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Inside the Alamo 08/09/2007 - 12:57 PM

Isner Yesterday evening, I took part with a few other reporters in an interesting conference call with John Isner, the 22-year old recent college graduate who reached the Washington final (lost to Andy Roddick) last week and has a wild-card into the Cincinnati Masters next week.

Isner (say Izz-ner) had just come off a court in Tampa. Fla., where he is training at the Saddlebrook Academy. Tampa and Saddlebrook are shaping up as The Alamo of American tennis. A whole pile of American players, including Mardy Fish and James Blake, are making it their base of operations, and Isner told us that the resort is also a magnet for many players at his level - or lower. That is, guys none of us has heard about.

I wonder if there's something conscious and specific going on at Saddlebrook when it comes to US tennis. Are those folks down there trying to rally the troops, the way the general of a beleaguered army might fall back and try to re-group? Maybe somebody from Saddlebrook, or that group of players, will jump in and comment here. Whatever the case, I like the idea that all these kids are getting together, more or less on their own. It's like they're waking up to a fact many of us learned long ago: if you want to get something done, roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. If you're James Blake and  you want to help salvage American tennis, you get word out to guys like John Isner that everyone is welcome to join him at the Alamo - which was exactly how the Texas did it at the Alamo. BYO ammo.

Isner seemed a pretty thoughtful guy, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that he attended and finished college (University of Georgia, where he led the team to a 32-0 2007 season and the NCAA team title; Isner himself lost in in the tournament's singles final). Here's what Isner said about the benefits of playing college tennis, rather than leaping into the Futures and Challenger fray of the ATP Tour:

I think for me, I've really matured in college.  College was obviously the right choice for me.  I got a lot stronger in college.  My game improved so much because I had such great coaching there for four years.  I got really, really used to winning.  I won a lot in college, which really helped the transition from college to a pro and eventually to the ATP, just helped the transition go real smoothly.  I was real confident coming from college because I won so much and I knew, you know, going for four years prepared me the best as possible because, you know, I went there and I got stronger, my game just kept on getting better and better.

The underlying message here is something in that I buy, lock, stock, and barrel. The best training in the world is winning, period. Playing competitive matches against challenging competition and winning. That's all the training you need.  It reminds me of something Billie Jean King once told me, and I'm paraphrasing: Everybody always talks about learning from a loss, but actually, that's wrong. It drives me nuts to hear it. The only thing you learn from losing is how to lose. You do almost all of your real learning from winning. Changing something that enables you to win, getting through a tough moment when you could blow the match, figuring out a favored opponent's game and beating her - that 's learning.

Isner elaborated in response to a follow-up question:

If you're a superstar, beating guys in the top 100, top 50 at 17, 18, obviously not going to college would be the right choice.  If you're not tearing it up that well, you need to go to college.  For someone like me, I was pretty good as a junior.  I never thought about turning pro out of high school.  My game got so much better in college.  It's only going to get better. . .

I've taken a lot different route than many of my peers.  A lot of my peers my age decided to forego college and turn professional right out of high school. Yeah, obviously for me I'm a little bit older.  I'm not 18, 19.  I'm new to the Pro Tour, but I'm not 18 or 19.  I'm 22.  I think I'm more mature at this stage.  Hopefully I can set up a different path for people to go through, which is four years of college.  At least two years in college, I think.  Like I've said, I've taken a different path than a lot of my peers have.  I've only been out here for two months and I'm ranked just about the same as a lot of them, so. . .

Okay, then, Isner is an unproven quantity. We need to see how he does over the next few months to really know whether or not Cincinnati was just serendipity - Isner catching a high, serving out of his gourd, and rolling through a few guys thanks to something that was unknown to tennis through most of the game's history, the "tiebreaker."

But Isner's story isn't all that different from James Blake's. He too took a different path, less because he chose to than because he had to: let's remember that neither of these players was counting coup on ATP-grade players at age 17 or 18, in the manner of an Andre Agassi or Pete Sampras. They went to college because it seemed the best all-around option, but that doesn't diminish what they have done since.

