They just don't care anymore. When I first started seriously posting on tennis boards about four years ago the mysteries of the draw were the province of those special nerds who could tell you who played who in 1954 in the third round at Roland Garros and ask if you remember the shot they made. Not anymore.
In those four years I've seen boards go from doing little or nothing when the Main Draw for a Slam or TMS event came out to today where one board had to delete a faux US Open Main Draw thread only to see the new one pick up where the old one left off and others were full of posts asking where the draw was. I was one of them. I mean it started at 11a. Anna Chakvetadze and Fernando Gonzalez were the players who assisted in the process. I don't know what took them so long but both draws were available about 12:30p EDST. And the board riots began.
I found it ironic that a fan brought up the 1996 US Open draw where the USTA "adjusted" the draw to ensure that American players went deep into the tournament. There is a very good discussion about it on TAT which you can read at your leisure. I'm a firm believer in the laws of Karma. It was just funny how that particular year that saw players withdraw in disgust from the event came up just before the Main Draw from the US Open was about to be released. I wondered if that meant we were in for a doozie of a Main Draw.
Back in the day merely saying you didn't like a particular player could get you banned from a board. Today things are much more civil and you can have reasoned discussions about players you like or don't like without incurring venom from partisans on either side.
As you know Craig and I split duties on the Slams. I don't talk about the men's draw. I will say in passing that if a player is said to be the GOAT then he should have to prove it by playing the best his generation has to offer at any given time. If he's so good there isn't a player breathing who can beat him that shouldn't be a problem. When the GOAT plays a qualifier to open and follows up by playing another qualifier the GOAT argument becomes suspect. Just my opinion.
The Women's Draw is a joke. I don't know any other way to put it. I present to you the top half of the Women's Draw for the 2007 US Open.
1)HENIN, Justine (BEL
POUTCHKOVA, Olga RUS vs QUALIFIER,
QUALIFIER, vs SCHRUFF, Julia GER
QUALIFIER, vs (28)SUGIYAMA, Ai JPN
(17)GOLOVIN, Tatiana FRA vs ROLLE, Ahsha USA
CHAN, Yung-Jan TPE vs KNAPP, Karin ITA
RUANO PASCUAL, Virginia ESP vs BONDARENKO, Kateryna UKR
CASTANO, Catalina COL vs (15)SAFINA, Dinara RUS
(10)BARTOLI, Marion FRA vs (WC)GLATCH, Alexa USA
ERRANI, Sara ITA vs QUALIFIER,
PETKOVIC, Andrea GER vs (WC)COHEN, Audra USA
(WC)MOORE, Jessica AUS vs (20)SAFAROVA, Lucie CZE
(27)ZVONAREVA, Vera RUS vs QUALIFIER,
(WC)ALBANESE, Lauren USA vs LIKHOVTSEVA, Elena RUS
POUTCHEK, Tatiana BLR vs CAMERIN, Maria Elena ITA
KERBER, Angelique GER vs (8)WILLIAMS, Serena USA
(3)JANKOVIC, Jelena SRB vs GAJDOSOVA, Jarmila SVK
ARVIDSSON, Sofia SWE vs GOVORTSOVA, Olga BLR
OBZILER, Tzipora ISR vs WOZNIACKI, Caroline DEN
QUALIFIER, vs (29)STOSUR, Samantha AUS
(19)BAMMER, Sybille AUT vs TANASUGARN, Tamarine THA
KING, Vania USA vs SHAUGHNESSY, Meghann USA
CRAYBAS, Jill USA vs QUALIFIER,
COHEN-ALORO, Stephanie FRA vs (14)DEMENTIEVA, Elena RUS
(12)WILLIAMS, Venus USA vs QUALIFIER,
OLARU, Ioana Raluca ROU vs HARKLEROAD, Ashley USA
DANIILIDOU, Eleni GRE vs MEUSBURGER, Yvonne AUT
DULKO, Gisela ARG vs (21)BONDARENKO, Alona UKR
(25)SANTANGELO, Mara ITA vs DUSHEVINA, Vera RUS
BYCHKOVA, Ekaterina RUS vs QUALIFIER,
QUALIFIER, vs REZAI, Aravane FRA
NAKAMURA, Aiko JPN vs (5)IVANOVIC, Ana SRB
Justine. Marion. Ana. Lucie. Venus. Jelena. Dinara. Tatiana. A nice mix of seeds to go along with the world number one Justine Henin. There are also some lower seeds who have had a pretty good year in the mix. Rezai is hungry. Sybille Bammer wants to go deep into the draw. Ai Sugiyama can pull a good one out every now and then. Possible matchups? Justine and Serena for the third time? Venus vs Ivanovic? Maybe. The competition in this side of the draw will be fierce.
