Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 31, 2:14 PM ET
Chat during the Sony Ericsson Open!

Steiny (NYC)

What are your thoughts on Wozniacki upsetting Dementieva?

Greg Garber
  (4:00 PM)

Hello ,folks, from sunny (and humid) Miami ... Greg Garber here for a few days to take in the tennis and answer your burning questions concerning the Sony Ericsson Open .... Steiny, you're on the clock ... No, I don't think too many folks here were surprised that Wozniacki beat Dementieva in the fourth round. You'll remember that Dementieva got tagged early in Indian Wells and essentially said that she didn't want to be there because she had played too many matches. Woz gave Kuznetsova a hard time in the quarters and at 18 is the WTA's up-and-comer, along with Victoria Azarenka...

Matt (Glastonbury, CT)

How many donuts do you think Serena could consume in one setting?

Greg Garber
  (4:03 PM)

Matt: I suspect you are referencing the Krispy Kreme Challenge race I recently ran in Raleigh, NC. You run two miles, eat a dozen doughnuts and run back. We put the piece on SportsCenter. Last night Andy Roddick was asking me about it. Didn't think he could do it -- I begged to differ. As for Serena, she's a world-class athlete. I'm sure she could easily handle both the running -- and the eating -- portion of the race.

Mark (Virginia)

If Federer doesn't win Wimby or the U.S. Open, can we finally reconcile the end is here?

Greg Garber
  (4:07 PM)

Mark, good to hear from you. That's a slippery slope that tennis writers have to traverse very carefully. Most informed folks think Federer might have three or four Grand Slams left. He says he wants to play seven, eight more years and for the next four or five, with intelligent preparation (his calling card) he will be in the mix for Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The way Rafa plays leaves him susceptible to injury, which may be a factor in the coming years. Federer has not played well this year -- he's failed in some big moments and seems to have confidence issues -- but he's still Federer. Somehow he won the 08 U.S. Open, so you have to believe he'll find a way to win a few more...

Alane (Pittsfield, MA)

Why do you think the Williams sisters appear to be the only top-tier WTA players flourishing? Should the CEO-less WTA suits mandate they always be on the opposite side of the draw, irrespective of their ranking?

Greg Garber
  (4:10 PM)

Alane: Maybe you've just become a candidate to replace Larry Scott as WTA CEO ... A nice thought for fans, perhaps, but the Williams have no one to blame but themselves. Right now, along with Vika Azarenka, they are the most consistent players on Tour. But, that said, they don't play enough, particularly Venus. Coming in to Miami, she had only played three tournaments in three months. That's going to lead to lower rankings and meetings in the quarters and semifinals. They'll play Thursday night here in the semis in the 20th match of their careers.

Ricardo in Florida

I remember watching Marcelo Rios win this event a decade ago. Would you place him atop the biggest wastes of talent in modern times?

Greg Garber
  (4:11 PM)

Good call, Ricardo. Guy had all the shots.

Sara, Germany

Djoker at his best or Murray at his best. Who's better?

Greg Garber
  (4:13 PM)

Sara:Right this minute? Murray is playing better. Djokovic -- up on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-2 -- has struggled with confidence lately, losing twice this year to a resurgent Andy Roddick. I'll probably write a iece off this match. Believe it or ot: After beating Tsonga in the 08 Aussie final, Djokovic has lost to the Frenchman four straight times!

Big Al in Stuart, FL

Hi Greg. Why does ESPN pay so little attention to one of the most significant events of the year? Are they really that myopic that it gets no love on TV. But great tennis page by the way. It's my first Web stop of the day - before GQ.com. Hahaha!

Greg Garber
  (4:16 PM)

Big Al -- thanks for the GQ props. This is a question I asked last year at Indian Wells, when it was announced that ESPN wasn;t going to carry the back-to-back mini-Slams. I beieve it was picked up by Fox regional. The folks at ESPN explained that the rankins just weren't there. For Indian Wells, you're still up against college hoops and the world baseball classic. The ratings just aren't there. That's why you have to work so hard to find a feed. The good news: The Worldwide Leader now has a piece of all four Grand Slams, including (for the first time) the U.S. Open.

Justin: (Brooklyn, NY)

Greg, How far up the rankings do you see Andy Roddick being able to climb. Personally, I think he is the fourth best player in the world right now, behind Rafa Rog and Murray. Your thoughts?

Greg Garber
  (4:19 PM)

Justin, good to have you back on board. Roddick was the topic of my story yesterday (which remains on the tennis page). While I did not conjecture as to his place in the pecking order, I think you have it right. He bat Djokovic twice this year, which makes him a legitimate No. 4. Tonight's match will speak volumes about how far he has progressed. Roger Federer is no Gael Monfils.

Eric (Los Angeles)

Greg, was Flushing Meadows 2008 the last major title of Roger Federer's career? Fans and pundits alike are split on this question, but it really is the prevailing storyline in men's tennis right now isn't it?

Greg Garber
  (4:22 PM)

Yikes, another fed doubter. Eric, give him some space. Fd had a doctor's note last year after a bout with mono and showed some guts winning the U.S. Open. He is at a fascinating juncture in his tenns career, one major victory short of Pete Sampras' record 14. As I said earlier, tonight's match will be a revealing progress report.

Sue in Pittsfield

Who has bigger guns? Nadal or Monfils?

Greg Garber
  (4:24 PM)

Sue: This investigative reporter has never taken out the tape measure. The eyeball test says Rafa, hands down.