Blake has shown that you can develop your game slowly, with the help of college tennis, and become a Grand Slam contender and Top 5 caliber player. If Isner can do the same, we may be ready for a paradigm shift, although it's unlikely that the most promising juniors ever will go to college anymore. And keep in mind that none of Blake's weakenesses - so vividly on display these days - has anything to do with going to college, or the game he developed there. Transplant Roger Federer's brain and heart into Blake and you probably have two, maybe there Grand Slam titles.

However, it is also possible that those extra years spent in college subtly mute a player's long-term expectations (in relative terms, of course). If you go to college these days, just making it as a tour journeyman is a feat, and there is something of the self-fulfilling prophecy about that. College players need to think they can attend college and come out and win Wimbledon, not just earn enough on the tour to buy a Hummer. But you still get around the fact that neither Blake nor Isner was ready to play the pro tour, except to impersonate a punching bag, at 17 or 18, period. There is, after all, a natural limit to everyone's ability and potential. They key is fulfilling what potential there is - and keeping the faith long enough for that to happen.

Isner is at an interesting juncture, where something other than the quality of his strokes or footwork comes into play. I decided long ago that the most important muscle in the tennis player's body is the heart, and his most vital organ is his mind. Isner made a big statement at Washington, and he's now in a position to take a big career shortcut. If he can win few matches in the next few weeks, he will have established himself as a Top 100 pro (at least), which means that other players are going to perceive him with a certain measure of respect and fear. If he struggles, he'll become just another guy who had a good run, and a few hundred guys in a position comparable to his own will go out thinking they can, and should, beat him. They will believe that when crunch time comes, they can survive and prevail. And that difference - fearing a player or regarding him as an equal - is the point of separation between consistently successful players and the guys pleasantly stuck on the W-L-W-L-W treadmill.

Isner has one big asset going into the next few weeks, that serve. As I wrote the other day, in Washington he hit more aces (144) than anyone ever has in a sub-Grand Slam tournament since the ATP began keeping records.  He hit one serve at 141 MPH. He has a weapon, and the weapon he has is the most under-utilized and least appreciated in the game today. In the past, I've written about what a shame it is that the serve, the stroke around which the entire game is built (why do you think it is that you can't win a set without breaking serve?), is in such neglect in these days of merry baseline bashing.

One of the defining elements in this era, to me, is a striking lack of great servers, which accounts for the dearth of players who have even a prayer against The Mighty Fed. If - make that IF - Isner, or someone like him, can break that psychic spell, the landscape could change quickly. It might change no less abruptly if tournament promoters and the ATP and ITF decided that it would be fun to have some big servers around, and gave them suitably fast courts to ply their trade. But that's a discussion best left for another time. Let's get back to Isner's serve. I asked him if he had served unusually well in Washington; was it a fluke, or business-as-usual?  He said:

Yeah, I served well in that tournament.  I'm not going to lie.  I've served like that a bunch, but I did follow it up each day after.  I don't know, I just felt real comfortable out there out in D.C.  The surface helped me.  It was a little bit of a slick surface.  I felt like I was popping the serve real well.  I've been working a lot on my strength and my legs.  I actually have been working on my serve a little bit to make it a little bit better, getting down a little bit lower with my knee bend, getting my shoulder stronger. I definitely don't think it's a fluke.  I know I can serve like that on a consistent basis.  I think I can do that.  Hopefully I can just keep it going.

Well, anybody - especially someone 6-10 - can have a big serving day, or a few big serving days in a row. But great serving isn't about bombing the aces and hitting the hard, flat one to overpower people, although doing that does the soul a lot of good, too. Great serving is about things like spin selection, placement, and the kind of return options you give our opponent. When I brought that up, Isner's response was intriguing. He said:

Yeah, you know, I can hit my hard flat one.  The hard flat one I usually    unless it is an offensive return, blocking it back, I like to come in with the forehand. [He means that on a good first serve, he is looking for the opponent to just block back the ball, which sets Isner up for a forehand] Really what helped me in D.C. was my second serve.  I was consistently hitting my second serve between 120 and 127 miles an hour.  I was placing my second serve real well.  I was following it up with a volley, which is what I like to do. I've had a lot of people tell me that my second serve is more dangerous than my first because it's coming in with more spin, not as fast, and it kicks higher.  It eats a lot of players up.  

