Paris Indoors Crisis Center: Day 5
Mornin', folks. We have a Tennis magazine planning meeting this morning, so I won't be back with you until later. The big news this morning is that Martina Hingis, who has been slipping down the slope of the rankings so gradually and inexorably that you can almost hear her fingernails squeaking, is calling it quits. I'll post on that tomorrow for ESPN and have a more detailed appraisal here - after she officially makes her announcement. No point jumping the gun, right?
The big news at the French Indoors has been Andy Murray, who's blasted through to the Paris quarters and continues his drive to qualify for Shanghai. Murray was riding in a car that got rear-ended on the way into town from the airport when he arrived in Paris. He has complained that he subsequently experienced a little back pain. Is there anyone on the planet who has been in a traffic accident and hasn't experienced back pain, or neck pain? I once rolled a a car on Route 17, climbed out of the window (it came to rest on its roof) and, pausing for a moment, just shrugged and started walking toward the next highway exit. Didn't have a scratch on me, but the brand-new rental car had been transformed into something that looked vaguely like the string of vehicles I drove through my college years.
It looks like Murray is making a serious run at qualifying for the Shanghai Masters, although his life would have been made a lot easier if Ivo Karlovic had managed to upset top-seed-for-life Roger Federer (Karlovic bowed in three sets). Speaking of TMF, regular reader Jon R. alerted me to this sad and harrowing story out of Dubai, the UAE city-state that is Federer's base. Tennis has embraced as a showcase venue for its human wares - a relationship that has been bumped beyond the just-kissing stage by the fact that the movers and sheikers in Dubai apparently have unlimited amounts of dough, while the ATP and WTA tours (as I hear it), are usually in and out of financial trouble.
I don't know how many male ATP pros are gay; not a single one is openly gay. But there are many gay women on the WTA tour, including some openly, including Martina Navratilova and Amelie Mauresmo (a former champion at Dubai). I wonder how they feel about issue, and I wonder if similar laws and attitudes toward homosexuality prevail in Doha, Qatar, where the women will be playing their year-end championships after they leave Madrid.
Anyway, enjoy the tennis - I'll drop by later.