Monday, February 13, 2012

Lost in translation? Ri-ight.

So the biggest tennis news of the weekend is the U.S. rout of Switzerland (read: Roger Federer) in Davis Cup action. This one's surprising for a couple reasons, mainly that it was played on clay. That's some clay when Americans can play on it. That's a strategy fail right there.
And then there's this tidbit. After their doubles loss, Federer said all the right things about how they fought the good fight, the Americans were better that day, blah, blah, blah. But apparently, the French version of the presser was much more interesting. According to the Associated Press, Federer said he played well in dubs, but that partner Stan Wawrinka didn't. That's a nice thing to say about the guy you won the OLYMPICS with. Guess he's some sort of hack. Fed also faulted Stan for not winning his match against Mardy Fish in singles, because the loss failed to put pressure on the U.S. Interesting theory, but last I checked, the tie score was 5-0. One might deduce that Federer's loss to John Isner might also have failed to put pressure on the U.S. What, it's Wawrinka's fault that Federer lost, too?
Actually, I like seeing Federer like this. He's a sore loser, and that's what makes a great champion, not all that business about losing gracefully. The man hates to lose, and as long as he reacts so adversely to loss, his head's in the game, and as long as his head's in the game, he'll be around contesting for majors and the like. Still, though, Fed, that was cold blooded.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

If you're snoozing, you're watching Fed Cup ...

Watching the Serena Williams-Anastasiya Yakimova match now. Asking myself why. Well, I have already picked all the lint out of my belly button. And the paint in the living room is dry, although it was fun watching that. So here I sit.
Did anyone else know the U.S. wasn't in the World Group anymore? I guess I should be ashamed of myself, not being able to (or having the interest to) keep up with this "format" they insist upon. Sure, I could go into my specific issues about the Fed and Davis format again. Or I could just point you here and here. Does anyone else have another idea about the world competition formats?
Here's another issue I don't believe I've addressed. The Fed Cup needs to get with the times. The doubles should not be the fifth rubber. It should be the third, just like in Davis Cup. It needs to be in the mix. Now it's great when you actually play a tie that goes to 2-2 and it comes down to doubles. But how often does that happen? Doubles should count for something in every tie. The International Tennis Federation is also ignoring that tennis viewers want to see doubles because most of them play doubles. Duh! And we don't want to see Sloane Stephens playing doubles after the match has been decided and everyone else doesn't care. We want to the best possible doubles match on the court. That rarely happens when it's the fifth match.
My goodness, is this match ugly. I think it's fair to say that Serena is no longer in her heyday. Now it's just "Hey!" As in, hey, what they hey was that?!" Now, I'm starting to ask myself if Serena deserves a spot on the Olympic team. Which begs the question: If you take the Williams sisters out of the picture, what's the best Olympic team the U.S. can send, rankings be damned? I suppose I will accept sentimental answers such as Melanie Oudin, but keep in mind, I'm looking for the team that could do some damage.
OK, so a few games back, Serena comes to the changeover chair and smashes her racquet. You could literally see Mary Joe Fernandez jump a foot off the bench. So after Serena lost the first set, Fernandez, wisely, is not sitting there. Now, who says she's not a good and smart captain? Oh, I did? Kidding!