You have to feel sorry for any teenager
hoping to make it as a tennis player in Australia
at the moment. Along comes the Australian Open – a home town chance to earn
serious money (first round losers made $18,000 this year) – and taste the
nerves and standard of The Big Time.

And then the Wild Card Vultures arrive.
Forget “Aussie Jelena.” At least she’s still an active tennis player.

What we really have to watch out for over
the next six weeks are the creaking old tennis pros who decide to flare up one
more time for an Australian Open wildcard. Scud should be arriving any moment.
Martina Hingis has already put her hand up, although as a former champion – and
still the youngest winner ever at the Open – she has claims.

But what about Goran Ivanisevic? Will he
show? The most eccentric player in tennis came out of retirement for the Davis
Cup final against the Slovak Republic this month. Sure, he didn’t get selected for singles or doubles but
he was part of the team and therefore claims a Cup Final from the bench. On the
ATP website, he’s second from the left, showing the famous
Cup to the fans as though he had something to do with the win.

But the most bizarre comeback of the tennis
silly season so far is JP McEnroe. Yep, Mac says he’s going to partner Jonas
Bjorkman in the doubles at the San Jose Open in February, at age 46.

“We are coming
to play San Jose for one reason – to win the SAP Open doubles title,” McEnroe said in a statement. Stephen Cannella at Sports
Illustrated
says McEnroe is full of, ahem, cr*p, selling himself as a
promotional vehicle for the new doubles scoring system.

We think we might be with Cannella on this
one.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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