Despite decline, don't be quick to totally give up on Nadal; more mail
• For all the strange occurrences in 2009, the return of the Belgians, the revival of Federer,
Clearly the injuries to his knees have figured prominently in this slide. So has the breakup of his parents' marriage. But it's downright jarring to see him making unforced errors and coming up emptier than the Patriots on fourth down when the stakes are highest. Here's a player whose won countless matches on mental strength alone
Going into London, Nadal had a chance to finish the year at No. 1. But really, his results since May, might not even be worthy of the top five.
So am I buying, selling or holding? We all like buying on the dip, but it's hard to load up given the recent slide and lingering concerns about physical durability. It would be foolhardy to sell, given what we know about the athletes and the rapidly-changing tennis storylines. Put me down for a hold, albeit a nervous one. I think Nadal still has plenty of top-tier tennis left. But no question, after five years of an upward trajectory, his career has hit some turbulence and the fasten seatbelt signs are illuminated.
• Remember last year when the ATP had to summon
• There's a great game theory/prisoner's dilemma exercise here. The top players have the political and economic capital to affect meaningful change. But it's not in their professional best interest to spend their limited free time engaging labor issues. (And imagine the free rider issue: "While you guys are in a conference room debating prize money, I'll be on the practice courts working on my game!") The players with the time to fight management and agitate for better working conditions, don't have the juice. I wrote and half jokingly that
• Inconceivable! Indirectly, you are restating one of my points about gambling: you are a fool to bet on tennis, not because there's match fixing, but because there's so much asymmetrical information. If you happen to be at a tournament, you're armed with superior information to the guy home on his laptop. If you happen to have "behind-the-scenes access," you have still better information. If you happen to subscribe to player X's Twitter feed, you might be privy to additional information. ("At Delta counter making reservation because no way I win tomorrow." "I am about to pop this Lidocaine tablet.")
• As I see it, Agassi seals Hingis' enshrinements. Leaving aside historical contradictions -- just run a Wikipedia search and not how many current enshrinees have admitted to illicit drug use -- how do you possibly exclude Hingis now? Agassi not only admits drug use, but admits fabricating an alibi to avoid punishment. Hingis vigorously denies use. Agassi escaped punishment. Hingis did not.
• Agree wholeheartedly. And it's especially bad in the sports world. I cringe when I think of the former Mets pitcher who clearly suffered depression, yet his condition was spun as "withdrawal symptoms after he gave up chewing tobacco." One of the most poignant quotes I've ever gotten:
Discuss: Apart from genetics, some of the great risk factors for mental illness are stress and social instability (and head injuries!). I would contend that tennis players -- no guaranteed salaries, financial stress, individual sport, immense travel, lack of a sense of place -- would be prime candidates.
• I agree that the goodwill Agassi engendered during his farewell tour has evaporated fast. When he walked into locker room after his final match at the U.S. match, he got a standing O from his contemporaries. Now, they're out for blood. Talking with players and coaches, I'm hearing three basic lines of complaint. The quotes are mine:
1) "This WADA drug policy is a huge pain ... We're tested all the time, often intrusively, and we there's a paperwork error we can Wickmayered. It's bad enough as it is. When you come out of the woodwork and it only makes things more onerous for us." (See: Nadal, et al.)
2) "Dude, you took food off my table. You should have been suspended-you admit as much. And when you, instead, played and enjoyed an unsullied reputation, you robbed others of prize money, points, appearance fees, endorsement lucre."
3) "If I catch my daughter kissing her boyfriend, I'm not mad about the kissing. I'm mad because I wonder what else was going on. Now that Agassi has aired this bit of dirty laundry, I wonder what other misdeeds were swept under the rug."
• " I am. Without reservation. " I can only assume that you are talking about the US version and not the UK version :-)
• You know, I think I would still put "30 Rock" above the British office.
• Nice "get" by
• The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced that U.S. Air Force Academy head women's tennis coach
• Admit it, you miss
• Tennis books make a great Christmas gift.
• Been asked to spread the word, so ....New York readers, here are the details of the
• This is
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!