Exhibitions a problem of perception
• Henry is referring to a popular message-board topic: How can these players bemoan the onerous schedule in one breath, and then commit to exhibitions in another? And Henry is right, at least to a point. In terms of the physical grind, a one-night-only exhibition, in which a player isn't particularly invested in the outcome, isn't the same as a tournament. If you've ever been to one, you know that the coinage "hit and giggle" is accurate. They're enjoyable, to be sure, but definitely skew more entertainment than sport.
Still, the perception -- the "optics," in the
Since a lot of you asked, I assure you that while the "winner-take-all" purse for
• I don't know how this ended up in my mail pile. And while Koufax has been famously private and inaccessible for decades now, I don't know much about his relationship with ESPN or other media outlets. But I think the larger issue Maurice raises is well worth addressing.
There's no question that an athlete's relationship with the public affects the way he's perceived as a performer. In tennis,
• I wouldn't say that at all. (As mentioned above, Margaret Court, for starters, ranks higher in the "taken-for-granted" department.) You could contend that she should have won more than the two majors she did. But at least she got on the board. She got to No. 1. She played a stylish brand of tennis that will be missed. She's as thoughtful a player as the WTA has served up this generation. It was hard to hype her too much, given some of her mental toughness issues. On the other the hand, she'll get my vote for induction when she appears on a Hall of Fame ballot.
I also think she's provided us with an enlightening case for what can happen when an athlete comes out. She was 19 (19!) when she summoned the media and basically said, "Just so you know, I'm a lesbian." There were a few days of whispers and unfortunate remarks. And then ... silence. No protests, no sponsors asking for a refund, no ostracism, no nothing.
• I suppose it's what the market will bear. But I agree it would be nice to see some tennis in the Pacific Northwest. The folks in Portland, starting with doubles player
Speaking of "The 206," if anyone has two hours to spare, this is a tremendous documentary about the SuperSonics at
• I got a similar question a few weeks ago. Just to put this rest, I'm sure Federer was right: He did not trigger Wallace's suicide. For one, Wallace killed himself days
• We haven't had this question in a while.
Go to the practice courts at a mixed tournament -- it's pretty obvious that the men and women are playing at different levels. Some of this is physical. Just as
• This week's honorary badge for the double-standard police force goes to Azizon. No one begrudges Serena her Grand Slam excellence. But the fact is, she hasn't won a solitary WTA event in 2009! Sorry, that creates a vacuum. Sorry, that undercuts any claims of dominance. As Serena herself might say, "It is what it is."
• Does that count World TeamTennis? If not, maybe
• Whichever player is currently nursing a fever.
• Two players (non-Swedish) were picked up in Stockholm
• Unconfirmed rumor of the week:
• How not to play
• Serena Williams will play World TeamTennis in Baton Rouge, La., on Dec. 8.
• Even if you share my skepticism for golf, admit
• Speaking of books, can this be right? Knopf will need
• Long-lost siblings: Actor
Have a great week, everyone!