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Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka is dream matchup for CBS
Written by Mackie Shilstone   

The big game day is finally here at last aftera tornado warning cancelled the Saturday matches midway into the men's semifinals. Serena Williams' match against Victoria Azarenka to take place no earlier than 3:30 pm central, unless the earlier match is one of those 5-hour matches. Let's hope not.

I lead with game day because in pro tennis each game is the big game for a loss sends you on to the next tournament in short oder. The New Orleans Saints play the Redskins on Sunday and will not have the next game until the following Sunday, unless you get caught in one of those short weeks in which the NFL team may need to play on Thursday. Wow, how TV and advertising have changed the game, making in certain instances injuries much more prevalent due to the players experiencing a shortened week with less recovery time.

In the MLB the athletes play every day and travel every third day - the get-away day. The worst case is a night get-away sometimes leading to a day game the next day in a different city. Been there for 10 years with the San Francisco Giants.

In the NBA and NHL games are usually every other day all in other cities which makes for unique recovery techniques. I experienced both having traveled with the St. Louis Blues for 10 years and the Minnesota Timberwolves for several days two seasons ago.

In pro tennis, like pro golf, the player is responsible for the travel expenses, scheduling travel, for all those who go along as support staff. No team charters like other big-league sports.

You do rack up millions of airline travel points but you certainly come out of the pocket for all the associated expenses, except that the tournament provides all ground transportation from airport to hotel and between the hotel and tournament each day.

Now for the matchup today between No. 1 Azarenka and No. 4 Williams - a dream matchup for CBS to compete with the opening day in the NFL and the competition for viewers and ratings. If you have followed my previous post cards, you should know by now this match will come down to who breaks mentally first. I watched Azarenka come from behind down one set against her semifinal opponent Maria Sharapova to win the next two sets and advance to the finals against Serena.

I have watched Serena take apart her opponents at the U.S. Open in short order. As I have said previously, you do not come to these tournaments to get in shape. That is accomplished in the offseason, which is two months, starting in November getting ready for the tournaments to start in January leading up to the Australian Open. Try telling the other team sports that you get only two months off of which one month is usually devoted to "vacation" time and the other is work preparing for the next season.

So, the lead to this match is "the story of how to break your opponent both physically and mentally without ever laying a hand on them." Try that in pro boxing or the NFL.

Go Serena, You are my true champion both on and off the court.

Next up, the game summary.

Mackie Shilstone