Monthly Archives: May 2008

Roscoe Tanner Is In Trouble Again

Roscoe Tanner is in trouble for bouncing a check. Again.

Tanner turned himself into authorities in Knox County, Tennessee, on Sunday, May 18th, on charges of felony theft of over $60,000. Tanner purchased two Toyota Highlanders from Toyota of Knoxville and the check was returned for insufficient funds. He was released on a $2,000 bond. I understand that his hearing is set for May 27th.

In 2000, Tanner wrote a check to boat dealer Gene Gammon for $35,595 towards the purchase of a 32 foot yacht and bounced the check. Gammon never saw the boat again. Tanner used it as collateral on a $10,000 loan and the boat was repossessed.

Tanner spent six week in jail in Germany – where he’d fled to avoid detection – and 17 weeks in jail in Florida because he couldn’t afford bail. He was eventually sentenced to ten years probation for the bad check. He failed to make regular restitution payments that were a requirement of the probation and he was sentenced to two years in prison in 2006.

In 2004, he served five months in jail in New Jersey for failing to make payments on a $500,000 paternity settlement for a child fathered during a one night stand with an escort. He also owes many years of unpaid child support payments to his ex-wife Charlotte.

Tanner appears to have behavioral problems that repeated stints in jail have not cured. He’s certainly had enough help. Tennis clubs all over the U.S. and Europe have hired him as an instructor. Christian groups have counseled him on ways to change his behavior. His fellow tennis pros have loaned him money. And his father, who died last year, left him a trust fund that provides for his basic needs.

Most people subscribe to one of two theories about Tanner’s repeatedly irresponsible behavior.

1. The spoiled child theory. Tanner was raised in a well-to-do family and given whatever he wanted and and he’s never grown up and learned to take responsibility for his actions.

2. The successful athlete theory. This is the explanation Tanner himself subscribes to. He was very good at forgetting his losses and blocking out any negative distractions and also had boundless confidence. After his tennis career ended, these traits took the form of ignoring bills or legal judgments against him because he was convinced that a solution was just around the corner.

Neither explanation seems adequate at this point and maybe it’s time to admit that Tanner has deeper problems that require professional attention.

Quote of the Week

Earlier this week I talked about the game of musical chairs being played out by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic as they jockey for the top three spots in the world of ATP tennis. I wondered if anyone ever plays musical chairs or not and, lo and behold, frequent Tennis Diary contributor Jenny, who lives in London, described a rollicking doggy version of that very game. A Ringcraft Club is a club for dog handlers in case you were wondering.

They still play musical chairs here, we have a doggy version at our ringcraft club party nights. That’s a sight for sore eyes I can tell you, especially when you have the large Shepherds, Rotties and Labs trying to leap onto their owners’ laps, those chairs can only take so much weight – I can’t tell you the number of bent metal chairs we’ve had to replace! On second thoughts, I suppose we could submit them to the local modern art gallery!

ATP Fantasy Picks for Poertschach and Casablanca

It’s time for the ATP Fantasy Tennis Season so check out our Fantasy Tennis Guide. You’ll find Fast Facts, Strategies, and Statistics to help you play the game.

Sign up and join our subleague! It’s called We send weekly email updates to all subleague members before the submission deadline.

This week’s submission deadline is Sunday morning, May 18, 4am (EST) in the U.S./10am (CET) in Europe.

There are three tournaments this week: Poertschach, Casablanca, and Dusseldorf. Dusseldorf is a team event so it’s not included in the fantasy game. We’ll be picking players from the Poertschach and Casablanca only.

Poertschach draw (clay, first prize: $90,923)

Casablanca draw (clay, first prize: $90,923)

Poertschach starts tomorrow – which explains the Sunday morning submission deadline – but Casablanca doesn’t start till Monday so their draw was just posted. Speaking of draws, if you have time, check the draws again before you go to bed. Look at what happened this week: so many players dropped out of Hamburg that the tournament reseeded the draw which means that they moved people around in the draw. Two of my players ended up playing each other in the second round.

