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The Monday List! For February 2, 2009

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The Monday WTA Player

Serena Williams

For my money, Serena played the best Slam final of her career in taking out Dinara Safina 0 and 3 and claiming her 10th Slam singles title (through in the doubles hardware compliments of a title with Venus, and her overall Slam total is now 20). Instead of going for everything on her shots, Serena played strategy over strength, and the result was a beautiful display of just how the Fierce Stomping One can maintain her career, and her quest for the biggest trophies, well into her 30s if she desires.

If nothing else, this win renews the debate of where Serena stands among the all-time greats of the game. Forget comparison to her colleagues, because there simply isn’t another woman in the game that’s at her level. Serena exists in that rarified air of Billie Jean, Chrissie, Steffi and Martina. It’s good for the game to see her recapture the 1 spot in the ranking from a Slamless Jelena Jankovic. What would be even better for the game, however, is if she can somehow find what it takes to win her 2nd Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, and get the tennis world all atwitter over the prospect of a calendar year Grand Slam.

The Monday ATP Player

Rafael Nadal

Remember back when it was easy? Rafa won the French, and Roger won the rest. Rafa was on his way to being called the greatest clay courter of all time, while Roger would get the GOAT tag. Rafa would be called the tremendously fit player, while Roger would be called the mentally superior strategist.

Looks like we can toss all that in the trashcan, at least until the French. Rafael Nadal, at 22, has left no doubt who the true number 1 in tennis is these days. Picking up his first hardcourt Slam title (and putting him, just like Mr. Federer, one trophy away from a career Slam) has to be incredibly motivating for someone who appears to have changed his game as he’s gotten better. And while we’re praising his play in the final, how about a word or two for that semi against Fernando Verdasco, which should generate a lot of discussion come the end of the year as 2009’s best match.

As for Roger, my only comment: They are called coaches. You might want to consider finding one. Today.

The Monday “In Other Tennis News”

So much to say after a Slam. Let's start with these ten, and encourage any readers of the list to add k) through z) in their comments:

a) Welcome back Jelena Dokic, and good luck maintaining this level of play.
b) Carla Suarez Navarro, 1/4s of two of the last four Slams. Welcome to the big time, Nancy.
c) Ana Ivanovic, see my note to Roger Federer.
d) Gilles Simon, awesome to see you show up big at a Slam. Here’s hoping you don’t prove to be Ferrer Lite.
e) Tomas Berdych, shame you couldn’t be more like Circuit City and close out.
f) Sania, wonderful having you back, and winning a Slam. Hopefully you can be cut a little slack now, because you deserve it.
g) Miss ya, Bethanie Mattek-Sands. How’s married life treating you?
h) Novak and Andy M, if you want it to be called The Big 4, you gotta play Big 4 tennis.
i) Caro who?
j) Hey Juan Martin. All that good will you built up at the USO. Sorry, you’re back to square 1.

The Monday “In Other Sports News”

Congrats to Super Bowl 43 winner the Pittsburgh Steelers. And thanks to both teams for a highly entertaining Super Bowl. You could criticize some play calling, some flag throwing and some less than stellar conduct, but the fact is that so often the big game fails to deliver. But for the 2nd year in a row, we were treated to a game that came down to the last minutes and featured both teams stepping it up when the pressure was on. The game (actually the whole run through the playoffs) also cemented my feelings about Kurt Warner, who is a Steve Largent for the new millennium. The guy isn’t the fastest, the biggest, and maybe not the best in any given category – but he never gave less than 110%, and I hope those are the words that are used to describe him on the day he deservedly is inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

The Monday Political News

Sorry, Mr. President, but your vetting process sucks. How does a Washington insider (and former leader of the Senate) get past your watchful eyes on over $140,000.00 in back taxes. The story circulating is that Daschle waited over a month before reporting this to the Obama team. And yet, publicly at least, your team stands behind him, with the old “nobody’s perfect” tag line? After Richardson had to be dropped withdraw, and after the problems with Tim Geithner, this is the type of conduct that should have been met with a lot more than what seems to be an unqualified “we stand behind this guy”. The more interesting question, however, is going to be what happens when the millions Daschle has made off a number of industries as a “non-lobbying” lobbyist starts getting the attention it deserves. Which will start happening behind closed doors in DC today.

The Monday “Call To Action”

Food banks around the country are seeing record numbers of requests in these harsh economic times. Here in the US alone, it is estimated that 1 in 8 Americans struggles with hunger on any given day. Pretty much every local community has a food bank that is looking for anything from soups to Mac and Cheese to other non-perishables. And one of the easiest ways you can help is as simple as adding a couple of generic non-perishables to your cart each week, and then dropping a bag off at your local food bank once a month. Perhaps we could have a TAT Food Drive one week, where we challenge each other to fill a bag for those less fortunate.

The Monday Song

For some reason, I dug out LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” CD this weekend. What a treat. I went looking for it to hear “Around The Way Girl” which is one of those songs that it is difficult not to love, but there are some other great tracks, including “Jingling Baby”, Farmer’s Boulevard (love the sample of Willie Hutch’s “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”), and “6 Minutes Of Pleasure”. But I forgot just how great the title cut itself was. Again, a stellar sample (James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”), great rhyme, and a killer beat.

Many people say that LL’s performance of “Mama” on MTV’s “Unplugged” was one of, if not the greatest live performance of a rap song ever. I think The Roots doing “The Seed 2.0” with Cody Chestnut give him a run for the money, but fortunately, you can judge in part for yourself:

LLCoolJ "Mama Said Knock You Out", Unplugged

The Monday “Reason Li Na Does Her Banking On The Internet”

There are so many things that could have gone wrong here.
Police officials in Zhenzhou, China, have come under heavy criticism for hiring actors to rob a bank as part of a training exercise, but neglecting to alert bank officers.
The "heist" left patrons and staff traumatized. Critics say the incident could easily have ended in tragedy.

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  1. pkorne's Avatar
    Couldn't agree more with the need for Fed to get a coach.

    My vote would be Andre Agassi.

    Perhaps the recommendation of a coach for Fed could be a blog topic...
  2. Scotty's Avatar
    Yay! Monday List!

    The line about Berdych and Circuit City should be post of the day.
  3. GVGirl's Avatar
    Fed needs a coach stat! Love that the Monday list is back!
  4. Ti-Amie's Avatar
    After the rumors about how Fed treated his last "coach" I don't think they'll be lining up for the job.

    Love the Circuit City line too Moosevic.
  5. patrick's Avatar
    (k) The Bryans winning their 7th Slam that put them in a tie for number 2 in the all-time Slam winners
    (l) Marion Bartoli for her convincing win over Jelena Jankovic in R16
    (m) Even though Richard Gasquet let a 2 set lead slip to Fernando Gonzalez, RRS did not quit in the deciding set and approached the net 99 times
    (n)Vera Zvonareva for her career best result in Slam by advancing to the semifinals
    (o)Fernando Verdasco for his career best result in Slams by advancing to the semifinals defeating Radek Stepanek, Andy Murray, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the way. Lost to Rafael Nadal in the match that will be the number 1 match of 2009.
    (p)Hantuyama for their run to the doubles final defeating Black/Huber along the way saving 7 match points. Think this one is the WTA match of the AO over Dokic defeating Kleybanova