Andrew Alba (Pomona, CA)

Will Roger Federer ever hire a coach? Will a coach help him improve his tactics against opponents like Andy Murry and Rafa Nadal? If he won't hire a coach, have we already seen the best of Federer?

Greg Garber
  (4:28 PM)

Andrew: A terrific question. During the offseason it looked like Darren Cahill (Agasi, Hewitt) might take the gig. Apparently, he didn't want to relocate hs family from Las Vegas to Dubai, Federer's training headquarters. For the positive impact of a new coach look no further than Andy Roddick and Larry Stefanki. Roddick seems like a new player. Federer called it playing "safe" but, basically, Roddick said last night that he has more confidence in his conditioning and, therefore, doesn;t look to end points as quickly. pateince has been a virtue. Even Federer could use a second set of eyes. I think if he continues to struggle against the top players, he'll bring someone onboard.

Criz- San Francisco,CA

You think Clijster has chance on her comeback?

Greg Garber
  (4:30 PM)

Criz -- Of course. Look at the state of women's tennis. No Henin. Sharapova's been hurt. Venus doesn't play much. There are a few terrific young players (Azarenka and Wozniacki), but plenty of room for a former No. 1 who is ready to prove she can come back.

Albert (Los Angeles, CA)

Last night, the men's match Nadal vs Wawrinka was great entertainment and a great match. Today, the women's match, S. Williams vs. Na Li was pure agony. What do you make of the disparity in quality between the men's and women's game?

Greg Garber
  (4:32 PM)

Albert, this topic comes up a lot among my friends. The fact is, men hit the ball harder. Case closed. Yo an make the argument in college basketball , too. But for my money the woemn's game is purer, more fundamentally sound -- like the NBA in the 50s and 60s. The women's game looks a lot more like my former college game. Listen, enjoy both games, men and women. They're just different.

Ashok Krishna (Berkeley, CA)

What are your thoughts on Roddick's new form? Do you think he's playing the best tennis of his career--even better than in 2003?

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Ashok: I askd myself that question last night in putting together the Roddick story. We tend to rush to judgement in writing stories -- they seem more important when they are definitive -- but I stopped short of saying that. How about posing it this way: Wuld the 2009 Roddick beat the Roddick circa 2003? Probably, but that's because men's tennis has improved dramatically in those six years. Let's make that judgment after Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Chuck, East Bay, CA

Any hope of stopping tennis players from screaming when they make contact? I say it's ugly and detrimental to tennis.

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

Chuck: Probably not. Hey, even Monfils had a soft sigh going last night when his match wth Roddick started to slip away. Chalk it up as one of our inate rights: Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness -- and pubic grunting.

Jesse Jensen (Hillsboro,Or)

Detroit needs to do what ever it takes to get Jay Cutler to Detroit trade a pick to the browns for the qb Denver perfers and trade that qb and a pick to denver and draft an ot !

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

Jesse: I can't disagree with that.

Zach in Pittsburgh

Greg, realistically, does Roddick have any chance tonight? In Oz, he was discernibly slower. I can't foresee him winning unless the Swiss gacks.

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

Zach, what's happening in P-Burgh? This, along with what Serena was thinking out there today, is the burning question of Wednesday. Most folks would automatically give the match to Federer, but Roddick beat him here last year and he clearly has more confidence with Stefanki in his box. Fed, on the other hand, has shrunk in some big moments this year. I'd say the door is open, at the very least

Eric (Los Angeles)

Greg, forgot to mention that all my colleagues also agree that you look like Joe Swanson from the Family Guy (even though he's animated). Curious, who are your picks for the Final Four and NCAA champion?

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Thanks for that information, Eric. He's generally more animated than I am.I live in Conncticut, so we understand the flaws of the Huskies. I'm an underdog guy. Give me Villanova, the OTHER Big East entry.

Tosin, Baltimore MD

Well Roddick needs to win only 2 sets, so i have a feeling he can do it tonight. I dont think Roddick can win 3 sets on Federer anytime soon...tonight he doesnt need to do that. What do you think?

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Tosin: That's shrewd reasoning. I'm smelling at least one tie-breaker, which would be a good thing for Roddick. Fed, as Roddick mentioned yesterday, always seems to serve well against him...

Jabutt (Russia)

should tennis be more popular

Greg Garber
  (4:45 PM)

Jabutt: You and I would probably say yes. The world of sports consumption has tennis running well behind football, soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey and, with Tiger Woods, golf, too.

Tosin, Baltimore MD

I was watching Serena played today and she almost reminded me of Tiger Woods. Sometimes i actually wonder if they are both playing a mental game and choose to be behind so that whatever they charge and catch up with their opponents, the opponent completely gives up in the process?

Greg Garber
  (4:47 PM)

Tosin: You are on der fire, as Yevgeny Kafelnikov used to say. This has occured to me, too. Boredom. A bit of complaceny. Nothing forces you to play hard like a one-set deficit. Sometimes folks procrastinate in the work lace in order to feel (a neccesary) sense of urgency.

Steffen (Minneapolis, MN)

What are your thoughts on Kim Clijsters returning to the tour? I think her decision couldn't come at a better time for the women's game.

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

Good call, Steffen. Clijsters will give the WTA some juice heading into the U.S. Open. If Sharapova comes back, that should be a fun tournament to watch...

danny (chicago, il)

does roddick even have a chance against federeR?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

See answers above...

