Reading is fundamental. This phrase was part of an ad campaign promoting literacy in the United States many moons ago. The phrase comes to mind because I've been reading some of the responses to Roger Federer's statement admitting that he needed Rafael Nadal to not be in the French Open final in order to win it.
It's not as if he were speaking in tongues people. He said what he meant and meant what he said (apologies to the late Dr. Seuss). The other big reveal was made by Mary Carillo during the NBC broadcast when she said that Robin Soderling and Federer have practiced together before. I didn't hear this one personally but a very good friend told me about it. I had the match on but the sound was only loud enough to hear the sound of sneaker on clay and ball on racquet. I didn't want to waste my few remaining brain cells on the Fedfest I knew would be taking place. I just didn't know that the badass was really only ready to be bad with one player. Makes what happened on court all the more interesting no?
I've noticed that on most of the fan boards the fans of Mr Monogram were left to celebrate on their own. This seemed to vex them a lot. I wonder why? Their man won. They have every right to celebrate. Instead they continue to try and get fans of other players into a food fight. Whatever. The French Open is over.
On the Sea
The Grass Court Season
It takes me a week or so to get into grass court play. Rallies such as they are last two or three shots. It's impossible to get mentally engaged the way you can during good clay court play. You need the attention span of a gnat to "get" grass court play.
It's not as if there was a lot of real clay court play on view the last couple of weeks. The women played very little clay court tennis. Few of them know how to slide let alone have the patience needed to play well on the surface. That's why it was so pleasing to see Svetlana Kuznetsova win over the ball bashing Dinara Safina.
But that is so much water under the bridge. I've been trying to watch play from Halle and Queen's Club. Not holding my interest yet. I would've liked to see Maria Sharapova in her grass court debut but as usual the WTA has made it's product unavailable. She easily disposed of her first round opponent according to the scoreboard. I love scoreboard watching in this the age of ever advancing internet technology don't you?
Red Bull and Richard Gasquet
So a fan posts a speculative thread stating that maybe Richard got the cocaine in his system from drinking Red Bull. The energy drink was recently cited for having low levels of cocaine as part of it's makeup and this fan thought that maybe that is how M. Gasquet ended up testing positive. It totally got by him/her that the amount of Red Bull Richard would have had to ingest to get a positive result would add up to about 200,000 cans of the energy drink. It's kind of like testing positive for heroin and saying you eat a lot of poppy seed bagels. The amazing part was that fans took the speculation as something Gasquet actually said when it was nothing of the sort. Gasquet has been too busy lambasting Henri Leconte for daring to suggest that he be punished according to the letter of the existing law. How dare he! Doesn't he know he's supposed to join the "poor Richie" chorus and lobby for "time served" or something?
I'm not even going to discuss the speculation that Gasquet kissed a girl who had just done a few lines. Really people. Really?
And can't people read anymore? What the hell are they teaching in the schools these days? If people can't tell the difference between speculation and fact we're in serious trouble. Reading is fundamental.
Kudo's go to Tennis Channel on line television and ESPN360 for allowing fans with access to their sites to see live tennis. Tennis Channel television has commentary, most of it pretty good (fair and unbiased) while ESPN360 offered it's viewers the chance to see a match as if you were there live. No announcers. Tennis Channel does have "commercials" but that is a minor annoyance compared to the service provided. If there was camera coverage on a court TC was there.
I also have access to a subscription service, WebTV. It's Russian language television and offers much more than tennis although that is all I use it for. It's not cheap and to my knowledge it only works on a Windows platform. Still it was where I watched Rafa's loss in it's entirety and got live coverage of the men's semifinals. Both of them.
As for NBC I think it's time for them to give it up. Their coverage was abysmal and in the States all means of watching online were disabled forcing a fan who doesn't have WebTV to be at their mercy. For the men's semi finals they allowed three hours of coverage. Three hours. Time for one match but not two. This resulted in US fans seeing a tape of the completed first semi final while there was actual live tennis being played. Amazing in this day and age.
There is no need to talk about the commentary. It's intrusive, full of in jokes lost on the average and/or casual fan, and biased. I guess the good news is that they don't employ the Slob. Fans with access to TC have the pleasure of listening to his opinion and commentary. Thank God for small favors huh?
It's painfully obvious that the US networks don't have the cojones to give tennis it's due. Tennis, like baseball, is timeless. You know when the first match will start but that is the only certainty. If the networks don't want to cover tennis the way it needs to be covered why are the tours shelling out big bucks for almost non existent coverage? Golf the networks cover for as long as it takes. The Super Bowl and World Series get the glamour treatment. Tennis is treated like crap. It's time for the tours to reevaluate where and how they spend their money. It's also time for them to make sure that an outlet dedicated to it's sport is part of basic cable service. I'm just sayin'. I have "Gol" television but not the TC.
Idle Chit Chat
Some great pictures of Sveta after her French Open Victory
Some nice pics of Serena Williams and Sasha arriving at LAX. All of the pics are posted HERE
Edited to Add...
The Diagnosis of Dr. Monogram
"It seems like it's not 100 percent serious, his knee injury. I only wish him the best and I hope it's not true that he will miss Wimbledon. I think it's a lot of speculation at the moment," Federer said. "He wasn't taping his knees here in Paris. He seemed fine, [from] what I saw, anyway. I've played him so many times, I can tell when he's in pain and when he's not."
Rafa is in Barcelona for tests today. Dr. Monogram is making noise about pulling out of Halle.
LINK on Halle.