Summer of close calls for Roddick
• Spare a thought (or at least a beer) for Roddick here. He loses the Wimbledon final 16-14 in the fifth set. Then he loses at the next major 7-6 in the fifth set. Oh, and in between, he loses one match 7-6 in the third set, one match 7-5 in the third set and another one 7-6, 7-6.
If there's any positive takeaway, I suppose it's this: The matches were tight, but it's not as though Roddick choked. I didn't sense a lack of confidence or belief. He competed well -- against booming players -- and just came up short. More distressing: Roddick played so well from the baseline at Wimbledon, especially against
Roddick was deflated but typically rational in defeat. (And he apologized for leaving the court without acknowledging the crowd.) What can he do other than finish the year strong, tinker in what passes for an offseason and give it a shot in Australia? The fates sure owe him.
• Hey, here's a great idea: At the very last moment before athletes are about to go compete, let's accost them and ask some inane question. "
• I have no problem with the tiebreaker. Happens in all sports: The smallest play makes the biggest difference. I do, however, think that, in the absence of tiebreaks, Roddick is still in the tournament.
• You know, before this tournament, I had made a point of watching
• "Maria full of grace" was the subtitle of Sharapova's press conference. I detected no slights toward Oudin. Quite the opposite. I think Sharapova respected how well Oudin competed, given the circumstances. She did, however,
• Kindly let the record (and Google) reflect: Nate Stafford of Ellington, Conn., is not a jackass.
• In a word: Yes.
• I'm really trying to avoid piling on Safina. Here's a player who outworks most everyone, made a mid-career jump and is admirably candid assessing her weaknesses. I wish Safina well and wonder if the best thing to happen to her will be losing the top ranking.
• We're grading on the Memphis basketball curve here. Surprised how universal the McEnroe sentiment has been. You like John. You like Patrick. You don't like them together.
• Very interesting stat. Again, remember that the WTA is an odd marriage of players and tournaments. The rankings need to reflect merit, but they also need to provide an incentive for players to enter events.
• Does Ukraine come close enough? My gut is that