Saturday, September 6, 2014

Caroline, Rory, Serena, and the US Open

Remember not long ago when Caroline Wozniacki of tennis and Rory McIlroy of golf were the hot item in sports? A handsome young Irish lad and a beautiful blonde Danish damsel who were world-class players in their respective sports hooking up? Movies have been made about stuff like that. The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind for some reason. Sorry.

Alas, while the dynamic duo was enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, their professional games seemed to go into the dumpster. Neither one could win squat. Then Rory gave Caroline the heave-ho, as in I'm outta here, and look at what has happened since.

McIlroy roared back to #1 in the world, including winning back-to-back majors. Caroline finds herself in the finals of the US Open tennis championship. It appears that at the highest levels, golf, tennis, and "serious" relationships don't mix well, at least with 20-somethings. Tiger Woods found that out. Just about the time Elin captured his attention, his once renowned golfing prowess took a serious turn south. Poor Eldrick has been on the ropes ever since. Good grief, not yet 40, Tiger can't even seem to stay healthy playing golf, a game where a caddie does all the heavy lifting. Private jets, limos, strolling the grounds of posh country clubs and swinging a golf club every 5 minutes or so in a tournament seem to be too much for him these days. Truly a sorry state of affairs, but I'm guessing he won't get much sympathy from your average NFL or NHL player.

Nevertheless, #10 seed Ms. Wozniacki will face #1 seed Serena Williams in the final. Things couldn't have worked out better for the younger Williams sister. It's pretty much been a cakewalk at the US Open. Seeds 2-9 were all eliminated in earlier rounds, without Serena having to face any of them. The only way Serena loses against Caroline is if one of her past maladies rears its ugly head once again. You know -- like cramps, a mysterious illness never before diagnosed, an allergy flaring up, or solar flares that only affect her. The usual when she gets beat. Though a great player, far be it from Serena to ever admit her opponent was just better that day.

On the men's side, Serb Novac Djokovic will square off against long time Swiss legend Roger Federer. It's probably a pretty safe assumption to say most will be rooting for Federer. No knock on Novac, but Roger's been a class guy forever. Whether in victory or defeat -- and he's racked up a lot of victories over the years -- Federer remains a humble sort of guy. Like Sara Lee, nobody doesn't like Roger Federer.

And he's beat the odds. Federer settled down a while back with a lady that remains pretty much anonymous -- also a class act -- and is now the proud father of two sets of twins. But he's still a formidable opponent on the tennis court.

Yours truly hopes he defeats Djokovic as well to win another US Open title, and that would be a terrific story -- but I don't think it's going to happen. The Serb is at the top of his game as well, and is #1 in the world for a reason. Not counting clay courts, where (currently injured) Spaniard Rafael continues to reign supreme, Djokovic is a cut above everybody else. Federer was a great champion and remains a top 3-4 player in the world, but this is the Serb's time. Like Federer, he has the whole package, including mental toughness to dig down deep when things get rough, but Djokovic has two other advantages.

First is the age factor. If it boils down to a long, grueling match, I'm taking 27 over 34 every time.

More importantly, Djokovic hasn't settled down yet. He's still partying with the pretty girls in his homeland (and likely elsewhere) when he's not plying his trade on the tennis courts. That might just be why he remains on top. The bimbos (both male and female) are fun, but they're throwaways. Here today, gone tomorrow. On the other hand, a significant other comes with responsibilities. And plans for this and plans for that, and what are we going to do about children, houses, vacations spots, and no doubt a few arguments along the way.

All of which detracts from the concentration required of a world class player to reach the pinnacle of their profession -- let alone stay there.

Idle thought: Seeing as how they both appear to be available,wouldn't it be something if Serena cougared Rory into a relationship? Not sure how their kids would turn out, but I see balls in their future.


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