Wimbledon

I’ve been watching Wimbledon instead of reading
newspapers and listening to radio news the last couple of weeks,
so I can’t tell you anything about either Michael Jackson’s death or the
situation in Honduras.

But I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the tennis:

  • The women’s singles draw would have looked like less of a
    vast wasteland populated only by the Williams sisters if they
    had shown us some of Elena Dementieva’s matches in the early
    rounds. American TV networks have trouble believing that people
    want to see good tennis, rather than Americans playing tennis.
  • I’ve always liked Tommy Haas, and I’m glad he managed to win
    some difficult matches this year. He’s had a history of playing
    better than his ranking but then losing in 5 sets when he plays
    a higher-ranked player. But this year he won a 5-set match in
    the third round against Marin Cilic and a 4-set match in the
    quarter finals against Novak Djokovic, and played Roger Federer
    almost even on serve for two sets in the semi-finals.
  • Of
    course, one hopes that this is because he has his head together
    better and not because he’s changed his doping regime, but I
    don’t think we should be cynical about that without some
    evidence. This is of course what the tennis association hopes
    we’ll think, and the point of the article is that they’re
    refusing to test so that we won’t have any evidence to think
    with. That is, they’re testing only during the big tournaments,
    and apparently the doping that would be likely to help happens
    during training.
  • There are some good young American players coming up —
    18-year old Melanie Oudin qualified and made it to the fourth
    round, by beating sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovich in the third
    round, and the Men’s junior tournament had 3 Americans in the
    quarter-finals.
  • They really have to look at the computer program that
    determines the rankings. Nobody watching Dinara Safina (seeded first) play
    this year would believe that she should have been ranked above
    any of the next three seeds (Williams, Williams and
    Dementieva). What happens is that if you play lots of
    tournaments and get to the fourth round, it outranks playing
    fewer tournaments and winning them. And the fact that the
    Williams sisters (who play fewer tournaments) are still
    there and most of the people who’ve been ranked above them for
    the past 10 years aren’t should make them think about whether
    the rankings should be giving points for playing too much.

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