Friday, January 27, 2017

We Got Our Dream Finals

At odds that the bookmakers place at 5000-1, the men's and women's singles brackets at the Australian Open feature Venus and Serena Williams, and the men's final is Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal. Are we sure it's 2017?

You may not realize that elder sister Venus has been fighting an autoimmune disease for several years. Also, she's 36. Tennis is not kind at the highest professional level to people in their 30s. Serena, of course, is 35 herself. She will regain the number 1 world ranking if she beats Venus.

I suppose the men are aged also. Federer is 35, playing his first tournament in six months, recovering from a knee injury. Now, there are no points for nostalgia in the tennis rankings; it is little more than a rolling 52-week average of results. So Federer--despite being regarded as one of the four best on the planet even at this moment--has fallen to number 17.

Nadal, meanwhile, has had a terrible couple of years. It was so bad that many thought he was done. I have been writing tributes myself. Not so fast. Nadal is 30 himself.

So this Saturday will seem like a trip in a time machine to 2006. If you can set the DVR, it'll be worth it. The women play Saturday at 2 AM Central time; the men play Sunday at 2 AM Central time.

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