Federer's dramatic decline, the toughest of all time and more mail
• Just this past weekend, my cousin served up this same theory. Federer had an exceptional 2007, but it was still clear that
As far as Federer's current state, the questions and comments keep coming and they're from two distinct schools. First: "Get off his case. He's still No. 2." Second: "He's cooked and we need to rethink the GOAT debate." I'll split the difference. Too many forget that Federer is not immune to laws of nature. Eventually -- especially as you reach your late 20s -- it's inevitable that the body will give in a bit and the competition will catch up. The pace of winning three Slams a year is not sustainable forever. These days Federer is merely excellent, not immortal, though some of the coverage would have you believe he's turned into a hack. A little respect for the man, please. And a little recognition that tennis careers undulate (See: Sampras,
That said, I don't think many predicted that Federer's decline would be this dramatic, that he would go seven months without a title of any size, that his groundies would desert him, that he would weep and smash rackets and generally bear only a faint resemblance to the tennis demigod of 2004-07. (Reader
• I'm over it. I'm through calling out Serena on these kinds of remarks. Does one wish that her PR instincts or sense of sportsmanship were sometimes more finely tuned? Sure. But let's face facts here: We all know the identity of the best player in the women's game. And it ain't Dinara Safina. The truth is, at least half of the players in the top 10 rack up the points at smaller events, but are scared to win big matches. In Serena -- and, conflation alert, her sister -- we have a player who wins when it matters most, who stands and delivers, who will retire with double-digit Grand Slam titles. If a few impertinent, self-glorifying remarks -- however true they might be in this case -- are an unpleasant by-product, so be it.
• Amen. A fine career from a player who compensated for a lack of size and power with some of the best wheels in the modern era. Sadly, he'll be recalled as much for that French Open final and his doping suspension as for his more positive achievements. Hard to sugar-coat the French Open loss, one of the great chokes in tennis history. But
• I was only going for women. But what a great quote! I'd never heard that before. Also more than a dozen of you noted that we should have included
• And we thought Dinara Safina's ascent was odd! Here's another, from
• From the mouth of the Shark: Points are only awarded to World Group ties during the year and the World Group playoff in September (to get into 2010 World Group).
• No need for self-deprecation. Nationalized health care? An astronomically high quality of life? A trade surplus? Energy self-sufficiency?
• Thanks. Long as you brought him up, Leschly is like the anti-
• Thanks for the set-up. I'll be flogging shamelessly in months ahead -- we're reduced to doing these things in a down economy -- but yes, I believe there will be a Kindle edition.
• Here's a
• More opinions on the Australian Davis Cup forfeit. A sample:
"Australia cited the fact that the IPL cricket tournament had been moved to South Africa, but we're talking about a cricket tournament that spans multiple cities and hundreds of players and support staff, and not the small, concentrated set of security concerns of a Davis Cup tie.
"By virtue of timing (elections) and scale, the Indian government couldn't guarantee security for the IPL, but did not make the same statement for the Davis Cup tie in Chennai.
"Lastly, for India, this is like a good old-fashioned backhanded slap in the face. India is good enough for you to tap into its workforce, it's good enough for you to openly trade with, it's good enough for the world to consider as the stabilizing political force in South Asia, but we won't set foot on your soil with our "elite" athletes because of "security concerns." There's a bunch of not-so-nice adjectives that go with that mentality. Sitting here in the U.S., the analogy goes something like this: Would other countries seriously consider a travel ban to the U.S. because of the 200-plus cases of swine flu reported here? But if the shoe were on the other foot ..."
And in the interest of equal time:
"The situation in India is different than the one surrounding the Sweden/Israel Davis Cup tie; the violence precedes the Davis Cup event in India, dramatically, and the Davis Cup
• Has everyone seen
• This week's unsolicited book recommendation:
• It's tennis agent
• Here's an
• The Hope College men's and UCLA women's tennis teams have been honored as April's recipients of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award.
• Stayed tuned next week for the ruling in the Dubai fine appeal.
• This week's look-alikes, from
Have a great week, everyone!