Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Attitudimeter: Jack Sock is here?!??

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a special holiday edition of The Attitudimeter. Despite all the craziness in the world right now, there is still plenty to be thankful for, especially where tennis is concerned. Tennis is really the only thing that didn't completely suck this year, when you think about it. So let's dig in!

High Attitude

These Shoes Right Here

I think it's great Serena Williams got married this weekend with everyone who is cool in attendance. Her baby is very adorable. Her husband appears to be well-trained to worship her regularly. But these dancing shoes for the reception

were really just the best things I've ever seen. Hands down.

Grigor Dimitrov

He won the ATP Finals. OK. Whatevs. We're gonna talk about how on earth something like this could even happen, but imagine a world where some of the strongest players on tour weren't injured right now. Where would Dimitrov have been during the finals? Shuffleboard? Playing Old Maid, maybe? But, yeah, congratulations ...

David Goffin

... to the guy who was really the star pupil at the finals. Let us consider that Goffin of Mordor was having a pretty great season to begin with when he suffered a gruesome on-court injury at the French Open. He came back and was still able to earn a spot in the finals. And then he beat Nadal and Roger Federer, ending both their seasons. He did the heavy lifting so that Dimitrov didn't have to. Also, he's a good four feet shorter than everyone else on tour. All hail our favorite tennis Hobbit.

Low Attitude

The ATP Tour

You really have to assess the choices you make as a tour when you've got Jack Sock at the year-end championships. This isn't Sock shade, honestly. He played well at the finals, advancing to the semis, and beating Alexander Zverev. But look who's on the sidelines. Andy Murray. Novak Djokovic. Milos Raonic. Kei Nishikori. Rafa Nadal as a late addition. These finals were never supposed to be a "best of the rest" wrap-up. I guess this is my way of saying that this is a good time to take a look at that tournament schedule, and if not that, then looking at what you're requiring of players.

The Tennis World

One of my first tennis fan memories was watching Jana Novotna cry on the shoulder of royalty when she lost Wimbledon. Yes, that was a terrible moment for her, but a great humanizing moment for the sport. I think that maybe when you also play tennis yourself (not always on a pro level), that sort of moment makes you realize it's OK for tennis to mean something to you. So it sucks to lose someone like Novotna so young to cancer. She was just 49. Hopefully, she understood that her moment of sadness on the court spoke to many of us in many ways. RIP, Jana.
Same goes to Pancho Segura, who at least was able to live a full and successful life. He died at 96 this week as well. He had a record-breaking career ... and also gave us Jimmy Connors. But you can't be perfect.

The Australian Open in 2018

Look at this. I mean

I can see wanting to address player withdrawals. That makes sense. But it's a pretty hard line to say that if you retire from a first-round match, then you'll probably get fined. (Tanking, yes, should always be fined, Nick Kyrgios.) But ... what if you do it during the second round?
Also, I am old enough to remember why the Slams went to the 32-player draw -- to prevent, say, Grigor Dimitrov from playing Nadal in the second round. I was resistant, but it made sense, especially as tennis developed depth, and it's turned out well. So why change this? I can even see the argument for three-set matches for men before I see the logic of this nonsense. The shot clock in matches? What?!?? Why is tennis so insecure? Why are they trying to appeal to people who don't like tennis? Other sports aren't willing to change its bones to please non-fans. Am I missing something? I think, actually, that I'll miss tennis when it's gone.

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