Federer's inconvenient truth, tabling GOAT talk and more
We're on vacation this week and next, so the 'bags might be thinner than normal....
Again, I encourage realism on both sides. Federer's run of winning 90 percent of his matches as a matter of course lasted for four-plus glorious years. Inevitably, it had to come to an end, the same way the housing market had to cool off eventually. We wish the boom times could last forever but that's not how capitalist markets work and it's not how human nature works either. Inasmuch as you can call a "slump" two Grand Slam finals and a Grand Slam semi, Federer's result are, indisputably, down this year. Whether or not the rankings reflect it this week, next week or after the Open, the torch has been passed to
Having said that, who's to say that Federer can't reclaim his spot. The housing will rebound eventually. Federer can as well. He's barely in his late 20s. He's still immensely talented. His "annus miserabilis" is a dream season for any other player. These rumors of his quitting tennis after Beijing are preposterous. Part of being a champion is responding to defeat and adversity. How Federer bounces back (or doesn't) to the Challenge of Nadal will be a vital chapter in his legacy. Stay tuned.
• I made a vow to cut down on these hypotheticals, but like my beloved wasabi-covered peas, they're just so darn irresistible. I might put a U.S. Open title, a Masters Cup title, an Olympic gold (and a French Open final and Wimbledon final) up against two Slams. Which is to say that unless Federer absolutely runs the table from here on out, Nadal is the 2008 MVP.
• I must have gotten a dozen e-mails asking the same question, and methinks there's a letter-writing campaign underway. I'll take up the cause here. I don't fault the USTA for declining to give a wild card to the overseas 24-year-old ringer who came to State U (or Princeton for that matter) under dubious circumstances and ran the table. But given Devvarman's career at UVA, his academic record there, and his early success as a pro, I think there's a strong case to be made here. And he CERTAINLY deserves a wild card into qualies.
• Thanks, though let the record reflect that Guga ended up winning the match. And Johnny Mac, if you're out there, read above. For more on match points, go to the end ...
• Intended pun v/v "huge steps"? Safina has made immense strides (ba-dum-bum) in recent months and, having won L.A. last weekend, she's pretty much a de facto U.S. Open contender. I still think there are a few mental questions that need to be addressed, but I put her as a shortlister right now.
• A few of you have asked this recently. Just a childhood habit that he's continued as a pro. Plus, he gets his RDA of zinc and iron.
• Dude is 22 and he's won Wimbledon and four French Opens. Not crazy to speculate: "If he continues on this trajectory where might he end up?" A long way to go, to be sure, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to spin the clock forward and play the "what if" game. Sort of like
• Good point. Let's table the GOAT discussion for a while.
• I'm getting conflicting reports on this, but I wanted to print Gautam's account. Let's give D.C. a pass here.
• Young did qualify for the Toronto TMS event, so give him credit for that. And let's not forget that he's just turned 19. But, yes, this has not exactly been the breakthrough year many anticipated. I think there are a few things going on here.
The book on Young is that he's long on talent and short on temper. The midmatch meltdown is a question of when, not if. One coach told me that players know they just need to hang with him, because eventually he'll beat himself. He also lacks a real weapon. The funkadelic lefty style makes for fun viewing, but it's ultimately not sustainable without a bread-and-butter shot and a bigger serve.
There are also the (euphemism alert) "coaching issues." I certainly commiserate with any parent who is reluctant to cede control over their kid's life/career. But at some point...well, what was it Sting crooned? "If you love someone ...
• Peer, Chakvetadze, Bartoli. There are a handful of mid-level WTA players who seem to be operating on fumes right now. If we take it as a given that the season is too long, it stands to reason that players -- particularly the ones who enter too many events -- will go through lulls. I think you either have to risk angering the tour and playing selectively, or you play full-time and it's just a given that you won't be close to 100 percent mentally and physically.
• I like
• Let's take this opportunity to comment on the "Favre fiasco." Admittedly, I have no idea what it's like to have an exceptional talent and then walk away knowing that my life will likely savour of anticlimax, as Fitzgerald put it, from here on out. I don't blame these figures one bit (see:
• From the new book "The Bud Collins History of Tennis," the most match points saved in a match, 1930 United States vs. Italy Davis Cup series, opening match
• World No. 18
• In response to the linked Slate article about
While I understand Hsu's dislike for Chang in that he reinforced the Chinese-American stereotype (aka being the hard worker but not the flashy All-American star), Hsu should not be personally blaming Chang, but the American commentators who cast him in that light. Why is everyone so concerned that Chang is Chinese and that he's inspiring Chinese-Americans? Why can't he inspire all Americans? He's American.
I remember one interview on ESPN where the commentator asked him about progress in Chinese tennis. Michael responded that he hoped that it would gain more popularity for the sake of sport -- but that he [cared] little about it. He said he was more focused upon American tennis. (And rightly so, he's American.)
Sure Chang played alongside American greats like Courier and Sampras, who won way more slams than he. But still, Chang won the French and he was No. 2 in the world for some time. He may not deserve to be in the GOAT, but he definitely deserves better than all these chats surrounding his race.
• The USTA announced the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation will be re-branded as USTA Serves -- Foundation for Academics. Character. Excellence. (ACE). With the new title, the 14-year-old Foundation will continue its mission of changing lives through tennis and education. The re-brand will heighten awareness of the Foundation's philanthropic initiatives. The ACE acronym, which focuses on life skills that stretch well beyond tennis, will also broaden the public's understanding of the Foundation's mission.
• On a sad note. Long time tennis supporter
HAVE A GOOD WEEK EVERYONE!