We were prepared to offer our annual Baggie Awards. But several of you suggested we wait a week in order to give Serbia's Davis Cup a little love. We do as we're told. A quick 'Bag and we'll hand out awards next week.
• Right on. No question, this was the Year of Nadal, who, of course, is going for his fourth straight major next month. And Federer did himself proud winning a Slam and taking down Nadal in the final ATP match of the year, a nice rejoinder to the aspiring career undertakers.
But this was also a standout year for Djokovic. For a player who's been accused of lacking heart, he had a cardio-rific fall, staving off a match point to beat Federer at the U.S. Open. Then last week, under pressure that's hard to fathom, he played some of the best tennis of his life, dominating his two matches and leading Serbia to Davis Cup glory. I'm still hung up on the assertion that this was the biggest moment in the country's history. Not its tennis history; it's HISTORY history. Djokovic may not have won a major and may not have improved his ranking, but I suspect he's thrilled with his 2010. As he should be.
• There were a few comments that took this approach, asserting that patriotism bled into nationalism, invoking Milosevic, etc. Could authorities get these clowns booted? I suppose. But wouldn't another clown fill the void? I agree that the crowds last week didn't exactly recall patrons at the opera house. But a few morons don't represent an entire country.
• This would require tennis administrators to take a stand against manufacturers and technology, which they have shown no interest in doing. The 90 frame would be interesting. (Everyone not named Roger Federer would have a significant adjustment.) But if we're talking about improving the game by curtailing technology, I think the real concentration should be on the strings. I'm waiting for a tournament to distinguish itself as the "all-natural-gut" Open.
• I don't know if this topic hit a message board or what because I must have gotten 25 emails echoing Tim's point. There's nothing I hate more than going to a baseball game and having to pay extra when it goes to extra innings. But I do like it when there's a quick knockout in boxing and I get that partial refund check. When I go to a concert and have to pay a surcharge for the encores, it's annoying. But when the art exhibit only has a few pieces to go through, I appreciate the low price of admission. (My point is this: length doesn't equate with value/enjoyment.)
You're free to enjoy best-of-five tennis. (I think it's like 15-round fights in boxing, an outdated duration that should be curtailed.) I'm just saying that I find it to be an artificial reason to pay women less. Why not use "length of rally" for your metric? In that case, women's tennis would fare better.
• The players deciding to retain family members as coaches -- especially family members -- leave themselves open to "if only they'd had a real coach" second-guessing. In Dementieva's case, she worked with a "real" coach several times. But ultimately she decided that whatever her mother lacked in tennis know-how, she made up for with comfort.
• What can I say? They did their time, they took their chances. (Helen is the reader who complained about the outdated music played at the WTF event in London.)
• It was made of gingerbread.
• Because in a Slam, the players get a day off between matches.
• Chaz of Akron: "Hearts and prayers for Chase Curry (the No. 36-ranked American junior) in intensive care at a Fort Worth hospital after car accident going to his grandmother's with his brother and sister for Thanksgiving."
• Melanie Oudin has committed to the Charleston event.
• Bernie Nissen of Hong Kong: "I read your column with interest as tennis fan in HK. In HK we can see a lot of live tennis, amongst others the current London extravaganza. The quality of the current play is good, and shows how very competitive the men's game is at this moment."
• Bob Peterson of San Francisco is
• The oldest U.S. professional tennis tournament still played in its original city has been renamed the Western & Southern Open and will be contested August 13-21, 2011 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
• Interested in tennis in Taiwan?
• Unsolicited book recommendation:
• Nestor Cotiyam, Quezon City, Philippines: "Hi Jon! May I suggest for next week's long-lost siblings: