Re: Taylor Townsend

1

I've wanted to punch McEnroe for years even thought I've never watched a game of tennis in my life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 1:38 PM
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2

The article is talking about Patrick M, not John. Wanting to punch the wrong McEnroe is deprecated.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 1:52 PM
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3

Surely that's a different Tom Perrotta, right? Or do all great American wunderkind novelists also love tennis?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 1:54 PM
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4

It does appear to be a different Tom Perrotta, yes. Also, both of the Toms Perotta appear to be reasonably slender.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:00 PM
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Wanting to punch the wrong McEnroe is deprecated

Surely not, I don't think you can go wrong whichever McEnroe you choose to punch; it's just that punching the right one is strongly preferred.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:02 PM
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6

I assumed Patrick was short for Tom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:04 PM
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7

It's pretty stunning. Usually high-performing athletes have a pretty good sense of the difference between "skinny and ripped" and actually being fit in the relevant category for being good at your sport but I guess that doesn't apply to McEnroe. Also, she's not fat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:21 PM
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8

The USTA is just worried about her health, Halford. Why are you so racist. Also, speaking of sports of bigotry, this is over the top, sure, but it's still funny.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:23 PM
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9

racist?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:23 PM
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10

Sure you are, V-dub, don't worry. You can still hang out at our club.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:25 PM
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11

Oh goody, the Racist Whiteys Club! Aka August National.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:27 PM
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12

I shouldn't comment from a phone. Or comment at all, really. Goodbye.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:27 PM
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13

Also, she's not fat.

Yeah, of course the first thing I did was imagegoogle her. And while us finding her body acceptable is precisely not the point, and her performance should speak for itself, and and and... also, she's not fat.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:35 PM
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I mostly can't get past the idea that if she weren't at a good weight for her, she wouldn't be winning. Number one in her age bracket sounds like whatever she's doing is working.

Now, I don't know from elite athletics. I'd believe if someone knowledgeable told me that it'd be reasonable for a coach to look at a kid like this and say that she'd probably play better with lower body fat (yes, generally a lousy thing to say to anyone, but for elite athletes it seems like in the realm of crazy that's part of the deal). An exhortation to lose weight, from a sane coach with a good reason to think it'd improve her game, not that wrong. But turning that into withdrawing support for her when she's literally the best girls junior player in the world seems loony.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:43 PM
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15

I'm trying to channel Ogged as the voice of "Anything's okay for the good of sports." Is it working?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:44 PM
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15: Not controversial enough. I mean, that a coach might have valid opinions on physical optimization for an athlete? Seems like a no-brainer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:49 PM
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Losing some weight would make her slightly quicker and reduce the chances of joint injuries (probably only very slightly; she doesn't look like she's carrying much extra weight). Needless to say, that decision is bullshit, and it's not anyone's business but her own.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:50 PM
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18

I'm afraid Ogged is not on the side of the angels here, as a known proponent of the idea that people who aren't fat are fat.


Posted by: Crypticd ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:52 PM
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19

This does seem like the sort of story that cries out for a Kickstarter. Who wouldn't want to kick in a couple bucks toward this kid's next tourney to send a big screw you to the UTA?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:57 PM
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20

Throws an interesting complexion on women in tennis more generally. How neutral was the underlying process that propelled pinup girls like Sharapova into the limelight? Was there any pattern to who got preferred and who got left behind? I'd be amazed if Townsend turned out to be a lone instance of this in women's tennis.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 2:59 PM
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21

19 is an awesome idea.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:00 PM
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22

while us finding her body acceptable is precisely not the point

However, our using the possessive correctly precisely is!! the point!!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:04 PM
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23

Sorry that my comment was unintelligible, naseflie├čen.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:14 PM
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To me this looks a lot more like "we want the next face of American Tennis to be a little white pinup girl" than "we're really concerned about the health of an athlete who is extremely dominant", because it strikes me as implausible that they believe that pulling financial sponsorship is a doctor-recommended weight-loss treatment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:15 PM
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25

I'm trying to channel Ogged as the voice of "Anything's okay for the good of sports." Is it working?

On the subject of coaching (but otherwise off topic) I was struck by a recent comment by David Thorpe:

I've been fortunate enough to have coached every type of player during my career -- from NBA All-Stars and world champions to my son's team of 10-year-olds. I've also done so on three continents. ... [I]f you think about it, professionals are actually near the end of their athletic careers -- the final stage and culmination of a 20-year (or more) journey. Thus, they can appreciate how a great coach, more than anyone else, can be a gift to them.

That's obvious, when you think about it, but did make me think about professional athletes differently.

How neutral was the underlying process that propelled pinup girls like Sharapova into the limelight?

I don't know about Sharapova, but the ESPN documentary about Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova does talk about the way in which the media always treated Evert as a hero and Navratilova as a villain.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:19 PM
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26

On a slightly different peeve from the article, maybe my judgment is just off, but I'm consistently irritated when media reporting of women's weights looks way off. 6'2" 175 looks pretty lean when I've seen it on women I know, even ones not carrying world-class athlete amounts of muscle. Maybe that's actually what Lindsay Davenport weighed at her tennis-playing heaviest, but 6'2", a whole lot of muscle, and enough fat over it to look a little bit soft? I'd be surprised if that's accurate.

