• We've made no secret of our personal fondness for Blake. But there's no sugar-coating the current state of his game. We didn't expect much on clay. But to lose in straight sets in the first round of Wimbledon? Not good. OK, most of his strong results came in lesser events, but still, Blake was a top-four player not all that long ago. He's even beaten
We've talked before about Blake's sensitivities, about how his mental game doesn't become an otherwise bright guy. But how about this theory: I wonder if Blake isn't cursed by his backstory. Here is a guy who did not grow up as a coddled prodigy or a hot prospect. Even in his mid-teens, he was perceived as little more than a good college player. When Blake made The Show, he took nothing for granted. He was the "accidental pro," the guy who was thrilled simply to be playing tennis for a living -- a lucrative one at that. And while that I'm-playing-with-house-money mentality is great in the beginning, I wonder if it doesn't have its drawbacks in the end.
I remember talking to
• Granted, there's not a pro-grunting contingent, but I am impressed/surprised by how many of you have expressed strong negative feelings here. (
• Let me throw this out there: Obviously, the relentlessly physical nature of tennis contributes to the endless and varied injuries we witness week to week. What about the relentless travel? Any business traveler knows that long flights, jet lag and airport/hotel cuisine do a number on your immune system. I wonder if some of the ailments and sickness aren't simply a consequence of having such a far-flung circuit.
• I agree that it's silly to take aim at journeymen making penny-ante bets. But I'm thinking that encouraging the players to gamble is probably not the best idea. If they have inside information and bet $5, what's to prevent someone else from betting $50,000? This reminds me of the suggestion someone (I assume facetiously) served up last year: permit match-fixing, thereby scaring off the potential gamblers. (In other words, if you knew a sporting event was potentially crooked, you wouldn't put down your money.)
On a serious note, this problem isn't going away anytime soon. The good news is that, unlike performance-enhancing drugs, the detection technology actually seems to be pretty equal to the cheating technology.
• So true. If an Aussie publisher was interested in the
• The man can play tennis, but he could stand to work on his accessorizing.
• Feedback welcome on this in-house
• In case you missed it, here's Part 4 of the
• Was just handed a copy of
• A fond farewell to
Enjoy Day 3!