The Fed's demands, Roddick's chances and marriage name game
I think Federer would do well to hire a sports psychologist
Federer and Roddick have split their last two hard court matches
Tennis is hot in Serbia right now and it only makes sense to penetrate that market
How do you reconcile Roger Federer's brilliant strategic mind with his decision to -- yet again -- return from a brief tennis hiatus without a coach? Here's a future Hall-of-Famer, oozing with guts, game, and determination (the Aussie Open was no straight sets cruise by Rafa), and yet he foregoes a calming voice to settle any niggling nerves? I confess I'm having troubling distinguishing stubbornness from stupidity...
I think you answer your own question when you suggest "stubbornness." Like most of the great ones, Federer believes in his own singularity. The same certitude that serves him so well on the court, can work to his detriment in other contexts.
I remember an interview with Pete Rose in which he said he was convinced he was the best hitter in baseball, so he had a hard time taking instruction. I keep thinking of that when I consider Federer's reluctance to hire an aide-de-camp. Objectively, it's such an obvious personnel move; but when you have supreme confidence, it can be hard to defer to someone else. I think it shows that even a guy who, by all outward appearances, is "normal" and down-to-earth, still is wired a little differently from the rest of us.
I thought there was also something a little "off" about last week's explanation. Darren Cahill flies to Dubai, works with Federer and yet no agreement is reached because of the....travel demands? Isn't that like interviewing for a job in a coal mine, then saying, "Wait a second; you mean I might get dirty?"
With the full-time coach situation on hold, I think Federer would do well to hire a sports psychologist or, if that term still carries too much stigma, a "performance coach." Again, it's pretty obvious that w/r/t Nadal, Federer still has some mental issues to work through. I think even Federer would agree that these matches are only partially about tennis. A Jim Loehr type could help solve a lot of problems.
"Yes, Federer is Federer. But given recent history, the wildly partisan crowd, Roddick's ritually strong play in Davis Cup, I think you can make a strong case either way." Are you crazy? Recent history? Did you see their match in the Australian Open?
Recent history: Federer and Roddick have split their last two hard court matches. Federer hadn't played since Australia, while Roddick looked sharp at two indoor events. Federer has a dodgy back. I didn't pick Roddick to win. (Federer -- who leads the head to heads, 16-2! -- would be the favorite.) Just saying it would have been interesting and a hell of an atmosphere for a potentially decisive match.
"Have to believe the Bryans win the doubles." The Bryan brothers must be the nicest guys in the world to you tennis reporters because you guys talk about them like they have won 26 slams, not six. Remember the 2008 Olympics when a Federer/Wawrinka team beat the Bryans? And that was a Federer who was coming off a demoralizing defeat just a few hours earlier.
Fair enough. But remember: A) the court surface is all but customized for the Americans. B) We're talking hugely partisan fans. C) Both Federer -- he of the achy back -- and Wawrinka not only played best-of-five singles the previous day, but also need to ration energy to play best-of-five singles the following day.
Incidentally, note to the ATP: anything we could do to update the player photos on the website? I clicked here to check on the Roddick-Federer head-to-heads and thought, judging by the photos, I had inadvertently gone to a junior site.
Just wondering if history was made at the Australian Open when two sets of siblings won the doubles title? Please advise.
We're told this was a first -- the Bryans winning the men's and the Williams sisters winning the women's.
Is it a given that the Croatians chose to play the Americans on clay in the next round of Davis Cup?
I don't think so at all. An unwritten rule of Davis Cup surface selection is this: you go with your strength and not the other team's weakness. While the Americans have their troubles on clay -- it may as well be granular kryptonite -- I'm not sure the Croats are much better. I would expect a fast hard court that would play well to Karlovic, Cilic, Ancic (Ic, Ic, Baby) et al.
The Djokovic clan and some private investors recently bought the Amersfoort tourney and are transforming it into the newly-named Serbia Open, which debuts as an ATP 250 event this May. It's mentioned on his website he will be taking part in the tourney. A few readers (and me) were wondering if there's any precedent for this situation, e.g. an active baller buys into a tourney and then enters the draw? And wouldn't this setup be a conflict of interest for the tourney officials?
It's a huge conflict of interest, of course. (How would you like to be working as a line judge when Djokovic plays!) While I can't recall anything quite as flagrant as an active player's family owning a sanctioned tournament, conflict of interest is the coin of the realm in tennis. How different is this from a management group owning a tournament and also having players in the field under contact? (Gee, think IMG clients might get preferable treatment and first dibs at wild cards at IMG-owned events?) How different is this from broadcasters commentating on matches on which they have a financial stake in the outcome? How different is this from handing out appearance fees -- an inherent acknowledgment that some players are worth more to the tournament than others?
Taking a more charitable view here: tennis is obviously hot in Serbia right now and it only makes sense to penetrate that market. In addition to seizing the initiative and ponying up the cash, the Djokovic family can deliver the top draw but put him through his promotional paces. ("But I already went to a sponsor party yesterday!" "Shut up and press the flesh, son.") It's not an ideal situation, but you could argue the greater good is being served here.