Sunday, July 13, 2008

Heard Around

by Savannah

There is a great interview with Antoni Nadal in Sport.Scotsman
It was published on July 6, 2008. The quote that stands out for me is this:

But, for Toni, it has never been about the money. Seeing his nephew add the Wimbledon title to his French Open wins could not, he says, be bettered by a pay cheque, which he refuses to take for coaching family.

"If I earn money from him then he becomes my boss. For the player and for me it is much better that the player is not my boss. I think sometimes the problem with these guys is that they are the boss.

"When his father told me 'you must do this' I told him I didn't want anything, because I want to be able to say what I want."
A must read.

And from the opposite end of the spectrum here are Alexandra Stevenson's musings on her "meeting" a young Rafael Nadal. I will let her speak for herself.

(...) I remember all my old Wimbledons, and I even remember a young Rafael Nadal as a junior player, staring me down. It was 2002, and junior players are not allowed to practice at Aorangi, the practice site. Well, a young Nadal, who was playing juniors at Wimbledon, walked down to my practice court that year, which was in the back, and he pressed his face against the gate, watching me hit. It was in the day when I worried about who was around my court because of all the press and the father issues, so I asked my mom to go see who was at the gate. She did. She said to the young boy at the gate, "You are Nadal, the player who is supposed to be a great champion one day." I kid you not. She said that. She invited him in. He said, in broken English, "No, no, I watch her. Semifinals at Wimbledon." And he smiled. It seems he wanted to see the girl who had made history.

I thought that was cute back then -- and, looking back on it, it goes along with him and his champion's mentality -- he cared about history and wanted to see it up close. I want to see it up close again, too.


Censorship and Fan Boards
Every webmaster or webmistress has to struggle with what "image" he or she wants their board to present to the world. Should the atmosphere be frat house anything goes, straight laced and all about the facts, the "it's my way or the highway" approach or the you can post what you want but there is a definite line that can't be crossed approach. Some fan boards are associated with large sports media outlets of either the broadcast or print variety and have their loyal followers.
All fan boards are some variation of the above and a tennishead can take his or her time to find the right fit for their personality and tennis fix.

But what happens when speculation turns into innuendo? What if a fan, or a group of fans, with an axe to grind against a particular player begin to post what they want to believe is the truth with no basis apparent basis in fact? What happens if fans see something, draw inferences from it and proceed to make those inferences into "fact"? Is it the job of the boards admins or webmasters/mistresses to censor fans "opinions" no matter how obnoxious, wrong headed or hurtful?

I know I'm sounding like Carrie in "Sex and the City" writing one of her columns but I have reasons plural for asking the question.

Recently a picture was published of a top female tennis player and the woman described as her best friend. A thread appeared on a women's tennis fan board that went deeply into what some fans thought they saw happening that went deeply into questions about the players sexuality and why said player should, shouldn't, can't or won't come out. The thread disappeared after a few days.

On a men's board a thread regularly appears that accuses one player of being a juicer based on what appear to be spurious rumors that have been debunked. The thread appears any time this player wins a tournament. The admins of this board let it appear and the argument rage until the thread fades into oblivion until it's resurrected.

One of the boards associated with a large media outfit once seemed like the wild west of fan boards. It's been calmed down quite a bit but if you want provocative posts about tennis and those who play it this is the place to go. A long time poster recently stated that "Anglo's" were upset at a Spaniard winning Wimbledon. The thread was allowed to stay. There has also been speculation on that board about juicing players. These threads were not deleted. But other threads there are regularly deleted for apparently no other reason than the opinion voiced annoys another poster.

What is censorship? There are many people who feel any attempt to silence someone's opinion, whether you agree with it or not, is beyond the pale and goes against freedom of speech. I don't like certain things said about my favorites but I don't think fans who have other favorites should be silenced unless what they say can be considered libelous. That decision would be made by lawyers and not your average tennis fan though. Was this the case with the thread that was deleted from the women's tennis site? I don't know. As an outsider I can speculate about what happened but that would not serve any purpose. Only the people who run that board know why the thread was deleted. I don't have any answers - I don't think there are any. All I can say is that if a website annoys you I'm sure there's another one that meets your needs.

Michael Chang

Michael was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame on July 12, 2008. His speech was all about the role of family, faith and talent played in his career. It was moving but not maudlin, emotional but not overly so, and inspiring whether you share Chang's deep faith or not. Congratulations Michael on both your induction into the Hall of Fame and your engagement to Ms Amber Liu.

Idle Chit Chat

Andy Murray has pulled out of Indianapolis.
Tatiana Golovin has also pulled out of Los Angeles and is in doubt for Montreal due to medical issues.
Daniela Hantuchova has done a profile featured in the TimesonLine.

So Tennis Channel says that Maria Sharapova is the first Russian woman to win a Grand Slam. Anastasia Myskina may have something to say about that factoid. I for one am looking for the translation of Myskina's comments into family friendly English.

Instead of doing two separate posts I've put the pictures of the winners of this weeks tournaments in the regular blog.
From the Top(Singles):
Tommy Robredo winner Bastad 2008
Victor Hanescu winner Gstaad 2008
Juan-Martin del Potro winner Stuttgart 2008
Alize Cornet winner Gaz de France 2008
Sara Errani winner Palermo 2008(below)

So far today all but one of the singles winners are first time title holders. Congratulations to all of them!
Newport boasts the only champion who has been a winner before. Congratulations to Fabrice Santoro, 2008 Champion, Newport.

