The Chinese market, year-end predictions (cont.)
What's the back story on Feliciano Lopez that might have prompted this comment from one of the Tennis Channel commentators at the finish of Lopez' victory over Wawrinka in Madrid: Lopez excelling in front of a celebrity crowd that he will feel came to watch him -- and only him."
I'm responding to hearsay, but I'm sure this was an innocent comment, simply alluding to the fact that Lopez is from Madrid, the tournament's host city. I'm sure it has nothing -- not a thing -- to do with the fact that Lopez is alleged to make Narcissus himself look modest, a man who will singlehandedly wear out the reflective surface of the locker room mirrors. Seriously, there seems to be an interesting dynamic among some of the Spanish players. There's apparently the urban, pretty boy camp (Verdasco and Lopez) and the more rural, rugged camp (Ferrer, Nadal, Almagro.) Nadal is good friends with Lopez, but calls him "Galactico," a reference to the Real Madrid soccer "superstars" but also a gentle knock on his disco-lizard, appearance-conscious persona.
So Roger has passed Pete in total earnings with about $43M. Is there any way that we could assume what Roger has collected for appearance fees over the years? Would another $40M be far-fetched? Does anyone have any idea?
One can make an educated guess -- I would say that for his career, Federer has easily doubled his prize money in off-court income. It's likely more, but remember that for years, he had that comically weak contract with Nike. At this stage in his career -- with the Nike contract renegotiated and a number of longtime deals with other brands on the table -- I would say (conservatively) that he makes $5 off the court for every $1 on. Endorsement figures are notoriously unreliable, especially since a lot of numbers tossed around are incumbent on performance bonuses being met. But Federer's exhibitions reportedly go for $1 million a night; add in probably $8 million-$10 million with Nike. Already he's vastly exceeded the $5 million he's won on the court in 2008.
I've asked before and I'm still wondering ... when will our local parks and clubs move into the 21st century and start making our local courts blue like they are in the pros? I know it may sound a bit silly, but anything that raises the excitement level and looks different around every U.S. town would be a good thing for tennis. I see courts resurfaced each year and they still aren't going blue here in the Midwest. Any insight?
I remember once asking an NBA official whether the league had ever considered changing the dimension of the court or elevating the rim. He basically said: "Are you crazy? Do you know how impractical and costly it would be to adjust every single basketball court and goal in the world accordingly?" Same logic applies here (as well to the periodic suggestions to shorten the service box, raise the net, etc.). Who's going to pay for all this resurfacing, repainting and retrofitting? (Particularly in these lean times, I'd like to see the municipal budget that includes funds for cosmetic improvements to tennis courts.)
I didn't get to see Federer and Wawrinka's doubles gold medal match at the Olympics (or any of their prior doubles matches at the Olympics). Do you know if it is available anywhere? I'd love to see it.
Happy to play middle man. Can anyone out there help Linda?
I loved watching the ATP tournament in Madrid, and now Paris ... but those excellent British announcers stumped me. They kept saying how, "the conditions" were so crucial in helping certain players advance. What exactly are they referring to with "the conditions"? It seemed like they meant more than just altitude, fast surface indoors, pressure to make Top 8 in the final tournaments before Shanghai, etc. Please elaborate if you would. Thanks!
At an indoor event? The fluorescent lighting, maybe?
From the "Apropos of nothing" department: Novak Djokovic has won more prize money in 2008 than Bjorn Borg earned in his career.
Nice to see Rafael Nadal on this list:
Have to say, though: when I think of Nadal, fond of him as I am, I'm not sure the word "influence" comes to mind.
Brenda Hayes of Biloxi, Miss., wrote a short essay: "Although the tennis season never really ends, the last of the Grand Slams have concluded at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. This year more than any other is very special. With so many of our athletes doing so well at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this takes pride in America to a whole new level. Unfortunately for those of us who follow tennis, we don't enjoy the domination of American tennis players from years past.
Gone are the greats like Connors, McEnroe, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Sampras, and Agassi. However we do have two sisters that have given me and many others plenty to cheer about. In 2007, Serena won the Australian Open when absolutely no one thought she could; well, no one but Serena herself. In 2008, Venus and Serena met in the finals at the All England Club where Venus was Queen for the day. Serena then capped things off with her win at this year's U.S. Open.
As a tennis player and true lover of the sport, I would like to thank the two sisters for their fighting spirit, and their desire to strive for excellence, both on and off the court. I don't know how long Serena will remain the No. 1 American female player. Nor do I know how many more Wimbledons Venus will add to the five she already has. But I do know for now there is a bright light shining and I, for one, hope that it will continue. Somewhere on a tennis court in the great beyond, Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson are smiling and so am I.
Awfully nice win for American Melanie Oudin this week in Quebec. She beat Sybille Bammer -- a top 25 talent -- in three sets.
Anthony, La Jolla, sends this telling photo. (Note from which side Nadal swings)
Abe Segal, a former No. 1 player, tells some rollicking stories in his new book, "Hey Big Boy."
Sad news from the AP: "Federico Luzzi, a former top-100 tennis player, has died of leukemia. He was 28. Luzzi died at a hospital in Arezzo, the Italian Tennis Federation said Saturday. He had been there for a few days after retiring last weekend from an Italian league match citing a high fever.
Luzzi reached a career-high ranking of No. 92 in 2002 before suffering a shoulder injury that affected him the rest of his career. He had a 2-2 record with Italy's Davis Cup team. In 2001, Luzzi beat Ville Liukko of Finland 14-12 in the fifth set after 4 hours, 35 minutes -- the longest Davis Cup match ever played by an Italian. In February, Luzzi was suspended for 200 days and fined $50,000 by the ATP for betting on tennis. Luzzi is survived by his parents, Paola and Maurizio, and his sister, Francesca."
Sharon Roberts of Houston rightfully chastised me for not honoring Nadal with an "ad-in" for his Asturias Award
Also, check out Ingrid Betancourt. In her speech, she described how, while held captive in the jungle, she was able to hear Roland Garros on a radio that the FARC listened to. And she had followed Rafa's victories this way. And for her to be able to see him "face to face," was a great moment in her life.
Good news on the media front: Tennis Channel and ESPN2 will cover the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships -- in their entirety Tuesday-Sunday, Nov. 4-9. More than 30 live hours are planned from the event's inaugural run in Doha, Qatar, almost all of which will be telecast in high definition. Combined, including replays, the networks will offer close to 70 hours of HD match coverage during the six-day Sony Ericsson Championships.
Tennis Channel will carry 32˝ hours of live competition, spread across each day of the event. The network's coverage includes all round-robin matches, singles semifinals and doubles play. ESPN2 will carry the singles final on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 12 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel will follow its network's live coverage with daily encores of each match of the competition, in addition to a same-day replay of the singles final.
A warm round of applause for Tom Tebbutt.
Our friend Richard Wolf writes: Regarding the question on player strength, you might be interested to know that the members of the Syracuse Women's tennis team (coached by Luke Jensen) are required to do pushups if their serve is broken. This happens in matches as well as in practice.
Let's take this opportunity to praise the commentary work of Luke Jensen, who too often goes overlooked. He could have gone for the easy wacky-crazy-disco-guy shtick. Instead he manages a nice balance between enthusiasm and substance.
Let's run this again thanks to Jason of Austin:
Andy S. of Winston Salem, N.C., sends in this timely Lookalike submission:
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Steffi Graf!
Have a great week, everyone!