Friday, January 16, 2009

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

I'm sure you've all seen the Men's Draw for the Australian Open so I guess you can laugh along with me at this article found on the Oz Open's official site.
Federer Faces Rocky Road
It's always nice to start your day with a smile.

As for the Women's Draw Jelena Jankovic's section is one step above playing the under 12's at a Junior Tournament. I guess the ITF can't have it's Player of the Year face real competition right off the bat. Meanwhile Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Elena Dementieva are all in the bottom half of the draw. True Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic are in the top half of the draw but they're both in the bottom section of that part of the draw. Just sayin' people.

Idle Chit Chat

Jarkko Nieminen defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6(3) to reach the men's final in Sydney. He will face David Nalbandian in the final.

The ITF announced this morning that Filippo Volandri has been suspended for three months beginning January 15 for a doping offence. A lucky loser will take his place in the Australian Open men's draw.

American Sam Querrey will face Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the Heineken Open in Auckland.

The Winners Circle

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic won the women's event at Hobart. She defeated Iveta Benesova 7-5, 6-1.

She did it again. Elena Dementieva totally demoralized Dinara Safina 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 to claim the women's trophy at Sydney. Two weeks, two trophies for Ms Dementieva. Guess that earned her that placement in the bottom half of the draw.

End Notes

Thanks to ESPN360 I was able to watch both draws as they took place last evening in Melbourne. James Blake and Amelie Mauresmo were the designated pro's and they did what pro's do in these situations, stand by, smile and offer comments when asked to.

The highlight of the event was when a Tennis Australia official asked Amelie to comment on Jelena being number one. I'm paraphrasing here but Amelie said that Jelena is consistent and that she guesses there's something to say about consistency. I almost bust a gut laughing.

As regular readers know I'm always going on about "fixed" draws. If you watched last evening (depending on your time zone) everything looked random and on the up and up with no chance whatsoever of any hanky-panky from tournament directors or over reaching agents. I still say that if you look at the draws you can't say that something isn't right.
Tennisheads have to look past the dog and pony show's put on by the majors when it comes to the draws and think about what the computer was asked to do by the powers that be.

In this day and time everyone is familiar with the phrase "garbage in, garbage out" when it comes to setting up computer programs. Does a major agency have a stake in making sure Player A makes history at a Slam or a major? Does said agency wine and dine any and everyone who can influence how things turn out for Player A? More than likely no? Does the tennis establishment want a certain thing to happen and something else not to?
In other words it's important not only to follow the sport but to have a rudimentary knowledge of the politics of the sport, especially a sport like tennis.

So what is the computer told? What assumptions are made when it's programmed to create a draw? Who tells the programmers what they're to do?

Let's be clear here I'm not accusing anyone of malfeasance. I'm just an average person with no first hand knowledge of what's going on in the back rooms but I consider myself fairly intelligent and when I see the same kind of "soft" draws doled out to the same players over and over I have to wonder just what the hell is going on.

I don't care who they trot out on stage at these things to plug in the seeds for public consumption. I do care that TPTB think everyone is asleep at the wheel. We're not.

11 comments:

Helen W said...

Federer's draw is slightly tougher than playing the ball kids. But why to the self-styled pundits have to add insult to injury by insisting that he has a tough road?

Grrr.

Savannah said...

Helen you made my day. :)

TopSpin said...

Hi Savannah.

Federer's draw may not be as rocky as is being suggested, but only because he practically owns most of those guys.

Seppi isn't a huge threat but no walkover either - in fact is sometimes one of the lower seeded players. All in all a slightly tougher first round than might be expected.

Moya much as I like him is no threat at all; however if Safin produces the type of form he did at Wimbledon last year could also prove a tricky encounter - though I still expect Federer to come through. My two cents. :)

vmw3 said...

I know one thing for sure - and that is Fed always gets the cakewalk.

skivvy said...

I thought about you while listening to the draw via online radio. I'm glad (and a little jealous) that you got to watch it.

Anyhow, thanks for the article. Whether I agree with you or not, I enjoy reading your stuff.

Savannah said...

Skivvy if we all agreed wouldn't it be boring?

Glad you enjoy reading. Hope you won't be a stranger.

tristann said...

Savannah,

Do you or any of your readers know why the bottom half of the men's draw gets to play first? I always thought the top half goes first (except last year because Roger asked for a later start because of illness)?

They did not switch the women's matches.

oddman said...

If the draws are completely random, as I would like to believe, then Fed must have either made a deal with the devil himself, or has a very large horseshoe you know where.

Safin? Oh, puh-lease.... I'm afraid we saw his best 4 years ago. Djokovic with his new raquet? Meh. Why don't we just hand him the trophy now? I'm inclined to agree with CraigHickman, who hopes he gets his 15 slams ASAP so that we all can concentrate on tennis again.

Maybe the sky will fall and Fed will get sent home early... wouldn't that upset the apple cart!

Savannah said...

I was surprised when I saw the order of play. I'm not sure why the bottom half of the men's draw is playing first here. I will say this though. Nalbandian and Nieminen just played a long, and grueling three setter that had me up until six in the morning and they are both scheduled to play on Monday.

I don't want to say more until I've had a chance to find out why they're doing this for/to the men.

tristann said...

The only injured player in the top half that I am aware of, is JW Tsonga. Being last year's runner-up, they may have granted him an extra day's rest.

I was just wondering if anyone has heard an official explanation.

Cheryl said...

Savannah,

Have you any news on Thomas Johansson, I can't seem to find him in this year's AO men's singles draw.