Notebook: Huber-Black Split, Isner Rolls in Rome

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PASSION PLAY: Bruce Jenkins called Rafel Nadal‘s game “a singular whirlwind of passion, form and aesthetics.”

SLAPSHOT: SI’s Jon Wertheim quipped, “The Fed Cup is not just what Roger wears when he plays hockey.”

FED PICKS RAFA FOR RG: Defending Roland Garros titlist Roger Federer says he’s not necessarily the No. 1 candidate to win the Coupe des Mousquetaires in 2010.  The Swiss’ pick?  Four-time champ Nadal. “I would love to say I’m the big favorite, but I don’t think that’s quite right,” he said.

HEADLINES

Reports of Nadal’s Decline Were Premature

THE NUMBERS

25: Age of John Isner, who celebrated his birthday with a 20-ace 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 first-round win over Horacio Zeballos at the Rome Masters.

6: Weeks Kim Clijsters is expected to miss after tearing a muscle in her left foot during a Fed Cup match.

175: Career wins on clay for Patty Schnyder, the most by any active WTA player.

QUOTEBOOK

“Roger Federer speaks five languages but is still most fluent in tennis.” — Kevin Mitchell, The Guardian

“I’ve been on the tour for a long time and I’ve seen better players than me struggle worse than I am.” — Andy Murray, who is winless in his last three matches

“With all the great matches we had in the past, it’s always something special to see John’s face on the other side of the net.” — Bjorn Borg, who could face John McEnroe at an Outback Champions Series event this week in Boston, the Swede’s first on-court appearance in the U.S. in a decade

“We might get back together and we might not.” — Liezel Huber on her split with longtime doubles partner Cara Black

“Against Nadal you can look as if you are just a beginner and someone said to me if I get two games a set, that is as good as a victory.” — Philipp Kohlschreiber

“Tennis — and I’m talking about fans as well as many players and pundits — is afflicted with an unfortunate case of hero syndrome. The game revolves around the Grand Slams, where individual effort is the ultimate source of glory. Team competitions just don’t get the kind of traction that I think they deserve, even though they’re far, far richer when it comes to storylines.” — Peter Bodo on Fed Cup