Posted: Wednesday August 31, 2005 12:18PM; Updated: Wednesday August 31, 2005 2:35PM
Roddick raises a valid a point when, in self-defense, he notes that he is still a top-five player, a Wimbledon finalist, a player who's won multiple titles this year, etc. This is supposed to be an annus horribilis for Roddick, yet 95 percent of the players in the U.S. Open draw would kill for a year like his. Still, this was not how the script was supposed to have gone. Not for Roddick. Not for the USTA. Not for American Express. Not for the TV-rights holders. Not for a lot of the fans. We'll see how quickly Roddick can regroup and find that mojo. Who knew it was this elusive?
Jon Wertheim will answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag every Wednesday.
Just saw that Kim Clijsters stated she would probably retire at end of 2007. Do you think she is selling herself short? She cited injuries and traveling as the catalyst. Don't you think this should be a warning to the powers at WTA? One of their star players, "Miss Congeniality," wants to split in less than two years? Is this another Martina Hingis-like episode? How can we, the fans, help pressure the WTA and ATP to shorten the season, thereby extending the careers of our favorite players? -- Michael White, Fort Worth, Texas
My estimable colleague Richard Deitschcovered this on Monday. I don't think Clijsters is being disingenuous. She (as well as her father) have been intimating for years that her career will be a short one. But I wouldn't cry into my Stella Artois quite yet. Countless athletes have predicted a pending retirement. Then they find the winning (or the money or the lifestyle) harder to give up than they'd thought. If Clijsters hits her self-imposed "sell-by" date ranked No. 1 in the world and is happy with the state of her game and her life, does she still walk away?
What's the reasoning behind listing the seeded players first or second at the Open? The higher seeds aren't always listed first and it's not done alphabetically. It doesn't make sense. -- David Cook, Long Island, N.Y.
Lots of questions about the draw this week. An overall theme: We all love conspiracy theories, but you're looking in the wrong place. 1) The seeds follow the rankings, but the cut-off day was the week before last. Thus Lindsay Davenport is seeded second even though she is No. 1 this week. (No let's-hype-the-pretty-Russian conspiracy, sorry.) The draw is totally random, names drawn arbitrarily in front of an audience. When Venus and Serena are in the same quadrant, it's mere coincidence. Also, if a stunning number of seeds didn't have to play top players in the first round, it's by chance, not an underhanded scheme to protect top players. The ITF divides seeds, but it does so randomly, so No. 1 could play No. 5, and not necessarily No. 8, in the quarters. Them's the rules.
Again, nothing wrong with casting a critical eye. But this draw business is above-board. Honest. (The distribution of wild cards, on the other hand ...)
How can I find doubles coverage on TV? -- Mark Eckley, Baltimore
The Tennis Channel might be your best bet. But here's yet another reason doubles is struggling: It's never on television! The players will tell you the lack of coverage plays a key role in doubles' diminishing prestige and popularity. The networks will respond that the diminishing prestige and popularity plays a key role in the lack of coverage. And so it goes.