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Breaking News: Henman Retires 08/23/2007 - 12:03 PM

Tim_3

[Tim Henman announced today that he is retiring from tennis after the U.S. Open and the upcoming  UK vs Croatia Davis Cup tie. Here is a Henman retrospective. This also will be your New Haven Crisis Center Post, and the place to talk about the upcoming U.S. Open for the day. - Pete]

Old-school tennis fans will be in mourning today as Tim Henman announced his retirement. Where are we going to to see such attractive backhand volleys from now on? Where are we going to go for annual reminder that the real world is a rough and tumble place that probably will throw a bucket of ice water on your most tender dreams, now that Tim Henman won't play another Wimbledon?  What is the British press corps going to do now that 50 per cent of its raison d'etre (the other 50 being Andy Murray) and ticket to world travel has decided that he won't be punching the clock in Melbourne, Dubai, Rome or Shanghai anymore?

It's a sad day. Henman, the epitome of the decent British suburban lad - an identity that once led some dipstick to ridicule him as "human beige", like decency was an uncool thing - will call it quits in tennis after the U.S. Open and the UK's upcoming Davis Cup tie vs Croatia (bear in mind that this is a qualifying match for the World Group, not the main DC semifinal.

Henman held a presser this morning out here at the BJKNTC, announcing his decision. The bottom line: He realized when he came to the U.S. to prepare for the hard-court swing that his nagging back injury made proper training and fitness impossible. He had known for a while that his career clock was ticking, and the alarm reminding him that he must retire one day finally went off. "It was an uphill battle, trying to get ready, and it was getting harder and harder to fulfill. I realized I wanted to stop."

You couldn't ask for someone more squarely out of the traditional tennis demographic than Timothy Henry Henman, which helps explain why throughout his career Henman embraced the the code that mandated good sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. His great grandmother Ellen Stawell Brown was the first lady to serve overhand at Wimbledon (1901), and he came from what the British might call "a perfectly lovely Oxfordshire family". While some fans and pundits found him boring, his fellow players - that is, people who actually know Henman - did not. He was very well-like in the lockerroom, and notorious for his acid tongue and biting wit. You know how it goes: what you see is not always what you get, and some people - like Henman - don't feel obliged  let the entire world know how they feel about everything, all of the time.

British, anyone?

Henman's best year was 2004, and it shocked his countrymen as well as the tennis press and camp followers; after all, in 2003 he survived the third round at only one major (Wimbledon, where he made the quarters) and his world ranking slumped to No. 15. But he finished No. 6 in 2004, partly because he made two Grand Slam semifinals and one quarter (Wimbledon). Henman reached the final of of four Masters Series events, winning one: Paris. And while that conquest on indoor carpet is the best result of his career, the more inspiring and riveting feat was his run to the semfinals of Roland Garros (2004) on the red clay that is so puzzling to attacking players. It was, in many ways, Henman's finest moment: a demonstration of what a precise, smooth, purposeful, attacking game can achieve on even the slowest surface (he lost to clay-court helion-of-the-day Guillermo Coria).

But as Henman is British and Britain is a colony of Wimbledon, he will be remembered most fondly for the way he performed in his own national championships. He carried the expectations of a Wimbledon-mad nation that has struggled for over half-a-century to produce a male player capable the event like a regular Sisyphus. Legions of fans gathered to watch - and get their hearts broken - the giant screen showing Centre Court on a hillock that was eventually named  "Henman Hill."   It was the Woodstock district of otherwise staid and buttoned up Wimbledon, and every danged time Henman played it was their version of Jimmy Hendrix playing the national anthem.

It never happened for Henman at Wimbledon, partly because of Pete Sampras. Sampras was Tim's friend and a like-minded traditionalist, both in the way he played and the way he carried himself. Sampras ultimately donated his own coach, Paul Annacone, to the Henman cause. But Sampras was heartless and callous to British hopes and delusions when he met Henman on Wimbledon's lawns: Sampras shattered the dream on three different occasions - twice in the semifinals. "I did everything a little better than Tim," Sampras told me not long ago. "It was a tough match up for him. If you take me out of the Wimbledon equation, though, he might have won there, maybe even more than once. He responded to the pressure there incredibly well. It's hard to play your best tennis where and when there's the most at stake, expectations-wise. But he stepped up and answered the call, pretty much every time."

Henman missed one huge opportunity at Wimbledon. He was beaten in the semifinals of 2001 (6-3 in the fifth) by Goran Ivanisevic. Although Goran would go on to win the event in one of the most memorable - and improbable  - of all Wimbledon moments, the other finalist that year was Pat Rafter. Neither man played with the command and confidence of Sampras; it was Henman's best, as well as last-best, shot.

Of course, Henman's decision today rules out a final go at Wimbledon, which is a pity. It would have been nice to see him go out there knowing he had one last shot at capturing the Grail, or even just to smell the roses. But Henman said: "Sure I asked myself if I want to go back to play one last time, but the simple answer was 'No.'  I always felt at any tournament I entered that I could win, and I don't feel that now - what's the sense of hanging aorund for nine months just to be able to play Wimbledon one  more time? That didn't appeal to me."

Summing up his career, Henman said he was most proud of two things: his record at Wimbledon (he made the semifinals and quarterfinals four times each) and his level of professionalism. I had to admire the guy, and also feel a twinge of sympathy for him,  when he put it like this: "I played some of my best tennis when it most counted, at Wimbledon.I was as good as I could have been."

I hope I can say that when I quit, at anything.

PS - Word is the Neil Harman of The Times (London) has been taken off suicide watch.


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Posted by tenniscan 08/23/2007 at 12:06 PM

All up to Murray now

Posted by Maggie 08/23/2007 at 12:10 PM

Go Stan! He beat Robredo for first time today.

Posted by Liva 08/23/2007 at 12:15 PM

Karlovic won in New Haven. He beat Thomas Johansson in 3 sets - surprisingly, with no tie-breaks. And he had 24 aces. The guy is a machine. :D

Posted by Schwab 08/23/2007 at 12:17 PM

Beckham,
Do you think Fed will ask Annacone to coach him since Henman is retiring? If so, do you think Annacone will work on Fed FH more since Roche may have work on his BH and net play?

If you answered this question on another thread, I will find your response.

Good luck to Henman and his post-tennis life.

Posted by Embug 08/23/2007 at 12:18 PM

The loss to Isner in DC was prescient. I'm sorry to hear this news.

