Heartbreak continues for Roddick; plus Battle of Belgium and more
WIMBLEDON, England --
• It took a week, but finally, on the best tennis day of the year, we had our Grade-A upset of Wimbledon 2010. When
Hard as he fights, as much pride as he displays, as much mileage as he's gotten out of fairly limited tools, Roddick has become tennis' Heartbreak Kid. At four of the last five Slams, he's lost in five sets. Part of the disappointment Monday was in losing to a player Roddick had owned in the past, ranked outside the top 50 and unaccustomed to the big stage. But it's compounded by context. With both Federer and
Lu deserves plenty of credit. Though he stands less than 6 feet tall and seldom serves faster than 120 mph, he wasn't broken in the final four sets. He bedeviled Roddick with low, flat shots and showed off some clever shot-making. He took calculated risks, punished Roddick's backhand and showed no signs of fatigue at any point over four-and-a-half hours. When Lu, 26, lost the fourth set, he would've been well within his rights to deflate (see:
Not that this is much consolation for the loser. Roddick turns (gulp) 28 this summer; this was, unmistakably, an opportunity squandered.
Said Roddick: "If I want to consider myself a contender for this tournament, I've got to get through that match."
• In the much-anticipated Battle of Belgium, the match was won by the steely, intense, businesslike competitor who retired but then decided that she wasn't through winning. We speak, naturally, of
When they battled in Career 1.0,
After a slow start, Clijsters asserted herself and roughed up Henin in three sets. If Clijsters can sustain both her ball-striking -- potent, yes, but also deep and accurate -- and her newfound appetite for battle, she has a real chance to upend the Williams-Williams juggernaut. As for Henin, this defeat must be crushing -- and not simply because she lost to her countrywoman for the third time in 2010. When asked why she returned to tennis after an 18-month hiatus, Henin has responded that there was still business left to take care of at Wimbledon, the lone Slam she'd never won. Sadly, said business remains unfinished.
• What rust? What bad knee? Federer came within a strong serving game of being evicted from the draw in the first round. Nadal twice needed all five available sets to fend off challengers during the first week, not least because he was hampered by a sore knee.
On Monday, though, both looked like their familiar, indomitable selves, on course to meet in the final. Federer waxed Austrian lefty
• I can only imagine how you feel about
Also, I would hardly call the players "millionaires," as though they're eating caviar on their Gulfstreams. Mahut has made $2 million for his 10-year career -- pre-tax -- and a large chunk of that goes to expenses.
• Thanks. Several of you noted that. (This vis-à-vis our discussion of
• Very good. I was thinking Snickers. "Not going anywhere for a while?" Or the old McDonalds, "You deserve a break today." Think you can top that? A prize to the winner. For the sake of not clogging my inbox, please send via my twitter
• Surprised this is still a hot topic. Look, this was not a great moment in journalism. Shriver shouldn't have made the patronizing (and not professional) remark, though I suspect this was meant as friendly advice. I realize that the Shriver bashing has been pretty intense, but here's my defense. (And I preface by saying, in full disclosure, that I like Pam personally and that's probably coloring by view to some extent.) It seems to me that at some point Pam made a choice. She could have a safe career -- as others in her position have done -- cheerleading unconditionally for the sport, tossing softballs, stating the obvious and repeating shopworn stories about players. Or she could try to be outspoken and enterprising, leaving the comfort of the studio to roam the grounds, advancing stories, experimenting with her role and adding something of value to broadcast. Sometimes jokes would fall flat. Sometimes live TV would not be her friend (
• Nicolas Mahut received a wild card into next week's Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I. Nice touch.
• Enjoy Tuesday, but keep