This, folks, is music to the service conniseur's ears, and that quote contains the most important bits of information you're likely to glean about Isner's game. If what he says is accurate and he can execute the implied strategy, day-in, day-out, he will win bucketloads of tennis matches. No question in my mind.

And just think how sophisticated the approach it is, and how much it tells us about how the game has changed in recent years. Isner is saying that he hits a huge first serve and stays back, and hits a spin second serve and comes in. This turns upside-down the received wisdom of 100 years of serve-and-volley tennis, but it sure sounds good to me - in fact, it's exactly the kind of intriguing analysis I've been going through with Pete Sampras these days as we write his autobiography together.

For example, Pete (who is the closest thing Isner has had to a tennis "hero") believed that Goran Ivanisevic had a better serve than he did; he was willing to concede him that, at least at Wimbledon. But he just had a better first serve, and the narrative of their epic Wimbledon encounters alternated between being a saga of first serves -  and a tale of second serves. Guess which story line prevailed?

Next week, we'll see if Isner can build on his breakthrough performance in Cincinnati. Of Washington, he said:

You know, I knew I was capable of winning matches against guys in the top 100, top 50.  To tell you the truth, I'm not going to lie . .  I did surprise myself.  I beat five guys all ranked very high.  I beat them in such dramatic fashion.  I never would have thought I could have done that.  I went into the tournament confident that I could win one or two matches, put up a good show, make a little bit of a name for myself.  I never would have thought I would have made such a big splash like I did. After each match I won, I'm getting more and more confidence, kind of like a snowball effect.  After each match I won, I'm looking at my next opponent, I'm like, Why can't I beat him?  That's really what happened and what led to my success there.

--------

PS You may remember that  critical overhead that Isner blew in his match with Roddick. Well, guess what? Tribe member Chris Nugent caught it on film, and he sent me the shot - check it out, below. You can actually see the dent the ball made in the tape! Does the Tribe walk the walk, or what?

Phplefnk4am

 


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Posted by patrick 08/09/2007 at 01:07 PM

First, good job Chris on catching the Isner "overhead".

Posted by marieJ 08/09/2007 at 01:10 PM

only second !

Posted by Jenn 08/09/2007 at 01:24 PM

Everyone getting together in one place and feeding off of each other sounds like a great idea. Has anyone here been to Saddlebrook? Does it have anything special to offer in terms of facilities that makes it stand apart from other locations? Does it have any clay courts or (gasp) grass courts for the American up and comers to practice on?

Posted by Susan 08/09/2007 at 01:39 PM

I went to a tennis camp at Saddlebrook about 20 years ago. They have many clay (hard-tru) courts and hard courts; I'm not sure about grass. At the time Capriati and Seles were training there. I chose Saddlebrook for a week's holiday over other tennis camps because of the good instructor to student ratio (4-1) and the 5 hours of tennis each day. The camps were based on Harry Hopman's philosophy so we worked hard and had a great time.

I'm off to Montreal tomorrow for the quarter-finals. Can't wait!

Posted by Schwab/patrick 08/09/2007 at 01:41 PM

Jenn,
Good question in your post.

Posted by Twist Serve 08/09/2007 at 01:45 PM

Isner seems to be more comfortable with his height than Karlovic is. I think this will help him.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/09/2007 at 01:49 PM

that is a beautiful and incredible shot of Isner's service motion: who took that picture (rhetorical): wow

Posted by Pete 08/09/2007 at 01:57 PM

It waren't me, Frenchie, but I'm glad you appreciated it. I thought so to, which is why I chose it.It's a Getty photo (copyrighted)from their subscription-based stock-house.

Posted by redes 08/09/2007 at 02:14 PM

"Blake has shown that you can develop your game slowly, with the help of college tennis, and become a Grand Slam contender and Top 5 caliber player."

Umm, I thought Blake's best result at any Slam was a quarterfinal (US Open), I guess I was wrong.

Posted by mainetennis 08/09/2007 at 02:21 PM

I was at Saddlebrook this March. Mostly hartru (green clay), but they boast having all of the "major" tournament surfaces-- red clay, grass, decoturf and rebound ace (Australia, but being changed this yr). The camp, for visitors seeking several days' tuneup or training, is separate by about half a mile from where the pros like Blake and the Bryan brothers train, but one can walk or bike over there and watch them up close when they are on site.