Better there should be less reporting on women's weights at all, but when what there is always seems to be distorted in the same direction, that annoys me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:23 PM
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27

26: It's sometimes very hard to judge what someone weighs from looking at them, and I think that's more true if one sees them only on TV. I don't think of Davenport as huge, but in a room, she'd tower over me, you know? Point is, I'd believe the weights and heights are pulled from somewhere official, but I really don't expect that to map onto what the person looks like.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:26 PM
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28

Generally true that it's hard to tell. Still, that ticked 'implausible' for me, as do a lot of reported women's weights.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:27 PM
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I'm 6'2", slightly built, fairly lean, and probably have much less muscle that Davenport, and I'm 185, so yeah.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:37 PM
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30

These issues can be tricky. A family friend played Division 1 college soccer and, as a mildly free spirit, skipped conditioning a few times. The coaching staff came down on her like a ton of bricks, which shocked her but didn't surprise her father (a former collegiate athlete) at all. His assessment: she's on their scholarship. She'd better do what they want. I don't remember any discussion of how she "looked" - it was all about the conditioning and being part of the team.

However, the weight/race/"how does she 'look'" angle is a recurring theme in women's tennis. There's been a lot of conventional tennis wisdom over the years that Serena Williams is out of shape or too heavy or (even) musclebound while she proceeds to destroy lesser tennis players on the court. And sometimes she's thought to be "scary," too. It all seems a bit beside the point that she is one of the best women players ever.

Can't tell from the story whether there is a real fitness issue here or whether the USTA is continuing to buy into an unrealistic/stupid/harmful "coaching" theory of what a conditioned tennis player should look like (I'm leaning toward the latter). At least they didn't bar her from playing, which probably would have led to a lawsuit and resulted in even worse publicity than the USTA is getting over this debacle.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:42 PM
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31

It seems to me that it's perfectly legitimate for a trainer to say to a player -- any gender, any sport -- you should strengthen your arms, you should stop smoking weed the day before competition, you should gain some muscle here [pointing], you should lose some weight. It's their job.

None of it should take place in public, or has anything to do with the association or the funding.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:54 PM
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32

I never know what lawyers mean when they use the word "legitimate".


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:56 PM
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33

Forcible is considered a synonym.

It's also legitimate for an agent to tell a player-client that if he/she changes public perceptions, endorsements may follow/increase. Again, not the league's business.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 3:58 PM
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34

re: 26

Actually, I think athlete weights are really hard to judge. The boxer is Amir Khan is my height, and muscular (in a lean way). If asked to guess his weight, I'd bet most people would be 20lbs off if they didn't already know what it was. He actually weighs about 6 or 7 lbs more than my wife, who is 5ft 3 ish, and not remotely heavy. I've been similarly surprised by other athlete's weights in the past.

Similarly, of course, it goes the other way, too. Lots of celebs publicly stated weight is clearly way off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:08 PM
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35

re: 31.last

For what it's worth, it's quite common for athletes* in the UK to have funding withdrawn for failing to hit conditioning targets, or performance targets. Turning up out of shape to competitions? You'd lose your funding.

That's not to say that that's remotely the case here, with the tennis player. Or that publicly trashing a young athlete's shape is acceptable.

* who often have funding via UK athletics or the national lottery.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:11 PM
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36

Wikipedia says that Sharapova's dad made friends with Kafelnikov when she was two and she started playing tennis at four, went to a clinic run by Navratilova at six, and went pro at nine - to the extent that having a sponsor pay for your tennis academy tuition counts as going pro. She seems to have been fully pro at 16.

I don't have a point here, I'm just amazed at how early her start was. I wonder how many people start a sport that early and take it that seriously for years and never get to the point where people who barely follow the sport know who they are. Lots, I bet.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:21 PM
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37

Isn't that mostly all of them? I have the impression that in tennis particularly, no one plays at the highest levels unless that was all they were doing long before puberty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:22 PM
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38

while she proceeds to destroy lesser tennis players on the court

Which at this point in history is every other woman on earth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:29 PM
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39

re: 37

Yeah. I don't think it's any coincidence that Murray is the best British tennis player in decades. He won the Orange Bowl at 12, and moved to Spain as a young-ish teenager in order to get serious coaching and competition time, and put in the time/work that is atypical for young British players.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:29 PM
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40

I know pretty much all the elite were winning things as juniors - I'm mostly surprised at things like getting sponsorships at 9.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:36 PM
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41

Yea. Not shocking for someone to say that we are concerned that you fitness now while impact your ability to get to the next level. Beating people in the junior level doesn't necessarily equate to the next. It is part of athletics.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 4:43 PM
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42

A quick search of recent top tennis players suggests that Stosur, who started at 8, was the oldest to start playing tennis. A few more don't seem to have gotten elite-level training until after 10, but had been playing for longer. Also, everyone lived in Florida or Spain as a kid.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:02 PM
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43

I haven't even started to play tennis, and I'm 34! Think what a sensation I'll be.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:04 PM
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44

Turning up out of shape to competitions? You'd lose your funding.

