Notes: Sharapova Odds-On Wimbledon Favorite

Posted on June 23, 2006

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John McEnroe
will play doubles with Jonas Bjorkman at the ATP stop in Stockholm in October...Goran Ivanisevic speaking to the BBC on Andy Murray: "This is a very important four-week spell for him and he needs a coach or someone off-court who can help him with his game. He can become a very good player but only if he has someone to guide him. I like his fiery temperament and it's an important part of his game. But he should look at John McEnroe as an example to help him channel his anger. He was the master at doing that. I used to take spells between sets to calm down and focus and it is important Murray does that too. He needs to use the crowd to his advantage. Once he has got them on his side then that is a massive help for him."...From X-Discussion boarder mariam: "mats (Wilander) needs to get a big bowl of shut-the-f*ck-up. I appreciate the sentiment and agree with it for the most part, but what the hell is up with half an hour long rants about players' balls, or lack of game plans, or whatever the hell he chooses to take on next? btw, considering that he's on a crusade against all power players, I wonder if (Shamil) tarpischev/others in the russian federation who basically claimed that wilander ruined (Marat) safin's game were onto something."...Hold the phones, a Brit has actually qualified for Wimbledon rather than being handed a wildcard in Josh Goodall, who beat American Scoville Jenkins in the final round of qualifying...Matches to watch for Friday: Kim Clijsters vs. Justine Henin-Hardenne (10-10 head-to-head), Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Anastasia Myskina, Mario "Baby Goran" Ancic vs. Marcos "Bombs Over" Baghdatis, Elena Dementieva vs. Michaella Krajicek...Greg Garber writing for "In the past, those who succeeded at Wimbledon -- Martina Navratilova won six straight titles during 1982-87 -- have served and volleyed their way to the silver trophy. Today, the serve-and-volley is basically extinct. The contenders at Wimbledon will find a way to finish points by moving forward when they can, but they will pick their spots. Players say that bigger balls and a slightly slower grass surface have contributed to longer rallies. Tim Henman, one of the last serve-and-volley dinosaurs, traces the change to 2002. "I think it comes as a surprise to everyone when the conditions change so dramatically," Henman said. "On a grass court, before it was about serving and volleying on both [service] balls. You can count on one hand, I'm sure, how many times I serve and volley [now]. There's exceptions to every rule. [Ivo] Karlovic, is he going to stand back [on the baseline]? Probably not. But you've got to have an exceptional serve to be able to keep hitting it through the court because it is -- with the balls and the court -- much, much slower."...There are four former Slam champs in today's Eastbourne semifinals, which excludes current No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, who lost in the first round for the second consecutive year. Even though she is No. 1 ranked, not many pundits out there are arguing that the Frenchwoman is going to start racking up the Slam titles. If Mauresmo didn't have the Australian Open title handed to her in January (receiving two retirements, one in the final against an ill Justine Henin-Hardenne), would she have ever won a Slam? The verdict: unlikely. Don't look for Mauresmo to win another Slam unless you see a perfect storm of retirements and injury drop-outs from upper-ranked opponents...Francesca Schiavone is 0-11 vs. Kim Clijsters, and lost in 44 minutes Thursday...Maria Sharapova is favored by oddsmakers to win Wimbledon? How can we bet against that? No confidence. At 7/1 put your money on Venus while the bookies are suckered by the Canon commercials...Jimmy Connors, who says he is in "discussions" with the Andy Roddick camp, speaking with The Guardian: "The guys playing the pro tour now are satisfied with mediocrity; they make a good living with some effort. It is a luxury to be able to not have to worry about money. I don't know if it is a luxury which breeds the right sort of athletes. [Rafael] Nadal plays with a passion and exuberance and I also like [Roger] Federer because he is laid back and calm, and the way he goes around playing is something to see. It would be nice to see some others step up to the challenge. [Andy] Roddick for one, Ivan Ljubicic and Marcos Baghdatis too." -- Well, less walk and more talk Jimmy, take the cash and see how far you can stick your foot up Andy's ass...Who is this "Queen's Court" columnist Elizabeth Newman writing this crap for "However, if this year's French Open showed us nothing else, it illustrated the Swiss champ has exploitable weaknesses on the court. In Paris, [Roger] Federer demonstrated he can be bullied and in a big match, brazen attitude and a little good fortune are enough to beat him." -- You're right! Why hasn't everyone figured that out! Brilliant!...From Justine Henin-Hardenne, who at the French said she would probably have lunch with Kim Clijsters (did that ever happen?), now from Wimbledon on Clijsters: "We come from such a little country, so that makes things more difficult. It's not like we're going to have dinner together, but we've never lost our respect for each other." -- Maybe lunch, but apparently not dinner...Andre Agassi was beaten in an exhibition Thursday by Russian Mikhail Youzhny...From the can't-put-it-down feature on Roscoe Tanner from Greg Garber at "When Roscoe Tanner's letter arrived earlier this year from a northern Florida prison, there was no apology. The future, Department of Corrections Inmate No. R35415 wrote, is "in God's hands." Daughter Tamara and her mother, Charlotte -- the second of three Mrs. Tanners -- were furious. This, Tamara said, is what she wrote back: "Once again, when it's time to take care of your responsibilities, you put it off on something else. Dad, when are you going to step up to the plate?" In an interview from her home in Aliso Viejo, Calif., an Orange County suburb, Roscoe Tanner's daughter said, "He's a charmer who will say whatever he needs to get what he wants. I don't care to hear anything he has to say." Tamara grew up exceptionally close to her father. He attended her soccer games and tennis matches and helped sharpen her skills in practice. But lately, Tamara, now 20, finds herself wondering if those things ever happened."...From Patrick McEnroe writing for "Andre Agassi enters Wimbledon this year as the 26th seed, his worst ever at the All England Club. Being seeded that low could be feast or famine for the eight-time Grand Slam champion because there's the possibility he could face a dangerous player in the first round and lose. There's also the chance he could benefit from a good draw and make a run." -- Uhh, as the No. 26 seed, doesn't he have the same chance of facing a "dangerous player" in the first round (aka an unseeded player) as any of the other seeds?..Pete Sampras tells the BBC there are too many baseline wussies and not enough net-attacking players to give Roger Federer problems at Wimbledon: "I don't see anyone with a big enough weapon to hurt him. They're just staying back and Roger is able to dictate well enough. You just have to serve well and attack him." Pete then added, 'Why don't they all just reach down and adjust their skirts and think about coming to the net.' -- Actually he didn't say that last part, but you know he thought about it..."Grinning" Greg Rusedski will be seeded if one more seeded player pulls from Wimbledon...Paradorn "The Thai Fighter" Srichaphan gets seeded after Nicolas Kiefer pulls from Wimbledon with a wrist injury.

Also see:
Friday Backhander: Murray the Role Model, Bellamy Banished