Hi, everyone. Two housekeeping notes:
1) I'll be on the road next week, so we have an oxymoronic "guest host" filling in.
2) Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's economic reform. But there was a lot of anger in your mail this week. It's like the
• I think Federer fans ought to be really encouraged by this. For one, it suggests that he's not content with the state of his game and is willing/able to try and improve the situation. (So much for all the theories about being delusional and intractable.) He's frustrated and is motivated to do something about it.
I also think this is an uncommonly good fit for a number of reasons. While Annacone was never a top player -- a critique Federer once leveled at his early coach
He's also not doing this because he's desperate for a payday. Deciphering the announcement on Federer's website, they're going to work on an experimental basis, see if it's a match and take it from there. Which, again, makes sense. Worst case scenario: They wish each other well, and go their separate ways -- not unlike Match.com. Best case scenario: This galvanizes Federer.
• I agree with most of your premise. At the doddering age of 28, Fish got serious about his fitness and physique and the results speak for themselves. But here's the interesting part: It was really much less about conditioning than about diet. I saw Fish in Delray earlier this year and was struck by the weight: We're talking probably 20 pounds. Like you, I was expecting tales of running hills on Christmas Day. Instead Fish offered a disquisition worthy of the Food Network. Calories and vitamins and portions and glucose. Fish basically eliminated most carbs and stopped eating after sundown and cut the pizza and added -- wait for it -- fish ... and presto. If I'm a colleague (cough, cough, Baghdatis, cough, cough), I'm paying close attention here.
• Totally agree. These kids -- and adults, in some cases -- are working hard, often in oppressive heat. And overall, they do a terrific job. What do they get in return? They often get treated like the worst kind of hired help. ("Towel!") They handle all manner of bloodily fluid. They scramble after errant balls. If they do their job perfectly, they don't get noticed. Tough gig. And as you suggest, some players are nicer than others.
• I would love to see a wooden racket tournament as well. And while there are a million hurdles that would have to be cleared before you could an all-wood tour event, I suspect an enterprising promoter might be interested in your idea. If an exo mandated that players competed with wood, I suspect it would draw huge publicity, much like the half-grass, half-clay exhibition between Federer and Nadal.
I do think the results of this mythical event would disappoint. A few players undoubtedly benefit from technology. But as I think I've written before, I strongly believe the Top 10 would look an awful lot like it does now.
• For those who missed it, here's the cut-and-paste from Monday's column:
The season is short, the scoring is obscure, the business model boggles the mind. Yet World TeamTennis is one of the real gems of the sport. I took the kids to the New York Sportimes a few nights ago and came away wondering why more of an effort isn't made to accommodate the WTT: tennis meets the state fair. There are men and women; veterans and young players; stars and no-namers. There's music between points, goofy mascots, a quasi-halftime and -- of course -- the team format. Some of it works; some of it feels gimmicky and scattered. And who cares? In the end, it's a fun and affordable night out, a nice expression of tennis and an antidote to some of the cynicism in sports. American readers,
• Great handle. Your 3-year-old hits a double-fisted forehand and you call it a curse? No, a curse is when he quits tennis and demands to listen to Raffi or enjoys the taste of Silly Bandz. Either he grows, his hands get bigger and he hits one-handed. Or you start showing him clips of Monica Seles.
• Nah. There's no substitute for the real thing. Look at it this way:
• We talk about injury-mania besetting the top players, but here's a reminder that it goes deeper. Golovin was one of those players whose value to the WTA and to fans exceeded her ranking. If she wasn't a threat to win majors, she was the proverbial dangerous floater, armed with a flashy game and capable of beating top players. On top of that, she was a fun, quirky, tri-lingual player,
Alas, she has a rare form of arthritis and is, for all intents, retired. One suspects/hopes she'll make a comeback eventually. But what a shame.
• You bet. It's his son. He may not always win his matches but he sure can vault the net.
• Hey thanks, JJ. But
• Let's set the record straight regarding
• The reporter was Italian. And it wasn't rhetorical at all. Donate the book to your local library instead. And, come to think of it,
• A few hundred million bucks for an extra set or two of Rochus-Djokovic? If that's ROI, I urge you to apply as auditor of my expense reports.
• Let's offer another tip of the (sweat-soaked) cap for
• The Kansas City Explorers are your WTT champs.
• The USTA announced that longtime partner American Express will present the inaugural "Fresh Courts" program, a philanthropic effort to invest in developing communities through the renovation of existing, disrepaired tennis facilities in various markets across the U.S. The 2010 program targets 17 tennis courts in three cities including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York, during Olympus U.S. Open Series events and the U.S. Open.
• From CNN: "Tennis legend. Cancer patient. It has been almost six months since Martina Navratilova was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a lumpectomy in March, she underwent more than two dozen radiation treatments during a six-week period, which ended days before she captured yet another title at Wimbledon. In
• New Chapter Press announced the release of
• Props to
• Kuala Lumpur will once again showcase ATP World Tour stars in 2010 with three top-10, six top-20 plus three crowd favorites confirmed to headline the second edition of the ATP 250 tournament, which takes place from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3, at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil.
• Helen, Philadelphia has separated at birth (and across the generations):
Have a great week everyone!