Federer's resurgence, Hingis' comeback rumblings, more mail
• This came up in a few different contexts recently. Sure, I have regrets inasmuch I was wrong. But let's go back to the summer of 2008. Federer lost in Australia to Djokovic. He simply failed to show up for the French Open final. After a five-year reign at Wimbledon he lost an epic final to Nadal and was simply gutted afterward. He went the Olympics and lost to
For more thoughts on 2008, a pivotal year in the Federer legacy, let's ask the man himself (
• The ultimate irony: What if Federer's semifinal streak were broken because he had to face Nadal (ranked outside the top four, on account of injury) in the quarters of the French?
• Less definitive about not returning? At the risk of sounding like Ralph Wiggum: "That makes my head hurt." Will Chucky play again? Possible. Will she kill again? Not likely. I've made no secret about my fondness for Hingis' game and court savvy, but let's be honest: she had a hard time answering power in her first comeback -- four years ago already -- and the players haven't gotten smaller since. I think she would fare much better as a doubles specialist, but, as a former No. 1 singles player, can her ego handle that? Part of me roots for her return because it will provide her a platform whereby she can explain the specious nature of her doping suspension. But from a tennis perspective, I cringe thinking about her trying to compete against players 10 years younger, six inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than she.
• It would also mean retrofitting every single tennis court on the world. I like your idea on theory but, practically speaking, it's virtually impossible.
• Depends what your tastes are. You can't really go wrong choosing among Rome, Barcelona and Monte Carlo -- all students should have such dilemmas. But, personally, I might be inclined to choose the Madrid Masters Series event. An all-time great city. Good food. Three world-class museums. Very compact. And, while I've never been, there are lots of raves about the venue. Just be prepared: an early-bird special means dinner served in the p.m. and not after midnight.
• It would have been better a few years ago. The major flaw is that Nadal has won a half-dozen majors while LeBron, for all his excellence, owns no more championships than you do. Plus, Federer is a smidge warmer than Kobe is.
• Very good. I'd say, 30/40/30. But I would add these two. 1) By virtue of both hard work and lucky genetics, Federer endures bodily wear and tear better than anyone else in tennis. Even after seven matches in Melbourne, Federer happily admitted to feeling fresh enough to go skiing the next day. Not too many others can make such a claim after playing 23 sets in 12 days. 2) Federer won the French Open and eclipsed the all-time mark for Slams last year. Mortals in that position might have a hard time finding motivation. To Federer's thinking, it simply means that he is shorn of pressure.
• I'm intrigued by this. But, like Rich, I have no medical credentials whatsoever. Anyone qualified to speak on this care to weigh in? Even if it's a total crackpot theory, I'd be interested in hearing why.
• Several of you called me on that. I should have been more clear. Getting to Australia is a pain in the posterior for most of us. But once you're in Melbourne, everything's a breeze. Whereas it can take upwards of an hour to get to the U.S. Open from Manhattan or to Roland Garros from the left bank, or to Wimbledon from London, the Melbourne Park facility is an easy walk -- or free tram ride -- from downtown Melbourne. That's what I meant by convenient.
• Some of you have spoken highly of
• Vaidisova is in
As for Margaret Court, if tennis is really such a "progressive sport" it ought to be able to accommodate different points of view. She's a former tennis champion, not a political candidate. You and I might disagree with her
• Here's the Williams cut and paste: It would naïve to think that race doesn't play some role -- even subconsciously -- in some people's antipathy toward them. On the other hand, you should be allowed to root for the other player without standing accused of racism. Specific to the Australian Open final, imagine this colorblind. Player A is the defending champion and No. 1 seed. In her previous major, she was fined $92,000 after threatening to asphyxiate an official with a tennis ball. Player B is competing in her first major after returning from an 18-month exile. Once known for her mirthless intensity, she is smiling and outgoing. Though physically unimposing, she's thrives with a versatile and aesthetically pleasing game. Knowing what we know about sports fans, whom would we expect the crowd to support?
• Leconte was providing "color" commentary for the Bryans' match against
• With all her talk about "breathing new air," and "rediscovering myself," I'm going with Justine Zen-in.
• Can we all take a second to marvel at the name Muhammad Cohen?
• For the sake of convenience (and trying to keep my inbox cleaner) feel free to your direct questions
• This week's unsolicited book recommendation
• Here he is again: Since the 2003 Australian Open seven years ago, where she made the finals,
• Happy birthday to
Have a great week, everyone!