• You know we've been going a little dark lately -- the lousy domestic TV coverage, what's up with Federer, the whole global meltdown thing -- I figured we'd start on an up note. As Dan suggests, we all ought to take a step back and consider our good fortune these days. Lots of storylines, not least the simultaneous existence of Federer and Nadal, two of the better players in the sport's history. Lots of weekly drama. Lots of top players -- a top four and then a next cluster of Roddick,
• Remember those same 1990s and early 2000s?
My point: It's cyclical. Yes, at least stylistically, the women's game has seen better days. But that will change. A fiercely determined Belgian with a one-handed backhand will come along to thwart the monolithic baseline bashing. A pair of African-American sisters will emerge from Compton. A trash-talking phenom or a thoughtful avowed lesbian will come along.
• I think Clijsters is a top 10 player tomorrow. I'm not as down on the women's game as so many of you, but I would argue that, qualitatively, the WTA is worse now than when Clijsters left. Take away
• When it comes to matters of equipment, I'm at the point of throwing my hands in the air. Every racket company heralds the new line as "revolutionary" and "innovative." Yet when
To Alberto's question: What about this -- the top 10 would look a lot like it does now. Federer and Nadal are superior players whether armed with the latest, greatest hydroponic, aeronautic, surgically enhanced micro-fiber-carbon-titanium-thunder-aero-nouveau-series-factor or armed with a frying pan. Asserting otherwise trivializes the players and their skills. Discuss.
• We stop at nothing to solve a domestic dispute. (I should send this to my wife, the divorce mediator.) Assuming I can't cast a write-in vote for the FSM coverage, Djokovic's leisurely pace or Azarenka's quote that she could blow her $600,000 winner's check in one day given her fondness for shopping and Mercedes .... I'll go with Djokovic's shoes. Cut Federer some slack. (Hey, at least he isn't wearing the belt he had on at Wimbledon.) And Verdasco's Mohawk is fine by me.
• Funny, I saw Grosjean in the Key Biscayne lounge with his son, cutting the figure of a retired player enjoying life in repose. We're told, however, that he is rehabbing the right shoulder that underwent surgery in December and plans on returning. Good for him. Especially since he'll be 31 next month.
• Just to douse the conspiracy theory ...
• Alex is right. Again, I think Nadal has really "reframed" himself lately. Two years ago he was "the Spanish boy/king who dominates clay and sure seems to have Federer's number." Last year he truly established himself as "a worthy rival to Federer on all surfaces." Of late it's: "Wait a second: he's putting up these numbers at that age? Maybe we have a new GOAT candidate."
• Jeez, neighbor. Just throwing out the possibility. At a time when the U.S. tennis cupboard is awfully bare -- the Williams sisters don't do Fed Cup -- a former No. 1 player with an American husband is returning to the fold. Don't think it's so crazy to toss out the possibility that she might be eligible. That's all.
• Is there no in-between? You're giving me a choice between a three-time Grand Slam champ and a first-team head case. I tend to think somewhere closer to Sharapova. The ascent has been rapid, the groundies are rock-solid, the physical growth doesn't seem to stop and, most important, Azarenka plays with some courage. Easy to be bullish on a player after she wins a big tournament, but I think, objectively, she's the goods, as they say. Interestingly, a tip of the cap to the Bryan Brothers,
• A few of you mentioned this remark. I will link the transcript and then gingerly back away ...
Honestly, it was an unfortunate remark, but cut Kuznetsova a break. She's pleasantly giddy to begin with; she's speaking in a foreign tongue; and she clearly likes Mauresmo as a partner. Besides, we should simply be grateful that two accomplished singles players are joining forces and spicing up the draw. I vote: free pass.
• Agree. This belongs in the "
• My first love is X-treme jai alai. But tennis is up there. For any of 100 reasons -- the global cast, the mixed genders, the mano-a-mano nature, the absence of events in Winnipeg -- it's a terrific sport from the standpoint of a journalist. And I contend that, between the lines, it's the most beautiful sport, such a rich balance of brain and brawn, strategy and execution, power and accuracy. All of which is why I find it so sad/frustrating when the sport has this serial inability to get out of its own way. I'd be happy to keep pontificating but I'm about to get preempted for the Islanders' pregame show on Fox Sports Net.
• Congrats to
• Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf both signed with Creative Artists Agency.
• In case you missed
• Our man
• A few of you passed on this terrific
• This week's long-lost siblings, from
• Housekeeping: I'm on vacation next week but we have an able substitute next week: Monica Seles.
Have a great week everyone!