Monday, March 16, 2009

This and That

by Savannah

For those of us with TennisTV there will be coverage of WTA matches starting today. Too bad we didn't get to see Elena Dementieva, Jelena Jankovic, Sugiyama Ai and Amelie Mauresmo before they crashed and burned. Too bad we didn't get to see Nicole Vaidisova begin over with her stepdad back running things. I would like to have seen Angela Haynes play before today.

Dinara Safina
But who cares? It's just women's tennis right? The sad thing is the quality of tennis is very low. Holding serve is an event worthy of a floor show these days. Be that as it may I was sad to hear the commentators say yesterday that while men's matches were well attended even on outer courts at Indian Wells the women's matches weren't. I really don't understand what the WTA is trying to accomplish with their recent actions.

Speaking of commentators when does it go over the line? I missed it but Craig reports on Doug Adler's statements re Novak Djokovic during his match yesterday. I missed what Adler said since as is well known I'm not a fan of Djoker and wasn't watching or listening to the match. If anyone has ever heard a Masters TV broadcast of a Djokovic match the other commentators, Jason Goodall and Robby Koenig literally fight to see who has first go at Novak's gonads. They are fanboys to the nth degree. Maybe Doug was sick of it and just vented. Who knows? Maybe something had happened behind the scenes that got on Adler's very last nerve and this was his way of letting tennisheads know something is rotten. Professionally speaking Adler may have been out of line. As fans we'll have something to chew on for some time.

Nicole Vaidisova and her step father
It's being reported today that Robby Ginepri's appendix burst and that he will miss Miami. Get well soon Robby.

I didn't watch all of Andy Roddick's match against Austrian bad boy Daniel Koellerer last evening. Instead I watched Nicolas Massu, whom I haven't seen play in a long time, play Marat Safin. Massu went ballistic and Safin won.

Daniel Koellerer
Biggest upset of the day was John Isner's victory over Gael Monfils. I was in and out of the match but stayed long enough to wonder what the hell was going on in Monfils head. I'm sure Roger Rasheed was not amused.

In between matches and during breaks TennisTV has been doing a yeoman's job bringing fans the sights and sounds of the Coachella Valley. The scenery is spectacular and the white picket fences around practice courts are cute. Really cute. But I'm used to the US Open where the practice courts are better protected from random fans and players don't have to slog through a mob to get to wherever they want to go after a practice session is over. My daughter said this to me a while ago and I always keep it in mind when out and about: Individuals are intelligent. Mobs are stupid.
In 2007 I was watching Rafael Nadal practice less than twenty feet in front of me. The crowd kept growing and when he left the court he stopped to sign autographs. We're talking a tennis player here not some rock star. The surge of the crowd was unbelievable and if it hadn't been for the police barricades the surge would've overwhelmed and possibly injured the player. I saw both Roger and Rafael have to run the gauntlet of fans at IW. The fan surge during both players exits could have resulted in injury to fans and players alike. Interesting.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Quotes of the Tournament
Elena Dementieva after her loss to Petra Cetkovska.

“I think I shouldn't come here," she said, sounding annoyed at herself for making the trip. "I didn't have enough time for recovery after playing so many matches in the beginning of the year. I need a break and to start over."
"I just think my mind wasn't there," Dementieva said flatly. "I was not really excited about this match. Just didn't play at all."

Elena Dementieva
Jelena Jankovic following her loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

“I’m struggling in this moment to find my game overall and find the confidence on the court,” she told reporters.

“I’m not at my level. That’s the case. I’m trying to find that game and trying to come back into the form. But I’m struggling at the moment.”

Jankovic said there was not a single part of her game that did not need work.

“I don’t feel some of my shots that were my weapons before (are now),” she added.

“Overall I think the whole game needs some adjustments and some kind of finding the rhythm and finding the way to construct the points and just find the timing back.”

The Serb also complained of ‘feeling too heavy’ following weeks of intensive training during the off-season.

“In the beginning, I felt really different with my body because I got a little bit of muscles and I felt heavier on the court,” she said.

“I was always a certain weight and always my best weapon was my legs. I always moved and I had the anticipation and I was always on the ball.

“Now. I just cannot do that. I’m one step too slow or one step too much into the shot. And then all the strokes break down and I don’t have the timing and my accuracy is not there.

