Broadening this beyond Federer, I'm starting to feel sorry for some of these players. With the way their words are dissected, they're often put in no-win positions. Win a match and say, "I played incredibly" -- often a truthful answer that echoes what others are saying -- and it has the ring of arrogance. Carry on about the depth of the field and the great competition and "feeling lucky to win," and it has the ring of false modesty. Lavish your opponent with praise in defeat, and it sounds phony. Chide yourself for choking, and it sounds ungracious.
Granted, there are remarks that are obviously tactless. Check out
But overall, I think players do well, given that no remark will please everyone.
Long as we're here, lots of you asked about Federer and his odd defeat -- days before
Interesting point. At most events, at least on big courts, that information is readily available. During changeovers, the scoreboards often feature detailed match stats. Funny, I can't recall ever seeing a player craning his/her neck and trying to obtain that information. I agree: You'd think it would be helpful to see that, hey, my opponent has three times as many forehand errors as backhand errors. That's precisely the kind of incremental advantage a savvy player would want to obtain.
For the record, I advocate best-of-three the first week, so players don't exhaust their bodies, matches don't extend beyond midnight and television has a bit more flexibility. Come with the best-of-five format in the second week to set up the classic latter-round matches and distinguish the majors from the other events. As for the women, let's be honest: Many would drop like flies if forced to play best-of-five. This is not an indictment of their fitness as much as it is an acknowledgement that their bodies are different and they often hit many more balls per rally. Also, I think the 128-player draw and the presence of
Where to begin? At some level, you're right. This is not unique to tennis, but only a small fraction of the sport's revenue comes from the casual fan buying seats. The real tournament bucks come from business tickets, suites, sponsorships and, if you're lucky, television. Sure, you'd prefer that the stands be filled. But for, say, the organizers in Indianapolis, you're much more concerned about finding a title sponsor than about getting a few thousand USTA league players to come to the ticket window.
A few months ago, there was a lot of breezy talk suggesting that tennis is so diverse and global that it would be largely insulated from the recession. I've witnessed the opposite. Apart from the dwindling sponsors, attendance has been very spotty lately. Lots of empty suites too. You hope this is cyclical. Otherwise it's hard to see how events such as L.A. or Indy -- shaky fields, lacking a title sponsor and not exactly in need of turnstiles to stem the rush of fans -- can survive.
No Djoke -- though Martin is not replacing
That's a big hypothetical. I'm sticking to my old prediction that Murray wins the U.S. Open.
But to indulge: Should he finish No. 1 without a Slam, I suspect the backlash will not be as strong as it was (is?) with Safina. Why? First, the British media and public will be so giddy, the positive news story will trump any deconstruction of the points system. Second, Murray is unlikely to "wilt like Blanche DuBois," as one of you accused Safina of doing. True, he lost in the Wimbledon semis. But he didn't lose 6-1, 6-0. Third, Murray has a winning record against Federer, which cuts in his favor. Fourth, there's probably a sexism component, both from fans and the media.
Good question. Federer is obviously the safer bet, as he's in the lead, 15-11. Serena, though, has less competition -- and doesn't have two kids. (Interesting: Both have won three of the last four.) I have a hard time seeing either winning 18, but it's hardly out of the question.
Fair question. But did this result really surprise many of you? As I see it, the top few teams could compete with anyone. The Bryans beat Federer/Nadal six or seven times out of 10. After that, I would expect a top singles players paired with just about anyone to challenge a pair of journeymen doubles players. Let's be honest: For many of those guys, there's a reason they never held a top-500 singles ranking. Doesn't mean they're not exceptionally good at their specialty. But we shouldn't be surprised when they lose to likes of Nadal.
You serious? Petzschner? The teacher's Petzsch? The Chia-petzsch? That combination of
You can't see me. But I'm surreptitiously signaling that I hate that idea. Again, self-sufficiency is one of the great virtues and unique features of tennis. You figure out your own problems. You rely on yourself to change strategy. Messing with this is like adding a clock to ballet.
• Mess with Tennis Channel at your own
• Why wasn't
• Belated props to
• Congrats to
Have a great week, everyone!