January 1, 2011
From the desk of Roger Federer
Former No. 1 Ranked Tennis Player
Sixteen-time Grand Slam Champion
Re: 2011 Majors
Hi Rafa, and Happy New Year!
So, I’ve been thinking about those exhibitions matches we played in December. Weren’t those fun? One for me in Zurich, and one for you in Madrid. And you got to ride around in my sick SLM ASG Mercedes. Greatest carpool ever!
Here’s my thought: Let’s make like those exhibitions and split the majors this year. I’m calling it quits after this season and I want to go out a winner. Kind of like Michael Jordan—wait, I mean Ricky Henderson—wait, I mean Brett Favre. Wait—oh, forget it, you get my point. I’m pushing 30. That’s dinosaur status in the world of professional tennis.
I see 2011 going down like this: I’ll take the Australian. No one cares about the Australian (isn’t it coming up soon?) except the Australians. It’s kind of like the PGA of golf. Let’s say four sets, or three if it’s really hot. That will stop all this talk about you winning the Grand Slam. That’s all I read about! Well, that and about how something called the BCS is a sham?
You can have the French. People would accuse you of throwing the match if I beat you there, but we’ll make the finals interesting. You give me the first two sets at love. Then you can get some illegal coaching from Uncle Toni and storm back and win the fifth in a tiebreaker and roll around in the dirt and tell the Roland Garros crowd how great a champion I am and I’ll smile and when we get into the locker room I’ll throw my consolation trophy in the garbage just like I did with the other 15 or so and then I’ll donate my prize money to Andy Roddick, who most certainly will lose in the first round.
Wimbledon’s a tough call. I do like the Championships, but it’s not as fun as it used to be. First, those white jackets make me feel like a goose; Nike would never have made Sampras wear them. Second, I can’t serve and volley anymore. Third, the whole Andy Murray thing. He’s such a buzzkill. The Brits know he’s going to choke in the big matches. Kind of takes the energy out of the place. So you can be the grass king. Let’s say five sets, but none of that Isner-Mahut nonsense. Great PR stunt, but it almost got them killed.
That leaves me with the U.S. Open. I have a bad taste in my mouth after the last two years. First, some guy named Juan Martin del Potro blasted me off the court in the fifth set in 2009. I don’t think he’s played a match since. Then Djokovic got me last year with those ridiculous forehands. Probably for the best, though—I wouldn’t have had much left in the tank for the finals. This year, I want to go out Sampras 2002-style—by beating my biggest rival on the biggest stage. I’ll fall behind two sets to one and then we’ll manufacture a point where I come to net and you lob me and come to the net and I hit a through-the-legs passing shot and do my funny hop around dance as the crowd goes crazy and you bow to me and then basically stop trying and don’t win another game. I’ll finish the match with an ace and raise my arms like the gullwing doors of my Mercedes.
See you in Australia. Melbourne, right? Hit me up with the dates when you write back.
Who will win the most tennis majors in 2011?
Your friend and the greatest tennis player of all time,
January 10, 2011
From the desk of Rafael Nadal
No. 1 Ranked Tennis Player
Nine-time Grand Slam Champion
Re: Your Letter
Dear Roger, and Happy New Year to you, too.
First, your car is a nice toy, but not as cool as my $525,000 Richard Mille 027 Tourbillon watch. Too bad it got stolen. I’m never playing in Toronto again!
Second, who’s Andy Roddick?
Third, forget it. 2011 is the year of the Rafa Slam.
The Australian Open is January 17-30. I’ll be the No. 1 seed.
Your friend and the soon-to-be greatest tennis player of all time,
To read more correspondence between popular sports personalities, visit the SportsLetters blog.