Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mardy Fish and the big picture

Chalk this up to some weird paranoia of mine, but I always get nervous seeing players on hot streaks leading up to Majors. Maybe it's from the shock of what happened to Andre Agassi in 1995, when he was unbeatable that summer until Pete Sampras stopped him in the finals of the U.S. Open.

Or it could be tracked back even earlier to 1989 when Brad Gilbert went into the Open a solid favorite, but a stomach virus and a game Todd Witsken tagged him in the first round.

Anyway, one of my favorites, Mardy Fish, is on fire right now, reaching his second final in a row, this time in L.A. His emergence in the past year has been pretty remarkable and currently, he's playing the best tennis of his career.

Still, there's that little event called the U.S. Open a few weeks away and the way Fish's schedule is set up, he could end up playing a lot of matches going into New York. That's fine because he's playing some great ball right now, but how much will he have left in the tank when it's Slam-time?

Hopefully, a lot because being hot at the end would mean a lot more than racking up the titles right now.

(Photo: AFP)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How will the rest of the year go for Serena Williams?

I'm curious...

Can Serena Williams get back to the top 10 by the end of the year?

Will she play a pretty full schedule for the remainder of the season?

Will she be considered a serious threat at the U.S. Open?

How will her body hold up?

It's funny how a 6-0, 6-0 win can get the mind racing!

Serena took out Anastasia Rodionova by that score yesterday at the WTA Tour stop in California. It's an impressive result, considering how little she's played in the past year due to injury and illness. Her next match against Maria Kirilenko could be a tough one. Every match out there at this point, actually, has the potential to be a true test. She passed with flying colors against Rodionova, though.

And win or lose against Kirilenko, I'm sure I'll be asking the same above questions again!

(Photo: Getty Images)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Loving the WTA's depth. The rankings? Not so much.

Vera Zvonareva won the the inaugural Baku Cup this weekend for her second title of the year. It wasn't a big tournament, but a win's a win at any level of the pros and it solidifies her spot in the top three.

The thing is, is "solidifies her spot" a good thing for the WTA rankings? Or should there be a massive rankings shakeup?

The level of depth has been amazing this year: Did you see Li Na getting to the finals of the Australian and winning the French? Or surprise finalists Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova duking it out for the Wimbledon title? You just never who's going to come through on a week-by-week basis, which is a good thing.

But wow, the rankings sure aren't keeping pace: Caroline Wozniacki's still number one, and even that "being the most consistent player results-wise" argument is running thin. Kim Clijsters is number two, but at least she did win a Slam this year. Sam Stosur is in the top 10, and what has she done lately?

Sharapova, Li, Kvitova and Francesca Schiavone should all be ranked higher than they are. And I know this is an age-old complaint, but take a look at the rankings and see if they still don't make you go, "What the ... ?"

Not to knock what any of these players are doing, but a revamped system can only strengthen what is already a great time in the game.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally ready to get off the last-weekend rollercoaster

OK, I've given myself a few days, now I'm back in a regular frame of mind.

Last weekend was pretty draining for a few different reasons:

* First, it was my 20th high school reunion (yep, I'm gettin' on up there!). Only thing is, I couldn't go because I've been working in this new job. I'm thankful for the work, of course, but I'd been looking forward to attending that for years and was bummed about missing it. Oh well, I guess there's always the 30th!

* Actually, though, with the way the schedule fell, I should've bailed on it anyway for one major reason: Andre Agassi went into the Hall of Fame and I made a vow years ago that when he did, I'd be there. (Don't worry, I wasn't going to bore you with my high-school-reunion yearnings for long!) He is, after all, my favorite athlete ever. At least I got to see the induction on TV!

* Then there was Davis Cup: Oh man, talk about a bummer. Congrats to the teams that made it through to the semis, but wow, that U.S. performance really bummed me out. David Ferrer, who I really like, is a class or two above Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish right now. Add to the mix a solid Davis Cup performer like Feliciano Lopez, who is at his best on fast surfaces, and it's a tough matchup for anyone. Still, I thought the U.S. had a shot. A friend of mine asked me if the tie should've been played on grass. With F-Lo making quarterfinal runs at Wimbledon on the regular and Ferrer being solid on everything, I don't think it would've helped.

Oh well, that's life—and tennis!

(Photo: Getty Images)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Know what I haven't done? Given Novak Djokovic enough props.

So, how about that Wimbledon? You had Petra Kvitova almost coming from nowhere to take the women's title, the Bryan brothers winning an 11th Major, Katarina Srebotnik finally winning a doubles Slam, the return of Venus and Serena Williams, unseeded players making deep runs--you name it.

And oh yeah, there was that Novak Djokovic fellow continuing his dream season by grabbing the men's crown.

I was just looking through the annals of this here blog, and I realized I haven't given Djokovic the attention he deserves. I don't know why: Maybe I feel if I write something, I'll jinx him. (I'm a superstitious fellow: You should see me with the New York Jets!

Regardless, I apologize because what he's done so far this year has been one of the most amazing tennis things I've seen in my lifetime. I apologize for the negligence on my part.

To make it up, I'm changing the name of this blog to "Novak Djokovic Talk, Anyone?" Just kidding of course, but the dude does deserve all the acclaim and coverage he's gotten so far, which will hopefully continue during his great run.

Who knows? You might even see more from NDA?! : )

(Photo: Getty Images)