Tennis Mailbag (cont.)
Hola, Jon!! I have a simple (although debatable) question for you: Which tennis trophy is the most beautiful to you? And which one the contrary? Pro level, for both ladies and gentlemen. Best, C.
-- Carlos Acosta, Torreon, Mexico
Beauty is in the eye of the title holder. My vote goes to the old Diamond Proximus Trophy, basically a diamond-studded racket valued at something near $1.5 million. Amelie Mauresmo won it in 2007, so it was replaced in 2008 with a gold racket and ball adorned with 2,008 diamonds. Value: $2 million.
Also, check out this Basel trophy. That's some heavy hardware for a relatively lightweight event.
Why is the World Tour Finals marginalized in the both the year-end evaluations and GOAT talk? It pits only the best players against each other so you cannot get a lucky draw. Maestro Roger Federer has won the WTF five times. That seems to be quite an accomplishment given the competition, but he doesn't seem to get much credit for this. Any thoughts?
-- Fernando, Valencia, Spain
Yeah, we're obviously talking about degrees here. I wouldn't say the WTF is a non-factor. But clearly it doesn't carry as much heft as a Slam. I think you're right that it gets the short shrift. You're talking about a week of matches against the absolute best players.
I also think the placement in the season is relevant, coming as it does in late November. If you're still hitting the high notes and nailing it on your stringed instrument, 10 months into the worldwide concert tour, it says a lot about your stamina/professionalism/dedication. This is thinly veiled Federer praise. He makes a real statement when it's Thanksgiving weekend and he's still on his game.
The points against importing too much weight on the WTF: A round-robin event is so structurally different from a conventional tournament, much less a 128-player draw, best-of-five major. The indoor surface -- one that accommodates no majors -- resists serious treatment. You could say that the season is intolerably long, thus there's little gravitas winning so late in the year when the field is so physically beaten up and emotionally fatigued.
Yes, indeed. Scoop sent me a preview and I laughed out loud at the back-cover blurbs:
Michael Chang: "Why are you writing a book about Marcelo Rios?"
Ilie Nastase: "He's the worst pr--k I ever met."
Roger Federer: "I was a big admirer of Marcelo."
I look forward to reading it.
What's the more annoying fan unforced error: fans who laugh when the ball gets stuck in the net off a serve; or fans who groan when a player faults after a first-serve let forgetting that it's not actually a double fault?
-- Dan, Toronto
Are you kidding me? That's friggin' hilarious. Almost as funny as when a pigeon flies near the court. Or when a player scrambles to retrieve an overhead and sends up a defensive lob that goes a mile in the air and -- wait for it -- lands in the court!
The Tennis Hall of Fame voting is underway. As we've done in the past, you guys make your picks, I'll take them under advisement and cast my vote accordingly. This year's nominees: Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Gustavo Kuerten. Send picks via Twitter: @jon_wertheim.
Our intrepid unofficial Basel correspondent, Sally Duncan, writes: "There were important federal elections last week in Switzerland. It is possible for voters to enter names of anyone they want to elect onto their voting slip. Roger Federer's name appeared on Wollerau's voting slips 132 times. He knew nothing about this until a christening he attended last week. Apparently someone had suggested adding his name on Facebook and the suggestion was taken up 131 times."
Steffi Graf's Halloween costume. Say this: The family sure didn't scrimp on body paint this year.
Regarding last week's discussion about the best players in the press room, it's been called to my attention that, fine a player as Doug Robson is, the real media champion would likely be Belgian journalist Filip Dewulf, who, oh right, also reached the French Open semis in 1997.
Paul of London was the first to note: "The extra money for Wozniacki will be from the WTA Bonus list given out if they meet their tournament commitments. Wozniacki is entitled to the most as world No. 1 but others will get extra money as well."
Thanks to reader Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., for alerting us that the USA Super Senior teams (age 60-80+) won gold medals (on red clay, no less) in 7 out of 10 Cups played in Antalya, Turkey, on Oct 15 and 16 and that Americans won individual gold medals the following weeks: two singles and 11 in doubles. Here's a link to an article on the USTA site.
Vitaly of New York: "Not sure if you've already seen/posted this, but here's a catchy song with a tennis-themed music video and cameos by Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils."
University of Virginia freshman Mitchell Frank won the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
Anastasia Myskina was honored with the 2011 Fed Cup Award of Excellence.
The USTA has agreed to a three-year contract to host its annual Australian Open wild card playoffs at the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta. The playoffs, hosted there for the third consecutive year, are Dec. 16-18.
Have a good week, everyone!