And now the bottom half of the draw.
RODIONOVA, Anastasia RUS vs SAVCHUK, Olga UKR
QUALIFIER, vs SZAVAY, Agnes HUN
BRIANTI, Alberta ITA vs (32)KRAJICEK, Michaella NED
(22)SREBOTNIK, Katarina SLO vs MOLIK, Alicia AUS
KIRILENKO, Maria RUS vs MULLER, Martina GER
KOSTANIC TOSIC, Jelena CRO vs VESNINA, Elena RUS
VAKULENKO, Julia UKR vs (9)HANTUCHOVA, Daniela SVK
(16)HINGIS, Martina SUI vs JOHANSSON, Mathilde FRA
MALEK, Tatjana GER vs QUALIFIER,
QUALIFIER, vs AZARENKA, Victoria BLR
CIBULKOVA, Dominika SVK vs (23)GARBIN, Tathiana ITA
(31)MEDINA GARRIGUES, Anabel vs WOZNIAK, Aleksandra CAN
DOMINGUEZ LINO, Lourdes E vs CHO, Yoon Jeong KOR
PIN, Camille FRA vs QUALIFIER,
ZAKOPALOVA, Klara CZE vs (6)KUZNETSOVA, Svetlana RUS
(6)CHAKVETADZE, Anna RUS vs (WC)WEINHOLD, Ashley USA
(WC)JACKSON, Jamea USA vs PRATT, Nicole AUS
GRANVILLE, Laura USA vs QUALIFIER,
KANEPI, Kaia EST vs (26)MIRZA, Sania IND
(24)SCHIAVONE, Francesca ITA vs DECHY, Nathalie FRA
ARN, Greta GER vs PASZEK, Tamira AUT
BREMOND, Severine FRA vs GALLOVITS, Edina ROU
BENESOVA, Iveta CZE vs (11)SCHNYDER, Patty SUI
(13)VAIDISOVA, Nicole CZE vs KUDRYAVTSEVA, Alla RUS
PENNETTA, Flavia ITA vs PENG, Shuai CHN
MATTEK, Bethanie USA vs BRENGLE, Madison USA
TU, Meilen USA vs (18)PEER, Shahar ISR
(30)RADWANSKA, Agnieszka POL vs MORIGAMI, Akiko JPN
LOIT, Emilie FRA vs RAZZANO, Virginie FRA
SHVEDOVA, Yaroslava RUS vs DELLACQUA, Casey AUS
VINCI, Roberta ITA vs (2)SHARAPOVA, Maria RUS
Okay so lets see. Nadia Petrova. Headcase. Daniela Hantuchova. Good player. Two weeks will tax her physically. Martina Hingis. Bad back. Svetlana Kuznetsova. Have to classify her as a headcase. She is coming back off of a shoulder injury that kept her out of Fed Cup as well. Anna Chakvetadze. Good player. Not a great player yet. And how many times this summer is she going to play Sania Mirza? Sania hasn't shown she's got the mental toughness to make it to the second week. Patty Schnyder. Nicole Vaidisova coming back from illness. Shahar Pe'er's level of play has slacked off lately. Ms Radwanska is pretty good but not Grand Slam good yet.
And oh yes, there is Maria Sharapova, the "Golden Girl" of the WTA. While the ladies in the top half duke it out Ms Sharapova will be banging and grunting her way through to meet a player who has had to bite and claw her way to their match. I don't mean to disparage any of the players in the bottom half of the draw. I mean who was Marion Bartoli a few weeks ago? Anyone can get hot and pull an upset.
There are those who argue that it is impossible to rig a draw in a players favor because there are too many safeguards in place. But when boards that were known for banning people because they didn't like a player favored by the mods have threads titled "RIGGED!!!!" and another one asking why is it that a certain player seems to always get a nice draw things are a little out of control. Justine Henin is the top female player in the world. So they threw a qualifier her way for her first round match. Once she gets past her quarter the Big Babes will be waiting for her. Meanwhile number two will be practicing her smile and wave. I guess sometimes it does pay to be number two.