Since both Poertschach and Casablanca have the same prize money and we need eight players, let’s pick four players from each draw.

In the last five years, Nikolay Davydenko has never done worse than the quarterfinals in Poertschach and he’s won it twice. Given his penchant for losing in the first round, this is remarkable consistency for him. But should you pick him? He’s reached the semifinals at the U.S. open in the past two years and the semifinals in Roland Garros two out of the last three years. He’s also won Moscow three of the last four years and that pays $171,000 for a first prize. Save him for these three events because you can only use him five times this year.

I’ve already used Davydenko twice so let’s look for another player in his quarter. Andreas Seppi reached the semifinals this week in Hamburg so he’s my pick. Jeez, I hope he doesn’t drop out.

Jurgen Melzer is the only player who stands out in Mardy Fish’s quarter because he’s reached the quarterfinals and final here, but he’s on a six game clay losing streak dating back to Roland Garros last year. Robin Haase reached the quarterfinals at Valencia so he gets my pick.

Sam Querrey is hanging out in Ivan Ljubic’s quarter and he did reach the quarterfinals at Monte Carlo, but should you waste him on a small clay court event? Here are the pros and cons. Cons: he probably won’t win considering that Davydenko can beat him here; he’s not likely to get past the semifinals because Juan Monaco can beat him on clay too; he can pick up a semifinal or final in the smaller summer hard court tournaments and he’s already reached a quarterfinal at Cincinnati. Pros: he’s likely to go to the Olympics because Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish are staying home so that will cut down on his summer hard court schedule; he hasn’t shown anything on grass or indoor hard court yet. Oy, predicting the future is hard work! I’m taking Querrey and hoping for semifinal money at least.

The bottom quarter is a fight between Monaco and Mario Ancic. Monaco hasn’t been doing that well in the past few weeks but Ancic hasn’t either and Monaco won this tournament last year and reached the quarterfinals the year before, so he’s my choice.

Poertschach has five players in the top 50 while Casablanca has only one, so it’ll be hard to find players in the Casablanca draw since only those players in the top 100 at the beginning of the fantasy season are eligible. Curiously enough, on average, half of the top eight seeds have reached the quarterfinals in Casablanca over the past five years so it’s not as unpredictable as many larger tournaments.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the top seed by far at number 13, but he meets up with Albert Montanes in the first round and Montanes had quarterfinals at Barcelona and Hamburg and there’s no one else in Montanes’ quarter to threaten him, so he’s my first pick.

Marc Gicquel reached the semifinals here last year and he’s 2-0 over his main competition in the quarter, Florent Serra, so Gicquel’s my second pick.

The third quarter is a mix of old and new and fallen. Younes El Aynaoui, Dominik Hrbaty, and Agustin Calleri were all top twenty players at one point but Calleri is now the only one in the top 100. Since Calleri has beaten the other top 100 players in this quarter – Peter Luczak and Oliver Patience – I’m going with Calleri.

Most players in the bottom quarter have played in challengers the past few weeks. Since Gael Monfils has the best record and he’s in the challenger final in Marrakech this week, I’m picking him.

My Picks

Here are my fantasy picks for this week: Seppi, Haase, Querrey, Monaco. Montanes, Giquel, Calleri, Monfils.

Happy fantasies!

Slightly Messy Hamburg

I expected a lot of unseeded players to reach the quarterfinals in Hamburg but what were Nicolas Kiefer and Andreas Seppi doing there?

When I filed my ATP fantasy picks this week I noted that Hamburg is pretty bad about predicting its quarterfinalists. In the past five years, less that three of the top eight seeded players have reached the final eight. This year is only slightly better. The top three are there – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – and that’s really the story of the week because a game of musical chairs could be just beginning.