Posted by abbey 08/23/2007 at 12:25 PM

i think rosia asked this earlier, will tim accept a wild card in wimbledon next year for his final goodbye? or will dc be it?

Posted by Liva 08/23/2007 at 12:31 PM

abbey, this is what was written in eurosport's website:
"Henman ruled out returning for one last go at Wimbledon next year.

"For me to hang around another nine months just to play Wimbledon for the sake of it, doesn't appeal to me. But to play the Davis Cup there will be very special," he said.

"I'm sure if I was asked 'do I want to go back and play Wimbledon one last time?' I really feel the simple answer is 'no'."

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/23/2007 at 12:31 PM

He said he wanted to play wimbly but the pain associated with trying to get ready to play hardcourt season convinced him it was time to hang it up.

but if he rest the back and feels better who knows - sounds like for now he is retired

Posted by Maplesugar 08/23/2007 at 12:36 PM

Awwwww...that's kind of sad. He's had his diappointments in his career for sure, but, overall, tennis has been good to him and his family. I'll look forward to perhaps hearing him in the commentary booth. I know TMF will miss him on the tour.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/23/2007 at 12:36 PM

could he retire, -I mean not play the match- already in the first round against Tursunov because of his injury?

Posted by abbey 08/23/2007 at 12:36 PM

thanks, liva and tt.

Posted by CL 08/23/2007 at 12:37 PM

I'm very sorry to hear this too. Tim was/is a class act and got everything possible out of his talent as a tennis player.... he was an overachiever of the first order. Its just too bad that he never got further in Wimby, but he played his heart...and the hearts of his countrymen ... out... and provided many wonderful and a few agonizing moments. I know there are lots of Goran-ites out there, but I would have just loved to have seen Tim take that match. His volleying skills were superb and a delight to watch and with his retirement we lose yet another link in the S& V chain...

Posted by Tari 08/23/2007 at 12:37 PM

Sad news...have always enjoyed watching Tim play. But home more with the wife and kids is a great place to be. Good luck, Tim!

Posted by Kate 08/23/2007 at 12:38 PM

Tim was always a true gentleman on and off the court. I have watched him play many times and the pressure of winning Wimbledon was always on his shoulders.

Good Luck to Tim I hope he does well both in the US Open and the rest of his life!! Gooooo Timbo!

Posted by Ray Stonada 08/23/2007 at 12:39 PM

Hey gang! I am having an AMAZING day out at USTABJKNTCXDSRWTEUJ.

Saw the Henman presser, in which he seemed at peace, and then, wandering the bowels of Ashe, I saw a sign for the photog pit. Decided to sneak out there and look at the empty stadium.

Heard squeaking. Someone was playing. And it was...

Nicolas Kiefer! Wow, seeing a pro hit in an empty stadium and as I came around the corner I saw his practice partner. One Roger Federer. Pretty much alone I watched them play a practice set from feet away. Roger even glanced over like, who's this guy?

As the were between games, I noticed a few other guys wander onto court. Just Juan Carlos Ferrero and Rafael Nadal. They ambled and and stopped waiting for Fed and Kiefer to clear out, which they took their time doing. Finally Rafa just went onto court and Rodge started packing up. On his way by, Rafa tapped Fed with his racquet on the calf, to which Fed said, brightly, "Hey Raf!"

This all happened about ten minutes ago. Rafa can turn a 120 mph out serve from JCF into a drop shot tat bounces back into his hand. It's amazing.

A prominent coach/commentator came out and picked his nose for a while too.

Okay! Off to wander around more! I am not worthy.

Posted by Stuck 08/23/2007 at 12:43 PM

Some past champions to play during USO:

http://www.tennisnews.com/exclusive.php?pID=21760


Posted by Ryan 08/23/2007 at 12:43 PM

Paging Mr. Cahill.

Reviewed the women's Open draw, and Pete's pick of Hingis in a semi isn't entirely crazy. She's definitely the best player in that part of the draw when healthy (yes, including Petrova and Kuznetsova). I don't know if she's up to a run to the semis physically though.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/23/2007 at 12:45 PM

just had a look at the pictures of his press conference: he looks sad but at peace...He was such a familiar figure around these shores.

If I understood the british press correctly, Tim might come back as a commentator or as an official for the LTA (?) so we might see him again soon anyway.

CHEERS TO YOU HENNERS

Posted by Stuck 08/23/2007 at 12:45 PM

Ray: great stuff - what a nice surprise - never know what awaits around any corner huh?

Posted by CL 08/23/2007 at 12:45 PM

Ray - What serendipitydooda!!

Schwab- I think Anacone would be an excellant choice for Fed. But we don't really know a.) how seriously Fed is actually in the market for a coach, and b.) If Anacone would be interested. He may want a break from coaching. Still, I think it could be a good fit.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/23/2007 at 12:47 PM

Mr Ray: just read your post, we saw the same thing about Tim!!!!
http://www.tennis.com/photogallery/photoblock.aspx?pid=99770

Posted by Willy the Speare Shaker 08/23/2007 at 12:53 PM

major bummer about Henman; if the '01 Wimbledon was played on today's grass, Henman would have won it, and if the '02 Wimbledon was played on the grass of the 90's, Henman would've won that one. one of the best of all time to never win a slam.

Posted by marieJ 08/23/2007 at 12:58 PM

ray, rafa and roger in the same day ?
i'm so jealous ! lucky you ;) of course if it was ana I vs helena D it would have been better from your side, no ?

it's so sad about tim and still perfectly understandable...
i will miss him so much, he was fun to watch and very likeable persona... i was there pulling for him when he won bercy and he beat roger on the way to the final.
it's a great fealing to be able to say i was there this very day when he was at his best.
that's the breaking news at the atp site :
http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/news/news8.asp


Posted by jhurwi 08/23/2007 at 01:02 PM

Sorry to hear about Henman's retirement, although it's certainly not unexpected. He's been one of my favorite players for many years--I used to agonize through Wimbledon back when he still had a shot at making it, just like the fans on Henman Hill. I had really hoped to see him at the Pilot Pen, but then he withdrew due to injury. Maybe at the U.S. Open ? But I'm not too hopeful, since he's not likely to make it through the first round.

