Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Heard Around

by Savannah

He's Really Injured People
...Then again...
There seem to be a lot of questions about Roger Federer's back problem that caused him to pull out of Dubai and Davis Cup next weekend. His normally reticent entourage is now feeling the need to speak out about the situation. These two, lets say interesting, quotes speak volumes.
Debate about the extent of Roger Federer's back problem has prompted responses from his entourage. Federer cited the after-effects of the injury when pulling out of this week's event in Dubai and Davis Cup next week.

Severin Luthi, the Swiss Davis Cup captain who is also serving as Federer's coach these days, defended the absence of his top player. "People who think that Roger is faking an injury don't know anything. He really wanted to show himself in Davis Cup this year," Luthi said to Sportinformation.

In an interview with Blick, Federer's physical trainer Pierre Paganini said the pullouts were a preventative measure: "I want to make this clear: Roger is not injured. What we are doing is purely precautionary. We will be training in Dubai for the next two weeks. Roger has flown in two sparring partners to work with him on court."

Paganini said Federer was over the back injury he suffered last November but the setback meant that he needed extra recovery time after Australia. "Roger was not impeded in his game but it is a factor that he did not have [enough] training beforehand. The travel, the pressure, other things. The body's reaction during a match, in stressful situations, is different. He felt it, and that's why we decided to take a break to prevent further injury."


Let the Sun Shine
Per Tennis Week The USTA has made the following decision.

At his peak, Arlen Kantarian was inarguably one of the most influential power players in the sport. More than two months after Kantarian's nine-year run as USTA CEO of Professional Tennis it's become evident the White Plains, N.Y.-based Tennis Association will not turn to a single figure to fill his role.

Instead, USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith tells Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal that Kantarian's duties will be redistributed among current staff with four executives — Harlan Stone, incoming chief marketing officer of pro tennis; Jim Curley, managing director of tournament operations; Pierce O’Neil, chief business officer; and Danny Zausner, head of facilities — reporting directly to Smith. During Kantarian's tenure the four exes would have reported to him with Kantarian reporting directly to Smith.

After Kantarian's departure it was believed the USTA might try to fill his role with two executives. However Smith said the USTA has opted against hiring a replacement for Kantarian due to two primary reasons:

1. Cost — Kantarian was one of the highest-paid USTA employees so the Tennis Association saves money in redistributing his duties

2. Capability — Smith told Kaplan he believes the current staff is capable of performing Kantarian's duties.

More interesting (not that the above isn't interesting) is that the USTA still hasn't made a decision about installing a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. Costs are cited as the main concern but as I've often ranted, uh, said, Ashe Stadium is horrid. It's too big and ironically that is playing into the decision to add a roof.

...the immense cost of financing such a project, the fact historically rain has not been a major factor in US Open play and the notion that the existing stadium is not exactly conducive to a roof may be giving the USTA second thoughts.
In a sense, the USTA's interest in adding a roof now may be an attempt to right that wrong committed when the stadium was first built and while a roof would give the USTA the option to host non-tennis events, including concerts and other sports, it's long been said the open construction of the stadium would make adding a roof too costly and complex.

Rain isn't a factor huh? I guess I'm back to beating that dead horse about the 2003 US Open. And don't even mention the 2008 US Open where the USTA, with a hurricane poised to hit New York City, decided to go ahead and start play anyway. A roof would take away all the issues surrounding acts of nature and the US Open. It might also make it easier for the fans who pay to sit in Ashe during the Dog Days of August in the sun. And here's a thought. They could institute a heat rule like they do in Melbourne closing the roof when the heat index is of Saharan proportions.
Rant over.
Davis Cup
In reviewing the list of countries and players who will be taking the court you have to be struck by the fact that tennis is truly a world wide sport. People tend to think of it in terms of Europe and the United States but countries on every continent participate. All of the nominations can be found HERE
As for the United States team Captain Patrick McEnroe defended his choice of James Blake over Sam Querrey or Mardy Fish citing Blake's ranking and past participation during a conference call to announce the team members.

There will be a lot of attention on the tie between Argentina and the Netherlands. Juan Martin del Potro will not be on the team "by mutual agreement" according to press reports. David Nalbandian will anchor the Argentine team. The tie will be played in Argentina on clay.

Dudi Sela made the following statement regarding his countrywoman Shahar Pe'er:
"I think it's a pity they didn't let Shahar play, but it's also the fault of Shahar,'' said the 65th-ranked Sela, who received a special exemption to play in this week's Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. "Because she asked for the visa a few [days or two weeks] before. The average person, if you want to go, you do it [several] months before.

"Even though, it's still bad. It's sports, not war. Everybody should play.''



anonymous said...

I am sick of Roger already. After Nadal wins the FO, I would like to see others in the top 5 win GS's this year.

vmw3 said...

He was at the Dubai party with all the others.

lynney62 said...

Roger's full focus now is on 1 thing only...#14. Thus the pullout from Dubai and DC. He is going full force for clay season and especially Roland Garros, for that craved "all surfaces" crown. Rafa, be ready!