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The Clay Ran Red 05/30/2010 - 12:55 AM

The clay ran red by Pete Bodo

Given the events of the past 12 months, I wonder how many people shrugged and thought: Oh, yeah, Roland Garros. . . that means Roger and Rafa again. It's sure starting to look as if that might be the case again, although I must say that the sight of Robin Soderling's name so close to Federer's gives me pause - not as much pause as if Soderling's name were closer to Nadal's than Federer's, but you get my point.

I have a particular, self-interested reason for anticipating a final between Federer and Nadal: So brace yourself for a little shameless self-promotion, although the nature of the pitch might be of interesting for larger reasons. I have a new book out called The Clay Ran Red, which is a history of the Federer vs. Nadal rivalry at Roland Garros. I need to explain about that.

Faithful readers of TennisWorld for the past five years know I'm proud of the fact that this weblog was a groundbreaking enterprise, made possible largely to the support of Tennis magazine and They've enabled me to be a gainfully employed blogger. So it was only natural that I'd be interested in taking this adventure in new media to a new level, and this book is it. The Clay Ran Red is a different kind of book, because it doesn't exist - at least not as that tangible object we call "a book." It's an e-book, which means you can only download it to your e-reader - in this case an Amazon Kindle.

This all started when Scott Waxman, my literary agent, decided to get into the e-publishing business. He suggested that since I had covered every match Roger and Rafa have played at Roland Garros, why didn't I just use that five-plus years worth of material, and anything else that's relevant to it (various posts and articles on the clay-court game, for example) and find a way to weave them into a continuous narrative that tells the history of the rivalry in Paris? 

I thought it was a great idea, even though my 2005 TW archive has vanished into the ether(net). Journalists produce a massive body of work, but because they do it at such regular intervals, whatever they wrote last (whether it's good or bad) is immediately rendered obsolete by whatever it is they write next. That's not just sort of sad, it also represents a tremendous amount of pure waste, because journalists write - as the saying goes - the first draft of history.

But that first draft is never seen or even presented as a whole. Traditional book publishers avoid "collected works," and previously published material, like the plague (unless the author is hugely famous), mainly because of the time and cost involved in publishing a typical book. But an e-book is different; it can be created by a publisher at a comparatively low cost, pulled together quickly, and made available for purchase painlessly - and at an attractive price. I found it interesting to review my thoughts on this rivalry in a tight, narrative form, and I'm hoping tennis fans will as well. Furthermore, my new book simply could not exist if it were not for the advantages offered by e-publishing, yet now it does. That's a marvelous thing in a way that has nothing to do with me.

Would someone with a Kindle (or a similar Kindle-capable portable device) want to plonk down six bucks for, basically, a full-length book (The Clay Ran Red is probably around 45,000 words) that focuses on rivalry of Rafa and Roger at Roland Garros? I guess I'm about to find out.

I wrote about the Kindle back in December, after I got one for Christmas. All I can say is that after reading three books on it, I decided to go back and try a "regular" book. But I decided, "why bother?" I had my doubts about e-readers. I don't have them anymore. I've gotten so accustomed to the device that I'll only read a book on paper anymore if I can't get it electronically.

I'm not alone in this, and the introduction of the Apple iPad has accelerated this shift to electronic books. If you look at the projections for e-publishing, and the sale of e-readers (all kinds of manufacturers are working overtime to catch up with "tablets" of their own), the numbers are staggering. Quite honestly, I don't really expect to be a big winner in this rush to e-books; it's still too early in the game. But I like the idea of being out in front on this, not so much because I'm a techie (which I'm not), but because I like new ideas, innovation, and experimentation. That's how this very weblog was spawned.

Anyway, I hope those of you who have an e-reader buy my book, or recommend it to someone who has one. Because I'd like to do this again, with another subject. And I'd like to see all kinds of writers who can't bust through the logjam at traditional publishers get their shot at success, at having their books available to interested readers (doesn't everyone have an unpublished novelist in the family?). Right now, that doesn't happen; book publishers are simply too captive to the "commercial realities" that dictate what is published.

