Mornin'. Sorry I was absent most of yesterday, folks. I was unable to get on Typepad, and the problem persisted up until a short while ago. Now it's cleared - poof! - like some kind of magic. It''s downright unnerving - we work for hours daily with technological gadetry; it's fast, efficient, simply wonderful. But when something goes wrong, there isn't a danged thing we can do to fix it. You just stare at the machine, maybe bang your head on the desk.
Which is one reason I love my old Allis-Chalmers tractor, the Orange Blossom. When she won't start or something breaks, a little wire, duct-tape, a screwdriver and wrenches usually do the trick and soon she's up and running again, like new. Sort of.
Anyway, I'll be back with a red-meat post (another excerpt from Hardcourt Confidential; I think we'll take you inside the ATP locker room this time). But first a few of us here, along with El Jon Wertheim, are going to have a farewell lunch for Sarah Thurmond, of Daily Spin fame. BTW, check the Daily Spin later if you want to see the most depressing 10-minute video ever made - Vince Spadea's "506," which the ever enterprising veteran created to commemorate his trip to an ATP Futures event, where he hoped to extend his career with at least one more win.
Sarah is quitting the city and moving back home to Austin, Texas. Great move, I reckon. Count me among the Don't Mess With Texas crowd. It's especially impressive to see how well Texas has been doing relative to the cesspool of corruption and growing bankruptcy that is New York - hands-down winner in the worst and most corrupt state government derby. Too bad the august and self-important New York Times is too busy trying to shape national and international policy to pay much mind to what is happening right on it's doorstep. You have to read the New York Post to see the depths of depravity to which our New York politicians sink. It isn't pretty.
Ah, but we're here to talk about tennis, right. And in that regard, I had an email from our very own Master Ace, giving us an overview of the Wimbledon doubles events. He couldn't write up the mixed (some tasks are too much, even for stat-happy, let-no-match-go unremembered MA. Actually, MA couldn't do a proper preview because of all the events at Wimbledon, the mixed is the last draw to be filled in and posted. There's a lot of last minute scrambling to get into MXD, and can you imagine trying to seed that event, given the musical chairs nature of MXD>
Feel free to comment on any aspect of the Wimbledon draw down below. I saw today that Ivo Karlovic, a low but dangerous seed, has pulled out of the tournament where he could potentially inflict the most damage with that massive serve. I'll bet Rafa, Roger, Andy and crew breathed a huge sign of relief when they saw that Dr. Ivo is a non-starter.
Anyway, here's Patrick's doubles report:
The most dominant team this year, Serena and Venus Williams (15-0), have won the Australian and Grand Slam events. Their win at Roland Garros completed a non-calendar year Grand Slam, a feat previously accomplished by just two teams: Martina Navratilova/Pam Shriver and Gigi Fernandez/Natasha Zvereva.
Also, with the win at the French Open, the Williams Sisters have won each slam twice in their career. Now, their main goal for 2010 is to win the calendar-year Slam (which Pete here would call the only authentic Grand Slam), something achieved only by Martina and Pam, in 1984.
Martina Hingis was the last individual to win the calendar-year Slam in doubles, in 1998. But she did it with different partners, so it's buried near the back of the slimmest volume in tennis history - the Grand Slam record book. If the Sisters win Wimbledon, they also would be the first team to win that title three consecutive times since Gigi and Natasha (1992-1994), and the first team to turn in a "Channel Slam" (victory in Paris and London) since Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama did it in 2003.
If the Williams Sisters somehow do not win the title, the most likely contenders for that honor are Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik(20-7), the recent French Open finalists, Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta (24-4),and toting have the longest winning streak in the WTA at 17 matches, Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands(5-1), and Nadia Petrova and Slammin' Sammy Stosur (11-6).
After watching matches on slow clay for weeks, we've arrived at the season of fast grass. Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic(36-8) finally scored that elusive French Open title, defeating Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes(21-10) in the final.
The Daniel and Nenad are the two-time defending champs at Wimbledon. If they manage a three-peat, they would be the first team to win three consecutive times since Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge won from 2002 through 2004. Also, they would be the first team to post a Channel Slam since Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde in 2000.
Bob and Mike Bryan (31-7), who won the Australian Open, are looking to win their 9th slam overall. A win at Wimbledon would be their 62nd career title - breaking their tie with the Woodies for most Open-era doubles titles.
The Bryans will be especially motivated to win at Wimbledon after suffering an unexpected loss in the 2nd round in Paris to Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares(14-12). Besides Lukas and Leander, Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman (7-6), who made semis at the French Open and at the 2009 Wimbledon, will be looking to make another deep slam run on a soft surface. John Isner and Sam Querrey(16-6) are slated to play and they could make a deep run with their big serves.
Thanks, MA, and thanks, Venus and Serena, for playing doubles so frequently. The fans love it, and it shows great support and respect for the game.