The unofficial "fifth Slam" has kicked off, the Sony Ericsson Open, or the Miami Masters, or Key Biscayne for you fellow old-timers!
Anyway, the men's game has been essentially taken over right now by Novak Djokovic, whose unbeaten run to start 2011 has just gone through Indian Wells. However, there's another guy I'm wondering about heading to Miami who knows a thing or two or 12 about unbeaten streaks: Roger Federer.
You really can't argue about the start he's had to the year: The only guy that's beaten him is Djokovic. However, he's now fallen to Djoko four times in a row, including twice at Grand Slams. In Miami, they're on opposite sides of the draw for the first time in a while at such a big event and can only meet in the finals.
And, you know, I actually like Federer's chances to get there. Since he brought Paul Annacone on board last year, he seems to have gotten rid of that case of early-round yips he was experiencing this time a year ago. The biggest threat he faces on his side of the draw is Rafael Nadal, and I still will pick him over the world number one on a fast surface 95 percent of the time.
Last week, in the Serves and Returns feature I write for GoToTennis, I asked "Does Federer need to win Indian Wells?" mainly for his confidence and to keep pace with Nadal and Djokovic. He had a great run there, before running into a player at the height of his powers. I don't feel the same sense of urgency here, partly because of how the draw shook out, along with the fact that he's Roger Federer!
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.