Billy in Boston

Hey donut man. How's that working for your tennis game. hahahahaha!

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

Billy: Ugh. One dozen Krispy Kreme donuts equals 2400 calories (in 15 minutes). The nutrition professor told me I'd have to run from raleigh to Chapel Hill to burn off those calories.

Dustin (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

My friend and I have been arguing back and forth since the beginning of the 2008 season, he says that Roger Federer will never win wimbledon again, I keep saying that he will win it again in his career; what do you think?

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Dustin: I'm with you. One of these years, Rafa will be too drained from winning his sixth or seventh consecutive French Open.. Right? Right?

Pat, Seattle Washington [via mobile]

hey greg, thanks for taking my e mail I be been a fan of andy roddick since before his only grand slam win, I was wondering if you think he will win one more grand slam before he retires if he doesnt have to play roger since everytime he made it to a final there roger was?

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Pat: Hope springs eternal. I raised that question in yesterday's story. I will say he has a better chance of erasing his one-hit wonder status than, say, Carlos Moya or Gaston Gaudio.

Meagan: (Westchester)

Do you think Federer is too passive these days? It seems like he doesn't step in anymore and kind of gets in these long points that hurt him against Nadal and Murray. Why is this?

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Meagan: Lack of confidence, coming directly from a lack of big results. Second half of 2009 should answer these questions.

patrick (San Diego, CA)

Do you think Victoria Azarenka will advance to the final and if so, against whom? Also, where do you think she will end up in the rankings this year as she is number 9 right now?

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Patrick, I do. She's playing consistently better than ANYONE right now, with a record of 21-2. I sat down with her today and may write a story if she beats Kuznetsova in the semifinals on Thursday. As for the other side, I'll take Venus, who has won the last two matches against sister Serena.

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

On that note, I will step aside. Terrific response from the tennis aficionados out there. Thanks so much. Tonight: Venus plays for a spot in the semis versus her sister and Roddick plays Federer. Check in tomorrow at 4 PM Eastern for the second of three chats from the Sony Ericsson Open...

Buzzmaster
  (5:30 PM)

Greg will be back on Thursday to chat moer from the Sony Ericsson Open!

Greg Garber
  (4:04 PM)

Greetings, tennis fans. Just in from the Azarenka-Kuznetsova match. Terrific stuff. You now have a 19-year-old in the Sony Ericsson final - against a Williams sister of your choice, until tonight's second semifinal. Working on a story on the Belarusian they call Vika. She was essentially adopted four years ago by Nikolay Khabibulin, who plays goalie for the Chicago BlackHawks. He has helped her through tough times on the Tour and now, she's cracked the top 10 and is in her first big, big final. We Nadal-Del Potro coming up and later it's Murray-Verdasco, as an appetizer to Williams-Williams. Let the questions begin...

Erin (Colchester)

Can you give me another reason to care about women's tennis aside from the Williams sisters and a few vixens here and there?

Greg Garber
  (4:05 PM)

Erin: See my opening post. This is a terrific story. Azarenka just won the biggest match of her life...

Victoria (New Jersey)

Do you think Kei Nishikori will ever be a top-10 player?

Greg Garber
  (4:09 PM)

Victoria (that name sounds familiar): I was wondering this same thing heading into Indian Wells. He made a splash last year at Delray Beach and was the youngest (now 19) man in the top 100, moving up 200 spots in a single year. I remember talking with Nick Bolettieri about hi last year and he thinks he has the potential to be top 10. He has all the shots, but size and strength (he weighs 150) will remain an issue.

Ron (England)

Who will win tonight between Venus and Serena and how many sets?

Greg Garber
  (4:11 PM)

Hey, Ron ... I just atched the women's semifinal with Bud Collins. He has a feeling it will be Venus. After Wednesday's perfomances by Serena and Venus, either one should consider herself lucky to be looking at the final. They were off their games, but lately they've layed better matches. Since Venus leads the head-to-head 10-9, I'll go with Serena because it's her turn.

Rajesh (Atlanta, GA)

The Verdasco vs. Nadal match in Australia was the best stuff I?ve seen this year. I?m pretty stoked to see both guys still in the bracket and I?m keeping my fingers crossed for a rematch. Any chance I might get my wish?

Greg Garber
  (4:13 PM)

Rajesh ... No there's a hard-core guy. Good for you. I agree about Australia. Right now, we have Rafa-Del Potro and, later, your boy Verdasco against Murray, in what could be another good match. I was just wrking up some numbers. Consider this: Rafa is 6-1 against top-10 players, Murray is next at 4-1, followed by Federer (4-3), Roddick (3-4) and Djokovic (1-3) .... Interesting...

John (Lowell, MA)

What are your thoughts on Djokovic's struggles this year? And do you think Andy Murray has surpassed him?

Greg Garber
  (4:14 PM)

John, from Paul (Jo-Wilfried) Tsongas territory ... Murray has clearly surpassed Djokovic THIS year, but he has yet to win a Grand Slam. Murray even beat Rafa at Rotterdam and looks sharp. He will soon eclipse Djokovic in the rankings at No. 3 if the trend continues.

PJ (Lanesboro)

Hi, Greg: Is it better for tennis to have a semblance of parity at the top (yes, I know Nadal has been invincible lately but all-in-all, the Big Four are all capable) or is it better to have a dominant Roger Federer, circa 2006?

