Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday's Children

by Savannah

Caroline Wozniacki dodged the rain drops and defended her title at the Pilot Pen tournament that took place in New Haven, Connecticut. Congratulations to Caro and her fans.

Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez added another doubles trophy to their collection.

Jurgen Melzer and Julian Knowles won the mens doubles crown in New Haven

Fernando Verdasco was not going to be denied as he overcame a befuddled Sam Querrey in straight sets to take the mens title in New Haven. Maybe he was a tad ticked off because instead of match prep rumor is that Querrey went to a nearby casino to see singer Taylor Swift the night before? Was he that cock sure of himself that he overlooked the veteran player? Enquiring minds want to know.


Tennis bloggers are usually kicked to the curb by mainstream media and news outlets not to mention Major Tennis Tournaments so it was with laugh out loud amusement that I read an article in Saturday's New York Times about the great Monogram controversy. Here are some excerpts:

It started out unobtrusive. When Roger Federer unveiled his monogram at Wimbledon in 2006, it was a gold crest embroidered on the breast pocket of the white blazer he wore to accept the trophy
By 2007, the filigreed scrollwork had morphed into stylized block capitals and had spread to his shoes. A year later, the new monogram turned up at Wimbledon, embroidered in gold on an ivory cardigan and framed by a shield, like a Swiss canton’s coat of arms.

This summer, it’s back. It’s big — big enough to be legible in photographs. And it’s everywhere: on his shoes, on his belt tab, on his duffel, on his jackets, on the plastic bags his new rackets come in.

...What three years ago seemed a plausible, if affected, personal flourish on the part of an athlete whose style of dress and style of play had positioned him as the Fred Astaire of tennis — light on his feet, with a penchant for tuxedo black for night matches and a Rolex commercial in which he shows off his serve in a two-button suit — had somehow escalated into a master-of-all-he-surveys exercise in personal branding.

Fans took note. Some took umbrage. Tennis bloggers had a field day, nicknaming him Monogram Man or Mr. Monogram or Monogram for short.

Federer’s defenders argued that he was within his rights, like teams that win the Stanley Cup or the Super Bowl and are instantly provided with T-shirts and caps advertising their victory.
Some fans speculated that the idea for the monogram had been his all along. Others insisted that Nike made him do it.

“Well, I’m surprised to hear that,” Federer said during a recent interview in Switzerland, “because I don’t have to wear anything or do anything anybody tells me. I do everything myself. It’s really up to me. “

The idea for a monogram emerged from the logo that Mirka Vavrinec, now Federer’s wife, and her father developed for his fragrance, RF-Roger Federer, introduced in 2003. The result was a freehand squiggle. If you knew what you were looking at, you saw the R and the F; if you didn’t, you didn’t. (A three-letter monogram was apparently never an option because Federer has no middle name.)

Federer liked the approach and suggested that Nike come up with a strategy along the same lines.

“For me, it’s important that a fan can buy something that is related to me,” he said. “Like in soccer, you buy a shirt and it’s got somebody’s name on the back. That’s kind of a cool thing.”

His intent was that a monogram would offer a connection as direct but not as literal as a team jersey.
Then there was the gold. Gold, to match the Wimbledon trophy. Gold, the medal awarded to athletes who finish first. But also gold, the metal of unabashed fashionistas flaunting their money — an unfortunate choice for a multimillionaire with a Netjets commercial.

“Maybe we’ve overdone it with gold at Wimbledon,” Federer said. “Maybe for some people, gold is a bit like, ‘He’s trying to show off.’ They think it’s too much bling bling, which is not the goal. It’s to have that connection with the trophy.

There is more blather but then the article seems to ask why isn't anyone carrying on about Tiger Woods monogram. I thought we were talking about Roger Federer? If Tiger Woods was going to jump off the Sears Tower at 3p tomorrow would the Monogram be right there to jump with him? I mean come on people. Tennis has always been about "subtle". If we wanted fanny slapping, towel cracking, trash talking players with their names emblazoned on their uniforms we've got tons of choices. The article, and the Monogram's comments are an admission that Nike may have gone too far with this marketing ploy. I mean the worst they did to Rafael Nadal was take him out of his piratas and put him in a bubblegum pink shirt. I'm glad they didn't decide to dress him up like the late Liberace.

End Note

Tomorrow is a day off for both players and me before the start of the Big Event in Queens, New York. It's the biggest, loudest and gaudiest of all the Slams. What isn't talked about often enough is that the US Open pays for itself. Unlike the other major sports teams in the New York area it asks almost nothing in terms of money from local government. It sets attendance records every year. Butts are in the seats folks.

By the way if you're anywhere near New York you should try and make it out to Queens. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will be on the practice courts. And admission is free

Thursday, August 27, 2009

US Open Chit Chat

by Savannah

It's Grand Slam time and once again I'm in the middle of it with folks who think I wear a tin foil hat because I say the draws are programmed so that certain "possibilities" occur. Whatever. You either believe that the draws are done in a secure and pristine world where sponsors, Ad Agencies and PR organizations don't whisper in the ears of TPTB.

If player "A" has certain incentives written into their contract with outfit "Z" and outfit "Z" is a force to be reckoned with in tennis I'm sure quiet little dinners never take place where it's made clear that Player "A" must make it to at least the semi's to secure maximum profit for the tournament and a nice bonus for both player and agent.

