Fifty things (cont'd)
Posted: Sunday September 9, 2007 10:28PM; Updated: Monday September 10, 2007 12:37AM
Anyone want to dispute that Venus Williams is the second-best player in women's tennis right now?
Big tournament for Serbia. Apart from the on-court results, were any three players more endearing and personable than Jelena Jankovic, Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic?
For the two of you who have yet to see it, here's Novak.
When the USTA decided to stage the women's final on a Saturday night, they expected the Williams sisters to be the ratings darling. Who would have guessed that neither sister would even reach a final for five years running? By the way, look for a Sunday start next year.
Assorted shout-outs: David Ferrer, Anna Chekvatadze, Hyung Taik Lee, Juan Monaco, Shahar Peer, Aggie Svavay, Aggie Radwanska, Ernests (singular) Gulbis, Tamira Pazsek and Feliciano Lopez.
The most successful player in tennis is a twentysomething European. And it's not Roger Federer. Esther Vergeer, who has not lost a MATCH since 2003, successfully defended her title in the Wheelchair event. Shingo Kunieda of Japan took the men's title.
Rafael Nadal gamely played on when he was visibly less than 100 percent physically, but he once again underachieved during the North American hard court swing. Might be nice if he cut back on some of those appearance-fee Opens, so he'd be more fresh for the big ticket events in Canada, Cincy=, and New York. Then again ...
I saw one player brandishing a book during this event and it was....Janko Tipsarevic.
Tons of you asked why the Slams don't seed in the conventional one-versus-eight, two-versus-seven style to which we're accustomed from NCAA pools. The best answer we got: Scattering the seeds the same way each time creates a risk that the same matchups will emerge time and again. (This presupposes, of course, that the rankings don't change.) I agree, though, that there is something counterintuitive about one-versus-five in the quarterfinals (a la Federer and Roddick), and I would encourage the ITF to consider traditional seeding.
In the past, we've made no secret of our fondness for Oracene Williams. But her claims to "Best Tennis Parent" are being challenged by Jelena Jankovic's mom, Snezana, who reacted to her daughter's quarterfinal defeat with a smile that said, "Darn, but what a great match."
Yuri Sharapova may not be a model of decorum. But he got a bad rap for "leaving" his daughter's box during her loss to Agnieszka Radwanksa. Yuri simply moved back two rows; he didn't bail on his daughter as was universally reported.
That said, for a player who looked like she was on the verge of dominating tennis a year ago, Sharapova is suddenly at a crossroads.
Lots of you asking about the appropriateness of Radwanksa's darting around during Sharapova's service motion. Let's put it like this: I wouldn't recommend this behavior at a club match. It was fairly bush league, I thought. But when your opponent shrieks selectively during the match, I suppose you're entitled to take a hit from the gamesmanship pipe yourself. (To her credit, Sharapova took the high road when asked about Radwanka's unique returning tactics, before slyly adding, "It will be interesting to see if she does it again next time I play her.")