10 Quick Takes For the First Week in Paris
1. The WTA tour needs the eventual winner here in Paris to play well for the rest of 2009. Absentee champions and world #1′s with no grand Slam titles in the past 52 weeks have hurt the WTA for years now. I am not breaking any news, but the WTA needs someone who can win the big prizes and play well all season.
2. Andy Murray in all black might make a stir, but can’t the media look at his results since Wimbledon 2008 and see he means business rather than deducing that from his wardrobe?
3. Rafael Nadal is a massive favorite. Nadal having a day off between matches along with a slower larger court upon which to track down shots means Madrid’s semifinal and final round may have been aberrations. Even if they were not aberrations, Nadal is still a heavy favorite.
4. I can’t help but wonder what Ivan Ledl could have done adding today’s string technology to his imposing strength and stamina.
5. While Jimmy Connors made a lot of headlines for tennis from 1974-1991, it is probably time to stop using photos that seem to only portray our top talent sneering while yelling “Come’on!” or “Vamanos!” What’s next an audio montage of all of the various grunts and shrieks?
6. Tennis Magazine has an article about how hitting on the rise, hugging the baseline and trying to hit off of the front foot are no longer sacrosanct rules for how one ought to play tennis. This is undoubtedly true, but wouldn’t it be nice to see players such as Gael Monfils and Juan Martin del Potro move into the court a little more often?
7. Regarding #3, if Nadal had to sculpt clay pots during changeovers, it might make the odds more like 50-50 for Nadal vs. the field.
8. I am wondering when the last Swede won in Paris? Mats Wilander won in 1988. From 1974-1988, Sweden produced 9 French Open championships. Since 1988, Stefan Edberg and Magnus Norman have posted runner-up finishes. Screaming Viking!
9. Should Kim Clijsters have upped the date of her return and tried to play her way into form over 2 weeks?
10. Finally, I will be writing more frequently. Between my nearly 7 month old daughter and work on my always just-out-of-reach doctoral dissertation, I have not been able to write for Tennis-X as often as I should. My daughter is tall and seems strong for her age. Maybe I should pull a Mike Agassi and replace her mobile animals with dangling tennis balls. I will draw the line by not taping a ping pong paddle to her hand. However, changing her last name to “Martinova” seems prudent.
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Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Paris Masters