101255770 But on to the tennis. I was stunned to see that David Ferrer lost to Jurgen Melzer (and with a 6-0 set in that straight-set blowout!). And that made Andy Roddick's equally desultory loss to Teimuraz Gabashvili seem that much more disappointing. One thing these past few days has impressed on me is the brutal and, quite frankly, not entirely satisfying scheduling (or is it a format issue, plain and simple) system in play at a Grand Slam that plays best-of-five deuce sets but is also at the mercy of the weather.

I mean, look at Ivan Ljubicic. He notches up an inspired, epic five-set win over Mardy Fish (10-8 in the fifth!) on Friday, and he suddenly looks like he may have sloughed off that Grand Slam hex. Then he has to bounce back today and play Thomaz Bellucci, and he runs out of steam after losing the first set tiebreaker, to go down in straight sets. Is there a better example of the idea of wasted effort out there?

I guess such things have always happened. But in this day and age, do things have to be set up to make it so likely that they'll happen? 

[[I'm traveling to Paris tomorrow, but Bobby Chintapalli will be here with a Crisis Center post to keep you all busy until I get out to the stade Roland Garros to produce the first of my red-meat posts. I'll be in Paris for the duration.]]

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Posted by Kenneth 05/30/2010 at 01:12 AM

Best of five isn't necessary until R of 16 if u ask me. Especially on clay.

Ferrer and Verdasco (despite the win, Kolschrieber sure had his chances) are perfect examples of poor scheduling. Does one really need to play 45+ matches to be considered match tough? Good on Melzer for defying odds and making his first career R of 16.

RAndy, unfortunately, got exactly his due for skipping all of the clay season.

Posted by thebigapple 05/30/2010 at 03:10 AM

Will the French Open book have a big asterisk on every page? You may be able to do that - seeing it is electronic and all that.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 05/30/2010 at 04:48 AM

Bonjour Pete,Hey I can always carry your bags and note book etc around Roland Garos

Slams are the best of 5 regardless what surface.

RG of course is the hardest slam to me.For the 2 weeks duration if you are lucky to make if that far certainly tests out your physical and mental being.

Clay is my favourite surface.Where you get to see players use every dimension of the court,using variety of shots.To see a "true clay court" player in action to me is like no other.

I too was shocked to see David lose cause he is results on the clay so far this season have been impressive.

Though we also witness the biggest "shock" last RG when Rafa was defeated by Soderling.

That is where Tennis is not a Given it can also happen on other surfaces.Who would have though Roger Federer would lose his impressive USO titles to Del Potro last year which also happened to go to 5 sets.That also was a match of high physical and mental endurance.

Slams are the best of 5 sets.We have enough tournaments and Master Series titles during the ATP year.

Posted by tina (in a Croat-only blackout) 05/30/2010 at 06:02 AM

I wouldn't call it "running out of steam" - Ljubicic had a muscle strain and got treatment for it. And still, in the third set, he managed a break back, keeping hope here alive. Whether the muscle strain had anything to do with the epic Fish win, I suppose we'll never know. I'd still say that even with an injury, he put in more effort than Roddick and Ferrer. Mind you, I didn't see those other matches, but come on....

I do not have an e-reader, and don't plan to get one. So I guess I'll be missing out on this "book"?

Posted by evie 05/30/2010 at 06:15 AM

Love the ebook-only format, especially for tennis. Perhaps it'll be easier to get those books published if a print run is not required. I downloaded a sample chapter to start -- Kindle books, btw, can be read on kindles, iPhones, and regular computers with Amazon's free software.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/30/2010 at 06:30 AM

pete, my mom gave me a kindle two christmases ago and since I live in no cell country I couldn't use it! But I hear they're great and I recall loving the way it looked and the design. Oh well, someday I'll get one. In the meantime I still love books.

tina, maybe pete's point about Ivan was that all these 3of5's back to back without any days of rest might have contributed to Ivan's muscle strain? The majors have to stay 3 out of 5 or they're no different from a masters imo. But the weather is a huge drag. And Roddick and Ferrer both made big efforts but andy was outplayed by a hot player and maybe Ferrer was tired from all the matches he's played this clay season.

Is this the CC for the day?

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 05/30/2010 at 06:35 AM

Well done Franny great lob into the back court. Are we staying her, I guess so.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/30/2010 at 06:40 AM

angel, there are still alot of people on the other thread doing match calls but I think this is the Crisis Center for today.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hot like me. 05/30/2010 at 06:52 AM

Oh Juju, you're doing everything I didn't want. Serving poor and staying on the baseline and battling there. You need to keep her on the run. GET OFF the baseline, you can't out hit her, make her come to net.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hot like me. 05/30/2010 at 06:53 AM

I got up before daylight to see this???

