Federer's ridiculous consistency, worrying about Djokovic and more
• I'm going to say 20 straight semis is king, especially since it encompasses all the major playing surfaces. Just a ridiculous record.
As far as Federer versus Sampras, here's what I dislike about all this nonstop G.O.A.T. talk, inevitable as it may be: It necessarily diminishes the achievements of the best practitioners the sport has known. The amount of ink, pixels and airtime recently devoted to criticizing Sampras' legacy has been remarkable. Over and over we've heard about his failing on clay or his loss to
And as long as we're here -- and before Federer breaks any more records -- I figure this is as good a time as any to applaud Sampras' dignified response to Federer's record-tying victory at the French Open. If Sampras advocates for himself and defends his record, he comes across as an unseemly "glory hog" (what's up, 1972 Miami Dolphins?) who appears so self-impressed and ungracious. If he flat-out admits Federer is the best ever, he undercuts himself and betrays his own competitive instincts. Yet Sampras' mantra -- "If anyone is going to beat my record, I'm glad it's Roger; he's my kind of guy" -- is perfect. Congrats to him for handling this with dignity.
• My crystal ball needs a supplemental warranty. But I'll go with del Potro. One thing I like: All four guys you mention can play on both hard courts and clay courts (and have dicey results on grass.) Didn't used to be like that.
As for your other question, I'm starting to worry about Djokovic. With a few exceptions (like the 2008 Masters Cup), the guy has done very little to build on his 2008 Australian Open title, allegedly his "breakthrough." We've seen a lot of nagging injuries, a lot of claims of exhaustion, a lot of weird losses. And I keep hearing that his flagging popularity is affecting him more than he lets on. Careers, of course, don't go in perfectly straight lines. But it seems Djokovic is at a bit of a crossroads these days.
• Watch this on
• Hmmm. Rings a faint bell. Think it was the same guy who, right around the same time,
No question, there was a contingent that was way too quick to bury Federer. But look at this from the other point of view. Six weeks ago, Federer had yet to win a title in 2009, and was struggling mightily against the other members of the top four. He had potential distractions -- marriage and pending fatherhood -- and the kid ranked No. 1 was going gangbusters. Imagine it's May 15 and you predict Fed to win Madrid, win the French and then take Wimbledon. They'd have chased you around with butterfly nets!
• Well said. But I still maintain she's too good a player for six years to elapse between majors. Now that she's back in the winners' circle -- and has proved to herself that she is capable -- you really don't think a small part of her is kicking herself for some of those dismal performances?
• Sharko to the rescue: "The point scale changed from last year to this year. Grand Slam points were 700 for runner-up and then doubled to 1,400 at the start of the new year. But then when the new points system was designed, the scale was 2,000 to the winner and then 1,200 to the runner-up."
• It's the Global Sports Forum,
• Not to make light of the situation, but I'm thinking this was a
• And you thought you were a
• Interesting point about grunting from reader
• Sharko put together Federer Slam titles 1-14 by the numbers:
1 -- Roland Garros title (2009) and Nadal (only player he's lost to in a Grand Slam final).
• One of you sent me
"There used to be one period for members of the FFT and anyone who was a member of a licensed French club. The idea there is that the FFT 'owns' Roland Garros, so it gives its members priority. And there's nothing elitist about the FFT. After FFT members were served, a second period was then reserved for the general public. That's where I always got my tickets before joining this club this year. In the last few years, the FFT has added a section (in English) for foreigners who want to come to see RG. The process is totally transparent. You log on, check which tickets are available, make your request and, at the end of each week, tickets are distributed. Compare that with Wimbledon, where even Lawn Tennis Association members need not bother applying for tickets; a friend in London has gotten tickets to visit SW19 twice in 12 years, and once was for boys and girls semifinals! The French system isn't perfect, but when compared to Wimbledon? No question. Also, the French tickets are really cheap. French-bashing is always in fashion, but this is too much."
• The German Open has a new title sponsor: Bet-at-home.com. Good thing tennis hasn't had, you know, a recent Internet gambling scandal.
• Congrats to
Have a great week, everyone!