2. Not-so-lucky losers. Rough times for the Australian Open finalists. Li Na has done little since her run in Melbourne. In Miami, she went down in her first match to little-known Johanna Larsson. (And the 2010 finalist, Justine Henin, is out of the sport entirely.) More problematic is Andy Murray, a first-round loser to Alex Bogomolov, marking the second straight event in which he's lost to a player outside the top 100. (Which means Murray is now Scottish, not British.) There are, of course, abundant explanations for Murray's slump. He needs to solidify his coaching. He's banged up and overplaying to appease sponsors. His confidence is shot so he lacks the courage to attack. But what about his on-court disposition? Never has such a talented player projected such misery when he performs. This is supposed to be fun, dude. Instead of waiting of until you're winning to show a better attitude, maybe a better attitude would facilitate winning?
3. Woe is U.S. As a few of you have noted, with Andy Roddick's defeat and Venus Williams' absence, there are about to be no Americans -- male or female -- in either top 10. That's dismal. And will surely lead to a round of "What's Wrong with American Tennis" laments and attacks (not altogether unwarranted) on the USTA's player development, such as it is. But here's another spin: saying "there are no Americans in the top 10" is like saying "the AFC Central is really down." It's an artificial distinction that shouldn't really impinge on your enjoyment of the sport overall. At a time when the players come from everywhere, tournaments are held everywhere and Davis Cup is slinking into irrelevance, what purpose do country codes serve anyway? Just enjoy the players and enjoy the tennis. Otherwise -- unless you're Serbian or heavily partial to Spanish men -- you're destined to be disappointed.
Five random points:
• How do we get Gus Johnson to broadcast some tennis?
• Nice event for Kevin Anderson, former Illini star and the brightest South African prospect in a long while. But have you guys seen his backhand? Oy.
• Juan Martin del Potro is a top five player, rankings be damned.
• Nice to see James Blake score a fine win, taking out Tom Bellucci in three sets. Speaking of, Dinara Safina doesn't figure to be a No. 1 player again, but nice to see her back in the business of winning matches.
• This piece about former WTA player Heather Conner (nee Crowe) has generated some attention. Sadly, this is hardly an insolated case.