An interesting result occurred this past weekend a little off the beaten path in Binghamton, NY. There at the annual challenger event leading up to the U.S. Open, American Wayne Odesnik reached the finals before falling to Paul Capdeville of Chile in straight sets.
Now, we all know Odesnik and the controversy surrounding him (and in case you don't, here are my thoughts on his drug case last year). After serving a suspension, he's essentially had to rebuild his career from the ground up. The crazy thing is he's doing a great job of that. He's gone from being unranked at the beginning of the year to the top 150 as of today: Essentially, that means he's playing some mighty fine tennis.
However, there is that enormous cloud hanging over him, which hasn't exactly endeared him to his peers. (It's been well-documented that players are going out there with an extra bit of motivation against him.) If he is guilty of cheating, then he deserves all the animosity directed toward him.
But let's say he maintains this level of play over the next year and ends up in the quarterfinals of the French Open, for example: Will U.S. fans embrace him? Will he greeted with open arms by the USTA as a hope for American tennis? Or will the drug thing hang over him even then?
I guess it's a situation all the parties involved with will have to deal with at a later time. Going by the way that Odesnik is playing, though, it might be something that comes up a lot sooner than people might think.
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.