Thursday, October 29, 2009

Andre Hates Tennis? Should I hate tennis as well?

Stop the presses!

Burn the manuscript!

Say it ain't so!

After reading an excerpt from Andre Agassi's forthcoming tell-all autobiography, I'm not sure whether to hang up my tennis shoes, snort a line of crystal meth, or make a trek to Tibet for some spiritual healing.

Okay, it's not really that bad, I'm just kidding, but it is a little disconcerting when you read the following lines over and over: I hate tennis!

Sure, Agassi is tongue-in-cheek when he says it, and sure, it's probably something that every single professional player has said or felt like saying at some point and time during their career, but when those three words are figured so prominently in the memoirs of one of the greatest American tennis legends to ever live, it is definitely deflating to a certain degree.

Besides that deflation (which I am currently overcoming, because I played tennis today and I'm pretty sure I loved it!), one thing that the excerpts from Agassi's confessional manuscript has done for me is made me curious to read more. From what I've read so far, it's obvious that Agassi is serious about the title of this book. He's trying to get to the heart of his feelings about the issues that he's faced during his life, and the people that he's been influenced by - not to mention himself.

If first glance is any indication, this may be the closest any of us will ever get into the inner workings of a true legend of tennis. The honesty that I've detected so far is startling. If there ever was a sports book that I was dying to scour from cover to cover this is most certainly the one.

In other words, as great as Federer and Sampras have been on the court, there autobiographies will more than likely pale in comparison to Andre's.

And while it took me a few minutes to realize that Andre and I are different people, and that I can go right on loving tennis with all my heart, and regretting the fact that my father didn't feed me a million balls a year, and urge me to hit EARLIER! EARLIER!, my curiosity to read and try to understand Andre's reasons for feeling the way he does about the sport and about his father have only grown.

The excerpts that I've read have depicted Andre's father as a brute who commandeered Andre's time and energy and never for a second considered what the little topspin-generating phenom wanted out of life. This I can identify with to a certain degree, because much of my young adult life was spent following in the footsteps of my older brother, and I always wanted desperately to strike out on a new path, no matter how well I was doing on the path that was previously forged for me. Can you relate?

I'm glad that Andre is getting to tell his story, and that now he is able to see the world through his own eyes, rather than his father's, but I hope that the book contains a scrap or two of thanks for the man who put together one of the best human ball machines that the planet has ever known. Because however inhumane he was toward his kid, the fact of the matter was that Andre wouldn't have been the Andre that we've come to know and love and worship without him. He'd be sweet and sensitive, sure, but would be be a career grand-slam holder? I doubt that.

From what I've read so far, Andre sounds very much like a sensitive ungrateful kid, who doesn't get the connection between all the hell that his father put him through and all the good that he is now doing, thanks to the wonderful playing career he had. As painful and insidious as it must have been for Andre, the connection still remains. No pain no gain.

Off the top of my head I can think of about 24 billion kids who would have loved to switch fathers and for that matter, lives with him - but that is what makes this book such a must-read: There is only one Andre, whether you agree with him or not, he's as compelling as they come.

*This is not a book review: I've only read the excerpts which were published in Sports Illustrated this week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunshine Shines in Battle of Upstarts

Greetings tennis nuts,

For those of you, who like me, have been tracking the magnificent ascensions of Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka, today was the day where you could take another measurement on each stellar competitor.  

Sunshine and Vika, each with career high rankings (6 for Azarenka and 4 for Wozniacki) hot off the press this week, are the darlings of tennis at the moment.  

While Azarenka caught our attention in early April, when she won the "fifth slam" in Miami in decisive fashion against Serena, Wozniacki didn't arrive at the scene until September, when she rode the emotion from a hard fought victory against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 4th round of the U.S. Open all the way to a final appearance.  

I've see-sawed quite a bit when it comes to deciding which one is the better of the two, and today I see-sawed some more.  

It was a tale of two Azarenka's out there as she stormed through the first set in convincing fashion only two suffer an inexplicable loss in confidence as the second set began.  

Meanwhile, Wozniacki, playing poorly and also suffering a nagging hamstring injury, never got perturbed.  Things didn't come easily for her today, but she kept doing what she always does - having fun playing tennis and letting the chips fall where they may.  

