Touching Down in Indian Wells
In my ongoing quest to put my body in as much shock as possible, I’ve moved from the -10 below climes of Anchorage to the searing sun of the Southern California desert. Both Alaska and Palm Springs are stunningly beautiful in their own ways; I enjoy them both, despite the desiccation to my skin.
The event at Indian Wells is perhaps my favorite on the calendar. The venue is fantastic, the food fresh, the intermingling with players unmatched and the atmosphere relaxed. This morning when I arrived, it was also packed. I can’t remember having such a tough time getting into the parking lot. I’m told that Saturday’s session was sold out. What economic meltdown?
One conspicuous absence in the Coachella Valley for the American men is Robby Ginepri. Here’s why: About two weeks ago, the Georgia native’s appendix burst, according to his agent, Tom Ross. Ross said the 26-year-old had stomach pain and went to see the doctor but they didn’t diagnose it at first -- not uncommon with appendicitis. He then returned home and it blew in the middle of the night. Ross said the 65th-ranked Ginepri spent eight days in the hospital and would miss Miami. He hopes to return in April.
In the players' lounge, I ran across Darren Cahill, who joked he was trying to avoid attention after making the tennis headlines in recent days. Cahill had toyed with the idea of coaching Roger Federer and flew to Dubai to train with him, but ultimately decided that he couldn’t spend that much time away from his two kids, ages 4 and 7. “’It’s the where’s Daddy?’ age,” he said. Cahill, 43, said the gig would have required him to be on the road for 24 weeks, or about six months. He sounded a little torn about not working with someone of Federer’s caliber, but he also seemed settled in his decision. He will now spend time helping to coach various pros through adidas’ innovative player development program alongside Sven Groeneveld and Andre Agassi’s longtime trainer, Gil Reyes. Cahill also told me that, contrary to media reports, his decision to resign from his Australian Davis Cup duties had nothing to do with his trial run with Federer. “The two were completely unrelated,” he said.