Friday, November 28, 2008

Heard Around

by Savannah

I took a day and a half off for the US holiday on Thursday so some relevant news has been out for awhile in today's terms.

Top of the list is French Eurosport's report that Venus Williams will be playing Acapulco next February. The TD must be doing hand stands and double flips with this confirmation and Mexican tennis in general will get a boost. I'm guessing that Venus is using this venue as her International tournament and thus fulfilling a requirement of Road Kill.
This tournament was one of my favorites last year and I was already looking forward to watching again via ESPN Deportes here in the States. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Flavia Pennetta may not be as happy as I am about Venus showing up. Then again she kind of owns Vee and the surface here is clay. Who knows, maybe Venus is going to be serious about contending the French Open in 2009.

Top Tennis Countries - ATP

The ATPhas posted the top tennis countries for 2008. Seems I was wrong in saying Spain is the top country for 2008. It's tied with France. The French were the outright winners last year with 15 players in the top 100. The United States is ranked fourth.

Country 2008 total (2007 total)

France 14 (15)
Spain 14 (12)
Argentina 9 (11)
USA 8 (7)
Germany 7 (7)
Russia 7 (6)
Croatia 5 (4)
Czech Republic 4 (3)
Italy 4 (5)
Belgium 3 (3)
Serbia 3 (3)

Of course tennisheads have to take things one step further and so a long time, and controversial, fan over on ESPN has taken it a step further and done the following:

Let's take the top 32 though, just as the seeds for a Slam, and put a lower limit of 2 players per country :

Spain______ 6
Russia_____ 5
US_________ 3
Croatia_____ 2

Never one to sidestep controversy the fan takes it one step further and breaks the top fifty down by region using a base of at least one player per country.

Latin countries_________ 23
Slavic countries_________14
Anglo-Saxon countries___12

So does play on red clay matter? It appears so.

Davis Cup News

Reports were that the leading candidates to replace Alberto Mancini as Argentine Davis Cup captain were Martin Jaite (David Nalbandian's coach), Hernan Gumy and
Gabriel Markus (a former Nalbandian coach). It's now being reported that Guillermo Vilas has thrown his hat into the ring. With all the mud still being slung around who was supposed to get what money for doing what regarding Nalbandian and how the Del Potro family stepped in to protect Juan Martin putting anyone associated with David Nalbandian in as DC coach seems a little crazy to this outsider but one never knows do one?

As for Spain Emilio Sanchez has called Albert Costa his "natural successor". David Ferrer has voiced support for Costa and Rafael Nadal has done so in the past.

Alex Corretja's name is still in the mix though. With Pedro Munoz still trying to hold on to his position as head of the RFET this could get interesting.

This and That
Jimmy Connors has been charged with a misdemeanor following his arrest last Friday at a basketball game at the University of California, Santa Barbara, reports AP. His business manager told the wire service that a man was trying to pick a fight with Connors and police arrested the former tennis star when he did not obey their instructions to leave. Connors said he wanted to wait for his son to finish watching the basketball game.

The news that one time WTA top five player Jelena Dokic and one time contender and pin up Mark Philippoussis are both talking come back deserves mention.

Raemon Sluiter, who retired after Rotterdam this year and Xavier Malisse who has struggled with injury are both on the come back trail.

Maria Sharapova's agent has stated that she is "on track" to defend her Australian Open title in January.
Maria is scheduled to join Vera Zvonareva, and Alexandra Panova (Russian team); Jelena Jankovic, Agnes Szavay and Michelle Larcher de Brito (Europe); Venus Williams, Gisela Dulko and Coco Vandeweghe (Americas) at the Hong Kong Exhibition in January. This event was very nice last year featuring competitive play from all involved.

It seems negotiations are underway for Andy Roddick to play Fernando Gonzalez in Chile early next year. Think new coach Larry Stefanki had anything to do with this? It's good to see American players finally realizing there is an entire continent to their south. Maybe this will upgrade the South American spring clay events.


tristann said...

Hi Savannah, hoped you enjoyed Thanksgiving. I agree with you about the Argentine DC coach. At this point in time, it would be crazy to pick anyone from the Nalbandian camp. Just to clarify, I do not think that Nalby should shoulder all the blame for the loss. I just think that what they need most is a relative outside at this time.

About the ATP article, it's inaccurate. The year has not ended and just this week another Spaniard climbed to the 100th spot, so Spain has 15 players in the top 100 for now. Seeing that article, what struck me about French tennis, is how little has been accomplished with so much, so far. They have had some very good players over the years and a depth that would be the envy of most any nation, and yet they have not been able to accomplish all that much. What is most puzzling is that they appear to invest quite a bit in their young players, have good academies, a good junior tournament scene yet obviously something is missing. Any ideas?

Savannah said...

Re Argentina's DC fiasco: Mancini said that Argentines should take time and look at "how they are" as a people as a result of what happened. I don't like to comment on a society or culture's "aha" moments but if he said it then maybe they will do some soul searching. I read this morning that Jaite has resigned as Nalbandian's coach. I don't think that changes the dynamic. I'd like to see Vilas step in. As I said my fave is Coria but I think he still thinks he can play at the top level on the tour.

I agree with you about the French. My daughter and I always talk about how the French play beautiful tennis but that it seems to be the winning mentality that eludes them. Maybe Jo and Gilles will break them of their fixation on the artistic. Gael has yet to prove he can hang with the big boys.

As for the ATP they will go to any lengths to deny Spain it's rightful place at the top of the heap so I'm not surprised by your information. I'm glad I was right after all. Spain started working towards this goal at least five years ago and it's paid off.

pat said...

hi, how are you, all this davis cup drama'd been really fun to follow (but actually it's sad and patetic)
if you read spanish, here's a juicy article that tells the inside scoop on the money problems.-