Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Top 9 Tennis What-ifs of 2009

It has been a strange and beautiful tennis year. What started as a nightmare ended as a dream for Federer, and what started as a dream became a nightmare then finally ended as a hybrid of both for Serena Williams.

Now that the moments have all been recorded, rehashed, and remembered, I thought it might be nice to take a look at some of the things that didn't happen. For the sake of humor more than anything else, here are the top 9 tennis what-ifs of 2009.

9. What if Jimmy Jump attacked Federer?

I hate to even be bringing this up, but remember when Jimmy Jump paid a visit to Federer during his French Open final match with Robin Soderling?

In the end it was just another strange occurrence that may have made Federer’s first French Open title even more special. Thankfully for everyone, Jimmy Jump is just a goofball, not a knife-wielding psycho.

But the fact remains, everyone knows that knife-wielding psychos exist. Roland Garros, and all other tennis tournaments for that matter, ought to take a good hard look at what they are doing (or not doing) to prevent future psychos from taking center stage.

8. What if Ivo Karlovic was even taller?

If Karlovic was any taller, he may have already become the first player to ever score 100 aces in a match – Sadly, I don’t think it would have any effect on his won-lost record.

7. What if Zelko Krajan was a positive coach?

Dinara and Zelko are birds of a feather: They feed off negativity; They enjoy self-loathing.

But it's not helping. What could have been a great season took a turn for the worse for the ultra-talented Safina. Wouldn’t it have been nice if coach Zelko Krajan could have eased up on the poor girl for a spell? Everybody could see Dinara was a wreck from Roland Garros on, but Krajan kept feeding Safina bitter medicine – even when she clearly wasn’t responding.

Perhaps next year, Krajan will try and become a kinder, gentler version of himself. It’s worth a shot – things can’t get much worse than they did at the end of 2009.

6. What if Mirka had the twins on the day of the Wimbledon Final?

This is a question that many have pondered. But in the fairy tale that is Roger Federer’s tennis career, such inconveniences simply do not and can not occur. Have I made myself understood?

5. What if Andy Roddick made that backhand volley in the Wimbledon Final?

This is the what-if to end all what-ifs.

If Roddick makes that volley – no easy task, mind you – then he takes an almost insurmountable 2-set lead against his nemesis Roger Federer. He proceeds to miss an easy overhead in the 3rd set tiebreaker (looking into the sun, perhaps?) and goes on to lose in 5 grueling sets.

Sound familiar?

4. What if Maria Sharapova rediscovered her serve?

She hasn’t yet, but man, if she ever does, it’ll make things a lot more interesting at the top of the WTA.

3. What if Serena didn’t lose her mind in the U.S. Open semifinal?

Could Serena have managed to win her second consecutive slam after being match-point down in the semis against Clijsters?

Unfortunately, we will never know. But, damn, wouldn’t it have been nice if those two great competitors could have finished the match with some brilliant tennis instead of some brilliant profanities?

2. What if Rafa Nadal stayed with the sleeveless look?

Is there anyone else out there who believes that Rafa simply doesn’t belong in sleeves? And if so, do you also blame that god forsaken pink Nike shirt for ruining his chances at a 5th consecutive French Open? Rafa, how could you let this happen? Straighten those Nike people out and get back to that muscle shirt before it’s too late!

1. What if Richard Gasquet kissed Andre Agassi?

This one is too easy. Neither one of them would get suspended, because there is nothing in the rule books that says they can’t kiss.

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