Friday, March 20, 2009

Seen and Heard Around

by Savannah

Amazing how light shone on a situation corrects it. I've been advised that the security situation regarding the practice court where both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had to run a gauntlet has been corrected.

I'm sorry for the delay in posting comments. This tennis match had me up until after five in the morning and by the time I wound down it was after six. One must get her beauty sleep.

That five in the morning East Coast USA match had me wound up for a number of reasons. One was that my TennisTV connection crapped out at 3-5 Nadal in the second set. I tried to reboot. I tried logging in and out. Nada. I emailed tech support. They said it was running and never responded to my subsequent email giving more details. To their credit someone there responded the next day saying that I may have been having a "cache" problem. I had cleaned out my cache. I had also had frequent audio problems while watching both WTA and ATP matches. Forget about the buffering. I never had these problems when there was just Masters Series TV. I miss it.

The other reason was that during my search for alternate means of viewing a feed I'm paying for I came across a thread that stated Nalbandian had won the match. Needless to say I was downhearted and stopped my search. Thank goodness I scrolled down and found out that the match was still going on and that the thread should be deleted which it was. I ended up watching a teeny tiny screen and missing almost all of the drama of the second set rejoining the telecast in time to see the end of the tiebreaker.

The New York Times Weighs In

The Gray Lady as the NY Times is called has one of the best sports sections in the country. This is not acknowledged most of the time since the NYC tabloids get all the publicity but their writers deliver a consistent product all the time.
After the Nadal/Nalbandian match this article appeared on its sports pages.
Nadal Shows Why He’s No. 1, and Safina Shows Why She Isn’t
It features an excellent analysis of the Safina/Azarenka match and ends with the following:

The tournament, one of only two, aside from the four Grand Slam events, that runs two weeks and features both men and women, is splitting into two tournaments of diverging interest.

The women’s competition is filled with young and little-known teenagers like Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, who meet in the quarterfinals Thursday, and Azarenka. The only players left in the tournament with any appreciable history are the fourth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva, who gets Azarenka in one semifinal, and the defending champion and No. 5 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who faces Sybille Bammer.

Meantime, the men’s quarterfinals boast the top four seeds, Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, as well as No. 6 Juan Martín del Potro, No. 7 Andy Roddick and No. 10 Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

There's not much to say after that is there? If you can read the article.

When Hawk Eye Isn't...

I was mostly auditing the mens match between Ivan Ljubicic (above) and Andy Murray yesterday. Ivan seems to have returned his attention to the tennis court full time leaving ATP politics aside for awhile and was having a good run here. I was also trying to tune out Justin Gimelstob. More on him later.
The chair umpire was new to me since I hadn't seen him before this tournament. An argument broke out and I looked up to see Ljubo, the chair and the lines person in a discussion about a ball that apparently landed outside the singles lines and hadn't been played by Ivan. For some reason known only to him Andy Murray decided to have the lines call checked. When Hawk Eye showed the ball hitting the line both the chair ump and Ljubo went ballistic. The chair umpire said that he had to go by Hawkeye even if he knew it was wrong. Meanwhile the geeks in the truck quickly figured out what had happened. Hawkeye registered the second bounce of the ball which was indeed on the line and not the first one which was out by 3-4 inches, a country mile in tennis. If the production geeks figured that out in no time why couldn't the Hawk Eye geeks? Why didn't the chair umpire show intestinal fortitude and over rule the call? Why didn't Ljubo ask for a senior tournament official to review what had happened?
I've often wondered if the images we see are the right ones but I figured that was just me seeing conspiracies under every rock again. Yesterday proved that mistakes can, and probably have happened. The last thing we need is for human error to affect the technology that was supposed to end human error. Ljubo has said that he doesn't think it affected the outcome of the match. Really? I thought you'd left the politics behind Ivan.


There's a reason so many print articles are posting the incorrect official age for Maria Sharapova. It seems the WTA Media guide gave her birthday as February 1985 instead of April 1987. The Media Guide has been corrected.

Speaking of Maria she is now said to be ready to make a comeback at Rome. The self described "cow on ice" clay player is going to make her return on the physically demanding surface. Some fans think this is a good idea since she will not feel the weight of expectations. I'm thinking about all the clay on those fuzzy little balls and how it would affect her shoulder.

Camilla Belle and Jose Verdasco (lower right)
Camilla Belle was sitting in Fernando Verdasco's family box last night. Really Camilla? I thought she was now the platonic friend of one of those non singing brothers the tweens are all gaga about.

The Trouble with Justin

During last nights telecast of Fernando Verdasco vs Roger Federer Lindsay Davenport made the observation that Fernando has really bulked up. His chest and legs are noticeably larger. Gimelstob always quick on his feet said "I'll take your word on that Lindsay," in a tone that implied "only a woman would notice something like that". I don't think I heard another word out of her the rest of the night. A few minutes later Sam Gore, the other announcer on FSN/MSG+ said "just to back up Lindsay's comment..." and went on to say that Verdasco is noticably bigger than he was. Just remember that Lindsay is Gimelstob's friend and stood by him during the recent fiasco surrounding his call for his brother to sexually assault Anna Kournikova.

