Author Archive

FRENCH OPEN: Calm and Chaos on Opening Day

SWISS ON-COURT PLEASURE AND OFF-COURT DISPLEASURE: The Swiss adore control – anarchists need not apply! They live their lives in measured control. You know the Alpine drill: Swiss precision, Swiss watches and Swiss (out of sight of prying eyes) bank accounts. Goodness, the Swiss tale goes that William Tell was in such control that he […]


PARISIAN ODE: FOR CENTURIES, THE LEFT BANK HAS INSPIRED DREAMERS AND FREE THINKERS

By Bill Simons Europe draws us in. From Stockholm to Rome, intimate villages and curious neighborhoods appeal. Istanbul, Mykonos, Sienna, Sevillle, Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Edinburgh are all celebrated. But few are more compelling than Paris’ Odeon district, the Sixth Arrondissement, the jewel of the Left Bank. Nearby, the ancient, still murky, waters of […]


French Open: Ten Stories to Look for in Paris

By John Huston 1. RAFA’S REIGN VS. NOVAK’S SLAM CAMPAIGN: Before the draws were announced this morning, the big question was where nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafa Nadal would land. The dramatic answer: in Novak Djokovic‘s quarter. Stakes are high for both: Nadal is on the quest for an unprecedented 10th French Open title, while […]


The French Open: Top 17 Questions

By Bill Simons 1. Can Rafa defy the doubters, go “double digits” and win his 10th French? 2. Is the top quarter of the draw—the so-called “draw of death”—one of the toughest ever? 3. How great a run would it be if Djokovic wins the title by beating Tomic, Gasquet, Nadal, Murray and Federer? 4. […]


Venus Williams: Serene at the Edge of a Volcano

By Bill Simons She was thin, wide-eyed, a tad scared, and not so sure what she was getting into. That was Venus Williams when I saw her play her first pro match at the Oakland Coliseum in 1997. Just 16, she was a waif taking on the world. The New York Times and CNN were […]


David Letterman—Our Top 10 Tennis List

By Bill Simons The dictionary says a letterman is a “student who has earned a letter in an interscholastic or intercollegiate activity, especially a sport.” We say the definition of Letterman is a TV whiz who gained our admiration through comedic activity, especially late at night. In honor of his final show after 33 years, […]


The Buzz: ‘Tallyho’ for Tiafoe, Hingis’s Hot Year, and the Tennis-Boxing Connection

By Bill Simons ‘TALLYHO’ FOR TIAFOE: A year ago, Frances Tiafoe was a highly-hyped US prospect at the French Open who practiced with Nadal in front of cameras and lost in junior play on a back court. Now, after reaching the finals in a Tallahassee challenger, the Junior Tennis Champions Center product won the Har-Tru […]


The Quest: The Rise of Warrior Steve Johnson

By Bill Simons USC coach Peter Smith was worried. He cautioned his new recruit, a freshman from Orange County, that he might not be able to make it past the team’s first practice. Wrong. Steve Johnson, who first picked up a racket when he was two, went on to lead USC to four straight NCAA […]


The Buzz: (A Lot of) Love and (a Little) Hate in Andy’s World

By Bill Simons (A LOT OF) LOVE AND (A LITTLE) HATE IN ANDY’S WORLD: Elated and sporting a kilt, Scot Andy Murray wed Kim Sears—his longtime English girlfriend and sometimes saucy cheerleader—in a ceremony at a 12th-century cathedral in his hometown. Throngs lined Dunblane’s streets, but few tennis players—just Tim Henman, Ross Hutchins, and Murray’s […]


The Buzz: Who Was That Naked Frenchman in the Lobby?

By Bill Simons WIMBLEDON BANS NARCISSISM: Wimbledon banned selfie-sticks. SOUNDS THAT WAY TO US: Sara Errani grunts in Italian. WHO IS THAT NAKED FRENCHMAN IN THE LOBBY? A light-hearted Martina Navratilova tweeted, “You know you travel too much when you have to look up your own room number from a WhatsApp message you wrote yesterday.” […]