Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

The US Open Series

The summer hard court season is now officially underway. Labeled the US Open Series, the WTA and ATP sponsor a series of tournaments leading up to the final Grand Slam of the tennis season, the US Open which is held in New York City's borough of Queens.

I've always liked the US Open Series. There is plenty of television coverage and you get to see players you don't normally see. Why do I say that you see players you don't normally see? The reason will become clear.

The first tournament in the series is played at Indianapolis, Indiana. The defending champion, Gilles Simon, is playing at Hamburg instead of defending his crown in the MIdwest of the United States. You remember Hamburg? It was a Masters Series clay tournament that got busted down to an ATP 500 series event by the tennis powers that be and was rescheduled. Simon is the top seed in Hamburg. Indianapolis featured Andy Roddick, newly returned to top five status, as the top seed. Roddick would be an excellent draw for American tennis fans especially after his showing at Wimbledon but it was not to be. Andy withdrew due to a hip injury he suffered during his Wimbledon run leaving the folks running the tournament with Dmitry Tursunov, ranked number twenty seven in the world, as the top seed. Tursunov has a large fan base because of his humorous and entertaining blogs so all is not lost. Fans who bought tickets are going to come and I suspect they'll see good tennis.

The situation with Simon highlights the problems the US Open Series faces. Just as the American players whine that going to Europe to play the clay court events leading up to Roland Garros takes them away from home too long the Europeans say the same thing this time of year. Why subject their bodies to the pounding meted out by hard court play now when they can come in August and play a a few events leading up to the hard court Grand Slam? Don't forget that the Europeans do come from Australia to play the Spring hard court series in the States. That swing, like the Summer swing, features back to back Masters Events and that is a lot of physical and mental wear and tear for the players.

As for the women their events start the week of July 27 with the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. Stanford usually draws a strong field. The defending champion is Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak who had a good run in Europe. Following the trend set by the men the woman ranked number one in the world, Dinara Safina is playing in Europe this week at Potoroz, a WTA International level event. She will show up in the States for the LA Women's Tennis Championships which begin August 3. Safina is the defending champion at Los Angeles.

The women then play Cincinnati followed by the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Nadia Petrova is the defending champion at Cincinnati and Dinara is the defending champion in Canada.

There are those who say that it makes no sense to have clay court play after Wimbledon and that the grass court season should be extended. Hamburg, they argue, should be a grass court event not a clay court event. The European players deliver a collective "whatever" and play in Europe as long as they can. The big dogs will stay in Europe until they come to Montreal for the Rogers Cup Masters. The Cincinnati Masters event takes place the following week. Calls for the schedule to be changed have fallen on deaf ears with Tennis Canada sticking firmly to it's guns. The argument could be made that the entire rescheduling of the ATP calendar was done to secure that the Canadian events maintained their place in that calendar. Forget that the women hate to come to Canada for whatever reason and that playing back to back majors for both tours is hard work. For a country with no players in the upper echelons of tennis the Canadians seem to have a lot of power in tennis politics.

For a list of all the tournaments and the television schedule please go to the US Open Series website.

World Team Tennis

It seems that lately World Team Tennis matches are becoming more like WWE events. I haven't heard of Vince McMahon sitting courtside as of yet but the event between the Kastles and the Sportimes the other night seemed to be right up his alley. In this case a picture is worth a thousand words so without further ado here's video of what happened.

Initial reports said that John McEnroe was playing peacemaker. Doesn't look like that to me. Should Leander Paes have apologized? Yes. Was Robert Kendrick wrong for what he did? Remember that the US is a baseball nation and that retaliatory tit for tat action is expected. All I know is that when Hunter Hearst Helmsley appears across the net from Shawn Michaels remember that you read about it here.

Idle Chit Chat

Fallout continues from Pete Sampras' comments about the GOAT situation. Some of the grand poobahs of tennis media have even backtracked and seem to think Sampras' opinions have some validity. The Worshipful are not having it though.

Those Williams Women are still everywhere. Their improved hair and makeup not to mention attire speaks volumes about what stylists can do for women of means. The rest of us have to do the best we can. Here are pictures of those Williams Women at a movie premier last week. So glad Venus lost the bathrobe.

Uh, Okay...

London, July 12 : Tennis ace Andy Murray's life story is all set to be turned into a Hollywood movie.t least three major studios are in the run to grab the rights to the star's life story for millions of pounds.

The rush for the rights began when studio bosses found out that the 22-year-old tennis player survived the Dunblane massacre.

