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?


lynney62 said...'re not the only one calling him "Monogram". I nearly choked on my pizza Saturday when Jason Goodall called him "the Monogram Maestro" on ESPN2 during Rafa's semi with Nole. I haven't laughed that hard in months!

Karen said...

One of the reasons why I like coming here is because at times you have information that is so relevant, for example your sitting in on conference calls with the powers that be and then informing us lesser beings about what is happening in tennis. You are one of the few blogs on the internet that really gets into the nitty gritty of the sport. That being said, I think you belittle your otherwise excellent writing skills by repeatedly offending fans of your blog by calling a player who many love (not because they are Worshipful, but because they love his tennis) by repeatedly using a name that belittles the gentleman in question. Nowhere else on the internet have I gone and heard another blogger use a name that is sure to inspire wrath by fans. FortyDeuce does not like Federer, and she will sometimes post a picture and say whatever, or no comment. My step mother always said if you dont have anything good to say dont say anything. Like I said, I like visiting your blog as I find the information here to be very information. However, I can do without the name calling.

Savannah said...

Fortydeuce is a she? I didn't know.

Jason Goodall huh? I missed that because I wasn't home and the family wouldn't appreciate me glued to a computer monitor during a gathering. Hi-larious.

But Karen he is defining himself by that monogram. If he's using it as part of his persona I don't think it's an insult to call him "Monogram". I used to call him Captain Wasabi after a joke he played on Mirka in Japan a few years ago.

I call lots of players out of their names. I call Maria the Siberian Bansidhe for example and Novak is Djoke or Djoker.
Like I said he's putting it out there so he deserves to be called on it.

Helen W said...

Actually Karen, it was well-known sports journalist Charles Bricker who coined the phrase "Mr. Monogram." Of course I can't be sure if he was the first, but like so many others, he was repelled by what he termed Federer's ostentatious monogram.

And, just to be crystal clear, not all Federer fans are members of The Worshipful. Lots manage a spot of objectivity (like most fans of other players), rather than grovelling, slavish obeisance, coupled with outrage should anybody dare to suggest that their Tennis God is less than perfect. But The Worshipful! They even make up virtues for him -- like how he probably doesn't want to play a night match so he can scamper home to be with the twins. Too bad that right after that little fantasy he hung around in the locker room to play pacman after his match. Oh well, no doubt he'll scamper right home *next* time.

If even Jason Goodall, a Federer fawnboy if ever there was one, calls him "the Monogram" then maybe the problem is not with everyone else, but with HIM -- and of course, that cohort of his fans that cannot brook any criticism of him -- i.e. The Worshipful.

BTW, I note that you call Justin Gimelstob "Slob." I can't say that I blame you. But is that name calling or not?

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, you are clearly on a mission today.

I hope all is okay in your world, sistergirl.


I just tonight looked at the WTA draw for the Rogers Cup. I had no idea Clijsters beat Azarenka.

Savannah, you owe me a drink. ;)

calle said...

Hi Savannah, I've noticed many times in your blog that you hint that draws are rigged and not random. You are just joking right?

Agree about Flavia, playing New Haven seems like a strange decision, She did really well in the beginning of the US Open Series but ran out of gas, a week of rest before the Open would probably have been a better option. Ana on the other hand should have done like Kuznetsova and gone for a WC there.

Savannah said...

Hi Calle

Regarding the "randomness" of draws I'm not joking.

Computers spit out what they're told to. If a certain result is wanted the program can be written to achieve said result.

When I see the same thing happening over and over, Player "A" for example always drawing qualifiers, those returning from injury, or players who are incapable of getting over the name of the person they're playing I smell a rat, especially when other players constantly face a "murderer's row" of players who are rising, at their peak, or have given said player trouble before.

Since I only posted about the women's draw I'll say this - Sharapova will be "hidden" somewhere in the middle of the draw and face qualifers, WC's and/or those returning from injury. Will Nadia Petrova be somewhere in the vicinity? Of course.

