This week, from Jon Wertheim's Mailbag:
How do you think the end of year championships will shake out?
-- Greg Beyer, Naugatuck, CT
• Still another earmark of his professionalism, Roger Federer always seems to have a bit more left in the proverbial tank when the Masters Cup rolls around. Maybe it's all that Net-jetting. As was the case at Wimbledon, I think you have to call him the favorite until someone else proves otherwise. As for the women, you're better off picking the stock market. At this point in the year, with a banged up and mentally exhausted field playing on an indoor court in a far-flung locale, no result would surprise me.
Not a question but an observation. It was at the Stuttgart
tournament when Jankovic's coach was timing Venus' serve. It strikes me
as being quite funny since it appears Jankovic looks over at her
coach/box before challenging a call, which I thought was not suppose to
be the case.
-- Susan, Boston
• A few of you have mentioned that. It strikes me as more than a little bush league. And of all players, Venus Williams is probably the single most sporting out there. She doesn't even like to challenge line calls; you really think she's milking the clock on purpose? Insofar as this was an attempt to "get inside the head" of Venus, I suspect it had the opposite effect. When a coach does something like this, is he not in effect saying, "I'm not sure you can beat her outright; so I'm resorting to the dark arts?"
What's the back story on Feliciano Lopez that might have prompted
this comment from one of the Tennis Channel commentators at the finish
of Lopez' victory over Wawrinka in Madrid: Lopez excelling in front of
a celebrity crowd that he will feel came to watch him -- and only him."
-- FP, Nashville
• I'm responding to hearsay, but I'm sure this was an innocent comment, simply alluding to the fact that Lopez is from Madrid, the tournament's host city. I'm sure it has nothing -- not a thing -- to do with the fact that Lopez is alleged to make Narcissus himself look modest, a man who will singlehandedly wear out the reflective surface of the locker room mirrors. Seriously, there seems to be an interesting dynamic among some of the Spanish players. There's apparently the urban, pretty boy camp (Verdasco and Lopez) and the more rural, rugged camp (Ferrer, Nadal, Almagro.) Nadal is good friends with Lopez, but calls him "Galactico," a reference to the Real Madrid soccer "superstars" but also a gentle knock on his disco-lizard, appearance-conscious persona.