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I for one have still to hit my first ball of 2015 but for the pros the first grand slam of the tennis year has arrived . For me the Australian Open always brings back memories of bleary eyed mornings getting up to watch Federer,Safin, Agassi and Nadal. It always makes those short cold January days a little less difficult and gives my mind some virtual sunshine.
The Aussie Open is unlike any of the other slams,it has its own personality, not as noisy as the US Open, not as prim and proper as Wimbledon and not as ‘je ne sais quoi’ as the French Open. They call it the Happy Slam for good reason, great weather ,fantastic facilities- 3 big courts with roofs ( are you listening USTA?) and knowledgable fans. Over the years we have seen our fair share of bolters, like Petr Korda, Thomas Johannson and Wawrinka last year, Australia always throws up a few surprises. It is because it is so early in the year and players are still a little match rusty that we can see such classic matches.
Picking a winner in the singles is getting more and more difficult every year. The ladies was incredibly interesting last year with a four different faces lifting trophies and in the mens we enjoyed first time winners Stanimal and Marin Cilic bring a little variety to the winners enclosure. The next generation of players are inching their way towards the top of the rankings. Players like Simona Halep, Genie Bouchard joining the established names of Kvitova, Ivanovic and Sharapova at the top of the womens game. They are still not on the same level as Serena Williams but the days of her domination seem to be over. If the summer 2013 version of Williams turns up she will be extremely hard to beat.
The mens rankings have seen a gradual change with the three highest profile younger players Dimitrov, Raonic and Nishikori making their own assaults on the age old top 4. Some things however remain the same, Novak Djokovic has been consistently the best player of the past few years, we have Federer playing with incredible confidence and who can discount Nadal or Murray. Berdych is still a fixture of the top 10 and to me its a travesty that a guy with his game and easy power has yet to win a big big title.
This Open will see Nadal make yet another recovery from injury and as usual will start slowly but never has the sport seen such a determined bloody minded individual. Nadal must be seen as a threat in this tournament. He could face Federer in the semis and we have all seen that one before. In the other half of the tournament it is hard to look past Djokovic but he could face big serving Raonic who can take anyone down and potentially Nishikori also. The cream usually rises to the top, but sometimes you can get something unexpected in there. Djokovic to win.
The ladies winner is difficult to pick. There is a very strong competitive field and anyone of 5 or 6 ladies could lift the title. The house money would be on Serena but from what we have seen of her this year it has not all been rosy. Wozniacki had a strong run toward the back end of 2014, coupled with Sharapova Ivanovic and even Kvitova, whoever replaces Li Na as the eventual winner of this one will certainly have earned it. I am going to go out on a limb here and go for Petra Kvitova. Its her time to translate that power game to the hardcourts. I expect Vika Azarenka to surprise a few folk too.
Heather Watson reminded us all this week just how good a player she is by making the finals of the WTA Event in Hobart. The young Channel Islander has been out of form of have lost in the first rounds of 4 events in the fall of 2014. But in the Hopman Cup she really excelled playing alongside Andy Murray as the pair beat Alize Cornet and Benoit Paire and Dellacqua and Matosevic in mixed.
In Hobart, Heather came in largely under the radar and has toppled seeds Sloane Stephens, Roberta Vinci and Alison Riske on her way to the final. She faces another tough player in Brengle in the final. The weather is forecast to continue to be unsettled with both win and rain for the final; Heather has coped well so far, lets hope she can lift the trophy on Saturday for her second title.
I have been selling things on ebay for years now. I am sure you know the kind of thing, jeans you cant fit into, shoes that have gone out of fashion, sports clothes nothing strange. Up until this moment I have had a perfect feedback record on ebay, I treat those who bid on my items fairly and equitably and I have never had any problems.
