Sunday, February 17, 2013
1. If you're the Tennis Channel and you're going to insist on hiring Ashley Harkleroad to do your match commentary, don't put her with someone equally weak, like Brett Haber. It's bad enough I have to watch Victoria Azarenka win another title, but I have to also have to do it to the soundtrack of those two tennis-gossiping like Sophia and Dorothy from The Golden Girls. And let's just say it. What on earth does Ashley Harkleroad know about top-level women's tennis competition? I'm being serious. Basically, her claim to fame (besides Playboy, which is another diatribe entirely) is almost beating Maria Sharapova that one time. Apparently, all of her knowledge comes from reading Yahoo! stories, because she doesn't talk much about tennis. Well, I have an idea. Why not hire me? I can read the Internet, too, and rehash the Williams sisters' Indian Wells controversy from A DECADE AGO. For heaven's sake. 2. Speaking of rehash, I am still a little bitter over Azarenka's antics in Australia, but damn, is her game holding up. See, Victoria, you don't have to resort to gamemanship to win matches. She managed to hold her nerve, and her serve, quite nicely against an erratic Serena Williams. One thing Azarenka has that no one else in the women's game seems to have anymore is variety, and in time, I will come to appreciate this fully after I get over this "medical time-out" nonsense. 3. Speaking of medical time-outs, Juan Martin del Potro served out a win at Rotterdam with a piece of tissue stuck up his nose due to a nosebleed. I'm not saying that a lot of other players couldn't take a lesson from this and man the hell up sometimes. Yes, I am. 4. Rafael Nadal's back in tennis. He's had some struggles against a couple of (way) lower-ranked players. Roger Federer noted as much when discussing his nemesis' comeback. I believe his exact quote was: "I was surprised he lost a final against a player ranked outside the top 50." This was, to be fair, before Federer lost to Julien Benneteau. But Benneteau is #39 in the world, so ... 5. The last time Esther Vergeer lost a match was 2003. That's ten years. Vergeer announced her retirement from tennis this week. I'm not a close follower of wheelchair tennis, but it's hard to believe that no one else could even challenge her in all those years. I'm going to go with the idea that she was just that dominant. That sort of win streak has got to take an amount of mental strength that I'm not even familiar with. Good luck to her -- and anyone else in the field in which she chooses next.