Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A ride in the way-back machine

From the news wires:
Former world number one Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil has won his first match in 18 months by defeating Italy's Filippo Volandri 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the Brazilian Open here.
The three-times French Open winner was sidelined for most of last year as he attempted to recover from a hip operation he underwent in 2004. His last win was for Brazil in a Davis Cup tie against Uruguay in September 2005.
His world ranking has slumped down to 1,076th and he needed a wild card to play in his home ATP tournament, a title he has won twice before in 2002 and 2004.
But he needed just 46 minutes to see off Volandri on the Costa da Sauipe claycourts, serving 13 aces in the process, and he goes on to play against another Italian, Alessio Di Mauro, in the second round.

Here's hoping Guga finds his way back soon. It'd be fun to see him competing again at the top. And it'd be really interesting to see him playing the French Open again, against, oh, I don't know -- how 'bout Rafael Nadal? Hmm. For old times sake, how 'bout Kuerten in five? 
(And how about someone finding Guga a fat, juicy steak, once and for all? If he were a girl, everybody'd be crying Karen Carpenter.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A little hope for the others?

 From the Australian Open:
Q. For the past four years you've probably given 500 press conference. Is there a question that none of us has ever asked you that you'd like to answer?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm sure there's a hundred thousand questions you can still ask me. Those will come for the next five years or so.

Okay, Andy, James, Fernando: If you guys can hang on for more than five years, you will have a shot at a Grand Slam.
Of course, some people wouldn't wait that long for their chance to shine. See HARDING, Tonya.

Tough: Code word for "not tough. Not tough at all."

"I hope I get through in the next match, as well. (Jonas) Bjorkman will be a very experienced player, or (Olivier) Patience, a guy I've never played against. It's going to be interesting." -- Roger Federer, about the potential opponent for his second round match at the Australian Open 2007

"I don't know who I'm playing yet, but it looks like Youzhny. He upset Rafa at the US Open. I've played him several times, know what a great player he is. Got to make sure I get through that one first." -- Federer, on round three

"It's a dangerous match for me, that's for sure." -- Federer, on facing Novak Djokovic in the fourth round

"I was like, Oh, God, this could be a tough one tonight." -- Federer, after beating the crap out of Andy Roddick

"You know, I know the danger playing against him." -- Federer, again, before his final against Fernando Gonzalez

It's a lot to digest, but allow me to translate:
"Ah, for cryin' out loud! Bring me Nadal! or Nalbandian! Someone who can take a match off of me!"
Seriously, there's no doubt that Roger Federer is the best tennis player in the world right now, and maybe forever. I know it, you know it, and believe it or not, Federer knows it. He just doesn't feel the need to anoint himself as such every chance he gets.
Such is the way of Keyshawn Johnson who tells people to throw him the damn ball. 
What about Terrell Owens? He's bad-mouthing teammates and sending veteran coaches into retirement. Owens even gets a cuddly nickname for all his charm: T.O.
Such is the way of one Chad Johnson, who keeps a list of 
all the players who can and cannot cover him. 
For his modesty, Johnson gets featured in all kinds of commercials.
Imagine Roger Federer making a list of all the players who can't beat him. Everyone would chastise him for being pompous. But he'd probably have himself a cuddly nickname, too: R.F.?
Instead, Federer relies on his racquet to do the talking. Imagine that. He loses five matches in two years, and feels no need to stitch it on the back of his shirt. Here's a nutty thought. Maybe some athletes feel they have to tell you they're the best because they can't prove it.
Boy, it sure would be nice to see Roger Federer with a nickname. In some commercials. Leading off SportsCenter even if it's not game day. As it stands now, all he has are 10 Grand Slam titles, millions in prize money and the quiet assurance that he's the best at his craft. He probably isn't too bothered by that. Not that we'd 
know it if he was.