Greg Garber
  (4:16 PM)

PJ: People see it both ways. A dominant player brings people to the game; Tiger Wods has transcended golf and, almost singlehandedly, has propelled it past tennis -- if it was ever behind. I like a handful of true contenders, and that's what you have on the men's side, maybe six or seven.

Leah (Knoxville, Tn)

As Roger Federer is about to become a father this summer, Do you think he will continue to play tennis for much longer? He says he will but he seems more like a hands on Dad.

Greg Garber
  (4:21 PM)

Leah: My view is that players play. Federer is VERY conscious of his legacy and will do everything to win every title he can in the next five or six years.

kevin tucson arizona [via mobile]

Do You Think That Ana ivanovic Can Win The French open This Year? And Do You Think That She Can Become World Numbe One Again

Greg Garber
  (4:22 PM)

Kevin: Fair question. She did it once, maybe ... Not this year, I fear. She and her fellow Serb, Jelena Jankovic, have not been playing well. Too much success last year?

Patrick (Basel, Switzerland)

It seems like many people are considering Rafa the favorite to win Winby. Sure he won it last year, but Roger won it the five years before. I dont see anyone beating Federer before the final, but if Rafa needs to play someone on grass like Roddick, I see rafa losing before the final. Hence, I personally still consider Federer as the favorite to win Winby. What do you think?

Greg Garber
  (4:26 PM)

Patrick: Two things have hapened since won is first Wimbledon in 2003 1) The balls have become bigger and the grass has become slower. 2) Rafa has learned over time how to e more aggressive on grass at the opportune time. This nearly resulted in a loss two years ago and was the reason Rafa finally broke through last year against Federer. I genuinely beieve that Federer will be a threat to win Wimbledon and the US Open for the next five years. I just think Rafa is slightly more favored at Wimbledon -- because he did it last year. Not sure he'll ever have enough gas in his tank for New York, but they wondered if he'd ever win Down Under, too.

Rodney: Luling,Tx

Greg, Roger hasn't played as well as he has in years past. So reaching semifinals or better isn't good enough or what? So Nadal has had a great past year and a half, does that compare to what Roger has accomplished in that amount of time? This is a situation where he becomes human and people want to write him off. Roger is having a baby this summer and people are saying that his baby could ruin his tennis career? What kind of heart do these people have? his child comes 1st. but my question is why isn't Roger allowed to have a lapse in his game without being written off? If it were Rafa, I dont think he would he would be. So why are people giving Roger a hard time despite all the success he has had?

Greg Garber
  (4:29 PM)

Rodney: Nice point. I worte a story about Federer and his mojo which should be posted soon. You are correct in thinking he gets less slack than the average guy but that's what happens when you are a champion. He won 12 of 18 majors -- a ridiculpous pace. Now he's 1-for-5. He's a victim of his own raising of the bar. Nadal will soon feel the same kind of heat if he cools off.

Greg (Lexington, KY)

Hey Greg, nice name. Do you think Del Potro will do better against Rafa today than he did against him at Indian Wells?

Greg Garber
  (4:31 PM)

Greg: Ditto. Yes, I think he's well on his way. It's 2-all in the first set and del Potro seems fairly centered. He is a young player (just 18) who is going to get much better. And he's already No. 7 in the world.

Steve (Washington DC)

Do you think Venus and Serena have realized that they are on the back end of their careers and have decided to return to dominance before they hang it up?

Greg Garber
  (4:33 PM)

Steve -- I think that's exactly what's going on. Remember, they were off doing movies and interior design and all that? No more talk of that. At 27 and 28, they know they have 3, 4 great years left and seem dedicated to maximixing their major wins. They have always been bright and independent -- as raised by their parents -- I get the sense that they grinding right now with the end nearly in sight.

Isaiah (Coshocton, OH)

Hi Greg: Can Jo-Wilfried Tsonga possibly move into the top 5 or 6 if he stays healthy and plays well through the grass and clay court seasons?

Greg Garber
  (4:35 PM)

Isaiah: I first saw him in 2003 in the Bull Ring at Roland Garros on his way to the junor seifinals. A terrific athlete. has the chops to move up from No. 11, but it's getting crowded up there. Djokovic -- who hasn't been playing that well -- handled him pretty easily on Wednesday.

Ashok (Berkeley, CA)

Hi Greg, what did you think of Roddick/Federer match yesterday? I think Roddick played excellently and should take a lot of positives out of the match. Way I see it, Roddick is at least the 5th best player in the world, if not the 4th.

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

Ashok: I agree. So does Roger Federer. Rodick is clearly better than he was a year ago, and Federer (who ost to him last year here) beat him. There were some tight moments, but he pulled it off. That match suggests that BOTH men have good things ahead.

Bill (NY)

lleyton hewitt was number one before the federe era...now he is a nobody...was he really that god back then and has fallen now..or did greater players coming into the game just make him look like a nobody?

Greg Garber
  (4:39 PM)

Hey, Bill ... Listen, it's all abut timing. How many more Slams would Roddick have won if there was no Federer. The answer, legitimately, is two or three. Hewitt came along and found a dead spot in the zone, and took advantage of it. He was a terrific player, but his hip has taken him down to No. 92, if you can believe it.

Doug (Jacksonville, FL)

Greg, due to the spotty TV coverage of Key Biscayne I missed the Djokovic match yesterday- how did he look, especially with his previous 4 match losing streak to Tsonga? Do you think he's close to his form of early last year?

