I've been away for a while, but it's time to get back to some writing. The 2009 edition of the U.S. Open gives me much to consider.
Andy Roddick has had a terrific year and has improved his fitness level and his backhand. He has reached heights that I didn't think he would approach, but his failure in the Open is not a shock to me. He is a top 10 player but that's all I'm prepared to concede.
The Williams sisters need a PR guy in their corner. They don't even know how to handle an interview properly. Serena's painted on smile and attempt to win over the viewing crowd by saying nice things about Melanie Oudin is so obviously phoney as to be obnoxious and it is also clear to me, at least, that she is jealous that Oudin is seen as the face of U.S. tennis when Serena is the best female player from the U.S. (and maybe anywhere). The Williams sisters just don't get it, never did and never will. They had the oppotunity to make such a valuable contribution to tennis but failed miserably, lost in their own selfishness. When they get a PR guy, they should also get a fashion designer, preferably one that doesn't work for the Miami Dolphins.
Novak Djokovic doesn't get his fair due. Not only is he a top 4 player in the world (in my opinion), he is an engaging personality and fabulous athlete who will win major titles in the not too distant future. He could even win this US Open even though he's not at the top of his game yet, but his intelligence and physical skills make him one of the few players I love to watch. He is one of the few tennis players who understands the entertainment value of sports and while he has made mistakes in the past with some erratic behaviour, he is a unique personality on the tour.
The excitement over Melanie Oudin is not surprising but overstated. She eked out a win against Sharapova when Maria made 60 unforced errors!! How was she even able to be in the match? 60 errors is more than 2 sets all by itself. Petrova has made a career out of losing big matches and Jankovic can't get out of the way of her own whining. Don't get me wrong. Oudin took advantage of the situation by winning when she could or should have, but I'm not sold that she has a long career at the top of the rankings. Expectations will go through the roof based on her recent performance and at 5'5" and no real weapons, I see a career top 20 player of whom all will refer to her performance at the 2009 US Open as the highlight of the career.
Nadal's performance against Montfils last night showed the greatness of the man. He lost the first set in a tiebreaker and then demlolished Montfils by running him ragged. Nadal is the most physical player I have ever seen and he proved without a doubt that he has returned and is ready to resume his rivalry with Federer. That is a good thing since both these guys have contributed greatly to the popularity of men's tennis. They are great ambassadors to the game of tennis and while I am an avid Roger Federer fan, I also respect and root for Nadal (except when he plays RF). I see a Federer/Nadal final and it should be a good one. The Williams sisters should take notes from these two guys.
Federer has been so good throughout the Open that I worry that he will have a letdown before the final. His game has come all the way back and with Nadal not at 100%, presumably, I think Roger gets the edge if they meet in the final.
The fact that Melanie Oudin and Kim Clijsters have succeeded in this tourney shows the problems with the women's game. Too many double faults, too many weak players after the top 5 and too few competitive matches, even at the quarter final round does not bode well for the sport. Now there are rumors that Justine Henin will return ................... and why not? She can likely be top 10 within 3 months and command the kind of money that she can't make outside of the sport. But women's tennis is in trouble and the governing body has to take positive action to boost the responsibilities of the players to "sell" the sport more than they have done in the past. This is where Clijsters excels. She is a top athlete, personable and engaging who brings instant credibility to the game. I'd love to see her win it all (which would be a killer for women's tennis) but don't believe she is ready to get by Serena just yet.
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