My colleague Mr. Vach sure got into hot water forecasting that Roger Federer would not match Pete’s six straight years at No. 1. And judging by the comments, the Federphiles were not amused. Having roamed around the internet a bit, it’s crystal clear when talking about the greatest tennis player one has to tread very cautiously as to not incite the many Federer faithful.
My take – a cautious one at that – is simply that Pete remains the greatest until either a) Roger gets to 14 Slams, b) Roger wins the calendar Slam, or c) Roger hits an ace after wiping vomit off his sleeve in the fifth set of a Slam. Whichever comes first, subject to change, of course
I know Roger has got to nine Slam wins quicker than Pete did (though remember Borg won 11 in just 25!) and Roger has excelled on clay, but at the end of the day Pete still has 14 and Roger still has nine. Plus, Pete going six straight years at No. 1 is pretty incredible, while Roger is just halfway to that point. Can Fed get six straight? Wouldn’t shock me, especially if he does get to 14 slams and beyond, which I think he’ll do.
Roger also needs to look at figuring out a way to win the Davis Cup (Pete won that) for Switzerland and finally getting gold medal to complete his resume – assuming he wins the French of course.
So is Fed on his way to being greatest ever? Um, yeah.
Anyway, speaking of the Fed, I’m sure many of you may have missed the news – perhaps until today – that Congress passed a bill in the wee hours Saturday morning making internet gambling illegal in the U.S.
That’s right Poker nutz, read it and weep.
The Prez is expected to sign the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as early as this week making it official. The gist of the bill is that it would become illegal for U.S. banks, credit card companies and other financial intuitions to process offshore gambling outfits. And to those offshore gaming/sportsbook gambling outfits, it would become illegal for them to take bets from U.S. residents.
According to reports Pokerstars.net and Partypoker.com are ready to pull the plug on “real money” playing for U.S. residents once the bill is signed, and several more sites will likely follow suit. That’s a lot of poker players who could find themselves on the betting “sidelines” in a matter of days, if not hours and minutes. Ouch.
So what’s this all mean for U.S. tennis fans, whose sport hardly register a blip on the online gambling industry radar screen? It means sayonara to all those freaking poker shows and ads which clog up ESPN and other networks. And that means no more cutting away from tennis to go to the World Series of Poker because it won’t be on anymore, although something else – darts? – is sure to take its place.
With the poker fad “virtually” wiped out here in the U.S., tennis should bump up a spot or two (we can’t be behind darts, can we?) in the overall U.S. entertainment rankings, maybe from No. 28 to 27. Not a huge jump, but hey, any rise in the ranks we’ll take.
The bad news of course is if you live in the U.S. and you are a poker fan (Andy Roddick?) and/or you like to bet tennis matches you will soon be SOL.
As for the bill itself, it’s basically another crap American policy which we never got a say in. Betting on corrupt American institutions is perfectly legal on Wall Street, but putting a dime on the Eagles to cover will now land you in jail. That’s total B.S. And I’ll leave it at that.
What I do hope is that the good folks at the USTA, TIA and others in the tennis community recognize that there will soon be millions of online poker addicts who’ll be left with nothing to do. Hey, how about getting them to pick up a racquet…
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