Why looks matter in scheduling, delicate topics and more mail

Publish date:

WIMBLEDON, England -- Here's a Monday baguette, or, as reader Art Wong suggests we call it during Wimbledon, "a crumpet." While wondering what Roger Federer is making of the prospect of facing Ivo Karlovic...

Please address the preferential treatment never-won-Wimbledon, sixth- seeded Andy Roddick gets at Wimbledon. He's played every single match on Centre Court or Court One -- while Nos. 1-5 and former champions have played on outer courts. Why does Roddick get the red carpet when, on paper, more deserving players do not?-- Robert Fuller, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

• Again, don't underestimate the impact of television. If a major rights holder requests a certain player at a certain time, it usually gets him.

Far as I'm concerned, here's the shocker of the day: both Wimbledon and BBC officials confirming looks matter when making scheduling decisions. Wow. Eagerly awaiting WTA outrage.

Re: your comment, "If only she had the body of Nicole Vaidisova." (Melanie Oudin). I hope you didn't intend for this to sound the way it did.-- Lisa K. Andover, Mass.

• No, of course not. A few of you noted that line. Please be assured it applied only to tennis, much the same way we might wish Ricky Rubio had the body of LeBron James. ("Physique" would probably have been a better word choice.) Oudin is a solid, feisty player, who's offered a glimmer of hope for American tennis. But at 5-foot-6, 130 lbs. she will have a hard time keeping pace with the heavy hitters. Vaidisova -- whom we'd discussed the previous day as a powerfully-built, underachieving head case -- is listed at 6-0. Just another way of saying, we wish Oudin had six extra inches of height. That's all.

Incidentally, here's Oudin speaking on this very topic:

Q. There's so many great athletes who are so tall. Talk about your size, your height. Is that something that you use in some way as a positive? What is your approach?

OUDIN: I mean, there's not much I can do about my height, you know. I wish I'd be a little bit taller, but there are advantages and disadvantages. You know, I mean, I take what I have and I do the best I can with it. I think speed is my key thing. I have to be quick on the court because I'm not going to be, uhm, a lot bigger. I'm not going to get a lot bigger either.

Oudin incidentally leaves here with her head high -- no pun intended -- despite losing today to Radwanksa in the fourth round.

... and speaking of delicate topics:

I was just reading the transcript of Jelena Jankovic's post-loss interview and came across this. Almost did a double-take:

Q. Is that the first time your monthly cycle has affected you so dramatically like that?

JANKOVIC: No, I never had problem like that in the past. It was my first time experience, so...

Since when has a player's "monthly cycle" become fair game in a professional interview? (Granted, Jelena did bring it up herself.)-- Alyssah Berg, Evanston, Ill.

• Disagree. Can't say this is anyone's favorite conversation topic (insert Anita Diamant reference here) ... but if a player brings it up and cites it as the cause of her defeat, I think it's fair game. Question certainly seems sensitively worded. And I think some context is probably in order, too. That J.J. is a notoriously candid and uninhibited subject probably makes this all the more acceptable.

Where was Jon Isner for Wimbledon? This guy at 6-9 is Taylor Made for this event. He's had a few nice wins in his career, this year beat Gael Monfils I can recall. Is the big fella injured or slumping lately? Did he fail to qualify? I thought he had a bigger game than Sam Querrey.-- Brian Murphy, Frisco, Texas

• Mono. Ah, mono.

The Wimbledon men's seeding formula is openly published. They take the current 52-week rankings, then add in 100 percent of the grass court rankings from the preceding 12 months (12-24 months before the draw date) and 75 percent of the grass-court rankings from the 12 months before that (24-36 months before the draw date). This is important since the grass-court season is far too short and so they weigh based on a longer grass court results history. Personally, I think they should do this for the women as well as the men. Lleyton Hewitt's fourth-round finish at Wimbledon in 2008, his quarterfinal finish at Queen's Club in 2008, his fourth-round finish at Wimbledon in 2007 and Queen's Club second round finish in 2007 weren't likely to move him up 24 places from his No. 56 ranking. However, if they had used the formula on the top three women, Venus Williams would be first with 10,717; Safina would be second with 10,275; and Serena Williams would be third with 9,746. Seems about right. I think it would be a more realistic way to seed both the men and women instead of this very mysterious back-room committee finagling. That still smacks of favoritism and sexism.-- Ted Yin, Laurel, Md.

• You had me up until the very end. Yes, we should point out that the "seeding formula" is used only for the men. And yes, it wouldn't hurt to use it for the women. But there's no back room cloak-and-dagger stuff. The WTA board and the players both requested that seedings mirror rankings. In some egregious cases (i.e. Maria Sharapova) the club steps in. But organizers are basically complying with the wishes of the WTA.

Having seen a little of the Aggie Radwanska vs. Na Li third round match, I'm dying to know how Radwanska was able to crack the top 10 (and maintain a top 20 ranking) with a serve that often doesn't crack the speed limit on most U.S. highways. Thoughts? I hope she's working on that delivery, or she'll be sinking like a Vaidisova. -- Jack, Connecticut

• Very nice line on the speed limit, but her serve was mostly in the 90s today. While A-Rad could indeed use some more wattage, I suspect she won't "sink like a Vaidisova" for this reason: She's probably the most consistent ballstriker in tennis today. Just dead-eye accuracy. Plus she really understands the game. Consistent ball-striking plus shrewd tactics doesn't equal Major titles. But she could put together a very nice career.

A few months ago one of your readers pointed out how Federer's decline had strangely coincided with the economic crisis. Now we can add to it how his recent resurgence has equally coincided with a rebound in the markets. Extending this idea to Andy Murray's chances. Wasn't Fred Perry dominating and winning Wimbledon in the middle of the depression 30s? Maybe Britain needs depressions to produce home winners?-- Pedro, Europe

• Much as we like Murray...

• Random request: Is there a reader from Lisbon, Portugal out there?

• Ryan Harrison, 17, won his first professional tennis event of his career at the $15,000 ITF Men's Futures in Chico, Calif. He entered the tournament unseeded, ranked No. 993 on the ATP Tour and won all five of his matches without dropping a set.

• Nice line from Terry House of Hollywood, Calif.: The controversy about grunting isn't manufactured, the grunting is!

• Robert B. of Melbourne, Fla.: Six years later, in retrospect, the foreshadowing in this article is so eerie that it sends chills down my spine.

• Ken Quek of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: So excited to hear the Kuala Lumpur is to host an ATP tournament! F.Y.I., Mohd Najib Tun Razak is the name of the Malaysian Prime Minister, while "Yang Amat Berhormat" means "The Most Honourable" and "Dato' Sri" is his title equivalent to "Sir".

• Today's Long Lost Siblings from Alice Eaton of Easthampton, Mass.:

Andy Roddick and Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central's Tosh.0.