Best of Three: Serena's foot injury, Atlanta tourney debut, more
Serena's injury claim demonstrates why she's such a divisive force among fans
John Isner, Andy Roddick headline a field that should help the new Atlanta event
Opportunistic players can lift their rankings with busy post-Wimbledon schedules
1. Foot in mouth: Amid all this GOAT talk -- which we'll put to pasture for a while -- Serena Williams offered a vivid illustration of why she causes so much skepticism and unease among some fans. A week after a starring performance at Wimbledon, she takes a rumored $1 million fee to play in Belgium and then promptly bails on both World TeamTennis and every event before the U.S. Open because of a foot injury. You question the truthfulness or severity of an athlete's injury at your own peril. (And while details are still sketchy this injury does apparently involve surgery.) But -- as is too often the case -- something is a bit off. You read Serena's tweets about her active social life or watch this Kevin Frazier video and it rankles. Over FanHouse, Greg Couch made a fair point: If Serena wants to avail herself only for Slams, she's earned that right. But the unending withdrawals -- and the WTA's apparent complicity -- insults fans and promoters alike. Serena has a terrible track record of breaking commitments to "lesser" events. And it just got worse.
2. Georgia on my mind: The Atlanta Tennis Championships may lack a title sponsor. But this new ATP event, which kicks off today, landed a fine player field. Most of the top American players have all entered and that include both John Isner (who has strong Georgia ties) and Andy Roddick, who took a late wild card. If Indianapolis could have lured a field like this, it might still have the sanction. Given the Atlanta field and concurrent fields at the European, perhaps it will rekindle talk of regionalized tours, subdividing the ATP by geographic regions.
3. Rank offense: How often have casual -- and even not-so-casual -- fans scanned the seedings at a major and wonder how such-and-such player managed to crack the Top 20 when no one was looking? Well, one explanation is that they gorged themselves on points during a soft spot in the schedule. While most of the top stars -- Federer, Nadal, Sharapova, Williams, Murray, Djokovic, et al. -- take a long break after Wimbledon, other players are more opportunistic. There were multiple events held last week. Kaia Kanepi, showing no ill effects from blowing match points to reach the Wimbledon semis, won in Palermo. Nicolas Almagro upset fan favorite Robin Soderling to win in Bastad. In Prague, Agnes Szavay won her second title in two weeks. Albert Montanes, now sneaking up on the Top 20, won in Stuttgart. These are not big-time titles to be sure. But the points count all the same.