Since this is now the New Haven thread, I'm reposting some comments I made on the Stonada Battlefield Report thread

1) If this is going to be the site to discuss New Haven: my husband and I were at the Pilot Pen yesterday, and I posted a two-part summary of the matches we saw over on the Crisis Center 8/22 thread late last night.
Unfortunately we missed Davydenko-Young on TV since we stayed to have dinner with a friend in New Haven. Congratulations to Donald for a fine showing against a Top 10 player--that's better than Isner did against Ferrer

2)Links to articles from Connecticut newspapers
on Davenport doubles match, from the Connecticut Post: http://www.tiny.cc/EaMUh
(sort of a lifestyle feature with interviews with local fans)

and Davydenko with high praise for Young, from the New Haven Register: http://www.tiny.cc/9oCR9

Posted by Liva 08/23/2007 at 01:03 PM

Btw, the match between Verdasco and Nieminen in New Haven right now must be really ridiculous - Verdasco won the first set 6-3, but in this first set Verdasco broke Nieminen's serve 4 times and Nieminen broke Verdasco's serve 3 times.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/23/2007 at 01:04 PM

Samparas also was a close friend of Tim's and even picked him as a future number one (well before RF made his appearance).

Ray - the pace quite a bit more frightening in person isn't it?

Posted by jhurwi 08/23/2007 at 01:06 PM

RE Henman: I second everything CL said at 12:37. Thanks for the memories, Tim!

Posted by Rosangel 08/23/2007 at 01:06 PM

I am suddenly feeling really ancient. I remember seeing Tim play live at Wimbledon when he was just young. This year, I was on Centre Court for the end of his epic match with Moya, and also for what has turned out to be his last-ever match in the tournament, which he lost to Feliciano Lopez (of all people).

And, I will be there for his last match - I have tickets for all three days of the Davis Cup tie in September, which is being played on Court 1 at Wimby.

Four Wimbledon semifinals and four quarterfinals in fourteen appearances there. He's not missed a single Wimbledon since his first appearance in 1994 (the only occasion in which he exited in the first round).

I'm glad for him that he's been able to take this decision, though. It's been clear for some time that his injuries were limiting him.

Posted by abbey 08/23/2007 at 01:08 PM

ray! you lucky, you. i'm sure everyone here is jealous as hell.

Posted by jhurwi 08/23/2007 at 01:12 PM

Re Pilot Pen: since the link to the Crisis Center 8/22 seems to have vanished (at least on my computer), I'm reposting my recaps from last night:

Report from the Pilot Pen, part 1, Men's singles:

Report on Pilot Pen Day 4 (Wednesday): really more like Day 3, given the washout of the day session yesterday. More like football weather than tennis weather. Two courts normally used only as practice courts were pressed into service to clear the backlog of matches, evidently the first time this has ever been done at New Haven. There was a rumor that, due to the shortage of officials, players would have to call their own lines on these extra courts, but in fact there was a full complement of officials and ballkids.

Since my husband’s preference is to sit as close as possible to the court and not to linger much more than one set at any given match, we saw bits and pieces of many matches, only two of which were in the stadium. It’s sort of a bird-watching strategy—adding interesting new players to our life-list. (Also, it’s really hard to sit for more than an hour in bleachers without any back support!) I’m listing matches by category and only giving a few comments on each; all technical analysis is from my husband.

Men’s singles
Amalgro d. Benneteau 6-7, 6-3, 6-3
The vagaries of fortune! Last week both of these men played Federer in Cincinnati on national television. Today, thanks to the rain delays, they were relegated to a practice court with seats for a few dozen people, the rest of us stood by the fence just like watching in a public park.
Amalgro is whipping groundstrokes vs. Benneteau’s heavy punches. Amalgro takes a medical timeout at 5-4 in the first set; he has his left foot retaped and thereafter sports bright pink and blue tape on the back of his left leg. Amalgro looses a lengthy outburst in Spanish, which leaves Benneteau puzzled, and seems generally out of sorts. Benneteau wins the first set in a tiebreak but Amalgro starts the second set strong. At that point we leave, but Amalgro hangs tough to win a close match.

Acasuso d. Hrabaty, 6-1, 7-5
We come in near at the end of the match. No pink shirt for Hrabaty today. Acasuso is wearing a gray-blue shirt and matching baseball cap; he looks vaguely hippie-ish with long frizzy brown hair and the beginnings of a beard. Another “whipstrokes vs. punches” matchup. My husband comments that Acasuso has only a slice backhand, not a forcing backhand; the man in front of us turns around and says, “But look how effective it is! He’s keeping him off rhythm.”

Verdasco d. Spadea, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
We switch over at the end of Acasuso-Hrabaty. Verdasco is wearing the white version of the Adidas “abstract art” shirt (Djokovic has been wearing a red version). Spadea is (oddly enough) dressed in classic tennis whites, but later changes to a melon-colored shirt--orange does seem to be this season’s color from the apparel manufacturers. Not much of a contest by the time we arrived. I don’t know whether the first set was Spadea playing well or Verdasco playing badly; I suspect the latter.

Wawrinka over Monfils, 7-6, 6-4 (stadium)
Our first stadium match of the day. After being up so close on the other courts, it feels like looking through the wrong end of binoculars, although we are probably no further away than we would be at the Open at Louis Armstrong, and certainly much closer than at Arthur Ashe.
When we arrive, Monfils is up a break in the first set and apparently about to go up a second break. My husband asks who Wawrinka is, and is astounded when I say he is the Swiss #2 and got to third round at the U.S. Open last year; “He must have played only against challengers!” But the momentum shifts; Wawrinka holds and soon Monfils is about to lose the break back. At this point my husband predicts that Monfils will lose the match, which proves to be true. My husband keeps telling Wawrinka to finish off the points more aggressively when he gets a short ball; evidently Wawrinka hears him, since he smashes a couple of returns so hard they bounce into the stands. He also tells Monfils not to attempt drop shots down the line unless he is actually able to get them over the high part of the net, but Monfils does not take this advice.
When we saw Monfils play Rochus last year, he was full of energy and flailing his arms and legs all around, charging to get to every ball. Today, in contrast, he appeared listless, and his body language was negative even while he was still ahead in the first set. He has not adapted his style of movement to hard courts; he was still playing far behind the baseline and sliding so that the rubber soles of his shoes squealed.

Karlovic d. Russell, 7-6, 6-4.
While watching the Dementieva match, I notice that the scoreboard shows Karlovic-Russell at 5-all, and we dash over to see the tiebreak which duly ensues. Having once seen Karlovic do what he does best—win a tiebreak with big serves, including a second-serve ace—I consider myself excused from ever having to watch one of his matches again.
Karlovic actually did not look as tall at 6’10” as I expected when we were sitting close to him as he served. It was only when the players changed ends that you could see how tall he really was, since you could compare him to the other people standing behind him. One ballgirl was about shoulder height to the official she was standing next to, but when she brought Karlovic a towel, she barely came up to the middle of his chest.

