I know everyone goes on and on about how incredible the three-set match was between Djokovic and Nadal in the Madrid semis, but really, four hours for a three-set match is ridiculous. They take way too long between points and should both be penalized for it. Rules are rules, aren't they? It would actually alter the match -- to enforce the rules and go beyond warnings to giving point penalties.
Agree, agree, agree. The major sports here in the U.S. are doing everything possible to speed up play. Meanwhile, you could watch The Ten Commandments, listen to the extended dance version of Stairway to Heaven and still have time to update your Facebook status in between Djokovic's first and second serves.
In regard to Serena's record in and out of majors, it was only seven years ago that Jennifer Capriati had similar numbers. Going into the 2002 Italian Open, Capriati was 24-2 in the majors. On the WTA Tour, she was only 26-12 with no titles.
Very good, thanks.
In response to your analysis of the GOAT question posed last week: To say that not winning on clay is not a prerequisite for being a GOAT in tennis is like saying you don't have to win a World Series in baseball to be considered the best team ever. The point of the game is to win the big one, or in golf or tennis, the big ones. In golf, the lack of one major clearly sets golfers apart in this analysis and it should be in tennis, too. Total titles combined with multiple or all surfaces is the criteria for GOAT. You can argue about who it is, but to absolve players of having to win on all three, and particularly clay, is a disgraceful, lazy standard.
World Series? If the French Open were the only major event held each year, you might have a point. But so long as Pete Sampras is winning three of the four majors (while hoarding the No. 1 ranking for more than a decade and setting the all-time record for career Slams), I wouldn't be so cavalier. And didn't the Marlins win the World Series? Twice?
In response to the reader who said that Sampras has "no record on clay:" His record is 90-54, with three titles, including the Italian Open in the mid-'90s. Not overwhelming, but that's a winning record.
Absolutely. Clearly his worst surface and clearly the scratch on his escutcheon (yes, we're running low on analogies/cliches here), but should this really disqualify him from GOAT discussion? Not in my book.
When the same women were appearing in most semis, it was described as due to a lack of depth. I've noticed that five men appeared in the quarters of the last four mandated Masters: Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Fernando Verdasco. Andy Murray and Andy Roddick appeared in three of the last four: Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid. Does this mean a lack of depth on the men's tour?
Um, er ... Jerry's point is a good one. When a few select players dominate the women's game, the field lacks depth and the results are predictable. When the men's game serves up half-dozen players who can be counted on to reach the latter rounds of events, it's a golden age. Hmmm.
I was watching the Madrid tournament the other day, Mardy Fish vs. Tommy Robredo. There was an issue with the balls and I swear I heard the announcer say that the women are using a smaller ball. Could this be correct? If so, how often does it occur? I was very surprised to hear the comment.
Yes, at some "joint" events, the women and men use different balls, though as I understand it, the balls are not smaller but lighter. From time to time, men mention this when they play mixed doubles.
Federer's fortune swing seems to have an eerie resemblance with that of the economy. They both seem to have hit rock bottom earlier this year and now are showing some remote signs of stabilizing. Is that a good enough reason for me to root for my favorite to get back on top or am I being too wishful?
Good observation. (And you're right, the timing is eerie: Didn't the fall of Lehman Brothers, which started this miserable crash, occur the week after the U.S. Open, Federer's last Slam?) If for no other reason than the sake of our 401(k)s, let's hope Federer wins Wimbledon.
Everyone in the French Open suicide pool.
Carlos of Easton (presumably Pa.) had me laughing with this: "A heads up before you make the same mistake everyone else is making: The new stadium in Spain, Caja Magica, the proper translation is 'Magical Box' and not 'Magic Box.' For it to be the Magic Box, the name in Spanish would have to be 'Caja de Magia.' Magia = Magic and Majica is Magical. When you post your article on Wednesday, distinguish yourself from the other barbarians in your field and show your international readers how worldly you really are."
Congrats to Doug Spreen for hitting a million miles on Delta.
Alex Ketaineck of Madison, N.J.: "With his win over Nadal in Madrid, Federer became only the second player to notch multiple wins over Nadal on clay. The other? Gaston Gaudio, with three wins."
InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced the full field of players who will join Andre Agassi at the 2009 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., to be played Oct. 8-11. The rest of the eight-player field will be Jim Courier, Mats Wilander, Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Ferreira, Mikael Pernfors, Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.
Check out longtime mailbag reader Stelio Savante.
This year's ITA national award winners are:
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year: Ty Tucker, Ohio State
ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year: Arnau Brugues, Tulsa
ITA National Rookie of the Year: Bradley Klahn, Stanford
ITA National Player to Watch: Oleksandr Nedovyesov, Oklahoma State
ITA/John Van Nostrand Memorial Award: Conor Pollock, Texas A&M
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year: Jeff Wallace, Georgia
ITA National Senior Player of the Year: Kelcy Teft, Notre Dame
ITA National Rookie of the Year: Chlesey Gullickson, Georgia
ITA National Player to Watch: Kristy Frilling, Notre Dame
Helen of Seattle has this week's long-lost siblings:
Have a great week everyone!
To order a copy of Jon Wertheim's' new book, Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played, click here.