Federer-Nadal has become as polarizing as American politics
• It's such a shame that, at least in some quarters, Federer-Nadal has become as polarizing as American politics. Any reference to Federer suddenly becomes a referendum against all things Nadal. Any reference to Nadal -- hey, it would be nice if he declined mid-match coaching -- becomes a wedge for the Federer loyalists.
Whether you like it or not, Federer's name has surfaced in this unpleasant episode. (Don't take my word for it: Just fire up Google.) When the head of IMG is making $40,000 bets on one IMG player and against another*, it deserves to be "brought up." Sorry, Anna, them's the rules. At the same time, my intention was to reshape the discussion and douse sensationalism, criticizing Fortsmann for sensationally bad judgment while trying to make clear that Federer should not be blamed.
• Are there other options? Look, it's no secret that the WTA field is riddled with holes or -- more optimistically framed -- possibilities. (When Billie Jean King says
• Some of you -- from around the globe, I hasten to add -- responded with passion to Gina's letter.
Chris Bennett of Springfield, Va., notes: "... and these folks with job-related issues:
James of Media, Pa.: "The mean-spirited letter by Gina from Genoa, in which she takes a cheap dig at you and the entire United States, was disheartening, but it was also an attempt to use tragic situations without much historical context or connection to facts. I think is disrespectful to the situations she invokes. On the one hand, she holds up atrocities and specifically mentions Kosovo and then says we (the United States) are the most self-indulgent country on earth, but she fails to mention (or perhaps is uninformed) that a significant factor in halting the atrocities in Kosovo was the decision of this self-indulgent country to get involved in a fig and shed American blood (at least 20 U.S. soldiers lost their lives) solely to help another country in need, not for any material gain. She's trying to draw a contrast but fails, since her very example backfires. She acts as if she is doing so much by feeling sentiment for Kosovo, but if you ask them what matters, it is the real people who get results and did something for them, namely this self-indulgent country."
Jana of Atlanta: "I love all countries and would never make a sweeping claim that one country is self-indulgent. Just look at the facts, though. Italy leads the world with 42 paid vacation days. That is over one month of the year she can get paid to indulge herself. I don't think that's bad actually, but just look at the U.S. with an average of 13 days paid vacation. You can make many criticisms about us, some are true and some are not, but we are mostly out there working 50 weeks of the year to make ends meet and pay bills, not getting paid to lounge and indulge ourselves."
• The event is the "If Stockholm Open." Which always sounds like the start of a Scandinavian logic riddle. If Stockholm, then not Copenhagen!
• Point taken. But I'll go one step further: I'm as guilty as anyone, but how about a fatwa forbidding the use of "stunned" period? I have a mental picture of a tennis player losing unexpectedly and then being subjected to an electric cattle prod or hooked up to electrodes. Some losses are more surprising than others. But shocking? Not really.
• If anyone want to traffic in analytics, I'm be happy to run the results. My gut tells me that Hingis had the better career. Hingis was the superior doubles player, came within an ill-timed teenage tantrum of the career Slam and got the better of ASV when they were contemporaries. But a quick scan of their respective careers and I'm not so sure. Good question.
• When I watch
• I've said it before: You guys form a terrifically diverse "tennis focus group." While the grunting doesn't bother me, I definitely hear about it from you guys. I bet I've gotten more than 100 e-mails this year complaining that the sound effects have made tennis unwatchable. If I'm running the WTA -- note: It's no longer the WTA Tour -- I'm thinking long and hard about this.
• I think most of us agree that Tennis Channel is a force of good. (The usual disclaimer: On occasion I do some work for the network.) But the fact remains that too many fans
And one wishes there was more original and innovative programming -- which, yes, costs money, but will ultimately provide much more viewer satisfaction than reheats of the Doha semifinals, much less World TeamTennis matches from the '70s. With any luck, Tennis Channel picks up full rights to Indian Wells and Key Biscayne and then uses this as leverage in its Isner-Mahut marathon fight against Cablevision et al.
• Yes, props to Eric Butorac, proud son of the Midwest, who won still another title last weekend. Sharko?
• Remember a player named Daja Bedanova? Didn't think so. She was a Czech baseliner with a solid, smooth game. She turned pro in 2000 and was the WTA's Newcomer of the Year, following Kim Clijsters and preceding Daniela Hantuchova. She cracked the top 20 while still a teenager. Then she gets hurt. She burns through her protected ranking and then needs to grovel for wild cards. While she's a vaguely household name, she's no Serena Williams. She's not a drawing card outside of Ostrava. She doesn't have the big Nike deal. The Czech Federation doesn't have much pull. Suddenly she's consigned to grinding for points in lower level events. By 2005, she's retired.
In Kiefer's case, he is 33 and hasn't been in the mix for a while. He's ranked outside the top 500. He's played four matches in 2010. While he has some name recognition, I'm not sure fans are bull-rushing the turnstiles to see him play. Sadly, this is the fate for many players. If they want to revive their career, it's the Futures tour, making all local stops.
• So much for the feel-good Wimbledon story about the erratic head case who's finally found consistency. As I write this, he has a losing record post-Wimbledon and only two of his eight losses have come to top 10 players.
• Good on ya, mate. And now for something completely different (though still Australian) ...
• Stay klassy! I think civilization may have hit a new low.
• Jim Courier
• As you no doubt know, Justin Gimelstob is running the New York Marathon and is using the occasion to raise some funds for charity. Probably easiest to go to his
• Thrifty of Adelaide, Australia, writes: "It doesn't quite settle your bet with Alistair regarding players using challenges to their own disadvantage, but at the Adelaide ATP event many years ago (no challenge system in operation) Pat Rafter was match point down. His opponent hit a ball that was called out. Pat saw the ball as good and conceded the match. You might have seen the same Pat Rafter was this week named as Australia's Davis Cup captain. Hopefully it marks the dawn of a new era for Australian men's tennis."
• Raul Amezquita of Evanston, Ill., recalls: "From what I remember, Mats Wilander did just that as a young player at Roland Garros in 1982, which he won that year. The match was, if I remember well, the semifinal against Jose Luis Clerc, the overwhelming favorite. The play was none other than match point in favor of Wilander. Clerc's shot was called out on Wilander's baseline, which Mats rightfully corrected after the point has been awarded to him, giving him the match. The point was repeated at his request. He ended up winning the match and the tournament a couple days later."
• Steve Ballamy regarding
• Andre Agassi
• Gabriel of Paris kindly sends
• Multiple readers have suggested this for long lost siblings: