L'Affaire Hingis (pt. 3)
Posted: Wednesday November 7, 2007 10:45AM; Updated: Wednesday November 7, 2007 12:33PM
Did you see the article in the Play magazine of the Oct. 28 New York Times about back trouble? It cited a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, wherein the spines of 33 elite British adolescent tennis players were scanned -- 85 percent were found to have spinal abnormalities, ranging from cysts to fractures. "These kids, the cream of the next generation of British tennis, had backs 60 years older than they were." The study "suggested to beleaguered English tennis fans that things are only going to get worse" for their hope for a Wimbledon champion.
Missed that. But I did note in that issue that a reformed mobster claimed tennis is the easiest sport to fix.
It seems to me that focusing on the fact that Federer has won three majors this year while Justine Henin has won only two is the wrong way to look at their relative strength over the season. Look at their actual stats: Federer has played in 14 tournaments and has won seven titles. Henin has played in 13 tournaments and won nine titles -- and that was after missing several weeks at the beginning of the year!
Federer has played only one more event despite playing the full calendar year. He's won only 50 percent of the tournaments he's entered. Henin's won almost 70 percent. Federer, for the most of the year, had only one serious rival, and has had only two for the last couple of months. Henin had to beat back the Williams sisters (who won Slams this year!) and a whole phalanx of rising Slavic players. Looking at the whole picture, isn't it Federer who should be grateful to have his year called "Heninesque?"
No sports-related question should be "painful to answer" for a truly independent sports journalist. You sound a tad desperate as you jump to the defense of a player you are obviously very close to. Not your finest hour.
This is in reference to my wishy-washy answer last week about James Blake's shaky play. And let the record reflect that Tina was not alone in roasting me. I contend that even "independent" journalists are allowed to feel uncomfortable writing unflatteringly about players they generally like and respect. Does Blake's "nice-guyness" buy him immunity from criticism? Of course not. But when you work with a subject who makes your job easier and generally comports himself with honor and dignity, I don't think it's unreasonable, much less "desperate," to feel uneasy about offering a pointed criticism of his play.
Is there any chance that there is coverage of the Sony Ericsson Championships that is not on the Tennis Channel? ESPN?
Check this out.
How about a little love for Paul-Henri Mathieu after a solid 2007 -- he's right at the top-20 doorstep, can play on all surfaces and seems to be getting over his head-case issues. with Gasquet in tow, those two along with Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in doubles make France a good pick for the Davis Cup in '08 and could take out the U.S. in the second round next year. Your thoughts?
A little love, but not that much. I'm going to come off sounding like a jerk here but I think of Mathieu as the poor monsieur's Gasquet, a talented player who needs to upgrade his mental game before he's to be truly taken seriously.
Who would you put your money on in the following doubles matchup: Federer-Nadal vs. Andy Roddick-John Isner? I would love to see it. Why aren't there any doubles exhibitions like this?
My money would be on Federer-Nadal, particularly on a slower surface. Regardless, I like this idea. Set up some doubles exhibitions. A) The singles stars reduce the risk of injury and fatigue. B) The crowd loves it. C) It gives doubles a nice plug.
Tina of Summit, N.J., writes: "I don't know if anyone else has seen it yet but Federer is part of the new Disney 'Dreams' campaign as King Arthur."
Know how The New Yorker has the "caption contest" in the back? Go nuts with this.
Federer will make a guest appearance on Episode 8 of the BlackRock Tennis Champions Podcast on Tues., Nov. 13. He will quiz Björn Borg and John McEnroe, including asking Borg how to win the French Open. It'll be available for free (the previous seven episodes are still on there) but can also be subscribed to for free on iTunes by clicking here.
We keep meaning to make a point of this: Check out Ubaldo Scanagatta's blog. He's been great on match-fixing in particular:
Martin Friedgood of Atlanta notes: "The only 'golden set' in professional tennis history was recorded by Bill Scanlon, in 1983, against Marcos Hocevar."
Lee of Rochester, N.Y., sends this clip of a Federer interview from Basel, Switzerland.
This week's long-lost siblings come from Michael Mulvey of Milwaukee: "Nalbandian and René Auberjonois (Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). If you find the right two pictures, Odo looks like Nalbandian in 25 years."
Have a great week, everyone!
Jon Wertheim's new book is Running the Table. Order it here.
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