The pendulum swings (pt. 3)
Posted: Wednesday October 24, 2007 10:51AM; Updated: Wednesday October 24, 2007 11:19AM
Doesn't it seem odd that there are nearly 50 men in the top 100 with losing records on the year?
Funny, I was just marveling that Nalbandian entered the Madrid event only two matches over .500 (19-17 I believe he was) and yet he was still firmly in the top 25. I wonder if there's a statistician out there who could tell us whether this is anomalous.
My layman's speculation: When you have a top player, such as Federer, who goes 58-7, and a No. 2, like Nadal, who is also more than 50 matches better than .500 (64-12), it skews the numbers. Also, when you think about it, a player who wins half his matches reaches the second round week-in, week-out. This makes him roughly a top-40 player, no? (He reaches the round of 32 at most events and the round of 64 at the four Slams.) Thus it stands to reason that roughly half the top 100 players win less than 50 percent of the time. Hmmmm ...
Is it just me, or do today's tennis reporters seem to not know much about tennis? The following sentence appeared in a recent story (from the AP): "Ginepri, a 72nd-ranked qualifier, forced Federer into 17 of his 30 unforced errors in the first [set] as both players held serve to the tiebreaker, which Federer clinched with one of his 10 aces." I'm not sure how one "forces" an "unforced error," and I have to think that would sound a little off to most anyone. Could it be just one more example of how tennis is the "Rodney Dangerfield" of sports -- just can't get no respect!!
This is going to sound more obnoxious than I want it to, but -- particularly since so few newspapers have a full-time tennis writers nowadays -- there are basically two kinds of journalists in the press room. The tennis press, who are the folks who cover the tour and are intimately familiar (sometimes myopically so) with the sport. And the local sports reporter, who covers an entirely different beat, but has been conscripted to spend a few days at the tennis event while the circus is passing through town.
This tends to manifest itself in press conferences. Reporter A asks why a player chose to hit a slice backhand at that crucial deuce in the ninth game. Reporter B then asks a question that confuses "rallies" with "volleys" or references "Anna Kournikova." It also means that some accounts contain an abundance of errors and tone-deaf phrases. Any of us who have had to cover an event outside our comfort zone (speaking of tone-deaf phrases) sympathize with these newcomers. But yes, it can make for odd reading.
Regarding your "best one-handed backhands," I agree with [your call of] Richard Gasquet, but you picked the wrong Tommy. Tommy Haas has a much better backhand than Robredo. Plus Haas has a classic, fluid motion, Robredo just flails at the ball. Others with great backhands: Mikhail Youzhny, James Blake, Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Forgot about the Yooz, not hard given his results lately. Robredo has that wristy zing at the end. I still take him over Haas.
Before the Federer-Ginepri match gets lost in the score line of what looks like a routine Federer win, how about acknowledging Ginepri's entertaining, gusty, high-quality play? His winners/unforced errors stats (13 to 26) surely say something about the subjective nature of these stats, especially against Federer. Didn't seem like Ginepri was playing a sloppy errors.
I'll bite on that one. Awfully nice match for a guy struggling to win matches these days. Brutal sport, this tennis. Ginepri is a U.S. Open semifinalist and barely two years later he's qualifying for Masters Series events.
Good for Justine Henin. However, she has regained the reins to her career, not the reigns.
No, um, I meant "reigns." You know, because she was, like, a monarch ruling and she had lost her dominion and ... OK, you got me. Good catch.
Anyone else catch that Mark Philippoussis lost to John McEnroe in the consolation match of the Dallas Outback champions event last week? Um, a Bill Maher New Rule: You can't grovel for a wild card when you're losing to a "cougar," 20 years your senior.
Lucie of Bzh, France sends this link to the suffering Safinettes out there.
Sam of Sydney, Australia, wonders if this kid will ever amount to anything. (Great clip and it's only 40 seconds.)
Nice to see Alicia Molik beat Aggie Radwanska in Linz, Austria. Nice win for Moli. And Lord knows she deserves it.
Ted M. of Baltimore cruised YouTube and found this.
Ivan H. of New York City hooking us up with Long-Lost Siblings yet again. This one's remarkable: Radwanska and Eddie van Halen.
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