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

Doug: Chck out the story I did on him yesterday. He looked OK, but I'm not sure he could have lasted another five or 10 minutes. Had some stomach issues and visited the doctor afterward. He gets Federer in the semis, so that will be your best barometer.

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Goodness. Del Potro has just broken Nadal and holds a 4-3 lead serving in the first set. Nice effort after that Indian Wells flameout.

lynne det. michigan

do you believe that venus or serena will go down as 2 of the best ever

Greg Garber
  (4:44 PM)

Hi, Lynne: Serena, certainly, with 10 Slams, has a few more than Venus and will be mentoned among the greats, but she has a ong way to go to catch Martin Navratilova and Steffi Graf and Chris Evert...

Jaysen: Des Moines, Iowa

I think I love Elena Dementieva because she's fundamentally flawed (her serve, obviously). She seemed to be making some progress at the start of the year with back to back titles and gooding deep into the Australian Open, but now she's falling apart again. With new big guns like Azarenka on the rise, do you think we'll see Dementieva's ranking slip? Does she still have hopes of going deep in tournaments?

Greg Garber
  (4:48 PM)

jaysen: it was interesting watching Azarenka beat Zuznetsova. Even though she is - amazingly - only 23 years old, Kuznetsova seems to hav been around forever. Watching the 19-year-old Azarenka beat her -- after three consecutive osses -- felt like watching the territories of Mother Russia declare their independence. Azarenka is from Belarus and that was a big match for her. Dementieva is in the same boat as Kuznetsova. Her best chance at a major title -- she reached the finals at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open in 2004 -- may have passed. Deep into tournaments, yes, because she still has terrific groundstrokes, but maybe no Grand Slam victories...

Marc (Irvine, Ca)

I keep hearing how Fed. has fallen off. I know he is not dominant, but one interesting fact seems to be ignored: he has better results in each major this year than last year, which seems consistent with a recovery process from the mono.

Greg Garber
  (4:49 PM)

Marc: I can't disagree with that. By that logic, he has a shot to win Wimbledon AND the U.S. Open, right?

Raj (Philadelphia)

Greg, do you see Del Potro having any chance against Nadal, with the way he's looked in his last 2 big matches against top players (smoked by Federer at the Aussie Open and by Nadal in Indian Wells)/

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Ah, Raj, the question of the moment. Del Potro battling fiercely to defend his srve at 4-3. Sure he has a chance. Nadal is exhausted after winning Indian Wells and you keep wondering when he's going to run out of gas. He has been less than impressive in his last two matches. On the other hand, no one rallies in the middle of big tournaments, no one summons the energy that this guys does. Boom. He just broke Del Potro and is even at 4-all....

Shaun: (Boone, North Carolina)

It does not seem like we have a crop of great young male american tennis players anywhere in sight. Am I wrong about this?

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Shaun: Certainly not great. After Roddick and Blake the next Amricans in the rankings are: Mardy Fish (28), Sam Querrey (47) and Bobby Reynolds (64). With Donald Young seemingly stuck in neutral, Querrey is currently your best bet (only?) for a top 10 ranking.

Nicholas Los Angeles

Yet Greg....great chat...If Federer fails to win another major, any chance he's still considered the best ever? Hasn't his dominance been so thorough in a period of unparalleled competition that to surpass Sampras would merely make Fed's claim definitive but it's not necessary for him to hold the title of greatest ever?

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Nichola: Nice point but it is moot. I believe Federer WILL win a few more Slams (at least) and put the argument to rest.

Chris (Austin, Tx)

Do you think that Rafa will pull off the Grand Slam this year? If so, does that put him ahead of Roger on the all time greatest list considering his head to head dominance as well?

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

Chris: I'll give him two or three but not four. H has yet to prove he can sustain that excellence through the U.S. Open.

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

Listen: Del Potro just broke Rafa again -- amid big cheers here in Miami -- and will serve for the first set.

Isaiah (Coshocton, OH)

Hey Greg do you think Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco are the only players with a legit chance of competing with Rafael Nadal in the French Open?

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Isaiah: Not sure even they have a "legitimate" shot...

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

With de Potro serving for that first set against Rafa and Murray-Verdasco and Williams-Williams coming up tonight, stayed tuned to the Sony Erocsson Open. I'll be back Friday for one more live chat at 4 PM EST. Thanks and talk with you then...

Buzzmaster
  (6:13 PM)

Greg Garber will be by on Friday at 4 p.m. ET to chat once again LIVE from the Sony Ericsson Open!

Greg Garber
  (4:01 PM)

Greetings, folks. Greg Garber here for the last of what have been lively chats here at the Sony Ericsson Open. We've just witnessed perhaps the greatest professional meltdown in Roger Federer's career. He smashed his racket and cried after Novak Djokovic beat him in the semifinal, in a lopsided third set. Bring those questions on...

Josh (Richmond, VA)

Why is Federer fading so badly in the third set of all his losses. Is he out of shape?

Greg Garber
  (4:04 PM)

Josh: This seems to be the topic du jour. No, I don't think Fed's problem has anything to do with the physical. I think mentally he's a mess. He had legitimate reasons for struggling last year -- and STILL managed to win the U.S. Open. But ... he hasn't recaptured the magic and, clearly, he is distraught. Those weren't tears of joy out there on th court.

