Born on Independence Day, Lives Actively & Family Focused

French Open 2015 from Los Angeles with My Kids

May 21, 2015

As a player or broadcaster, it’s hard to miss a major tennis tournament. ESPN will broadcast only early weekday hours and does not need all of its tennis talent over at the French Open in Paris, so I am staying home. This time of year with three kids in Elementary School offers non-stop action, athletic competition, academic deadlines and tests, and special events. I was first to raise my hand in a production meeting at the Australian Open to stay home, watch from the comforts of my home, tweet about it all and still enjoy Roland Garros.  All the while looking ahead and resting up for ESPN to broadcast all of Wimbledon and the US Open for the first time in history.

The Australian Open champions, Serena and Novak, in the next seventeen days could be two legs up on the calendar year Grand Slam, last won by Stephanie Graf in 1988 on the women’s side, and Rod Laver in 1969 on the men’s side. Will Rafa regain his confidence and intimidation over the field with his skills during three out of five sets at Roland Garros where he has won nine of the last ten championships played? A player has not gone for a tenth of the same major since Martina Navratilova after winning her ninth Wimbledon in 1990. She kept trying for a few more years, but never won her tenth Wimbledon final. Will the USA collectively led by Serena, Venus, Madison Keys, John Isner, Jack Sock and the Bryan twins, have it’s best Roland Garros in years? Novak can win the career Grand Slam in Paris, joining Roger and Rafa. To have three men and two women, Serena and Maria playing at the same time with the career Grand Slam is an unheard of achievement by a group of champions playing in the same era.

Most people will be favoring Novak given his last six months and his clay court season. Roger, Novak and now Andy are proving that a settled family life, even in the case of Roger with twins times two, brings out their over all best and willingness to have careers of longevity and quality. Roger won’t be my pick to win in Paris, but at Wimbledon, if he is healthy, may be my ESPN.com pick. Everyone enjoy this special time in tennis.

I said at the Australia Open during an ESPN broadcast that Serena is my number one all time women’s player when you look at her first major coming at seventeen years old in 1999 to now, in her mid-thirties winning two in a row for a total of nineteen major singles championships. Her women’s doubles record in major finals is 13-0 with Venus. Serena’s Olympic record is golden. Serena has never been as comfortable of a pick for me at Roland Garros, even though last year in Paris, Serena lost to Garbine Muguruza and played perhaps her worst match at a major since she was in her teens. Maria winning her third is a sound pick as well but so is Simona Halep or Petra Kvitova winning their first in Paris. And if Simona can win, it would be her first major.

So while Chrissie, Mary Jo, Patrick, Darren, Brad, Chris and all the ESPN team enjoys Paris dinners, after shorter than usual major tennis days, I hope they cast a thought to the west and consider my struggles in keeping up with fourth grade math. See you a week later than usual in SW 19, where for me, the grass is always greener than the slow red clay in Paris. If you throw to me courtside by mistake, I will pick up the throw on June 29th at The Championships, Wimbledon.

Ready, play!