Monday September 28th, 2009

1. Move over, Kim Clijsters. The Belgian may have won the U.S. Open but she didn't even stage the most impressive tennis comeback result this month. Out of the sport since the mid-'90s, Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan returned in full this year and steadily climbed the rankings. On Sunday, a day before her 39th birthday, Date Krumm won her first title in 12 years, beating Daniela Hantuchova and Maria Kirilenko, among others, to take the Korean Open. "I honestly don't know where I get the energy from at my age," she says. And does anyone really doubt whether Justine Henin, a sapling at 27, can make an immediate impact?

2. You could open a macrobiotic restaurant in Texas. You could manufacturer SUV's when oil exceeds $100 a barrel. You could hire Michael Vick to endorse your brand of pet food. But if you really wanted to lose money, why not just run a tennis tournament in the autumn?

The last Grand Slam event of the year has already been played, so the season savors of anticlimax. Most of the spots for the year-end championships have been filled, so even that intrigue is gone. Wearied from an unsustainably long season, players are injured and likely to withdraw, even if they've committed. (Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both pulled out of events this week with back and abdominal injuries respectively.) It's still another indication that the schedule needs to be addressed and redressed. But here it is late September and we get eight more weeks of indoor events.

3. R.I.P., Jack Kramer. Because Kramer died during the final weekend of the U.S. Open -- as Clijsters was stealing scenes, Juan Martin del Potro was upsetting Federer, and Serena Williams was threatening asphyxiation via tennis ball -- this momentous occasion went largely unremarked upon. But make no mistake, Kramer was a towering figure, a champion, leader and promoter who is responsible in many ways for the professional era as we know it today. He was eulogized over the weekend in Los Angeles. "He was a champion not because he came in No. 1," his eldest son, David, said in conclusion. "His life was a gift to us, and we accept in all gratitude."

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