Are you ready for some tennis? The French Open started this weekend, much to the dismay of the other three people in my house who will be forced to watch battles on the clay for the next two weeks. Our house was one of the first homes in our area to switch to Verizon Fios since, among other things, they offered a sports package which included The Tennis Channel. Tennis is a sport which doesn’t get any love from the broadcasting community. Even ESPN relegates tennis events to their ESPN2 network, and will then put it behind bowling or fishing tournaments for some reason (are either one of those even a sport?). Last weekend a Cablevision salesman showed up at our door making a pitch to get us to switch back from Verizon Fios. My first question was “Did you guys pick up The Tennis Channel yet?”. I’m not sure what the sales pitch was after he answered “No”. No charge cable service for a lifetime? Free Cadillac Coupe Deville? Free gasoline for a year? Don’t know, don’t care – he was quickly dismissed after admitting Cablevision still doesn’t respect the true gentlemen’s sport.
So who will win this year? One thing is certain – American men have not been dominant in tennis for a long time and they certainly suck on clay. Raphael Nadal has never lost a match at Roland Garros but is physically a little beaten up this year. Federer wants the French title to give himself the coveted career grand slam. With the retirement of Justine Henin a couple of weeks ago the ladies side is wide open. Serena Williams is far and away the American favorite, and the Serbs have two more hopefuls in Ana Ivanovic (#2 seed) and Jelena Jankovic (#3 seed). So it should be a fun tournament to watch (for me anyway).
My favorite on the men’s side is the young Serbian Novak Djokovic. Not only does he have phenomenal talent on the court (knocking off the Australian Open this year as his first grand slam), the guy is a crack up off the court. The below youtube video is from the 2007 U.S. Open, starting with his impersonation of Maria Sharapova (gotta love this guy):