Oh, sorry. They don't make tin foil like they used to. Ahem. Anyway I found this post by a longtime tennis head that kind of sums up how I began to wonder just what the hell was going on with tennis draws. a properly prepared bracket the objective is to reward the #1 player with the easiest path to the final...all other sports do this...on this philosophy in the semis the #1 should end up playing #4, with the logig being that #4 should be easier to beat than #3 or #2...#2 is penalized for not being #1 by being forced to play a tough opponent, #3...this is the philosophy behind all sports brackets...maybe the USTA does not do it that way but the rest of them do...they do it in football, basketball, at the college and the pro level...this is why the weakest or worst team in the bracket starts out playing the best team in the bracket...this is also one of the reasons people began to believe in the conspiracy theories surronding the brackets tennis brackets...Serena never had an easy bracket as #1...Kim Clijsters, 'Pova, and now Safina typically get what one would expect a #1 seed to get, an easy path to the finals...Serena seldom had, Safina won't make it to the semis but at least there is an attempt to get her there...

From tennishead WTAR

Monogram Quotations

"We also had crisis in the financial world and I also went through a little bit of a crisis by dropping to number two in the world," Federer joked. "People were writing me off which was kind of difficult to understand at times but I bounced back and hope the same happens to the economy."

I guess he's choosing to ignore that he didn't have to play a certain Mallorcan in Paris or London as playing a very large role in his great come back.

I'm reading that this was meant as a joke. HAHAHA

They Perpetrated a Fraud (Gasp!)

Buried deep in an article featurning pictures taken earlier today of The Monogram and Serena Williams is this little tid-bit :
...the draw was held behind closed doors Wednesday.

This makes perfect sense since the French Open draw, which is actually done live, takes awhile to load and then be "discussable". I'm guessing it takes about 90 minutes. First the non seeded players are plugged into both halves of the draw and then the seeds are plugged in. Once that is done the computer is reset and the draw for the other tour takes place. Printable versions of the draw appear about an hour later.

It was obvious that today's ESPN2 show was well prepared even if that woman they used couldn't remember to read her notes and know that Venus and Serena were on the same side of the draw. The commentary and discussion fit well within the half hour format (something else that perplexed me). Let me be clear I'm not saying the discussion was well done, just that it fit neatly in the alloted half an hour. Almost as soon as the show was over both draws appeared on the tournament site for fans to peruse.

Look maybe I missed the on air announcement that the draw had actually been done the night before. They could've done it. I'm just saying that if the draw was already prepared it should have been made clear to the fans who turned in expecting to see a live version of what happens in France in the spring. Once again tennis fans get treated like the proverbial red haired step children of fandoms by the US sports media.

End Note

ESPN has pulled out all the stops in promoting it's US Open coverage. They have a very tough act to follow. Litte USA Network did the best US Open coverage ever, period, end of story. A match going on until one in the morning? You got it. Match on a court that is not usually covered between two players not considered part of the elite? They got a crew out there. Yes it's nice having all the Slams on one network. I'm sure lots of cheese was handed out once the deal was wrapped. I'm just hoping that fans aren't the ones who end up feeling caught in a trap.

US Open Main Draws

by Savannah

Men's Singles Draw

Top Half

[1] FEDERER, Roger SUI vs (W) BRITTON, Devin USA
(Q) vs GREUL, Simon GER
CHELA, Juan Ignacio ARG vs HERNANDEZ, Oscar ESP
ALVES, Thiago BRA vs [31] HEWITT, Lleyton AUS

(Q) vs GARCIA-LOPEZ, Guillermo ESP
(Q) vs [14] ROBREDO, Tommy ESP

KIM, Kevin USA vs SELA, Dudi ISR
(Q) vs [22] QUERREY, Sam USA

[26] MATHIEU, Paul-Henri FRA vsYOUZHNY, Mikhail RUS
STARACE, Potito ITA vs (Q)
(Q) vs [8] DAVYDENKO, Nikolay RUS

(Q) vs (Q)
(Q) vs [29] ANDREEV, Igor RUS

[23] KOHLSCHREIBER, Philipp GER vs SEPPI, Andreas ITA
(Q) vs GIL, Frederico POR
GOLUBEV, Andrey KAZ vs MAYER, Leonardo ARG
BOLELLI, Simone ITA vs [15] STEPANEK, Radek CZE

[10] VERDASCO, Fernando ESP vs BECKER, Benjamin GER
(Q) vs [20] HAAS, Tommy GER

[28] HANESCU, Victor ROU vs ISNER, John USA
(Q) vs ROCHUS, Christophe BEL
PHAU, Bjorn GER vs [5] RODDICK, Andy USA

Bottom Half

[7]TSONGA, Jo-Wilfried FRA vs (W) BUCHANAN, Chase USA
(Q) vs [30] TROICKI, Viktor SRB

[17] BERDYCH, Tomas CZE vs ODESNIK, Wayne USA
(Q) vs (Q)
(Q) vs RAM, Rajeev USA
MASSU, Nicolas CHI vs [11] GONZALEZ, Fernando CHI

[13] MONFILS, Gael FRA vs CHARDY, Jeremy FRA
KOROLEV, Evgeny RUS vs BECK, Andreas GER
MARTIN, Alberto ESP vs [18] FERRER, David ESP

[32] ALMAGRO, Nicolas ESP vs DARCIS, Steve BEL
(W) LLODRA, Michael FRA vs KIEFER, Nicolas GER
GASQUET, Richard FRA vs [3] NADAL, Rafael ESP

[6] DEL POTRO, Juan Martin ARG vs MONACO, Juan ARG
MELZER, Jurgen AUT vs SAFIN, Marat RUS
KOELLERER, Daniel AUT vs [25] FISH, Mardy USA