Doubles Winners
Sara Errani and Nuria Llagostera Vives Doubles Champions Palermo 2008
C. Kas and P. Kohlschreiber 2008 Doubles Champions Stuttgart
J. Levinsky and F. Polasek Doubles Champions Gstaad 2008
J. Bjorkman and R. Soderling Doubles Champions Bastad
M. Fish and J. Isner Doubles Champions Newport 2008(no picture as of yet)

Ad Execs Say Rafa is not Marketable
So I begin and end with the Nadal family. I found this article posted on a fan site and thought readers might be interested.
Apparently marketing execs don't think the new Wimbledon champion is marketable outside of Spain.

Here is a quote made by one executive.
Jim Andrews, director of IEG Sponsorship Report, a Chicago- based newsletter that estimates the value of corporate sponsorships, said Nadal hasn't publicly addressed the most significant issue: Does he want to become a top endorser, or would he rather limit his sponsorships and focus on winning tennis matches?
``He is a quiet, humble guy, who leads a normal life,'' Andrews said. ``He's not on the national party circuit, or taking meetings with Fortune 500 types. And if that's who he is, that's just fine.
``The Wimbledon victory puts him on the list of endorsers to consider. But until he makes an effort to clean up his English and show he wants to get out there and sell, I don't think anyone will be dialing their agents screaming, `We've got to sign this guy.'''

There is also this:
His agent, Carlos Costa, declined to say what the player made from endorsement income.

For the entire article go HERE

What do I think? Vamos!


skivvy said...

I was going to say more but I guess it's best just to thank you for this.
There were some nice gossipy twists and turns (and of course I want to know more about the deleted forum posts) but more importantly I love the usual Savannah spin that you give our tennis world. So again, thank you.

oddman said...

Sara Errani is taking a page from Rafa's book and biting her trophy?

Steve Rosner - 'looking for someone more outgoing, someone who really shows his personality...' and that's not Rafa? Rather stupid, in all. The US market isn't the end all be all of sports endorsements. I think Rafa's doing alright with the Kia, Nike, Timeforce, and Loreal sponsors, no? I noticed they cut out his line in those Kia ads for the Sportage - 'who is next?', but in Europe they kept it in. I personally love the accent. Being able to speak unaccented English doesn't automatically make you a great adman - see Wayne Gretzky trying to sell Tylenol? Pfffft.

Did you catch Rafa's angry swing of the raquet in the final of Wimbledon? Set 3, I think - first time I've ever seen him do that. Whew. Tio Toni has done a wonderful job.

cate said...

One thing I realized by being a lurker/poster/member of tennis fora and websites is that fans can be so freakin' crazy.

When their favorite player loses, I see posts saying, "I don't believe in God anymore. He didn't answer my prayers." Or maybe, "She didn't deserve to win because she doesn't have the experience." All I can do is... *shakes head*

And oh, these forum moderators... are humans too. They have their own preferences and they are guilty of bashing, albeit very subtle. And they'll be the first ones to wash their hands when things get ugly.

As for Rafa not being marketable... well, I guess it's because his English is not very good and well, he's a bit shy. But I like his Kia, Cola-cao, Nike, and L'Oreal commericials.

oddman said...

Yes, cate, I get the feeling Fedfans are a whole lot more devastated than Fed himself is, or I should say 'some' Fedfans. There's a lot of reasonable fans of both players out there too.

And moderators aren't robots, they must have some bias there, no matter how they try.

Craig Hickman said...

I bet you if they marketed him instead of making excuses, he'd be marketable.

That's all.

Helen W said...

Maybe, instead of trying to force Rafa into their mould, they should try to take advantage of his unique & immense appeal and shape their ad campaigns around that -- and thank their lucky stars for having such a wonderful man to work with.

cate said...

@ oddman -- haha, yes I was talking about Fedfans in that "I don't believe in God" part. I saw that in one of the threads on the RFcom forums. I couldn't resist it.

I know A LOT of tennis fans -- whoever is their fave -- whose lives go to a stand-still after a huge loss. Oh well. Sometimes, they even go to DICTATING tactics and gameplay to the players themselves via the fora. *oh well*

One more experience I have with message boards is that more often than not, the MODS are MIA. They are just there for show. SOME... not ALL.

oddman said...

The more I think on this, the stupider it sounds. I'm starting to wonder if this Rosner guy is just some disgruntled Fed fan, really. Pissed off that his hero didn't win, that that awful Spaniard prevented him from getting his record-breaking 6th title, blah blah.
Perhaps I've just read too many of those ridiculous types of posts that cate alluded to. (the freakin' crazy fans)

Sometimes, for a giggle, I go to and read some of the vitriol there thrown Rafa's way.

Savannah said...

Something I need to clear up. The thread that discussed a top player's sexuality was positive. It seems most tennisheads already have an opinion about what is going on and are of the opinion if you're happy we're happy for you. That's why it was so bizarre that the entire thread was deleted.

If you want to see the picture Craig has it posted on his blog as pic of the week.

Savannah said...

The Sara Errani pic was funny.

I agree with Craig, Helen and everyone else who wonders why this ad guy is so negative towards Rafa. I thought these were the people who made a living thinking outside the box. I notice that the ads he's featured in in Spain have a certain feel to them that is not "I'm going to kick your ass". The Kia ad is the exception and that is understandable. Rafa is shy but that doesn't mean he isn't marketable. Losers. I hope some of them show up at the Open and see just who it is with the most people watching him practice. It certainly isn't Mr Rolex.

I have never visited a RF forum. I may sometime soon.

cate said...

Haha, yeah the RFcom forum is a looneybin ESPECIALLY when Roger loses. I remember during the SF between Djokovic and Nadal in Hamburg, I think -- ALL of them were so behind Rafa. And when he took Hamburg away from Roger, suddenly he's this undeserving scum threatening their king. Haha, hard to believe that most, if not all, of the posters there are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay older than me.