1. In translation of a Spanish interview, Federer apparently disses clay court tennis, sparking another Fedal war. The offending paragraph is below.
A: Why hasn’t clay been as easy for me as the other surfaces? Why haven’t I been as dominant? It’s because on the other surfaces I can play my game without thinking. Everything happens naturally: I can go from defense to attack when and how I want. On clay you don't need a volley or a serve. You just need legs, an incredible forehand and backhand, and to run after every ball. I'm not trying to take anything from Rafa: he has been successful in other surfaces as well. But on clay you can get away, you can be competitive even with a very incomplete game. I'm not saying it's so simple, but it's too easy. I’ve had to learn to control my aggression. I love to end points quickly, with a couple of shots. On clay, you can do it 50% of the time, but if you take too many risks you're gifting the other 50%. I learned to play from way behind the baseline and to use angles. It was a lesson in geometry. On clay you can play well and lose. What you have to do is to play smart.
The main thing that offended Fed haters was his apparent claim that clay courters have an incomplete game. But reading the complete sentence, he's not saying that. He's saying that you don't need to be top-notch in all the strokes to be competitive on clay. It's been received wisdom in tennis that a net game is less necessary on clay. Serving heat on clay doesn't help as much. The mantra that consistency wins is accentuated on clay.
But let's suppose he is claiming clay courters are incomplete players. Hmm, let's think about it.
- Fed is an all-court player CHECK
- An all-court player is comfortable playing on all areas of the court and moving horizontally & vertically CHECK
- Fed's version of all court play means he likes to take the ball early and rush the net CHECK
- Clay courters tend to stand further behind the baseline to wait for the heavy balls to die rather than shank it by standing closer to the baseline CHECK
- Therefore for Fed to adapt to clay, he has to play further behind the baseline which is not his preferred style of play CHECK
- Therefore since clay courters stand further behind the baseline, it's harder for them to transition to net which explains why the drop shot is such a great weapon but it also explains why they're not the best volleyers CHECK
As one might say, this is too logical for anyone to accept. So, Fed, don't ever change. Your haters will still hate you no matter what you do.
(BTW, when I hack the ball, I hate standing more than three feet behind the baseline. So in my limited way, I know how Fed feels.)
2. One of my favorite players as a kid was Ivan Lendl. I just loved how he would peg McEnroe at the net. Yeah, Americans loved to hate him. But the man had some adorable idiosyncrasies: the liberal use of sawdust in an era before overgrips, picking his eyebrows to stall for time, the precisely customized racquets, a flock of German shepherds at his home, an exact duplicate of the US Open hardcourt made by the same crew at his home, etc. The man had serious OCD!
At any rate, the racquet manufacturer he used to endorse is back in business: Kniesl.
3. In WTA news, unpredictability continues to be predictable. The marquee names continue to drop like flies: Kuzzy, Masha, Caro, LenaD, Vika, Baby Hippo, Allez Bitch, Pens and Agi. Hrrmph! At least the Williams sistas, Nails and Sam are still in it (for now).