Ferrer d. Isner, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 (stadium)
The last match of the day session. We arrive just in time to see Isner doing what Karlovic had done—win a tiebreak with big serves—but after that the momentum quickly swings to Ferrer. Needless to say, the longer a rally goes, the more likely that Ferrer wins it. My husband comments that Isner doesn’t really swing through his returns; in attempting to block the ball back, he tends to pop it long. Isner at 6’9” looks much taller than Karlovic did, because of the angle of view: looking down from the top of the stadium, you see him in context and can see how much taller he is than Ferrer.


Posted by jhurwi 08/23/2007 at 01:13 PM

Recap, continued:
Pilot Pen, Day 4, Part 2: Women’s Singles, Men’s and Women’s Doubles

Women’s Singles
Dementieva d. Harkleroad, 6-1, 7-6
My husband’s choice—Dementieva is not one of my favorites, and this looked like too lopsided a matchup to provide much drama despite Dementieva’s penchant for three-set matches. We arrived just at the beginning of the second set and saw a great rarity: a Dementieva service game in which she made no double faults and (I think) got her first serve in on every point. But then in her next service game she double-faulted twice, even though she was now up a break and under no pressure from Harkleroad. We left at 4-1 to see the men’s doubles, only to find that Harkleroad made a comeback (or Dementieva collapsed) to take the set to a tiebreak. So I guess you do always get drama with Dementieva!

A. Bondarenko d. Mirza, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.
My choice—based on having lived in India as a child and being interested in seeing the Indian media sensation. How does Mirza produce such a huge forehand with only average height and a relatively slim build? And why can’t she keep it in the court? My husband was critical of her weak serve and thought Bondarenko had much more solid technique on both her serve and her groundstrokes. She certainly was more consistent, whereas Mirza had a hot streak but couldn’t keep it up.

Doubles were really the most fun to watch of all the matches at the tournament today. The spectators really got into it, partly because they can empathize with a game that looks something like what they themselves play. When one player bricked a forehand volley into the net, my husband said, “It always makes me feel better to see one of the top players miss the exact same shot I missed this morning.” If you are going to the U.S. Open, be sure to go see some of the doubles action!

Men’s Doubles
Kuznetsov/Sweeting d. Ehrlich/Ram, 7-6, 6-1
The upset of the day, and it was fun to be part of the crowd cheering for the underdog American kids against the Top-10 Israeli doubles team that just won at Cincinnati. I don’t know if Ehrlich/Ram were suffering a letdown after winning their first Masters, or if they were just surprised by Sweeting’s big serve and had some bad luck on deuce points throughout the match. In the second set, the no-ad scoring made a huge difference: both of the breaks were in games which went to deuce, and the Israeli team then lost the single deciding point.

Fyrstenberg(?)/Matkowski d. Allegro/Clement, 6-3, 7-6
I wanted to see Clement (who had already lost in singles to Blake), so we stopped by his doubles match. Since he wasn’t wearing his trademark bandana and sunglasses, it took a while to figure out which one he was; finally I recognized him from his French Open karaoke video. Clement and Allegro (Federer's doubles partner in Swiss Davis Cup) kept up a constant stream of chatter in French. But the story here was the Polish team (one of the top 10 in doubles), whose names I will not attempt to spell. They looked like something out of Star Wars, with black shirts and black pants, with a yellow lightning-flash motif down one side of the shirt. The shorter player wore regular shorts, while the taller one wore the strangest pants I have ever seen anyone wear for tennis.--longer than Nadal’s capris, they looked like cropped pajama bottoms. The shorter player’s hair looked like the bristles of a man’s hairbrush pointing upward, highlighted in blond; he appeared vaguely ominous. But the taller one was really cute! Oh, and they had absolutely huge, crushing serves and groundstrokes.

Women’s doubles
Black/Huber d. Davenport/Raymond, 6-7, 6-3, 10-4 (match tiebreak)
This was the most talked-about match of the day session, and since it was televised, there are undoubtedly some match calls earlier on this thread. Davenport looked in excellent shape, thinner than I recall her from last year, even after having the baby. She towered over everyone else on court—her partner Lisa Raymond only came up to her shoulder, and Cara Black is even shorter. By the way, Lindsay’s hair is now a medium brown, without the blonde highlights seen in the picture at the top of today’s post. And what’s with the odd outfit of pink/mauve with ¾ length sleeves? I thought the top was a jacket she would take off once she warmed up, but she kept it on throughout the match.
Once I saw who Davenport was playing, I expected this would amount to a one-off quasi-exhibition; Black/Huber are the top team in the WTA Race this year, and Davenport hasn’t played since last fall. But she held her own in the first set; my husband’s view was that Black outplayed Raymond and Davenport outplayed Huber.
We left after the first set and returned for the match-tiebreak; by this time Davenport’s left leg was taped and she did not appear to be moving as well as before. Does anyone know what happened?

Enjoy the rest of the Pilot Pen tournament on television, and the U.S. Open next week!

Posted by MikePotts 08/23/2007 at 01:16 PM

I'm fairly confident that 'Our Tim' won't be working for the AELTC coaching Mr.Murray.......WAY to Ainglish. Speaking of whom, how do you think sales of Brad's wrist thingy are going? :) MP

Posted by Rani 08/23/2007 at 01:18 PM

> A. Bondarenko d. Mirza, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3

*sigh* Streaky Sania strikes out... again. (I do hope I can catch her at the Open this year; she's one of those players who attracts lively fans.)

Posted by P. 08/23/2007 at 01:20 PM

Question:

Will the U.S. Open quallies still be underway on Saturday?

I was considering going today, but the timing didn't quite work out. The schedule is unclear, but they're still playing first-round matches today, so I can't imagine they'll be wrapped up by tomorrow, will they?

Posted by Rosangel 08/23/2007 at 01:21 PM

I can already imagine the atmosphere there will be for those Davis Cup appearances. I'll need a strong hanky or two.

Though with Ljubicic and Ancic on the other side of the net, he'll be lucky to win a match. Hope Andy Murray is doing better by then -it's only a few weeks away!

Posted by Paul Ryan 08/23/2007 at 01:25 PM

I wish I could have gone to the Tribe Meetup. I live 20 minutes away from the city and yet it would take an hour or so to get to the Qualies Tourney to meet some of the tribe like an hour to commute. Oh Queens, why you gotta be so big?

