Well, it's been an eventful week for us. A tough one for me, as we're still trying to get some child-care issues sorted out, forcing me to do some midnight patrols, both posting and checking comments. It was well worth it, though, and now we're off to game-rich Andes for the weekend. If you're interested in where the game is going, check out Colette Lewis's website, the hardest working journalist in junior tennis. She at the Orange Bowl, a showcase event of the junior game. Steggy's been going at it hard here, too, and as a result we're going to have some fun stuff coming on-line in the coming days.
For hoots, I'm pasting in below the 10 "What Were They Thinking?" moments that I posted over at ESPN yesterday. If you're tapped out at the other posts, why don't you add some moments of your own to this list, and consider this an open invite to go off-topic - and de-lurk - as well.
Tribe, you're the best!
10. Nicholas Kiefer's Australian Open racket toss: Trailing 40-30 but 6-5 up in the fifth in a tense Australian Open quarterfinal, Kiefer tosses his racket high in the air as Sebastien Grosjean shanks an easy put-away into the net. The racket even falls on Grosjean's side of the court. Grosjean immediately protests to the unsympathetic umpire, then insists on summoning Grand Slam supervisor Mike Morrissey -- all to no avail. Morrissey refuses to give the point to Grosjean, or call for a replay. Bad move, Nicko. And umpire. And Morrissey.
9. ATP Tour announces experiment with round-robin format in '07: Just what the tour needs at a time when it's awash in complaints that the top players are overextended -- a format that demands that they play more, often with less on the line. Note to ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers: Hello-o-o-oh?
8. Novak Djokovic is getting thoroughly waxed (can you say Simonized?) by Rafael Nadal and then quits their French Open quarterfinal (due to injury) after losing the first two sets: In his presser, he declares that the shame of it all was that he felt "in control" of the match; had Nadal right where he wanted him! Poked with a stick, Nadal finally responds: "I don't know. If he say that, it's OK. I don't need to answer that, no? But he had the problem in the first game or what? Because I don't remember, no? I have break, break, all time up in the score, no?"
7. David Nalbandian, a former singles finalist and the No. 4 seed at Wimbledon, requests an early start for his third-round match with clay-court specialist Fernando Verdasco, so he can be done in time to catch the Argentina-Germany World Cup soccer clash: He gets his wish. After losing the first two sets in tiebreakers, Nalbandian mails in the third, 2-6, but gets home in time to plop down in front of the tube.
6. The USTA honors Billie Jean King: In a sometimes moving ceremony, the USTA names the National Tennis Center (home of the U.S. Open) for her (a good thing), but fails to have a single tennis action shot of her in the extensive video dedicated almost exclusively to celebrating her role as a feminist icon and social pioneer (a bad thing).
5. Jelena Jankovic argues her way out of the U.S. Open finals: Up a set and with a 5-2 lead on dynamo Justine Henin-Hardenne, Jankovic finds a truly creative way to blow it by getting into just the kind of distracting, line-call controversy that the Hawk-Eye electronic officiating has all but eliminated.
4. Top ATP pros shill for Dubai: This cash-rich, publicity hungry, burgeoning city-state is part of the United Arab Emirates, and said to be home to some of the shadiest -- and most dangerous -- financial and import-export dealings. (Can you say "nuclear secrets"?) Part of Dubai's public relations offensive consists of hosting a tennis tournament, and showering millions of dollars upon the likes of Roger Federer and Andre Agassi, who then rhapsodize about the wonders of Dubai and slap on the "My Other Car is a Camel" bumper stickers. Yet Dubai is routinely accused of human rights abuses, and forbids holders of Israeli passports to even enter "the Emirate" (read, "kingdom"). Sorry, fellas. I love you, but no excuses. None whatsoever.
3. Roger Federer forgets to step to his left: At the threshold of tennis immortality, versatile Roger faces his nemesis Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open -- and then somehow forgets that the best way to deal with Nadal's lefty service juice is to step around the backhand service return and clock a big forehand. Nadal wins the match, and defers Federer's coronation as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) for at least another year or two.
2. Justine Henin-Hardenne quits cold: Tired of being slapped around by an inspired Amelie Mauresmo determined to slough off her reputation as the eternal bridesmaid, H2 quits near the end of the Australian Open final to deny Mauresmo the full satisfaction she has earned, and deserves. Sorry, Justine. No excuse. None whatsoever.
1. Sports Illustrated snubs Roger Federer: This isn't about Dwyane Wade, everybody loves him. Everybody also knows that Federer was the Sportsman of the Year. End of story.