At Wimbledon, Fish reached the quarterfinals, lost gamely to Rafael Nadal and then spoke candidly of his career. He asserted that, pleased as he is with his play of late, he'd like to back it up with a breakthrough run at a major. He'll get his chance in a few weeks, when he enters the U.S. Open as the highest-ranked American. Meanwhile, he ought to be pleased with another triumph.
With that as a context, many did a spit-take when they saw the sponsor of the Hamburg event: bet-at-home.com. We're not talking about a tasteful, passive sponsor either. Check out the
This, of course, gives rise to all sorts of problematic issues. How can the ATP keep a straight face about anti-gambling policies and then let an online betting house sponsor an event? Can the ATP veto the sponsors of sanctioned events that are independently owned and operated? How could the Hamburg promoters put the sport in such a compromised and compromising position? (The conspiracy theory: After the downgrade of the Hamburg event, the unsuccessful challenge and the eight-figure legal bill that followed, the promoters were out to embarrass the ATP.)
Lots of angles to this. Any law student looking for a sports-related law review topic, this is fertile ground. But, at a minimum, it sure makes the ATP look toothless.
This, sadly, has been in keeping with Oudin's results of late. After making deep runs in consecutive 2009 majors (fourth round at Wimbledon followed by quarterfinals at the U.S. Open) and peaking at No. 31 in April 2010, Oudin has fallen to 100th. OK, the flaws in Oudin's game -- starting with the absence of wattage on her serve -- were always apparent. OK, she received a disproportionate amount of publicity, hailed as she was as America's next darling. Still, who could have imagined her game flying off its axis like this? Athletic careers, of course, seldom move in straight lines. Sure would be nice if Oudin could experience a bit of an uptick pretty soon.