Brodie Answers Wertheim’s Mailbag

Posted by Brodie under: Brodie Answers Wertheim's Mailbag

26 Jun 2011

I emailed you back in May about Andy Roddick but Nole was more the popular subject back then. With Roddick not performing well in Australia, a no show for the French (which doesn’t matter anyway) and now out so early in Wimbledon; if he doesn’t do well in New York do you think he should throw in the towel?
— Brian Brown, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tennis is a weird sport when it comes to retiring and getting old. First off, once you hit 30, you’re old. That doesn’t mean you’re done, however, and a lot of players, male and female, clear out the mental cobwebs as they get older and get better in that sense. Just look at the remaining 16 on the ladies’ side for Wimbledon.

Should Roddick retire? Absolutely not. The fight is clearly there, as he wrote after he lost at Wimbledon. I think he’s still enjoying the sport, and enjoying competing. The US Open is obviously a very special place for him, and I’d expect him to probably finish off his career there, whenever that might be. And much like he wrote in that post, being top 20 in the world is like making the all-star team in another sport, he’s not exactly terrible at tennis all of a sudden.

Why do the Wimbledon organizers insist on disrespecting the Williams sisters — Serena especially — year after year by putting them on Court 2?
— Joe, Montclair, N.J.

I fall on both sides of this argument, if possible. I think there’s definitely something funky with some of the Wimbledon scheduling… but at the same time, the same can be said for a lot of big tournaments. Were Wimbledon wrong to put Serena on court 2? Not really. The issue for me is the fact that, I believe, the Jo match was on court 1, and the defending ladies’ champ was on court 2. Goofy.

I also don’t buy this “I’ll stop complaining when Murray plays on court 1” crap. Of course he’s going to be on centre every time, he’s the biggest appeal. Just like Roddick and Serena will be in New York. To sum it up, there’s nothing wrong with the premise itself, but in this situation, was probably a dumb move.

Novak Djokovic looks great. Is he on a diet or something? Why haven’t I heard anything about it from ESPN or anything?
— Dan, Toronto

Dan, dude. Google that shit. We Canadians are typically more informed than this. You’re letting me down here, man. Also, Wertheim, why are you even addressing this? Wasting mine and your time.

Give Rod Laver back the five years he lost for being — que horror— a pro, and his major totals are at Martina Navratilova/Steffi Graf levels and we never have this discussion … and he never gets credit from anyone for being the pioneer he was in bringing above-board professionalism to tennis, and the huge price he paid for so doing. To me, old phart that I am, the others will always be playing for second place alltime, and it’s not even close.
–Jon R., Waite Park, Minn.

Fair enough. Comparing across eras is very tricky, however. Laver will always be a god in this sport and should be treated as so; he’s an amazing historical figure and amazing man. However, he also played during a time where Americans and Australians dominated the sport. I’m so tired of the GOAT discussion. Moving on…

A quick proposal. Perhaps as a reward for being seeded at a slam, an unseeded male player must win three of five sets to defeat a seeded male player. However, if the seeded player wins two of the first three sets the match ends. They could run this through the first two rounds at least and leave matches between unseeded men as two-out-of-three affairs.
— Dan Martin, Burlington, Ky.

What the hell? No.

Watching Sabine Lisicki defeat Li Na in Round 3, I was struck by her awesome and powerful serve. I read that she has the record for the fastest serve of all time in the women’s game and was wondering where you would rank it overall based on all of its qualities? Does the fastest serve make the best serve of all time? Why is Serena’s “slower” serve often referred to as the Greatest Serve Ever in women’s tennis?
— Devaughn, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Interesting point, but there’s so much more to a serve than the speed. How often do you get it in? What kind of spin/movement/placement is there? Second serve? Serena’s has always had amazing feel on the serve, is typically at a solid percentage, and has a plus second serve. I think Serena’s is the best the women’s game has ever seen, but Sabine’s is definitely top 5 out there right now, and might even get better over time.

Has Wimbledon changed the rules for men’s doubles in other years? Going to best-of-three instead of best-of-five in the first week … due to rain? I know you’re an advocate of this approach in general, but switching to it in this case seems very random. I can’t imagine the PGA saying, hey, this year we’re going to play the first two rounds of the Masters from the ladies’ tees, just to speed things up. — Helen, Philadelphia

Yup, you’re right. But then again, Wimbledon is the only slam still doing 5 set doubles matches, so really they’re the odd one out. I think it’s a good move overall.

The grunting has been a huge issue in the women’s game, but as I sit here and watch Serena yell “Come On” at the top of her lungs, I am fired up. Maybe it is the effort or the passion, but it does not bother me. Do you think it is the consistency of the grunt that irritates the masses?
— Jeffery Nielsen, Surprise, AZ

Hey, original! The women do it, the men do it, it doesn’t bother the players, and I’ve always loved when a player grunts when they hit a winner and then extended it out after hitting a winner like “nnnuuuuaaaYEEAAAH”.

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