Three huge cups of coffee into this morning, and I was still regretting that I conked out before the fifth set of Hewitt vs. Nalbandian. Yeah, it was 3:00am and I have a day job, but COME ON! (as Hewitt would say) some things are worth drool and hallucinations.
Random aside: Before I drifted off, the commentators on ESPN spent some time ranking careers – Hewitt’s vs. Rafter’s and Hewitt’s vs. Chang’s. What about Hewitt’s vs. Safin’s? I think that’s a tougher one. Of course Safin has the edge in the “men want to be him, women want to be with him” category. (Meoworrrrrrrrow.) But Hewitt was No. 1 for a longer period and he won the big W, which is like, you know, the BIG F’ING DOUBLE-YEW.
Most would say Hewitt’s fulfilled every drop of his potential, while Safin let his run dry like a deflated baby pool. My heart says Safin, but I’m pretty sure Hewitt is the correct answer.
Speaking of careers I wish I had, imagine my excitement to receive a (mass) email from SI writer Jon Wertheim!
“As many of you know, I’ve spent the past two years working with a friend—and former doubles partner in the juniors—on a “Sports Freakonomics” book. I’m thrilled to say it’s finally out.”
Pre-order Jon’s book here.
The full title of Jon’s new book is: “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won.” A very good question, I think, digesting the incredible 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-0 comeback a seemingly feckless Fernando Verdasco staged over an on fire Janko Tipsarevic today.
Tipsarevic is a canny player. Whenever you watch him play, you learn something. He has the guile of say, a Martina Hingis, coupled with the intensity of a Lleyton Hewitt. He’s a big match player in a relatively small body. Today, as he lost match points in the fourth set versus a pretty much lackluster Fernando Verdasco, he laid bare the inner workings of a tennis player’s brain. His distress and disgust was plain as if the trainer sawed open his skull during the changeover and took a few pokes. That’s why he’s going to make a fantastic coach some day.
You also learn a few things when Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert (not to mention guru/trainer Gil Reyes) are sitting in the commentary booth together. Like: Once a player, always a player. Even though they were obviously pro-Verdasco, they couldn’t help but cry a few tears for Tipsarevic. “He deserved to win this match,” Cahill said, even as Tipsy let the serves fly by him at 0-5 down in the fifth set.
I really hope ESPN keeps Cahill and Gilbert in the booth as their respective proteges, Verdasco and Kei Nishikori, battle it out in the next round. That will be a learning experience for all of us!
Given my limited tennis-watching time (damnable day job!) I’m lucky that I stopped my DVR at the right time. After Nando pulled out that fourth set, I was treated to the first tiebreak between Venus Williams and Czech world #96 Sandra Zahlavova. The unknown Czech not only matched the decibel of the Williams scream, but the intensity as well. I was scared and impressed watching this little gal go toe-to-toe and screech-to-screech with a legend, taking the first set tiebreak 8-6.
It’s unfortunate that Venus added insult to her injury by wearing this nightmare of a Frankendress:
But really, who cares about the dress? Venus found a way to win in three: 6-7, 6-0, 6-4, despite limping, getting a mummy-wrap on her upper thigh and screaming in real pain with every stretch and twist of her mid-section.
I absolutely loved her post-match interview with the ESPN guy afterwards. “I was just going to keep going to the bitter end. It was pretty bitter, but it didn’t end.”
Hope she’ll treat us to a better dress in the next round, or I may have to reconsider my allegiances. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt: Go V!
Okay, I’m getting in bed and promising myself I’ll turn out the light before the end of Sharapova vs. Razzano. I will not search for Wawrinka vs. Dimitrov on Direct TV. Oh, and forget about Federer vs. Simon.
Yeah, I’ll tell you how I do with that. . .I told my boss today “I’m living in the future.” Or at least on the other side of the international date line. Somehow, that didn’t get me a comp day.