Cincinnati


federer_nadal_indian_wells_sferturi_finalaThe 2 fair haired boys (above) are back at each other in Indian Wells.

BNP PARIBAS @ Indian Wells — Men’s Quarter-final (Approx. 10 PM EST)

Roger Federer:  – 140

Rafael Nadal:  + 110

…….
The h2h is still grizzly (Nadal, 18-10), which won’t be helped by Nadal’s precarious nature, because we don’t really see him making it too deep at the events where Federer can make headway in the h2h.  Just like when Roger was king, and he’d lose to Nadal at 2 Masters Finals and the RG Final every year–his reward for constantly going so deep–while Nadal hid from Roger at the events where Roger has a surface edge, like Cincinnati (where they’ve never met), the USO (where they’ve never met), and indoors (where they’ve only met 4 times and only at the YEC).

Tonight’s match, should Nadal keep his appointments, will be the 1st in the matchup since Key Biscayne in 2004 when the players have met before the semi-finals, and only the 2nd time ever.  Frankly, after watching Nadal handle Federer in Melbourne last year on Plexcushion (a 2nd terrible defeat against Nadal at Oz), we were shocked to see Federer have such an easy time with Nadal, when he beat Nadal 6-3, 6-4 here at Indian Wells.  Especially surprising also considering that in 2011 on a similar court with similar if not the same weather conditions–cool and windy–Nadal gave Federer what was probably the worst hard court loss he has ever suffered (6-3, 6-2 with a 62-39 edge on points).

But really, that was Rafa at his all time best, not too far removed from completing the career slam, and this is not.  Obviously Nadal is not himself, and any time when that’s the case, we’d favor Federer in the matchup.  Though Federer didn’t look all that hot himself in fending off Stan the Man last night.  Federer said that he and Nadal both “have issues” at the presser today.  Federer seems to have a lingering back issue that a lot of guys are speculating about.  We heard some good conjecture from we think Mark Knowles, who claimed that Roger is hampered, from what he can tell, on overheads and stretches.  But like the great Johnny Mac likes to say, the Fed back is an injury that hurts way more when he is losing.  We recall the whispers about Fed’s back within 48 hrs of the great man laying absolute waste to Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at Wimbledon, 2012.  Federer, a picture of health usually, has shown a tremendous ability to shake off back problems, which while they do nag, they have not proven degenerative.  And then you kind of say ‘well Roger doesn’t seem too bothered’ when he goes out and plays well, because unlike some, Roger has not spent his career whining about injuries.  Then Roger will lose to a Berdy or Soderling or Tsonga and suggest that he wouldn’t have lost if the back were not a factor.

For us, we see it as pride before the fall.  We don’t think Roger played hungry tennis against Soderling (RG, 2010) or Tsonga at SW-19 in 012, and against power players like that, the great man hasn’t looked good.  Sure, eventually a guy like Berdych is going to win a night match on Ashe and eventually Federer is going to lose one.  But the power is a problem, and seems to be Roger’s worst one, especially when really taking apart the recent losses and all the trouble he’s had with guys like Berdych and Del Potro, who serve big and who can control the baseline.  We don’t see it as as great a problem on quicker surfaces, then again, we didn’t think Dubai was that slow.  We didn’t think London was that slow at the YEC or any of the back end spots where DP got him at the end of 2012.

So we don’t actually see Nadal as the great threat to Federer he’s always been, and we won’t either, until or unless Nadal finds a way to make his legs his biggest weapon again.  Especially on a clay like surface as bad as this one.  Until that day, Federer has a more comfortable matchup here, back willing.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

One handed tennis prodigy Grigor Dimitrov (above), who is coached by Serena Williams new coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

Fitting that with Roger Federer, King of Tennis, King of One Handers, back on his throne, and with the TTC replaying the match 400 times, that they’d get back to, well, not live, but new tennis with one handed prodigy Grigor Dimitrov.  Dimitrov came in this week ranked 69th and comes off an odd retirement at Wimbledon in the second round versus Marcos Baghdatis.  Dimitrov had fought his way up to a high of world #52 in November, as his points accrued through the hard court season.  That Dimitrov has slid back down doesn’t bother us that much.  We think it more a case of him developing than backsliding.  It also doesn’t bother us that he’s playing in Sweden at Skistar.  On clay.  Theoretically, we like to forget about clay during the summer.  The summer is when players need to get ready for the hard court season, but since most players see the early part of the American summer tour as a joke, a lot of Europeans who want to play and stay close to home play Stuttgart and Bastaad.  With players like Almagro, Ferrer, and Robredo there, it’s a viable event where a kid can get valuable match play, and maybe notch some W’s.

