Mailbag: Will old rivals create new fireworks at Garden exhibition?
• Good question in anticipation of the BNP Paribas Showdown on Monday in Manhattan. My sense is that there's some lingering uneasiness between Sampras and Agassi. (Filip Bondy
As for McEnroe/Lendl, I have higher (er, lower) expectations. Lendl returns after sitting long enough to heal his back (and satisfy the good folks at Lloyd's of London). Who knows where his game is right now. Lendl was never, of course, a hothead. And my strong suspicion is that at this stage of life, he is incapable of summoning the competitive juices to get worked up over a line call or a botched forehand. McEnroe, on other hand is as competitive as ever. A few years ago, I saw McEnroe go absolutely ballistic in a Legends match. I assumed -- foolishly -- that it was Globetrotter shtick or part of his compensation package. ("Hey John, could ya fire up something for the memory bank and lose it on a line judge?") Another competitor laughed at me. "John's like this all the time. He just loses it out there." Sure enough, later that summer there was a strange incident in World TeamTennis. There was also, apparently, a prolonged outburst in Delray last year.
Go ahead and say what you will about a man north of 50 going ballistic over a volunteer line judge's competence. To me there's still something perversely admirable about someone so committed and passionate and hellbent on perfection. (My fallback defense of McEnroe: at least he cares.) Anyway, especially against an opponent with whom he has a textured history, especially in a relatively high-stakes match (pride being greater than prize money), I think we have decent "extracurricular" potential.
• A few points here. 1) Yes, there was a wire story asserting that Wozniacki never reached a Grand Slam final. Not so. She lost to Clijsters in the 2009 U.S. Open final. 2) "You tennis writers" is often erroneous. For a variety of reasons, there are very few tennis writers out there. The majority of accounts are compiled by general assignment writers. Which is why players occasionally win sets 7-4 or why Roger Federer is Swedish. 3) The questions still pour in fiercely pro and against Wozniacki. I'm not sure I get the controversy. She lacks a major title, which robs her top ranking of some heft. Again, this isn't just subjective. The WTA's own points allotment make clear that those four events are the biggies. By the same token, Wozniacki has played sufficiently well at the other tournaments to hold a points lead. Would it be nice if she complemented her strong overall play with a big title? Yes. Should we deprive her of her ranking because she hasn't done so? No. Not sure what I'm missing here.
Here's a take from Les Banas of Las Vegas: "Here is my two-cent contribution to this seemingly never-ending discussion on the No. 1 ranking and winning (or not) Grand Slams. I think this knocking down the number players who never won a Grand Slam may be more American, rather than global, way of thinking. Let me use analogies from other sports. Here in America, no one remembers a major league team that finshes the season at the top of the league standings; only the team that wins the playoffs counts. And that attitude is somehow applied to tennis. Let's compare that, say, to Tour de France, where the winner of the race is just that: Alberto Contador won Tour de France without winning a single stage of the race and that did not take anything from his glory. We probably should agree that both achievements, being ranked No. 1 and winning Grand Slams, should stand on their own merit, despite the fact that they are intrinsically connected."
• The USTA's Tim Curry, one of the good guys in tennis, answers: "A four-person team will be submitted to the ITF on Tuesday per the rules (10 days out of the event). Jim can change up to two of the players originally nominated up to one hour before the draw ceremony (on Thursday, the day before play begins). That is when the roster is finalized and no adjustments can be made.
• Says Kevin Fischer of the WTA: "The first tiebreaker for WTA doubles rankings is overall points. The ranking points are based on the best 11 results. In the example of the Bryan brothers, they have the same ranking points, but as listed on the ATP website, lists different number of tournaments. After talking with Sharko here in Memphis, he explained that Bob Bryan played Davis Cup, hence the different total number of tournaments. However, participation in Davis Cup does not affect the rankings."
• Man, in this climate? If you find a sponsor, you don't care how cumbersome the name,
• Shouts are out. And if Frank Deford wrote a grocery list and put it on Amazon, we would download it for our Kindle.
Interesting point about Rusedski. On the other hand, let the record reflect Raonic was born in what was then Yugoslavia. (As, interestingly, was Daniel Nestor.) New rule: we just defer to players on matters of ethnicity. If they say they're from Country X, they're from Country X.
Speaking -- indirectly -- of Raonic we had fun on Twitter discussing this. In the spirit of Carmelo Anthony, what would the USTA have to give up to Tennis Canada to get Raonic? I'm suggesting Querrey, Blake, Donald Young, use of a luxury suite at the U.S. Open and Arlen Kantarian's pension plan.
• Nice. All the more reason, we eagerly await the emergence of Jack Sock. Sock still not recovered? Check the dryer.
• Usually the loser goes first. There's always that awkwardness when the players' chairs are on opposite sides and they have to cross over each other while the handshake is ongoing. ("After you!" "No, after you!") Lots of choreography there.
• New York readers, I'll be doing a Varsity Letters event on
• Gilbert Benoit of Ottawa: "Just for the record: everyone is calling Milos Raonic a wild-card entrant at San Jose, but that is actually wrong. Even though he was given a wild card, he did not need it: he ended up squeezing in as the last player to make the cut (I am assuming that there was a late pull out)."
• Congrats to John Frederick Bodnar Snider, 7 lbs. 13 oz and 19.5 inches. Consider this an early Google hit.
• Top-seeded Emory rallied from a 2-0 deficit to capture its fourth ITA National Division III men's team indoor title with a with a 6-3 victory over Washington University, which resulted in a repeat 6-3 Emory victory in a finals rematch from the 2009 championship.
• Astute Herr Doktor Professor M. Howard, Ph.D./J.D. (anticipated) of Washington D.C. gets bonus points for noticing the name "Menendez."
• Stacey Tan's three-set victory powered No. 1 Stanford to a 4-2 win over No. 2 Florida on Monday en route to capturing a record 10th ITA national women's team indoor title.
• The top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers made history today at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Washington by capturing an unprecedented fourth straight ITA national team indoor title, topping No. 3 Tennessee, 4-0, in a rematch from last year's championship match. The only other school to win more than two in a row was Stanford, which won the first three events in the mid-1970s.
• Bob Bryant has been named tournament director of the Atlanta Tennis Championships, which will be played at the Racquet Club of the South July 18-24, 2011. Effective immediately, Bryant will also serve as USTA Southern Director of Sales & Marketing, covering nine states and about one-quarter of the U.S. membership.
• A favorite artist, Alyce Grunt, is
• Jelena Jankovic is
• Ivan H. of New York offers a long, lost sibling submission, triplet style:
Have a great week, everyone!