Does that mean there are hidden agendas? I'd say they're not so hidden and that there are agendas that have to do with marketing and sponsorships. I'd love to be proven wrong. We'll see.

calle said...

Ok, that is quite a big accusation against the integrity of the sport and sounds very much like a conspiracy theory. How do "they" pull it off with draw ceremonies and everything? And there must be lots of colliding interests, tournament organizers want interesting matches early on, Adidas and Nike have their agendas and so on.

Pretty hard to prove a conspiracy theory wrong, it's always easy to see pattern in random results afterward depending on the glasses you put on. I don't think there is a poker player in the world who think he is luckier than average, they all have the cards against them. And my favorite tennis players seem to get tough draws while the ones I dislike get cupcake draws all the time.

Savannah said...

I've been saying it for at least a couple of years now Calle.

As always I invite anyone to pay attention to the draws not only at majors but at the "smaller" events as well. Don't forget there are only four majors. Smaller events include Masters 1000's and WTA Premier/Premier 5 events.

I take a lot of heat for my position. Then again I'm used to cooking in a hot kitchen. ;)

Karen said...

The point that everyone seems to miss in these draw discussions is the fact that there are 2 tiers of tennis. You have the elite players and then you have the not so elite players. The elite players will always have draws that look like cupcakes and the non-elite ones always look like they have a hard road to travel. Every single time I hear how Verdasco is a threat to Nadal or Federer or Murray etc I want to kick somebody. The same holds true for David Ferrer, Karlovic, Simon, Davydenko and a whole host of others who reside in the top 10 or even in the top 20. These players may have a good day now and again, but by no means are they a threat on any surface to the top 4 or even top 5 guys. Their games are built around one thing and one thing only, whether it is movement or serve. They are not complete packages. On the women's side it is the same thing. The top tier of women's tennis has about 4 women that you can put in the quarters or semis of every single event. At the majors, the list grows a little bit because of dark horses. However, if anyone thinks that Petrova, Bammer, Stosur (kick serve be damned), Pannetta etc are threats to the top tier of women's tennis and women are quaking in their boots when they see certain players (except for Venus if she sees Flavia), especially in a Grand Slam, then you guys must be seeing something that I am not seeing. For me a dangerous player in my fave's part of the draw is for me one who has taken said player down when Player A is playing reasonably well, i.e. a Stosur against Serena or Flavia against Venus. Most of the top tier of tennis on both the men's and women's sides have an uneven record against the rest of the field. This comes from years of playing tournments and having a good win/loss record against the rest of the field. Nadal has an inhuman h2h against the rest of the Spanish players, as well as most of the rest of the men's tour. The same holds true for Roger. Both men have played unbelievable tennis for the past 5 years and it is a reason why they are or were at the top of men's tennis for so long.

rabbit said...

Jason Goodall, a Federer fawnboy.....what?? Every time I hear him at a Federer match, he is carping on Roger, making sarcastic jibes and berating his "poor" shot selection. I don't know, he may have been at one point, but certainly not now that a certain British player is up there. Same with Doug Adler. Robbie Koenig is very fair, I think.

Savannah said...

Craig one Moscow Mule coming up. :)

It's true Goodall has become a fawnboy for a different player now but back in the day he and Koenig would drive me to drink.

Adler has his favorites too but he's never been as bad as Robbie and Jason. They were once big Djoker fawnboys but that fawndom has fallen by the wayside.

Helen W said...

rabbit even Steve Tignor has commented on how biased Robbie Koenig is when commentating on Federer's matches (sorry, not going to bother looking it up for you). It took Koenig & Goodall MONTHS to stop calling Federer "The World No 1" after Rafa ascended to that position.

I haven't listened to them comment lately so I don't know if they have in any way tried to be more even-handed, or whether they have jumped onto other bandwagons, but I have yet to see them even attempt to be even-handed in their commentary if they have a personal favourite.