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/30/2010 at 07:13 AM

nice win by Franny. they were really hitting the covers off those balls.

Posted by Lauren 05/30/2010 at 07:16 AM

Took me approximately fifty years to find a working stream and the instant it loads Justine slams a makeable shot into the net.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 05/30/2010 at 07:23 AM

SamE hang in there. I do wish Maria would STFU she annoys the crap out of me. Off to watch Caro and Flavia.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/30/2010 at 07:27 AM

angel, still around? Maria's shriek and mannerisms bug the hell out of me, but her serve seems much better. I prefer Justine's game and demeanor and it looks like she's going to win.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/30/2010 at 07:29 AM

sorry, but the fist clenching on RoS is just so much dramatics. And Henin wins!

sorry masha fans.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 05/30/2010 at 07:34 AM

Mme Pennetta breaks Caro now please hold your serve Flavia to consolidate.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 05/30/2010 at 07:37 AM

The thing I didn't want to happen happened Flavia lost her serve. Her bh is working well though.

Posted by Master Ace 05/30/2010 at 07:58 AM

Per thread, this is not the CC for Sunday. Bobby will have one up later.

Posted by Nitish 05/30/2010 at 09:51 AM

Man! Wozniacki is the ultimate pusher. She winning any match is a crime to tennis.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/30/2010 at 09:55 AM

MA: I understood that message to be that Bobby would be putting up a CC tomorrow while pete is travelling. Isn't this the CC for today?

Posted by Mike 05/30/2010 at 10:52 AM

Is there a link anywhere for the Fed/Stan match? I can't believe it's not being televised ... at least as far as I can see. :P

Posted by SR 05/30/2010 at 10:58 AM

Mike, try this one. It's not working for me for some reason (anyone else have any other suggestions?) but might for you.

I'm so upset with NBC for doing this to us EVERY year.

Posted by Mike 05/30/2010 at 11:20 AM

Thanks, SR ... I'll give it a shot. My MacBookPro dislikes Flash, which makes finding viewable sources a bit of core.

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber 05/30/2010 at 11:21 AM

What rivalry?

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber 05/30/2010 at 11:22 AM sports....scroll's there.

Posted by Mike 05/30/2010 at 11:25 AM

Geez ... thanks, LOK. I had that site bookmarked, and must have deleted it by accident ... thanks again for the refresher. ;)

Posted by SR 05/30/2010 at 11:48 AM

Awesome! Thanks Lump of Kohlschreiber! (Sorry for yesterday's loss against Verdasco.)

Posted by Jackie 05/30/2010 at 12:05 PM

Congrats, Pete! I don't have a Kindle, alas, but I'll get my hands on the book somehow. ;)

Looking forward to your RG coverage!

Posted by Or 05/30/2010 at 12:34 PM

Apparently Ferrer got the same bug as Serena got, along with some spectators and tournament staff.

Poor David.

Posted by codepoke 05/30/2010 at 12:36 PM

Fascinating book idea, Pete, but I'm a long way from a Kindle. The electronic paper is the only way I could see myself reading an e-book, but that's a lot of money. I could read it on the Kindle on PC, but I make my living staring at a screen, and there's no way I can continue to read for hours after reading for hours.

I'd love the book idea, though, so who knows.

Posted by jb (chocolate FTW) 05/30/2010 at 12:40 PM

Or - is THAT what happened to Ferru? Not that Melzer hasn't been playing well this year, but that's a hail of an upset.

Pete - safe trip - good luck with your ebook! like jackie, am kindleless, so reading it may be a wee bit problematic for me. I don't think i even know anyone I could borrow one from. :(

ah well - looking forward to your coverage! hopefully the weather will be fine and you'l get to see some great matches. :)

*off to find a murray / berdy stream*

Posted by Ruth 05/30/2010 at 12:42 PM

"Best of five isn't necessary until R of 16 if u ask me. Especially on clay."

Kenneth: I am the founding president of a small organization of people who share this and similar views about the Slam match format. :) We count Jon Wertheim among our members, and -- who knows? -- we may convine Pete to join us. Not only that, I'd bet that we could get the vast majority of male professional players, in a secret vote, to support our recommendations for changes.