Skistar Swedish Open — Semi-finals

David Ferrer:  – 800

Grigor Dimitrov:  + 500

__ __ __ __

Jan Hajek:  + 260

Nicolas Almagro:  – 340

……

And so Dimitrov is into the semi-finals in the early SF versus David Ferrer.  The kid has looked good this week.  He’s a huge underdog and we do not expect him to win, but we’ll take a play on him at that number any day, especially since we root for the kid.  He went to the semis at a vastly diminished Queens last month, but that’s still on his resume.  He is playing solid tennis.  Ferrer on clay is a tough matchup for the kid, for sure.  Last year in Cincinnati they met, and Ferrer, on a very fast hard court that suited Dimitrov, edged the kid 7-5 in the 5th.  Dimitrov should have a little confidence coming in, and perhaps David Ferrer gets tired once in a while?  The man is non stop.  It will be interesting to see how Dimitrov’s backhand holds up against the Ferrer forehand.  At any rate, we like Dimitrov’s progress.  We expect him to finish up here and then get to LA for the Farmer’s Classic.  Dimitrov should move up a lot this summer, as he has a lot more winnable early round matches, and we’ve seen him hold his own against pretty good competition, so now it’s a matter of breaking through.

As for the 2nd matchup, we’ll tell you that Nicolas Almagro makes a living on clay.  We would be very surprised if Almagro and Ferrer aren’t duking this title out on Sunday.  Almagro is a very talented one hander with questionable heart.  The same might be said of Dimitrov.  These guys are very similar, in terms of possible career trajectory.  Hopefully, Dimitrov can do better than Almagro has in big matches, though he has specialized well enough on clay to make the top 10.  We also think Dimitrov’s game translates better to fast courts, and we will be eager to see it.

Mercedes Cup (Stuttgart) — Semi-finals

Janko Tipsarevic :  – 180

Thomaz Bellucci:  + 140

__ __ __ __

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez:  + 300

Juan Monaco: – 400

…….

Let’s be serious.  Juan Monaco is a horrible favorite.  Lopez is a very talented player, and very good on clay.  This is a good opportunity to reclaim some rankings points.  Monaco leads the h2h 3-1, with Lopez’s win coming on clay.  We just kind of feel that in some of these early summer matchups, the fresher player may have a good chance.  So we will take a flyer on Lopez.

Tipsarevic-Bellucci is quite a matchup.  We like Bellucci.  That kid is a clay court specimen.  Bellucci plays a lot like Nadal, who Tipsarevic does not handle well.  Bellucci gets that lefty forehand spinning way out of the smaller man’s strike zone, and the key to the match will be how our favorite Techno tennis player handles that spin.  Bellucci took the only meeting in the series in 2009 at Indian Wells, which might play slower than Stuttgart.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Serena Williams (above), happy after obliterating Victoria Azarenka last night.

Well, in short, yes.  But as the betting type, we feel that some sort of case can be made for Mardy.  Mind you, not with our money, but farbeit from us to stop you from taking an American flyer on this rainy Sunday.  Before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga packed it in last night with an injured forearm, in the games he won, he followed an interesting blueprint which is probably the best way to attack the new king.  Basically, he did just that–he attacked the new king.  He struck serves at 140 mph, second serves that kicked up into the body at 110-115 mph, used his big forehand to push Djokovic beyond the baseline, and then got to the net.  Now the more than casual fans out there are probably worried about that game plan for Mardy, knowing his forehand is not in Tsonga’s league.  But as we are all probably sick of Killer Cahill at this point, he did make an excellent point about last night’s match, when he suggested that Tsonga had a real problem in backhand to backhand rallies with Djokovic, and that he should try to avoid those rallies, and be content to not lose points on that wing.

