The ATP is slowly getting its collective feet ready for the N.A. hard courts, with Atlanta this week and then Washington D.C. next. These will give way to the back-to-back weeks of Masters HC (Montreal and Cincinnati) before the short breather (Salem) prior to the year’s final major in NYC (tennis’ HC capital).
Meanwhile, the boys last week and again this week were and are still swinging away on clay (Umag and Bastad last, Hamburg and Gstaad this week) and some even cured their left-over grass appetite in Newport, Rhode Island, which coincided with Andy Roddick’s and Kim Clijsters’ induction into the Hall of Fame. Looked like everyone thoroughly enjoyed the HOF festivities, both heavy-weights having represented themselves quite well throughout their careers. The highlight of each player’s career perhaps best symbolized by the year’s final major (the U.S. Open) where Andy claimed his only major in 2003 and Kim won her second USO in 2009 as an unseeded wild card, the only time that’s ever happened; she backed-up this title with her third and final USO in 2010 (ending her career with three USO and one AO).
Paralympic legend Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch along with journalist and historian Steve Flink and tennis instructor and innovator Vic Braden (posthumously), who died in 2014, joined Roddick and Clijsters in the 2017 HOF class.
Giving the enchanted audience a reminder of this season’s play, Isner ended-up with his third New Port title, hoping this will jumpstart his summer HC run with the win over Australia’s Matt Ebden.
I caught the Bastad final between Ferrer and Dolgopolov, which turned-out to be quite entertaining as the Spaniard took the first set 6-4 and raced to a 5-1 lead in the second before having to fight-off a suddenly motivated and sharpened Ukrainian before finishing the set and match 6-4. Ferrer needed seven championship points to finally turn-away his opponent and claim his third Swedish Open title. The match conclusion, celebration and ceremony ended-up really delighting the crowd who got to witness a very gracious Ferrer almost come to tears after a two-year title drought. How can you not appreciate the Spaniard’s grit and humility along with the win from anther 35 year-old.
Which reminds us of what’s happening at the top of the tour.
In what direction do we go?
The sense is Federer will find some of that match play in one or both of the Masters events coming-up to ready his steed for the run in NYC. His tennis is certainly a watch on grass, but actually the HC interpretation is tough to top in my book. We’ll take a closer look at that storyline as we get to Montreal, can assess some other players to watch on these faster courts where players with much deficiency have trouble hiding.
Speaking of deficiency (note these terribly subtle and smooth transitions. . .;), Novak appears to be taking a seat for New York and maybe longer as his Serbian doctors recommend a break to heal that ailing elbow. We will venture more into this odd set of circumstances later, but with the reiteration from the Serb saying he’s been dealing with this injury for a year-and-half, this again, I remind, is part of the legacy; he picked the absolute worst time to “get injured.” We can raise our eye-brows at the prospects of him perhaps winning 2016 AO and FO with a bit of an elbow, but our eye-brows will continue to move at his inability to address this nagging injury and perhaps tilt our heads at the moves he made with his coaching staff and his scheduling in light of this very troubling set-back.
In the end, injury is part of the palette with which these players render their masterpieces. Nadal has never defended a non-clay major (it might be any non-clay title); injury or deficiency got the better of him through out his storied and magnificent career.
If you ask Roger right now what he think is most responsible for his 2017 success, he’ll say health. He took the time to get healthy. Nadal would most likely say the same about his 2017 success.
Speaking of 2017 Nadal, who do you think Rafa would be smart to practice against in his HC preparation. Look it up: I saw a Tweet with an image of him and Dimitrov on the courts at the Rafa complex. I wonder why he’s having a go with baby-Fed? 😉
We’ll comment a bit on this week’s tennis, but the Citi Open next week will be our first best look at the HC and some of its more ambitious practitioners before we head to Canada for some more meaningful hard court tennis.
Still, I have broader tennis narrative issues to address, as well as some thoughts for you and me regarding this blog.
I’m fairly exhausted, and a bit anxious actually, as I’ve been researching a direction not just for this interesting ATP peloton (congrats, Mr. Froome on your fourth Tour win, by the way); I am aiming to upgrade this blog and my overall commitment to its function and its growth.
Reading and linking all over the web for credible and insightful clues on such matters is not exactly how I want to spend my waking hours. I have consulted with some professionals and will be investing a bit to get the reading and writing more streamlined, the site more organized with hopefully more charming and dynamic aesthetics. You know, just trying to improve on the look and feel of the blog/site.
In addition, and part of this expansion of sorts, I am starting (slowly) to work on the ebook that I’ve been talking about lately. I mean to revise, polish and finish (I guess, even though the ruination continues) HRFRT.
Originally, I had in mind to actually sell this ebook. But the plan going forward is to offer this free to anyone once they “sign-up” to follow the blog, which enables them receive an email each time a post is written, etc. This is actually pretty beneficial to us both, but you can probably see how this is key to the growth and success of a website or blog. I have several followers now, but I want to certainly add to this number (the more the merrier) and offering this interesting ebook (HRFRT) as an initial incentive and gift should be a decent incentive, hopefully.
I do need to expand and revise (and finish) this series. Reading back over it, I have the skeleton and parts of the body of this beast up and moving, but I need to add, clarify and complicate this argument. I intend to really bring this thesis to fruition (it’s looking actually like my commentary manifesto)
As this will be an update (the ebook published and gifted to you in 2017), I need to mummify or anthologize the original piece. Why? Because the timing was magical (on the eve of 2017); this even surprises me that I conceptualized and wrote this series of posts that emphatically argues that Federer “ruined” tennis. . . at the height of Djokovic in June of 2016.
I certainly plan to write many other more lasting arguments and commentaries about our outrageous sport of tennis that go beyond draw and match analyses. The academic in me pushes to find these glorious and complicated patterns that help us endeavor the difficulty hypothesis.
I really enjoy keeping this blog going, as you know. Writing about tennis throughout the year brings me much reward; this only means that I really appreciate how some of you find even an inkling of value in the work. Without the audience, there is no Mcshow Tennis Blog. Again, thank you for helping me build this community of tennis fans with tennis insight (ah, a possible tag-line!).
(Another snazzy segue. . .) In expanding the blog/site, I am projecting to include discussion of topics that go beyond tennis. I have done some of that already, writing a bit about the NBA, and so-forth. I am a sports junky, but I have to really care about the discussion in order to make the writing matter, to make it matter to you.
Nonetheless, I hope to simply move into a broader range of discussion.
At the same time, who knows. This is part of that anxiety I mentioned earlier. I like where we are at this point, and the blog is growing. No complaints; I just feel a few smart improvements can benefit us both and I think you agree with me on this.
Or, how about I wake-up tomorrow and the money-tree in my back yard is blooming, beyond my wildest dreams; therefore, I can travel the world, follow the ATP tour and watch live and write about tennis all day, every day!
If you have any advice or feedback that reflects on this blog transition, don’t be shy; your insight has been critical to the discussions we’ve had over the last two years, and I may need your insight now more than ever! You can email me directly, as well: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full-steam-ahead on the tour and #2017Fedal, especially with N.A. HC on the horizon. So much more to analyze going into this final major.