Monday, February 20, 2006

Andy, Andy, Andy ...

Johnny Mac is back! He and Jonas Bjorkman, doing research for the seniors' tour, beat Paul Goldstein and Jim Thomas to win the SAP Open 7-6(2), 4-6, 10-7. Some of us (me) wasn't around to see him the first time around, and it should be a treat ... as long as he doesn't try singles. And he claims he won't, thank goodness. And just as many cry out for more personalities in tennis, McEnroe answers by flipping out on an umpire.
Speaking of flipping out, it's great to see Andy Roddick's coaching change is working out for him. He lost to a fine player in Andy Murray in the San Jose semis, but insulting the umpire is clearly McEnroe territory. The difference between a Mac rant and a Roddick rant is that Mac plays his behind off once he releases all that aggression. Roddick yells, stomps and marinates in it. He hits a bad forehand thirty minutes after his fit and stares down the umpire like he's voodooing him. Clearly, Roddick's problem lies not entirely in the coaching, but in his head. The question is: Will Andy's new coach have to guts to tell his little brother that he's not McEnroe?
Speaking of Andy, how about that Murray kid? This is a huge victory for him on a couple of levels. He won his first big-time title over two top-five players. He grinded out a victory in the final over Lleyton Hewitt, who looks like he's in for another spectacular also-ran season. Murray also seems to have shaken all that pressure he was feeling from the Brits. That's pretty remarkable. It took Amelie Mauresmo about six years to get that off her back. But Murray better win Wimbledon this year, or Pat Cash will come out of the woodwork to say his game's really not that great.
Speaking of woodwork, Rafael Nadal made his comeback from a foot injury in Marseilles, ultimately losing in the quarters to Arnaud Clement, who went on to beat Mario Ancic in the final. The world number two isn't complaining of pain, and hopefully will be ready for France. As much as a healthy Nadal is a shoe-in for Roland Garros, it sure would be nice to see him win a Slam on a hard court. Anyway, with Roddick and Hewitt sliding, Nadal's return will be a shot in the arm for the tour.
Speaking of the arm, why do the Williams sisters have a personal trainer? Isn't Kerrie Brooks supposed to teach them how to train? Where is she when Venus is swinging an errant forehand, and tearing ligaments in her right arm? Where is she when Serena's about to down a burger and fries? Strangely, no one seemed convinced they were really injured until they pulled out of Dubai. You'd really have to be hurt to turn down all that cash, huh?
Speaking of being "hurt", Justine Henin-Hardenne will "return" to action this week in Dubai. Here's a hint to anyone going to her matches: Pay after she plays.


"He's a former top 10 player, and this week he showed it," said Mario Ancic after losing to Arnaud Clement. That either didn't come out the way he wanted it to, or it came out exactly how he intended it to.
"He returned well. I hit a bomb at my spot and he'd block it back and I'd be back to neutral again." From the mouth of Andy Roddick. Revelation? Or just the game of tennis? Andy, you're supposed to be ready to return.

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