Fish is a backhand player, and his 2-hander, while safe, is much better than Tsonga’s.  If you’ve been watching the Olympus Series, you have to know that Ernests Gulbis outhit Fish on that wing at the finals in LA.  Gulbis is a high risk player, and he tees off on that backhand like he’s the second coming of Marat Safin.  But Fish wins that match if he doesn’t turn his ankle, nontheless, because his game is so solid and steady these days.  For guys in the top ten, aside from Djokovic’s all time great 2-hander, Fish’s is probably best.  Which is why Djokovic has had so much “trouble” with Fish in the past.

You think we’re crazy.  Fish is 0-6 for the career against Djokovic, and in his one matchup with the hulked up super invincible new Novak, he got steamrolled 6-1, 6-3 in Miami.  The record is actually a little worse than that, because in that 0-6, not counted was another loss suffered by Fish for America against Djokovic at Hopman Cup.  Here are the bright spots for Fish though.  That Defensepro tacky rubber courts in Miami are total shit.  Those courts are the tackiest, worst, slowest hardcourts in the world, even worse than Plexicushion, and they play slower than the red clay at Hamburg and Roland Garros.  Fish is a very good fast court player, and Montreal is playing very quickly.  Djokovic, playing unreal, obviously, is still a way better slow hardcourter, and really has not won much on fast hards, aside from one YEC.

That’s all about to change, obviously.  But Fish has earned his bread here by going backhand to backhand himself, by packing in to the net, and by outlasting guys.  He made 30 trips to the net against Tipsarevic (still looking for his first ever tournament victory at the age of 27, if you could believe that), and he totally broke down Wawrinka, whose beautiful one handed backhand usually holds up very well, even on clay, which is his best surface.  Fish has always played well on moderate hardcourts against Djokovic, nearly beating him twice at Indian Wells, and in their matchup at Hopman Cup.  Fish even administered a bagel to the Djoker once upon a time at Indian Wells, and has made two masters finals so far, one at Indian Wells versus Djokovic, and one last summer on the ultra quick track at Cincinnati, losing to Roger.

So we don’t like Fish here, considering him about the equivalent of a lamb before the slaughter, but at these prices, and considering that it is highly unlikely that Djokovic not lose a few matches this year at some point, and that he also entered the doubles this week, maybe you might want to put a few units on Mardy today and then pray like the Dickens.

Rogers Cup Masters 1000 Series Final — 3 PM EST (Montreal)

_____________________________________________________________________ 

Djokovic:  – 1200

Fish:  + 600

——

Serena:  – 360
Stosur:  + 280

……

Lady S looked best last night when the odds makers believed in her least.  She dusted Azarenka last night, who came out hard, but went out with a wimper.  Simply put, she is the shizz.  Serena is now 14-2 in her comeback, and today she goes for her first 1000 level win since coming back.  The hard part of the week, Azarenka, is behind her.  But Stosur is a tricky opponent for Serena, who is 2-3 lifetime versus the godess, which is more success than most have had.  We don’t care.  We like Serena in the spot.  We can go with the excuse posse, but why would we?  Serena played all night matches, Serena played too much tennis too soon, Serena is due for a letdown, blah blah blah.  Serena is here to win.  This may be the most unfavorable matchup she’s had since her return, but matchups bother her a lot less than mere mortals.  Plus, Stosur has been known to come up very small in the big spot.

Serena, by our math, moves up to 28/29 with a win today.  What a summer!  Has anyone ever seen a guy play so out of his mind like Djokovic, and a girl go from 180 to 28 in 3 weeks?  We’ve watched for a long, long time and these things, we’ve never seen.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Grumpy as we are, and as big as they come in terms of our patronage of Roger Federer (struggling above), there’s just no way we can sugarcoat this.  Any of it.  By the way, great job (that’s sarcasm) by ESPN, finding a way to not televise one of the best nights of live tennis in both the men’s and women’s games when they are the exclusive rights holder, going instead with boxing or little league baseball or NASCAR or poker or whatever it was they were trying to pass off as programming, and will do so again today, finding new ways to submerge our game in a cesspool of Americana.  But we were able to, thank God, pick up the feed to both matches live online, at the suggestion of one of our readers, who has a cool live streaming tennis site, and another site we found with a Google search.  http://watchonlinetennis.com/ and www.fromsport.com have been saving my life over here, and we are currently watching Stosur and Vinci live in the first ladies quarter-final from the Rexall Center in Toronto.

