Posts Tagged ‘Wimbledon’

NBC’s Sports Report: no mention at all of U.S. World Cup soccer game? Disgraceful.

June 26, 2010

I just watched an NBC Sports Report during Wimbledon coverage at 1:55 p.m., five minutes before ABC’s coverage of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Ghana was about to begin.  Andrea Joyce first did a promo for the U.S. Track and Field Championships, then did a promo for some Mountain Dew extreme sports event.  Then she said, “Let’s start with baseball.” After doing baseball stories for a couple of minutes, she finished the “Sports Report” without even mentioning the soccer match.  Shame on NBC. Sure they have competing coverage of another sport, but they could have at least mentioned it – even in just one sentence.  That was disgraceful.

Isner and Mahut in epic battle at Wimbledon – longest match in history

June 23, 2010

John Isner of the U.S. and Nicolas Mahut of France are playing a marathon tennis match at Wimbledon. Isner leads Mahut 41 games to 40 in the fifth set.  It’s the longest match in tennis history.  Records have already been set for the longest set and match ever in number of games and length of time. Also most aces combined.

Isner, the 23rd seed, leads the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 41-40.  Watch it on ESPN2 to see history being made.

I once played a long set in a match that would determine who got the final singles spot on the high school tennis team. The loser would play number one doubles.  You had to play an 8-game pro-set, so the first to 8 games would win, but you had to win by two games.  So I ended up losing, 17-15.  It was my worst loss ever, absolutely devastating, because I felt sure I was going to play singles.  My mistake was going for a water break up 15-14.  I lost some momentum then.  But I ended up going 12-3 in doubles.  In singles I probably would’ve been closer to .500.

When will it end?  I have to go now, but I’ll guess that it’ll be something like 48-46.  Unbelievable and awesome.  What a great sports day with the earlier drama of the U.S. beating Algeria in soccer in the final minute to advance in the World Cup.

Federer the best ever? Not so fast.

July 7, 2009

Yesterday, Liz Clarke wrote an article in the Washington Post about Rod Laver’s opinion on whether Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time.  Laver was non-committal; saying just being the best in his era should be enough for Federer.  Nowhere in the 565-word article does Clarke even mention Pete Sampras’ name.  This is an egregious omission, even though in the main article about the Federer-Roddick match, she did mention Sampras as one of the greats.

She says, “Both names, Laver and Tilden, have long been bandied about in the debate over who is the greatest to play the game. And a third — that of Roger Federer — was listed alongside even before Sunday, when Federer raised the mark for excellence by winning a record 15th major title.”  Stating “a third” without mentioning Sampras, who won 14 major titles, is very misleading – it makes it seem like there are now three great ones on the Mount Rushmore of tennis.

I’m not saying Sampras was better than Federer, but I think it’s premature to say that Federer is undisputedly the greatest just because he has one more major than Pete.  I am saying that Sampras was equally as good as Federer.  Sampras had Andre Agassi as a rival while Federer had Rafael Nadal.  Sampras was 4-1 vs. Agassi in Grand Slam finals while Federer is 2-4 vs. Nadal.  Plus, Nadal has been great for only a few years while Agassi was a top contender for most of Sampras’ career.  Sampras also faced Jim Courier, who had four major wins, whereas during Federer’s era, no one other than Nadal (six) has more than two.

As for their strokes, they are about even.  Neither had a discernable weakness, while Pete’s serve was a little better than Federer’s.  True, Federer won the French Open and Sampras didn’t, but the surface and balls at the French Open have been changed to give non-clay court specialists a better chance to win.

I also take issue with the talking heads at ESPN who automatically agree that Federer is the best without even mentioning that there could be a debate.  Maybe after all is said and done, Federer will have close to 20 majors and it will be more clear, but not just yet.  Just because someone has more Grand Slam titles than another player doesn’t make him better.  Agassi won eight and John McEnroe won seven.  Agassi also won all four majors and Mac didn’t.  Does that alone make Agassi better than McEnroe?  Not necessarily.  For what it’s worth, McEnroe also won 9 doubles majors.  McEnroe was also much more dominant than Agassi. True, Fed has been more dominant than Sampras, but the field isn’t as good.

By the way, Bjorn Borg should also be in the discussion, though my personal opinion is that his game was too one-dimensional as a baseliner to be considered the best.  Still, he had 11 Grand Slam titles, and he won all of them on the two most diverse surfaces:  five on grass at Wimbledon, and six on clay at the French Open.  Plus, during Borg’s era he had to play against McEnroe, Connors (eight majors), and Guillermo Vilas (four).

A lot of people think Martina Navratilova was the best female player ever even though Steffi Graf had 22 Grand Slam wins and Navratilova had 18 and Chris Evert also had 18.  I personally believe Graf was the best, but the point is, why do people automatically assume that Federer is the best just because he has the most majors, while most media types would say Martina was the best female player, so they use different criteria for women?

Back to the talking heads – Today on Pardon the Interruption, Mike Wilbon said that there was absolutely no debate that Tiger Woods is a better athlete than Federer.  Really?  Tiger walks a course and hits a stationary ball.  Federer is constantly moving for hours at a time and he needs to make a lot of quick movements in a split second.  He faced serves against Andy Roddick at Wimbledon that were up to 140 miles per hour.

It’s not even a debate.  Tennis players are much better athletes than golfers.  Would Tiger be able to move on the court like Federer?  No way.  You can be out of shape and still succeed at golf, but you need to be fit to play tennis.  Tiger may be a great athlete, but don’t say he’s unquestionably a better athlete than Federer.

Best Tennis Player Ever: Sampras or Federer?

December 4, 2008

Roger Federer is often called the greatest tennis player of all time.  Federer is only 27 years old, and with 13 Grand Slam titles, so he almost certainly will break Pete Sampras’ record of 14.  What bothers me is that Federer’s dominance of the sport over the last few years has people claiming he is the greatest player of all-time.  Why are people so quick to say that whoever is on top today is the best, forgetting about yesterday?  All I’m saying, is give Pete a chance.  Sampras won 7 Wimbledons; Federer has 5.  Neither won the French Open.  Both players had a great rivalry – Sampras had Andre Agassi and Federer had Rafael Nadal.  However, Sampras was 4-1 vs. Agassi in Grand Slam finals while Federer is 2-4 so far vs. Nadal in finals.  The two players’ careers were remarkably similar, but Pete still has the most Grand Slam titles.  So you can say Federer is a truly great champion but at least say Sampras was just as great.