Before we get to that, though, how were we supposed to know which unseeded players would go far this week? It would have been difficult enough if the tournament hadn’t reseeded the draw because five players dropped out. James Blake ended up in one corner of the draw instead of Andy Roddick who hurt his back moving into his new apartment in New York – can’t he afford movers?

You might think Nicolas Kiefer was a good choice because he’s German but he had a losing record on clay before this week and a bad record at Hamburg. Italian Andreas Seppi makes more sense because he reached the quarterfinals here as a qualifier three years ago, but his fellow Italian, Simone Bolelli, was in his part of the draw and beat him in Munich on clay only two weeks ago.

Still, here they were, Kiwi and Seppi in the quarterfinals at Hamburg and Kiwi was up a break on Seppi at 4-2 in the third set and working on going up two breaks when he argued against a service winner that landed on the inside of the service line. He was clearly trying to rile up his home crowd. After getting a break point on the next point, he made a point of clearing the service line then flashing a look at the chair umpire.

Kiwi is doing a second act on the tennis circuit. He missed half of last year due to knee surgery and when he returned we had a warmer fuzzier version of the formerly crusty grumpy Kiwi. He used to be the kind of guy who would get mad at his opponent for making a good shot. He’s still feisty but now it takes the form of getting angry at line calls.

Kiwi didn’t get that second break of serve but he did serve for the match at 5-4 and, unfortunately, chose the worst time to play a terrible game. I couldn’t help having the slightest touch of pleasure that Kiwi lost that game if only because of his attitude is still annoying. But which is better, a grumpy guy who brings you some on court entertainment and variety in his game – Kiwi – or a grinder who is a nice but has very little variety and shows almost no emotion on the court – Seppi?

This wasn’t a great tennis match. Clay court tennis is supposed to be all about constructing a masterful point but these two kept hitting backhand to backhand and forehand to forehand. Kiwi was the only one doing much in the way of coming to the net or using the drop shot. On one point I counted 23 backhands. Seppi seems to be constitutionally unable to change the direction of the ball. But he is steady and today that was enough because those backhands came in the game that put Seppi up 6-5 in that third set.

Okay, I did start feeling bad as Kiwi hit a double fault in the next game to give Seppi a match point. But this is clay after all, not Kiwi’s best surface, and he’d done very well to get to the quarterfinals so don’t give me too hard a time for my previous bit of ill will towards him.

Seppi hit two good passing shots to win the match and then we finally saw the emotion as he dropped to his knees. Understandable considering that he’d just won a 3 hour and 45 minute battle and pushed himself into the semifinals of a Masters Series event. There he will meet Federer which could be a gift for the current number one, or not. Seppi did lose to him in Monte Carlo last year in their only meeting, but it took Federer two tiebreakers to beat him.

Does anyone play musical chairs anymore? I haven’t played it since I was 7 or 8 years old in the small village in England where I grew up. I can still clearly see the village hall with its shiny wooden floor and rows of chairs. Every time the music stopped, we literally crawled over each other to find an empty chair and one person was left out because there was one less chair in each succeeding round. At the end, one person snatched the very last chair and they were declared the winner.

It looks like Djokovic will be the winner. Nadal didn’t win a title after the clay court season last year and he didn’t win one until the clay court season this year. He can still win Wimbledon because it’s easier on his knees and feet and the points are shorter, but I’m not looking for him to improve on hard courts. And he certainly can’t improve on clay courts.

Whether you believe it’s his Saturn return or the sheer impossibility of dominating the tour for more than three years in a row, Federer winning is no longer a sure thing. Djokovic’s ascendance to his throne probably will not happen in the immediate future because he has four slam semifinals to defend this year and that takes some luck as well as skill, but it looks like it will happen. The question is: will Djokovic wear out physically as quickly as Nadal appears to have done or will he get his full run as number one as Mr. Federer has?