And that is where the two girls whose ascensions have been timed so similarly, seem to part ways.  Wozniacki is easy going, serene, and patient.  Azarenka is fiery, tempestuous, and anxious.   Wozniacki may look like a little girl but she plays like a woman of faith, courage, and conviction.  Azarenka, on the other hand, has yet to perfect the art of channelling her exceptional passion and competitive spirit in the most effective manner.  

The a's, b's, and c's of tennis were favoring Wozniacki today, and she was able to win a match that she was very close to losing at several junctures, because she refuses to be her own worst enemy out there.  A is for attitude, and she wouldn't have the nickname Sunshine if she had a bad attitude.  B is for belief and in this case it could also stand for backhand, a shot that Wozniacki hits unbelievably well.  C is confidence, and with each passing match the Great Dane seems to stockpile more and more of it.  

Azarenka had chances to win this match, but she couldn't come up with the finishing touches against her friend and rival today, and when it was all said and done, the 4th match between these two stars on the rise goes to Wozniacki.  

After winning the last two matches in straight sets, Azarenka ran into a much more determined Wozniacki today.  It was nighttime in Doha, but the sunshine was overwhelmingly bright.  

Judging from what we witnessed today, the future looks bright for both of them.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eyes On The Prize: Doha

Greetings tennis nuts,

Things are underway in Doha, and while it doesn't quite feel like a grand-slam (note the myriad empty seats for the Kuznetsova - Williams match), there is grand-slam-type money on the line.

It's 100k per round-robin win in Doha, with a potential 1.55 million dollar cheque awaiting a champion who can get the title without a loss.

With the top 8 players in the game also battling for precious ranking points and for chunks of that little mentioned but ever present intangible known as pride, some fierce battles are sure to take place in Qatar this week.

Todays results are already in:

Victoria Azarenka bagged her first 100k with an easy straight sets win over Jelena Jankovic in today's first match, 6-2, 6-3. Azarenka, the WTA's fiercest returner was as ruthless as ever against Jankovic's lollipop serving - she won 50% of points against the first serve and 60% against the second, and she also secured 5 break points in 9 games against the Serbs serve.

The performance prompted Jankovic to say something to the effect of 'I basically gave her the match,' and Jankovic's comments prompted Azarenka to say something to the effect of 'I'm happy she gave me the match - it worked out well for me,' in mock of Jankovic's habit of rarely giving her opponents credit for blasting her off the court.

Unfortunately for fans, the post match press conferences were a tad bit more entertaining than the actual match.

Jankovic, the 8th best returner in the WTA in terms of return games won, was only able to manage one break today against Azarenka. That and the 33 unforced errors that she committed made this affair a laugher from the start.

Elsewhere Elena Dementieva overcame some very poor serving (15 double faults) to outlast Venus Williams. This one appeared to be in Venus's grasp, but after losing the second set tie-break to the feisty Russian, she wilted in the third and went down easily, 6-2.

It was an end to a six match winning streak against Dementieva for Venus.

But things are not all bad for the Williams sisters as Serena has just successfully served for the match against heavy hitting Svetlana Kuznetsova. It is always enjoyable to watch these two phenoms go toe-to-toe, as they obviously have a lot of respect for one another. After trading hard fought wins during this years Grand-Slam season (Serena triumphed in Australia, Svetlana got her back in Paris), Serena, in typical Serena fashion, fought off match points in the first set tie-breaker, then used clutch serving to finish the dangerous Kuznetsova off in the second.

Tomorrows schedule is headlined by a battle of first-timers at the year end championships: Victoria Azarenka will take on U.S. Open finalist (also No. 4 in the world as of Monday - wow!) Caroline Wozniacki.

Check here for the Doha website and here for tomorrows order of play.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vera Excluded from Doha


Vera Zvonareva, the first seed at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, was a surprise loser today to Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova. The loss propels Jelena Jankovic into the 8th and final spot at the year end Championships in Doha, Qatar next week.

Zvonareva's blog, hosted at the WTA's website, sheds a lot of light as to what kind of a grind 2009 has been for the 25-year-old Muscovite. If you can remember way back to this spring, Zvonareva suffered a horrible ankle injury in Charleston. To anyone who saw the injury happen live, it seemed almost miraculous that she made her return to the sport so swiftly. She was back on the court in late June, and this years Indian Wells champion (she took the singles and doubles titles there) fought her way into the round of 32 at Wimbledon before she was forced to retire against Virginie Razzano.

