Hey everyone, I'm on vacation this week. I'll be back Day One of the French. Maybe we'll try to do a live Twitter chat during the event.
Fair enough. We've discussed this before. When the WTA recaps
Bud Collins wouldn't be caught dead in Nadal's plaids.
Seriously, quite apart from Federer's playing a non-mandatory event in Estoril and still making time to attend a kids' clinic, note his level of interest and engagement. (There's a great story about
If anyone quotes me on this, I'll deny it. But you can sneak into the Bullring pretty easily. Just act like you know what you're doing.
Yes, for all that ails tennis -- tragic television coverage, the never-ending quest for sponsorship, injuries galore -- gigantic ballkids looms largest. And is it me, or is "ballkids" the biggest misnomer this side of "Comfort Inn"? At some of these events the on-court attendants are sufficiently old enough to require their food cut into small bite-sized pieces lest their dentures become clogged.
Oddly, that question came up a few months ago. The corporate response: If we had to pay volunteers, we would no longer be making nine-figure revenues. But I think the better answer is that everyone wins. Just about every volunteer I've ever spoken with is thrilled to be part of the show. They get to peer backstage and see tennis "up close and personal." They usually get some swag as well as some free tickets. The gig is a fun diversion from their day jobs. There are often more volunteers than there are positions. And, as you imply, the events benefit because they get free labor. If the volunteers get all Norma Rae (or
Totally. I would add that it's especially so in this case. Nadal is one of the few players with the street cred to correct the all-too-popular misconception that tennis is a sport of entitled. Here's a handsome, cool, colorful, ripped athlete that the kids love. (Check out Babolat's sales figures if you don't believe me.) Why on earth would you want to undermine that image by plying him with a half-million dollar watch and the kind of outfit you'd expect to see at a Harvard 40th reunion? Can we start some sort of "Bring back the sleeveless shirt and clamdiggers" Facebook group?
Why would that be odd, much less disturbing? They're two sisters; they're terrific players; they've won roughly half the Majors played over the last decade. Why wouldn't it be interesting to know which opponents pulled off the formidable feat of beating them each in one tournament? What am I missing here?
We'll say it once, we'll say it every week: The tennis narrative is like the weather in Texas. Don't like it? Wait ten minutes and it will change. Even with Clijsters out of the French, compare where we were a year ago versus now.
I keep hearing that Hingis is planning a bona fide comeback, so think of this as a dry run. Stay tuned.
Agree. Take a stand, Karen!
"Well, gosh golly, Mr. McEnroe. In Stone Mountain, foul language like that would get you kicked out of the church taffy pull!"
• In case you missed it, here's the
• Speaking of: CNN is
• Tennis history was made this past weekend in Georgia, where the Walton High girls tennis team in Marietta (another Atlanta suburb which produced
• New York area readers
• Babolat will sponsor a tennis T-shirt design contest on Sports Illustrated Group's SIKids.com. Babolat encourages children to get in the spirit with an art contest to kick off the 2010 French Open. The Babolat tennis T-shirt contest invites readers of SI Kids to draw their favorite Team Babolat player -- Rafael Nadal,
• Enter the French Open suicide pool
Have a great week, everyone!