[24] FERRERO, Juan Carlos ESP vs SANTORO, Fabrice FRA
(Q) vs LU, Yen-Hsun TPE
GIMENO-TRAVER, Daniel ESP vs [9] SIMON, Gilles FRA

[16] CILIC, Marin CRO vs (W) SWEETING, Ryan USA
ISTOMIN, Denis UZB vs (W) EVANS, Brendan USA
LAPENTTI, Nicolas ECU vs [19] WAWRINKA, Stanislas SUI

LOPEZ, Feliciano ESP vs (W) DENT, Taylor USA
GULBIS, Ernests LAT vs [2] MURRAY, Andy GBR



Dinara Safina RUS (1) v Olivia Rogowska AUS
Urszula Radwanska POL v Kristina Barrois GER
Tathiana Garbin ITA v Mallory Cecil USA
Petra Kvitova CZE v Alisa Kleybanova RUS (27)

Patty Schnyder SUI (19) v Lucie Safarova CZE
Sara Errani ITA v Arantxa Rus NED
Shuai Peng CHN v Jarmila Groth AUS
Yanina Wickmayer BEL v Virginie Razzano FRA (16)

Ana Ivanovic SRB (11) v Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
Unknown v Monica Niculescu ROU
Unknown v Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP
Aravane Rezai FRA v Sabine Lisicki GER (23)

Alona Bondarenko UKR (30) v Alla Kudryavtseva RUS
Gisela Dulko ARG v Ekaterina Makarova RUS
Yaroslava Shvedova KAZ v Masa Zec Peskiric SLO
Roberta Vinci ITA v Jelena Jankovic SRB (5)

Elena Dementieva RUS (4) v Unknown
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS v Melanie Oudin USA
Polona Hercog SLO v Christina McHale USA
Tsvetana Pironkova BUL v Maria Sharapova RUS (29)

Jie Zheng CHN (21) v Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER
Alize Cornet FRA v Unknown
Unknown v Julie Coin FRA
Katarina Srebotnik SLO v Nadia Petrova RUS (13)

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (9) v Galina Voskoboeva KAZ
Unknown v Severine Bremond Beltrame FRA
Kristina Mladenovic FRA v Stephanie Dubois CAN
Ayumi Morita JPN v Sorana Cirstea ROU (24)

Agnes Szavay HUN (32) v Shahar Peer ISR
Varvara Lepchenko USA v Carla Suarez Navarro ESP
Tamarine Tanasugarn THA v Anastasija Sevastova LAT
Julia Goerges GER v Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (6)


Victoria Azarenka BLR (8) v Alexandra Dulgheru ROU
Unknown v Unknown
Alberta Brianti ITA v Stefanie Voegele SUI
Unknown v Francesca Schiavone ITA (26)

Na Li CHN (18) v Ioana Raluca Olaru ROU
Michelle Larcher De Brito POR v Mathilde Johansson FRA
Maria Kirilenko RUS v Unknown
Patricia Mayr AUT v Agnieszka Radwanska POL (12)

Marion Bartoli FRA (14) v Rossana De Los Rios PAR
Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR v Kim Clijsters BEL
Kirsten Flipkens BEL v Jelena Dokic AUS
Gail Brodsky USA v Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP (20)

Kaia Kanepi EST (25) v Unknown
Magdalena Rybarikova SVK v Unknown
Bethanie Mattek-Sands USA v Iveta Benesova CZE
Vera Dushevina RUS v Venus Williams USA (3)

Vera Zvonareva RUS (7) v Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP
Unknown v Anna Chakvetadze RUS
Unknown v Jill Craybas USA
Lucie Hradecka CZE v Elena Vesnina RUS (31)

Amelie Mauresmo FRA (17) v Tatjana Malek GER
Aleksandra Wozniak CAN v Laura Granville USA
Olga Govortsova BLR v Sania Mirza IND
Edina Gallovits ROU v Flavia Pennetta ITA (10)

Samantha Stosur AUS (15) v Ai Sugiyama JPN
Vania King USA v Anastasiya Yakimova BLR
Timea Bacsinszky SUI v Unknown
Meghann Shaughnessy USA v Daniela Hantuchova SVK (22)

Sybille Bammer AUT (28) v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez ESP
Unknown v Andrea Petkovic GER
Melinda Czink HUN v Maria Elena Camerin ITA
Alexa Glatch USA v Serena Williams USA (2)


I D-double dare anyone to say the Monogram doesn't have a cakewalk draw.
As for The Siberian Bansidhe she's scheduled to face Elena again. Elena isn't afraid of her.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Idle Chit Chat

by Savannah

So the Belgian press is reporting that Justine Henin is training to appear in two exhibition matches and that her former coach is saying he doesn't think she'll return to the tour.Let's see, there's a new WTA head, Kim Clijsters is back, is it the end of a "suspension" for some unnamed and highly speculated upon reason? Did I mention Kim Clijsters is back?

I mean really people. I've dogged the present #1 ranked woman for being surgically attached to her coach and totally unable to think on her own on court so why would I be excited about the return of the woman who pioneered in that area? Not to mention Justine's total lack of sportsmanship. There is no way in hell Justine is coming back unless Rodriguez is free to coach her. At the present time he's working with Yanina Wickmayer, also of Belgium.

I could go on and on about why Justine's return has been encouraged from so many quarters and how it has to do with those Williams women being the true Queens of Tennis no matter what the rankings say but that would be boring and repetitive wouldn't it?

I hope that Craig, while working on his farm, breaks into his version of the "I Told You So" dance. The above link is in French.

