Posted on: July 28, 2009 10:11 pm

Pete Sampras

The latest to come from Pete Sampras kind of disturbs me. According to Sampras, who just watched his record 14 Grand Slams get surpassed by Roger Federer comes out and says that he could beat Federer on grass if they were both in their prime.

Come on, Pete. You are better than this.

The reason that I take issue to this is because it doesn't matter who would beat who in a match. Federer holds the record now but that does not diminish what Sampras did. Sampras now just sounds like one of those sore losers who is trying to take shots at the person who passed the record. It's not like anyone thinks that Sampras isn't one of the greatest players to ever play the game, so why is he taking shots at Federer now? Roger would be the first to tell you how great of a champion Sampras is and how much he looks up to him.

He sounds like Hank Aaron and members of the 1972 undefeated Dolphins team. When Bonds passed Aaron for the all-time home run crown, Hank kept talking about how he wasn't going to show up, and how he did it the right way, and all this other nonsense. We all know Bonds cheated, but he still holds the record. And the Dolphins players when the Patriots were flirting with perfection (which by the way they should have achieved if it weren't for the luckiest catch in football history) kept talking about how much tougher and junk it was to play back then and all this other nonsense. Just shut up and support the greatness that is happening in front of you. And now we have Sampras taking a shot at Federer. Even though the shot is mild, the idea still remains the same.

At least this makes my opinion of 'Who is the greatest tennis player ever' a little bit easier. Until now both Sampras and Federer have shown how great of a champion they are on AND off the court. Now that Sampras seems like he's only a champ on the court and not off of it, there's only one conclusion to draw.

Category: Tennis
Posted on: June 17, 2009 12:49 am

Grunting - Part of the Game?

Less than a week away from the Championships at Wimbledon, the International Tennis Federation is contemplating a crackdown on grunting in the game of tennis.


This clearly does not refer to grunting as much as it does the screaming and shreiking exhibited mostly by the female competitors. If you have watched Sharapova or the Williams sisters play, then you surely know what I am talking about. The current rule says that the player may have to forfeit a point at the umpire's discretion. Under potential new rules, a player may have to forfeit sets or even matches at the decision of the officials.

So is this really necessary? I think it is. I have never understood why players feel the need to scream at the top of their lungs every time they hit a point. It is distracting to the audience, and I can imagine it is distracting to the players facing them. A number of players have come out and complained about it, but until now no such talk of a change has happened. Now I understand that a grunt here and there is a way of exerting energy into the ball and everything, but at this point I think it has become so much of a habit for those players that they might not be able to stop if they try, and that could pose huge problems for them in the future.

My big issue is the fact that tennis is one of the only sports where the crowd is required to sit in silence during the point while the players shreik their lungs out as they hit the ball. If it is really something that helps your performance then why don't we see baseball players or golfers doing the same thing when they swing? I think it just provides a mental lift to the player because they think it is helping them to hit the ball better, and is really unnecessary.

The problem with instituting a rule like this is the fine line that the officials are going to have to draw between grunting and screaming. Rafael Nadal poses an interesting case, as he is one of the players who make sound when they hit the ball. His is more of a moan then a scream, but would that count? And how would they be able to decide what level of penalty to hand down? Are the umpires going to have a decibel meter installed in their chair? Something like that sounds quite ridiculous to me.

These are all the tough decisions that the ITF will have to face when deciding whether to institute a rule like that. We will see in time if this move pays off, but like I said before they are really going to have to be careful and deliberate in their choices regarding the screaming in tennis. No matter what they decide, I still think that something needs to be done.

Posted on: June 1, 2009 2:15 am

LeBron lost this series? I don't think so.

After a day to think about what I had just seen, and a day of ESPN trying to paint the picture in our heads, I was trying to decide how the Cavaliers actually lost that series to the Magic. The thing about that series is that it was completely possible for the Magic to win 4-1 if LeBron didn't make that sick shot at the buzzer in Game 2. ESPN and a bunch of newspaper columnists seem to think that LeBron lost that series because he didn't take over the game enough throughout the series. Does that constitute "losing the series" for the team? I'm not so sure.

I'm going to say that the Cavaliers' defense lost that series for them. The Magic were averaging over 100 points per game, and in the playoffs if you're going to have success you can't have that. Defense wins championships, not individual efforts. And lets face it, the Magic are a darn good basketball team. Think about what you have to defend when you are playing the Magic. You can play straight up man and run the risk of Dwight Howard imposing his will against your big guys in the paint. Alright, so to combat this you double Howard in the post. What does he do? He kicks it out and they pass it around to the open man who drains the 3-pointer. The Magic have shown in the playoffs a terrific ability to shoot from beyond the arc, and cetainly in pressure situations. Turkoglu has shot about 15 percentage points BETTER on the road than at home from behind the line. All you can do is hope that they have a poor shooting night.

That's your best-case-scenario. The Cavaliers, however, didn't commit to playing defense whatsoever in Game 6. Too many plays I saw easy looks at the basket. Too many bad fouls in the paint. How can your best defending big guy come out of the came 1:30 in with two fouls? Now I have to say that 24 points is hardly LeBron's best offensive effort, especially against Howard's 40, but when the team comes out with a lack of effort on the defensive side of the ball you can't blame one player in-particular.

So in conclusion, LeBron James alone did not lose this series for the Cavaliers, the defense did. However, LeBron James did not win this series for the Cavaliers. That is the difference between LeBron and MJ.

Quick Hits:
- I want to salute the efforts of Robin Soderling in his match today at the French Open, taking down world number 1 Rafael Nadal on his "home court" at Roland Garros. What a fantastic exhibition of tennis and an absolutely overpowering game today. We always wondered what it would take to de-throne the once-undefeated Nadal on clay, and especially at the Open, and today we witnessed it. Even though his 31-match win streak at the French Open is finished, we all have to take a step back and think about what we have witnessed over the past four years. This kid comes in and wins not only 31 matches in a row, but his FIRST 31 matches at the French Open before actually losing one. And better yet, until today he had never dropped 2 sets in one of those matches. He still has not played a 5-set match at the French Open. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back at Wimbledon, but one thing is for sure: We are in the midst of two of the greatest tennis players to live in their prime: Nadal and Federer.

- Watch for the Red Wings to take the Stanley Cup Finals in 5 games. They are far and away the best team in the NHL this year, and their dominant play so far has backed them up.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com