Most of the mail this week both rebutted and supported my suggestion that
Anyway, with a plea a) to keep things civil and b) remember that none of this is meant to diminish legends, I'm happy to continue discussing...
• Thanks. I don't accord quite so much weight to doubles. But I think Josh's letter is interesting insofar as it shows how different fans value different factors. Also, another point in Serena's favor: She's on the verge of earning a "box set" the major trophies -- singles, doubles and mixed at all four Slams.
• For the record, race and ethnicity came up a lot and it cut both ways. If Serena weren't American, no one would consider her the GOAT. This is just political correctness run amok. No wait, if only she were blonde and blue-eyed, this discussion would be closed.
• That's Hoosier logic right there. Eric raises a good point: Watching Serena is like watching hockey. It's appreciably more gripping in person than on television.
• No question Serena's play at run-of-the-mill events drops considerably from her play at majors (hence the lower winning percentage). And no question this is a point against her. But how much weight do we really accord the titles in Tokyo and Hilton Head and the like?
• Serena, days removed from Wimbledon, loses an exhibition in Clijsters' home country. I'm not sure I'd read too much into that. Let's move on...
• This was discussed at Wimbledon as well. Would these guys go the way of
Inasmuch as there was a whole lot of physical deterioration -- remember, Mahut played a long doubles match in the days that followed -- I suspect the grass had a lot to do with it. As long as those guys played, the points were short.
• Very interesting. Thanks. And if any you have observations/tips like this in the future, feel free to pass it on!
• Seles' situation was so sadly unique, I'm reluctant use it for any analogies. I think some of Henin's problem has been her approach. Her great virtue in Career 1.0 was her variety. The "completeness" of her game was her great weapon. The baseline-a-trons saw her attacking and mixing up pace and junking up one ball and then zapping the next and her opponents were thrown. The Justine I've seen in 2010 is trying mostly to prove she can slug with the sluggers. And the results have been humbling.
• As a of a year ago, anyway, Toni was not paid a salary by Nadal. Instead his brother (Rafael's father) gave him a share of the family business. Toni rightfully felt it was demeaning to be on his nephew's payroll. "Our business went well so I don't need money. When Rafael's father say to me, 'No, no, no, you must be paid,' I said, 'No, I don't want to receive money from him because I want to be the chief. If I receive money, maybe he is chief.' And this way, when I want to go, I go. I am never going to carry Rafael's bag, because I am on the same level -- no, not same level. A little higher."
• By show court, I meant Centre Court
• She watched it in band camp. (Roddick was kidding.)
• That just meant the opponent won his next match (Soderling def. Berdych; Berdych def. Djokovic) and then lost in the final.
• Anonymous notes: "
• On July 14, Billie Jean King will join First Lady
• "I Remember Arthur Ashe: Memories of a True Tennis Pioneer and Champion of Social Causes by the People Who Knew Him" is a timely book that further pays tribute to this athlete, not through mere biography, but rather through anecdotes from those closest to him. The book, edited by sportswriter
• This week's unsolicited book recommendation: