I can't imagine
The tour has missed her, no doubt, in a catty kind of way. It's just not the same when
Nobody really knows for sure what's going on with Serena. We do know that she sounded decidedly humbled in talking about her chances in Rome, indicating it might take her a while to get match-tough. But as you examine the field, you can't help but wonder: Why can't she win the thing?
Going down through the rankings, starting with No. 2 (yes, Serena remains No. 1): Wozniacki has been playing with a sore ankle and clearly isn't 100 percent.
That takes care of the Top 10, although the biggest stories lie beneath.
Checking in on other fronts:
• Fed Cup captain
Oudin is adamant about the team remaining intact, saying, "I don't know if that will happen, but if we do end up winning [against Italy, led by
Solution: Venus and Serena do the right thing and tell Fernandez they will pass. Congratulate Oudin, Mattek-Sands and
• Those involved with the Serbian team were not thrilled when
"Jelena missed only one match for Serbia in the last 10 years. This time she flew 48 hours across half the world to play, despite a serious wrist injury. At the same time, somebody else had coffee somewhere. I think the organization failed this time. Why were our political elite and tennis officials absent? Those in charge should think: Does anybody care about women's tennis? Do we need a Fed Cup team at all?"
That quaint little Serbian story, all about world-class players emerging from the rubble of a war-torn landscape, seems to have lost a bit of luster.
• It was quite a week for
Gulbis' next step is to conquer his nerves. He admitted that he was "shaking" while trying to put away the legendary Federer, and when it came to the final game against Nadal, "I would have preferred him to serve," Gulbis admitted. "It was a little bit of extra pressure for me, and I rushed things, tried to win the points too early or too fast."
Still, Gulbis' progress is duly noted. "I thought two years ago he could be top 10," Nadal said after the match. "Then he started losing to some people and sometimes I didn't understand. But now I think he can do it for sure."
As for Nadal, who shrugged off an annoying rain delay and downed