Really, the reasons to keep watching tennis through the closing months of the season aren’t as good as I had hoped, but there are some interesting bits to follow nonetheless. The article mentions that Federer is poised to make yet another amazing season out of 2006. It seems as though injury could be the only thing to stop him, and I wouldn’t count on that because he is one of the consistently healthy top 10 players on the tour now. Also, Hingis is mentioned because she continues to do well (winning in Calcutta/Kolkotta, and pushing for another title this week). However, I think the more interesting reasons include this one:
Fruit no longer forbidden?: The WTA announced last weekend that it will conduct further experiments with in-match coaching at three European tournaments this fall. Consultations will be permitted between sets and during medical timeouts and bathroom breaks. (The latter could give a whole new meaning to the phrase “potty training.”) We plan to fully report the story as it unfolds, but for now, can we just say that this seems like odd timing? Several top players have been under fire this season for taking seemingly strategically unspontaneous breaks. Matches certainly don’t need any more distracting or potentially delaying tactics, and Banana-Gate took some luster away from Maria Sharapova’s U.S. Open win.
Seriously, if Sharapova can’t eat and drink without prompting, she needs this. However, she has pointed out that she thinks on-court coaching is a bit ridiculous and that she wouldn’t use it. I expect the daughter-daddy antics to continue. And honestly, what was up with the USTA saying that the banana and drink incident wasn’t an example of coaching? As I understand the rules, it was clearly a violation. Note how none of the former players doing commentating thought it was anything but coaching! Oh well, time to move on…
I also agree with this reason to keep following the season to its close:
Shy but not retiring?: Lindsay Davenport said she’d know by mid-November whether she’ll call it quits or devote herself to preparing for the Australian Open. She’s had decent results since her return in August, but Davenport made it clear at the U.S. Open that it won’t be so much about W’s and L’s as how she feels when she goes out to practice every day. Expect a low-key announcement either way.
I think she could pull off another season, but maybe she won’t want to push her luck with her injuries (the way Agassi may have).
For more reasons to stay tuned, check out the ESPN article here. They don’t mention the Roddick-Sharapova romance, but surely that is on everyone’s mind also.