CAN ROGER FEDERER WIN THE GRAND SLAM? THE FRIDAY FIVE
By Maud Watson
End to the Grand Slam Drought? – With his win in Melbourne at the Australian Open, Roger Federer became the first father since Andre Agassi to win a Grand Slam title, bringing his total up to 16. While every title he earns makes his legacy that much more impressive, the real question on everyone’s mind is, “Could he win the Grand Slam?” Rod Laver was the last man to do it back in 1969, while Steffi Graf was the last woman to do it in 1988. Federer is definitely still the man to beat. He finally got the monkey off his back at the French, loves the lawns of Wimbledon, and has a stellar record in Flushing Meadows. With Federer’s extraordinary ability to re-write the history books and shatter records, this may just be the year another player captures the elusive Grand Slam.
Showing Early Promise – So maybe Justine Henin was quite able to emulate the success of countrywoman Kim Clijsters by winning her fist major back from retirement, but it was just her second tournament in 18 months, and it was Serena Williams on the other side of the net (no offense to Caroline Wozniaki). While congratulations are in order for Serena Williams, whose 12th Grand Slam title ties her with tennis legend Billie Jean King, I was most impressed with Henin. Several times she had to grind her way through matches, including her second-round encounter with Elena Dementieva. She then takes the current No. 1 to three-sets in the final, and had she played a cleaner match, might have gone all the way. It was a little disconcerting to watch for those who remember seeing the Henin who was a human backboard, but her determination to execute a more offensive game plan is admirable. Once she hones her game and finds that balance between defense and offense, she may well go on to dominate the women’s tour yet again. And, given that she has approximately four months to prepare for the French, she has to already be considered a favorite to take the coveted clay court title.
Hewitt’s Hip Woes – In case you missed it in the entire hullabaloo at the end of the Aussie Open, local favorite Lleyton Hewitt announced that he had to undergo hip surgery on his right hip. He stated he tweaked the hip during the Hopman Cup, and after his run at the first major of the year came to an end, he had the surgery. One has to feel for the man from Adelaide who already underwent one hip surgery. That said, if ever there was a player who had the determination to bounce back from a second surgery, it’s Rusty.
He’s Gone Bollywood – Former Indian tennis star Vijay Amritraj once starred with Roger Moore in the James Bond film Octopussy, and now, once again, another leading Indian player is taking his shot at making it in the movies. Leander Paes, one of the most famous Indian players of the past decade, is going to be starring in a psychological thriller that will be released in both Hindi and Bengali. Maybe it’s not James Bond, but it’s going to give the boys something to talk about in the locker room.
She’s a Barbie Girl – Well, it’s not quite a Wheaties box, but it’s still pretty darn cool. Kim Clijsters has been made into a Barbie doll, as has her young daughter, Jada. Don’t expect to find the doll in a store near you, but for someone like Clijsters who remembers playing with Barbies as a young girl, there’s no doubt that it must be quite an honor to have been fashioned into one of the most iconic toys of all time.