Plenty to celebrate in game, reality of serve-and-volley; more mail
Thanks for this note. It's easy for cynicism to become infectious.
The sport has never been played at a higher level. Serena Williams is back and as comprehensively dominating as ever. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are both still winning. As Zeljko notes, we are witnessing perhaps the greatest season in the history of the men's game. And if you're still not sure what to think of Novak Djokovic as a person,
Yesterday I saw Donald Young pass by Ivo Karlovic in the tunnels. Name me another sport, I thought to myself, that can accommodate, a 5-foot-9 African-American barely of drinking age and a 6-10 thirty-something Croatian. Just a snapshot. But still another reminder that this sport is onto something.
These laments about serve-and-volleying have become comical. Serving-and-volleying on every point has fallen out of favor not because it's a lost art, or players have become lazy or they're tactically inept. It's become obsolete because it's ineffective. It's tennis' answer to the picket fence. For a variety of reasons -- the strings, the rackets, the faster serves that give deliverer that much time to get netward -- it's simply not a tactic conducive to winning. (Except in doubles where you're only covering half the court.) Listening to some commentators you'd think that there's an easy way to win matches that's going untried because these children today would rather play on their iPads and eat their chalupas than learn how to volley.
I vowed to put this topic on hold but it keeps resurfacing in all sorts of contexts. I don't think you're precluded from having an opinion because you've never won a Slam. And from what little I've heard, Chris Evert, who's won boatloads of Slams. has been vocal about Wozniacki.
As long as we're here, a lot of you asked about Mary Carillo's digs at Justin Gimelstob last week while conferring on Ryan Harrison the nickname
The very nature of a commentator is to give opinions. If we withheld judgment only for those jobs that paid us, only appointed judges would render opinions on guilt or innocence, only paid critics would offer assessments of movies, only meteorologists would speak about the weather. Assuming you feel that way. why not just say: "No, Mary. I don't think there should be punishment for self-flagellation, a victimless crime."
You know how there are codes for various medical maladies when you file paperwork with your insurer? In tennis there should be shorthand (IKS, perhaps) when you flame out of a tournament simply on account of encountering Ivo Karlovic's serve. Bryan Brothers? IKS. Richard Gasquet? IKS.
I can't think of a single Grand Slam champ in the modern era -- much less one as decorated as Venus -- who has forsaken singles to be a doubles specialist.
Agree. Thanks for that. And glad you brought up. She's been put to pasture as far as court assignments, but from an artistic standpoint you won't do much better here.
I'm way out of my depth here. If you could "shave off" the top section of Ashe as if it were stubble, I'd be all for it. But I have no idea if that's structurally feasible. If anyone with expertise wants to weigh in, we'd be much obliged.
• Reigning Barclays ATP World Tour Finals champion Federer is the fourth player to qualify for the season finale, to be held November 20-27 at The O2 in London, featuring the world's top eight players. After advancing to the fourth round at the US Open on Saturday, Federer joins Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray as the other qualifiers.
• Note to several of you commenting on Shriver's treatment of Sloane Stevens during the Shahar Peer match: I didn't see it, so I really can't comment. If someone get me a link we'll go from there.
• Danielle Johnson of Charleston, S.C. has look-alike: