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.
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
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.