People who buy and use Kindles are the Devil Incarnate and will be cast into everlasting flames! Or not. :) My two best friends, book/reading lovers like me, have been convinced by their children to join the Kindle nation, and they are loving it. I am still holding out; I actually warned my sons that they were NOT to put Kindle on either my birthday or Christmas lists last year because I'd just return it for cash. But I have a feeling that I'll break down eventually and get one.

Meanwhile, I'll ask my Philly BFF to let me downloand Pete's TCRR on her Kindle since that's the only way that I can read it. Watch me get hooked. Darn it!

Posted by Kenneth 05/30/2010 at 01:22 PM

Oh really Ruth? Well count me in. While you're at it, could you also found a club to boycott NBC for their anti-tennis stance during slams? Of 16 matches played today, I've seen all of four. I refuse to tune in to watch taped delayed matches and I will continue to boycott them in the future. Why pay for dvr services??

Posted by Mike 05/30/2010 at 01:55 PM

I'm outraged, as well, Kenneth. One of the biggest events in Pro Tennis and it's been reduced to a 5 hour delay format squeezed in between SportCenter updates ... PATHETIC!

Posted by rooruffneck 05/30/2010 at 02:03 PM

Just downloaded it and look forward to digging in!

Posted by highpockets 05/30/2010 at 02:03 PM


Would love to read your latest masterpiece, but I'm not there just yet. I still like the feel and smell of a book. I'm sure I'll wear down at some point and get a Kindle-type reader, but I'm holding out a bit longer.

Any way you can send me a copy and paste of the manuscript? :)

I have to admit that for high school and college kids, these readers are the ONLY way to go. No more lugging all those giant books around.

Posted by pov 05/30/2010 at 02:06 PM

Real books please. This nonsense about "e-books" is laughable. It's text on a screen, just like any other computer. So for those who like to "curl up with a good computer" it'll be great. And as for publishing being open to all, that's already happened - every male moron now seems to have a blog.

Posted by Alex 05/30/2010 at 02:35 PM

Sorry guys, but don't mess with best-of-5. What makes a grand slam special is that you have to win 7 straight best-of-5 matches. It's the toughest ask in tennis. Let's not dilute that.

Posted by Laj 05/30/2010 at 02:54 PM

I think sometimes, when we discuss "bad scheduling", we forget that professional tennis is first and foremost about *money*, then about ranking points, and that when both are accounted for, scheduling is used to maximize both. Verdasco made a significant amount of money by getting as far as he did in those tournaments that he played and so did Ferrer, and if Verdasco, or even Ferrer, had a better schedule, there is no guarantee that they won't play one hot player and go home early with few ranking points and cash. Scheduling is a delicate balancing act unless your results are so consistently good that you know you will always finish in the money.

It's now that Verdasco is so consistent that he can now think about scheduling. But he only became top 10 within the last year so dialing back his schedule finally makes sense. Ferrer is recovering from injuries and a ranking drop, and is not top 10, and he had never done relatively well at the French, so why was his schedule supposedly bad? Look at Almagro, who if he had done as well as Ferrer, would have had just as bad a schedule.

Let's not buy all the time into the supposedly flawed schedules of players who became top 10 players within the last year.

Posted by rooruffneck 05/30/2010 at 02:56 PM

Love my Kindle and Love my books. Already massively enjoying your new book, Pete. It's phenomenal reading how upset people can get about new technologies. Good work, Bodo.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hot like me. 05/30/2010 at 03:37 PM

In spite of all the criticism of her game and the talk that she can't go far with her game,the Caro express rolls on to the quarters. All aboard, hater! I'm enjoying the ride.

Posted by Jamaica Karen 05/30/2010 at 03:43 PM

Sorry Ruth, but I love the best of 5 format. It is what separates this from the run of the mill tournaments. As far as I am concerned in every athletic discipline you have to have something that players aspire to. For tennis it is the Grand Slams. In basketball, baseball, football, they have their elite event which while the rules remain the same the way to get there is made even harder. Why make it easy for some players to get to a round of 16 just by playing best of 3. For me if you get to the round of 16 playing best of 5 it shows that you not only mentally tough but you are also physically prepared for the grind that a Grand Slam entails. They already get a day off, they do not need anything else.