There are multiple feeds to every match available, and for Roger/Tsonga, we were lucky enough to find Robby Koenig’s and Jason Goodall’s feed.  Goodall asked Robby what was wrong with Roger while the players were snapping practice serves.  Koenig was pointed, essentially lambasting Roger for having “no plan B”, for continuing to go for his shots when they aren’t working, and for not showing a lot of fight, particularly in his Wimbledon loss to Tsonga.  We have to agree.  In a best of 5 set match, one has plenty of opportunities to change the momentum in match.  Slow the pace, speed the pace, call the trainer, take a bathroom break…do something.  I mean, we say what we want about Nadal, obviously, but we have to hand it to him for being able to change a match’s momentum.  In his last 2 major finals alone, Nadal changed the momentum at the end of the 1st set at Roland Garros that basically sewed up his 6th title there, and did so again, admirably, in defeat, to get the 3rd set from an unbeatable Djokovic at Wimbledon.

Roger?  It almost seems like he wants off the court at times, rather than digging in.  Sure he dug in against Nadal, 2 hours into the match, against his greatest rival, when the match was all but over.  But against Tsonga, up 2 sets to love, he just slid back down the mountain like an avalanche.  Okay, so we are in a mood and tough of on Roger here obviously, but we won’t apologize for it.  Was he due to lose a match at a major after winning essentially 175 and losing zero when up 2 sets?  Fuck that.  For us, it marks a different Roger.  And to see Roger in a return engagement with Tsonga here last night, watching him drop the first set in a breaker without facing a break point, and to, in the end, see the great man fall to the same guy not named Nadal or Djokovic in 2 of his last 3 matches?

We’ll come back to that.  Paul Annacone came in, and we know what he’s about.  I wouldn’t say he hasn’t made a difference.  Roger is hitting more aces, and has his serve percentages up since Annacone came on board.  Roger is serving and volleying more, and he’s winning a high percentage of those points as well.  Overall, he is getting to the net more and finishing pretty well there.  Last night in the second set, Roger’s set, he finished 12 points at net, and on this fast court, Tsonga could only get in 3 times.  These aren’t the problems.  For Roger, it’s pressure serving, and not bearing down on break points, a plague in big spots for him going back to the FO final in 2007 when he blew 18 chances, the Wimbledon final against Nadal in 2008 when he did not break serve at all (and let’s face it, Nadal’s strength is not his serve), and the 2009 extended fifth set final when it took him about 5 hours to finally break Andy Roddick’s serve.

It’s a much different denouement for Roger than for Pete Sampras, the closest comparable.  When Pete began to slide, he packed in to the net much more, often looked like a dead man walking, and was frequently passed like a sitting duck.  But Pete’s serve rarely faltered, and the great man could still muster up big man tennis when he served.  And he could still catch lightning in a bottle, showing enough flashes of brilliance to get him his last USO title as an unseeded player at the age of 31.

When just about every set is going to a breaker, and one successful chip and charge could be all you need to grab a mini-break and thus the set, then you can still look dead as a dog on certain points and win.  Like John Isner.  The guy looks spent, but pulls out big serves, deft volleys, and huge forehands when he needs them, and often, it’s all he needs.  Obviously Annacone has stressed this style to Roger, who seems content to abandon it.  And speaking of big forehands, these alarming trends could be stopped cold if Roger stepped up and took control of points with his forehand, rather than allowing guys to pepper his backhand, Nadal style, until the wing breaks down and he’s shooting and spraying the ball long and short and wide. 

Roger had a golden opportunity here.  Nadal was vanquished, paving a smooth road to the final, which Roger needed to make in order to defend his points.  Cincinnati is coming up, a place where Roger aabsolutely loves the court speed.  Roger is the two-time defending there, and he’ll need to defend those points too.  But moreso, it’s a place where he has probably looked the best overall in the last 2 years, bar none.  If he is not himself there, then what we have come to know of Roger being himself might be by the boards.  Today’s action below.

