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Mailbag: Would Slams benefit from 64 seeds rather than 32?


While envisioning Dinara Safina, Donald Young, Ernests Gulbis and Ana Ivanovic in the same corner of the Melbourne watering hole last night, complaining about their rough days at the office ...

I remember that you and your fellow lefties in the media were really hyping up the Haiti disaster last year. However, not a word from you on the Australian floods. Incidentally, Fed and Nadal did raise some dough for the Queensland floods. Reverse racial bias in play?--James Kelly, San Jose, Calif.

• Lefty? I can't even hold a fork with my left hand. I would definitely agree that the Queensland "Rally for Relief" didn't generate nearly as much attention as the original "Hit for Haiti" did a year ago. But the operative word is "original." It stands to reason that the first benefit -- an unprecedented show of conscience and solidarity among the players -- would be a bigger deal than the third. (You'll note the second was the Agassi-Sampras debacle.) Also, I reject your "reverse racism" theory. But I do think there might have been more significance regarding players teaming up to benefit a faraway Caribbean island (where most will never set foot) versus teaming up to benefit the host nation. But really, this is quibbling; both events were great, still more proof that the sport has a soul. And let the record reflect: Rally for Relief raised nearly $2 million.

I haven't paid attention since the U.S. Open, so I was wondering what happened to Yaroslava Shvedova and why she's not playing with Vania King at the Australian this year. I've really enjoyed watching them play together -- they seem to have so much fun together (and win!) -- and now I'm disappointed.--Braxton Thomason, Austin, Texas

• Full disclosure: I didn't realize this until a reader pointed it. But Shvedova is out with a knee injury -- one she's allegedly been phototweeting.

Sixty-four seeds would solve 54 vs. 21. And Davydenko's surprising loss to Florian Mayer.--Brian Highland, San Diego

• Sam Querrey's inability to close out his match notwithstanding, Davydenko's defeat might be the most surprising result so far. That said, I hate 64 seeds. I don't want Federer-Nadal in round one. But if 21 has to play 54 (instead of 107) so be it ...

Excellent point about the break-up of the Indian Express stunting the growth of tennis in India. I was in India 10 years ago and among athletes/celebs these guys were huge and second only to Sachin Tendulkar.--Jeevan Mangat, Los Angeles

• On the plus side, nice to see Sania Mirza play well against Justine Henin, suggesting her career is back on the upswing.

I know you won't put this in your column, but I do need to get it off my chest: It's the first day of the Aussie Open, Roger plays great, does an interview, mentions, while talking with Brad G., that's he's trying to be more aggressive, playing closer to the baseline and hitting more "over the top" on his backhands rather than slices, and is asked by Chris McKendry "How does it feel to be MASTERING A NEW SKILL?" I was as stunned as Brad Gilbert was. Roger said something like "mastering what?" and tried to be polite. Why have someone on a tennis broadcast who hasn't a clue?--Jon Fischer, Ann Arbor, Mich.

• I didn't see the interview you referenced. And it sounds cringe-inducing. But I think Chris McKendry -- a former college tennis player -- knows her stuff. Give her the equivalent of a second serve.

As Nadal-Federer maybe, hopefully, move toward another Slam final, can we drop this silly debate over how much or not to factor in their head-to-head when considering their places in tennis history? It's unnecessary. Since most of us look first at Slam wins in the G.O.A.T. discussion, and Nadal and Federer have played eight times in Slams (with Nadal winning six, including five finals), their head-to-head is already factored in. This is neither a pro-Federer nor pro-Nadal argument. It's just that their matches have had a huge impact on how many Slams they've won, so no separate debate is needed. In other words, Federer's losing record against Nadal hurts his legacy not because he has a losing record against his main rival (would we really care if all their matches were played in Doha or Memphis?); it hurts his legacy because it has cost him several Slams. On the other side, Nadal's ability to beat Federer has been essential to his success in Slams. Their head-to-head record is organic to their places in history, not separate from it.--Ian Katz, Herndon, Va.

• That's way too logical. You have no future as pontificator in the comments section.

• If you missed it here's Richard Deitsch's excellent discussion of Mary Carillo's curious departure from ESPN.

• Katie of Chicago: "Reading the comment in today's mailbag about getting tickets to Wimbledon, I thought I'd share a recent blog post I did detailing my experiences visiting all four Grand Slams, including how to get tickets to each. (I call it my guide to completing a career Grand Slam as a spectator.)"

• Fox Business Network (FBN) has teamed up with the Tennis Channel to bring viewers daily updates of market moves and courtside play during the 2011 Grand Slam Events for the second year in a row.

• Savvy reader Stewbop notes that of the first 32 women's matches, 14 went the distance.

• Yosh of Chicago: "I know the Aussie Open just started, but I need to gush about Lindsay Davenport's commentaries on the Tennis Channel. I've always been of fan of hers when she was on the tour, but as a former player who actually competed with the Williams sisters, the Belgians, et al., I find her insight refreshing and her well-known graciousness a nice break from ... let's just say other commentators."

• Kevin Cameron, River Edge, N.J.: "Is it just me or does Andy Roddick's brother and former coach, John Roddick, look a lot like Curt Schilling?

Enjoy Day 3 everyone!