Thursday, April 16, 2009

Musings from the beach

So, I’m on vacation in the Florida Keys, trying to ditch the hibernation weight for the upcoming league season when I notice that Serena Williams lost a match to someone ranked 95th in the world and Dinara Safina, she without a Slam, will be world No. 1 next week. There’s no Maria Sharapova in sight, and no one else in the top five has even sniffed a major, except spring chicken Venus Williams, who'll be 29 this year. And I’m getting ready for the leagues. Does anyone else think this would be a really good time to go pro in women’s tennis?
Anyway, some headlines since I’ve been gone:
1. Roger Federer gets married! OK, I hate starting out with gossip, but this is a big deal! Listen, Fed’s been pretty stubborn about not needing a coach, so who would’ve thunk he’d finally marry Mirka? Well, as someone celebrating her fourth wedding anniversary this week, I feel qualified to say: “Run, Roger, RUN!!!” Kidding. I guess.
The real question is how or if this will change Roger’s game. Because we all know that athletes are incapable of being married and successful at the same time, right? That’s silly. The issues keeping Roger from No. 1 have nothing to do with outside forces. It's that Spaniard ... and that Brit ... and that Serb.
Rumor also has it that Andy Roddick got married over the weekend. Aww. Let’s hope the wings of love will carry Andy to the second round of the French Open this year. But! getting married is a fine excuse to miss Roland Garros. Clever move, young Andrew.
2. Women’s tennis is still whack! This is getting hard to watch. It’s like walking into a bank to find the vaults have been cleaned out and the money left strewn on the ground – and that Jelena Jankovic, Safina, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and the rest of the top 20 are just walking over it like it’s not there. Although congratulations are in order for Jankovic for winning Andalucia and mowing down top 1,000 competition ... and winning a tournament that sounds like a Disney movie. “Someday, my Slam will come ...”
3. WTA’s Larry Scott leaves! I’ve actually been meaning to get around to this one for a while. He’s moved on to some NCAA conference. He claims to have left because attempts to merge the men’s and women’s tours failed. I can see his point. Because the men’s tour is a well-oiled machine compared to the women’s tour. And when you're the CEO of the women's tour, and the tour sucks, then guess who's responsible for that? When you have the Williams sisters and Sharapova experiencing fame -- without the tour taking advantage of some of that, it's really your fault. Yeah, what's happening now is nothing to write home about, but it used to be, and the tour never benefitted from that. I say that's a failing of the PR machine. See you around, Larry. Thanks, anyway.
I'll be back in a week or so. Vacation calls.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

There goes that android theory ...

So, I saw a few things I've never seen before while watching tennis. I'll share them:
1. Unfortunately, I had to watch the Rafa Nadal v. Juan Martin del Potro on Fox Sports Network. For the uninitiated, this means tennis coverage can be interrupted with no notice and in a blink of an eye, you're now watching hockey. Taped hockey. Anyway, today, toward the end of the match, a crawl came across the screen saying "Savran Sportbeat (or whatever) will air after the match." Wow. Look at them. All grown up and everything.
2. Then, I watched Nadal play very strangely in the third-set tiebreak. I don't know how to describe it. And I hesitate to even make this implication, but (gulp) did he looked to be afraid to lose!? Playing patty-cake against an opponent who had missed two wide-open sitters at the net? Whatever. I guess Nadal's entitled to lose every now and again, although just last week, he had beaten the crap out of del Potro. Is this going to be a milestone for the Argentine? I guess we'll find out when he takes on Andy Murray in the semis.
3. Right now, I'm watching the Williams sisters slug it out in the semis. I have one question: Why won't one of them take one step back from the baseline on the return? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: That only intimidates people if your returns are good. I don't know that the 25 percent of the time they can connect on the shot is worth it. Actually, I do know. Um, it ain't.