Graceful exits not so uncommon
While wondering whether
• There was this German player, name isn't coming to me right now, but she retired in 1999 and never looked back. No coaching, no broadcasting no "tournament director" job that would have paid her tons and only entailed shaking a few sponsors' hands. She did marry a tennis player -- and will get dragged to his Hall of Fame induction and so forth. But otherwise, she's had virtually no presence after hanging up her rackets.
Seriously, apart from
Obviously, in recent years we've seen the "unretirement" come into vogue, whether it's been
• My sense is that this is one guy who will NOT make a comeback. But it was a year ago the Belgian media was saying the same thing about
• I'm not sure about his play in the Belgian league. But Lynch played collegiately at Villanova, a top American program that even reached the Final Four in 2009. Weirdly enough, the Villanova basketball gym was formerly the site of the WTA's Philadelphia event. I wonder if Lynch and Clijsters didn't cross paths by happenstance in the late '90s.
• Imagine if Jay had asked that question a year ago -- a woman in her late 30s who hadn't played since the mid-'90s, or a recent Grand Slam champ? Today? I still give the edge to Ivanovic. But not by much. (More on her below.) And, like many, my capacity to be shocked by a WTA result these days is virtually nonexistent. It's not necessarily a bad thing: These erratic, inexplicable Skinner-box results are one of the great joys of being a sports fan. But, man, is the WTA in a weird place right now.
• Again, it's remarkable that a player "unretires" and the question is not, "Can she regain her mojo?" but rather, "How long before she becomes No. 1?" Let's at least see Henin play a few matches before we assume she'll get back to the top. Craig's question is interesting, though. My sense is that her rivalry with Clijsters has the potential to be really intriguing -- in a way it wasn't when they were in their early 20s and Henin's superior competitive resolve was enough to win her most matches.
• Pseudonyms are discouraged, let's say that up front. But if I'm interpreting correctly, RealTennisNut makes an interesting point. Tennis Nation professes outrage for Serena's eruption, yet it appears from this video clip that McEnroe is contractually obligated to go ballistic at seniors events.
• Maybe I'll plea bargain that down to "table sport."
• They sure get my vote. It's another variation of the singles argument: They don't play nearly as often as other teams, but they're the best when they do.
• Direct from agent
• How long before he becomes K-Wach?
• Lloyd! L.A. readers, the William Morris Endeavor Tennis Classic Entertainment Benefiting The Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program will be held Oct. 18 at Riviera Tennis Club. Check
• This week's unsolicited non-tennis book
• After getting a clean bill of health from doctors at Harvard, look for
• Quite a lengthy and candid statement from the struggling Ivanovic after she pulled out of the China Open. Here are the highlights:
"It's especially disappointing because I was hoping to be able to see some improvements before the season ended. I have gone through a lot of training and physical changes over the past few months, which have mostly remained private until now. ... My body is quite fragile at the moment, because I overtrained during the first part of the year. This was, I think, what caused me to have many small injuries this season. Instead of being patient and accepting that my best form was almost impossible due to physical limitations, I was always overthinking things, and I never dealt with it very well.
"I also found it very tough to switch off and have a proper break over the past year or so, partly because of these physical problems. Actually, I don't think I can remember the last time I had a proper holiday: I was always doing some kind of fitness or recovery work during my holidays, and that meant that I wasn't able to switch off from tennis. I guess I just want it so badly. As you may have noticed, I completely changed my serve after Wimbledon. This was because of my shoulder: If I continued serving and training the way I was, I would have almost certainly picked up a serious injury. My team and I are confident that I will be able to go back to my old service motion when I start practicing again in November.
"On the positive side, I am still No. 11 in the world. I have no clue how I am ranked so highly, but to look on the bright side, I can't play any worse than I did this year and I'm still in the top 20! I've learned so much this year. It's a little bit like a few years ago, when I was ranked around No. 14 for almost an entire year, and many people were asking me, 'When are you going to reach the top 10?' Within a year I was there, and within two years I was No. 1. Sometimes you have to go through these experiences in order to become a better player. Despite my disappointments there is not a single doubt in my mind that I will reach the top again and win Grand Slams.
"I have appointed a new fitness coach, whom I will tell you more about later. Over the next month or so I can have a great break. I can rest without thinking about any future tournaments, then train and practice hard for the new season.
"P.S. I'd like to thank my loyal supporters for their encouragement this year. The journey is never easy!"
• Bruins defenseman
• A must-read for
Have a great week, everyone!