Sigh.

As for Tim Henman, peace out buddy. He was always a class act. Being friends with Roger also helped his cause in my eyes. Still he was a staple in Wimbledon the past decade or so and it shan't be the same without thee. Here's hoping for a great showing in DC. If anyone deserves to go out in style, it's him.

As for Pilot Pen, wow Agnes Szavay just reached the semis with a win over Alona Bondakero. And go Wawrinka! I'm such a Swiss KAD.

Posted by Liva 08/23/2007 at 01:26 PM

Wow, I had never heard about this:
"Henman would go on to be portrayed as the epitome of a mild-mannered English gent but he first hit the headlines as a bad boy.

Playing alongside Jeremy Bates at Wimbledon in 1995, Henman reacted to netting a volley by belting the ball in anger - hitting a ball-girl on the ear. Bates and Henman were the first players to be disqualified from a tournament in the Open era.

"Henman disgrace", screamed the Daily Mail while opponent Jeff Tarango (who later left the tournament after a row with an umpire) raged: "It could have killed her." A mortified Henman made a public apology, with a bouquet of flowers and a kiss."

A gentleman after all, it's nice he made the apology public. :)

Posted by JR 08/23/2007 at 01:29 PM

Greetings from Pilot Pen! It was a good day Wednesday for the youngsters. Donald Young followed up his first ATP tour (match) win by coming oh so close to taking out Davydenko. Niko was impressed, saying that Young had the most complete game he has seen from any American player! Although Donald showed a good all-around game once he got going in the second set, I was a bit disappointed in his on court demeanor—he mopes like Andy Murray—he never really looked like he thought he could win.

The other youngster, Agnes Szavay (18 years old), took out Hantuchova in straight sets. Clearly we will be hearing more from AS, quite soon; she already has one tour (tournament) win and has climbed to 41 from a 2006 year end ranking of 207. I only saw the first set since I wanted to be sure to see the Davenport/Raymond—Huber/Black doubles on the grandstand, which, as expected, was the most entertaining match of the day. (I’m a big doubles fan, and these were the 2 best teams in the tournament, meeting in the first round. Black/Huber won in a super tiebreak. Tough welcome back for Lindsay, but good tennis from all (except when Lisa forgot to cover the open court when Lindsay poached, and they both stood watching a soft volley end of the point from the same side of the court). Btw, I learned this morning that Huber is now an American citizen. Congratulations Liezel!

I did see AS later on the practice courts. It’s funny, when I see any pros on the practice courts I have the same reaction—these guys look like the greatest players in the history of the sport! There wasn’t much practice court action yesterday; the courts were filled with matches.

I also got to see (a bit) of Potito Starace! Clay courters now look like everyone else--long, lanky, big serves and ground strokes. Although he lost, to Johansen.

Posted by chloe02 08/23/2007 at 01:29 PM

So. Farewell
Then Hen Tinman
Keith's mum
yelled
"Go Tiger Tim"
and now he has

E J Thribb (age 17yrs)

Posted by AmyLu 08/23/2007 at 01:30 PM

All the best for Tim - I'm really sad that I wasn't able to see him play at the Legg Mason tourney.

Ray, I'm really jealous of you! Hope you continue to have fun.

Calleri has really been on fire at the start of this match.

Posted by Rosangel 08/23/2007 at 01:34 PM

Liva: I think the story went that the ballgirl moved across at the time the ball was hit by Tim, so there's no suggestion that it was intentionally hit at where he would have thought she would be - but still, he should have known that could happen.

Wasn't that the tournament where Tarango's wife slapped an umpire after a row on court?

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/23/2007 at 01:34 PM

it was way out of character - a mis hit into the net - he was mortified.

and Rosy - how are those Blues - noticed they signed Belletti from Barcelona and, even though early days, second in the table!

Shame about the Wimbley match though

Posted by P. 08/23/2007 at 01:36 PM

Answering my own question: I called the Billie Jean King center, and they said that play would "probably" still be happening on Saturday.

Posted by Beckham 08/23/2007 at 01:38 PM

Tiger Tim will be thoroughly missed...I reckon the Fed is going to miss him also...

For all the ahem cough ahems that dogged Tim out for not winning Wimby the saying "don't it always seem to be, that you don't know what you got till its gone" comes to mind...

Schwab: I saw the link of Sampras talking about Anacone (Thanks TT!)..and I think he would be a good coach for the Fed...he isn't a rarah kinda guy...and like Sampras, Fed is a ferrari that needs fine tuning now and again (though I'm sure the Fed would prefer to be called an Aston Martin ;))...however, Anacone didn't help Sampras solve the clay puzzle...granted Fed is a better mover than Sampras on clay...but as CL stated it is all dependent on whether the Fed wants a coach (he had better be actively looking for one ;)) and of course the deal breaker...does Mirka like Anacone? lol...but I do think Anacone would definitely be interested...and you are right the FH has been neglected for far too long...I want the mighty FH back..it has taken too many unapproved vacations ;)

Ray Stonada: I positively and absolutely hate you right now...;)

Posted by Liva 08/23/2007 at 01:39 PM

Rosangel, I really don't know. I read this about Henman in bbc's website. They have a really nice story there - Tim Henman's career in pictures and comments next to them.

Besides, I've been following tennis very closely for about year and a half now, so there's no way I could remember or know that. :) But I've liked Tim from the first moment when I saw him playing. Too bad I saw him losing mostly and that I didn't have a chance too see him on top of his career.

Posted by highpockets 08/23/2007 at 01:40 PM

Sad about Tim, but I wish him the best. As others have said, he's a class act.

Ros, you will need your hankie and I'm sure we'll get some great photos.

Ray, be still my heart! An almost empty Ashe with BOTH Rafa and Fed practicing? Doesn't get much better than that.

Posted by Rosangel 08/23/2007 at 01:45 PM

Liva: I'm pretty sure that I'm right about the Tarango incident happening in the same year. Some while back I read something written by Alam Mills, who was then the tournament referee at Wimbledon. He said that when he was called out to that court because of an 'incident', he was expecting Tarango (always a volatile character) to be the player who required his attention - not Tim Henman.

tt: I'll be out at Stamford Bridge later today for my training session. No live tennis on TV tonight, so not missing anything - need to get in plenty of training now, before the US Open devours all my attention in the evenings!

