While recovering from the almighty pain that is Australia to NYC jet lag I thought this would be a good time to jot down a few post-Aussie Open and pre-Davis Cup thoughts.
1. It’s hard to get my head wrapped around the physical effort I saw on Sunday night in Melbourne, even a few days later. The tennis Novak and Rafa were able to summon late in the match boggles my mind. Ivan Lendl and I were talking Monday morning about it on our way back to the States and both of us were shaking our heads and asking the same question…how could they possibly not cramp up out there? Ivan and I were known to be among the fittest of our time but neither of us felt like we could have possibly made it through the way those guys did. It was a hot night (Novak changed his 1st shirt at the 30 minute mark of the match) and the rallies were brutal from the get go. Whatever it is that these guys are drinking/eating on court, I want some immediately to stave off my jet lag.
2. The bar keep being raised in the men’s game and it is an absolute blast to see the guys respond. Rafa adds weight to his racket in the off season to directly combat Novak and Murray hires Lendl to get over the Slam final hurdle and opposition. I’m not exactly sure what Federer is doing but he’s surely not sitting on his hands waiting for these guys to get worse. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better in the men’s game (Federer-Nadal) along comes Novak with Murray nipping at their heels.
3. Women’s tennis could really use solidification at the top to induce some rivalries. They’re up against tough competition with the men but it would be terrific if Azarenka became a multi-slam winner this year and had Kvitova rise up to meet the challenge. We need a storyline. If Serena can stay healthy and active, having her battle against the new guard would make for compelling viewing. I am not of the mind set that having so many different slam winners is exciting. For the good of the game, we need one of those slam winners to really step up. I don’t care who it is and I know they are trying, but still…please, someone step up.
4. Whatever the issues are with the perception of tennis popularity in the US, there is no such issue in Australia. Tennis dominated the media and water cooler landscape for 2 weeks down there. I did a lot of interviews while I was there working for their network, Channel 7, and it was a nice change to not hear the question “so what’s wrong with tennis? Why has tennis lost its popularity?”
5. Davis Cup’s 1st round is next week. We travel to Switzerland this Saturday night. We announced our team which will be Mardy Fish, John Isner, Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison. Bob Bryan’s wife, Michelle, is giving birth to their 1st child this week so Bob is not available. Andy Roddick was not planning on joining us and with his injury in Australia he would’ve been out anyway. I’m looking fwd to having Ryan involved, even though he is unlikely to play. We had a great 2 day training camp with Ryan, Donald Young and Jack Sock in December in Tampa and these guys are all working hard to be a part of the team going fwd. Mardy and John are the singles guys and it’s most likely Mardy and Mike in the doubles although we’ll need to see how the singles goes on Friday before we finalize the doubles squad for Saturday. It’s a big challenge with Fed and Wawrinka in front of us. We’ll be ready to fire come match time.