The Best There Ever Was

If there is a better and more erudite interview in sports than Roger Federer then I must have missed him over the years and this comes from a writer who has interviewed Arnold Palmer, Jim Calhoun, Geno Auriemma, Coach K., Vivian Stringer, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and a whole host of others.

Federer spends a good hour after each match answering questions in English,French and Swiss.And he answers every one thoughtfully.

One might get a few word answer from Rafael Nadal to a question and that in part is a result of his lack of command of English,but Federer is good for a full 3 paragraphs on each question,be them about his opponent,his daughters or his perspective on Tiger Woods,a friend.

Federer is very bright and has a keen perspective at the age of 30 of his place in the tennis lexicon.But there is more to his life then tennis.he is a fan of a bunch of sports,is a great family man and when he vacations tennis is the furthest thing from his mind.He made that clear in his Saturday press conference after his win over Marin Cilic.

After the match, Cilic marveled about Federer and made it clear that in his mind Federer has a few more Majors to win.

This US Open could be one of them.

Oudin Should Be Left Alone In Divorce Story

Over the last two weeks, Melanie Oudin’s life has become very public. The teen from Marietta, GA described herself as a “normal kid”, who does regular things like going to the movies and playing her Wii.

Apparently, Oudin is also going through a very normal thing that many teen-aged Americans endure: Her parents are getting a divorce.

A story that was broken by SI.com after midnight, Oudin’s father, John filed divorce papers over a year ago against her mother Leslie, on the count of adultery. Leslie was allegedly having a affair with Melanie’s coach Brian de Villiers. According to SI, the proceedings are ongoing and a mediation is set for Dec. 7.

All of this is well and good, but it has nothing to do with Oudin and what she did on the court at Arthur Ashe. Thousands of couples get divorced every year and the children are the ones that suffer. Instead of dragging this through the mud – as many tabloids will – this should just be a footnote to a nice story. Melanie has not done anything wrong here; it’s her parents’ lives and they are not public figures.

Unfortunately, many newspapers won’t feel that way and to sell papers they will treat this story as if Oudin was the one who is getting divorced. She may be dragged through the mud and what is supposed to be a private affair will become very public.

That’s a shame. Besides being a hard working and talented tennis player, Oudin seems to be very grounded and natural with the media. Her answers seems to come from the heart rather than canned clichés. A public scandal like this may change her attitude, which is not good for the sport, the press that wants to cover the play on the courts, and most importantly, Melanie herself.

If this becomes a bigger story than it should be, Melanie will be the one answering questions every time she takes the court. Instead of working hard to improve her game – and moving up the standings – she will have to go through this muck.

And for what? Because a dying industry needs to drag down a 17 year-old in order to survive? Rafael Nadal is being left alone as his parents are splitting up. Oudin should get the same courtesy.

Fortunately for her, she will have some time away from the media spotlight. Sure, she will be competing in other tournaments over the next few months, but only the die hard tennis fans will be watching. The next time she will be on a wide-scale stage will be at the Australian Open in January. By that time the divorce story may be on the back burner and Oudin can get on with her life as an up and coming tennis star.

In the mean time, remember the only crime she committed was winning four rounds at the US Open. She has nothing to be sorry about and her family should be left alone.