Posted by Libby 05/30/2010 at 03:45 PM

I'm a Kindle convert too, and am already engrossed in this book. I don't always agree with you, but I can't seem to get enough when it comes to reading about this rivalry. :)

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 05/30/2010 at 04:00 PM

I have many books that I will never part with ... but I am thinking about Kindle very seriously.

Posted by real tennis fan 05/30/2010 at 04:01 PM

what is the point of a book about the Fed/Nadal "rivalry" at the French?. 3 losses including the decimation that was the RG08 Final. Not much of a story there unless it is to take up the point that Federer has no Wilanders or suffers from shrinking wilander syndrome when he faces Nadal at the French?


Posted by wilson75 05/30/2010 at 04:30 PM

real tennis fan: That's probably why the book is only out in e-form.

Posted by .com 05/30/2010 at 04:39 PM

"what is the point of a book about the Fed/Nadal "rivalry" at the French?. 3 losses including the decimation that was the RG08 Final."

Actually, FOUR losses (including the 2005 SF).

Posted by Alex 05/30/2010 at 04:41 PM

real tennis fan - of course those 4 losses to Nadal at FO negate Roger's entire career.

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 05/30/2010 at 04:56 PM

well too bad Roger just didint pull a Sampras, and lose second round all those years, he'd be ever GREATER than he is now!

lets not kid oursevles, that is the bizarre truth of this whole story... I wonder if Pete addresses this?

Sampras' dismal French Open results dont negate his aura one bit, its very strange indeed... I think for Sampras, the red clay is treated as a novelty surface, used only a few months a year, and unimportant.. for Fed, its seems like clay is the ONLY surface he's ever played on!

might check this out...

Posted by Alex 05/30/2010 at 05:16 PM

Tim - isn't grass an even MORE novelty surface(5 weeks including Newport)? Pete supporters always point to his impeccable grass-court record, but want us to ignore his dismal clay record. Sorry but that won't work. Clay is 40% of the entire ATP schedule.

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 05/30/2010 at 05:50 PM

but ALex then why doesnt Sampras suffer form his poor clay results? no one says a word about it, do they? his reputation is untarnished, completely... say what you will, but Wimbleodn is and always will be the ONE premier event that every player makes his or her reputation...

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 05/30/2010 at 05:52 PM

the bottom line to me seems that Fed is punished for his really marevlous clay results, and Sampras is off the hook, its just forgotten, I mean its not like the Bruguera's and Moya's took away any of his luster by winning RG... just seems wierd to me...punished for excellence, how bizarre

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 05/30/2010 at 05:58 PM

and in the history of tennis, grass was THE surface, where Laver and so many made their reuptations, you can hardly call it a novelty... red clay is played for two months of the year, I dont think the tier 3 events count for much in the big picture...

and let me tell you if Roger just bailed out of the French early like Sampras, I dont think the event would get near the buzz it has, since the Fedal finals created such a sensation every year... you really think anyone would give a hoot if Nadal was playing Ferrer every year in the final? dont think so...

i think the reputation of the French has been greatly enhanced by Federer's dedication to winning it, its not like Coria and Guadio were setting the world on fire with their finals... nor did Nadal and Puerta for that matter...

Rafa should be darned glad Fed is as determined as he is to win on clay, he could just bail and win Wimby and US Open every year and call it a day...tahts what Sampras did...year after year

Posted by reckoner 05/30/2010 at 06:06 PM

alright im convinced, mr bodo you get my 6 bucks... something to read by the pool tmr

Posted by leigh 05/30/2010 at 07:32 PM

I just read the 'Death Match' article in Tennis Magazine about the 2004 Roland Garros Final; Coria vs. Gaudio.
I watched Gaudio win that match 0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6. I was so thankful it was a best-of-five match, and
loved seeing Gaudio win. .Because of the best-of-five format, Gaudio was able to come back and win it. I have followed him ever since and glad to see he is playing again.
He lost in the second round of qualifying for the French O., but won a Challenger Tour event this year.
Very humble guy and I wish him the best!!

