Friday, August 7, 2009

August 7, As the World Turns, Tennis Style

The captivating soap opera that chronicles that monstrous two-headed monster known as Roger and Rafa, or Rafa and Roger, depending on your allegiances/ opinions, is going to be the focus of today's Two Cents post. It's not that I'm not completely enthralled with the Legg - there will be more on that tomorrow - but the news of Roger phoning in his commitment to next weeks Rogers Cup coinciding with Rafa's two hour practice session at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal is just too juicy to ignore.

According to this piece in the Montreal Gazette, Rafa still has a very long way to go if he plans to return to form by August 31 (the day the U.S. Open starts). In the words of Gazette reporter Stephanie Myles, Rafa's session consisted mostly of forehands, and Nadal was "spraying the ball all over the place." While it's unbelievably great to hear news of Rafa warming up for a tournament, the unpleasant reality of the situation is not necessarily cause for celebration. Questions linger about his ability to overcome the blow to his confidence from the loss to "Le Sod" in Paris combined with the long stretch of inactivity.

In other words, it's a vastly changed set of circumstances for the worlds No. 2.

Should this really come as a surprise, that a player who is accustomed to long and grueling practice sessions combined with a long and grueling playing schedule might be having some trouble finding his range in his first week back after a two-and-a-half month respite? The answer is a resounding no - it's normal, even for super humans like Nadal - and yet it is still difficult to fathom. Will he be bounced in the first round? Is his confidence going to be as rusty as his forehand?

And what about the other half of the two headed monster, Mr. Federer?

In addition to posting pictures of his lovely twin girls on his Facebook page (Charlene Riva and Myla Rose), the Mighty Fed also found the time to put in a call to Montreal tournament director Eugene Lapierre at 8 A.M, to confirm his participation in next weeks event.

Hallelujah is the first word that comes to mind. My guess is that Mirka doesn't feel the same way. Postpartum depression, I hope, isn't factoring into the equation.

So, there you have it, Federer and Nadal, present and accounted for. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine in terms of what kind of tennis we can expect from the pair.

Back with more thoughts on the Legg Mason Tennis Classic and the L.A. Women's Tennis Championship tomorrow.

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