hollywood actors

Federer’s Who’s Who Accolade: The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

The Real Deal – Kim Clijsters is quickly going on to prove that her dash to the US Open title was no fluke. In an exhibition match played earlier this week in her native Belgium, Clijsters once again defeated former world No. 1 Venus Williams. This time the Belgian secured an emphatic straight sets win, taking out the elder Williams 6-1, 7-5. She’s looking like a strong candidate to follow up her US Open run with a victory for her first title in the Land Down Under.

This Comeback is For Real – Not to be outdone by her compatriot, Justine Henin has also recently been making headlines. The former world No. 1 played two exhibition matches this past week.  The first was against fellow countrywoman Kirsten Flipkens (No. 81), whom she defeated 6-4, 6-4.  She then followed that up with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Italian sensation Flavia Pennetta, the current World No. 12.  As the Belgian works out the jitters that will inevitably come as she makes her comeback, there’s little doubt that she already looks primed to put together a good run at the 2010 Australian Open.

Icing on the Cake – 2009 has been a banner year for the Swiss maestro. He got married, became a father, completed the career Grand Slam, broke Sampras’ record for most Grand Slam singles titles, and became the first since Ivan Lendl to reclaim the year-end No. 1 ranking.  Now, even in the off season, life keeps getting better for Roger Federer.   It was announced earlier this week that he has been named to the prestigious “Who’s Who” list, along with Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman among other notable names.  It’s a well-deserved accolade, and I’m sure he’ll be adding plenty more to the list come 2010.

Sensational Sydney – The off season has barely begun (and yet is nearly over), but tennis fans must be licking their chops for the Australian hard court season.  The tune up events for the first major of the year are looking good, especially Sydney. The Sydney field currently boasts nine of the world’s Top 10 players, with Venus Williams being the only absentee among the WTA’s Top 10.  The men’s field in Sydney is nothing to sneeze at either, with former world No. 1 and home favorite Lleyton Hewitt competing, as well as popular Frenchman Gael Monfils and former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis.

Vamos España! – Well, the nation of Spain has done it once again.  They won their fourth Davis Cup title since the year 2000 and have cemented themselves as the most dominant team of the decade.  Additionally, with their win over the Czech Republic, Spain became the first nation since Sweden in 1998 to successfully defend the Davis Cup, and their accomplishment was rewarded with special recognition and praise from Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero.  The win also brought Rafael Nadal’s 2009 campaign to an end on a positive note.  The Spaniard will be looking to use the Davis Cup victory as a springboard to bigger and better things in 2010.

Cut Richard Gasquet Some Slack

 As you know by now, French player Richard Gasquet has been suspended for testing positive for cocaine back in Miami this spring.  I am by no means suggesting drug use is appropriate, only that this punishment seems a little harsh for him.

How many athletes use drugs or alcohol off season when they aren’t being tested, when they are away from the public eye?  That’s right.  You can claim they probably don’t.  Honestly, you don’t know what people, these role models, are doing around the end of tournament season.  All we know of these players is how they conduct themselves at press conferences.

Worse, why is there a double standard in sports that partying with alcohol is given a “cool” pass while drugs are “bad?”  For anyone wanting to make the argument about being a good role model for kids, I want to hear your side on why overdoing alcohol is acceptable for NBA and MLB stars at the same time when Michael Phelps gets grilled in the media over one pot incident, possibly losing huge sponsors.

Hollywood actors can make comebacks after a few stints in rehab and if Britney can return with a concert tour, come on, give Richard Gasquet a chance.  I personally would have banned the guy from a few tournaments until he cleans up his act.  Keep in mind, this is a young man who probably spends most of his life not acting his age to become a top player.  Cut him a break and see if he can keep his promises.  If by then, he is still doing drugs, that is when you need to think about long term bans.