Federer's comments on Djokovic-Nadal, Petkovic's dance, more mail
Some "second screen" viewing: a Monday French Open Baguette ...
• Federer is really damned answering this question. He is either delusional and ungracious and stingy for failing to acknowledge that there are two younger players above him. Or he is conceding the "high ground," so to speak, and appears to be shrinking from a challenge. I think Federer has, typically, been pretty savvy answering this (inevitable) line of inquiry.
What's more, I think that the battle at the top and the surge of Djokovic has taken some of the attention away from Federer's (not unrelated) fade. His defeat against Gasquet -- big news, had it occurred a few years ago -- scarcely rated a mention. Why? In part, because everyone was fixated on Nole's undefeated streak and the upcoming final against Nadal.
My strong suspicion is that Federer doesn't altogether mind this. He's enough of a realist to know that -- in his late 20s, with family obligations, with blunting incentives -- the train might be slowing down. He's enough of a competitor to think that he's not that far from knocking off Nadal or Djokoivc, certainly not as far as the others. So while the tennis lens is focused on Djokovic and this new rival, he can play with less pressure and attention than he's faced since, say, 2002.
• The French Open, of course, started on a Sunday. The cynics will say it's another way to wring some extra television and ticket revenue. The more charitable will say it's a way to expose tennis and the Grand Slam experience to fans who have this crazy thing -- a "job," they call it -- and are not free to hang out during the week.
I don't think it's a huge deal either. The French Open doesn't have night sessions so squeezing in an extra day is a reasonable ask. The schedule and rhythms get changed a bit; but not nearly as much as in a rain delay. One concern: this was imposed more or less unilaterally on the players. Think about the NFL potentially moving to an 18-game season and the debate and proposed tradeoffs that has triggered. A tennis Grand Slam simply says: "We want another day of revenue, guy. Deal with it." And the players do.
• As they say in Belgrade: touché.
• The Hopman Cup is basically an exhibition, and thus doesn't count toward a players' ranking. You really want your man getting
• I think we give athletes a much wider berth for antics/outburst that occur during competition -- the cringe-inducing "heat of battle"' -- as opposed to before and after. Again, I like the Petko-dance. But a self-congratulatory shimmy after a match is different from a fist pump between points. Plus, different Djokes for different folks. No sooner did we start answering than we got his from Tim Johnson of New York: "As much as I'm enjoying the intrigue and quality of the Nadal-Djokovic matches, what I am really loving is the reactions of Djokovic. With all due respect to Nadal and Federer, it's great to see someone go ABSOLUTELY NUTS when he wins a big match."
• We need to update our abdominal scouting report. The Spanish players have (had?) an entire catalog of nicknames for the guy, most mocking his midsection. Hombre is clearly laying off the manchego. Or the gluten.
• Yes, of course. That wasn't just an unforced error; it was a frame job shank.
• Joke. A dig at the birthers.
• No. But he's the GOTT. (Greatest of this time.) Our German readers may get a kick out of the anagram.
• Daniel of Switzerland gets in the mood for the French with
• Getting nice feedback on the Roland Garros app.
• An early candidate for favorite exchange:
Um, just beat a former top 10 player in three tight sets on the first day of a major. You're in a room with media members on deadline. Work with us, dear. Must you really ruin a leading question by referencing a long-forgotten match against Patty Schnyder?
• A few of you noticed that Jarmila Groth is
• Who does Martina Hingis
• The USTA announced it will host its annual open casting call on Tuesday, June 21 at the Apollo Theater in New York City to select children to perform at the 2011 U.S. Open. Winners will perform live at Arthur Ashe Stadium during night sessions of this year's U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The auditions are free of charge and will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. ET. Children 12 years of age and younger as of September 11, 2011, will be asked to sing "America the Beautiful" a cappella in front of a panel of celebrity judges from the music and entertainment industries. Judges for this year's talent search will be announced in the near future.
• Phil of Long Island, N.Y.: "Here's one for your lookalikes series. Watching a recent video of