This and That

After a totally gangster campaign waged by Tennis Channel Cablevision has managed to find a way to add it to it's lineup beginning this Friday. The print ads were one thing (see above) but the radio ads were stunning in their ferocity. Good for them. Now if we could get BBC America so I don't have to scour the internet for "Torchwood" I'd be totally cool with Cablevision again.

(courtesy of "RawUncutTennis")
A couple of years ago Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played a street exho as part of the hype for the US Open. Today the Monogram and Rafa played at different times near the iconic Flat Iron building. I'm just starting a new medical regimen so there's no way I could stand in ninety degree fahrenheit heat to watch either event.

Why is so much attention being paid to what the top men will be wearing at the US Open? Yesterday there were a gazillion pictures of Andy Murray in his Fred Perry wear. Today Nike released this little blurb:

Roger Federer’s contemporary style is embodied in the details and craftsmanship of his US Open day and night looks. These looks are modern, consisting of bold red and black. Federer’s in-game polos are constructed of knit Nike Dri-FIT fabric in the body and a woven Nike Dri-FIT collar for comfort and moisture management. The body of the shirt has an embossed dot pattern inspired by the subway signs of New York, and the button placket features Roger’s black RF monogram logo, applied using bonded innovation and laser cut detailing.

Needless to say The Monogram wouldn't dare wear a Liberace outfit to the US Open. He'd be laughed off the court.

As long as Rafa isn't wearing that pink shit I'm cool with whatever he puts on his body.


Serena Williams has almost 1,000,000 (one million) followers on Twitter. How much of that is bots and porn I don't know but that is pretty impressive for a sports figure. She's going to hold some kind of celebration when the magic number is reached.

Haruka was out at BJK yesterday and got to see some qualie play as well as some practice. Stan Wawrinka was having trouble keeping the ball in the court she reports. She also got to watch Nicole Vaidisova play. Nicole is very thin and after fighting back to win the second set she went on walkabout and lost the third. Haruka said she appears to have the "yips" and not to have been practicing much at all. If Latisha Chan was better focused she would've won the match in straights. Too bad. Meanwhile her fiance is still managing to win matches.

She also got to see Daniela Hantuchova practicing with Darren Cahill. Dani is hitting the ball very hard but she seems to have some mental issues as well. Cahill is said to have been pleased by what he was seeing though.

The US Open Series

So if Sam Querrey defeats Bjorn Phau at New Haven today he wins the US Open series. I'm still a fan of the Series in concept but the limitations of it's appeal become more glaring each year. The WTA has to force it's top players to play the Rogers Cup and the newly combined event at New Haven, by being made a Premier event for the women has drawn a somewhat decent field thanks to WC's. The ATP used wild cards as well so that the field would be more fleshed out.

With Canada refusing to reconsider it's place in the calendar and aiming for a "virtual" joint event in 2011 as well as back to back Master's Series events for the men in brutal summer heat and humidity I don't see how the smaller tournaments will draw the best. American tennis officials always whine about the Europeans who currently dominate the sport don't come until they have reason to do so. Meanwhile the European Spring clay swing is well populated by top players but there is nary an American to be found. The attacks on the Spring clay court season by American tennis officials has not gone unnoticed by the Europeans. Throw in James Blake's nasty little comments at the end of the clay season in Europe and you have the reason the European men come for the Master's events and the women for Stanford and if forced, Canada. I see no change in the foreseeable future.

US Open

The Main Draw will be unveiled on ESPN2 at noon Eastern time Thursday August 27.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

US Open Seedings Announced

by Savannah

The seedings for the US Open will be as follows:


1. Dinara Safina, Russia
2. Serena Williams, United States
3. Venus Williams, United States
4. Elena Dementieva, Russia

5. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia
6. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia
7. Vera Zvonareva, Russia
8. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

9. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark
10. Flavia Pennetta, Italy
11. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
12. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
13. Nadia Petrova, Russia
14. Marion Bartoli, France
15. Samantha Stosur, Australia
16. Virginie Razzano, France

17. Amelie Mauresmo, France
18. Na Li, China
19. Patty Schnyder, Switzerland
20. Anabel Medina Garrigues, Spain
21. Jie Zheng, China
22. Daniela Hantuchova, Slovak Republic
23. Sabine Lisicki, Germany
24. Sorana Cirstea, Romania
25. Kaia Kanepi, Estonia
26. Francesca Schiavone, Italy
27. Alisa Kleybanova, Russia
28. Sybille Bammer, Austria
29. Maria Sharapova, Russia
30. Alona Bondarenko, Ukraine
31. Elena Vesnina, Russia
32. Agnes Szavay, Hungary


1. Roger Federer, Switzerland
2. Andy Murray, Great Britain
3. Rafael Nadal, Spain
4. Novak Djokovic, Serbia

5. Andy Roddick, United States
6. Juan Martin Del Potro, Argentina
7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France
8. Nikolay Davydenko, Russia

9. Gilles Simon, France
10. Fernando Verdasco, Spain
11. Fernando Gonzalez, Chile
12. Robin Soderling, Sweden
13. Gael Monfils, France
14. Tommy Robredo, Spain
15. Radek Stepanek, Czech Republic
16. Marin Cilic, Croatia

17. Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic
18. David Ferrer, Spain
19. Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland
20. Tommy Haas, Germany
21. James Blake, United States
22. Sam Querrey, United States
23. Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany
24. Juan Carlos Ferrero, Spain
25. Mardy Fish, United States
26. Paul-Henri Mathieu, France
27. Ivo Karlovic, Croatia
28. Victor Hanescu, Romania
29. Igor Andreev, Russia
30. Viktor Troicki, Serbia
31. Lleyton Hewitt, Australia
32. Nicolas Almagro, Spain

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tennis Chit Chat - The Ladies in New York

by Savannah

I don't like doing draw previews but I've been thinking and talking with a few tennisheads I know well about the upcoming draw, especially the WTA Draw, and a few things have come to mind.

Maria Sharapova

Where will they hide the Siberian Bansidhe? She is currently ranked at #30 which means she should be seeded for the US Open. Her fans are ecstatic about this.

Being totally real there is no way they're going to have her meet anyone who won't play her scared until the quarterfinals. She'll be coddled and treated like a newborn until then.

Kim Clijsters

She's shown that she's come back ready to throw down and I'm sure no one wants to see her in their part of the draw. She could stand to lose a few pounds and that may tell on her as she goes deeper into the tournament. She won't be coddled though with a decent draw she could make the round of sixteen.

Dinara Safina

She'll sit on top of the draw but a funny thing happened yesterday during the Elena/Maria match. Pammy and Cliffy were talking about who would be favored to win the US Open based on current form. Venus, Serena, Kim as a dark horse, Maria Sharapova with a favorable draw, and Elena Dementieva were all mentioned. They had started to go on to something else - not about the match of course - and Pammy remembered Dinara. There was some embarrassed mumbling and they went on to the next topic in their stream of conciousness coverage.

Elena Dementieva

Elena has a lot of nick names that riff on her last name. They all have to do with the fact that you never know what is going to come flying out of her mouth when you ask her a question. Elena's personality is "different" but her play, when she stays focused and doesn't get down on herself, is very good. There were several points in yesterdays match where she could have folded like so many of the Russian women do when they play Sharapova but she held her nerve, and her serve, and beat an obviously tired but determined to fight Maria. You can bet that she will not be anywhere near Maria in the draw.

Serena Williams

She will be on the opposite side of the draw from Dinara. I'm guessing she won't be on the same side as Maria either. She showed up at the mandatory tournaments and will be fully rested coming into New York. Can you not pick her?

Jelena Jankovic

The bitch is back. Jelena announced her return to the big time in a big way. She got a lot of match play in and should be fully rested for the start of the Open. If she plays well she's going to go far.

Flavia Pennetta

She's playing New Haven. If she wasn't I'd pick her to surprise people with her play in New York. She could make the third round unless some significant interference comes her way.

Victoria Azarenka

Until she learns to hold herself together emotionally she'll never do as well as she can at a Slam. She's also going to have to get over the hit hard and harder mentality she displays on court. Dissolving in tears at the first sign of resistance is not what Grand Slam contenders do.

Caroline Wozniacki

Too much tennis equals brain lock. Caro has the will and that will take her to the third or maybe the fourth round depending on her draw. She will not be able to avail herself on on court coaching and that will stop her dead in her tracks. Too bad.

Venus Williams

To be honest I don't have a clue. Venus, when on, can beat anyone on the planet. Her second set walkabouts have almost reached legendary status at this point and when that happens she can lose to anybody. Does the US Open want a Venus vs Serena final again or do they want the Bansidhe opposite Serena? Look for Venus to play her sister before the Final.

Ana Ivanovic

I wish I could say something positive. I think we'll another early exit and a fall from her #11 ranking.

Watch out for Sabine Lisicki if she's healthy, Sorana Cirstea and Zheng Jie. They can make peoples lives miserable.

End Note

Why do the Monogram's fans dislike my name for him so much? I'm sorry but anyone who monograms his damn pillows needs to be called on his shit. I've never cared for monograms on sheets, towels, or clothing figuring if you don't know who you are you never will. I'm sorry but he'll be the Monogram to me going forward. Unless you want me to call him Precious...

By the way what the hell is with all the yellow this summer?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday's Stars

by Savannah

They say revenge is a dish best served cold. I'm not sure what Elena Dementieva would say about that. Saturday's semi final saw her usher a lackluster Serena Williams to the exit door bringing about an all Russian final between herself and Maria Sharapova who had outlasted another Russian, Alisa Kleybanova to make the final. I could go on and on about the commentators constantly talking about how tired Maria was, of course she was tired after playing the night match but it would have been nice for them to focus some attention on Elena. I got on the Elena bandwagon early in the year but she seemed to lose her way. Time will tell if she is back on track.

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, left, and Nuria Llagostera Vives celebrate victory. They defeated the team of Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 2-6, 7-5, 11-9.

In Cincinnati the dominant men's doubles team of Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor again hoisted trophies in celebration of yet another victory, this time over the American team of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 3-6, 7-6(2), 15-13.

Roger Federer faced minimal opposition as he won the singles title in Cincinnati in straight sets over Novak Djokovic 6-4 and 7-5. Djokovic, who played the night semi final match never seemed to wake up. As you know I'm not a fan of either man but it would've been nice to see a competitive final.

Both tours will be in New Haven this week. Qualifying for the US Open also begins this week. The Main Draw takes place on Thursday August 27.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

The WTA is holding it's Roger's Cup tournament in Toronto this week. TennisTV started it's coverage. Funny how the ATP tournament in Cincinnati gets continuous coverage sans the doubles. With the WTA you get a couple of daytime matches, only on Center Court, and if we're lucky an evening match or two. If TennisTV isn't covering the second women's night match you can usually find it on one of the popular live stream sites. Until tonight that is.

TennisTV was only set to show one women's match. Do you have to ask? The Siberian Bansidhe was playing her country woman Vera Zvonareva and despite a very long rain delay amid reports of a tornado touching down nearby that match was broadcast in it's entirety.

Don't be fooled. The rain delay didn't cause the lack of coverage for Jelena Jankovic vs Kim Clijsters. TennisTV never intended to carry it. What tennisheads didn't know was that someone wanted to make sure no one saw it. Seriously. There were no working live streams for the match. Why?
As reported by@lexi98
"they covered up the cameras with tarps at the start of the match."
I swear they must hire crackheads to do their marketing strategy. Whether you are a fan of either woman or not this was must see tennis. JJ was coming off of a surprise tournament win and Kim is of course coming back after marriage and having a child. Both women have pretty large fanbases. I guess someone in a decision making capacity felt that their match couldn't possibly be of interest to tennis fans. After all the face of the WTA had just played. Who cares about anyone else?

As it turned out the match was the best of the tournament thus far. It would've gone a long way to grow the fanbase for women's tennis and develop interest in the tournament but nooooooo, the cameras were covered with tarps so nothing got out.

If it wasn't for @TopSpinRadio who provided updates on Twitter as the match progressed no one would have had a clue about anything other than the dry scores. I take that back. The final scores were 1-6 6-3 7-5. Seems like it was an exciting match.

Oh, by the way the Siberian Bansidhe won fairly easily but that was to be expected. I hope Vera has not hurt herself by coming back too soon.

End Note

I was going to watch the night match from Cincinnati on TennisTV. Why? Well let's just say that if I want to hear gossip and speculation passed off as commentary I can watch one of the evening entertainment shows.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. When Robby Koenig, Jason Goodall and Doug Adler are not being fanboys (Read Andy Murray and the Monogram) they call a good, analytical match. You actually know what the players are doing on court and get a good feel for the ebb and flow of a match.

In comparison if I want to know who ate what where I can listen to American commentators. The TennisTV feed was a little behind so I couldn't watch the match on HDTV and listen to the announcers. It was too disconcerting. Otherwise I would've just for peace of mind. At least I call it Idle Chit chat when that's all I'm posting about. And I don't get paid for doing this.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Seen Around

by Savannah

The ATP has taken new profile pictures. I kept reading about them but thought they couldn't be that bad. They are. As you look at them please remember that you have not logged on to the "America's Most Wanted" web site or your local post office if it's still open. These are all tennis players.

Robby Ginepri

Tommy Robredo

Robert Kendrick

Gael Monfils

Victor Troicki

Tommy Haas

Sam Querrey

Kevin Kim
I mean really.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Tennis Talk

by Savannah

When All Is Said and Done...

When it comes to ranking systems there isn't much difference between the WTA and the ATP is there?

No one could fail to notice that there were overflow, standing room only crowds in Montreal and you could practically shoot a cannon into Center Court at Cincinnati and not hit a soul.

Dinara Safina's problems go beyond majors don't they?

Despite the much despised outfit Jelena Jankovic announced her return to the WTA conversation in stunning fashion. Jelena bashing thread will follow shortly.

That rumor about Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic playing doubles together in Cincy was just a Twitter Rumor. As of this posting there is no Twitter abbreviation for the phenomenon.

American commentators are very excited about Andy Murray. Wonder why?

Come to think of it why were the male announcers so gung-ho in defending Safina's reign as a Slamless Number One? Normally mention of the WTA elicits giggles from the male announcers.

The sheer idiocy of back to back majors in the heat of the summer will be on display again next week. The WTA dragooned everyone into Cincinnati and is force marching them into Toronto. The ATP hauled everyone into Montreal ready to play or not and now the men have been drop shipped to Cincinnati. Almost makes me understand why Roger Federer shook Tennis Canada down for accommodations for his family.

There are actually pictures available of the doubles winners this week that don't require use of a magnifying glass. Amazing.

Equally amazing is the Men's Cincinnati Masters Main Draw.

[1] FEDERER, Roger SUI vs bye
FERRER, David ESP vs WAWRINKA, Stanislas SUI
FERRERO, Juan Carlos ESP vs [14] CILIC, Marin CRO

[12] SODERLING, Robin SWE vs HEWITT, Lleyton AUS
BYE vs [5] RODDICK, Andy USA

[3] MURRAY, Andy GBR vs BYE
ALMAGRO, Nicolas ESP vs SELA, Dudi ISR
TROICKI, Viktor SRB vs [16] STEPANEK, Radek CZE

[11] VERDASCO, Fernando ESP vs GARCIA-LOPEZ, Guillermo ESP
LOPEZ, Feliciano ESP vs MELZER, Jurgen AUT
BYE vs [6] DEL POTRO, Juan Martin ARG


[8] DAVYDENKO, Nikolay RUS vs BYE
WC ODESNIK, Wayne USA vs [9] SIMON, Gilles FRA

[15] ROBREDO, Tommy ESP vs CHARDY, Jeremy FRA
BYE vs [4] DJOKOVIC, Novak SRB

[7] TSONGA, Jo-Wilfried FRA vs BYE
BERDYCH, Tomas CZE vs [10] GONZALEZ, Fernando CHI

ZVEREV, Mischa GER vs MATHIEU, Paul-Henri FRA
BYE vs [2] NADAL, Rafael ESP

I'm just saying. By the way anyone know what god Nadia Petrova offended? I mean Maria Sharapova in the first round? Really? That's a mighty big fish in Sharapova's barrel...