Posted by jhurwi 08/23/2007 at 01:46 PM

JR: glad you made it to the Pilot Pen yesterday as well, and that you got to the Davenport/Raymond doubles match. It definitely wasn't a good day to visit the practice courts, from a female point of view: it was so cold that the men kept their shirts on!

Rani: re lively fans for Sania Mirza. I was surprised at the lack of crowd noise at Mirza's match, considering that there is a sizable Indian-American population in the New Haven/New York area. Perhaps all those fans came to see her night match on Tuesday? Or are they waiting for the U.S. Open?

Posted by ad 08/23/2007 at 01:47 PM

At the Pilot Pen, James Blake just lost the first set to Calleri. James appears to have no energy and Calleri has been on fire, especially with first serves. Grrrrr!

Posted by Schwab 08/23/2007 at 01:54 PM

Beckham,
I agree with CL on his 2 points in his post about the Fed coaching situation. But, you said the all important point in the coaching negotiation - Mirka.

Posted by DMS 08/23/2007 at 02:02 PM

Schwab: I know you are being a good trooper and all, but please, do not feed the Fed needs a coach thingy here with Victoria Beckham, let her worry about Fed's draw and such. Much obliged, Management.:)

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/23/2007 at 02:02 PM

Here is my theory - from Cincy - Mirka is preggers and no longer wants to go out and hit with the Fed - heat or no heat and Fed is like a little bored boy with nothing to do = having to go to the tourney desk to find someone to hit with - Cincy being a high school player and PMac as examples.

I think Mirka would love for Fed to have a nice regular play date arranged so she can concentrate on being glam and running the show business wise.

Posted by Pete 08/23/2007 at 02:04 PM

FYI - I just rewrote the top of this post into a Henman retrospectiv, I too will miss him.

Posted by kad1 08/23/2007 at 02:06 PM

The tennis world will miss a class act such as Henman. I am sorry to see him retire and more so under these circumstances.

Posted by Beckham 08/23/2007 at 02:07 PM

DMS: pffftttt...you TFB you...how dare you call me Posh Spice...you will be hearing from my lawyers...you have defamed my character and I am suing you for emotional distress...;)

Posted by Bob 08/23/2007 at 02:08 PM

Ray: I don't think you'll ever forget that experience. I certainly envy that.

Posted by Mayor ghouliani 08/23/2007 at 02:10 PM

I am kinda of glad to see Henman go, it was so disappointing see him get so close at wimby and falling short year after year. His game is a dying art, Murray is somewhat of a continuation, but he doesn't seem to have the on court demeanor (class) that Tim showed(except for the unfortunate hitting the ball girl incident). Murray shows really bad form by letting his anger destroy his composure. Not a real Murray fan, kinda angry that Gilbert is coaching a young brit and not a young american. Not really a nationalistic type of person, but pretty tired of the jingoistic
patriotic fervor, that doesn't apply to the coming together and supporting of all americans. There are probably more foreign born players at
the tennis academies in the states than americans born here.i understand they are expensive, but didn't sharapova get basically a free ride at Bollettieri's. Yeah i know she is incredibly talented, but you can't tell me there aren't as good or even better american kids out there that aren't even given a chance or consideration.( and russia has always embraced it's athletes, all of them, nurturing their talent like a national treasure, like china. probably has something to do with the kournikova effect )You hear a lot of lip service about the concept of reaching out to the ghettos and the rural areas of america to find the next great american players, but the only thing those lips are making is a lot of hot air

Posted by marieJ 08/23/2007 at 02:11 PM

tokyo tom LOL
seriously, i don't know if a coach is the thing roger really needs, he can find easily almost any young guy to hit with and travel all the way to dubai if necessary !
the lefties eysseric and levine did it... and i'm sure donald young would be thrilled if he was asked by roger ;)

but mirka can be reluctant to be her "sweet rogi" hitting partner in the spare time roger is not having any guy around ;)

Posted by Jai 08/23/2007 at 02:12 PM

Fitting if he finishes with a win to Tursunov at the Open...they have played at every other slam, and Tursunov has never lost. Sorta a personal demon.

Posted by Sher 08/23/2007 at 02:12 PM

Sigh, he will be missed.

Posted by Schwab 08/23/2007 at 02:13 PM

DMS,
To Management,
I saw Fed/Hewitt match on Saturday and I realized that Fed is making more errors on his FH than he used to in the past. Reason for FH errors is opponents hit to his BH consistently and Fed tries to compensate for that by changing to his FH but when he does, he sprays the ball. Question on that day was did Roche work a lot on his BH and net pay and not enough on the FH; therefore, I had to ask Beckham about a new coach that will work more on his FH.

Posted by Mayor ghouliani 08/23/2007 at 02:14 PM

How did beckman end up with such a car wreck like posh spice?

Posted by DMS 08/23/2007 at 02:16 PM

Yikes, the solicitors are after me!..but you still are so major anyway Beckham...;)

Posted by Mayor ghouliani 08/23/2007 at 02:18 PM

the sound of those screeching tires will last a lifetime. sorta like the spice girls music. wasn't their first album called 'Nails on the Chalkboard'

Posted by abbey 08/23/2007 at 02:20 PM

pete, i loved your tribute.

and i remember that "human beige" comment. i think he was even wearing white and beige in wimbledon around the time that comment was made (the things i remember).

my mom was a big fan. and i rooted with her every time wimbledon rolled around till he met sampras. i'm sure she'll be sad when she hears about this.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/23/2007 at 02:20 PM

The Sampras comments about Annacone were very interesting in that Pete said Paul came on when he was nunber one -so there was no real coaching as in the game, rather comments about approaches and little things before a big match. Agree or not I think Fed could benefit from a regular guy to hit with and think about how he played the last match versus the little things he could do to hurt the other guy. In other words, how to arrange his menu of weapons. Just as there not many players who have the options Fed has, I doubt there area many coaches thoughtful enough to help create the menu du jour or menu' del d'ia if we are speaking about the red stuff.

Posted by kad1 08/23/2007 at 02:20 PM

Is Blake losing to Calleri?

Posted by JR 08/23/2007 at 02:21 PM

Great luck Ray! I decided on Pilot Pen yesterday, rather than NY today, (in part) because I thought that with so many qualies there would be few chances for celebrity practices. I forgot about the stadium courts--I guess they don't play any qualies there.

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 02:21 PM

More on Henman from me later because he deserves accolations

I don't know what made Nicky D make those comments but I think people misunderstood him in terms of Young's ability: I think in terms of versatility, he really does have qualities that could make him the number one player in the future.

