Postcard From Melbourne

Phelps like fish out of water when it comes to tennis

March 31, 2007|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG

Is it coincidence that the FINA World Swimming Championships are taking place in a temporary pool inside Rod Laver Arena this week? After all, with sportswriters struggling to come up with ways to put Michael Phelps' performance - five gold medals and four world records through the first five days - into context, the most obvious comparison is to the play of the man who competed in this very building only two months ago, but with a racket in his hand: Roger Federer.

Is it fair to compare the two athletes, both kings of their sport? Reporters this week asked U.S. assistant swimming coach Eddie Reese, the head coach at Texas and a big tennis fan, for his opinion, and he came up with an answer no one could argue with.

"Roger Federer would beat Michael like a drum on the tennis court," Reese said.

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