Bonny

I didn't get to watch the match, but from what I hear, it was a complete self destruction from Fed. How was Novak's playing? How do you think this win will help Djokovic's confidence in the final? do u think he has a shot at taking this title?

Greg Garber
  (4:06 PM)

Bonny: Djokovic played OK, but he tried to hand it back to Federer with a sloppy game at 4-0 with a double-fault. I think Murray is going to roll both Del Potro tonight and Djokovic in Sunday's final.

Dinesh, Ann arbor, MI

Greg..when was Federer crying? At the post-game press conference?

Greg Garber
  (4:08 PM)

Dinesh: This is not a science, but people sitting close to the court (people I trust) said that he had tears in his eyes -- sort of a flashback to the Australian Open trophy ceremony -- and in the press conference just afer the match, he was red-eyed at best and he appeared to have tears in his eyes. In fairness, he was sweating profusely, but I believe he was crying.

Vicki (Hoboken, NJ)

Greg, I would love to hear you shed some light on what you think happened to Roger in that match today. Because even though I watched it with my own two eyes, it was truly hard to believe...

Greg Garber
  (4:10 PM)

Vicki: See the above answers. I just think Federer had such an easy time of things for so many years that, now that the physical hurdles of illness and injury have been removed, the fact that he isn't blowing guys off the court truly perplexes him -- as it does all of us.

Juanita COSTA RICA

I love Juan Martin del Porto! So glad to seem him do well in Miami! Always knew he could do it. What are aspects you see in his game that frustrate top players like Nadal, whome he beat yesterday?

Greg Garber
  (4:13 PM)

Juanita: Del Potro is a wonderful player. I remember watching him at Wimbledon in 2007 because I had heard the buzz about this Argentine teenager. He was long, really long, and had a complete game. Big serve, too. I think here and now fitness will be a worry. He had his quad attended to last night in that grueling three-hour match with Nadal, and can't possibly be fresh. And, he's running into the guy who's playing the best on the Tour at the moment.

JP (Washington)

Can Ararenka beat Serena? Why don't you write about her?

Greg Garber
  (4:17 PM)

JP -- Thanks for the tee-up. Just finished a nice story about Azarenka that shuld be osted on the tennis page momentarily. She lives in Scottsdale in the home of Nikolai Khabibulin, the goalies for the Chicago Blackhawks. Khabibulin's wife and Azarenka's mother became friends and the family essentially adopted her and brought her to the States. She says it's the reason she's in the top 10 as a teenager. Sweet stuff. Oh, and yes, Azarenka can beat Serena. Remember, she won the first set in their fourth-round match in the Australian Open, but retired during the second when a stomach illness took her off the court. Should be fun to watch.

Lynn Austin TX

Fedex is in major denial of the state of his game.

Greg Garber
  (4:18 PM)

Lynn: Or he actually realizes what's going o and is scared he might not win that record-tying Grand Slam. This will be the discussion heading into Wimbledon. My tennis editor, Matt Wilansky, always a Fed guy, wonders if he ever WILL win that 14th...

Pramod, India

Without criticizing Federer too much, do you think Federer's tears at the Aussie Open/(and here?) could have to do with his internal realization that he might not be able to keep up with the game's best? Losses this year have been to Nadal, Murray & Djokovic, maybe that explains the meltdowns against the big guys. Your thoughts?

Greg Garber
  (4:20 PM)

Pramod: Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself. Easy to psycho-analyze, but I think you've got it right. I thought it was interesting when, afer beating Roddick in the quarters, he was so deliriously happy. Seemed like he was TOO happy.

Frank (Seattle, WA)

Can Federer bounce back in time to give Rafa a run for his money at the French and take back the Wimbeldon crown?

Greg Garber
  (4:22 PM)

Frank: Not in time for the French -- that, I believe now, will never happen at Roland Garros after the beat-down in last year's final. Fed won 4 games. Wimbledon is a different question, but it seems Rafa has finally mastered the grass. Best shot for No. 14 is, as last year, the U.S. Open.

Yu-Na, Republic of South Korea

I know that Serena and Venus boycott Indian Wells every year, but I've noticed that the Miami field is always stronger than at Indian Wells and there tends to be less upsets in Miami. Why is that?

Greg Garber
  (4:25 PM)

Yu-Na, welcome into the Miami chatroom. I think the difference is two-fold: Not having the Williams sisters at IW always hurts the field, as we saw with their semifinal last night here. I tink the reason we don't see as many upsets in Miami is because the players have IW under their belts and are fairly grooved on hardcourt play. One of the big issues in women's tennis right now is whats wrong with Dinara Safina and the two Serbs, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic?

Martina Marianne Mango (PUERTO RICO)

What major improvements have you seen in Victoria Azarenka's game this week and this season?

Greg Garber
  (4:27 PM)

Martina: Her coach, Antonio Van Grichen told me he thinks it's most internal, that she has learned to manage her emotions better. You could see it against Safina at IW, when she lost a first-set tie-breaker, then won 12/16 games. Same ting against Svetlana Kuznetsova here in the semis. Got tight serving for the match, then converted her fourth match point. She's the only teenager in either top 10 and is going to go higher.