Masters 1000 Series Men — Montreal

________________________________________________

12:00 PM EST

———-

Mardy Fish:  – 160

Stanislas Wawrinka:  + 130

———-

2:00 PM EST

———-

Tomas Berdych:  – 170

Janko Tipsarevic:  + 130

———

5:30 PM EST

———

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:  – 360

Nicolas Almagro:  + 280

——-

Novak Djokovic:  – 1000

Gael Monfils:  + 600

—–

Canadian Open Ladies Championship — Toronto

____________________________________________________

1:00 PM EST

———

Galina Voskoboeva:  + 400

Victoria Azarenka:  – 600

———-

3:00 PM EST

——–

Agniezska Radwanska:  – 125

Andrea Petkovic:  – 105

——–

7:00 PM EST

——–

Lucie Safarova:  + 400

Serena:  – 600

……..

By the way, huge props to our girl Serena on a most gutty win last night over Jie Zheng.  Though it’s more easily willed in the women’s game due to diluted talent, Serena has been able to will some impressive victories since coming back, after having bad starts.  At Stanford against Bartoli, the French women we despise so much was dominant early on, blasting serve after ugly serve, and making us think perhaps she had Serena’s number.  And then Lady S pulled it together, reeled off about 8 consecutive games, and walked away with her first title since the comeback.  Last night, Zheng looked to be timing the ball like Ted Williams, and you might have said to yourself, ‘well, Serena’s gotta lose sometime.’  But Serena kept coming, doing whatever it took.  Shots on the run, groundstrokes on the line, a magical lob, angles that stretched the diminutive Zheng off the court, ridiculous passing shots.  That was probably the match she needed to win in order to claim her first Masters level event since she has returned, with Clijsters, Zvonareva, and Kvitova all losing this week.  And Kvitova’s loss, 6-1, 6-2 to Petkovic, is a further blight on the women’s game that should bolster even further the confidence of the Serena camp with The Open approaching.  I mean, could anyone imagine the last 3 Wimbledon’s Mens Champs getting dusted like that in their next action after SW-19?  Wouldn’t be happening.  If and when Serena dusts Safarova this evening, she’ll face Azarenka/Voskoboeva in the semis tomorrow, and then the Stosur vs. Radwanska/Petkovic winner in the final.  If our math is right, a winner’s trophy here could see her crack the top 30 in Monday’s rankings.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Rafael Nadal (above) after stunning 3 set upset, suffered at the hands of Croat comer Ivan Dodig.  For Nadal, who was outplayed, it was the first time losing in the 2nd round of a Masters 1000 level event since 2008 (Rome, Juan Carlos Ferrero), and the first time doing so on North American soil since 2007 (Cincinnati, Juan Monaco).

Rogers Cup — Mens Masters 1000 Series (Montreal)

_____________________________________________________________________

12:00 PM

———

Tomas Berdych:  – 275

Ivo Karlovich:  + 185

1:00 PM

——-

Stanislas Wawrinka:  – 200

Kevin Anderson:  + 150

2:00 PM

——

Novak Djokovic:  – 900

Marin Cilic:  + 500

4:00 PM

——-

Janko Tipsarevic:  – 180

Ivan Dodig:  + 130

5:00 PM

———

Mardy Fish:  – 175

Ernests Gulbis:  + 125

5:30 PM

——–

Victor Troicki:  + 110

Gael Monfils:  – 150

7:30 PM

———

Roger Federer:  – 275

JW Tsonga:  + 185

———-

Richard Gasquet:  – 200

Nicolas Almagro:  + 150

……

Rogers Cup — Women (Toronto)

_________________________________________________________

1:00 PM

——

Andrea Petkovic:  + 150

Petra Kvitova:  – 200

——–

2:00 PM

——–

Roberta Vinci:  + 200

Ana Ivanovic:  – 300

——–

MJ Martinez Sanchez:  + 250

Victoria Azarenka:  – 400

——-

3:30 PM

———-

Maria Sharapova:  – 600

Galina Voskoboeva:  + 400

——-

Vera Zvonareva:  – 150

Agnieszka Radwanska:  + 110

——–

7:00 PM

——-

Serena Williams:  – 1200

Jie Zheng:  + 600

——

Francesca Schiavone:  – 185

Lucie Safarova:  + 135

……

Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Andy Roddick, and the Bryans (above, from left to right).