For Zvonareva, the frustration must have been amplified - she was not only struggling to get healthy, but injuries had forced her to withdraw against the same opponent whom she twisted her ankle against in April in Charleston.

But the animated Zvonareva marched on, and while most of the tennis world was quick to criticize her for her apparent meltdown against Flavia Pennetta in the 4th round of the U.S. Open, the fact of the matter was that Vera was, and had been, dealing with difficult injuries for all of the last 5 months. When she writhed on the court in agony, with a mix of consternation, agony, and unbridled frustration in that match, we were all quick to categorize her actions as another Zvonareva meltdown. But that assessment would be too simple, for in making such an assessment, what we overlooked (I say we, because I made the assessment as well) was the fact that Zvonareva had been facing real and maddeningly difficult problems related to the original ankle injury that she sustained in Charleston.

In a heartfelt post from Moscow, Zvonareva said the following: "I had a tough day today. I had problems with my knees in the match. They've been troubling me for the last few months. Hopefully it's nothing major. I feel pain in them, but I think all of these problems - my foot, my knees - are because if the ankle injury from earlier in the season. I'm compensating, and all the practice and playing is making it worse."

For Zvonareva, who expects so much of herself, and is capable of all that she expects when in top shape, it must have been a particularly tortuous season. And to think, she was a narrow miss for Doha. All said, she's done a remarkable job this season, and she should be commended for showing courage and determination and for being a large and entertaining part of the woman's season when she probably could have just as easily taken the season off.

The kid has guts, quite frankly, and whether or not she's learned to control her volatile temper is another issue entirely. The fact of the matter is that Vera has played some brilliant tennis this year, under a great deal of stress, and we, as fans of the game who are so quick to criticize these world-class athletes for their lack of whatever we think they should possess, should be just as quick to praise Vera for battling like a true warrior (and being unafraid to cry) under difficult circumstances.

But now, thankfully, it is time for Vera to rest a bit. "I want to put everything behind me," Zvonareva said. I've been told I need to take six weeks off to let this heal."  

Here's to a proper rest, vera.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ATP Scheduling: Easy to Dislike but Hard to Fix

As the ATP tour limps into Shanghai this week, many familiar faces have opted (not necessarily by choice, mind you) to limp home.

Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick are the latest top-ten casualties to run out of steam in the final leg of the ATP calendar. Roddick's post-retirement comments about the unforgiving length of the ATP's schedule mirror almost exactly what Rafael Nadal was saying as he began his injury-forced sabbatical in early June.

It's too freaking long.

If you spend your time breathing the rarefied air of the top-20, I see your point. It is ridiculously long. But the top-20 perspective isn't the only point that should be considered here. There are the tournament directors, one of whom is Novak Djokovic now (he is also a representative on the ATP's player council), whose voice also needs to be heard.

"The current leadership of the ATP is willing to do a lot of things for the players...we can't expect just to shorten the season by a month or two because that would hurt certain tournaments."

Djokovic has a point here. Obviously, since his family has bought the rights to the ATP Belgrade event, he's got one Adidas-clad foot on either side of the fence.

Along those same lines, the fact that the ATP and WTA are attempting to embrace the fan base in Asia this autumn is laudable, but with the players grievances and the sparsely attended events in both Beijing and Shanghai (I guess the recession is in China as well), it's hard to tell if these three weeks are damaging the game or growing the game over there.

And there is also the perspective of the lower ranked players, who are interested in moving up the ladder so they can start the next season on a roll, and those players who were injured during the meat of the season who are looking to get in shape and earn much needed rankings points.

And god forbid we should mention the players who are trying to make enough money to pay the rent. Those tried and true battlers who show up to play qualifiers and fight tooth and nail to earn a living on the tour. Those players deserve a say in this matter as well.

Granted, the issues of the tour will always be slanted to the top-20 types, but shouldn't these lower-ranked and lesser-known souls be given a voice?

As you've probably already gathered this isn't a simple issue and there is no simple solution. It will take work, understanding, and communication.

