Tennis This Week
Lots of tennis got played this past week despite the impression the casual fan in the United States might have that the tennis season ended when the US Open did. There was the Kremlin Cup played in Moscow for example which featured all but the top three men and most of the women. There was the Stockholm Open where James Blake unsuccessfully defended his championship. Men were also playing in Vienna Austria where the number three in the world Novak Djokovic led the list of players.
Despite the Kremlin Cup being a Tier I event for the women there was a Tier III in Bangkok which is where Jelena Jankovic opted to play. There was lively debate about whether a Tier III should be played at the same time as a Tier I but there was enough tennis for everyone and the arguments died down once the tournaments started.
The one thing that struck me about the women this week was that both Williams Sisters were playing. Serena was in Europe and Venus was in Asia. Serena has made the Final in Moscow and Venus lost in the semi's to Flavia Pennetta. These are the only women carrying the torch for American women's tennis. Lindsay Davenport is on her way back but probably won't be fully ready physically until next year. After that the prospects are bleak.
Andy Roddick who pulled out of Thailand with an ankle injury but managed to play charity events in the States has done it again. This time he pulled out of the TMS event in Madrid citing a knee injury. Fans have noted that he is scheduled to play for charity again while the TMS event is taking place. Tennisheads remember the withering criticism leveled at the European men for skipping most of the US Open series and not coming across the pond until the back to back TMS events in Canada and Ohio. Andy's fans are saying it's not hypocritical for him to pull out of a TMS event in the fall after his comments during the summer. I think it is. I don't think you'll hear the European's doing the same thing though. American players are unpopular overseas as it is.
I do give Blake credit for playing in Madrid though.
By the way the Madrid field is quite deep. So is the Zurich WTA event next week. Glad to see that.
Method to the Madness
I found this on my Google home page after I made the original post. It's a nice little article about why the TMS events at the end of the year are going to be so well attended by the top players. An excerpt and the link follow.
In a season where we've witnessed de Villiers and the rest of his gang at the Mickey Mouse Club try to turn the ATP into a circus, it's reassuring to see some sensible steps now being taken towards hopefully, and at long last, having a fitting and exciting final chapter to the race to Shanghai.
This year however, the organisers are doing all they can to make sure the top 5 are there, barring any serious injury. And the players seem to have caught on. Roger Federer skipped Tokyo so that he is only scheduled to play two events in the indoor season before Paris rather than his usual 3. Rafael Nadal has been on a prolonged rest period since the USO, withdrawing from the Thailand Open to stay in Spain and heal his knee injury in time to play both Madrid and Paris. The top players should be keener to make a final pit stop before Shanghai this year, and here are some of the reasons why.
Okay so it may not be what they all play for, but an extra financial motivation sure doesn't hurt. The ATP ruled from the start of this year that a bonus of $750,000 would be handed to each of the top 4 players in the race if they had played at least 8 out of the 9 TMS events, including imperatively Madrid and Paris. So as the race stands right now, any the top four can cash in on the bonus prize money as long as they play both Madrid and Paris.
Incentives to Play
Lists of the Week
The WTA 2009 Roadkill schedule including player obligations was posted this week on
2009 Calendar with Top-10 players restrictions:
Jan 05 - Brisbane (no Top-10 players)
-------- Auckland (no Top-10 players)
Jan 12 - Sydney (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
-------- Hobart (no Top-10 players)
Jan 19 - AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Feb 02 - Fed Cup
Feb 09 - Paris Indoors (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Bangkok (no Top-10 players)
Feb 16 - Dubai (seven Top-10 players)
-------- Memphis (no Top-10 players)
-------- Bogota (no Top-10 players)
Feb 23 - TBD (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Acapulco (no Top-10 players)
Mar 02 - Bangalore (no Top-10 players)
Mar 09 - Indian Wells (MANDATORY)
Mar 23 - Miami (MANDATORY)
Apr 06 - Amelia Island (no Top-10 players)
-------- Estoril (no Top-10 players)
Apr 13 - Charleston (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Barcelona (no Top-10 players)
Apr 20 - Fed Cup
Apr 27 - Stuttgart (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Fes (no Top-10 players)
May 04 - Rome (seven Top-10 players)
May 11 - Madrid (MANDATORY)
May 18 - Berlin (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
-------- Strasbourg (no Top-10 players)
May 25 - ROLAND GARROS
Jun 08 - Birmingham (no Top-10 players)
Jun 15 - Eastbourne (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
-------- s'Hertogenbosch (no Top-10 players)
Jun 22 - WIMBLEDON
Jul 06 - Budapest (no Top-10 players)
-------- Palermo (no Top-10 players)
Jul 13 - Prague (no Top-10 players)
-------- Istanbul (no Top-10 players)
Jul 20 - Portoroz (no Top-10 players)
Jul 27 - Stanford (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Stockholm (no Top-10 players)
Aug 03 - Los Angeles (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
Aug 10 - Canadian Open (seven Top-10 players)
Aug 17 - Cincinnati (seven Top-10 players)
Aug 24 - New Haven (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
Aug 31 - US OPEN
Sep 14 - Guangzhou (no Top-10 players)
-------- Quebec City (no Top-10 players)
-------- Tashkent (no Top-10 players)
Sep 21 - Seoul (no Top-10 players)
-------- Calcutta (no Top-10 players)
Sep 28 - Tokyo Indoors (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
Oct 05 - Beijing (MANDATORY)
Oct 12 - Linz (no Top-10 players)
-------- Japan Open (no Top-10 players)
-------- Singapore (no Top-10 players)
Oct 19 - Moscow (seven Top-10 players)
-------- Luxembourg (no Top-10 players)
-------- Bali (no Top-10 players)
Oct 26 - WTA Tour Championships
One legitimate question that arises is this. Rankings change. Players move in and out of the top ten not to mention the rankings from eleven to twenty or thirty. How does Roadkill handle that basic fact of tennis life? Tennisheads will be watching.
Another list circulating this week was a report on the ATP matches deemed suspect by tennis and betting authorities. Andy Murray threw fuel on the fire and said that everyone knew what was going on. He's being hauled before ATP officials to explain his comments. Guess something of Brad Gilbert has rubbed off on him huh? Next time he'll keep his mouth shut. To see the list please go
Makeover of the Week
The ESPN tennis board has been totally revamped. It's now like a combination tennis board and mySpace. Blogs are allowed. Pictures are allowed as long as they're not pictures of celebrities or athletes which makes not an ounce of sense to me since it is a tennis board and most fans would put avatars of their faves as they do on most tennis boards. At least now tennisheads will get to find out if that board is kept going by one guy with twenty aliases or not.
I'll end with what I call the Picture of the Week. A lot of people would pick this one of Roger and Mirka.
But for me this was the picture of the week.
The other one is the picture at the beginning of this post.