Mr. Etienne de Villiers has let us all in on the reasons behind his changing the ATP tour into the WWE. I keep expecting Vince McMahon to step out from behind the curtain.
We should all work just for one person and he's a 45-year-old living in Bedfordshire called John Smith.
He is our tennis fan and he is the only person we should be working for. Ultimately, that informs the decisions of all of us who work in entertainment.
"You have to decide which market you're in. If it's a tennis market you do certain things. If you're in the entertainment business you have to compete for discretionary time and income. We clearly are in the latter. Tennis over the past 15 years has not really done anything to change how it is presented or marketed to the general public."
Well since John in Bedfordshire England is the typical tennis fan I guess the rest of us – Asian, African, South American and maybe even Southern European had better get out of the way. I think a person of average intelligence has no problem following the tennis calendar as it exists now. With a little more work the average person can decipher rankings of players and tournaments, and with a little more work will know that the tour comes to a place near them at some point in time. The tournament can be what we now call Tier I, II, II or IV. It can be a Challenger. A future. The local playground courts. A Grand Slam. But tennis is played world wide.
I wonder how John from Bedfordshire reacted to his national tennis organization, which spent millions of pounds over the last year recruiting top coaches having to suspend some of what he’s been told are the best and brightest of the Lawn Tennis Association. With Tim Henman’s retirement and Andy Murray struggling with injuries I wonder who John from Bedfordshire is going to root for? An American maybe? Let’s see. After Andy Roddick and James Blake(by golly that guy has British blood in his veins doesn’t he) there’s…who exactly? John Isner? Still adapting to the rigors of the pro game. Mardy Fish? Uh-huh. Well maybe John likes the women’s game. Venus and Serena Williams? Not if the powers that be in the USA have their say. Wouldn’t John rather root for Maria Sharapova the stereotypical blond American bombshell…oh wait she’s Russian. She just likes the Yankee dollar (well maybe she’s asking to be paid in Euro’s now but that metaphor doesn’t work well does it?) I mean those pesky Williams sisters may have the best records of American women in recent memory but they’re well, you know, they pull out of tournaments at the last minute. They beat up poor Maria and her now it is now it isn't bad shoulder. They’re just not what tennis is all about. Fan support? Well if Maria’s shoulder wasn’t bothering her (and there hadn’t been those incidents where she turned her back on an injured opponent or took advantage of a player everyone knows has a psyche as fragile as fine crystal, the potty breaks)…uh, enough of that. The fans really like Maria. So what if they boo her or if she only wins when she’s got a draw made in heaven by the random angels and ducks out twenty minutes before a semi final match against an opponent who beat her to a pulp earlier in the year? She’s the Golden One, the future of tennis. John from Bedfordshire will rally around her for sure.
The French? We’re talking John from Bedfordshire here. Brits root for the French? Seen any pigs take flight lately? Spaniards? Italians? Argentines? Asians? Indians and Pakistani’s? Surely you jest. John from Bedfordshire wants hard court tennis. He doesn’t want to watch two guys, or gals, play long rallies requiring both physical and mental endurance. He wants slam, bang tennis. 150 mile per hour serves. Not too much thinking. Just react. That’s what John wants right? And what John wants he gets hand delivered on a silver platter. That bloke from Switzerland, the one who rarely shows emotion on court anymore with the pleasingly plump girl friend? That’s what John wants. No one shouting “vamos” or “allez”. A nice fist pump every now and then is all right with John. Like him, the people in Switzerland still use their own money not that Euro thing. John from Bedfordshire is giving a gentlemanly fist pump.
More ATP News
The ATP announced the tournaments that will have “500” status under the Brave New World plan. The lucky tournaments are as follows.
Each player will have to commit to playing four per year including one after the US Open. Funny but there is a lot of tennis being played right now no? Vienna, Moscow and Stockholm are on for the men this week. The women are playing in Moscow and Bangkok. A joint event just finished in Tokyo. Oh, my bad. There is no tennis after the US Open is there? For more on this here is the link.
