Break Points: March 29, 2014

Notable Results:

  • Miami F: (1) Serena Williams d. (2) Li Na 7-5, 6-1
  • Miami SF: (2) Novak Djokovic d. (20) Kei Nishikori (ret.)
  • Miami SF: (1) Rafael Nadal d. (7) Tomas Berdych (ret.)
  • Miami SF: (1) Serena Williams d. (4) Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3
  • Miami SF: (2) Li Na d. (19) Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
  • Miami QF: (20) Kei Nishikori d. (5) Roger Federer 3-6, 7-5, 6-4

News and Links:

Christopher Clarey breaks down the historic-for-all-the-wrong-reasons Friday in Miami, when both of the men’s singles matches were walkovers.

In a fun piece comparing the tennis March Madness to the real thing, Steve Tignor offers some insight into tennis fandom:

Tennis-fan hate reminds me more of the partisan divide in U.S. politics. First, you instinctively choose a side in a rivalry—Rafa or Roger, Chris or Martina, Borg or McEnroe, Serena or Justine. From then on, you give your unconditional love to the player you’ve chosen, and despise everything about the player you’ve rejected. You always think the best of your favorite, and find whatever his or her rival does suspicious (at best). After a million close-ups on TV, your favorite player becomes a virtual member of your family—no one understands this person the way you do. His or her rivals, as threats to the family member, must be destroyed. Or at least highly disliked.

We won’t be seeing Juan Martin del Potro for “a lot of months,” and likely the rest of the season. Expected–and definitely the right thing to do–but still sad.

Patrick Hruby of Sports on Earth wants us to appreciate this stage of Federer’s career for what it is.

Only here’s the thing: Roddick retired last year, spent and satisfied after a long, successful career. Most of Federer’s age-group peers — Marat Safin, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Robredo, James Blake, Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian and the like — are either out of tennis or greatly diminished. Meanwhile, Federer is still playing. More to the point, he’s still kicking butt. In fact, he’s kicking butt at a rate and in a manner that’s largely unprecedented for a men’s tennis player his age, which means that the best and most appropriate way to both measure and appreciate him is not by comparing Current Roger to Peak Roger, but rather by comparing Current Roger to Every Other 30-Something Tennis Champ Who Tried to Hold On.


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One Response

  1. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne March 31, 2014 at 9:14 am |

    Regarding the double walkover — Might it not be a good idea to adopt a rule stating that a player who is the beneficiary of a late-round walkover (and his opponent, for that matter, unless he or she was too ill or injured to stand and walk around) must spend, say, sixty minutes with the fans who came to the match? Signing autographs, chatting, posing for pictures, or whatever.

    There would need to be some security, of course, but for many fans a private picture with a Rafa Nadal or a Novak Djokovic would more than make up for any disappointment about the walkover. Obviously, if there were 10,000 people in the stadium, you couldn’t do 10,000 photographs or autographs in an hour, but with a little pre-planning you could do a hundred. You could call off ticket numbers or something, allowing the lucky ticket holder (and his party) a chance to spend a moment with a star. Or perhaps just allow all the kids to come down.

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