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Wednesday, September 14, 2005 

Yellow Fuzz and Pucks

The U.S. Open wrapped up in NYC in a fashion that couldn't have been better. While Kim Clijsters defeated Mary Pierce for the women's singles championship, the real stories were on the men's side.

The semi-finals were simply gorgeous, featuring two high energy matches. Roger Federer faced long time opponent/peer Lleyton Hewitt, and as has been the emerging pattern, had little to no trouble with. However, the Cinderella favorite Andre Agassi faced dark horse Jim Blake, a rising star with culture and chic that the sport desperately needs. Agassi ended up taking the night-time, center court match in five sets (as he had the previous two matches), setting up final showdown predicted by What the Thunder Said.

Though the final ended up being decisively won by Federer, it was truly a close match to watch with plenty of excitement, and perhaps a final chance to watch a dominant Agassi in the second/third sets. However, the real story was Federer's mental and physical ability to raise his game to zero gravity. The man is a marvel. Perhaps most impressive were Agassi's comments about him, especially comparing him to modern marvel semi-deity Pete Sampras:

ANDRE AGASSI: But, you know, he's the best I've ever played against. There's nowhere to go. You know, there's nothing to do except hit fairways, hit greens and make putts. I mean, every shot has that sort of urgency on it. And if you do what you're supposed to do, you feel like it gives you a chance to win the point. That's just too good.

Q. Do you think Roger is even better than Sampras at his best, and he could maybe break one day the record of Sampras?

ANDRE AGASSI: Pete was great. I mean, no question. But there was a place to get to with Pete, you knew what you had to do. If you do it, it could be on your terms. There's no such place like that with Roger.

I think he's the best I've played against. But I also think the accomplishment of winning that many Slams requires a number of things, including a little bit of luck to make sure you're healthy, nothing goes wrong.

So, thanks for a great tennis season. I do hope Andre can continue to heal up his back (come see my dad. He can fix anybody) and get off the cortizone. However, he has already given a gift to the tennis world, and I am thankful for that. I am also thankful that Federer is only 23 and we can still watch him for years to come.

* * *

In a different world, Mark Messier announced his retirement. This man embodied so much of the attributes I so respect in athletes. He could take over a game, will his teammates to win, and dominate the ice and the attitude and play of every player in the rink with him. He will be sorely missed. He led the Edmonton Oilers and the NY Rangers to Stanley Cups.


Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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