Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Idle Chit Chat

by Savannah

Former tour pro Maximilian Abel of Germany was sentenced to three years in jail for credit card fraud totaling 120,000 euros. While he was sentenced for fraud he committed against two friends it is alleged that he also stole from fellow tennis players. Abel was already on suspension from the ITF until January 2010 for testing positive for cocaine at Metz in 2007. Abel claimed he needed the money to pay for travel and living expenses associated with being a tour pro but it's believed he used the money to fuel his cocaine habit.

Filippo Volandri's three-month anti-doping ban for the asthma medication salbutamol has been overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) per the Italian Tennis Federation. Volandri tested postive at Indian Wells last year and was given the suspension because it was determined that he was not trying to enhance his performance. Volandri said an asthma attack the night before caused him to test above the levels agreed upon for his therapeutic exemption. He will lose his prize money and points from Indian Wells last year but results from five other competitions last fall will be restored. Volandri's ranking will be in the 120's and he plans to play a challenger event next week in Monza.

The USTA will no longer use the bus commercials to promote the US Open series. I really liked those commercials especially the out takes. No announcement has been made about the new theme.

Alicia Molik joins Pat Rafter as a Junior Australian Davis Cup captain.

This and That

Why is it when Serena Williams speaks the truth it's controversial? Serena, when asked about the possibility of Dinara Safina taking over the number one ranking she presently holds she said the following:

"But, I mean, at this point doesn't matter how many Grand Slams you win, [you] can't be number one," said Williams. "Even if you get to the finals of Wimbledon and win the US Open and Australia, that's not what the No. 1 player gets. It is what it is. It's like, whatever. You have to like, I don't know, win all the smaller tournaments to be No. 1.

"You know what, whether I end up No. 1 at the end of this week or not, I think people obviously see me as No. 1."

I need someone to explain to me what is controversial about what she said? Has Jelena Jankovic won a Slam? Has Dinara? Serena said nothing more than fans did at the end of last year. Once again you have to ask is it the message or the messenger?
I think the deeper question is how the Slams are weighted in the WTA. Some fans are already talking about how to rectify the problem so that someone who achieved what Serena did last year doesn't end the year as Number 1. Whoever takes the reins from Larry Scott will have a lot on his or her plate.

Speaking of Scott there were a lot of reports around saying he was frustrated that the ATP does not want to merge with the WTA. Really Larry? I mean really? Why should they? Don't get me wrong the ATP does have it's own set of issues but Slamless number ones and setting up a two tiered tour aren't among them.

Samantha Stosur
On my watch list but not as a favorite Victoria Azarenka
simply destroyed Samantha Stosur 6-1, 6-0 in Miami last night and it really wasn't that close. Stosur, who has been playing well, was reduced to a prop during the match.
Victoria, or Vika as her fans call her, next faces Svetlana Kuznetsova who won over Caroline Wozniacki despite trying to give the match to her. Caroline is one of my favorites but she is not ready for prime time yet. When someone is trying to hand you a match you take it. Due to the heat there was a ten minute break between sets two and three. Caroline took the momentum into the locker room and it was never seen on her racquet again. As for Sveta she's running into the buzz saw named Azarenka next. She either plays her "A" game or heads to Europe. By the way Sveta is playing without a coach for the first time in her career. She and Olga Morozova had what Sveta said was a friendly parting of the ways.

Like her or not Victoria Azarenka is on a mission. No one would've beaten her last night except for the current number one and even then it may have taken her three sets to do it.

Li Na is quietly going about her business isn't she?

Taylor Dent faced Roger Federer yesterday and if you were new to tennis and read the pre match hype you can be forgiven for thinking Dent was going to stand toe to toe with Roger and give him the fight of his life. If you are not new to tennis you read the hype and said "Taylor Dent? Really?"
Dent's is a remarkable story about a comeback from serious medical issues but he is not ready to take on any of the top four at this time. First he needs to lose about thirty pounds. Second he needs to make serve and volley part of his game not his entire game. I know the bring back wooden racquets crowd would love to see a true serve and volley player take the top ten by storm but it ain't gonna happen. Andy Roddick's step into the brave new world of what I call modern tennis should put all the pipe dreams to bed. Dent has a wild card into Houston next week. Let's see what happens there.