ATP Fantasy Picks for Hamburg

It’s time for the ATP Fantasy Tennis Season so check out our Fantasy Tennis Guide. You’ll find Fast Facts, Strategies, and Statistics to help you play the game.

Sign up and join our subleague! It’s called We send weekly email updates to all subleague members before the submission deadline.

This week’s submission deadline is Sunday morning, May 11, 4am (EST) in the U.S./10am (CET) in Europe.

I’ve been keeping track of how accurate seedings are for different tournaments by looking at how many of the top eight seeds get to the quarterfinals and Hamburg has the lowest number yet. On average, less than three of the top eight seeds have reached the quarterfinals here in the last five years so get ready for another bumpy ride this week.

In Rome we had two retirements in the semifinals which, improbably enough, did not feature Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal but did feature Andy Roddick. Oy, life is not easy for a fantasy tennis fanatic but here we go with one more Masters Series event before Roland Garros. We need to pick the quarterfinalists because we need eight players for our team. By the way, lots of players retired during matches this week so check the draw before you go to bed tonight because there could be pullouts.

Hamburg draw (clay, first prize: $553,846)

Roger Federer has an easy draw and he’s won this tournament three of the last four years so I’m going to use him for the first time this year.

In the bottom half of Federer’s quarter is the trio of Mikhail Youzhny, Nicolas Almagro, and David Ferrer. Youzhny hasn’t won a clay court match since last year. Ferrer has consistently reached the quarters here and he’s 4-0 over Almagro so he’s my choice.

In the top half of Nikolay Davydenko’s quarter, Paul-Henri Mathieu is struggling after an excellent record on clay last year. He hasn’t beaten anyone important. Stanislas Wawrinka is on a roll so it’s between him and Davydenko.

Here is where I need to think about how to use Davydenko throughout the season. For sure I’m picking him for Roland Garros, the U.S. Open, and Moscow – which he’s won the past two years and pays more than a semifinal at a Masters. And I picked him for Rome so that leaves one other tournament since I can only use him five times.

I’m going to say that Wawrinka is a bit worn out by reaching the semifinals, quarterfinals, and final at his last three tournaments and give my pick to the energizer bunny Davydenko.

In the bottom half of Davydenko’s quarter I’m going to leave Richard Gasquet alone until he gets out of his funk. That leaves me with Juan Monaco and Simone Bolelli and since we know some unseeded players will get through, I’m going with Bolelli.

Okay, do I pick Novak Djokovic now or not? I’m using him for the remaining slams and one of the summer hard court events so that leaves me one more pick. It’s unlikely that both Federer and Nadal will lose again but Djkovic can get to the semifinals if he holds up physically and he just had an easy semifinal in Rome and he’s smart, he skipped the non-Masters clay events. He beat Tommy Robredo on clay last year and Tomas Berdych has never done well here so I’m going with Djkokovic.

In the top part of Djokovic’s quarter, there’s not really a lot of choice. Berdych has been out with an ankle injury but he’s 5-0 over his first two likely opponents and unbeaten on clay against James Blake and Janko Tipsarevic so I’m going with Berdych.

Roddick and Radek Stepanek are in Nadal’s quarter of the draw. Roddick said his back hurt badly enough that he won’t be able to hit for a few days so I’m not counting on him to be here. Stepanek said he was weak and dizzy so I expect he’ll be alright and he has reached a final here. Carlos Moya has lost in the first round of his last three clay tournaments so that leaves me with Stepanek.

I’m not picking Nadal for Hamburg this week because I’m saving him for the remaining three slams and I picked him for Monte Carlo and Rome. That leaves me with Gilles Simon and Andy Murray. Simon beat Murray in Rome last year so Simon is my pick.

I picked three unseeded players – Bolelli, Stepanek, and Simon. We’ll see if that’s enough.

My Picks

Here are my fantasy tennis picks for Hamburg: Federer, Ferrer, Davydenko, Bolelli, Berdych, Djokovic, Stepanek, Murray.