Andy was just eight when Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 pupils and a teacher at Dunblane Primary School on March 13, 1996, before killing himself in the gym.

Andy, who reached the Wimbledon semi-final last month, rarely speaks of the nightmare that unfolded before his eyes that day.

However, the Glasgow-born battler, who is now the world's No. 3, might just reveal the story in return for millions of pounds.

A senior executive at Fox said his studio would "easily match" Andy's career earnings of 4.7million pounds to acquire the film rights to his life story.

"This guy is an absolute inspiration," the Daily Star quoted him as saying.

It is believed that Universal and Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks are also hoping to sign him up.


Recent sighting of David Nalbandian

Mario Ancic and friend
The Champions

Jeremy Chardy Champion 2009 Stuttgart. It's his first title.

Robin Soderling Champion Bastad 2009

Sybille Bammer defeated Francesca Schiavone at Prague.

Flavia Pennetta 2009 Champion Palermo

Doubles play is taking place at the men's events. I'll update the blog this evening with pictures and results.

The Bondarenko sisters Alona and Kateryna won the doubles at Prague.


Karen said...

I know this comment may just find itself in the Black Hole of Calcutta, but cant fans of players disagree with a view without being termed the Worshipful? Just asking.

Savannah said...

When fans of a certain player stop acting as if any words spoken in even mild criticism of their idol are akin to spitting on your country's flag or blasphemy I'll stop teasing them.

Diverti-te said...

Perhaps this is why Canada has such influence over the ATP/WTA calendar.
"Canadian Fans Set Attendance Record In Montreal
First held in 1881, the world famous Canadian Open - which alternates between Toronto and Montreal - is the oldest ongoing tennis tournament after Wimbledon and the US Open. The Rogers Cup enjoyed the best attendance in its history in 2007, attracting 182,252 spectators to Montreal’s Uniprix Stadium - a world record for a week-long tennis tournament."

Savannah said...

Could be. I haven't heard a better explanation yet.

Welcome Diverti-te. Don't be a stranger.

Karen said...

LOL - point taken.
OK, now to comment on the commentary. Why in the world would anyone pay top money for Andy Murray's biography> Is it just me but are not biographies written about people who have accomplished something noteworthy in life: say for example, found a cure for cancer, a better way to provide drinking water for poor people, you know little things like that. Yes, it was quite unfortunate that there was a catastrophic incident that happened at Andy's primary school, but do a story on this incident and the impact on the families, not on Andy Murray. He probably did not even turn up at school that day. Out playing tennis or something.
Wow, I had no idea that Montreal had such good attendance records. Better than a lot of the matches that I have seen on tv during the US leg of the US Open Series. I wonder though why we dont have similar attendance records for the women down in Toronto. The tickets are also so expensive.

oddman said...

Geez, Karen. Take too many bitter pills today? Andy WAS there that day. And has been bloody tight-lipped about the whole thing. Has refused to talk to the media about it so far.

And I, for one, would be interested in a Murray autobiography. People pay scads to know what the F Paris Hilton and Jon and Kate are doing... I'm sure I'd find Andy Murray a way more interesting story than them, no? I strongly suspect there's alot more to him than what's been put out there in the past years.

Karen said...

My stupid computer keeps eating my posts. Clearly, what I am trying to say keeps getting deleted. For the record Oddman, I am not the vacuous type and frankly I am sort of tired of having to keep coming here and elsewhere and having to defend my opinions. I do not on any occassion chastise anyone for their opinions as I believe in free speech and the ability of anyone to say what is on their minds. You do not know anything about me so I am trying to figure out why you think I would be enamoured of the Paris Hiltons or Jon & Kates (who are they actually as I have no clue) of this world. I am a tennis fan, just like you. I play the game, I watch it on tv and I hope to visit a professional tournament before the Lord takes me home. Maybe I choose to support a player or have views that the rest of the world does not follow, and if that makes me the Worshipful (tongue in cheek) as Savannah describes us, or maybe fanatical (as some people describe Rafa fans) then so be it. We all have to exist in this world. I like coming to the internet and discussing tennis with people but if I am going to be continuously chided and/or compared to persons of dubious persuasion then maybe I will perhaps stop visiting and keep my thoughts to myself.

Savannah said...

I didn't originate calling fans "The Worshipful". I believe it was Helen but I could be wrong.

Karen I took Oddman's comments about people being willing to pay money to read about people like Paris Hilton or whoever so why wouldn't they pay to read or watch a movie about Andy Murray as being directed at the universal "you" not the personal you.

