Andy Roddick lost at the French Open today. What a shock. Actually, he got crushed. He lost in three decisive sets to hometown hero Gael Monfils. This victory sets up one heck of a quarterfinal match. Monfils has only dropped one set, and he’s playing as well as he ever has. His next opponent – Roger Federer. Federer is building a nice unbeaten streak on clay, but he had to fight for his life to come back from 0-2 against Tommy Haas to win in five sets. Federer is obviously favored to win the match, but it won’t be easy for him. The winner of this match will be in very good shape to win it all, so this could be a classic. It should go down on Wednesday.
I’m obviously not surprised that the Lakers are favored in the NBA Finals. I am surprised, though, that they are as favored as they are – 5Dimes has them at -270 to win the series, with Orlando at +230. The Lakers are a public team and all, but I’m not sure that that gives the Magic enough respect for what they have accomplished in the playoffs. It’s not just that they have beaten two good teams, but they have also looked pretty good doing it. You can argue that the Cavs are flawed and one-dimensional, but the Lakers aren’t exactly a well-balanced, multi-dimensional model of a franchise. This will be one interesting line to watch until the series starts on Thursday.
Speaking of the Magic, I can’t say that I understand this whole Jameer Nelson talk. I don’t believe that he would be ready to return to action this far ahead of schedule. Even if he was, I sure don’t believe that the finals are a good place to knock off the rust and try to return to playing form. Nelson has gone to town on the Lakers when he has played them, but that was when he was in mid-season form and in full health. Rafer Alston has been solid in the playoffs, and what he brings is obviously working. I just don’t see any return by Nelson as being worth the gamble now and into the future. If we have learned one thing from Orlando’s run this year it’s that this team isn’t just a flash in the pan.
The Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA have opened a real Pandora’s Box in the North American sports world. LifeLock is a major sponsor of the team – so major, in fact, that their logo will now be prominently displayed on the front of the home and away jerseys. The logo will be big and will replace the team names on the jerseys. This is nothing new for Europe, but it’s the first time it has happened thissignificantly in a major sport in North America. I’m not saying that the WNBA is a major league itself, but it is owned by the NBA, so if it works well then the powers that be in the NBA would already be inclined to like the idea.