"We have to make a compromise," said Djokovic. "The ATP is an association of tournaments and players together. The bottom line is that you don't want to have injured players. The schedule, in my opinion, is too long, but we have to go step by step to solve it."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Youzhny and Tsonga: Embracing The Art Of The Volley

Greetings tennis nuts,

The absence of Roger Federer and Andy Murray, along with the difficulties of Rafael Nadal and the stunning first round exit of U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, opened up some coveted spots for lower ranked players in the final rounds of Tokyo and Beijing this week.

And when opportunity knocks in the tennis world, it's always fun to see who walks through the door. For some fans this weeks special guest might have been a disappointment for them, but for The Fan Child, it couldn't have been better.

One of my old favorites — he of the hilarious and very endearing post-match racquet salute — Mikhail Youzhny found himself across the net from another of the ATP's more flamboyant stars, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It wasn't the star-studded type of final that has tennis pundits drooling as they prognosticate and pontificate over the Federer's and Nadal's of the world, but there was definitely something refreshing about the vision of these two remarkably athletic and ingratiatingly charismatic foes readying themselves for the Tokyo ATP 500 final.

Neither Youzhny or Tsonga was able to make a big splash during the Slam season, and there are good reasons for that. One word that comes to mind is consistency. For Youzhny there are a few more words — patience is most definitely one of them. Temper is another.

But in spite of Youzhny's shortcomings, his old-school tactics, variety, classic arm action and high toss on the serve, sweet one-hander with a dreamy finish, tasty volleying ability, and the willingness to attack the net remind me of the days when men were men on the ATP tour.

Yes, there was a time in tennis when players regularly sprinted up to the net, showed their teeth to their opponent, and prepared to use their athleticism and their finely honed volleying skills to win them crucial points.  It hearkens back to a time when the willingness to gamble was instilled in almost every players tennis DNA.  It was a kamikaze style of tennis that lent itself to lunging, stabbing, and diving.  Breathtaking points the very often ended with a player laying on the court in either agony or ecstasy.  

Today, as we all know, this unnecessarily reckless form of tennis has has evolved into shock and awe baseline bashing.  It is the new status quo across both the men's and women's games. The volley, once the bread and butter of every tennis players game, is now the shot of old-timers who don't have the firepower to make a living from the gun mount behind the baseline.  

But have we gone too far in that direction? Will there ever a bread and butter (or even ham and eggs?) net rusher at the top of the ATP rankings again? Or am I just spending an afternoon lamenting over an era whose sun has set and is never to rise again?

Lo and behold, after watching so many gorgeously constructed points between Tsonga and Youzhny, my hopes for the resurgence of the volley have been revived. While baseline bashing has clearly become a reliable and effective way to control a tennis match, Youzhny's and Tsonga's willingness to charge the net has reminded me, once again, that the volley will never die. 

Rejoice, tennis fans!  Sure, the pace of today's game has more than likely removed the volley from prominence forever. Sure, the volleys role in the arsenal of the top players may end up to be more of a secondary "change it up" -type role. But to think that the volley is dead, or to coach a tennis prodigy (as it seems that many coaches are doing these days) without emphasizing it's role not only as a way to attack an opponent but also to confuse and frustrate them is ignorant and downright disrespectful to the sport.

As I watched Tsonga and Youzhny make numerous sojourns to the net, I couldn't help but think that being able to volley effectively, and therefore being able to abandon your baseline game when it has become painfully out of whack, can sometimes be the best thing for a baseline basher. Perhaps Soderling, Cilic, and Del Potro should take note and continue to let their approach shots and volleys emerge as bona fide weapons rather than as show pieces that they only take out in matches that have already been decided at the baseline.

As incredible as the baseline bashing has become in today's sport — players are more athletic and more powerful than ever before — there is always a time, especially during a long match, where it must get monotonous for even the most one-dimensional player to be relegated, effectively caged, behind the baseline. Even the best of players get bored and go cold out there, from Mr. Federer on down. At these times I think the volley can help to refresh the palette, and give the beleaguered player an effective distraction that will help him or her break out of the funk.

