Friday Fourhand: Fed's death threat, Safina's gripe & more

by: Jonathan Scott | October 05, 2012

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Here, a sprinkling of items making headlines in the tennis realm for one reason or another (or for debatable reasons, in some cases). Enjoy this, another weekend of Asian-swing finals, all ye Spin readers.

Dinara Safina appeared like a phoenix from the (likely) ashes of a career this week, to defend Victoria Azarenka's No. 1 ranking against detractors who point out Vika's 1-10 record against Serena Williams and her 0-4 mark in 2012 against her rival. What amazes the Spin is that Safina's take is still considered relevant as to the state of the pro game. She so often tweets Instagram photos of her dinner during key times in top-tier tennis events. It matters not who is ranked No. 1, really, aside from endorsement contract dollars sometimes involved. The de-facto No. 1, the truly best player this season, is Serena. Still, Vika's landmark season start (that 26-match winning streak and the Australian Open title) can't be discounted.

An online commenter posting under the unbearable username "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07" made a threat against Roger Federer's life this week, and security around him has understandably been upped in light of that. Safe will always win over sorry when it comes to these odd and cowardly threats and attempts. The one who posted the inflammatory words may feel powerful now. He (or she) should not, and should rather feel very small.

Novak Djokovic predictably came out in favor of grunting (or at least came out as not against it), a sign that his friendship with Head commercial mate Maria Sharapova will remain firmly intact. He invoked the specter of his sort-of countrywoman Monica Seles (a native of Yugoslavia, Seles left for the United States before that nation split into Serbia and more national pieces) and basically blunted the criticism as not amounting to much. And, indeed, the Spin's stance is still that those who wheeze and whine about grunting are adding as much noise and bluster to the matter as those who actually participate in the shrieking and such. To be sure, grunting is an issue. But it's much ado about ... something, when it comes to this. It's just not the most pressing item facing the WTA at the moment.

When it comes to golf, Andy Murray says that Mardy Fish is bar none among inter-sport players on the ATP tour. What's more, he'd like Europe's chances in a Ryder Cup-styled event between American and Euro-based tennis pros playing golf. And this leads the Spin to this week's classic archived video, a clip featuring Andre Agassi out on the links and pining for the chance to go shirtless.

Okay then, Andre. Those were different days for him, days in which his golf swing resembled something of a backhand tennis scoop. Enjoy that blast from the past, and see you here next week.

—Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9)

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