I recently listed a pair of tennis shoes on ebay, they were listed as UK Size 11, Brand New in Box with Tags. A customer made an offer on these shoes which I accepted and following a messsage from the buyer about dispatching that working day I did just that. The customer received the shoes and seemed happy enough. He emailed me shortly after and asked could he return the shoes as they did not fit. I said politely no he could not return them as I had clearly stated on the listing I would not be accepting returns on this item under any circumstances which is as per ebay policy.
Immediately the customer then got nasty, he said they did not fit and wanted to return them and said that I had listed the sizing incorrectly on the box. What the customer was referrring to was the sizing on the box. These shoes as all Adidas shoes were listed with 3 sizes on them UK Size 11, US 11.5 and Euro 46. He claimed that these were mislabelled by Adidas and it was MY fault. As a wearer of Adidas for years I thought it was quite an implausible story but I thought I would check the sizing anyway. I even rang an online retailer to confirm that a UK size 11 was equivalent to US 11.5 and Euro 46. I also checked online just to confirm my thoughts. You can see the official size chart here.
The customer continued to send messages saying that the sizing on Adidas shoes was wrong, not just on the particular shoe he had bought but in general. He claimed the lead size on the box was the US 11.5 and the shoes should not have been listed as UK Size 11. I told him in no uncertain terms that the shoes were as per the listing, correctly labelled and listed. I even asked the customer to take a picture to prove his point, alas no picture.
Having realised that he couldnt really argue about the sizing the customer then proceeded to try and discredit the product and me by throwing as much shit as he could in the hope that it stuck.Under ebay rules he clearly could not return an official authentic product from a listing that stated no returns, so he had to fabricate that the shoes were used and not brand new or make up some rubbish so that he could return the shoes with the backing of ebay. Having originally told me that he was happy with the condition of the shoes, ( they were brand new, never worn before with all tags, in original retail packaging) he then subsequently looked at the shoes and found that the wasnt happy with their new condition. He proceeded to say that the shoes were worn but was unable to tell me how this worness was manifested in the shoe. I requested he take a picture so he could illustrate his point, once again no picture.
So our messages continued back and forth throughout the week, he seemed unable to give any reasons or proof that the shoes were used not new as he claimed nor about the sizing. He sent threatening messages about my integrity and even baited me suggesting that if we called it quits he may consider removing the negative feedback he had left me. I took no notice of these threats and assumed that Ebay would be able to see right through his arguements. He even threated me with the small claims court, suggesting that I was a trader under the law and I would be liable to reimburse him for selling such goods. He even suggested as a good samaritan he would warn other ebayers about me.On the day before ebay was to intervene I sent a message confirming what I had already told him
1) the sizing is correct as per adidas and the listing was 100% accurate.
2) All lables and tags were present on the shoes and the shoes were brand new
He promptly responding, stating there was dirt on the sole, the laces were undone and the shoes showed signs of use. He then escalated the case to ebay and left it for ebay to decide the fate of the shoes. I assumed any reasonable person reading the messages would be able to see that the buyer was clearly in the wrong and trying to discredit the seller as much as possible to get around the loophole of ‘no returns’ on the listing. I even looked at the buyers feedback although he had a 100% record, the buyer had given out dozens of bad comments to other sellers like me. There was a familiarity about each one
Claimed they were one size, were in fact another.
Sold as new, clearly not new
And so on and so forth. So this guy clearly had a precedent in carrying out such activity which I assumed that ebay would see. I received news via email that the buyer had been succesful in his case and he would be returning the shoes for a full refund. So I am left extremely frustrated by this fraudulent individual, who lied and cheated and ebay fell straight for it. So clearly ebay give more protection that to the buyer, my rights as a seller are clearly deemed not as important as the buyer.
In short, the buyer realised his error in buying the shoes and created a fabricated story about the sizing and condition of the shoes and ebay bought it.
I am left wondering about ebay, surely taking all the facts at face value, there must be some additional protection for sellers out there. Especiallyagainst buyers who have lied about goods before in only to circumvent the ebay no returns policy. How am I or ebay for that matter to know whether this guy didnt actually muck up my shoes to make them look worn?
