Shanghai Surprise

The Rodney Dangerfield of men’s tennis has struck again! Nikolay Davydenko, the 5′10” 154 pound middleweight mows down the field, dropping 1 set for the tournament, in a 3 hour + epic semi with the Djoker and then comfortably dispatched Rafa in the final, denying him of his first title since May- and its the second time he has beaten Rafa in a Masters Series final (Miami ‘08).

I hate to admit it, but the first time I saw Davy play in ‘01 I didn’t think that at his size and playing style he would ever be a top 20 player, and obviously he has proved me wrong and then some. He has put together quite an amazing career and almost all of it under the radar. Now at 28, he is playing as offensive minded as I have ever seen him and he is one of the biggest hitters off of both sides on tour, which is even more extraordinary considering he is so slightly built. With this win it puts him almost in a locked position to make the year end championship, which will be the 5th in a row for him and the only other active players to accomplish this are Fed, Nadal and Roddick.

The most disappointing thing out of Shanghai was the 9 retirements, one of the largest totals I have seen in an ATP event. And I think this goes back to the argument that the season is too long, as you see many of the players breaking down around this time of year. We have been talking about shortening the season for the last 25 years; I would really like to see the season cut back by at least a month, and its up to the players to make something happen. And my game ball for the week goes to Sam Stosur, who finally got her first career title in Tokyo and that must have felt extremely satisfying to top off what has already been a break out year for her.

On another note I was down at Bollettieri’s last week, and there is no place I have ever seen that is a better spot to train young tennis players, and it has expanded to 5 other sports as well. The energy and passion that Nick brings everyday is truly commendable- he is one of the finalists for the hall of fame and he absolutely deserves that honor.

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