The Backhand

Weekend Outlook

Stuart Barefoot

It's best to avoid cliches such as "the calm before the storm" so we'll skip them and just make a quick note that while there isn't a lot of tennis action this weekend, the Olympics are later this month, and things will surely pick up. Plus the WSO is now less than a month away and things definately won't be quiet then. In any case, there are still some things that are of interest to the everyday tennis enthusiast, and here they are:
The Olympics start later this month for a lot of athletes, but not Rafael Nadal. He decided not to go.  He has said he suffered an injury, but didn't specify exactly what was ailing him. It only stands to reson that if he is in fact hurt, it was part of the reason he lost to Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon. Nadal says it was a tough decison to make calling it the "saddest day of my career." Nadal won the gold in 2008 and without him playing in London, the tradition of no tennis player winning consecutive gold medals will continue. First Ricky Rubio and now this.......things aren't looking great for Spain.
According to Sports Illustrated, Andrea Petkovic and Kaia Kanepi have also pulled out of the Olympics.Petkovic announced her decision via a series of Tweets while Kanepa, used the neolithic method of just posting her annoucement on her website. All jokes aside, both women are recovering from injureis adn expressed regret that they wouldn't be representing their countries in London.
Starting in 2015 Wimbledon will begin a week later than it traditionally has. It will begin on June 29 and run through July 12, which will give players three weeks between the French Open and Wimbledon rather than two. Most players seem to be on board with this, but as the BBC article notes, will have a domino effect on proceeding tournaments in America, including the WSO. 
John Isner will be taking some momentum with him into the Olympics. After losing in the first set of his second round match against Ruben Bemelmens, Isner rallied to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals of the BB&T Open in Atlanta. He already had the No. 1 seed and his chances of winning the whole thing look better now that Mardy Fish has pulled out. 
Something Random:
Ever heard of a tennis ball tree? Unless you reguarly drive on Route 80 in Utah, you probably haven't. Is it ironic that the best tennis player in the world and the person who erected this oddity are both Swedish? Yes, because this was built way back in 1986 by an architect named Karl Momem, who also fianced the whole project and then donated it to the state of Utah. Weird roadsie attractions are not uncommon in America. There is the giant chest of drawers in nearby High Point, the enormous peach in South Carolina and there is this. Humans really are entertained by unusual stuff.

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