As mentioned earlier, there are reasons why serve and volley, and volleys in general are not used as much in modern tennis.  First of all, with players hitting 100 m.p.h ground strokes and technology-aided topspin (think light racquets and Luxilon), we're not talking about picking a lazily-sliced ball out of the air anymore.  Players today have to watch for lasers that have been painted with wicked spin that move like fuzzy yellow comets across the net.  Try volleying something off Fernando Gonzalez's racquet when you have some free time, and you'll see what I mean.  

But even as those reasons make a case for less volleying, there is nothing in the sport that could ever justify the current lack of net play on tour.  While at the U.S. Open I watched full matches where neither play ever attempted to get to the net.  Several of them!  Not only is it not entertaining, it just isn't right.  

The volley.  You can neglect it, sure, but you're never going to kill it.  Youzhny and Tsonga are living proof of that.  

Monday, October 5, 2009

Who's No. 1 And Does it Really Matter?

Greetings tennis-crazed lunatics,

Well, the dead horse that WTA fans have been beating for the better part of the last 25 weeks finally is about to be buried.

Now that Serena Williams has found a way to topple Ekatarina Makarova in Beijing she will hurdle past Dinara Safina and once again take over the WTA's No. 1 slot. For Safina, who earlier today suffered the worst upset defeat in the history of the WTA against no. 236-ranked Zhang Shuai today, it remains to be seen if she can overcome the emotional duress that she has endured since claiming the top spot.

As great as it must have been to reach the pinnacle of the sport - something no doubt that most of us will only ever be able to dream about - this has been a painful and unfortunate episode for the tempestuous Safina.

Safina's rise to the top of women's tennis, and her ensuing quest to prove that she belongs has turned out to be a puzzling paradox that has done more to reveal her incipient weaknesses than her myriad strengths. And that, quite frankly, is a shame.

How did it come to this? What started as a quest for greatness, with joyous overtones of hope and invincibility, now appears to be ending in tears, with a white flag of surrender plopped on Safina's head as she tries to hide herself from her own worst nightmares - the fact that not only has she failed in her quest to give her demanding critics what they wanted from her, but she also believes herself to be unloved, disrespected, and known more for her choking than her talent.

Is it true, or is it all in Dinara's head? And isn't this 25-week-nightmare that Dinara is finally leaving behind really more about Safina's head than her ability to play this sport at the highest level?

Becoming No. 1, at first deemed a blessing, has actually been more of a curse than anything for the emotional Russian. The future looked bright for her 25 weeks ago, when she became the 19th woman to hold the top spot. For a brief period it didn't matter that she had been ruthlessly dispatched by Serena in the Australian Open final - Safina was one half of the first brother-sister combo to ever hold the No. 1 ranking, and her future was arguably the brightest of all the up-and-comers on the WTA tour.

What was first presented as a fairly tale, has now become more of a horror story for the 23-year-old Safina. Sadly, she only has herself to blame (okay, I'm willing to give her maniacal coach some credit as well). Buying into the scathing critiquing of the media and her adversaries (most notably, the self-centered and politically motivated Serena) was the worst mistake she could have ever made. Instead of going with what got her to the No. 1 ranking - hard work, determination, and most of all courage - Safina left the door open for a tennis players worst enemy: FEAR.

After convincingly storming her way into the top-ten, then following up with two consecutive Grand Slam finals appearances and a WTA-best 16-match winning streak this year, Safina inexplicably gave up believing in herself. From there it became an uphill battle. A Sisyphian struggle that pitted Safina unfavorably against her own metastasizing self-doubt.

If there was ever a girl who needed to borrow one of Melanie Oudin's Adidas shoes, it was Safina.

If there ever was a girl who needed positive reinforcement from her coach, it was Safina.

But instead of shoring up her belief, Dinara let the demons crawl into bed with her. Instead of helping her spirit soar, her hell-bent coach insisted upon laughing at her from his coaching box. Suddenly the wheels had come off a train that was one stop away from the promised land. In just 25 weeks at the top of the rankings, the best player in the world has managed to become little more than cannon fodder for the media, and a chance at a huge upset for lesser-knowns with half as much talent but, sadly, twice as much belief.

"I would like to take a break now, I'm very upset with myself," said Safina after today's last kick to the ribs of the proverbial dead horse that has become her best friend and worst nightmare all wrapped into one.

Anyone who has watched this strange soap-operatic saga take place, would agree it is the only thing left to do. Safina needs to remember to forget her worries, because if she doesn't she'll never reach her potential.

