Best value in sports, Roger Wed-erer's decline and new rankings
I'm back from a week off. One of my new
• Attending a pro tennis event -- at least midweek -- has to be the best value in sports. The sessions last eight hours or so, you're entitled to move around and, most important, you get a full slate of matches. When the Knicks or Dodgers mail it in, you're out of luck and no amount of dance routines or T-shirt giveaways can mask that. In tennis, if you get a dog of a match, sit tight. The next one will be better.
• The practice courts remain the sport's unkept secret. If a band or a Broadway show opened rehearsal (at no extra charge!), fans would fall over themselves to attend. Funny how
• There's a reason why companies sponsor tennis events. Even at a modestly sized event, even in the throes of a recession, it was hard not to notice the makes of cars in the parking lot. It was like an S class showroom. Tennis is wise to market itself as accessible. The sport is not, contrary, to perception, expensive to play. But let's not fool ourselves: There are a lot of wealthy people in the stands.
• Sell the foreigners. I was impressed with
"Who's up next?"
"Don't know. Two girls whose names I can't pronounce!"
• Quick and simple: Tennis needs a ranking system that, yes, rewards merit, but also one that incentivizes frequent appearances. The top players -- Venus and
• I'll see your "Fodderer" and raise you "Wed-erer." We'll say it once, we'll say it again: Federer is clearly in a state of decline at the moment. But how do you write off such an accomplished player so cavalierly? His days of winning three Slams each calendar year are no longer; on the other hand, it's not hard to envision him catching a few lucky breaks and bagging another few Slams.
• We kid the Paris of Manitoba, the Athens of the Canadian prairie, the Rome of the convergence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. After we were told to lay off Milwaukee, Dubai and Rotterdam, well, we needed a new city to pick on. We'll find a new target. Wichita: It's on.
• I submit that if these two (KuzMo? Svetelie?) played together consistently, they could easily be the best doubles team going. With the athleticism, hard serving, all-surface play and volleys, there's little reason they couldn't replicate their success in Miami.
• Dude was going absolutely nuts when
• I still say the WTA will be fine in the long run. These things go in cycles and in a few years we'll see some newly minted stars. Let's just hope there's a bit more on-court variety. I think the problem is less personality than robotic, "power baseline" bashing.
• Is it me, or is reacting favorably to "GDay" as reflexive as turning the dial when
• Fair point. And you're right that -- for better or worse -- that's precisely the kind of line Fan A would utter to Fan B watching at home. Problem is, we have this pesky FCC as well as a standard that announcers rise above the decorum level of Joe Six Pack. If an American commentator had made that remark, he'd have been suspended in less time than it would take you to read this sentence. (Insert
• As they say on
• You want props? You got props. Davydenko is definitely one of the odder ducks in the tennis tribe. But the man can strike a clean ball. Beating Karlovic on clay is one thing, but the win against Nalbandian is of the "quality" variety.
• I'd be willing to bet this has happened before, particularly with all those "-ovas," "-evas" and "-inas." But if someone wants to come confirm, I'm happy to send on a prize.
• Our new
• This week's unsolicited book recommendation, my colleague
• A new book by
"A tale of two cities. Basel, Switzerland: 'Mirka, I know we are supposed to go on our honeymoon after the wedding but I've decided to accept a wild card for Monte Carlo in order to get more match play on clay this season. You know how important the Roland Garros crown is to me.'
• The United States Professional Tennis Association announced the launch of tennis-health.com, a Web site supporting the "Tennis -- for the health of it!" initiative.
• Sharapova is out as a Pepsi endorser.
• Remember the group samprasfanz, trying to get a statue of its man erected at the U.S. Open? We get this report from
"We have also found a great sculptor,
• Major props to former
• Monica Seles is returning to SIRIUS XM Radio to host a five-week series on which she will share her personal experiences through May 13.
• With the first event of the year set to start in Barcelona on Thursday, the ATP Champions Tour has launched its new
• Here's a bonus, from
Have a great week, everyone!