“I mean, overall everything is wrong. I need a lot of work. I wish I had a magic wand and could just fix my game and just play awesome tennis again. I would like it to be that way, but sometimes it’s not.”

Jelena Jankovic

End Note
I wanted to post pictures of the ladies at work since we weren't allowed to see them play anywhere this past week. Daniel Koellerer is the only man to make the cut because I've been reading about this guy for years and he's just now playing well enough to make the main draws at ATP events.
Here are a few more.

Kaia Kanepi

Petra Cetkovska

Alona Bondarenko

Vera Zvonareva


Karen said...

I think tennis fans the world over are fed up with the broadcasting of tennis in the States and in particular women's events. If people cannot see the players, they cannot get behind them. Love Serena and Venus to death, but I would love to know what people are talking about when they talk about up and comers that I have never heard of. The first time I saw Aganieska play was at Eastbourne last year and I became an instant fan. I also saw Bartoli play in 2007 at Eastbourne and she was just amazing. I became a fan but she is annoying me these days with her poor body language and whiffs of gamesmanship when she plays these days. How can we support a tour when no one knows the players. If you do not visit message boards and hear people talking about players and then you keep an eye out, you will never know who these people are and that is the main reason why fans head to the men's events because they know the guys. It is not just Roger and Rafa that are talked about, but players outside the Top 10. I heard about Gilles Simon before he became a Top 10 player. Same thing with Tsonga. Heard about him and Cilic etc before they became what they are now. Their games may be uninspiring (not Tsonga) but fans know about them, announcers talk about them, but the WTA, if you do not play the top top players, no one knows about you and that to me is really sad.

oddman said...

The lack of security is chilling to me... I heard some fans crushed through and broke a fence while swarming in after Nadal. Some were walked on. I didn't hear any further news, was anyone hurt, and apparently Rafa signed some more autographs and made his way through the mob, but from some of the rants on messageboards lately, I fear for his safety at times. I know that sounds silly of me, but just remember Seles, no?

Savannah said...

Karen you are absolutely correct.
I really don't understand what the suits at the WTA are thinking. Maybe it's the result of one player being dubbed "golden" and the other women being left to fend for themselves. That was the reasoning behind my posting the pre tournament interview set up for the WTA players vs that of the ATP players. With so many players thrown at you at once the herd instinct kicks in and the ones press people are familiar with get all the coverage while others don't.

Oddman what you heard about breaking down the fence and people being trampled is true. I saw it on TennisTV and was appalled. This happened during Rafa's exit not Federer's. When Rafa emerged from the mob there was absolutely no security to be seen. He signed a few autographs and then went to get in on the pick up soccer match the Euros and South American's have going.

That the ATP would allow it's top product to be subjected to situations like Roger and Rafa faced is stunning and scary.

Savannah said...

Just so I'm clear Roger faced a mob as well. When he emerged there was no security around him either.
It's just that the camera angle when Rafa left showed the fence down and people, including children, being trampled.

Kia said...

Those practice sessions looked like they belonged in a time capsule. In this day and age it was absolutely insane to see the easy access to players.

I like Sugiyama but was thrilled to see Haynes had won.Or hear about it I should say. And with Fox South taking over the week day coverage, I prepared to see lots of big bass fishing when tennis is schedules

I don't have any particular love for NikkiV but am humane enough not to want to see anyone that young and talented (less talented than her initial PR would have you to believe but talented none the less) completely derail.

I don't know what I make of the Nole comments. There are so many abrasive and clueless announcers that I detest, I've developed a pretty high threshold for inappropriateness.

Karen said...

Savannah and Oddman, when I saw it I too was appalled. I just remember what happened to Monica and I said to myself after reading so many rabid fans of either player, can you imagine if there was one in that crowd, either Rafa or Roger could have been taken out so easily. Rafa was by himself walking through and Roger had 2 guys on either side of him (think they were part of his team). The only so-called security that I saw for Rafa were 2 guys who just peremptorily tried to sort out the situation, then you saw the fence breaking down and people being trampled on. It was not a pretty sight and it looked like a bunch of hooligans at a football match. I really do fear for the safety of the players when I see things like this as you have no idea who the crazies are out there. Some people just cannot leave things at a tennis match or a message board.