People buy the rights to things all the time. It doesn't mean that they're going to exercise them right away. My opinion is closer to yours than to Oddman but differences are what makes the world go around no?

I hope that you'll continue to express yourself here and other places Karen and not go away angry over what could simply be a misunderstanding.

Karen said...

Thank you Savannah. I really do love coming here and elsewhere and chatting about tennis. I think that it is blogs like these which give insight into how fans really feel about their sport. For the record I was a bit aghast as to why Andy Murray had an autobiography (or was it Novak) in the first place, and I am not talking about this whole shooting at the primary school thing.

Savannah said...

I know that today people think life is over once you reach thirty but I'm old school. You have to have time to live your life before you unload on the unsuspecting public. Your mind in your early twenties is not what it will be when you reach your late thirties or beyond. That is why most biographies are done later in life when an individual has had time to reflect a bit.

I think all of the top guys, except Federer, have put these tomes out.

Karen said...

Savannah, you are so right about that one. I am even a little bit surprised that Serena is writing an autobio as well. Yes, you have accomplished a lot, but unless you intend to retire tomorrow, there is a lot more that will happen in your life. Is it that we have now succumbed to the short term results of our lives. Yesterday in church my pastor said something very instructive. He said that we are the most social generation but yet the most distant, and that is so true. We sit all day and "talk" with people online, but have no idea of the names of our neighbours. I am very much like you Savannah, I am 43 years old and I have lived a long life. As someone from the Caribbean, I have known adversity and have never bought into the here and now that a lot of our young people, including my own seem to be caught up with. I still have LPs, and CDs that I continue to listen to and books that I read over and over and over again. My son and daughter on the other hand keep changing the music on the IPods almost on a weekly basis. To me, there is just something to be said about living a long and fruitful life where you have years of experience, rather than the here and now and telling the world all about it. Sorry for the OT

oddman said...

Karen said: 'Is it just me but are not biographies written about people who have accomplished something noteworthy in life?'

Agree, Karen. However, 'noteworthy' is a relative term. As Savannah has clarified, I meant the general public 'you', not you specifically. When there are those in the world who pay for ridick mags telling us what Paris Hilton is doing, etc, I'm sure there'll be a market for an Andy Murray bio. I meant *I* would perhaps be interested in his bio. Not *once* in my post did I ever accuse you of being vacuous. Perhaps if you read my original post again, you'll see that.


Karen said: 'He probably did not even turn up at school that day. Out playing tennis or something.'

This comment of yours is what prompted me to ask why so bitter. It comes across as flippant and mean, imho. I have read that he was in the school that day. This comment 'probably did not even turn up at school that day' seems to make light of the seriousness of the situation he likely endured. Again, MY opinion. And I'm not saying you can't have your own opinion here, I'm disagreeing with it. If I overstepped by the 'bitter' comment, I apologize and retract that 'too many bitter pills today' remark.


Karen said: 'For the record Oddman, I am not the vacuous type and frankly I am sort of tired of having to keep coming here and elsewhere and having to defend my opinions. I do not on any occassion chastise anyone for their opinions as I believe in free speech and the ability of anyone to say what is on their minds.'

Again, I have not called you vacuous. You also don't have to defend your opinions. I'm presenting my own opinions here. I think, if you read my initial post more carefully, you'll see my comments were focused on myself and my own interest in Andy Murray.

Karen said...

Oddman, thanks very much for the clarification. You did not use the word vacuous to describe me but the implication of the Paris Hilton remark implied such. Anyway, moving on. As you can perhaps tell I am not a big fan of Andy Murray (LOL). I dont dislike the individual just his style of tennis. As to opinions, this is what makes tennis message boards so much fun, the ability to air your views and either agree or disagree with someone else's opinion. To that end, I will agree with you. Maybe I am getting old but whenever I watch biography on the Biography channel, it is usually about personalities who have done so much with their lives in their chosen field of endeavour, and while I am sure that AndyM perhaps suffered a lot as a result of that shooting (my apologies as I had no idea he was actually in school that day), I think if they are going to do a film, the focus should be on the whole community and not just on one individual. Let it be healing to the whole community and not just a portrayal of one person who lived through it. On that note, on to tennis. I see that your guy is back on the practice courts in all his musclely sweaty glory, I am sure that you are ecstatic. LOL

oddman said...

Karen said...
Oddman, thanks very much for the clarification. You did not use the word vacuous to describe me but the implication of the Paris Hilton remark implied such.

No. I'm sorry, but it didn't.

Moving on as well.