Ivanovic of Servia and fifth seed Maria Sharapova (R) of Russia.

I'm just worried about Rafael Nadal as he is still using straps for his knees during his training. Hopefully it's just a preventive method to avoid injury before the tournament.

And talking about Nadal, in the recent months, a lot of people actually come into my blog after searching for Nadal's naked picture, which of course will only lead to their disappointment. Guys and girls, there's no such picture, okay. But there are thousands of shirtless pictures though.

Here are some shirtless pictures of some of the top tennis players. Eye candy for you b
efore the Grand Slam starts tomorrow.

Okay, these pictures look weird. Hope these are not another photoshopped pictures to make Nadal looks like a beast.

Marat Safin's game might be going down hill but his photos are always sought after by the cameramen.

Andy Roddick looks like a winner, doesn't he? And he proves it at the Kooyong Classic.

They say Andy Murray is one of the smartest players but he is definitely not smart enough when it comes to hair grooming.

I'll pass Fernando Verdasco.

According to Novak Djokovic, he thinks Paradorn Srichaphan has one of the best body on the ATP tour. Well, I don't think so. Arnaud Clement, the world #54, looks way better than many of these players.
(All pictures are from Getty Images except for the last two.)

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