Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tennis news stealing headlines

By Jeff

It's rare that a tennis story gains major attention on a national scale. It's even rarer when there are two tennis stories creating buzz!

OK, one of the stories isn't about an actual match or something happening in the sport. It is just two tennis players having it out like I assume the women on those Real Housewives shows do.

First, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Rafael Nadal, lost in the first round of Wimbledon in straight sets. We're talking about the man who has won the fourth most Grand Slams in men's tennis. And he went out in straight sets to the No. 135 player in the world, Steve Darcis.

It was the most un-Nadal match I've ever seen Nadal play. His ground strokes were inconsistent. Shots he routinely makes were flying wide and deep. Darcis would be at the net and Nadal would have a running passing shot he usually makes look easy, and he'd botch it or put it in Darcis' reach.

The whole match just left those of us who watch a lot of tennis confused.

Nadal won't make excuses, but it was clear his knee was bothering him. The fact that the French Open and Wimbledon are a few weeks apart probably didn't help any. Nadal had a rough road to the French Open final, although he breezed through David Ferrer in the final. The tight schedule and the amount of tennis Nadal played probably in that time didn't do his knee any favors, and he already has a history of knee trouble.

Despite the obvious injury Nadal was dealing with, no one should take anything away from Darcis. He played a fun match. He didn't sit back and try to wait out Nadal and his knee, probably because trying to wait out Nadal might be the worst strategy ever. Darcis played an aggressive game where he was taking risks all over the court. It paid off big and he got the biggest win of his life.

Will Darcis keep winning now that he has knocked off one of the game's greats? I doubt it. It's not as if he is a young stud breaking through. Darcis is 29 and has been around for some time. The style of game he played to beat Nadal is hard to replicate. What happens when he starts missing those risky shots? Will he continue to try them, or will he back off?

Either way, he got the win of his career so it would be hard to say a second-round exit for a tournament he sneaked into would be a disappointing result.

While the Nadal upset puts tennis is a positive light, this other story reminded me of the old ECW when two women wrestlers would start fighting and play-by-play man Joey Stylez would scream "Cat fight!" at the top of his screechy voice.

Apparently it started with a Serena Williams interview with Rolling Stone, where Williams called out an unnamed top-five player on the women's side. Williams said, "She begins every interview with `I'm so happy. I'm so lucky' -- it's so boring. She's still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it."

While no player's name is mentioned, everyone assumes she means Maria Sharapova, since Sharapova is dating Williams' ex, Grigor Dimitrov.

Sharapova got wind of what Williams said and replied, "If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids," Sharapova continued. "Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that's what it should be about."


It's one thing to not like one of your rivals (I use that loosely since Sharapova has lost to Williams the 13 times the two have played), but to come out to the media and call her a home wrecker? That's pretty terrible, but it's also so juicy!

The man in question is coach Patrick Mouratoglou, but neither he nor Williams have confirmed they are having the relations that Sharapova is talking about.

 It's a silly story about the personal lives of the sports biggest female stars. You could argue that Williams is the biggest star in the sport, period. Why either of them are talking about each others' personal lives is beyond my comprehension, but think about it. Now there is something else to watch for at Wimbledon. People are going to be cheering like crazy for these two to play one another. It could bring in non-tennis fans to the sport just because these celebrity feuds/sleaze stories.

The only way this story could be more entertaining was if they did play, things got heated at the hand shake and they started brawling. Wait, take that, and now add Joey Stylez somehow breaking into the broadcast booth and shouting "Cat fight!".

We can dream.

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