HE READS BOOKS TOO: Mardy Fish after beating Roger Federer last week in Indian Wells: “Actually when I won that first set I remembered something from James’ (Blake’s) book. It was a quote from [Fish’s former coach] Todd Martin who told him, ‘If you can win one set, you can win two.’ So I stuck with my game plan and went for it. These courts are really slow and all the players I have beaten this week defend really well but when I’m the aggressor I’m not sure they like it.”
ANDY AND JIMMY NO LONGER SITTING IN A TREE: From the blogging Doug Robson: “I ran into one of [Andy] Roddick’s handlers today and he relayed some interesting info, including more insight into his split with [Jimmy] Connors, as well some new digs for the Austin basher. According to my source, the last straw for Roddick-Connors came a week or so before he arrived in Dubai, where he beat No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic for his biggest title since the summer of ’06. In a nutshell, Roddick wanted to stop in New York City on his way back so he could spend time with his squeeze, the blonde S.I. swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. He asked Jimbo to come to the Big Apple to train. Connors told Andy he preferred him to come to his home in Montecito. It was a good old-fashioned standoff. Neither would budge. Not hard to imagine, is it: Two bull-headed champs standing their ground. Vexed that Connors wouldn’t be more “flexible” considering the princely sum he was paying the eight-time champ from East St. Louis, Ill., the two had a longer conversation about their working relationship, travel, commitment. One thing led to another and…Kaput. The split didn’t involve breach any contract since Connors was being paid on a weekly basis. The split follows a pattern in recent years with Roddick, whose earnest but edgy personality can wear thin over time. His hyper mind also gives him a wandering eye for coaches.”
MARIA RUNS THE TOUR?: How can Maria just say she’s skipping Miami, the biggest WTA Tour event outside of the Slams, to take a rest without getting a fine? When much of her travel has been for exhibitions and sponsor appearances? She needs a week off? She has a week off before she has to play in Miami. What a crock, the WTA Tour needs to respond.
BEST MESSAGE BOARD HEADLINE: “Is it just me, or does FSN (Fox Sports Net) make ESPN look fantastic”
Justin “Mardy You’re a Credit to the Game!” Gimelstob — dial it back a bit and remember you’re media, not a PR intern.
NOBODY BEATS AMERICANS 42 TIMES IN A ROW: Mardy Fish’s win over world No. 1 Roger Federer in Indian Wells broke a streak of 41 consecutive wins against Americans for the Swiss.
THE WEAKER WING: Rafael Nadal did not have a backhand winner in his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells.
PAT MAC INTO HALL OF FAME: Patrick McEnroe has been elected into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Men’s Hall of Fame. McEnroe will be inducted in a ceremony on May 21 at the 2008 NCAA Tennis Championships in Tulsa, Okla. McEnroe was a three-time singles All-American at Stanford (1986-88) and helped the Cardinals to two NCAA Team Championships in 1986 and 1988.
THE DOMINATOR IS BACK: 30-year-old Dominik Hrbaty made a comeback from double elbow surgery last week at the Sunrise (Fla.) Challenger.
HOW MUCH WAS THAT APPEARANCE FEE?: Steffi Graf defeated Martina Navratilova in an exhibition match in Tokyo.
KOURNIKOVA NOT ON-SONG: Songwriter Christopher Swann is suing Anna Kournikova and Lions Gate Entertainment in Federal Court, claiming they used two of his songs without permission on the DVD, “A Date With Anna.” Swann says Kournikova’s representatives contacted him to use the songs and he refused, but he happened across the Kournikova DVD in a video store and found it contained 22 minutes of his copyrighted works.
U.S YOUTH RACQUET SALES UP 80 PERCENT: Racquet shipments have increased 42.1 percent in units since 2003, with the fastest-growing segment youth racquets, with shipments increasing 80 percent according to the Tennis Industry Association.
OLYMPIC SHUT OUT: Marion Bartoli on not being able to participate in the Beijing Olympics for Italy after blowing off the Italian Fed Cup team: “It has been a situation where it was really hard for me to integrate the Fed Cup team, and with the situation after Wimbledon when I was in the final, first Slam, and I didn’t play against Italy, and we didn’t find a situation where it’s possible for me to integrate the team. So if I’m not playing the Fed Cup I can’t play the Olympics. It’s simple as that. I don’t care about this [Olympics] much, because I have to play back to back the French and Wimbledon, and then going to Montreal and Beijing and then come back to US Open and go to Tokyo again is really too much traveling…What I really want to play is to play Wimbledon 2012, and I would really commit myself to play this Olympics. I would find the solution, I am sure, with the French Federation.”
MCENROE PASSES ON OLYMPICS: First Andy Roddick announced he would not participate in the Beijing Olympics, now Patrick McEnroe has followed suit. The U.S. Davis Cup captain says he will not travel to Beijing to coach the U.S. men’s team. Instead USTA coach Rodney Harmon will lead the team, with Jay Berger as an assistant coach. Both coaches work in Florida out of the USTA High Performance program at the Evert Academy. “I just felt like, I’ve been there, I was lucky enough to have the experience,” McEnroe told the AP. “I’ve been the captain for eight years. It seemed like a good opportunity for someone else to have that experience.”
PETE GOES TO THE SOUTH AMERICAN BANK: Pete Sampras will collect some exo cash in May when he travels to South America to face Marcelo Rios in Santiago, Chile, on May 18, and David Nalbandian on May 20 in Buenos Aires and May 25 in Sao Paulo, Argentina.
HAVE ANOTHER CHALLENGE: The USTA announced it will give players an extra video-replay challenge per set this year at the US Open, making for three challenges per set and one more if the set goes to a tiebreak.
LINDSAY MISSES DANCING: Lindsay Davenport was scheduled for a night match at Indian Wells during the debut episode of Dancing with the Stars, featuring her pal Monica Seles: “I am so bummed,” Davenport said. “I play second after 7 p.m. I’m like, what are the odds that that happens? But I’m so excited for her. I’m hoping someone in this area TiVos it for me so I can watch it after my match. I sent her an e-mail today wishing her good luck, and there’s signs in the locker room for all the players to vote for her and watch. I swear, she’s so great, she’s so courageous I can’t wait to see her.”
LET’S NOT FAKE AN INJURY: Serena Williams speaking to Sportstar on playing her sister Venus in WTA Tour meetings: “Oh, I would love to play her more often. It is not that we avoid playing each other. We have different managers and tour schedules are pretty different and we don’t get to meet each other. That’s all. I loved playing her in Bangalore and all the good time that we had here together, we shopped, which we have not done for quite some time.”
ROLE MODEL OF CONSISTENCY: Serena Williams in 2003: “Also, [Venus and I] consider ourselves role models and we always thought that a lot of teenagers and a lot of pre-teens look up to us and say, ‘I want to be just like them. They’re positive and they’re fun.'” Serena in 2008: “I don’t think I set out to be a role model or icon. I just wanted to play good tennis and enjoy doing that, and I will continue to do that.”
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