So, over there in my little "About Me" section, I mention how I've been playing and following tennis for 20 years now.
Over that time, I've (almost obsessively) observed the path of tournaments on both pro circuits: At one point, I used to know the winner and finalist of every Masters series tournament played in the '90s. (I guess I should remove "almost" from the "almost obsessively" phrase in the prior sentence!)
That being said, did you know that this week's Stockholm tournament was originally one of the "Super 9" tournaments as the ATP called them when it formed in 1990? It lost its Super 9 status to the tournament in Essen, Germany, which has since become the Madrid event kicking off next week.
If you were to look at the past champions during the Super 9 era, you'd be amazed at the Hall of Famers and potential ones on the list: Ashe, McEnroe, Borg, Becker, Edberg, Lendl, Wilander, Ivanisevic, Stich. However, as the tournament downgraded in status, the champion's roll call got a little shaky with Thomas Enqvist, Paradorn Srichaphan, Mardy Fish, Thomas Johansson, James Blake, Jonas Bjorkman and Ivo Karlovic among the winners. (Notice how I had to use their first names?)
It looked like, though, that the tournament had made a coup this year, with the big daddy, Roger Federer, expected to come in to town. However, we all know how that went. But, miracle of miracles, he's coming back next week to play in Madrid, refreshed after getting that extra week off.
Players bail on tournaments all the time, so what R-Fed did isn't unusual. I mean, Blake (a two-time champ) and Novak Djokovic pulled a no-show here, too. I guess as a sort of recent traditionalist, I feel bad for the tournament, which was one of the crown jewels of the indoor season not too long ago. And the fans, of course, as well. They're still getting to see some good tennis, but just imagine what they could have had: A return to the glory days, if only for one week.
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.