Susan is correct about the "style" of the camp-- it's the Hopman method, which is to drill relentlessly for 5 or 6 hours a day, with very limited down time. 4 to 1 pupil to instructor ratio, with pretty good matching of pupils' ability levels and good instruction. You are free to play on the grass, red clay, etc courts after you're done (if you have anything left after 6 hours in the heat drilling, which I didn't). Nice facilities-- pool, jacuzzis, good restaurants. Not much to do in Wesley Chapel, its hometown. Tampa is a good 30-40 minute drive from Saddlebrook.

I don't know what the magic ingredient is there that draws the young American pros as contrasted with the other tennis camps out there (Evert, Bolletieri, Hilton Head, Kiawah, the Colony, etc.) I know they've been trying to raise their ranking among the camps, so maybe they're offering the pros good deals and lots of special treatment to draw them in, get more notoriety and draw more paying customers from the weekend warrior crowd.

Posted by Heidi 08/09/2007 at 02:36 PM

Pete, what a great post. I'm fascinated to see what happens with Isner and how he does in comparison not only with his peers who went straight into the pros but the other gigantically tall players (can anyone start dredging up stories of the 6'10" players of yesterday?).

And what about that usual bugbear of the big tall players, movement? Catching balls that land at his feet? Side to side? I didn't get to watch Isner at all, sadly, but I'd be curious to hear thoughts based on his week's performance. Or we could just save them and start again at Cincy!

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/09/2007 at 02:42 PM

Isner said during DC that both Fish and Blake had hit with him and been very generous with their time and advise. Those experiences helped him considerably making the adjustment to the tour. It may be a critical mass issue as to location.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 08/09/2007 at 02:45 PM

Pete, a great post. I wish Isner well. We've not had a men's college grad success story in professional tennis for some time (not sure Blake fully qualifies, as he left early.)

Being a Gator, I used to root big-time for Jeff Morrison (remember he took out Blake for the NCAA title back in 1999). Saw him play a few times and always liked his game. Not sure what he's up to now, unfortunately.

Posted by steveintheknow 08/09/2007 at 02:49 PM

Man, that overhead looks painful! Much worse then it did on the tele, in real time.

Posted by codepoke 08/09/2007 at 02:56 PM

I love the whole post, but especially the thinking behind coming in on the second serve. That's worth some experimentation.

Posted by Ruth 08/09/2007 at 03:38 PM

Heidi: E-mails I sent to you at the address which shows on your "blue line" are returned as undeliverable. Do you have another e-mail address?

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 08/09/2007 at 03:57 PM

Thanks Pete,

An entire post putting forth almost every position I think ought to be made!

The "early focus" model, with its emphasis on results at young junior ages followed by turning pro rather than going to college, seemed to be almost accepted simply because it was different, and the fact that it was what alot of good euros did.

No one seemed to consider that (i) the euros did it because they did not have an intercollegiate system for advanced "graduate school" sports training from ages 18-21, and (ii) the emergence of the occasional supremely gifted player at age 18 is an exception to the general rule that, certainly for men, a player does not hit his prime until age 21 or so.

Posted by Samantha 08/09/2007 at 04:09 PM

A really cool picture.

Posted by prince49 08/09/2007 at 04:14 PM

Pete .. it gets me real excited when u plug in the Sampras quotes from the book .. can't wait for that to come out ..

As for Isner.. the real test I believe will be on the slower hard courts .. see if he can still keep up his level of play when his serve isn't as dominant as DC ..

Posted by Pete 08/09/2007 at 04:24 PM

Ruthie - I just tested it and it worked fine; I use Mozilla Firefox browser and wonder if this isn't some browser issue? However, you can email Heidi at socialdirector@tennismagazine.com. Just copy the email and paste it into a blank email - that has to work.

Dunlop -you nailed it perfectly on the collegiate issue, i just wish more people saw that this is is a kind of big picture philosophical/cultural issue as well as a practical, tennis-related one.

Posted by Robin Pratt 08/09/2007 at 04:37 PM

I feel fortunate to have found this website so I can learn from the perspicacity of Pete's writings. I also thoroughly enjoy most of the comments I read, seeing both your love of the game as well as your knowledge in most of them.