He is more than a "whimisical-Patty Schendyer type" that Wertheim has labeled him, because he can hit the ball. The only thing for him is to consistently get that first serve in and go down the line more on the backhand, because he was crossing courting through out, sometimes looking terrific with it and sometimes pushing it, kind of like Nadal does with his backhand on the fast fair hard courts.

Next week aganist Chris Guccione, these big servers are always a test of the patience and overall disclipine of a young player. How will Young handle that will be interesting. His return of serve will be tested along with the pressure of holding serve but make no mistake about it to me, in at least a year and a half, he will be in the Top 10.

Posted by CM 08/23/2007 at 02:22 PM

Best wishes to Tim. He's always been a class guy and a real credit to tennis, especially British tennis. I'll miss him.

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 02:25 PM

Kad1,

Yes, he's about to lose possibly (or the brink of losing with Calleri to serve for it). He's a little flat, but Calleri has played well and really, to me, this isn't actually a bad lost. More rest for the open.

Also, a comment about Sharapova: If you wtach the bloopers from the Series commercials, she is an absolute joy, real talk. She presents herself as a "girl next door" image that would make you say, ok, she's cool and all. Then all of a sudden, with this whole new dress thing from Nike and all yesterday, it just makes you "sigh" at it all.

Posted by Mayor ghouliani 08/23/2007 at 02:26 PM

davystinko said that young is the best american off both sides,
meaning he is solid off both sides. Young has great hands also.
he did get that hanged dog look when he was down, and davystinko fed off that energy

Posted by robbyfan 08/23/2007 at 02:26 PM

This might make Robby feel better. he took him to 3 tough sets.

Posted by Bob 08/23/2007 at 02:27 PM

I'll miss Henman. When it comes to complete players, they are dwindling. If Amelie retires soon, there will be only one on the women's side, and most of them are older on the men's side. Tennis will certainly be very different when Federer and Justine are gone. Gasquet is the only young one in men's tennis, and he is very inconsistent.

Blake is certainly no "grinder". He should have skipped Pilot Pen. He's tired, mentally and physically. I frankly think losing this match he's losing will be good for him, just to give him some rest. James seems pretty uninterested in this match. All that great tennis he showed in Cincy is missing here; in my view because of physical and mental fatigue. Why in the world he takes huge cuts on first serves is beyond me. Perhaps he just wants it over.

We'll certainly have some early great matchups in the top women's quarters. Safarova-Bartoli in the third round. That winner against Serena in the fourth round. Justine-Golovin in the fourth round, and the winner against Serena. Venus-Ana in the fourth round, with the winner to play JJ. This is not an Open to play your way into. An off day by any of these women and they will be gone.

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 02:29 PM

Calleri has always underachieved to me. He hits the ball big on both sides and steps in on the baseline.

Posted by Mayor ghouliani 08/23/2007 at 02:29 PM

Jerell
whats with the sharapova nike dress thing? about the roadtrip ad;
we all want a preening prima donna living next door
NOT!!

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 02:34 PM

Link towards this year's new Maria dress
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/tennis/08/22/usopen.sharapova.ap/index.html

Well, with a game like that from Blake, I'm asking myself, why he just couldn't get one break point on Sunday aganist Federer.

Oh, and by the way, Wertheim did his speed reports a day early, the're up there, time to hammer them, and I bet you he picked for his finals Henin vs Sharapova and Federer vs Djokovic

Posted by JR 08/23/2007 at 02:37 PM

Btw Isner looked like he was playing on stilts. It reminded me of the days when I had a tennis buddy who was 6'7. He had to bend over to get in the front door.

Posted by Bob 08/23/2007 at 02:40 PM

Those would be my picks, but I think Federer is the only pretty sure thing. I think Hewitt will be very dangerous this year. Nadal has a good draw, and is a slam performer. Any of five players could win the top half of the women's draw. It will depend on who's playing at her best when the top players meet.

Posted by DMS 08/23/2007 at 02:43 PM

Thank you Jerell for the link, I approve.

Posted by Schwab 08/23/2007 at 02:44 PM

Jerell,
In my opinion, the trophy was engraved with Federer name after Blake beat Davydenko on Saturday night.

Bob,
I do agree that James should have rested this week but this is his hometown tournament and he feels that he needs to support it. Also, when he won New Haven in 2005, that jump started his path toward the Top 10.

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 02:44 PM

Yup Bob and Damn, I'm good, because that's what he ended up picking.

Though he gambled and picked Agnas Savey in the sems and not Petrova to meet the Skriekster. Bangwagoner most definitely.

Posted by DMan 08/23/2007 at 02:47 PM

Pete- Great post about "our Tim". Not only England will miss him, but I will too. Sniff, sniff, are there *any* serve and volleyers left?

Sure everyone in jolly old England wanted him to win Wimbledon, but he still did pretty well getting to semis 4 times. Blame it on Pete.

I was at Wimbledon in '95, the year Tim was disqualified for hitting the ball girl. It was accidental, but the tabs naturally had to make it out to be worse than it was. And Tim did the nice guy thing by making a sincere aplogy. Yes it was the same year Tarango and wife went ballistic.

So is Sue Mott happy now? She was just absolutely dreadful on ESPN during Wimbledon broadcast, just begging Tim to retire! I can only hope she follows suit, and does the same!

Posted by Mayor ghouliani 08/23/2007 at 02:49 PM

Maria's dress is kinda pretty, her dresses always seem too long for me. If your legs go up to there, let em fly up to there. the color is kinda strange will like to see it live on tues to see what the color really is under the USO lights
but really it's the shape of her body. she has a long torso and long legs , so her proportion is a bit weird, not much of a hourglass shape there. Maria is not a girl next door type, that's the illusion the ad men are trying to project.
the real girl next door is Ana I. she has such a sweet personality and she seems so friendly and approachable. don't get that feeling with maria

Posted by marieJ 08/23/2007 at 02:50 PM

schwab, i think more players are going for fed fh a lot more than before, and his defensive shots are not as good as his offensive on that side. djoko did manage to stand and respond to several fed fh in montreal, and rafa does the same with his bh and it works.
maybe it has more to do with the way other players play fed now, than just fed game. if he is pushed to make errors or just going for a bit more than necessary on regular basis now, it can get off balance that particular shot...
i'm no expert, but if you go for the stronger side you may lose some points but you also make the guy miss.

