Best of Three: Haas triumphs in Halle; Nalbandian's shameful act
In a career plagued by injury, Tommy Haas was able to win Halle at 34 years old
David Nalbandian deserves his punishment plus some for injuring n line judge
Barry MacKay, a former top 5 player and broadcasting legend, passed away at 76
You thought that in this small 13-day interregnum between the French Open and Wimbledon, tennis would give us a few weeks of calm and sanity? Think again.
1. Haas' redemption in Halle: The Halle event, a Wimbledon tuneup, may have lured both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, but neither won. Nadal was dropped 6-3, 6-4 by Philipp Kohlschreiber, a German with a lot of game who has never quite broken through. Then on Sunday, Federer fell to 34-year-old Tommy Haas 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the final. With Wimbledon and then the Olympics looming, we can debate how much importance we attribute to these grass results (not much). And we can ask when the last time Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic each headed into a major on a losing streak? (Greg Sharko, we're looking at you!) But let's take a second to give Haas his due. Here's a player who's just had miserable fortune with injuries over the course of his career. To see him winning titles in his mid-30s, climbing the rankings from No. 87 to No. 49 in the process, ought to inspire the rest of the field.
2. Meanwhile, at Queen's Club: A less inspiring thrirtysomething... David Nalbandian reached the final of the Queen's Club event. Then he disgraced himself with one of the lowest moments the sport has seen in recent years. Leading a set against Marin Cilic, Nalbandian kicked a plywood box surrounding a line judge's chair. The box splintered and one of the shards flew into line judge Andrew McDougall's shin, slicing his leg. Nalbandian was defaulted on the spot, as he should have been. (Disappointing as this was to the fans, the sponsors and Cilic, there was no way Nalbandian could have been allowed to continue after injuring an official.)
Given a chance to make an ugly situation a bit less unseemly, Nalbandian took to the microphone and apologized, but also went on a ridiculous rant about the ATP's incompetence and ineptitude. Nalbandian -- who, we should note, was fined $8,000 in Melbourne earlier this year for dousing an official with water -- was docked his runnerup prize money of $57,000. He should be fined and suspended. This is a sad way for a former top five player to be finishing up his career. But he has no one to blame but himself.
Fans mourn his passing as well. James of Portland was among those sharing recollections: "I remember before the Sampras-Federer match at Wimbledon 2001 Barry MacKay went on Fox Sports Radio and predicted the upset for the Swiss, as Bob Golic and Rich Herrera listened stunned. Very knowledgeable man, and he will be missed."