Friday, June 29, 2018

The Attitudimeter: Taking the Pre-Wimbledon Temperature

Let's get right to it. There's a lot happening.

Who's Up

Serena Williams

Serena Williams was unseeded when she returned to Grand Slam tennis. Has been since her return. Serena's not the first woman to come back from having a baby to play tennis, but you sure would think that. I bet you Victoria Azarenka is feeling pretty unloved right now as everyone rallies around the idea of a protected ranking for new mom Serena. Serena doesn't even have baby daddy drama and she's getting the help. Sorry, Vika. We shoulda been there for you. Because, yeah, new moms should get a protected ranking.
I don't understand why it isn't the same as an injury protection, because a woman's body gets beat to hell for it. But you shouldn't be protected forever, and you wouldn't be with an injury protective ranking, either. And as Katrina Adams pointed out in this New York Times story, doing anything other than protecting the ranking is like asking a female CEO to come back from maternity leave to start in the mail room. And yes, I heard Barbora Strycova saying it isn't fair to everyone else, and Dominika Cibulkova crowing about losing her seeding, but ... wait. I gotta address Cibulkova first:

1. Win a Slam first, sis!
2. Giving Serena a seed at a major is a favor to YOU!

Now, to Strycova's point that pregnancy isn't the same as an injury, as it is a choice to become pregnant. It is true. Choosing to have a family should not ever negatively affect your career. Nothing you do outside your job (except being a criminal and a racist) should change your employment status. I hate to get New York Times-heavy in this post, but The Daily podcast did two incredible episodes about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace this week, which might add some nuance to the way we think about this.

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka could be Andy Roddick's twin sister, and we don't talk about that enough.


Also, she does have a hell of a game ... and a hell of a penchant for giving up leads and winning matches in dramatic third sets, does she not? And her backhand is better than Roddick's.
So, does she have a shot at Wimbledon? You need at least a bit of a net game for that ... and Sabalenka's net game looks about the same as it did during the Fed Cup tie against the U.S. We'll see about Wimby. We'll see.

Who's Down

Serena Williams

You're not seeing double.
So Deadspin actually did a real tennis story about Serena apparently refusing to take a drug test and the headline is gold:

There's a lot here. Mainly, I have to say that when the airport eavesdropper heard some guy named Steve leave Serena a message, I just knew it was that dim bulb Steve Simon. Y'all know how I feel about him. Who the hell walks around a public place fielding private calls? Oh, that's right. Everybody. I guess he could have put it on speaker, like most people do in the grocery store.
Second, someone really should answer why Serena is getting tested at twice the rate of other Americans -- having played, what, three tournaments this year?
Third, I have a hard time buying that Serena was dodging this test, judging how vocal she is on social media about these tests. And then there is the small detail that she wasn't actually home. I would have liked to know what the policy is in that case. Are you supposed to wait around for her to come home? And sorry, why is she being tested so much?!
Fourth, I will definitely have my popcorn ready for Serena's first presser when someone asks her
about this.

Roger Federer

Happens, I guess. Your main rival to date takes a break and affords you the opportunity to run the table. Perfect set-up to win the warm-up in Halle and then Wimbledon maybe -- making it Federer's 100th tournament win. But there comes Borna Coric, deciding after years of prospect talk about him, that he is going to go ahead and beat Roger Federer on his best surface. Surely, this is just a blip for Federer, which hopefully will lead to better decision-making. After all, the wheels pretty much fell off for Roger after THREE FAILED CHALLENGES IN A ROW. As I recall, Federer was super resistant to the challenge system in the first place and it looks like he should have really stayed away from it.

Novak Djokovic

Actually, Djokovic is progressing in his comeback. He's not at the top of his game yet -- he lost a tough final at Queen's Club against Marin Cilic. But how about John McEnroe comparing him to Tiger Woods and his, uh, family troubles? McEnroe took the locker room talk to the mic! Woo. I bet Djokovic was ticked off about that one!

Is this sarcastic?

Nick Kyrgios

Someone just answer me this: What did the person say to elicit this reaction?

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