And, (this will sound more contentious than I feel), why this juvenile preoccupation with being first? What is the point of taking up space just to assert first without any comment? There is so much of merit in most comments that I wonder why dilute it with such a game.

Perhaps I have missed the onset of this practice and its meaning from an earlier time before I started reading the column.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 08/09/2007 at 05:12 PM

Usually Dunlop is spot on and I am a strong supporter of going and graduating from college regarding of your skill level in sports, but some recent phenoms on the men's side might suggest the CW on young tennis players (women mature faster, can play pro earlier) is changing.

Rafa?
Djoker?
Murray?
Baggy?

Imagine if Rafa had waited until he was 22 to play pro tennis. And we all know here in the states that our colleges are importing tennis players from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere like crazy, so the cultural thing may also be something in flux.

Posted by skip1515 08/09/2007 at 05:26 PM

To the issue of Sampras' first serve/second serve versus Ivanisevic's, we need to add the pressure the server creates (hammers home) by consistently making their second shot, be it a groundstroke or a volley.

Nothing gives the receiver more heart than believing that if they just get the serve back there's a good chance the server will blow their 2nd ball.

Conversely, a consistent first volley, or first groundstroke, goes a long, long way towards pressuring the receiver to make more than a simplistic return. See: Sampras v Ivanisevic.

Regarding the college route v the no college route: it used to be a tenet of coaching that big hitters, like Isner, took longer to develop. Harnessing their power (and growing past the Marmaduke phase), and knowing when to drop the hammer, takes longer to learn than a more baseline oriented game. Did college provide this learning ground for Isner?

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/09/2007 at 05:39 PM

pete: thanks for the answer, I'm going to print the entire post in order to keep it!

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 08/09/2007 at 05:51 PM

TaiC,

You've narrowed the issue nicely. Its chicken or the egg. Are the players listed better because they turned pro earlier? Or did they turn pro earlier because they were better?

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 08/09/2007 at 05:55 PM

Also, the point is not "waiting" until you are 22 to play pro tennis, as all college players are eligible to play the tour part time, its intentionally forgoing intercollegiate play.

Posted by Andrew Miller 08/09/2007 at 06:37 PM

Nothing wrong with some losing. Federer loses a few times. Got him to wake up again and be dominant!

Posted by Andrew Miller 08/09/2007 at 08:54 PM

That quote is telling, I agree with Master Bodo. If he is talking about a shot that eats players up - he and his team designed that shot to eat players up. That is a language Sampras speaks fluently: tennis player as assasin.

Interesting photo out there: Isner dwarfs Roddick in height. Can't teach 6'9''.

This statements - "Transplant Roger Federer's brain and heart into Blake and you probably have two, maybe there Grand Slam titles." Would say diddo for Marcelo Rios. Blake and Rios are two of the best players I have ever seen. Blake and Rios are different in important ways (too thoughtful vs. not thoughtful? just amazed to be there vs. feeling he could be there but deciding it's not worth it, right?)

Posted by Jenn 08/09/2007 at 09:59 PM

Andrew Miller - I agree with you. Think about if you put Federer's brain and heart into Safin? Really scary.

Posted by Ruth 08/09/2007 at 10:03 PM

Just saw your 4:24, Petey. Thanks. It's funny that typing in the address with "tennis.com" brings "undeliverable," "fatal error" etc etc, but with "tennismagazine.com," the message seems to have gone through. I was trying to find out how many others are attending USO early in Week 1, as I am, but I see that Heidi will update the list of attendees soon.

I saw the Roddick-Baghdatis match on the ATP livestream, and Andy looked very good. Can't wait to see how he does in the quarters against the "class clown." :)

Posted by Glarange 08/09/2007 at 11:06 PM

You can learn from winning and losing, as long as you're playing competitive matches.

How many successful Top 50 ATP singles that are ex college players are there? Not a lot. Isner could be an exception, but he has a very unique attribute in his height/big serve, of course. So I'm not sure about your conclusion that winning a lot in college is great preparation for the ATP.

The Alamo? That's in texas, not Florida right? Did John Wayne ever play tennis? Us internationals need an explainer for the colorful metaphors. I can understand Steve's comments about Picasso etc bit Alamo is waaaay over my head...

Posted by Pete 08/09/2007 at 11:14 PM

Ah glarange, you have Google, n'est pas? This Picasso, is he the dude playing doubles with Federer?