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/patrick-mcenroe-resigns-davis-cup-captaincy-courier-declares-interest/

This weekend Andy Roddick finished what he started in impressive fashion, thumping the 2004 double Olympic gold medalist Nicholas Massu on Friday, and then clinched the tie early Sunday with a come from behind four set win against world #165 Paul Capdeville on a very impressive slow red clay court in Santiago, Chile.  Roddick, widely panned for his clay court prowess, was broken exactly once in each match.  That’s not to say he played dominant first strike tennis.  Roddick, who has grown tremendously as a player on clay and as a guy who thinks a match out–2 of his lesser abilities historically–showed off both skills on Sunday.  After dropping the 1st set to Capdeville on grotesque and horribly slow red clay that groundskeepers watered on changeovers, Justin Gimelstob, who The Tennis Channel was too cheap to send to Santiago, said from an LA studio (so low grade!) that Roddick had let his opponent grow too comfortable and would have to change his tactics.  Such a pronouncement 3 or 4 years ago would not have sat too well with the close Roddick observer.

First time captain Jim Courier did not bat an eyelash.  In fact, the proven winner and distinguished major champion, showed nothing but calm the entire weekend, even when Roddick’s opponent Capdeville, in his match Friday versus Isner, seemed to at worst cheat and at best display questionable sportsmanship at a critical stage of the fifth set on a break point which he lost.  Isner hit a winner from the back of the court which Capdeville did not play, claiming he heard an out call.  Right.  We were extremely annoyed.  It was a classless move on the part of the Chilean, an obvious ploy that we’ve seen tried on occasion by the desperate, but which we can’t really recall a big league chair buying.  Enter Friday’s clown show.  The chair called the ball a let, and Isner who couldn’t buy a break point all match, literally, until that point, didn’t get another.  Gimelstob once again provided the dead on commentary, reading our minds by taking the poor returning Isner to task.  G-Stob called Isner’s return game a glaring weakness, noting that the big man could not cry about calls when he generated so few opportunities for himself.  About 1 game letter, Isner began to cramp, and once his legs had tightened up, he was basically done, but he did manage 4 holds in the decisive 5th set, and with the stolen break, would’ve won the match.  In fairness to Isner, the kid shows tremendous promise, has steadily improved since taking the tour by storm out of the NCAA’s, and is the American who most deserves the Davis Cup Singles B role.  Unlike Sam Querrey, Isner shows excellent killer instinct, a volleyer’s touch, and doesn’t shrink from big moments.  Isner has had several breakthrough wins while Samurai Sam has yet to notch any of note, especially at the majors.  America’s only other option, world #15 Mardy Fish, is also someone we aren’t comfortable seeing in James Blake’s B role.  Fish is a very bad big match player.  If he was ever going to beat a Chilean in the big spot, it would have been at the 2004 Olympics where Massu bested a then chubby Mardy for the gold.  We don’t put a lot of stock in Olympic tennis for the sake of its actual tennis importance, but as an American sports fan, we don’t give Fish the option to lose to a Nicholas Massu with gold on the line.

Back to Roddick, who stayed level throughout a tense second set that really was a must win for both guys.  Roddick blew a late break chance, shook that off, went into the breaker and then blitzed Capdeville, getting out to a 5-0 lead which carried him to the set win.  It was all down hill from there.  Roddick dominated the last two sets in uncharacteristic fashion.  He had managed only one ace through 3 sets.  Roddick, who tends to play a passive style too much these days, was on the ‘perfect’ surface for it.  He gave up the net and counter punched to perfection, hitting more winners off of his usually defective backhand wing in one match than we can otherwise recollect.

