Digging through the archives over there for the second part of my Year in Review brought one question to mind:
"Dude, what were you thinking?"
That being said, let me kick off the May to August review:
• "Day 1 of the post-Henin era sees Maria Sharapova take over the number-one spot on the WTA rankings, but can she hold on to it? That's the million-dollar question. The way I see it, there's really only two other legit contenders and here's a hint: Their last name begins with "W" and ends in "illiams." By the time it's all said and done, I think that barring injury the top three spots at the end of the year will be filled by Maria, Serena and Venus: not necessarily in that order, but there, nonetheless." (Three the hard way, May 15)
NOTE: Well, Serena got to the top, if only for a brief moment; Sharapova's year was wrecked by her shoulder and Venus fought some aches, but had some pretty good results. Injuries all played a part in how they finished.
The Bad (These might be my two worse predictions of the year!)
• "Nadal's made big strides in his game as his back-to-back finals at Wimbledon shows. However, I just don't see him being a year-round threat to Federer." (Is it REALLY a rivalry?, May 17)
NOTE: We all know how that turned out: Rafa only took over the top spot.
• "For the final: Sharapova over Jankovic: It's crazy to think, I know, but the bottom half of the draw is just too loaded and whoever comes through will have won a tournament within a tournament, and could possibly be easy pickings for Maria." (A career Slam in the cards?, May 24)
NOTE: Wait, let me explain why I picked her to win the French! She was the hottest player on the planet the first half of the year, and I thought with her draw, she could cruise to the finals and roll over whoever made it through on the other side. See, there was some logic behind it!
• "If Marcos Baghdatis can be moved up 15 spots from his ranking of 25, then the All-England Club doing this with Roddick and Nalbandian is a huge mistake. If Davydenko is drawn against a big-serving qualifier in the first round, I guarantee he loses." (Seeds of discontent, June 18)
NOTE: I thought it was weak for Nik Davydenko to be seeded so high. He ended up losing in the first round to Ben Becker.
NOTE: For the future, I won't be able to count this as a good pick since it seems like she'll be winning Wimbledons for years to come, but I'm taking it now!
• Actually for this one, the whole "Lurking in the grass" post! I tabbed four upsets and blew them all, then I had a cutesy statement at the end about Marat Safin beating Novak Djokovic, but backed away from actually making the call, because I thought it was too far-fetched. I could have looked like a genius!
• "Now, if you know Dubois, then you get a gold star because I sure don't. Everyone is supposed to know Harkleroad, though, since she's currently the cover girl on the latest issue of Playboy. But what has that Playboy cover accomplished? Nothing. What will it? Nothing." (The 'Road less traveled, July 22)
NOTE: Poor Ashley. That decision to pose is going to trail her for the rest of her career, and not necessarily in a good way.
• "Federer's had a tough year, and that loss to Simon last night was really bad (it doesn't matter if Simon had just won a tournament while Federer hadn't played since Wimbledon). He should be OK, though, and he's still my favorite for the Open. I think he's made of the same stuff Sampras is and look how '96 and the rest of his career went for him." (Shades of 1996?, July 24)
NOTE: Federer went on to win the Open, which added to his Slam title haul.
• You know what? I'm going to take it easy on myself, and say I didn't have anything crazy for the month. I guess I had to dial it down after May and June!
• "You know, I'm just gonna jot down my predictions from the quarters on: No details; I still have to pack! For the men: Rafael Nadal vs. Mardy Fish, Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Andy Murray, Fernando Gonzalez vs. Novak Djokovic, Dmitry Tursunov vs. Roger Federer" (I had such grand plans, Aug. 22)
NOTE: This was the most accurate Slam quarters lineup I've ever picked. Fish himself didn't even think he was going to get to the quarters!
NOTE: That was my women's final for the U.S. Open. Things went so well for me on the men's side, but this and other quarterfinal picks (Amelie Mauresmo, Aggie Radwanska, Svetlana Kuznetsova) brought me down.
Anyway, I hope you kept reading after the Sharapova pick! There's more to come later!
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.