... but all you have to do to be Numero Uno, in addition to being the best player so far this year, is win this tournament.
That's right. Roger Federer lost early again, this time to Ivo Karlovic. Fed saved two match points, but came up a bit short.
Considering Nadal's form (most recently, a 6-0, 6-1 beat down of Florent Serra) it's not a bad bet he'll take the top spot this week. Except ... he's pretty much been playing nonstop since Wimbledon. But if you fly through matches the way he does, who needs a break?
If he gets it, Nadal deserves it. It says a lot about a guy who's able to hold on to the number two spot for so long, especially when everything under him rotates like supermarket produce -- and the top guy has been immovable.
Back to Fed, if Nadal topples him, the end of this year will be unbearable for him. Already, the stupid questions are starting, such as the gem after his loss last week: "To some extent, do you agree with Justine Henin's decision to retire at the peak of her career?" (Sadly, this reporter probably came up with this question and thought it was genius. "No one will ask this one!" they probably snickered. Well, bully for you, supergenius.) Unfortunately, for all of us real tennis fans, this is only the beginning. By the end of the Open (unless he wins the thing), folks will be asking him why he's still playing tennis.
Having said all that, Roger's clearly not in the driver's seat as he once was. Is it because of coaching? (Noticed Jose Higueras back with the camp last week. What's that all about?) Or is the field catching up? Or, could it be, as a friend of mine suggests, that Fed's lost the fire to be number one week in and week out? I open the floor.