An interesting intellectual exercise for you and your readers. Transfer the name and results of Rafael Nadal over the past 365 days to Dinara Safina, and then do likewise with Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Who is now your true world No. 1? Safina (Nadal) doesn't even play Wimbledon (the computer doesn't care that its due to injury), doesn't even win a title of any kind, large or small, for an entire year! Then she hits the clay courts of Europe, wins three warm-up tournaments and then the French, and is catapulted to the top of the tennis world. Serena (Federer), her No. 2 challenger meanwhile, is defending Wimbledon AND Australian Open champion, U.S. Open finalist and French Open quarterfinalist, her worst slam result of the past year. Add other major tournament titles like Cincinnati, and she looks to be your true No. 1. Of course, Nadal has quickly produced a resume that has G.O.A.T. potential, while Safina falls far short, but the computer only reflects the results of the
Even if you believe Serena Williams is "the real No. 1" on the women's tour, which she probably is, you've got to question the timing of her cocksure, matter-of-fact declaration on the eve of last week's Italian Open.
I'm back from a week off. One of my new Twitter buddies noticed that I had attended the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C., last week, not as a journalist but as a fan. He asked me what the experience was like, and it was a good question. I can't recall the last time I'd attended a tennis event armed not with a notebook but with a bag of popcorn, concerned not about a deadline but about my daughter's sunblock status. Here are five impressions: