Monday, July 20, 2009

Face Of The Day

Spain's tennis player Rafael Nadal talks to the press during his first trainning after his knee injury on July 20, 2009 in Manacor, on the Spanish Island of Mallorca. Rafael Nadal, who has lost his French Open and Wimbledon titles, as well as his world number one spot, in a summer of injury misery, plans to return at the Montreal Masters in August.

Spain's tennis player Rafael Nadal talks to the press during his first training after his knee injury on July 20, 2009 in Manacor, on the Spanish Island of Mallorca. Rafael Nadal, who has lost his French Open and Wimbledon titles, as well as his world number one spot, in a summer of injury misery, plans to return at the Montreal Masters in August.


The dog days of summer are upon us.

Last year, Gilles Simon and Juan Martin del Potro stormed into the Top 10 with some surprise and some expectation. Something tells me only one of the will defend a good chunk of points he earned in the lead up to the US Open, and I can't even say I'm sure about that.

How will the recent world No. 1 fare coming back from rehabilitation and family disarray?

How will the top American Andy Roddick recover from an injury absence and the heartbreak of another Wimbledon title that got away?

Will Serena Williams stay healthy and play a fuller summer than she has in recent years?

How will the new mother Kim Clijsters, returning from her relatively brief retirement, handle all the new girls?

Will Venus Williams finally get herself back to a US Open final?

Will Elena Dementieva?

It seems to me the only top player around which there is no question mark is none other than Roger Federer.


Karen said...

Good analysis Craig, except that I disagree with the Roger bit. I think the expectations on him this summer are greater than ever. He will have to answer the question as to whether he is as effective when Rafa is around as when Rafa is not around? Will he be super motivated to do a 3 slam year now that he will be a father? What about AndyM who has a lot of points to defend and who is being touted as possibly getting the No. 1 spot in or around August. What about Novak who also has points to defend this summer. For sure everyone knew about Simon last year, I dont think he will repeat this year. JMDP may just surprise us. Depending on how he does in the MS events this summer, I see him bettering him performance at the USO this year. He has really improved. On the women's side, I think Serena will be super motivated to defend her title at the USO. She will not play a fuller schedule than she has always played each summer. Road Trip be damned. Venus will not get to the finals of the USO again. LenaD had her summer run and she missed the cut again. Dark horse for USO late run is Sveta. Dinara will perhaps make her usual semi apperance at the majors, but will stall as per usual. The Serbs on the women's side are one and done. CWoz plays too much. She is playing every tournie in the USO Series. Girl is crazy. Azarenka if she is healthy should do well. KimC I am not so enthralled. She had on quite a bit of weight when I saw her playing against Steffi at Wimby this year. Heres hoping she has dropped all the junk by now. Her serve was good and her groundies were excellent and she still had the same foot speed. Should be interesting.

Pamela said...

Good summation Karen. I have to agree with you on most points. I don't think new father Roger will be gung ho on reaching any more milestones at the USO this year. Just a feeling.

I think Rafa is downplaying his expectations with good reason. He needs rhythm and it takes time, but I think he'll do just fine on the hard courts anyway. Simon, done. No more.

I don't think Andy M will surge past anyone just yet. Djokovic is such a question mark for me. He can be scary good and then he can look lost.

I'm already bummed that My Baghdaddy and Ernie lost today. It's just depressing. I'm trying to have faith but ... blah.

JMP will not repeat all of his last summer success, but will still have a decent run I think. I'm sort of leaning towards Serena defending the USO and winning just one title outside of that which may the Bank of the West. Elena? She played the match of her life literally, and it was still not enough. Dinara? Soft draws are awaiting her fall. She can bludgeon her way through most, but we'll see.

Ultimately, I'd like to see Serena/Rafa as USO champs and ending the year as #1. That would be awesome.

Karen said...

Pamela, I think Rafa has to ensure that he does not return until he is good and ready. This points thing is really the killer for most of the players on tour. I think that is what has failed AndyM in the past and will continue to fail him. A lot of players look from the outside and think well if he can do it, then maybe I can as well. Roger and Rafa have both done it already and like I said earlier both guys are now caught up with other things in their lives, at least Roger is. As to JMDP I recall last year I was trying to figure out what all the hype was all about. This year, I know. The guy has improved in leaps and bounds and for someone so tall he really does move well. Plus he seems to have developed a bit of a net game, which is very good to see. I notice that neither of us has mentioned AndyR. I think for right now until AndyR comes out and plays, which to my mind may not be until the MS tournies, we have to adopt a wait and see attitude. I thought when I checked the scores Baggs was leading in the second set. Did he lose? As to Ernie, I was never really sold on him so ... I am hoping to see Grigor this summer, if he can remain injury free. I am a sucker for a one-handed backhand.

Pamela said...

Karen, you're right. I'm on a wait and see with Andy R. He's always a threat on hard courts.

Ernests, my poor Ernie - he's got so much game but ...

I like Grigor Dimitrov's game as well. My two young hopefuls are Mischa Zverev and Grigor. Both may amount to nothing, but I love watching them. Baghs, I don't know - he lost it in the 3rd 6-4.

I saw pictures of Nalbandian. He looks good. No gut. It's getting close to that time where he takes everyone to the woodshed after the USO. He just does it because he can. If he wasn't recovering from surgery, I'd expect it at the indoor events at least.

dapxin said...

Will Elena Dementieva?

*lol. *cries*. *confused*. *understood*.

Mad Professah said...

I would be surprised if Raja does well at this US Open. In fact, I would NOT be surprised if that is the tournament the insane 21 semis in a row streak ENDS.

He has had an insanely emotional 2009, winning the French (finally) and then breaking The Record.

Then becoming a father 3 weeks before the event?

I think he will be LUCKY to make it to the second week for the first time in more than half a decade.

But I think he will come back in 2010 with absolutely no pressure and it will be a sight to see.

I actually think both Andy's have a good chance of winning this major.