Blake remains interesting case study in tennis expectations
While eagerly awaiting the
• Very good. Also, in addition to having a supercool name,
• They play cricket, right, that weird international baseball thing that can last for days? No seriously, here's another cricket point: When I was in Australia, a number of people explained to me this new
Also, back to Tendulkar,
Someone else noted: "I can also vouch for Tendulkar's mental toughness. A couple of years ago, India's largest selling newspaper screamed 'Endulkar?' a play of words by some smart-ass reporter, after Sachin had a bad time. If the reporter had any pride, he would dig a really big hole and jump into it after Tendulkar's recent exploits at the age of 37."
• Or is it Chicago, Dallas. Adidas cleared a lot of cap space to sign Murray. In addition to Querrey, notice that the Bryans are K-Swiss, while Djokovic has moved on, too. All well and good. But you wonder
• You know tennis is resistant to change when the fist pump is being hailed as a significant contribution to the landscape. Let's give Connors his due here. And let's acknowledge that it's now seen as a reflective gesture, usually perfectly acceptable, and not an affront to the opponent. If someone wanted to devise a new gesture, it would be a welcome addition. But just don't co-opt the
• We should all
• We'll say it again:
• I guess I missed the "big deal" over his absence. Seems to me that, if anything, naming him to the team would have been fairly controversial, given that Querrey and Isner are both ranked significantly higher. I think Blake is an interesting case study with respect to expectation. My dime-store analysis: Even deep into teenage years, he saw himself as a good college player, no more. He'd follow his brother to Harvard, a passable university but no tennis powerhouse. While he'd have plenty of options upon graduation, "top 10 tennis player," was not high on the list. Then, he grows physically. His game improves radically. As a likeable, biracial kid, coming of age at a time when the U.S. is looking for a new tennis face, he attracts IMG and gets the wild-card kid glove treatment when he turns pro.
Unencumbered by expectation, Blake can swing freely. "Hey, this is all gravy." His friends, yoked to their desk jobs in banks and law firms, are texting him and expressing envy. Life is good. Blake keeps improving -- top 20, top 10, top five -- and suddenly the accidental nature of his career bites him. While other players compete as though defeat carries a price in blood, Blake is too smart/self-possessed/realistic to get over his unlikely trajectory. He never expected to be on this stage so how upset can he really be by a loss?
And while history is destiny -- as Obama tells us -- future is destiny, too. That is, unlike other players, Blake is not gripped by the desperation that comes with knowing that when your career ends, your options will be limited. In Blake's case, he can finish his degree at Harvard. He can work on Wall Street. He can work for the USTA. This is hardly
• Agree. But the reality is such that players have to make decisions. "You can't kiss all the girls," as they say in Indiana. Federer prioritized and, this year anyway, Davis Cup didn't make the cut. If I'm the ITF, I might find this troubling and I might even be asking myself, "If the driving figure in the sport opts out of this event, but still has time for, say, the Doha tournament, perhaps I should reassess things." Not sure, however, that internal monologue is happening.
• Could this be right? When I go to SI.com and Yahoo! for tennis headlines, all I get -- this is crazy -- are a bunch of match results. Not a single reference to a withdrawal, retirement, pending surgery or gripe. Crazy times, these.
• I still think there's a fun column to be written here. @merylstreep: "How many Oscars have I won?? Can't even keep track!"... @billgates: "How many billions am I up to? Can someone look that up for me? Preferably on Bing?"
• Rings a bell. He's the guy who Hits for Haiti?
Have a great week, everyone!