Do the rankings reward major success, consistent results enough?
• We have some basic rules here. Anyone named Ole Harder, with echoes of a Latin snuff film, gets his question answered. And anyone presenting interesting hypotheticals also gets special dispensation. This one lost me a little but I think I get the point: Just as we don't think twice to consider Serena superior to Safina (and mock the computer that tells us otherwise) why are we so quick to anoint Nadal as the new No. 1 when Federer's overall results have been superior. Leaving aside a few obvious differences between real life and the hypos -- Safina never won the French, as Nadal did last week; Safina did not win her last head-to-head match against Serena -- I think Ole makes a good point.
Here's my answer: This has little to do with points and titles and lots to do with context. Nadal has a track record. He has beaten Federer many times head-to-head. He's already a legend, a lock for the Hall of Fame. He has won three of the four majors over the past two years. He's already been No. 1. For this reason, we are not offended when he regains the throne, even though, as Ole points out, his bona fides appear somewhat flimsy compared to Federer's. In the case of Safina, there was no context. She had (and to this day has) no Slams to her name. She was never previously No. 1. She reached the finals in Paris and laid an egg (for the second straight year) and was then tuned at Wimbledon. There was no heft, no sense that, intuitively, this was so right. So many questioned the system in a way no one is doing with respect to Nadal.
• Nice to see the USTA getting aggressive and doing a little, ahem, recruiting-cum-poaching. Collarini, the junior finalist, was born in New York but came of age in Argentina. Lured by more support -- ah, yes, the American way, taking advantage of countries with soft economics -- he recently relocated to the USTA Training Center in Boca. He reached the junior final in Paris and suddenly becomes a very exciting U.S. prospect -- an "American Nadal" he's already being called.
• I think I'm getting soft as I get older but I can't be so cavalier about administering last rites to someone's career. Blake's recent results are obviously troubling but "done" is too harsh. Is he likely to re-enter the Top 10? No. Might he convalesce his body, pick up a few wild cards and use his forehand and wheels to play competitive tennis for another few years? Sure.
• I hear you. But I also try and have the discussion reflect your email. If the tennis vox populi is talking about Venus' clothes (or Agassi's book or
• That's a fair point. Should have made a better word choice. But I still think Nadal's comprehensive defeat of Soderling in 2010 takes a bit of the shine off the '09 upset. In that Federer-had-mono-in-early-2008 kind of way, you wonder how much Nadal's iffy knees had to do with that loss. But that's just me. And Gavin...
• At some level, we believe in the Aussie tennis shibboleth: "If you're fit, you play. If you play, you're fit." (i.e. once you set foot on the court, you forfeit the right to blame defeat on injury.) But I'm with Gavin here. Props to Soderling for winning that match last year and taking down the beast. But if we're being honest with ourselves, it's hard to overlook Nadal's condition at the time.
• Now it's time for some Soder-love. Three years ago at Wimbledon, he mocked Nadal and they had a few choice words. I would hardly call this "some incredibly bad and inexcusable behavior." A) You're locked in combat and, B) your opponent is taking too long. This is not to condone Soderling but a little perspective please. Since then, the guy has done nothing but win matches -- lots of them -- with a turbo-powered all-purpose game. Far as I can tell, his sportsmanship has been unimpeachable.
• New rule. Anyone from the Northwest Territories with an interest in tennis automatically gets their question answered. What do we think about Nestor? Given the inductees this year -- The Woodies and
• This reminds me of a couple dating in high school:
Federer had been working with
• Thanks. But really, who didn't see this one coming?
• He was a
• No, but Chelsey is the spawn of
• Heaven help us when they discover the Kiss-Cam.
• Francesca Schiavone commits to play Pilot Pen in New Haven. Look for her on Wooster Square.
• Remember the Federer/Nadal, half-grass, half-clay exhibition? Sorry it had to
• Nice to know Florida football coach
• The Farmers Classic will come to a rocking close the day after the 2010 champions are crowned when the L.A. Tennis Center plays host to "KLOS Rocking the Net Starring
Have a great week everyone!