Posted by jhurwi 08/09/2007 at 11:40 PM

Glarange: the Alamo (a Spanish word which means "cottonwood tree") is a nickname for the mission of San Antonio, Texas. It was the site of a battle in the Texas Revolution of 1836, in which Texas won its independence from Mexico; Texas was admitted to the United States as a state in 1845. Since the rebel Texas government had little military equipment, the soldiers had to supply much of their own arms and ammunition. (By the way, their leader was the famous frontiersman Jim Bowie, and many of the defenders were recent immigrants from Ireland and Germany.)
After all the defenders of the Alamo were killed in a last-ditch stand against the larger and better-equipped Mexican forces, "Remember the Alamo!" became a rallying cry for the Texans and one of the most famous patriotic slogans in American history.
The battle of the Alamo has been the subject of numerous films, including one starring John Wayne.
In recent years, attempts have been made to peel away some of the layers of patriotic myths surrounding the Alamo and to present a more nuanced and more historically accurate account. Needless to say, this has been very controversial in San Antonio, where the
Alamo is a sacred shrine.

Posted by Andrea 08/09/2007 at 11:40 PM

How bout combining Fed's brain and Rafa's? Lethal combination. Or Fed's offense with Rafa's defense.

Posted by Andrea 08/09/2007 at 11:43 PM

Chris-
BTW, great shot of the infamous overhead. That has got to be the easiest shot ever missed (IMO).

Posted by Beth 08/09/2007 at 11:47 PM

Glarange- jhurwi has given you a great historical account of the Alamo. The troops gathered there for their last ditch stand against a much stronger , better equipped foe. History tells us the men of the Alamo fought bravely to their deaths even though they were faced with certain defeat. I think Pete is trying to draw a picture of the Americans gathering at Saddlebrook - like the men of the Alamo - in an attempt to rally American tennis hopes against the best of the rest of the world.
OK?

Posted by Christopher 08/10/2007 at 12:14 AM

Thanks to Pete for posting the shot and for the complements about it from many of you. It was really pure luck that I snapped it at that very second. Needless to say, I didn't think it was possible that he would actually miss that overhead.

Todd Martin was a very successful pro who did two (I believe) years of college. He's also quite tall and I wonder if, like Isner, he got some benefit from an extra few years to get used to his height. And let's not forget that McEnroe actually went to a year of Stanford when he was something like 22nd in the world already

Posted by 08/10/2007 at 12:38 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjtNRH8CMQk

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/10/2007 at 07:05 AM

VIVA ZAPATA!!!!

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/10/2007 at 07:07 AM

wasn't Connors also a UCLA guy ?

Posted by The Original French(ie) 08/10/2007 at 07:10 AM

as well as Arthur Ashe (UCLA) ? I think it speaks for itself.

Posted by evie 08/10/2007 at 08:46 AM

Thanks Pete, been missing your insightful posts.

skip1515 wrote: it used to be a tenet of coaching that big hitters, like Isner, took longer to develop. Harnessing their power (and growing past the Marmaduke phase), and knowing when to drop the hammer, takes longer to learn than a more baseline oriented game.

Just got me thinking about bullies in school.

Posted by jhurwi 08/10/2007 at 09:19 AM

Glarange: I should have given you a link on the Alamo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Alamo. In my post last night, I was summarizing what I remembered about it from teaching courses in American history and from visiting the Alamo a couple of times.My sister lives in San Antonio, and the last time I was there, the local papers were full of the controversy over how the labeling at the historic site and the information given in official tours were being changed to reflect the new interpretations.

Posted by jhurwi 08/10/2007 at 09:55 AM

Beth: thanks for clarifying (in your ll:47 post) the metaphorical linking of Saddlebrook and the Alamo in Pete's article. As a historian, I sometimes tend to be rather literal-minded about historical events, and I forgot to follow through on the symbolism beyond general patriotism.

Posted by Glarange 08/10/2007 at 12:06 PM

Amigos

Thanks for the History lesson. I do recall seeing the John Wayne movie as a kid. I'm not French, btw, just an amused Brazilian wondering what's the next relevant historical metaphor... Mr. ATP chairman, tear down those clay-court tournaments!?


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