How could he not feel the pressure? He knows the history better than anyone and is aware of what's at stake. If, for some reason, he can't win three more rounds, this will forever be framed as the "title that got away."
He figured out the equation against
Everyone thought the men's draw would be The Nadal Show, but now it is as open as the women's side. Sure,
• Unbelievable. But repeating our mantra of the past few weeks: Don't all these counterintuitive twists make it all so fun? I'm still a bit shell-shocked over the Nadal result. But could he have been any more dignified in defeat? Here's a money quote: "So when one player [plays] bad, he must lose. That's what happened today. I have to accept with the same calm when I win than when I lose. After four years I lose here, and the season continue. When you lose, always everybody starts to analyze if I play too much. If I'm tired. The true, I won four years in a row playing the same. That's the true. This year I play the same and I lost. What happen? I lost. That's it."
An unfair comparison perhaps, but did anyone catch
• You write that jokingly. But I bet a half-dozen people wrote me saying, "Your picks are clueless. Nadal and Djokovic are both out!" (Naturally, we should have foreseen Soderling a mile away -- never mind that he lost to Nadal 6-0, 6-1 just last month.) Logically, yes, Federer and Murray are the likely finalists. But where does logic get us? We're taking a break from picks for the rest of the tournament.
• Let's take these in order:
1) Agree. If you can hit a 95 mph fastball with fans cheering, a mascot distracting you and Lady Gaga on the P.A. system, you can return
2) Disagree. If anything, I'd like less analysis and play-by-play. There's one ESPN commentator who is particularly adept at stating the obvious. "Crosscourt forehand winner." Yup. It's not radio. I'm watching the same action you are.
If it's 2 p.m. and you're watching tennis (often on tape delay), odds are good that you don't need someone to explain that an ace is unreturnable.
3) Not sure the setting works, but I like anything that stresses the mano-a-mano. I also like the idea of "ring entrance" music. Let the players walk out to Smashing Pumpkins'
4) Hate on-court coaching. There's no value added and it was a cheesy corruption of the sport's spirit.
5) Agree. Sports fans have an insatiable appetite for stats and tennis under-serves them. The various alphabet soups should hire
6) Sure. Though extra cameras don't come cheap.
7) You're preaching to the choir on this one. But best-of-five has its advocates, and they betray a vocal passion to rival PETA.
8) A no-brainer. But this has been on the table for decades and here we are, unable to tell Govortsova from Kleybanova without the benefit of a program.
9) You lost me at "get together."
10) Totally agree. Not only would a "shot clock" be entertaining for fans, but also it would end subjectivity about whether Djokovic took six hours or just 5:58 between serves.
• The stat is a teensy bit misleading. His "rookie" year, he missed Roland Garros with an injury. The first year played as a pro, 2005, he ran the table. Proverbially speaking.
• Or, more charitably, what does it say about Serena Williams?
• Give it up for
Reporter: Let me make you a little question about men's draw. Do you think that anybody could win or beat Nadal here? And in this case, who?
Dementieva: Well, it looks like he's tired; I mean, he actually looks a little bit tired to me. Even he's winning pretty easily his first two rounds, it doesn't look like he's fresh enough. Maybe he was playing too much.
• Just to repeat, Nadal d. Soderling 6-0, 6-1 in Rome.
• Anyone else guessing the pink shirt may be retired?
• This might be my favorite e-mail of the week:
• Three times
In the L.A. Tennis Open Men's USTA $50,000 final, 31-year-old