Monday, January 5, 2009

Seen and Heard

by Savannah

I held off on my first post of the year to let a few matches, and some tennis chatter, take place. From our forced hiatus we now have the women playing an exho in Hong Kong to go along with the Hopman Cup exhibition. Tournaments are taking place in Auckland and Brisbane as well as in Doha and Chennai.

We've already got a potential cause celebre with Maria Sharapova pulling out of the Hong Kong exhibition after admitting to having had shoulder surgery in October. Remember when she said she had a tear in her rotator cuff and that she wasn't doing the surgery thing? Would it not have made better sense to have the surgery earlier in 2008 and come back strong in 2009? What do I know I'm just your average tennishead. Whatever is going on with Ms Sharapova the world is waiting to see what happens come AO time.

Meanwhile Roger Federer is saying he plans on dominating mens tennis in 2009 which means winning Slams and everything else in sight. There are a lot of people who want him to do just that. Let's see what his draws look like starting with the AO. No, I'm not letting that particular idea go.

The Brits are all atwitter about Andy Murray's chances in 2009. With his win at the Abu Dhabi exhibition some are over the moon. Last I heard you needed a lot of assistance getting up there.

They haven't forgotten Laura Robson either. I'm sure they wish they could do what some countries do and age her overnight. For now they'll have to wait and let her develop naturally. This is tennis not gymnastics.

Meanwhile back in the States the powers that be may be not be too happy about the commentary earlier today during Andy Roddick's match. The commentators said that while Roddick will have some wins he's no longer a threat at Slams. James Blake picked up where he left off at the end of last year losing to Dominik Hrbaty at his Hopman Cup 2009 debut. James even got cited for an obscenity. He should've started cursing and carrying on last year.

Nick Bollettieri has his opinion on why American tennis is in the toilet right about now.

'Pete Sampras said it will be five, 10, 15 years, maybe never will we see the likes of Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang and Martin. One of the reasons is that, now, we’re playing against the whole world. 
'You have  Russia, China, India, you have Korea, the third-world countries, you have South America, you have Portugal, you have Spain. It’s the whole damn world playing  now.'

Wasn't that the plan Nick?

Not to be left out
Pat Cash
has said that "Ball Bouncing Wasters" are driving fans and potential fans from the sport.
All the signs suggest the very peak of elite male tennis is going to be astounding in 2009. When was the last time a new year dawned with such a sense of expectancy surrounding the four main contenders? If things go to plan, more and more people will watch tennis. But with added exposure comes a need to get everything in order and the four big names must do their bit. I just hope that two of them realise their responsibilities, make a few simple modifications and therefore avoid shooting the game in the foot at a time when more floating spectators are being drawn to tennis.

Who am I pointing my finger at? Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. What am I accusing them of doing? Basic stalling that is beginning to get on the nerves of everybody who watches and plays the game. They habitually hold up the action by bouncing the ball far too many times before serving. Not only does this practice show contempt for the guy waiting to receive at the other end of the court, but quite frankly, it bores the pants off the fans. It’s wrong and it’s about time serious action was taken to stop it.

Well it's his opinion. Everyone has one.

Count on Marat Safin to bring the drama. The stands were packed as everyone wanted to see the most famous tennis siblings not named Williams play together for the first time. So what does Marat do? As seen above he showed up late with two black eyes - according to Marat we should've seen the other guy - and proceeded to play tennis the way we know he can. Dinara has changed her hair color but who cares when we can speculate on what the hell happened to her brother.
The mixed doubles match turned out to be forgettable as Marat acted like a school boy trying to get the attention of a girl he likes by hitting at
Flavia Pennetta every chance he got. No word on whether or not he got Flavia's attention.

In another much anticipated match Jelena Dokic faced off against Amelie Mauresmo. Amelie has been plagued by injuries of late and Dokic had played well coming into their match but it was the match tested Mauresmo who overcame the hard hitting Aussie. It took her two tie breaks to do it but she did. Jelena had several chances to take control of the match but wasn't able to. Jelena needs to work on her serve, and hit the gym. She still hits the snot out of the ball but that's not enough today.

Did I mention that in introducing Roger Federer at Doha no mention was made of his current rank? They listed all of his accomplishments though. Let's see they do the same thing at Melbourne.

It's the start of the new season and once again tennis fans are reliant on live streams. Something called tennisTV is being launched but no pricing has been provided as of yet. Tournaments need to get hip to the reason live streams are so popular. First of all most of us work. A lot of us are students. Internet access is not only for those lazing about at home and the ability to sneak a peek at a match away from home is not a luxury anymore.
Get with it guys. Look at what Wimbledon does and copy it. Of course every event can't afford to duplicate that level of service but in this day and age something should be available for all the majors.

Reports are circulating that Ana Ivanovic is no longer working with Sven Groeneveld. Sven was never her personal coach to begin with so maybe she's looking for someone full time. reports the following.

The Pakistan Tennis Federation is asking the ITF for $60,000 in compensation after its home Davis Cup tie against Oman was re-located because of security concerns. It has also requested that the tie be moved to a neutral venue rather than being held in Oman. Pakistan will still be allowed to choose the surface for the tie.

From the same source it's reported that Brad Drewett and Adam Helfant are the men still in the running to replace Etienne de Villiers. The announcement should be made just before the Australian Open begins.


vmw3 said...

Sorry, but Pat Cash is an idiot.

Savannah said...

I couldn't agree more vmw3. Welcome.

TopSpin said...

Hi Savannah - Hope you had a good break..

Murrays win at Abu Dhabi was very very impressive, but what stood out more than anything else for me was Nadal and the aggression he displayed on a surface where he tends to get pushed around.

It is perhaps a little harsh to say Roddick's no longer a threat at Slams (I can see him in a fair few QFs and SFs yet) but not that far from the truth.

And I'm not sure whether Cash's or Bollieteri's statement is the more senseless...besides last time I checked Djoko's stopped the bouncing and though Nadal's still taking a little extra time, it's hardly the kind of stuff that'll keep new crowds of fans away.

oddman said...

Got your ass spanked by a 14-yr old Rafa and it still stings, eh, Pat?

*rolls eyes*

I cannot get over the furor of the British tennis press - never mind this was an exhibition in Abu Dhabi. What are they gonna say come Wimbledon?

*rolls eyes again*

Savannah said...

Oddman thanks for the intel about why Pat Cash seems to dislike Rafa so much.

TopSpin thanks. I did have a nice break. Oz is coming up and there won't be much of a rest going forward.

Aussies and Yanks seem to have cornered the market on questionable statements.

Wayne said...

I found your site from a link and I love it! You are really good mate keep up the good work. Oh and as for Pat Cash he is a wanker and thank god he seems to live in the U.K. because we don't want him anywhere near us

Savannah said...

Thank you and welcome Wayne!

vmw3 said...

I was watching Djok the last few months and he has cut his ball bounces at least in half. Cash is full of it and needs some publicity for some reason.