Full disclosure: I'm in an undisclosed location that ain't Wimbledon. But a) I can be located via a grunt-o-meter, b) I'll be back at Wimbledon for the Olympics and c) we had lots of questions this week, so let's do a quick mailbag:
? I'm enjoying -- and now shamelessly plugging --Frank Deford's new book
Damn if he isn't right on all counts. I wrote a column this week about Penn State and child sex scandals, yet the majority of my weekly ration of hate mail pertained to shortchanging Flavia Pennetta's chances at Wimbledon, overhyping Milos Raonic, disrespecting Djokovic, etc.
Federer is my pick because he is my pick. For one, like all investments you can get burned chasing returns. As the disclaimer goes: "Past performance doesn't guarantee future results." Federer hasn't won a major in 30 months, he lost in the Halle tune-up, he is in his 30s, etc. In counterpoint, he is Roger Federer. And there is grass underfoot. And he gets a day off between matches. And five sets to overcome lapses. And we're not talking about investment for the kids' college fund here; part of making picks is to have some fun and where's the fun of putting your money on the Google that is Djokovic and the Goldman Sachs that is Nadal?
? I was pondering a long answer about the importance of objective journalists and media members rooting "for the story" (i.e. Roger Federer re-entering the winners' circle) and not for specific players. But tonight, I am rooting for Sania Mirza. This letter is so tremendous on so many levels. One only wonders: do the Indian men -- starting with you, Leander Paes -- realize how microscopically small Mirza has made them all look?
? A cacophonous champion. But a champion nonetheless. And while we've all misfired on imagery from time-to-time, I'm thinking references to women being attacked by a serial killer might smudge the line of good taste.
? I guess Chris Lewis falls outside the 25-year mark. Martin Verkerk, the 2003 French Open runner-up, probably comes next. But I was at that event and, I'm telling you, for six rounds Verkerk played lights-out tennis. He never replicated those results in the future. But for twelve days, it was (cliché alert) lighting in a bottle. Speaking of the French Open in the mid-90s, a shout-out to Mariano Puerta, whom Nadal beat for his first title in 2005. There was little in his past to predict that run. Others? Rainer Schuettler makes the list. Arnaud Clement probably does too.
Ironically, for as often as we talk about parity in the women's game, there seem to be fewer of these total outsiders. Even Sara Errani, to use a recent example, wasn't so crazy. She was a seeded player who had won multiple tune-ups. Iva Majoli, winner of the 1997 French Open is hailed as an all-time fluke. She was seeded ninth, a quarterfinalist the past two years. When, say, Heather Watson reaches the Wimbledon final, we can revisit.
? As long as there are no further questions: sure.
? Immodesty aside, I always liked "trivalry." The gloaming trilight? The trifecta? The modern Major gentlemen? The triplex? The troika? The triumvirate? The triptych? "The threesome" sounds rather lurid. (If they shared an agent would he be "manager a trois"?) I don't disagree that the Big Three demeans us all. I'm open to suggestion, folks....
? Let the record reflect, HG of Herndon, Virg. has now made the cut.
? If you missed it, the inimitable Bryan Brothers, Mike and Bob, stopped by for a chat about Wimbledon, dirty diapers, and the controversial Leander Paes.
? Speaking of the Brothers, they support Citi Every Step of the Way to raise awareness and funds for the National Recreation and Parks Association's Tennis in the Parks initiative. (To invoke Latin, this is what's known as quid pro quo.)
? Interested in some work by the artist/poet/writer/musician/sire of a Metallica drummer and Wimbledon quarterfinalist, Torben Ulrich? acophony for 8 Players has this Kickstarter project you can support.
? Who read this piece on Murray/Lendl?
? Glenn Benson of Fair Oaks, Calif.: I have played and watched tennis all my life ... even attended a Wimbledon once seeing Everett, Billie, Court and Yvonne in the semi's. For me there is NO controversy over grunting because that, plus watching two women hit from the baseline while doing it, has put me off completely and just no longer watch it. Turn on an old Martina vs. Chrissie match for the alternative some time. I am sure I am not alone and the geniuses who run their tourneys should commission a study to find out just how much they have turned off their viewing public and then decide if they want to continue down that road.
? Bernie Nissen, Hong Kong: interesting views from Rusedski.
? Here's a Martina Navratilova interview.
? The new ATP Player Council, selected by ATP player members, was announced at the pre-Wimbledon player meeting this evening. The new ATP Player Council includes returning players Roger Federer, Jarkko Nieminen, Eric Butorac and Andre Sa (served 2002-2004), as well as a number of new faces, elected for a two-year term to represent the ATP player membership.
? Members elected by their peers to serve on the ATP Player Council through June 2014 are:
1-50 Singles: Kevin Anderson, Roger Federer, Jarkko Nieminen, Gilles Simon 51-100 Singles: Robin Haase, Sergiy Stakhovsky 1-100 Doubles: Mahesh Bhupathi, Eric Butorac At-Large: James Cerretani, Andre Sa Alumni: Brian Gottfried Coach: Claudio Pistolesi (also served 2010-'12)
? Ted Ying of Laurel, MD: It's sad to see a picture of Jamie Murray high-fiving his partner, Eric Buturac during their first round match at Wimbledon and then to see the caption say "Andy Murray..." It's even worse when this is on the Wimbledon web site as a featured photo from day 1 of the Championships. One would think that Wimbledon would at least know probably the second-best local chance for a news-worthy result.
? The good folks in Memphis would like you to know: There have been reports in the public domain that we want to address so you know we are committed to keeping professional tennis in Memphis. Recently, there became an opportunity for the ATP and WTA to make some moves among several global venues, including Memphis. The result is that ATP professional tennis will continue to be played in Memphis in 2013 and beyond. The WTA professional tournament will be played in Memphis in 2013 then will relocate to South America beginning in 2014.
ATP Tour President, Mark Young, had this to say about Memphis and professional tennis: "For the past 38 years Memphis has been an important tournament on the ATP World Tour. In fact, nine players who have ranked number one in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings have included the Memphis title on their resume. We are pleased that Memphis will continue to be part of the exciting story of men's professional tennis in the U.S. and look forward to many more years of ATP World Tour tennis at the Racquet Club of Memphis."
? Press release: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA), announced the signing of Chinese clothing brand Erke as official partner and supplier of sports apparel for all on-court officials at the 2012 and 2013 editions of the prestigious TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
? Pittsburgh tennis fans -- take note.
? Sonal of Mumbai, India: Here's another fun three letter match combo from the first round Mikhail Youzhny vs. Donald Young match: YOU-YOU!!!
? Dayasagar of Bangalore, India: Hi Jon! I just found the similarity between Anil Kumble and Nicholas Almagro quite striking!