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 02:50 PM

Oh definitely Schwab, in fact, for me, the title was engarved for Fed after "Yung Joc" and Nadal lost in the second round.

One interesting note, Wertheim continues to push Alona Bondarenko as a future Top 10, and I'm on the fence about that. Heck, if Tatiana Golovin isn't there yet (maybe now with no more injuries and less thought on how long her skirts were in comparsion to having better shot selection with Mats as her coach), I don't know about Bondarenko. She's got ability, but so did Anna-Lena Greonfield (talk about going off the boil).

Posted by Bob 08/23/2007 at 03:09 PM

Well, I spoke too soon. James showed toughness and came back. Calleri is tired, but this turned out to be a good match for James. It's nice to see him turn a match around like that. I'm picking him to make the semis.

Posted by steggy 08/23/2007 at 03:10 PM

The dress: The red is too cold for her complexion. You see the dress, and not the girl. That's always bad news. It'll look even more glaring when she's out on court and unable to wear ten pounds of makeup to bring her facial features out under the sodium lights. Otherwise, a good shape for her body. It manages to fool the eye into thinking she's got a waist.

Sorry to see Henman go, but it's overdue. He's been spinning his wheels for roughly three years now.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 08/23/2007 at 03:11 PM

Nice retro, Pete. As a reformed serve-and-volleyer myself (back troubles, age, weight and suspect knees have put an end to my "Pass me or die!" days), I can empathize with Henman. WHy prolong the agony? He cannot win matches from the backcourt against today's crop, and it's very difficult to sustain a high level as a net-rusher, once the body begins to send those little memos.

I'll miss him, though. Henman always made me proud to have chosen to take up tennis. He comported himself with dignity, and never berated an opponent. And, oh, what a backhand volley!

Ray, I'm so happy you got a chance to experience that spontaneous alignment of tennis stars. As time passes, it will make your neck hairs stand every time you recall seeing Rafa tap Roger on the leg with his racquet. My Cincy experience last year produced a few memorable moments, too, and I get goose-bumps to this day.

Posted by Schwab 08/23/2007 at 03:22 PM

MarieJ,
You do make a good point on players going to the FH side now because some of them realize that Fed will connect with the BH sooner or later.

Jerell,
Groenefeld has not been the same since 2005 when she was making strides in her game but injuries have gotten the best of her. Also, A Bondarenko got destroyed today by Szavay. Another poster said that Szavay is a very good young player. She has cracked the top 50.

Posted by evie 08/23/2007 at 03:23 PM

Wow Ray, good seeing that between our two beloved, relaxed stars. That is a lot of fun.

Posted by Schwab 08/23/2007 at 03:24 PM

Bob,
I am picking Blake to win the whole title this week. He always beat Kolya and who on the bottom half is going to challenge him. Calleri was a finalist at this tourney last year.

Posted by jerell 08/23/2007 at 03:29 PM

Szavay is definitely one to watch, a few people in Austria where waiting for her to breakthrough since she's 18 now, and she's doing it at the moment. Can serve and definitely hit the groundstrokes

Oh, and does anybody have a link to video of the 2000 US Open title for Venus, I've been looking for that because to beat Hingis and Davenport to keep that long streak was great.I can't find it on Youtube

Posted by jhurwi 08/23/2007 at 03:35 PM

Amazing comeback by Blake against Calleri on ESPN2! PMac was saying in almost so many words that Blake was tanking the match the first two sets ( "not showing much interest"). Then suddenly,when he was three match points down at 4-5, 0-40, Blake came back to win; he was broken again at 5-5 but broke Callieri again, then ran off with the tiebreak and the third set 6-1. There was a lot of angry conversation between Calleri-JBlock-Blake yelling at Callieri's coach--then Blake had a real set-to with umpire Fergus Murphy between sets, which Pam Shriver called the longest conversation with an umpire that she's ever seen from a player who *won* the preceding set. Callieri had a mental meltdown in the third set, and Blake also raised the level of his game); Callieri was still fuming when he walked off the court. I guess the J-Block are making a day of it, since Blake will now play again tonight.
I don't know how the whole altercation started, but PMac implied the J-Block had a lot to do with it. I've never been able to understand why such a "nice guy" as James allows his fans to be so rude (especially if they're high school friends from affluent Fairfield, not local rowdies).
Davydenko lost to Simon, so both of last year's finalists are now out. PMac noted that Davydenko had stressed in last night's interview how mentally and physically fatigued he was. Nevertheless, another early loss for Davydenko in a non-Slam, non-Masters tournament does suggest that he is saving his energy for the Open. I'm sure the tournament directors are breathing a lot easier now that they can produce Blake for another night session--Simon-Callieri wouldn't sell a lot of tickets!

Posted by Maplesugar 08/23/2007 at 03:35 PM

Oh, Ray...You are soooooooooo lucky!

Thanks for the great report.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/23/2007 at 03:41 PM

Slice - you old campaigner!

Apology to PT but I have thought Kolya has already begun his slide out of the top ten.

I think the main shot that killed Fed against Nole was when he chose to take Feds cross court backhand back down the line after running around the backhand with such authority.

What I noticed was Fed often was content to keep the rally going off both sides rather than take the risk of going for a winner and Nole was punishing the right one - patient. That opposed to Blake where Blake was missing when Nole wasn't.

When Fed wanted to focus he hit some great shots, but I did not think he was looking for the winner consistently.

On a broader front, in the age of running around the back hand for that big inside-out forehand, the down the line response - ok I know it is safer to hit any ball back in the same direction rather than change it - on both sides is increasingly important. Simply going back where the ball came from or using more top to clear the higher ends of the net - mean the other guy gets there and he has a chance to take the initiative.

Posted by Jerell 08/23/2007 at 03:52 PM

I did bet that Giles Simon was gonna knock off Davydenko. Let's see if the ATP will investigate me

Posted by Bob 08/23/2007 at 03:54 PM

Schwab: I was talking about the Open. I think James is on track to make the semis there.

Posted by rafa fan 08/23/2007 at 04:05 PM

I roger were to loose in the first round, and rafa wins the USO, would he be #1?

Posted by Viv 08/23/2007 at 04:08 PM

I feel happy for Henman today. He gave his best throughout his career.He also endured the very significant weight of expectation from a nation absolutely crying out for a tennis champion. With another child on the way, he has much to look forward to in his life after tennis. Not many of us can retire knowing that we were at one stage the fourth best in the world in our particular profession.I wish him well.

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