Defending Maria Sharapova
• Man, lots of you guys are hammering Sharapova. First it was the dress; then it was the loss and then surly press conference afterwards. I see a player who still doesn't fully trust her body, whose shaky movement has been exposed, and whose confidence isn't what it once was. I also see a player who still can hit through most players when she's on, and has the capacity for supreme self-belief. I'm going glass-half-full here and predicting she works through her service problems, regains her mental game and wins another Major or two before she's done. The dress? That I cannot defend.
• I'm not sure where to begin here. For one, until you see the contract, be wary of these endorsement figures. Every side has an agenda here and there's a lot of incentive to inflate figures. I remember one player's announced seven-figure deal with Nike. Only problem: the seven figures included a bonus that kicked in if she won every Grand. (On a related note, my cousin's net worth is $160 million; but that's contingent on his winning the next Powerball jackpot.)
In some cases, companies expect athletes to move product. But relationship is also about association and exposure.
• I won't trouble Sharko, who's an ATP employee. But I will offer a prize to the first person to furnish a plausibly correct answer.
• Could be worse. At least I didn't call him a Tiger. Goat = Greatest of all Time.
• Technically, you're right. But I submit that gender is often implied. Roger Federer is the all-time Grand Slam winner; do we really need to qualify by expressly adding "male"?
• Did impressionists like absinthe? For most players, the great drawback of Australia is the flight. No sugar-coating that. But after that, what's not to like? The crowds are great. The city is great. Most of the players stay a few minutes from the facility. The tournament combines the prestige (and purse) of a Major, with the laid-back vibe, of, say, Key Biscayne. And though it's problematic to start the year with such a high-stakes event, it means that the players arrive in full health and optimistic spirits.
• You had me at Air Spank.
Inger of Hamar, Norway, was kind enough to send along this
• Ive, Antwerp, Belguim: With regards to the no drug testing during retirements. Maybe it's good to note that players have to start undergoing drug testing six months before they are allowed to compete again.
• Klip America, the worldwide licensee for Völkl Tennis, announced the hiring of
• Talia Schank of New York, NY: While I'm not surprised that it's still getting so much attention, I do find it rather dismaying that Serena's outburst at the U.S. Open can be "revisited" on major media websites. Good grief. Along those lines, I think Serena pales in comparison to the "player" in
• The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will host a dynamic and diverse schedule of events in the coming months, designed to offer entertainment and education for children to adults, tennis enthusiasts to historians, and casual sports fans to movie buffs. The schedule includes an appearance by Hall of Famer