Earlier in the day Gimelstob interviewed Andy Murray after his win over Ivan Ljubicic. During the match he had been praising Andy to high heaven and the reason for that praise came during the post match interview. Gimelstob advised his listening audience that he and Murray had gone out to dinner. Fine. Then he asked Murray "Did you like that?" Murray had the class to look uneasy about the subject coming up at all and said something totally unintelligible in reply.

We're grown ups. We know that various talking heads have relationships with the players. Mirka playing with Mary Jo Fernandez children is a prime example of that. A couple of years ago Mary Carillo said on air that she had had lunch with doubles specialist Lisa Raymond. But Mary was in the booth and Mary Jo has never traded on her personal relationship with Mirka and Roger on air. Gimelstob apparently has no qualms whatsoever about trading on his off court relationships.
And yet this man still sits on the ATP board representing American tennis. Surely there are other people available to fill that role in a professional manner. The same can be said about his on air work which is mediocre at it's best and clueless at it's worse.

End Note

Sometimes a great picture is just a great picture.


Anonymous said...

OMG I cannot stand GimelSlob. He is having a love fest with Murray. His commentary oozes with how Murray will win Wimbledon, etc. I also saw that at the end Slob interviewed Murray on court and asked how he liked going to dinner with him the other night and the ride home.Murray said something like the dinner was fine. He also blathered about the new PR firm Andy hired, the same one David Beckham had.I get the feeling that the PR firm Murray hired to get him known globally is starting right now in the US with Slob as his mouthpiece.
Another thing, during the match,Sam Gore remarked to Slob that Murray was probably trying to overtake #3 and Slob said he knew it would happen before Wimbledon.
Also, they showed a graphic with the names of the top 10 players and Sam asked Slob to comment on all their backhands. Slob went down the list commenting on everyone of the names EXCEPT Djok. I guess the push is in to “shun” Djok on Murray’s behalf.

Savannah said...

I've noticed they're all throwing Djoke under a bus lately. Wonder what he'd done to deserve their wrath?

I love your nickname for Gimelstob. I hope you don't mind if I use it from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Sure you can use it, anytime. I don't know what he has done to deserve their wrath but I get the feeling he knows he's being thrown under the bus and it showed in his depressed, listless, uninterested play today.Even Roddick said Djok didn't play a good match today. Maybe someone here can figure it out. Gimelslob was very anti-Djok today too. I didn't hear this myself but I guess Slob also made some comment about Andreev before the Tsonga match predicting Andreev would lose and Andreev could have Kirilenko as a consolation prize. Sexist pig.

Savannah said...

I didn't hear this myself but I guess Slob also made some comment about Andreev before the Tsonga match predicting Andreev would lose and Andreev could have Kirilenko as a consolation prize. Sexist pig
The insinuation he made about his friend Lindsay says it all. Nothing this man says surprises me especially when it comes to women. Yet he still represents American tennis on the ATP board.

oddman said...

Get the jerk off the network. Unbelievable.

What a slob, for sure. He should have been gone after the first fiasco... and that apology he sent out everywhere wasn't good enough, imho.

Craig Hickman said...

Savannah, you are bringing all the background to the forefront.

Great job.

Anonymous said...

He's got a lot of nerve demeaning ANYONE when his own jailbird brother is a person who killed someone. I guess his parents give tons of dough to charity and to tennis so he is secure. If they didn't get rid of him after the Kournikova thing, nothing will get rid of him. The doting parents raised two nut job sons. Arrrgh.

Here's the brother

b said...

Hi S

thanks for your blog,.. I read a lot here but usually comment at craig's site

maybe I should have posted this elsewhere but wanted to point out that the umpire cannot actually overrule the hawkeye system - hawkeye actually has its own certified umpire who is equal in authority to the guy on the court

if i can find a link to explain this i will send to you - i always wondered after there was an incident between roddick and an umpire earlier in the year where roddick wanted a challenge and he was out of challenges but (as it turned out later) the umpire hadn't been keeping track properly and the haweye umpire refused, stating that roddick was out... eventually he got his challenge but apparently the haweye umpire had the right to refuse and he was correct

Savannah said...

Hi b

I read your comments on Craig's blog. Welcome. If you find the link please post it.

b said...


Sorry, I had not seen this response...... Apparently this info on Hawkeye is in the WTA,ATP, ITF rulebooks.

One really important thing to remember as well - is that the main function of Hawkeye is not really to be "more accurate" or accurate, per se but to be **impartial**.... remember the Serena incident
Stats do show that ambiguous/close calls tend to go in favour of highly ranked/more popular players....
For starters you can look at this thread about the Tsonga-Roddick incident and read explanation by woodrow1029.... starting #43 it is very informative.... unfortunately there is someone else on board who is unnecesarily argumentative

more recent post just read by same person - see #91 and #96 and others

Some info on how it works from the Hawkeye page here