Tommy Haas hits with Roger Federer at Indian Wells but postpones comeback – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Blockbuster Matchup

The first round of Davis Cup play is compete, and the much-anticipated quarterfinal matchup between the United States and Spain will indeed take place this coming July. Current World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has already stated his intention to represent his home nation (providing he’s healthy and rested enough), which is very welcomed news for Spain, as even with its deep pool of players, it may find itself in dire need of his participation. The United States will have home court advantage in the upcoming tie, with San Antonio and Austin, Texas, as well as Albany, New York being considered as possible candidates for the host city. The crowd will be heavily pro-American wherever it is played, but perhaps even more so if it is played in Roddick’s current home state of Texas. Couple that with the fact that the surface will either be grass or a fast hard court (my personal vote is that the fast hard court will give the U.S. the greatest advantage), and Spain will have its work cut out for it. Time will tell as the time grows near and rosters are finalized, but despite the depth of Spanish tennis, the odds might slightly be leaning in favor of the Stars and Stripes this time around.

Traditional Leader

Tommy Haas

While it’s the first tournament that comes to mind when talking about history and tradition, Wimbledon is once again also proving to be the leader in taking advantage of some of the latest advances in technology to enhance the experience of The Championships. For the first time ever, the men’s semifinals and both singles finals will be available in 3D-capable movie theaters. The feature comes as part of the multiyear partnership between Sony and Wimbledon, and it will no doubt help raise the profile of the sport of tennis and its biggest tournament of the year. Furthermore, Sony has also purchased the Hawk-Eye technology. This partnership is apt to not only mean an increase in the use of the technology throughout the tennis circuit, but Hawk-Eye inventor Paul Hawkins suggests that the deal could also mean “immense opportunities for the sports industry.”

Persistence Rewarded

To put it mildly, Jelena Dokic has endured a long and tough career filled with more than her share of controversy. But this past weekend, Dokic ended a nine-year title drought with her win in Kuala Lumpur. However, what was perhaps best to see is the fact that the title win didn’t cloud her judgment as to the next best course of action. She smartly decided to forgo the qualifying in Indian Wells and instead play the ITF Challenger in the Bahamas that begins on March 14th. She’s apt to be better rested and better prepared for the challenger, which will hopefully allow her to continue her good run of form and grow in confidence. If she is able to somehow secure a spot in the main draw of the Miami event, this could be a much-deserved and crucial turning point in her troubled career.

Can’t Catch a Break

David Nalbandian is a phenomenally talented player who has never been allowed to maintain a foothold at the top of the men’s game thanks to the plethora of injuries he has suffered throughout the course of his career. And now the Argentine can chalk one more injury up in the books, as this past weekend he aggravated a groin strain and tore a muscle while representing his home nation in Davis Cup play. He has had to undergo surgery and is expected to be out for two months. It will be tight, but his spokesman, Bernardo Ballero, has confirmed that Nalbandian should be set to go for the start of the French Open in mid-May. Fingers crossed that his recovery goes as scheduled and he is able to compete in the second major of the season.

Near Return

Tommy Haas fans will have to be a little more patient, but they do have something to smile about. The new American citizen was back on the practice court hitting balls with Roger Federer. Unfortunately, he opted to pull out of Indian Wells, as he didn’t feel that he was quite ready to make his return to tournament tennis. But the hit session with the Swiss Maestro would seem to indicate that Haas is growing nearer his professional return, and the sport would greatly welcome it. Even at the age of 32, his results prior to the injury layoff would suggest that he still has plenty to offer, and his all-court style would certainly spice things up.