Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Deuce Court: Noah Gone Wild, Rafa's Chances


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Welcome to The Deuce Court, where we wax poetic about tennis while keeping it sweet and short...

Deuce #1: Really, Yannick?

Most of you know by now that France's last Grand Slam champion penned some scathing commentary about Spanish sports having "la potion magique" while other nations like France are too strict and law-abiding to enjoy the benefits of PED's. As is always the case with these type of allegations, Noah's unfounded accusations are at best irresponsible, at worst harmful, Whether Noah intended to do it or not, he has unfairly cast the Spanish players in a very negative light.

The whole piece smacks of a bitterness that I never suspected a person as happy-go-lucky as Noah to possess, but the craziest ideas of all came in the last line: Noah wrote "La meilleure attitude à adopter est d'accepter le dopage. Et tout le monde aura la potion magique." which roughly translates to "The best attitude to take is to accept the doping, then everybody will have the magic potion." This is wrong on so many levels. So, we are just supposed to ban all attempts to curb doping because some athletes in some less-policed nations are allegedly gaming the system and gaining an illicit advantage? Great, and while we're at it, let's make sure that the 6-12-year-old's are getting there share of dope as well.

No, no, no. Not good at all. As messy and expensive as policing doping is, and as unfair as it may or may not be (because there will always be some who have found "la potion magique" and, more importantly, found a way to avoid detection), just giving up the chase entirely will never be the solution. There are lives in the balance Yannick, not just wins and losses -- get with the program.

Deuce #2: Tipping Rafa

It's been a month since Rafa's disappointing loss to Florian Mayer in Shanghai, so it's somewhat of a mystery as to what form he'll actually be in when the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals begin. Based on what I've seen from his practice vids, and what he's telling the press in this piece, Rafa basically pulled the plug on playing in Asia because he wanted to go home, regroup, and come back with a renewed focus for this event and for the upcoming Davis Cup final with Argentina. We all know what Rafa can do when he sets his mind to something. I think more than anyone else in the field, Rafa wants this title. Because of that, he's my pick to win it. That could change after I see his form, but for now, I'm tipping Rafa to do the deal in London.

Ad In: Less than 24 hours to go until the #finalsshowdown begins in London.

What a fantastic way to finish the season. As Federer said (paraphrasing) in a pre-tourney media interview, opening a tournament against a top ten players really gets your blood pumping. Mine too. No offense to the rest of the top 100, but how nice is it to get all this talent bundled up into one delectable holiday package, at the perfect venue, with throngs of tennis hungry fans, and no chance of an early round upset? And even better, if your favorite player loses his first match, he's still got two more to play. No offense to Shanghai, Houston, or anyplace else, but since the finals moved to London, I have been all-in. I sense that I am not alone in this sentiment.

Deuce #3: Tsonga Not Intimidated

Good luck to the rest of the field trying to top this quote. He may not win the event, but the Frenchman has best quote wrapped up.

Ad Out: Helfant's replacement

Christopher Clarey's must-read on the future of tennis looks at the search for a new Chief Executive, possible changes to the rankings systems and more.

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