USTA put in tight spot with Mahut wild-card situation, more mail
• This was a hot topic today -- a dearth of upsets will do that. The USTA was in a tight spot here. If they gave Mahut a wild card, there'd be hell to pay.
Here's my question: As part of a reciprocity agreement, why not give one French player -- as determined by the French Federation -- a U.S. Open wild card? (In exchange, an American gets an "automatic in" in Paris.) Why didn't the French Federation go to bat for Mahut instead of
• Interesting point. I'd be more worked up if the women were agitating to play best-of-five tennis. But I've never heard that. So long as they're fine with best of three, why not let them? Best of five would simply lead to longer matches and more injuries, neither of which the sport needs right now.
• Um ... a BBQ brisket sandwich at the food court for $10? No? My shoes? My words? Crow?
• True that. It is a great burger. Let the record reflect: there's a huge perception-reality gap when it comes to U.S. Open food. It's not that expensive relative to public spaces -- let me tell you about $5 pizza slices they offer at baseball games -- and it's quite good.
• Close, but who's counting. The Slams depart from conventional draws -- where the "Round of 16," for instance, would pit 1 versus 16, 2 versus 15, 3 versus 14 and so on. But the seed "bunchings" (1-4, 5-8, 9-16, 17-32) are placed strategically. A top seed could play any seed, 17-32, in the third round. But he or she could never play another top-16 seed. Likewise a top-four seed could never play another top-four seed prior to the semis. Does that make sense? The irony: For all the complications (and questions), I think this technique is preferable. It adds variety, cuts down on the odds that the same two players will meet in the same round of Slams.
• This came up twice this week. Quick rebuttal. A) If there's one player who does not embrace a "PR strategy," it's Clijsters. B) What's she supposed to do? Send her daughter to Six Flags with the nanny the day of the U.S. Open final? I suspect a major motivation for Clijsters' return was the opportunity to have her daughter watch her success. C) If anyone is to blame, it's the media -- one member in particular -- who beat the "mommy trope" with unrelenting frequency.
• Contest time, non-tennis/self-indulgent variety. As some of you know, I'm finishing up a book that's basically "Freakanomics for sports." My co-author and I had a lot of fun with the material and are happy with how it turned out. But we're having a hell of a time with the title. The leaders in the clubhouse are: "The Tip Off," "I Got It" and "We're Number One." The subtitle: The Real Reasons Your Favorite Team Will Win or Lose. If can you top that and the good folks at Random House agree, a Dunlop Biomimetic racket is yours. And in a crowd-sourcing, data-driven way, if you have a strong preference for one title over another, please vote. Thanks much.
• On this, the 10-year anniversary of his title ... who else misses
• Speaking of former champs, here's
• Still more former Grand Slam champs you say? Nice to see
• Discover Financial Services has been named the new title sponsor of the Orange Bowl, the first new sponsor to the BCS since 2003.
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• If you're in New York Thursday and need an alternative to the night session, check out