• Before we get to the question, let's take a step back and applaud the Fed Cup, both the effort of the U.S. women and the competition more generally. Thanks to the Tennis Channel -- which we should all be getting -- I was able to enjoy an exceptionally fun and compelling sporting event last Sunday night. Good stuff, as they say.
To Chris' point: I should probably be more worked up about this than I am. Yes, if this were an After School Special,
The reality is much different. The captain is tasked with fielding the best team possible. In this case, it's hard to argue that the best chance for the U.S. to win the Cup -- at home, against a beatable Italian team -- is to summon either, or better yet both,
Again, I sympathize with the current principals --
• Disagree. For those who missed it, Huber essentially said that the players loyal to the team should have priority over Venus and Serena, who show up when it's convenient. First, I think she has a valid point (see above). Second, regardless of her ranking or her place in the tennis hierarchy relative to the sisters, she's entitled to voice an opinion. Baseball fans might draw an analogy to this
• I was officially concerned about Nadal because, to quote
• Plain and simple: Um ... you hate to write anyone off, especially a three-time Grand Slam champ who, when fully healthy, can be an insuperable player. And the usual caveat about winning a Slam: This isn't exactly a labor of Hercules. We're only talking about winning seven matches here. But vis-à-vis Sharapova, you can put me squarely in the "worried" camp. There are a lot of injuries for which a tennis player can compensate. A shoulder injury is not among them.
On the plus side, Joe of Dallas notes that numerology is in Maria's favor:
• The questioner whiffed on that one. But the answerer (i.e. me) did, too. [
• Very nice. One of you also noted that if Federer wins Roland Garros, he will become the first player since
• You're talking crazy! Myskina retired and had a child. No woman could return from childbirth and win a major! We jest. Ivanovic is in desperate need of a sports shrink. This has become a brutal situation, albeit in a can't-avert-your-eyes kind of way. But she still wins this contest.
• Thanks for sharing. (And we should all be so lucky to attend our first NBA game and get to watch LeBron James in the postseason. As someone who sat through a Nets-Sixers game recently, trust me: they ain't all like that.) I think the comparison is a good one. Both Federer and James perform with a certain smoothness and certainty, seeing plays unfold in advance of everyone else. The one striking difference to me is the physique. Whereas Federer's body is rather ordinary-muscled but in a wiry way and unremarkable in terms of height and definition, LeBron has one of those Mt. Olympus physiques. This was always the case, even when he was in high school. In this respect, he is more like Nadal.
• She's a woman of the people. Or a woman of the luxury suite.
• Mad props to mad pops
• More book recommendations:
• Look for
• Some dispute into the origin of USTA wild card tournament (a smashing success, by the way). An anonymous reader writes: "In 1994, a young and innovative [and dashingly handsome] tournament director running the AT&T Challenge in Atlanta created the first "Wild Card" Challenge where local tennis players competed to play in the Main Draw of this ATP --- and win chance at a million dollars. It took months of prodding and please to the ATP board to get it approved. The rest is history."
• Speaking of the USTA playoff, just to extinguish the notion that the qualifying wild card will go to some ringer -- some pipe-fitter from Dubuque who picked up tennis last fall -- the Eastern winner was
• Anonymous writes: "Just browsing the web and came across
"Federer's forearms look like they should belong on two separate bodies, as they should since his left arm is essentially not unlike a wee little rudder in the wind or water, basically keeping him balanced. Nadal's forearm difference, while present, is much less noticeable than Fed's, owing to the two-handed backhand. The reason why Nadal's left forearm is bigger than his right, however, while hitting two-handed backhands is most likely secondary to the fact that, 1) the left hand is holding the racket, light as it is, a weight nonethless and 2) rotational torque owing to the split-second changes in grips of the dominant arm and wrist, a force that stresses the fingertips all the way to the deltoid
"Men generally play harder anyways. Women are generally taught to emphasize the 'turn at the hips' routine much more, since this hip rotation helps generates much more racket speed hence power. The hip will assume much of impact forces at contact, alleviating stresses on the arms and shoulders. Men, being macho as they are, learn the wrong way first, using all arms until they eventually incorporate that God-given forearm into the context of a 'turn.' By this time, they look like half of Popeye walking down the street, muscle memory sets in, and bam,
• One the same topic,
• Helen of Philadelphia has long, lost siblings: Coldplay's
Have a great week, everyone!