[1]Dinara Safina vs BYE
Alize Cornet vs Aravane Rezai
Alisa Kleybanova vs Aleksandra Wozniak
Sara Errani vs [16] Dominika Cibulkova

[9] Victoria Azarenka vs Shuai Peng
Qualifier vs Kim Clijsters
Anabel Medina Garrigues vs Patty Schnyder
BYE vs [5] Jelena Jankovic

[3] Venus Williams vs BYE
qualifier vs qualifier
Valerie Tetreault vs Agnes Szavay
Carla Suarez Navarro vs [14]Agnieszka Radwanska

[10]Nadia Petrova vs Maria Sharapova
Sybille Bammer vs Anna Chakvetadze
Qualifier vs Stephanie Dubois
BYE vs [7] Vera Zvonareva


[6] Svetlana Kuznetsova vs BYE
Qualifier vs Samantha Stosur
Virginie Razzano vs Ekaterina Makarova
Qualifier vs [12]Flavia Pennetta

[15] Amelie Mauresmo vs Francesca Schiavone
Shahar Peer vs Qualifier
Iveta Benesova vs Ai Sugiyama
BYE vs [4] Elena Dementieva

[8]Caroline Wozniacki vs BYE
Elena Vesnina vs Jie Zheng
Qualifier vs Kaia Kanepi
Qualifier vs [11]Ana Ivanovic

[13]Marion Bartoli vs Alona Bondarenko
Qualifier vs Qualifier
Qualifier vs Daniela Hantuchova
BYE vs [2] Serena William

End Notes

Is it time for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to bring in outside help for his game? Playing a very aggressive, cool, calm and collected style got him past the Monogram. Playing "French Style" didn't get him past Murray.

Watching Dinara Safina and her coach go at it is like peeking into a married couples bedroom. He speaks to her as if she's an idiot and she picks at her nails walking away from him while he's in mid rant. Maybe they should take their show on the road.

TennisTV's announcer gave an explanation for Dinara's horrid play in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Seems she decided to try and open a coconut with a knife. For those of us of Caribbean extraction or who are familiar with Caribbean culture this is hilarious since usually a machete and/or a hammer needs to be used. The bad news is that she ended up stabbing herself in the hand. The good news is she missed tendons. Some folks on Twitter have taken to calling her Coco because having a head like a coconut is a way of saying someone is very stubborn. Just so you know why.

Venus Williams Tweeted that she needs help with her diet. All she wants to eat is rib eye steaks and salad.

Other Sports News

Y.E. Yang of Korea defeated Tiger Woods to become the first Asian to win a major in the US.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica. I don't need to go into details do I? The man is a phenomenon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The WTA Ranking System - How It Works

by Savannah

Paula Vergara wrote the following article that I guess could be called "WTA Rankings for Dummies". I guess I fall into that category since I'm just as befuddled after reading it as I was before. To read the article in it's entirety please click the above link.

A special shout out to OnTheBaseline for posting the article.

How It Works

  • The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking system is a rolling, 52-week, cumulative system.

  • The WTA Tour caps a player’s best 16 singles tournament results and best 11 doubles tournament results for one season. .

WTA Ranking Point Distribution for Singles and Doubles

Grand Slams – 2,000 points
Premier Mandatory – 1,000 points
Premier 5 – 800 points
Premier 700 – 470 points
International – 280 points

The Top-10 Has a Ranking System All Its Own

When a new top-10 player participates in Premier 5 tournaments (Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto, and Tokyo), those tournaments take on a whole new meaning. Once a top-10 player has 2 Premier 5 tournaments on her record, any other Premier 5 tournament results from the same season can replace her first 2 Premier 5 tournament results, as long as the results are better. Only a player’s 2 best Premier 5 tournament results are included in her ranking. When it comes to Dinara Safina’s record, she must count her ranking points for her 1st round loss in Dubai, unless her results from the upcoming Cincinnati or Toronto tournaments prove better than Dubai.

When Zero Counts

Any player who qualifies (by ranking) for acceptance into the Main Draw of Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory events or the Sony Ericsson Championships, has the benefit of Automatic Main Draw entry into those events. The down side? Any player who is automatically entered and then withdraws or fails to play, receives 0 ranking points for that tournament, which counts on her ranking as one of her best 16 tournament results. In addition, any top-10 player (or marquee player) who fails to play in a Premier 700 Commitment Tournament receives 0 ranking points for the tournament. For example, Serena Williams currently has 2 mandatory zero-point tournaments that count toward her 16 best tournament results. This rule does not apply to players who do not qualify for Automatic Main Draw entry.

Defending Points and Bonus Points

  • If a player reaches the semifinal in the same tournament two years in a row, then she would be “defending her points.” A case in which this would not apply would be the 2008 Olympics.

  • Bonus points simply do not exist in the WTA ranking system.
  • Bonus prize money, on the other hand, does exist.

Ms Vergara then breaks down the point totals for Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.

Dinara Safina No. 1
2009 tournaments played to date: 13

2009 Tournament Results and Ranking Points Accrued:

Sydney (Premier 700) – Final –Ranking Points: 320
Australian Open (Grand Slam) – Final – Ranking Points: 1,400
Dubai (Premier 5) – 1st Round – Ranking Points: 1
Indian Wells (Premier Mandatory) – QF – Ranking Points: 250
Miami (Premier Mandatory)- 3rd Round – Ranking Points: 80
Stuttgart (Premier 700) – Final – Ranking Points: 320
Rome (Premier 5) – Winner – Ranking Points: 800
Madrid (Premier Mandatory): Winner – Ranking Points: 1,000
Roland Garros (Grand Slam) – Final – Ranking Points: 1,400
‘s-Hertogenbosch (International) – SF – Ranking Points: (Not Counting)
Wimbledon (Grand Slam) – SF – Ranking Points: 900
Portoroz (International) – Winner – Ranking Points: 280
Los Angeles (Premier 700) – 3rd Round – Ranking Points: 60 (Not Counting)