Roddick has long been due a re-appraisal by the stubborn Andy-can’t-play-on-clay faction.  He’s come through plenty of times for America on the dirt, and more times than any other American in the storied history of Davis Cup, now having clinched 12 ties (5 on the road).  And Roddick has played several fine matches at Roland Garros in the last 2 years, making the round of 16 in ’09, which is something many doubted he’d ever do.  In our opinion, Roddick might be the best player of all time who has only won 1 major, and had a guy named Roger Federer never came around, Andy would probably have several major titles.  Losing 4 major finals to Roger Federer is nothing to be embarrassed about.  Roddick is one of few guys to ever have been #1, to have won a major, a Davis Cup title, and to have been in the top 5 for 5 consecutive years.  And unlike Roger, Roddick always seems to turn out for country. 

You all know of our devotion to Federer, but you should also know we try to tell it as we see it.  It doesn’t sit well with us that Federer abandoned his country’s Davis Cup squad.  We know his arguments, and we understand them.  He needs to pick and choose, he can’t risk too much exposure in a non major setting…we get it.  But Nadal can?  A frequently hobbled Nadal usually doesn’t duck Davis Cup, and to his credit, he has a championship to show for it, as does Roddick.  Federer doesn’t take Davis Cup calls from Severin Luthi, one of his own coaches, and while the rest of the men’s tennis world is sliding around on disgusting mud courts, Federer is hob nobbing with Pete Sampras and Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles (below). 

Again, we get it.  Federer is the all time mens singles major champion with the Swiss flag behind him, so what does it matter that he doesn’t have a DC title?  A tennis purist would say it does matter some.  There is no definitive greatest player of all time, and everyone from Borg to McEnroe, Sampras, and Nadal have won the DC, and in most cases, had at least one title they were the impetus behind.  The only greats we can think of that have not won the Davis Cup are the ultra selfish and loutish Jimmy Connors, and Federer.

Perhaps Federer, like Connors did, will feel the hole in his immortal resume, and come back to Davis Cup in his twilight years.  And unlike Connors, Federer is great enough to pull off such a thing and win a late DC title, maybe even into his early 30’s.  Maybe Federer has lost a bit of his ‘major edge’ because he isn’t as tested in Davis Cup lately and in the best of 5 set format as the last 3 guys who have beaten him at majors, Soderling, Berdych, and Djokovic.  As for the other Jimbo, our new skip, Jim Courier, we are ecstatic to have him (especially over the hack that is Todd Martin), and he must be ecstatic that Roddick takes his calls.   Let’s face it.  Courier is a winner.  He’s been there and done that.  Chile in a mud storm in front of the worst tennis fans this side of France while getting potentially tie deciding bad calls does not phase him in the least.  Not only does Courier play the same style, more or less, as the top American singles players, but he was a better player than all of these guys, and has greater insights about top tier tennis than the former DC coach, Patrick McEnroe, who had less talent than Courier, less desire, a lesser work ethic, less athletic ability, and we think, a lesser mind for the game in general.  We think it’s not a coincidence that the national junior program is foundering with PMac at the helm.

Next up for the US squad will be Spain in the quarters, about one week after Wimbledon concludes.  Before anyone gets around to anointing Spain, let’s all keep squarely in mind that home countries have an enormous advantage in Davis Cup.  In Courier’s first home tie as captain, he will decide the venue and the surface which as yet, is unannounced.  The surface is sure to be a fast hardcourt, and though there might be attendance concerns, in a play from the British play book, we think it would be very wise to consider Flushing Meadows for the tie, the way that Britain tries to play their ties on Wimbledon’s centre court.  America always chooses hards, and for a few years now, have only had the pick off-season, choosing slick indoor surfaces in Baltimore, Birmingham, and Austin.  You can’t really play this thing indoors in July.  Should the Americans opt for a more intimate setting, we think Cincinnati would be perfect.  The Cincinnati Masters Series has long been considered the fastest outdoor tournament in the world.  We can think of no recent Spaniard who’s had any success there. 

Also, we love the dynamic created by forcing the Spaniards to play on fast hards in the shadow of Wimbledon, especially if Nadal goes deep at SW-19.  In fact, we can hear Nadal crying about the turn around and surface switch from here.  Don’t be surprised if he asks out.  If he doesn’t, we look forward to seeing him finally clash with Roddick on a fast hardcourt, and we like our other guys as well versus the Spaniards on the hards with stars and stripes flying.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)