John P. McEnroe Sr. was in Madrid for the U.S. vs. Spain semifinals as he has been for every one of the weekends in which his sons John and Patrick were involved as a player or captain -- a span dating back to the '70s, when the McEnroe Sr., a retired lawyer, also represented some of the stars of the game in negotiations with the men's tour. Now McEnroe the elder, 73, has thrown his ballcap in the ring as a candidate for the position of ATP executive chairman and president being vacated by Etienne de Villiers in December. McEnroe said he thinks the player participation rules lead to unnecessary and potentially career-curtailing injuries, and made his case in a letter to top players and their agents he sent last month. McEnroe speculated de Villiers' resignation was forced because of ongoing tensions with players. He suggested that players should have the right to decide when, where and how much they play, but maintained that he is not "anti-tournament.'' "I have said, but I'm not proposing, that the best thing would be for the players to go back to having a union and have collective bargaining with the ATP, but in my mind, that's almost like Armageddon at this moment,'' he said. McEnroe said he plans to try to talk to more players about his ideas as the season winds down.
-- Bonnie D. Ford
Andy Roddick will travel to his next two tournaments in Asia accompanied by his longtime trainer Doug Spreen, but no coach. Davis Cup captain and ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe has been working with Roddick since the week before the U.S. Open, when Roddick's brother John stepped out of that role by mutual agreement between the siblings. Andy said he is not in a rush to hire someone else, although ideally he'd like to have someone in place before the end of this season. "Right now I won't have a lot of time to train anyway, and that's when you work things out with people.,'' Roddick said in Madrid this weekend. Asked whether he and McEnroe considered continuing their arrangement, Roddick pointed out that McEnroe already has three jobs, including his relatively new post as general manager of elite player development for the U.S. Tennis Association. McEnroe and his wife Melissa Errico, who have a 2½-year old daughter, also are expecting twin girls shortly. "He doesn't need another baby,'' Roddick said, referring to himself.
-- Bonnie D. Ford
Oh say can you ole
The Spanish players carped about playing at altitude in a Madrid bullring. But we think they must have secretly liked the poster produced for the event, featuring a traditional bullfighting scene with their names underneath in bold red letters, followed by suitably theatrical nicknames just like the real matadors. Our favorite was Feliciano Lopez
, "El Torpedo de Toledo.'' After skewering Sam Querrey
in the meaningless fifth match of the weekend, Lopez pantomimed a matator's choreography at center court using a plain white towel, much to the delight of the locals.
-- Bonnie D. Ford
Quote of the week
"They're probably not going to do that unless you're getting your butt kicked.'' -- Andy Roddick, commenting on the Madrid Davis Cup crowd's sympathetic cheering and chanting of his name toward the end of his straight-sets loss to Rafael Nadal
Stat of the week
Rafael Nadal is looking to join only three players -- Pete Sampras (1995), Jim Courier (1992) and John McEnroe (1981 and 1982) -- to finish the year ranked No. 1 and lead his country to a Davis Cup title.