Wertheim's Roland Garros Midterm Grades

05-30-2004, 04:38 AM
Midterm grades
Jon Wertheim, SI.com

A week into the year's second Slam, we've lost both top seeds, the defending men's champ, and a 47-year-old ing?nue. To ESPN's great dismay, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and the rest of Yanks were in the Air France first class lounge by midweek.

All we're left with -- sniff, sniff -- Guillermo Coria, Marat (Skivvies) Safin, Carlos Moya, Venus and Serena Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova. ... In other words, it ought be a swell second week, regardless of what the American television ratings may indicate.

Herewith, our midterm marks, through Saturday. All grades given with a double-heaping of Princeton University grade inflation. ...


Guillermo Coria: So far his draw has been about as challenging as a Tim Russert interview.

Gustavo Kuerten: It's rewind the clock week.

American women: Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati still carrying the torch.

Asian women: Zheng Jie is the first Chinese woman ever to reach the round of 16, and Shinobu Asagoe looks like Ai Sugiyama's heir apparent.

Potito Starace: Euphoniously named Italian qualifier shocks Sebastien Grosjean and is suddenly tied with Safin in the fifth set.

Tim Henman: After losing the first two sets of his opening match, Their Tim has been on a roll.

Marlene Weingartner: Mercurial German's run to fourth round includes a win over Nadia Petrova, to whom she lost 6-0, 6-0 the last time they played.

French men: The three remaining -- Olivier Mutis, Nicolas Escude and Michael Llodra -- have little chance of winning, but gave the crowd plenty to cheer about in Week One. Santoro's marathon over Arnaud Clement was an insta-classic.

Upset mania in the men's draw: Never mind Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Agassi: Only one of the top eight seeds made the made the round of 16 at the NCAA's.

Lleyton Hewitt: Tennis' whiner laureate is stealthily snaking through draw and has a good shot at semis.


Martina Navratilova: Good for her for trying, but dabbling in singles showed her age.

Roger Federer: Slayed demons of previous years by getting out of the early rounds. But the top seed had few answers against Kuerten.


Andy Roddick: Handled himself with usual grace (name another seed who would have a live post-match interview minutes after getting torpedoed in round two) but still needs to figure out how to play on clay.

Lubomira Kurhajcova: Credit her for nearly double-bageling Lisa Raymond, no slouch of a player, even on clay. But losing after brandishing a 6-0, 5-0 lead could drive you into retirement.

Juan Carlos Ferrero: Annus horribilis continues; in loss to Igor Andreev, he was nowhere near 100 percent physically.

Justine Henin-Hardenne: Defending champ showed little of her trademark resolve getting bounced unceremoniously by Tatiana Garbin.


Andre Agassi: Let's just say that Agassi's 2004 clay court season will not be a prominent feature in that career video montage. Pete Sampras' summer of 2002 ought to serve as inspiration.

American men: Had Vince Spadea not salvaged nine match points, only one Yank (Andy Roddick) would have survived the first round. And he had the good fortune of starting out against countryman Todd Martin.

ESPN: Love the extensive hours of coverage. Hate the extensive coverage of ours.


05-30-2004, 04:43 AM
Hey!! Something written by him that I actually liked :clap2:

Clara Bow
05-30-2004, 07:37 AM
Very good column. That's one thing I love about Jon- he is one of the few tennis journalists to frequently talk about how horrible the tennis coverage is and how they need to show more players.

05-30-2004, 07:51 AM
Hmm, not quite agreeing with him:

American women: Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati still carrying the torch.

There is no way Capriati deserves the "A". She sucked in all her matches. I only wish Beygelzimer, Hrdlickova-Peschke (Love you, Kveta:)) or Bovina had taken her out. Yulia and Elena were awfully close..

Martina Navratilova: Good for her for trying, but dabbling in singles showed her age.

She should get an F for even wanting to try. Shameful performance by average player Dulko.

But besides that, I quite agree. :)

05-30-2004, 12:51 PM
If he really cares about the lousy tennis coverage in the US, he should quit his job in protes of the fact that Sports Illustrated wouldn't even pay out the money to send him to Paris (or Melbourne) to cover the event in person. He's wasting his time with that organization.

05-30-2004, 01:58 PM
SI sent someone else to Paris. I read a column by someone who's covering the event for him but I don't remember the name.