Tomas (Pilzen, Czech Republic)

What a year it's been for my home country of the Czech Republic. My friends and I are constantly arguing about which Czech player has the best shot at winning Roland Garros. I personally think it's Nicole Vaidisova. After all she's a semifinalist here and plays super well on clay. But all my friends keep pointing out her ranking has gone down. My friend Jan says it's Lucie Safarova. His reason is because she's a feisty left-handed player who's had good results like at the '07 Aussie Open. My cousin is a huge fan of Petra Kvitova. I don't think she really has a reason, but she always brings up her title in Hobart and play at the Fed Cup. Then there's my niece Simona who fell in love with Petra Cetkovska's game after she reached the final 16 at Roland Garros last year. One friend believes in Barbora Zahlavona Strycova (she?s from our town) to do it for our country. We can't find seem to agree on one player, so that is why we've come to you, the tennis expert Mr. Greg Garber. So, which Czech player has the best shot at the title?

Greg Garber
  (4:32 PM)

Tomas: That's a ot of information. I enjoy watching Vaidisova play at RG -- she has a game that works well there despite the fact that, technically, she should play better on hardcourts. She's been to the semis and the quarters in Paris and, after struggling last year, she seems to be pulling it together. Safarova's best at RG was a 4th-round appearance in 2007, but Cetkovska matched that last year. I'll take Vaidisova, although I don't see any Czechs getting to the quarters. If they do, chat me up in Paris and give me a hard time.

Jenny ~Delaware~

This is like really random. But you know how like tennis players like grunt you know? My BFF and I were like talking like about it. I like you know was wondering if you had a favorite grunt of a tennis player. Who's like your favorite in the ATP? What about like the WTA? I am like sorry I say like to much. I like write the way I speak.

Greg Garber
  (4:34 PM)

Jenny: Check out the Azarenka shriek. Very, very Sharapova. Personally, I always liked Carlos Moya's sound, a classy sort of Whaaaaaa...

AJ Khweissisky Lithuania

My favorite players are back! It's just a dream come true to have Mr. Taylor Dent and Ms. Kim Clijsters back on the Tour. I think Taylor is as good as he's ever been. Can he win any tournaments this year? How about a Slam?! And also how do you think Kim's comeback is going to turn out. I am just so excited to have those two back!

Greg Garber
  (4:34 PM)

Good times, AJ. They were gone, but now they're back. The way women's tennis is, Clijsters could win the U.S. Open!

Dave

What is occurring to Federer should not be such a surprise to tennis fans. No athlete ages faster in a game sport than in tennis. What is considered young (27) in almost any other sport is old in tennis. Tennis is perhaps the most Darwinistic sport. Aside from the extreme difficulty of the skill to play it, there is nowhere to go to hide any weaknesses that show up in athletes as they go past their physical peak. No teammates to lean on, no way to play less minutes, protect yourself.....you are naked, alone, against another player, and the sport begins to expose you. Noticable in Federer: loss of accuracy and stability in the forehand, a 1/4 step slow, especially to the forehand side. This is inevitable. People forget that he is playing guys in Djokovic, Nadal and Murray who are 5 years younger than him.....which is a lifetime in tennis years.

Greg Garber
  (4:36 PM)

Dave, I'm stealing all of this for my next Federer story. Are their any rights fees in play? Always good to bring up Charles Darwin. My chatters are the best.

B.J. (Atlanta, GA) [via mobile]

How is Serena doing this year. Anybody Know?

Greg Garber
  (4:37 PM)

BJ: After Azarenka (22-2), she has the next-best record at 21-2. I'd say that's solid. I'll take her chances in New York later this summer

Tosin O

I missed yesterday's Williams game...how was it? The game was not showed on my channel that i am aware of in Baltimore

Greg Garber
  (4:38 PM)

Tosin: Typically uneven. Still, the sisters can make shots in tough spots like no other women. Serena bigger in the bigger moments. As usual, when the surface isn't grass.

Juanita Shreveport LA

Greg, Do you think Nadal is showing signs of wear/tear based on his performance against Del Potro. I have rarely seen him let a match go once he takes a 2 break lead. PS. Major props to JMDP on the win.

Greg Garber
  (4:39 PM)

Juanita, another good oint. Yes, Rafa is wearing down -- a victim of his own excellence. He keeps going deep into tournaments. He's headed back to Mallorca for some R&R, before getting ready for the clay-court season.

andy, bronx

current cnnsi tennis top stories: "Federer slams racket" followed by "federer wins fifth straight sportsmanship award." do you think roger wins a sixth straight now?

Greg Garber
  (4:40 PM)

Nice, Andy. Irony is everywhere these days. Good catch.

Miranda Milano Milan, ITALY

Is there anyone in the women's Top 20 or men's Top 20 you feel doesn't belong there by the way they play?

Greg Garber
  (4:41 PM)

Miranda: This is a personal question, but I must be hnst. I do not LOVE the way Marion Bartoli plays. That's just me.

Cordillia ENGLAND

Hi Mr. Garber. I am 9 years old and my mommy says I can ask you a question. My mommy likes to watch tennis and she wants to know if you made a Top 10 list of WTA Tour players on their current form, who would make your list?

Greg Garber
  (4:42 PM)

Yikes. Ok, Cordillia: Strictly based on form: Azarenka, Serena, Zvonareva, Venus, Kuznetsova, Petrova, Wozniacki, Radwanska, Cornet, Pennetta.

Vanessa (Mallorca, Spain)

Do you find the tennis media to be hypocritical? I've read so many articles about how Federer has built up this mystique, and thus, now has to bear the burden of all of this recent criticism. The media themselves had no problem proclaiming Fed the best ever, he's unbeatable, etc. and now suddenly, they've all changed their tune and have taken a different stance.