Posted by Ruth 05/30/2010 at 07:41 PM

Dear Jamaica Karen: Just for you and other lovers of the 3/5 format (the majority at TW, I'm sure), I would like to share the results of my annual FO "research" on the men's matches (Days 1 to 7):

+112 matches were played (88% of the 127, barring walkovers, that will be played in the fortnight

+93 of those 112 matches (83%) have been won by the player who would have won if the match were a 2/3 (ie, winners of all matches that ended after 3 or 4 sets)

+19 of the 112 matches (17%) went to 5 sets -- ta da!

How many of those classic, separate-the-men-from-the boys, separate-the-Slam-from-the-rest 5-set matches do you remember?

How many of them were really worth the wear and tear on the players that their "macho" format caused? (Yes, I know they have a day off -- barring rain etc.)

+Of the 19 five-set matches played, 5 were won by the players who won 2 of the first 3 sets (like the players in the 93 matches previously mentioned) Good for those 5!

+ BUT, of the 19 5-set matches played,14 (73%) were won by the players who won only 1 of the first 3 sets played (I call these the 14 players the "winning losers.") :) They're like the lucky losers who lose in the qualies but still make it to the big show; they lose the 2/3 but, because of the lucky 3/5 format, they are able to eke out a win. Bravo!

Interestingly, of the three 4th round matches (1 ret.) played today, none is a 5-setter. Why? Shouldn't there be more of these wonderful 5-setters as the draw weeds out the lesser players who, as some people feel, couldn't reach the high bar set by the 3/5 format? Shouldn't we then be left with players who are more comparable in skill and, therefore, more likely to go 5 sets instead of winning in 3 or 4 sets?

Will the remaining 4 matches to be played tomorrow be more competitive (ie, have more 5 setters) than today's? I wonder.

JR,jross, where are you???? :)

Posted by DMan 05/30/2010 at 07:47 PM

The Clay Ran Red? Count me among those who think this is an absolutely UNFASCINATING, and rather limited subject for a book. Now if it were "The Grass is Greener" and were a subject of the Federer-Nadal matches at WImbledon, it might be more interesting, because their matches were more interesting.

But Nadal-Federer at Roland Garros? Were any of their matches really *THAT* intriguing? Apart from the 2006 final, when it got semi-tense when Federer forced a 4th set TB, the outcome of their matches were never really in doubt.

The Clay Ran Red sounds like a kid's book. And I imagine the meat of this ebook will be about as thick, and tasty, as children's book.

So what's next, the Ana Ivanovic autobiography?


Posted by Jamaica Karen 05/30/2010 at 07:51 PM

Ruth, in response too your 7:41 I give you this: Roland Garros 2009, 4th round, Tommy Haas would have beaten Roger Federer in straight sets. If that had happened, we would not have been able to see the classic that was Federer v. DelPo and for that matter I would not have been able to see Roger win his first Roland Garros trophy. If this was best of 3, Robin Soderling would perhaps have not been brave enough to play the way he did and seek glory at Roland Garros.

While your statistics does show that whomever would have won in best of 3 would have perhaps won in best of 5, we really do not know. Perhaps that is the way the cards fell in the matches that you have provided, but I personally look forward to the drama and excitement of the majors because they bring out the heart and passion in all the players, especially the early round matches.

It was because of best of 5 that Ginepri is a hero, Ivan did his dance, Ouanna came to our attention and many others before them. Best of 5 in my view separates the men from the boys.

Posted by Ruth 05/30/2010 at 08:14 PM

Karen: I'll agree to the wonderful-ness of all of the things you mentioned. But how about people who think that Haas SHOULD have beaten Roger in straight sets because Tommy came prepared, played from the get-go the way champuions should, and won 2 sets before his opponent could get his act together and win one? The same thing goes for Nimenen and Roddick in Round 1 of the FO.

I'm a Roddick fan of long standing, but if a player can't win at least one of the first two sets played 9as he couldn't), why should care if he loses the match? Two sets -- that's a minimum of 12 games played (in a double bagel win) and up to 24 or more games in in 7-5, 7-5 or a TB set. Each game has at least 4 points played. What more does a truly deserving player need in order to be crowned the winner?

I'm sure that some of those winner losing 5-setters have been terrific (I saw a great one with Sanguinetti at the USO a couple years ago); but too many of them are IMHO merely escape hatches for slow starters, exhausting tests of endurance MORE than tennis skill -- and often boring as heck to boot! (That's when I move on to the next court/next match at the USO. :))

Posted by Wendy Grossman 05/30/2010 at 08:25 PM

Pete, I'd love to review the new book for Daily Tennis, but I am not going to buy a Kindle to do so. If you can supply the text in some other format, that would be very helpful.