As you can see the customers comments, it is not the first time he has claimed the sizing is incorrect or that the goods were not in new condition.
it’s a sure sign that Andy Murray believes he belongs in the top 4. Like his illustrious counterparts Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, Murray now has his own logo. The Scot will wear the logo on his clothing in next weeks Australian Open
HEAD Racquet Rebel Maria Sharapova won the 34th WTA title of her career with a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 defeat of long-time rival Ana Ivanovic. Sharapova, who recommends the HEAD Graphene XT Instinct, fought through to victory in nearly two and three-quarter hours after Ivanovic saved two match points.
The Russian, who played Brisbane only for the second time after missing several previous editions with injury, claimed her first title in 2015. “She was doing a lot of things better in the first set, and she deserved to win, but I hung in there,” the HEAD player said in victory. “It was important to get that break, and the third set came down to a few points.”
The win marks the 13th straight year that Sharapova, WTA No. 2, has captured at least one title on the tour. “I could not have had a better preparation for the Australian Open than playing here. It’s great to hold the trophy to start the year.” The HEAD ambassador lost just nine games in three Brisbane matches in reaching her 56th WTA final and now has a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking from Serena Williams depending on Australian Open results.
HEAD player Tomas Berdych, who endorses the HEAD Graphene Instinct, reached the final in Doha, but eventually lost 4-6, 5-7 to David Ferrer. “It’s a disappointment to lose the final. But on the other hand, it’s been a very solid week. It’s been a couple of good matches,” he said. In the semi-finals, HEAD’s Ivo Karlovic faced Ferrer, losing 7(2)-6, 6(5)-7, 6(2)-7 in a tight match.
Roger Federer notched up another significant milestone in his incredible career, his 1000th career win and his 82nd career title against Canadian Milos Raonic in the Brisbane Open in Queensland. Fittingly the match was worthy of the occasion as plucky Canadian Raonic showed his massive improvement in these past few years by running Federer close but in the end just coming up short. Backed up with his shotgun serve, the Canadian has suddenly discovered a two hand backhanded drive which bamboozled Federer throughout the match.
At 5-4 in the third and 30-30, Raonic got tight and double faulted and in the subsequent match point Federer moved the big Canadian around the court and forced him into an error. A jubilant Federer welcomed his first title of 2015 and his 1000th match win. Raonic will continue to be a big threat in all the big events this year. In the ladies final on Saturday, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic played a fantastic match on the Patrick Rafter Arena with the Russian winning in 3 entertaining sets. Jamie Murray and John Peers also won the mens doubles for a welcome lift ahead of the Australian Open.
Elsewhere Stanislas Wawrinka won again in Chennai, India giving the Swiss two reasons to celebrate the new season. In China, Simona Halep won the title in Shenzhen showing that 2014 was no fluke and she will certainly be a contender in 2015. In New Zealand, another veteran Venus Williams beat Caroline Wozniacki for her first title in years showing that there is certainly life in the elder Williams yet, perhaps an outsider for the Aussie Open or Wimbledon this year who knows.
In Doha, there were certainly a few shockwaves early in the week as Rafael Nadal was defeated in the second round against Michael Berrer. After a supreme first set, Nadals form left him and he got tight as the German survived a 3rd set barricade from the Spaniard. Ofcourse Nadal will have to fend off questions about his injury body and his increasingly common injuries which have punctuated his career of late. If anyone can achieve the slam level within a week, it will be Nadal especially if he can get a kind draw in the early rounds of Australia.
Novak Djokovic was surpisingly beaten in the quarters of Doha by giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic. The Serb was red hot favourite to win the title on his first time in Doha but the big serving veteran held onto his serve with a vice like grip and forced Djokovic dodging balls 2 metres behind the baseline. In the final, the top remaining seeds David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych played an entertaining match and Spanish number 2 Ferrer winning in two straight sets. Certainly food for thought this first week. The action continues in Hobart Tasmania, Sydney and Heineken Open in New Zealand.