Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pains in the grass for Federer, Sharapova

I have one word for Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova's losses in the finals at Halle and Birmingham, respectively:


I was just thinking earlier in the week, "Man, Halle should be a cakewalk for Fed. He's won it multiple times, he's able to hit the grass a little earlier. Smooth sailing."

I guess Hewitt had other ideas (and congrats to him). But it's not like Federer got blasted off the court; he just lost from an extremely winnable position, which is shocking in its own right. Despite this tournament-winless streak he's been on since the Aussie, I actually like him taking Wimbledon in a couple of weeks. Guys will be hard-pressed to take him going best-of-five on grass--even the last guy to beat him on the hallowed grounds, Rafael Nadal.

Sharapova's Wimbledon chances, on the other hand, I'm not too optimistic about. Na Li is tough, but she's not exactly on my short list of Wimbledon contenders. Sharapova's ranking post-shoulder injury is built on success at smaller events, like Strasbourg and Memphis. Losing at this relatively small event can't be a great confidence booster.

And I feel like a broken record for what I'm about to write (especially as how I mentioned it in the previous post), but I really wish Sharapova stayed off the clay courts for a couple of years until her shoulder's as close to 100 percent as it's going to get. It's just not doing her any favors playing on it. She should take the time off to prepare for the faster conditions best suited to her game. Making her way back to true contender status at three of the four Majors should be her goal because right now, I can't say her odds of success of either of the final two Slams of the year are that good.

(Photo: Getty Images)