Brave New World The 500
Just keep in mind these are the same marketing geniuses who change the Men’s championship playoff from the Tennis Masters Cup to something that, when you reduce it to an acronym becomes WTF. Enjoy yourselves with that one tennisheads.
More ATP Brave New World
Just in case you don’t know what the current ranking system is a fan over on MTF posted it and compared it with the new one going into effect in 2009.
*The current ranking point allocation
Grand Slam winner = 1000 points
Masters Series winner = 500 points (50% of Slam winner)
IS Gold winner = 250/300 points (25-30% of Slam winner, 50-60% of MS winner)
IS winner = 175/200/225/250 points (17,5-25% of Slam winner, 35-50% of MS winner, 60-100% of IS Gold winner)
*The 2009 ranking point allocation
GS winner = 2000 points
Masters 1000 winner = 1000 points (50% of Slam winner)
"500" winner = 500 points (25% of Slam winner, 50% of Masters winner)
"250" winner = 250 points (12,5% of Slam winner, 25% of Masters winner, 50% of "500" winner)
for example, in 2009 winning Queen's will give 250 points while winning Wimbledon gives 2000 points
winning Moscow will give 250 points, winning Paris gives 1000 points
Yep those point whores will be rushing to those 250 events. No wonder Queens locked Rafael Nadal in with huge appearance fees for the next few years.
Yes they have a women’s tour quiet as it’s kept. Someone named Justine Henin keeps winning every time she plays which is not that often since her health is delicate. Without her faithful coach what would she do?
There is speculation that Venus Williams, who lost out to Marion Jones in 2000 as Female Athlete of the Year may now get that award. That would be great for tennis and recognition of the break out year Venus had back then when she was truly tennis Golden Girl…oh wait.
Tennisheads are asking why, when there is a Tier I event on Moscow for the women there is also a Tier III in Bangkok. The ATP has a Masters Series tournament in Madrid next week and there is no other game in town for the main tour. Just asking you know? Oh, and you get exactly one guess as to who the top seed is in Bangkok. If you need more than one guess here's a hint. She's Serbian. Dark hair. Exotic looks. Under six feet tall. What, you need a road map? Okay here she is.
No more hints okay?
Speaking of Venus, after seeing this while playing the Tokyo final against Virginie Razzano
the very last thing we V-nuts wanted to see was Venus Arriving in Bangkok.
We love you girl. We want you in the YEC. But not at the expense of your health. You've got some obvious injury issues. You remember what happened the last time you played with that groin problem? Your fans do. A week off may be just what you need.
Idle Chit Chat
In lighter news former tennis golden girl Anna Kournikova was photographed with long time beau Enrique Iglesias. The pics squash any rumors Anna has a bun in the oven but she appears to now be eating two lettuce leaves a day, up from one. She was also photographed with a beverage in her hand. Product placement for the former endorsement queen?
There was also a pic of Dominika Cibulkova which was obviously intended to announce to the world that she's of age. Of age for what is my question. And if this isn't a promo for CSI why is she in a bathtub?
Here is a pic of Ms Cibulkova sans the plaster and paint. You decide.
No I'm not talking about the female or male kind. I'm talking about tennis trophies. There's been a trend lately of giving paintings by some local artist as trophies. A real trophy can be put in a trophy case. A picture will just sit in your attic and gather dust. Unless you are a member of the local culture these paintings mean nothing.
Then there are the trophies that have come to be known as Alien Baby Trophies. Metz, which Tommy Robredo won this past weekend, has the penultimate Alien Child as it's trophy.
Now if you want to give a non standard trophy the picture below shows what can be done along those lines.
Now that'll work.
Note: By calling the Metz trophy an Alien Baby no offense was meant to the millions of aliens living among us. We know you all have different ways of reproducing. Handing your spawn over to tennis players is not one of your child rearing practices. Next thing you know Paris Hilton will traveling to your planet to adopt one of your children.