Friday, March 13, 2009

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

Tomorrow the cameras will be turned on at Indian Wells and tennis fans will finally be able to watch real live tennis. Of course this depends on several things. I can only speak for what will be going on here in the States but I've read that European coverage begins Saturday as well.

If you have the Tennis Channel you will get coverage this weekend, March 14 and 15. If you don't then you're shit out of luck and have to wait until Monday when "regional" coverage will be provided by FSN/Comcast. What this has meant in the past is that some locales will get live tennis and others won't. Thems the breaks.

If you have purchased TennisTV you will have coverage starting March 14 with no interruption. You can purchase daily passes, tournament passes, or season passes. In these troubled times some can't afford cable let alone purchase access to TennisTV. If you have access to tennis via cable one could be excused for asking why it's necessary to purchase online access for two days when you're already paying for cable service.

It should be mentioned here that I hate scoreboard watching. It's an anachronism that should have been long gone. Yet it is still needed because some cable companies don't carry the outlets that feature tennis play while other areas don't have broadband access that would allow video streaming.

Anna-Lena Groenefeld
I make the sacrifice and purchase TennisTV (I had Masters Series TV for quite some time and valued it. The WTA was late to the party hence the new carrier TennisTV. There is something I really don't understand though. If someone like me pays for online access why should I have to wait until the third day of the tournament to begin watching live tennis? I know the suits think no one wants to see Qualifying or early round play and that they're saving money by waiting until the big boys and girls take the court.

It may come as a surprise to those bright young things making these decisions but there is a following for tennis of all kinds. I know that interns are tasked with monitoring fan sites and at times using the anonymity the internets can bring float ideas the marketeers want to get opinion on. Surely these people notice that a player like Danny Koellerer who may be new to them has quite a fan following. Players like Bjorn Phau or Anna-Lena Gronefeld are tracked and people do know their records. Sure the big marketing firms don't give a rat's ass about them - they're still pushing Anna Kournikova for crying out loud - but fans do. There are Asian players from India, China, and Japan who fans know and care about. But we don't often get to see them because they're just not the NEXT BIG THING in some marketing managers eyes. This is not fair to the players and it's not fair to tennis. Roger Federer didn't emerge full blown from the head of a Wilson racquet, he has a history that many of his fans delight in telling. Why have Jelena Dokic and Lindsay Davenport remained fan favorites? Because of their histories in the game. The only way many tennisheads get to know and follow these players is because of fanboards. David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro pIaying doubles is big news because of their recent history. Thanks to South American fans tennis heads all over the world know about it and would like to see how they play together. The same situation exists with Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India. Once again fans from their country keep all of us informed.

Nishikori Kei
I know I kind of went off on a tangent but it's annoying that the match between Marion Bartoli and Shahar Pe'er or Jeremy Chardy and Victor Hanescu are not available for viewing anywhere. A service like TennisTV would attract more fans if these early round matches were available. I want tennis to grow as much as the next tennishead does. It's just that myopic decisions like this one, and the one that blacked out all WTA play at Memphis continue to hinder tennis growth.


Andy Murray on his recent illness:

"I took a full 10 days off. Because of that I've lost a little bit of fitness," he said at a press conference ahead of Indian Wells. "Hopefully I can get through a couple of matches and start to work my way into the tournament."

Murray said it had been difficult to diagnose the nature of the virus, but blood tests had eventually ruled out his initial fear that it was mononeocleosis. "I'd never felt that bad before," he said. "My first blood tests came back and the signs showed it could be glandular fever [another name for mononucleosis] so I had to take more tests to find out some different things. They came back and showed the glandular fever was negative.

"I don't know what exactly it was because my symptoms changed a lot. I went from having a sore throat and temperature, sweating during the night, bad stomach, nose bleeds and was throwing up, which I hadn't been at the start."

Glad that's over Andy.

Maria Sharapova is not setting a timetable for her return to tennis. Seen at her post match presser above, she said that she will return when she has no pain in her shoulder putting her appearance in Miami in doubt. Maria has taken on the powers that be in the WTA before and won. See you in London Maria.

World Team Tennis announced today that Kim Clijsters will play for their St. Louis Team for two matches this summer.

It's official. Darren Cahill, left, seen with Gil Reyes and Sven Groenveld has signed onto the Adidas program.
The adidas Player Development Program offers a mix of advice and support, from coaching and fitness training through to hitting partners, nutritional advice and career management plans. Cahill will work with Sven Groeneveld, who coached Ana Ivanovic to the Roland Garros title and World No. 1 ranking last season, as on-court coaches and advisors, while Gil Reyes provides players with off-court fitness training and mentoring.


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