Greg Garber
  (4:43 PM)

Welcome to today's media, Vanessa. Build 'em up, break 'em down. Of course, we're hypocritical.

Derek (Harrisburg, PA)

I can't believe my post about Fed needing a coach didn't get posted, but the "like, like, like" girl asking about grunting did.

Greg Garber
  (4:46 PM)

Like calm down, Derek, the traffic is heavy today. Interesting moment from Fed's presser: Guy asked him abut getting a coach and Fed said --- I am not making this up -- I've had LIKE five coaches in the last two years. And then he snapped (and this wasn't in the transcript) You can write what you want. Ugly stuff from a usually-classy champion.

Raj ({Philadelphia)

Greg, do you feel that this could be a sustaining breakthrough win for Del Potro? He had struggled miserably in his last two big matches (Fed in Australia, Nadal at Indian Wells)

Greg Garber
  (4:47 PM)

At his age, Raj (20), it's quite possible. He's similar to Azarenka. As a teenager, he had all the shots, just needs to figure out the mental part. He was so happy after beating Nadal, you had to feel good for him.

Rodney Luling,TX

Ok so Roger isn't playing as well as he did a couple of years ago. Does it really mean that he is written off?I mean he has made it to 4 st8 grandslam finals and he isn't good anymore? this reminds me when Venus and serena had their injuries, the loss of their sister and much more. They came back to the game not as consistent as they were and not playing the best of their ability. Basically they became human just like roger is. Why do people doubt him so much, despite all of his success, that noone will ever match again. I mean rafa has been great the past 11/2 years, but does it compare to what Roger did in the same amount of time? No. And people say," of Roger's career is over because of his baby". What kind of people say such negative things about a person's baby? So again, why can't Roger be human too?

Greg Garber
  (4:49 PM)

Rodney: Federer IS behaving like a human -- that's why it's such big news.

Jack Los angeles , Ca

i thought federer was one of the strongest mental players? why is he a mental mess he just throws games when he is down, who would be a good coach you think, maybe gil reyes, or paul anacone?

Greg Garber
  (4:50 PM)

I like your thought process, Jack. I speak with Anacone often and find him literate and still egaged in the game. He worked wonders for Sampras and maybe he culd help Fed in his later days...

Wilson (NYC)

You are a gambling man--what would you put $1 dollar on: a) Nadal taking all four majors this year b) Fed taking two of the four c) Nadal taking French, and two other taking Wimbledon and the US Open, with Federer getting none

Greg Garber
  (4:51 PM)

Wilson: None of the above. I'll take Door No. 4, Rafa gets 3 and Fed gets none.

Toni Houston TX

Which player has the most upside between Jankovic, Ivanovic and Safina? My take is Ana has nature talent but Jelena and Dinara's results are from hard work and persistence. Your thoughts, please.

Greg Garber
  (4:52 PM)

Toni: I like Safina's game - she just has that peculiar disease, Safinitis, which affects rational thinking.

jason Dayton Ohio

Any thoughts on the idea that maybe "behaving like a human" could in fact put a little surge back into rogers game?

Greg Garber
  (4:54 PM)

Sure, Jason, that's what I think he's going for. When someone asked him why he "lost it" he said he didn't lose it, but was frustrated. OK, fair enough.

Tosin O

I think ESPN should get reporters online every hr so we can always keep this chat going. I feel so sorry that Greg has to scramble to answer all our questions but this is great. After a bad day, this is making things better even if my comments are not posted LOL

Greg Garber
  (4:55 PM)

Not so fast, Tosin. Hey, my colleague Bonnie Ford and I will be on every day at Roland Garros in, what, six weeks.

Johnny JuJu LAS VEGAS

Can Serena compete with the men? (I AM SERIOUS ABOUT THIS QUESTION)

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

Johnny: History says not.

Wilson (NYC)

Does Fed never tie Sampras in your opinion?

Greg Garber
  (4:56 PM)

Oh, I think he does. And goes beyond.

Saul Casillas (Valencia, California)

Common' guys! Federer is still amking semifinals and, of course, he's isn't invincible. But, let's see, how many losses did Mr. Sampras average on a year at his best? And! have you seen him lose to Bastl on court 2 at Wimbledon yet? Well, if you do, that means he's still capable of winning more majors. Duh!

Greg Garber
  (4:57 PM)

Exactly, Saul.

Kyle (WI)

Rodney, If you've been paying attention lately it is not unrealistic whatsoever to highly consider the fact that when all is said and done Nadal might have more grand slam trophies in his possession than Federer, who looks as though he might not win another one. Nadal will continue to win the French (something Federer just simply won't be able to do barring an injury to Nadal) and he will also continue to accel on hard and grass surfaces. We are about to experience an eclipse of Federer's dominance.

Greg Garber
  (4:58 PM)

Kyle, on it as usual. Going forward, this will be the new parlor game. One of the things I'll do when I get home is put together a Nadal/Federerr/Sampras timeline to see if Nadal is ahead of schedule.

Donny (Lodi, California)

Do you dislike Federer for some reason?

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

Donny: Absolutely not. he's been a marvelous player, maybe the best ever. Just telling the truth.

Greg Garber
  (4:59 PM)

Thanks so much for your contributions, folks. That was a terrific effort -- and it's Friday afternoon. See you at Roland Garros. Enjoy tennis...