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.


Helen W said...

I have never watched the draw unfold, so I don't know the process.

If the players reach into a bowl of slips of paper with a player's name and a draw slot number, it is hard to see how it could be really rigged (assuming that the bowl is never removed from the table where the drawing is taking place). If the players push a key on a computer keyboard, then the program could be doing anything behind the scenes. (Of course it would have to be written to follow the basic rules, but apart from that, it would be mere child's play to unrandomize the rest of the process.)

Given some highly improbable draws in the past, plus the fact that the AELTC admits that they assign courts to female players based on their looks (which shows them not to be above manipulating outcomes), it does not seem unlikely that there is some hanky-panky going on.

I know that in one USO, Mr. Monogram had 8 qualifiers plus a WC in his quarter of the draw. When I did a quick and dirty probability calculation on that draw, its probability came out as less than 1 in 10,000.

OK, improbable things happen, just as probability theory says they must. When they keep happening to the same people, it is not outlandish to suppose that there is some manipulation going on behind the scenes -- rather the otherwise.

Before people start accusing anyone who even suggests that the draws may be manipulated, they should take a look at some of the evidence that suggests it, rather than toss off some ad hominem remark about "conspiracy theorists."

sG said...

Yay!!! It's Grand Slam time!!! I really will miss USA network's coverage for the reason you state. Pure tennis, no ifs, ands or programming excuses about it. ESPN will not measure up. I'm pretty damn sure of it.

I didn't realize how much I missed watching my favorite Mallorcan until I saw a couple of his "I've returned" matches. I don't expect much from him at the U.S. Open, or really for the rest of the year. Just steady progress (one hopes) to a condition and state-of-play he can be happy with. GO RAFA!!!!