Mailbag: Venus far from finished, Clijsters' kills them softly, more
• Absolutely. Last night marked the first time Venus ever retired from a Grand Slam match. Despite ample opportunity, she is one player who resists -- and sometimes outright refuses -- talking about injury. And at a time when "fight" sometimes seems like a rare commodity in short among the WTA's upper echelon, Venus still, at age 30, will play through a painful injury, as she did in the previous round, and will herself to a win.
You won't hear me joining the chorus of "Venus is done." She might never get to No. 1. She might never win another Slam. And, yes, she's 30 -- though given the modest and tactical schedule she stuck to earlier in her career, her odometer is reads younger. But conventional metrics and conventional wisdom has never applied to her. There were a few boos as she walked off the court after six minutes against Andrea Petkovic. (Aside: If you were tournament director and knew that one player was in dire physical condition, maybe that's not someone to use for the featured evening match?) But that she has mentality simply to go there and try to fight through the pain ... well, doesn't that cut against the impending retirement theory?
• Agree. I thought that was so deft. A lesser player would have told her agent, "I'm not talking to that @#$@!*&." She got in her licks and managed to charm at the same time. Quick lessons: 1) Never speculate about pregnancy unless you know for sure; 2) Rule of thumb: when you speculate about pregnancy because you perceive a woman to have a grumpy disposition, you're setting yourself up for disaster (and low-grade physical assault); 3) Be careful not to send Rennae Stubbs texts. I feel like I need to add that Todd Woodbridge is good people. He got roasted pretty resoundingly, but don't draw too many inferences from one rough day at the office.
• Plus, you're not accounting for the bogus trainer call.
• Agree. I suspect it's an issue of staffing. But there is so much happening at Slams, especially. Just fire up ye olde Tweetdeck and I guarantee, within five minutes, you'll see a dozen items more interesting than "Jelena Dokic gets new coach."
• A Groth spurt, as it were. Good question about romantically involved doubles teams. (Hetero, anyway.) I don't believe Stepanek and Hingis -- or, for that matter, Stepanek and Vaidisova -- played together. Back to Groth, in case you missed it,
• Good night, Dean.
• From what I've heard, Martina has totally been on her game. Her analysis of Henin-Kuznetsova should be preserved and sent to all colleagues. Real insight. Some candid opinions. Anecdotes. And when the tennis got good, she shuts up. She also realizes that anyone watching tennis at this hour is a FAN and thus doesn't need to be told that "It's 5-3, just a game from the set." Such a pleasure.
I'm calling a moratorium on ESPN gripes for a few days. Except here's a plea for more of
• Actually you are the only one who wrote. But we tennis fans probably shouldn't be ripping boxing for its diminishing popularity. Glass houses and all.
• Here's the perfect cure for that earworm: there's this Longines spot with Steffi Graf ...
• Agree. I think most players would be insulted.
• Anthony of Ridgefield: "
• In keeping with Pat McEnroe's vision: USTA Player Development announced today that eight junior development programs in six states have been named USTA Certified Regional Training Centers as part of its continuing effort to develop the next generation of world-class American players. The eight programs will create networks serving the Northeast portion of the country and the USTA's Missouri Valley section.
• A reader whose name I've misplaced writes: "Self-identified American lefty here who has paid attention to the flooding in Queensland, and whose household has contributed to relief funds for both Haiti and Australia: The suffering is real and substantial for those affected in both countries, but maybe, just maybe, it's not 'reverse racism' behind the more extensive U.S. media coverage of relief efforts in Haiti but proximity and poverty. The per capita income in Australia is nearly 40x that in Haiti; in nearly every reputable ranking of national wealth, Australia is in -- or near -- the top ten while Haiti ranks in the bottom 20 or lower, along with the poorest countries in Africa. One year later, Haitians are still living in tents. I sincerely hope that the people of Queensland don't find themselves in the same situation when the 2012 Australian Open is contested."
• It's official. Agassi
• Um, have the Nadal fans seen
• Helen of Philadelphia asks: "What has happened to Sorana Cirstea? I'm alarmed. Did not recognize her.
Enjoy Day 6 everyone!