I've taken a few days off. I haven't watched any tennis or been on Twitter for a few days now because I felt so "tennised out". Rumors about the Monogram got me to start poking around and seeing what the hell is going on in the wonderful world of tennis. Some of the news may be old but it's worth repeating in case some of you, like me, needed a mental health break.
From James H Martin on Twitter:
Federer out of Shanghai Masters with back injury. His back does tend to act up outside of the majors, huh?
Can't vouch for the man but thought you all would like to know the latest chit chat...
And it goes on...
Nice commentary and a bit of truth from New York Magazine
Because we like baseball more than other sports, we're going to make a baseball analogy to what happened to Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals on Saturday. The Yankees are up one run in the bottom of the ninth inning of a deciding playoff game, with a runner on first base and no one out. Bobby Abreu hits a ground ball to Robinson Cano, who flips to Derek Jeter, and on to first for the double play. But it turns out that Jeter didn't actually touch the bag on the turn — applying the "phantom" tag, which is generally acceptable and never, ever called — and the umps decide, today, for whatever reason, to call the runner safe. When Jeter and Joe Girardi argue, the umpires decide to give the Angels the run, and then another, costing the Yankees the game. If that happened, one doubts Girardi would be all that calm either.
Serena Williams, in the wake of her expletive-laden outburst on Saturday, has been fined $10,500, and there is some talk of a suspension. This is insane. Five facts:
1. There was no foot fault. Continued replays have shown that Williams's foot was not over the line on the serve, which caused a double fault, and the outburst.
2. Even if she did foot fault, you can't make that call. Like the phantom tag in baseball, that's not a call you ever make on a second serve — obviously, Williams had no real advantage with her foot near the line on a serve she's just trying to get in play — and that's definitely a call you don't make when someone's serving for their life in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
3. The line judge is oversensitive. As if it weren't bad enough that the line judge — whose name, strangely, has not been released by the USTA — made the ridiculous call, she then, after being yelled at by Serena, scampered over to the head judge to make sure Serena was penalized another point. This happened to be match point. Now, let's be clear: Contrary to the headlines, Serena did not tell the line judge she would kill her. She said she wanted to take the ball and shove it down her fucking throat. Not exactly charming, no, but not fatal! More to the point: Is this the first time the line judge has ever been yelled at in a match? Did she really feel so "threatened" that she had to end the match? Shouldn't a line judge have a thicker skin that that?
4. Serena did not have a meltdown. She said a few "fucking"s and pointed a few times with her racket. Has no one ever seen Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe before? Serena, in the heat of a massively important match, lost her cool for a second, and said some things she surely regrets. But for crying out loud, what did she do that was so horrible? John McEnroe once sacrificed a goat at center court of Wimbledon after a bad call. (Note: This anecdote might be made up, but you get the point.) We're worried about Serena screaming after a wretched call? They're talking about suspending her? When did we become such wimps?
5. The role of a referee/umpire/judge is not to be noticed, and to let the players decide the match themselves. The line judge put herself at the middle of the action and let her own inability to handle an angry player decide who won the semifinal at the U.S. Open. We cannot fathom why she's not taking more heat. Because if we were Serena Williams ... we would have wanted to shove that ball down her throat, too.
Oh, and Kim Clijsters ended up winning the women's singles title last night. No one will remember that, though.
Cablevision and Tennis Channel
Tennis Channel has, at least for the moment, lost its battle with Cablevision. The channel has agreed to release its signal to Cablevision, even though Cablevision customers will have to pay an additional monthly fee for a sports package to view it. Tennis Channel had repeatedly said Cablevision’s terms were unacceptable and that Cablevision customers ought to receive the station with their standard cable packages. While Tennis Channel’s move to release its signal will please tennis fans who are Cablevision customers, it might well leave many of them wondering why Tennis Channel did not give in to Cablevision’s demands prior to the U.S. Open. Cablevision customers could not watch Tennis Channel during the U.S. Open because of the dispute. In a statement, Tennis Channel described the decision as a temporary move under its contract with the National Cable Television Cooperative, a group that negotiates programming deals. Cablevision had claimed that Tennis Channel was required to release its signal under the NCTC contract. —Tom Perrotta
Justine Henin news:
Justine Henin, on what prompted her comeback: "The victory of Roger Federer at Roland Garros really spoke to me... That brought back emotions in me and I felt something was missing."
On the scope of her comeback: "If I'm coming back, it's not for one year. It will be for three or four years, and then there is an important occasion, the London Olympics in 2012, the year I'll be 30."
Carlos Rodriguez, who will resume coaching Justine Henin on tour, says one of the driving forces behind her comeback is the desire to win Wimbledon and complete the career Slam. "Wimbledon, the fourth major, one wants to have it," he said. "It's one of the reasons for the return."
When Henin told him she wanted to play again, said Rodriguez, "It truly surprised me." But, he added, "Tennis, it's what she loves. I'm happy for her."
Update on Gasquet
Richard Gasquet is searching for a new coach for next year, reports L'Equipe.
The paper added that Yannick Noah has advised Gasquet to pick a foreign coach who speaks French and specifically mentioned Brad Stine, the former coach of Jim Courier and Sebastien Grosjean.
Gasquet will play the third ATP event of his comeback this week in Metz, having won a French league event last week by beating Fabrice Santoro in the final.
I thought Gasquet was tied to Lagardere. By the way "Pamela" has been ordered into rehab.
Damir Dokic's 15 month sentence has been upheld by a Serbian court. Hope that he gets the help he obviously needs.
Andy Murray has released a calendar featuring his physique. Just the Christmas gift for someone you feel close to.