Posted by Sutemi 05/30/2010 at 08:31 PM

+1 DMan @ 07.47

Boy, the global financial situation must be getting to people that they are losing rational thought...

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 05/30/2010 at 10:27 PM

Pete, good luck on selling your new e-book. I'm a bit of a traditionalist, I suppose, and really prefer to read ink on paper... for now. I'm sure one say I will be converted, out of necessity of for no better reason.

Wasn't it manuel Orantes who suffered miserably at the hands of the schedulers? But that was Forest Hlls, I think. Or maybe not..... Where's Sam or Master Ace when I need him!

Posted by Sherlock 05/30/2010 at 10:41 PM

Pete, as Slice said, I wish you all the best with this project. As for the format, I'm with Slice, Highpockets, pov, etc. I know it's the "future" to some degree, but it's not my future. :) There is still something special to good old ink on paper, to use Slice's phrase. I stare at a computer screen all day. I don't need to do it on my down time as well.

Posted by My Perspective 05/31/2010 at 12:45 AM

Er, what rivalry ? Last I checked Fed is 0-4 against Nadal at RG and 3-12 in sets. For a rivarly to exist do you have to win something ?

Just kidding :)

Posted by rooruffneck 05/31/2010 at 01:56 AM

Pete, I love how you get the same kind of response even about your decision to release this on ebook. It's like when you write something somewhat critical of Federer and people act like it means you are against Fed....and then when you write something a tiny bit critical of Nadal, his fans are upset you hold such a grudge against him.

People: just because Bodo is in a context where he can release his writing in a new format, doesn't mean he is against books or that you supporting Bodo means you like the Kindle better than a book. Nobody really does. But, it's a nice option for all sorts of reasons.

Pete, this is a very fun read. And I love that it is all new to me because I wasn't reading your stuff back in those days. And I'm really glad you started with that particular first chapter. Good thinking!

Posted by pablo 05/31/2010 at 05:15 AM

In the 1975 USO, Orantes defeated Vilas on saturday 4-6, 1-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 (he was 0-5 down in the fourth), on Sunday he defeated Connors in straights. he had defeated Nastase in the quarters.

In the 1992 USO, Edberg beat Krajicek, Lendl and Chang(in a 5 hour match) successively in five setters to get to the final versus Sampras. he played 5 days in a row and still won the tournament.

It would be a mistake to get rid of five setters, as it was mistake to get rid of five setter finals in the Masters.

Posted by Geellis 05/31/2010 at 10:52 AM

I guess it raises an interesting question re the nature of final we want to see. Namely, do we want to see a final that showcases both players at their supreme best or do we want to see something other than that? Bodo says that tennis is about fitness and, certainly, it is. I guess the question represents the balance at which we arrive between these two attributes of the game: seeing fantastic shot-making and witnessing amazing feats of endurance. Certainly, it was amazing when Nadal beat Verdasco in the longest match in AO history, then went on to beat Federer in a 5-hour 5 set thriller. But, in 2007 this 5 set format ultimately was the undoing of Rafa by the time he played Federer in the final after 7 consecutive days of play. The final would have been higher quality and the result might very well have been different, if Nadal had not played so many consecutive days (which would have been the case had he been playing best of 3 matches). Personally, I'd rather see fantastic tennis skill as opposed to fantastic lungs/legs any day.

Posted by mwu 05/31/2010 at 12:32 PM

Hi Pete!

I'm enjoying the book thus far. Bill Simmons (ESPN's "The Sports Guy", formerly "The Boston Sports Guy") also revised his online content into a book for "Now I Can Die in Peace". I started reading your blog in 2009, and I wonder if, like Bill's book, it's most enjoyable to someone unfamiliar with the content like me.

Regarding the Kindle -- I resisted for quite a while, but I now absolutely adore it. I always have several books going at the same time, and it's great having a full library on hand (especially since I travel 2-3 weeks out of each month). The e-Ink screen is not backlit, making it an entirely different reading experience than reading a computer or an iPad, and I've never suffered that computer-based eye strain as a result.

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Wild Women of the U.S. Open
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