Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's just a little dirt

So last week, I'm reading through the "tweets" I receive on Twitter and I notice one from Jon Werthiem, Sports Illustrated's tennis guru. He posted an item about something going on that I didn't even notice: No U.S. men were in the singles draw at the Monte Carlo event! That's amazing, but here's something that's pretty wild, too: There's none in the singles draw in Barcelona this week either!

And then, get this: Two out of three of the Challenger events this week are being played on clay. And guess what? Yep, that's right: No Americans are playing in the clay-court ones. Rather, the journeyman and up-and-comers are all in Tallahassee, Fla., playing on hard courts.

This leads me to wonder if it's worth any American guys even going to the French? Why not just skip the clay-court season entirely? I'm not sure of everyone's health status, but the way I figure it, only two guys should get a pass for missing the past two weeks of dirt ballin', and that's newlywed Andy Roddick and appendix-bursting-on-him Robby Ginepri. The rest should be out there, I feel.

And if they're worried about their games on clay and how to find success, here's a tip: Serve big, serve kickers, set yourself up to blast forehands. There you go: what should be Success on Clay 101 for U.S. Players taught by Professor Sias.

Or if the guys want tips from an actual pro, why not ask the Bryan brothers, who to their credit, made the finals in Monte Carlo last week and are playing in Barcelona now? Those guys have no fear and are serving and volleying on clay! Their other compadres should be out their playing. After all, it's just a little dirt.

(Photo: Getty Images)


TopSpin said...

You know after the great run Roddick and Blake had last year at Rome, and particularly after Andy's great start to the year I was hoping to get a look in at how that confidence might translate to clay - for Andy at least, James I'm afraid is not having a good time of it anywhere.

But yes, Andy's a newly wed so not much to complain about there, though I still hope to see him at Rome and Madrid.

I'm also interested in how Sam Querry copes, who did a pretty good job of it at that Davis Cup tie against Spain last year.

You can't go on acting like these two months of the year don't matter or exist.

ANd for what its worth I think, like your illustration of the Bryans Bros shows, that there's a lot to be said for faster aggressive net plays than there might have been in the past.

van said...

Hey TopSpin, how are you? I didn't even think of Querrey; I wonder where he is? He had a great run at Monte Carlo last year, too.

The guys are capable of having some success. It's like you say, they just can't go on thinking this part of the year is irrelevant.