2008 Roll-Over Ranking Points: (As of August 10)

Olympics - Beijing (Silver) Ranking Points: 490
US Open (Grand Slam) SF Ranking Points: 900
Tokyo (Premier 5) Winner – Ranking Points: 860
Stuttgart (Premier 700) QF - Ranking Points (Not Counting)
Moscow (Premier 700) SF – Ranking Points: 390
Tour Championships –Round Robin- Ranking Points: 210

Total Ranking Points: 9,601 (As of August 10)
Points from Grand Slams: 4,600
Points from Tour Events: 5,001

Serena Williams No. 2
2009 tournaments played to date: 11

2009 Tournament Results and Ranking Points Accrued:

Sydney (Premier 700) – SF – Ranking Points: 200
Australian Open (Grand Slam) – Winner – Ranking Points: 2,000
Paris (indoors) – (Premier 700) SF – Ranking Points: 200
Dubai (Premier 5) – SF – Ranking Points: 350
Miami (Premier Mandatory) – Final - Ranking Points: 700
Marbella (Premier Mandatory) – 1st Round – Ranking Points: 1
Rome (Premier 5) – 2nd Round (1st Round bye) – Ranking Points: 1
Madrid (Premier Mandatory) – 1st Round – Ranking Points: 5
Roland Garros (Grand Slam) – QF – Ranking Points: 500
Wimbledon (Grand Slam) – Winner – Ranking Points: 2,000
Stanford (Premier 700) – QF– Ranking Points: 120

2008 Roll-Over Ranking Points: (As of August 10)

Olympics - Beijing - QF – Ranking Points: 180
US Open (Grand Slam) Winner – Ranking Points: 2,000
Stuttgart 2r (l. in 2r after 1r bye) – Ranking Points: 1
Tour Championships –Round Robin – Ranking Points: 370

Tournaments Not Played in 2009:

Indian Wells (Premier Mandatory) – Ranking Points: 0
Charleston (Premier 700) – Ranking Points: 0

Total Ranking Points: 8,628 (As of August 10)

Points from Grand Slams: 6,500
Points from Tour Events: 2,128

I know the WTA would like us all to simply back off and let the players play (sorry) but this raises as many questions as it answers. The system, as it stands, rewards quantity not quality. The breakdown does nothing but fuel the flames of the debate.
However the system is what it is. The new WTA administration doesn't seem inclined to change things.
Still thanks go to Ms Vergara for her work laying this out for tennis fans.

This and That

by Savannah

Kim Clijsters returned to the WTA tour last night with a victory over Marion Bartoli in straight sets. Lots of us spent a few fruitless minutes looking for a live stream of her return coming away more than a little frustrated.

I'm not a fan of Kim or her style of play but her return, against a top twenty player, is something I wanted to see. It would've been nice to see how she was hitting, her movement on court as well as how she approached Bartoli who is a tricky player. Instead like everyone else I was reduced to scoreboard watching.

In case you're wondering why fans would look for a live stream when TennisTV isn't starting their coverage until later in the week I'll remind you of a certain small tournament in Warsaw where a certain Siberian made her return to the tour. Were there live streams? You bet your ass there were. I'm just saying. I mean Kim has a huge fan base and they, along with the merely curious like me, would've tuned in to watch. But I'm not in Marketing so I'm just that lone voice crying out in cyberspace.

I should mention in passing that I wonder what it means that Clijsters, away from the tour for two years, had such an easy time with a top twenty player. I could go on and on about the talent gap in the WTA but that would be beating the proverbial dead horse wouldn't it?

Anyway it's back to scoreboard watching a WTA Premier event until later in the week.

The "Butt" Off

Serena Williams and Andy Roddick got into it last week about their Twitter avatars. Serena is seen in a jaunty turquoise sports bra in hers while Andy was in a rather bland head shot.

Andy decided to change his picture. Serena is worried she'll have to change hers to keep up.

From the ATP WTF Files

Apparently Nike has decided to butch up their fuschia shirts. Adding a bloody severed hand to the swoosh is obviously the answer to having men wear fuschia colored shirts. Who the hell is running their design department anyway?

Fans of "Will and Grace" will remember when Will sported this look. The last place I expected to see it was at the Player Fashion Show in Montreal.

It was implied that Will wore his smoking jacket by itself. Thank goodness Novak Djokovic accessorized.

In other men's fashion statements this look was seen on the courts yesterday.

Smiles all around indeed.

Tournament News

From Yahoo Sports

MONTREAL (AP)—Canada’s Frederic Niemeyer, ranked No. 487 and playing his final season of pro tennis, set up a match with Roger Federer by defeating Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn 7-5, 6-1 Monday in the first round of the Rogers Cup.

Emphasis is mine. Expect to hear a lot of talk about the twins.

Melanie Oudin lost her opening round match to Ana Ivanovic.
There's no way to judge how Ana is doing unless she makes it to the quarter finals when coverage begins for the WTA Premier event in Cincinnati.

We've been seeing a lot of this from Marat Safin of late but in this case the picture does not tell the entire story.

Gael Monfils dominated the first and third sets of their match to move on to the next round. The second set, which Marat won, featured some of the most beautiful tennis seen on a court this year. Both men played at their best and for awhile it looked as if Marat had decided to draw on the old magic and win over Monfils but it was not to be. Marat will be seen next in Cincinnati where he's been granted a wild card.

End Note

I'll be away for a couple of days attending to some personal business. Craig will make sure you're up to date with the Tennis Follies.