End Note

I've talked a lot about bad commentating over the last few weeks but it's time to mention the good guys and gals.
Lindsay Davenport continues to shine. She talks about the match in front of her, the tactics, techniques and how they're being implemented by the players. Every sentence doesn't begin with "I". I hope she continues to work in the booth and bring her knowledge to the airwaves.

I've been a fan of Robbie Koenig, Jason Goodall and Doug Adler for a long time. Koenig and Goodall have their fanboy moments but that doesn't stop them from calling the match as it takes place. They too bring a knowledge of the game to the booth and while Adler is in no way a flame thrower he is the most adventurous of the three and gives his personal opinion from time to time. Most famously this month he gave a blistering critique of Novak Djokovic that had many of Djokovic's fans up in arms. It was tight but it was right. He hasn't done anything like that since but he won't back off a player in fear of offending a player's fan base. Adler, the lone American of the three isn't an apologist for the state of tennis in the United States. So refreshing.

Boris Becker was in the stands last night with his fiancee and one of his sons.


Sasha said...

I saw the Stosur-Azarenka match and, as much as Azarenka played well, she wasn't unbelievably fantastic. Stosur made a ton of errors on the forehand.

lynney62 said...

Thank goodness the ATP wants NO PART of a merger with WTA. I swear I'd stop watching tennis if that it is, I can barely stand to watch any tournaments when the 2 are combined, like IW and Miami. Womens tennis has hit the bottom of the barrel with their on-court coaching and 10 min. "relaxation" breaks between sets, which can really destroy an opponents rhythm and change the outcome of the match. Boy you never would have seen Graf, Evert, or Martina take a "relax break"'s embarrassing, especially when the break is used in 85 degree temps.....come on ladies, get thy bods in shape! Today I have to sit through another Kuznety snail-pace, drag my feet around the court, match.....YUK.....and so help me, if FSN goes off air because her match lasts 3+ hours and doesn't televise "real" tennis between Rafa/Del potro....I swear I will fight with every ounce of strength to shut the WTA down for good!

Savannah said...

Welcome Sasha!

Stosur, is a doubles player trying to make it in singles. Seems like all of the women smell blood in the water and think this is a good time to make a move.

I don't think Azarenka is on the level of Venus or Serena but she WANTS it and is improving at a faster pace than say Caroline Wozniacki. Not that Caro doesn't want it but to be honest she should've won that match against Sveta the other day.

I'm going to Twitter about Sveta/Vika.

Lynney I'm with you. Next thing they'll have is a spa courtside for the delicate ladies of the WTA (minus the WS of course).

lynney62 said...

I'm surprised the men scheduled to follow these "snail-pace" women's matches haven't complained about the 10 min. "relax/massage" break! If it was me waiting in the locker room to play a match, steam would be blowing out of every orifice!

skivvy said...

Agree with Savannah about Viko, she "WANTS" it. Go get it girl.

I'm pleased to see that someone likes Doug Adler. I'm not a big fan. His commentary is a little too harsh for my taste.

If you want to really spoil your taste for the current brand of women's tennis being served, go to youtube and watch Venus' wimbledon stuff from 05 -- (2nd set vs. Mary P and the 1st set vs. Sharapova). Excellent. Excellent stuff.

Savannah said...

Welcome skivvy.

He can be harsh but I don't think he's malicious. And he doesn't fall into fanboy traps( not that I remember anyway ):)

rabbit said...

Koenig and Goodall are sexist. Just this week, they were wondering loudly whether Mirka washes the shirts that Roger takes off during the matches.