SI Insider: Building the Perfect "Frankenstein" Tennis Player

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With the tennis world still on hold, an interesting topic came up in Jon Wertheim's Mailbag this week, if you were to build a "Frankenstein" tennis player assembled with skills from different players, which players and which skills would you pick?

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Robin Lundberg: It's time for another edition of SI insider and I'm joined by Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim. Jon, what do you have in your tennis mailbag this week?

Jon Wertheim: Good question. I mean, just to take a step back first. I think it's interesting, with so much going on in the world, in the U.S. in particular, at some point, you know, tennis has never felt less relevant. 

On the other hand, I think it's really been a diversion and a distraction for a lot of people. So we've gotten as much mail. Now, when you have these dual crises, when you don't have matches being played, we've got as much mail now as we have very ordinary season. I think fans are really looking for for some distraction this week. We talk about who is the best player who never have been ranked number one. That is still active today. We have a little fun with that, one of these  barroom exercises. We also talk about building the perfect tennis player, this "Frankenstein" where if you could take the serve of John Isner and the backhand of Novak Djokovic and the hustle of Rafa Nadal. 

I think one thing that's interesting about tennis is that, yeah, you can go shot-by-shot the way we could for other sports throwing arm and back. But I think a lot of tennis, what we're realizing is that these are intangibles, either abstract qualities. So it's about the persistence or about the ability to rebound from defeat. What you really realize is that what makes the best players isn't necessarily the individual stroke, but a lot of it is mental. A lot of it is attitude. A lot of it is their approach to their profession, professionalism. 

And I think these are all qualities that are going to come out once tennis resumes, it will be as much about who has the best serve and who has the best forehand as who is able to compartmentalize, who has been doing the training work during this break in the schedule and who has the sort of mental capacity get back to playing at a high level after this crazy break that we've all been on.