Unless you're Wayne Rooney!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:08 PM
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45

||

So I take it Crooked Timber is broken.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:38 PM
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46

Re: 44

Clubs fine players' wages sometimes, for that sort of thing. But yeah, they are more indulged than track and field athletes (who are quasi- state funded).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:42 PM
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47

45: I don't think so, no.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:55 PM
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48

I haven't even started to play tennis, and I'm 34! Think what a sensation I'll be.

A couple of years ago I decided it would be fun to learn to play tennis. I went to a tennis clinic that ran several nights a week for a few weeks, and played off and on a bit with Tweety. Tennis is fucking hard to learn as an adult. Every kid at the tennis courts, no matter how old they are, is better than I am.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 5:56 PM
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49

47: Really? I'm seeing the last posted comment dated 8/28, last post 8/21. Maybe they're just taking a break, which is fine; after a while, i.e. tonight, I wondered.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:02 PM
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50

What browser are you using? In Firefox 14.0.1 it appears as you've said and the last post is Flashman! with 15 comments showing (on the front page). In IE9 it's fine.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:05 PM
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51

Maybe refresh your browser or something? I'm seeing posts and comments from today.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:05 PM
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52

Every now and then, www.crookedtimber.org and crookedtimber.org are not on the same page, so to speak.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:06 PM
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Re 49

Something wrong at your end. New posts as recent as today.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:07 PM
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50, 51: Ah. Weird, I've never had a problem before. Yeah, I'm using Firefox 14.0.1. Thanks!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:08 PM
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To expand on 52, I get different results for www.crookedtimber.org and crookedtimber.org in both the firefox and chromium browsers.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:12 PM
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56

Right, I just changed my bookmarked link to crookedtimber.org and all is well. Thanks again.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:21 PM
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27

... Point is, I'd believe the weights and heights are pulled from somewhere official, but I really don't expect that to map onto what the person looks like.

I believe athlete's stats in general are self-reported and notoriously unreliable.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:25 PM
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I have Firefox 15 and had the same issue as 55. I never noticed until now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:29 PM
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59

They've had the problem before (see note at top of post).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:35 PM
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60

I just thought everybody was really into Flashman.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:38 PM
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61

Wow! Yeah, I hadn't seen a new post in weeks. But if I click the word "HOME" in the top right, new posts.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 6:41 PM
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62

Tennis is fucking hard to learn as an adult.

I've always taken some comfort in knowing that I really, really sucked at tennis as a kid, and that if I ever actually went so far as to take a lesson or something, there would almost instantly be at least one damn activity I'd be better at as an adult.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 7:39 PM
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63

I was a kid who needed glasses and didn't know it, and our local public tennis court was so temptingly near a pond that the stray balls that wound up (100 yards foul) in the pond became much more interesting than the game.

As a child, pond scum > tennis.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 7:43 PM
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64

I kept having the Flashman-as-latest-post problem, too, a little while back. Couldn't figure out why.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 7-12 7:51 PM
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Re Crooked Timber, if you click the link from here it goes to www.crookedtimber.org, which is broken in Chrome. But if you go to crookedtimber.org without the "www", it's fine. I don't get this at all (Tweety?). Also, if you're taken to the Flashman version and hit Home, it takes you to the real front page.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 3:48 AM
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66

We had the "fat athletes" thing here just before the Olympics, when some trainer suggested that the British heptathlete Jessica Ennis was overweight. Then the games started and she dominated her event so much it was almost embarrassing. And we haven't heard much of that shit since, although when she was asked what she planned to do after winning gold, she said, "Drink some wine and eat a ton of junk food."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 3:52 AM
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67

Somewhat off topic, the pro-choice/pro-life debate is somewhat different in rural Turkey from what we are used to.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 4:59 AM
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68

66: Hells yeah.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 1:30 PM
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69

The big names like Roddick or Agassi or Williams were produced by fanatical tennis families that a) had lots of kids and b) did nothing but play tennis. Usually it's not the oldest kid but the youngest who becomes the star as the younger one plays against the better, older kids. Agassi was the youngest of three kids (older brother), Roddick youngest of three (2 older brothers), Serena Williams youngest of five, John and Pat McEnroe middle and youngest of three brothers, Chris Evert the middle of three (older brother), Michael Chang younger of two (older brother), Andy Murray younger of two (older brother, pro tennis player). The USTA comes along too late to make much of a difference.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 7:41 PM
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69 is interesting.

For the record, Ms. Taylor lost in the QF in the U.S. Open junior singles, and, with her partner, won the U.S. Open junior doubles title. Last week P. McEnroe said that the USTA would pay Ms. Taylor's expenses to the tournament, which came as a surprise to her mother.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 3:03 PM
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