So Roger is returning to the hallowed carpets of St. Jakobshalle, Basel, to get his revenge on Nalbandian, Canas, or maybe even Berdych, if he has his way. I think it’s nice, or at lease wise, of Roger to play his local tourney. Remember the good PR he got last year when he treated all the ball kids to some celebratory pizza after winning the final? And from the lackluster local showing when Switzerland hosted the Davis Cup last February, Roger must feel the need to stoke the home fires when he can.
I was expecting a better website from the Davidoff Swiss Indoors – you know, all those stereotypes about Swiss perfectionism – but instead I found the typically sorry effort expected of a second tier event. For example, the opening Flash sequence features a photo montage of just four players – one being Henman (retired!) and another of Nadal (not playing!) The third is of Nalbandian in the years before he grew the ponytail and the fourth is a fairly recent shot of Guess Who. Make it to the tournament page and you’re treated to a static Photoshop collage made up of ’05 Fed, the same short-haired Nalby shot and (drumroll) GUILLERMO CORIA!!!! Uh, that’s the best you guys can do? Can you imagine the LA Lakers having a photo of Shaq on their homepage, or the Mariners forgetting to take A-Rod off the roster? Don’t they have interns in Switzerland?
Cruising the Davidoff site did lead me to an interesting discovery, mainly because I started wondering if playing in Basel would encourage Roger to pull out of Bercy, again. I found the highly superior BNP Paribas Masters site and, after nosing around the old draws, realized that Roger hasn’t played there since 2003! He’s never won the thing, either. So while Roger has given full lipservice to playing in Paris next week, despite his full calendar, I have to wonder – has he already booked the next Netjet to Dubai?
I’m sure everyone is busy following Roger in Basel, Kolya in St. Petersburg and Diego Hartfield in Lyon, but I urge you to check out the Bercy site if you get the chance. It is one of the best non-slam sites I’ve seen, with attractive design, a good promo video on the homepage (look, there’s ponytailed Roger smashing a racquet – how old’s that footage!) and some of the coolest promotional tennis art work I’ve ever seen. (There’s more like the one above on the tourney’s homepage – look to the top left corner, under the Billetterie/Ticketing graphic. Oh, and if you click on Ticketing, you get to see Monfils act goofy.)