Tuesday, July 31, 2007
As the summer hardcourt season takes off, the biggest star on the women's tour is—predictably—absent. Of course Serena Williams wouldn't actually bother showing up at rinky dink tournaments like Cincinnati or Pilot Pen, or so goes the conventional wisdom. The thing is, the Racqonteur thinks 90% of Serena's hoards of haters don't have the first clue about what it's really like to deal with nagging little injuries: unreliable calves, tweaky thumbs. Of course Serena wants to be playing at the top of her game... And as long as she (legitimately) can't, let's all let her be.
Woe is Roddickulous. That big clock at Flushing Meadows sure is ticking, and the wheels on A-Rod's train only seem further from the track with each passing week. Okay, succumbing to a barrage of supernatural winners at the hands of Richie Gasquet in a wacky Wimbledon quarterfinal is one thing. But being out-aced by Frank Dancevic of Canada at Indianapolis? Even the gloomiest of crystal balls never would have foretold such a fate for America's lost great hope. A little like the real estate market, one has to wonder: How far does this thing have left to fall? The Racqonteur predicts: A-Rod crashes out in the third round of the U.S. Open to an Icelandic qualifier.
As any avid tennis player, or racqonteur, with more than a smidge of taste can attest, shopping for tennis gear sometimes brings to mind a Soviet-era dearth of options. Picture a politburo of mean, narrow-minded designers locked away in the depths of Nike or Adidas hammering out edicts on the approved shades of white. Why, for instance, do all tennis sunglasses have to look like sci-fi costume fodder? Memo to Bolle and the gang: banish all of the following from your "inspiration" boards: UFOs, Pontiac Aztecs, Transformers, satellite dishes.
"More than anything, I want to find a way of becoming calm. I need to stay calm but I find it very difficult." Thus spoke rising Russian Anna Chakvetadze after not losing to Sania Mirza in the Stanford final last weekend. Now, she-of-the-mighty-braid (which tangled with her racket at one point in the first set) may be 6 for 6 in finals and she's not exactly going to break any camera lenses, but don't expect this latest Anna to win this season's episode of WTA Star Search. She may have trouble staying calm on the inside while playing, but from the outside she looks like she's falling asleep.