Perhaps giving back the No. 1 ranking today will be the best thing for Safina. Psychologically, she'll be better off hunting than being hunted. When you are hunting you are thinking more about killing than being killed. When you are hunting you are too hungry to think about anything other than going for your shots.

Safina's rise to the top has exposed her for what she truly is: A great athlete who has yet to develop the mental prowess of the true champion. If she's smart she'll stop crying and start learning. She isn't who she thought she was a year ago, but that doesn't mean she can't be, nor does it mean that we don't love her, no matter what she becomes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Momentum: The Long and Short of It

Greetings tennis aficionados,

It was a nice summer for Sam Querrey. The lanky power-server from California stepped it up a notch and started to realize some of that limitlessness that we all have been seeing in him since he started plying his trade on the ATP tour.

Consecutive finals in Newport and Indy, albeit before much of the top-20 had removed the ice packs from their aching bodies and finally booked a flight to the states for the Masters events, set the table for Querrey's 2nd career ATP title in L.A. Samarai-aided wins over Tommy Haas and Carsten Ball opened some eyes, as did a straight set win over Andy Roddick in Cincy, in which a wildly entertaining tie-breaker in the first set ended with Querrey winning 13-11.

Yes, it was a very good summer for Querrey. No one was confusing the 6'6" Southern Californian with another, slightly more successful 6'6" player from Argentina, but still, at a career-high ranking of #22, this years Olympus U.S. Open Series Champion had a lot to feel good about.

Querrey was a tennis player who had harnessed the great M-word, and used it to help his cause throughout the summer. At the ripe age of 21, Querrey (much like that other 6'6" guy, again) was proving that he could get on a roll and stay on a roll. As all tennis players know, getting on a roll is one thing, but staying on it, well, that is entirely another. This is true within the framework of a single match, within the framework of a tournament, a summer, and even over the course of a career.

With Querrey's 4-set loss to Robin Soderling at the U.S. Open, the momentum of his summer, sadly, was halted. It wasn't an overly disappointing loss (most of us expected it, and we know that Soderling is on his own little momentum-trip as well), but there was a growing sense of hope that Querrey was in a position to use the momentum that he had built up over the course of the summer to vault him into the next tier. It did not happen, and in it's aftermath a new challenge has presented itself to Sam.

Momentum, much like the waves of the mighty Pacific are to the world's best surfers, is a tremendously powerful tool in tennis. In other words, the kind of wave that Querrey was riding was the kind of wave that could have taken him further than he went. The monstrous kid from Tandil, for example, never stopped shredding on his proverbial surfboard over the course of the summer. Not only that, Del Potro seemed to sense the fact that he was on a magical ride. It was like he knew that the powers of nature were favoring him, and he was confident that he would be rewarded by taking greater risk.

I guess what I am getting at here is that there are small slivers of golden light that emerge over the course of a gifted players career. It's up to each player to sense the energy and capitalize on it. Querrey had the wind at his back all summer, he was playing on his home turf, on his favorite surface, in addition to playing the best tennis of his life. All that was missing was a little magic. Or maybe a lot. There are players, like Del Potro, who find a way to play the best tennis of their lives at the exact moment that it is necessary. I wanted Querrey to be that player at this years U.S. Open. I wanted him to break through in grand fashion. The time was ripe.

Fast forward one month and another concept is back in play: How to regain momentum when you've lost it. Let's be realistic, everybody has their own time line. Querrey's summer, while very good, was a ride that ended too soon. But maybe his progression is destined to be a longer, gentler ride that will build over the course of a year or more or maybe even more than that.

I'd like to believe that Querrey will put it all together in time, but after the freak accident in Thailand, it is clear that Querrey will have to find a new wave to ride. He is currently paddling around on a calm lake with one good arm, and there is no wind in the forecast, for at least four to six weeks.

While I know it's a blow of hard luck for Querrey (it could have happened to anybody, right?), there is a part of me that believes that we all have control of our own destiny. Accidents happen, but they happen more often to those who are unprepared, unfocused, and unaware. It's a fact of life, like momentum, and the giant waves of the mighty Pacific.

Time waits for no one, hopefully Sam Querrey isn't expecting it to wait for him.