Lisa Raymond Blogs from the Australian Open
Lisa Raymond Blogs from the Australian Open


Courtesy: Getty Images


Courtesy: USTA.com

My partner, Wesley Moodie, and I scraped one out, 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 (super tiebreaker), in the mixed doubles quarters over Filip Polasek and Chia-Jung Chuang. Mixed is so crazy, anything can happen.

I watched a little of Venus Williams' 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 loss to China's Li Na today. Li Na is a great player, and she already had a win over Venus at the Olympics, so I wasn't shocked. Venus hasn't looked super sharp the past couple of weeks, so even though it's Venus on the other side of the court and you expect her to win, Li Na is capable. It can happen to the best of them.

Venus has never won the Australian Open, so it's not like she can go back into her head when she's down in the third and say, "I've held this trophy before." That comes into play when you are out there grinding in the third set.

I think Venus can win another Wimbledon. When she steps on grass, she's another player. Wimby, you have to take her, but on everything else, it gets harder every year.

I saw some of Serena's 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 comeback over Victoria Azarenka. After she got down 4-0 in the second, the next couple of games were huge. Once it got to 4-3, I knew she would wake up. Serena is never going to give up. She's going to claw her way back every time. It was Azarenka's match to win or lose, and she lost it. You knew after Serena won the second set that she had it.

The conditions in our mixed match were crazy and windy. You can go up and down, and in the blink of an eye, you can win the match. In the super tiebreaker, we doubled faulted, then they had a match point, and Wes hit an unbelievable return. Then I served two great points, and then Polasek hit a great return. But eventually, Wes nailed one down the line to win it.

But that's mixed, especially in the new format. You have no clue who is going to play like what, which is why you always have these totally random teams winning. Even the best players in the world can lose first round. It's like a potluck but is also fun. But at the end of the day, you are playing for a Grand Slam title.

Rennae and I play Venus and Serena in the doubles semis tomorrow, so wish us luck!

Lisa

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Hi everyone.

My partner Rennae Stubbs and I got through on Monday, 7-5, 6-3, over Monica Niculescu and Yung-Jan Chan. We're playing really well and feel pretty good about our chances.

The game has completely changed since I came on tour in 1993, both inside the locker room and on the court. I've had to completely change my game in doubles to keep up because there are only a few girls who serve and volley any more, and it seems like everyone can crush the ball from the backcourt. I've had to add topspin to my forehand to hit a heavier ball, and the way you cross, return serve and even volley have changed. We use the short volley much more than we used to because so many girls are staying back.

I'm 36 now, but I still I think I can win Grand Slam titles [Raymond owns 68 titles overall and a career Grand Slam]. Knock on wood, I'm healthy and still  love to compete and think I've improved a lot.

I got really lucky that Rennae agreed to team up with me again this year. Last year was one of the toughest of my career because my partner, Kveta Peschke, was hurt most of the time, so I spent the last six months fishing around for partners, and that's no fun. I was going to team up with Yaroslava Shvedova, who is really talented, and kind of tutor her like I did with Sam Stosur, but she ended up pulling out of it, and it was a mess.

It's been great playing with Rennae again. I talked to my coach and different people, and Rennae and I  talked to each other and set our boundaries to figure out how it was going to work this time around. We're both in similar places in our careers, and it's all gravy for us. We hang out a bit but also go to our separate corners, and she's been great on court.

I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason, and maybe we are destined to end our careers together. She's 38, and I'm 36, so I might have another year of playing than she does, but who knows? I'm not planning way ahead, just month-to-month, and until my body and mind tell me it's time to stop and I'm not motivated any more, I'm going to keep playing.

It's been a long time since I came on tour in 1993, but I'm in such a good position because I can pick and choose where I want to play. I'm not playing a crazy 30 tournaments a year. I'll go to Australia, Dubai, Indian Wells -- c'mon, who am I to complain? I'm extremely blessed. I do what I do well and make a very good living doing it. I try not to be on the road more than three weeks at a time, and then I'll go home to Philly or go train in L.A. with my coach, Raj Chaudhuri. I know I'm never going to play my best if I can't go home and recharge. I like being home and back in the States, surrounded by friends and family -- the normal life.

Some of the young players go week to week and just grind, and they have to understand that you can't chase a ranking and you can't chase points. When you get into that mentality, you'll never prosper. You have to get away.

The tour has changed so much. There are so many agents, parents and trainers, and it seems like everyone has an entourage of at least five people. It's insane. A player will have a physio, trainer, coach, agent, then a parent or two, and that's their world, and they don't interact with other players. When I came on tour, it was much friendlier, but it was an older tour back then. We had Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport as kids, but they were anomalies. Now 15 to 18 years old is the median age.

Unfortunately, we are judged on our results, but at the end of the day, it's about winning or losing. It's the truth. Then you have all the money and endorsements and players who are supporting their families and parents who don't work. It's a joke, and it's scary.

If I stay healthy, tennis beats anything else, and I'll keep going. I suppose I could coach, but it would be back home because there's no way I'm going to deal with some 16-year-old prima donna who is going to tell me to get her a sandwich. That's not going to happen! I'd love to coach some little kids at a club or something like that, though. But for now, I'm loving playing. We'll see what life brings.

Wish us luck,

Lisa

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