A 'bag before the big dance (and we don't mean
Maybe we should go best-of-five? Then we would have lavished praise on Dementieva. No question she deserves heaps of credit for her play last week in Toronto. And, more generally, she is on the short list of contenders to win the U.S. Open, playing some of the best ball of her career. I would add that for all the drama and melodrama on the WTA Tour, Dementieva has pretty much gone about her business, stuck to herself, declined the "sex sells" sensibilities, and almost a full decade after reaching her first Open semifinal is still in the hunt.
The inevitable "yes, but," is that she remains Slam-less, one of those players who can be dynamite in Tokyo or Rome or Toronto but has yet to string together seven wins at a major, the real tennis benchmark. With
I wouldn't go that far. Joke: How do you know when a man is lying? When he appears on C-SPAN. But Ilene makes a good point about context.
Jay, I'm playing the "you mischaracterized my position" card. Here's what I wrote: "This is not an indictment of their fitness so much as it is an acknowledgement that their bodies are different and they often hit many more balls per rally." If women had the bodies to hit dozens of aces per match and keep points short, they could play best-of-five. (Exhibit A: the 77 aces in the Wimbledon men's final.) Since they don't win as many "cheap points" and hit more shots per rally -- not a criticism -- best-of-five would be difficult.
I picked him weeks ago and feel like it would be dishonorable to desert him now. After last week in Cincy, obviously Federer is the favorite. (Oh, yeah, that five-year winning streak bodes pretty well too.) But I do like Murray. His body will be fine -- his fitness level has gone from liability to asset in a short time. He's already won multiple Masters titles on hard courts this year. Like Daniel LaRusso before the California karate tournament, Murray is just ready to take that next step.
Are you down on women's tennis? Because I don't do down. Last question first: The stats from Dementieva/Jankovic match were outrageous. Apart from the double faults I believe there were nine consecutive breaks of serve to end the match. Still, can't that be entertaining in its own way?
As for Clijsters, I'm sticking with the half-full explanation. If she were winning matches and playing like
Based on results and momentum, it would have been hard to justify giving him a wild card. The good news is that Young's ranking will entitle him to a spot in the qualifying draw.
For the record, I was able to corroborate most of the above.
You, sir, are singing my song. On-Court coaching is the WTA's answer to round-robin formats. There's nothing wrong with innovating, especially in such a change-resistant sport. Look what the folks in Canada are planning to do with the men's and women's events! But you have to know when to cut bait, tap out, unload the Global Crossing stock ... pick your metaphor.
Agree. And you could make the same point regarding the first "Super Saturday" being at a distinct advantage for the Sunday final at the Open. But TV calls the shots.
From the mouth of the Shark:
One learns to tread lightly when it comes to questioning an athlete's physical condition. But this is a real dilemma that affects players week in and week out. Consider del Potro last week in Cincy. He comes to town understandably exhausted after winning the Washington, D.C., event and reaching the final in Montreal. He determines he is in no shape to play. He can go out there and slog through a set before quitting. He's "giving it a shot," but who benefits? Certainly not the lower-ranked players who are denied a spot in the draw. However, if del Potro doesn't even try -- the choice he ended up making -- he is subject to a fine. And, of course, questions about his heart.
I do, though, like this Aussie aphorism: "If you're fit, you play. If you play, you're fit." Translation: Get out there and try, if at all possible. If you lose, you don't blame it on injury.
Sorry, I must have written that ambiguously because a few of you echoed that. My point was Serena's comments in defeat are tactless and -- about time! -- she was finally called on it by a colleague. I have no problem with Stosur's comment whatsoever. "Fair and not at all catty" is a good characterization.
Apart from searching for balls, I think this is primarily a mental exercise, meant to let a player regroup and focus a bit between points. Most players will tell you they are looking for the freshest balls so they can impart the most "pop" on their serves. I've had other players, though, say they look for the used balls because the baldies have less fuzz and therefore less air resistance to slow down the ball. Go figure. Do we have a physics expert in the community?
One last note, from