It takes about a month for the Wimbledon euphoria to abate - a period during which the tennis calendar seems to wedge itself in a slight lull before the actual storm presents itself over the hard courts of Toronto, Cincinnati, and eventually the bright lights of New York City.
Just in case you felt out of touch, here are five story-lines that you might have missed from the tennis world:
1) Yes, it's official. For your average Federer fan, it must feel like a breath of fresh air! Away from the maddening crowd and calls for his imminent decline, the Swiss World No. 3 found time to hire Paul Annacone, the man who led Sampras through his record breaking years in the late 90's till his retirement.
Federer's move has been warmly welcomed by most with the belief that an extra pair of eyes and ears could only help the Swiss legend as he deals with relatively more losses and upsets. More importantly, it's a sign that Federer believed that he was in need for a change and was willing to do whatever it took to start winning big again.
P.S: Murray split with his coach too!
2) WTHIGOW Anna Chakvetadze? We have an answer! After a dazzling breakthrough 2007 where she won four tournaments, reached the quarters in Melbourne and Paris as well as the semis at Flushing Meadows and then peaked at number five in the WTA rankings, the young Russian slid to a current ranking of 74 (up 29 spots after her most recent title)! What happened?
In that offseason, burglars forced their way into her Moscow home, tied her hands up so tightly that she lost feeling in her left hand, hit her father over the head with a pistol and made of with $200,000 in cash and jewelry. With a slight air of confidence after her victory at the Slovenia open in Potoroz, here's hoping the 23 year old manages to win a couple of matches in New York.
3) Of all the competitors that the great Martina Navratilova faced during her glittering career, here's her most difficult yet. After a lumpectomy in March, she underwent over two dozen radiation treatments over a six week period, which ended days before she added yet another Wimbledon title (Ladies Invitation Doubles) to her stacked trophy shelf!
In Martina: My Toughest Opponent , CNN will delve into her journey as she attempted to balance treatment, tennis and work all at the same time. Narrated by Sanjay Gupta, the half hour "intimate" special premieres on CNN International on August 7th at 12:30 PM (ET). A must watch for all tennis fans around the world.
4) The latest furor in the virtual tennis community involved the perhaps premature anointment of Serena as the Greatest Of All Time. I too, was guilty of an attempted rebuttal myself.
Wertheim's belief led to Graf defenders hating Serena lovers, Seles lovers criticizing Graf fans, Martina fans getting irate at everyone else... and basically a looping vicious cycle of undeserved detrimental comments to the game's greatest female exponents! Let's leave it for right now and bring it up once Serena retires. Till then, enjoy the game instead.
5) Three up, three down? Here's a list of movers and residents in the latest ATP and WTA rankings:
- Vera Zvonareva up 12 spots to No. 9 after reaching the final at Wimbledon.
- Tomas Berdych up five spots to No. 8 after beating Federer and Djokovic.
- Yen Hsun-Lu up 38 spots to No. 44 after knocking off Roddick at SW19.
- Dinara Safina, former No. 1 with a chronic back problem now sees her ranking at 35!
- Ivo Karlovic with a foot injury down 22 spots to No. 54.
- Long John Isner and Surging Sam Querrey, while having not particularly moved over the week, now note-worthily reside at No's. 19 and 20 respectively. Refreshing to see results from the new American brigade.
Until the Roger's Cup kicks off in Toronto, here's a brilliant piece by Steve Tignor on the Los Angeles Tennis Club (the Bollettieri of its day), and its four greatest male players - Ellsworth Vines, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer and Pancho Gonzalez.
Have a great weekend!