Blake struggling, Federer chasing higher stakes, top coaches, more
• No question these are tough times for Blake, who lost at the Sony Ericsson the other night to
As for Davis Cup, I think you have to reward loyalty, even if Querrey is the hotter player coming in. Along with
• I'll go a step further. Given where he is at this stage of his career, if Federer had the same zeal for Cincinnati and Madrid that he had for Paris and Wimbledon, something would be seriously wrong. He's in the final few minutes of the supermarket shopping spree. Of course he's going for the steaks and lobsters and not the Campbell's Soups. (Worthy sponsor of the Newport events and college tennis though they might be.)
• Never mind merit or backstory. The critical inquiry: Is player X with IMG, the company that is running Key Biscayne? If not, he could be a former Wimbledon champ returning to tennis after injuries sustained in a burning orphanage rescue -- and he would have to go through the qualies.
• I thought only staring-contest champions are "winning through their pupils." Sorry. Never mind Uncle Toni (keep thinking of
• It's not a perfect comparison. Different drugs, different circumstances, different sports. Hingis "failed" -- if you want to call it that -- a doping test administered in competition. There was no analytical evidence implicating Phelps; just a "damning" photo.
But your larger point is well-taken. To use a highly technical term, Hingis' test result stinks -- I wish she'd hired me as her lawyer. The timing makes no sense, as she knew the test was coming. The drug in question is generally not considered performance-enhancing. It was a first offense. In what would seem to be a tacit admission of wrongdoing, in the wake of the Hingis decision administrators now have more discretion to reduce punishment when there are extenuating circumstances ...yet she was handed what amounted to a lifetime ban. Unless, of course, she wanted to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to an appeal. Athletes in other sports would barely get their knuckles rapped for an equivalent offense.
A few of you asked whether I thought Hingis, given her unfortunate exit from tennis, was still a lock for the Hall of Fame. I can speak only for myself but I would vote for her tomorrow without qualification. Five Grand Slams, a long stretch at No. 1, success in doubles. Never mind that it would be hypocritical to deny her, given that various other players enshrined in Newport, in addition to the past three U.S. presidents, have admitted to illicit drug use. I feel -- and you may have gotten this vibe by now -- that Hingis was really railroaded.
• I will allow this story to develop. Hard as this is to believe, the kid is still a teenager. I will also allow that, after making some real progress in late 2007 and early 2008, Young has been disappointing lately. It's an open secret that there's a "parental propinquity problem," as they say in polite circles. He also is a fiery, combustible sort, who can take himself out of matches with his self-defeating attitude. There's so much talent and athleticism there, you hope the emotional maturity -- "Love you mom, but I need to hire a coach who once played on the ATP tour" or "Everyone misses easy balls so I will not throw my racket this time" -- catches up to the physical gifts.
• As a proud son of the Midwest, I can't imagine I would say anything disparaging about the great city of Milwaukee and its unbeatable festivals, Bratwurst mascots, Calatrava-designed museums and whatnot. Mocking a Rust Belt city isn't cool these days anyway. Winnipeg, on the other hand? You're dead to me.
• Hmmm. Either a) karma is a bitch or b) Key Biscayne has substandard player services.
• As I think (hope?) I've written before, the tennis establishment should beat the rush and begin apologizing to the Williams sisters right now. Simply put, they were right. We (and I include myself) were wrong. A decade after they burst on the scene -- it was almost 10 years to the day that they played that historic and foreshadowing match in the Key Biscayne final -- they're still going strong. Case closed.
• Nice point. And I can't say enough nice things about your exquisite hometown.
• Props to William for siring the nickname Roger Fatherer.
• Not sure I necessarily buy that comparison. Murray hits a bigger ball, plays more cerebrally, has a greater arsenal of shots and has yet to alienate the entire tennis community. Hewitt, in his prime, was probably a better pure athlete and competed more intensely. He also won two Majors and did a turn at No. 1, neither of which Murray has done. Without taking too much away from Hewitt, he also had some exquisite timing. He came along after Sampras and
• Shotgun in the sense that they haven't exactly been dating steady as a team.
• Good soldier that I am, I will remind you again about the tennis
• Random: If you're a fluent Greek speaker looking for some beer money, contact me.
• Another tennis twitterer. Sign up
• Dunlop announced a multiyear partnership with Austrian tennis star
• What a run for
Have a great week everyone!