Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Week That Was

by Savannah

Now that Andre Agassi has admitted his use of meth went on for "a year or so" the ball is now firmly back in the ATP's court. When all is said and done it is the ATP that has to explain why it accepted the now admitted lie of drinking the wrong glass of soda or whatever and allowed Agassi to avoid drug testing that caused other - dare I say lesser - players to lose their source of income.

I really don't care about the hair or his jealousy because his then wife was doing her job. I refuse to be sidetracked by bullshit. What I do care about is the information given by players while this was all going on. I care what Nicolas Escude and Marcelo Rios said. I care what the ATP didn't say or do. I care about titles that may have been won while a player was "under the influence". I care that the "tennis press" (an oxymoron at this point) seems to have been an active participant in the cover up.

In the final analysis the sport of tennis has been damaged not because of a hair piece. It's been damaged because fans now know that anti drug testing was done on every Spanish player at some ungodly hour of the morning. We know that Belgian players were recently hauled before the anti drug administrators for missing drug tests. We know about Guillermo Canas and Guillermo Coria. We know about Volandri. And heaven knows we know about Richard Gasquet kissing the wrong girl and Mariano Puerta ingesting his wife's meds. And now we know that TPTB may have actively participated in covering up drug use by a man who was at that time one of it's star players. It was a secret only to the fans since players knew what was going on and spoke about it. Because the allegations were in the foreign press the US press could ignore it.

The last thing the ATP wants is for a completely independent look at just what was going on in men's tennis, specifically United States tennis, at that time. Who are the seven players who had positive tests that were ignored? At this time the only two players I'm willing to give a pass to are Pete Sampras and Michael Chang. Everyone else, Borg, Agassi, John McEnroe, is fair game.


It's been a strange week. The White Group, which consisted of "the future of women's tennis" has shown that they are really not ready for prime time. Between the tears, playacting, inability to handle the heat of the desert not to mention "fractured" backs that became "unfractured" and you have a soap opera. Meanwhile the "old biddies" of the Maroon Group seem to be doing just fine, nagging injuries and all. Almost all of the women in the Maroon group are pushing thirty and yet we've seen better tennis from them. If the future of women's tennis consists of drama taking the place physical and mental toughness we're in the deep end of the pool kiddies.


Anil John posted the following in the online edition of the Gulf Times.

Dinara Safina may be missing out on a large fan base because many in this part of the world are unaware she is a Muslim or simply don’t care. Both attitudes are based on some serious fault lines.
Now, I know all about keeping religion away from sport and that sports stars should be appreciated for what they do on the court and not on the basis of what faith they belong to. But in Safina’s case I don’t mind sticking my head out and ask some tough questions.

The lack of adulation for Safina is strange and incomprehensible for the simple reason that the Muslim world is so desperately short of women role models.

When Moroccan male tennis players such as Younes el-Aynaoui – a winner in Doha – and Hicham Arazi were regulars at the Qatar Open, fans packed the stands to cheer their every shot. But when Safina plays there’s hardly a ripple of excitement. It’s a question that demands serious answers. Is this because Safina is a woman, one is tempted to ask.

I find this a very odd time for an article like this to appear regarding Dinara Safina and tangentially her brother Marat Safin. With all the other pressure on Dinara right now does she really need a controversial issue like this on her shoulders? It's never really been a secret, their profiles on Wiki clearly state their religion, so my question is why now?

Anne Keothavong gets my "Heroine of the Week" award for asking why everyone is so surprised about Agassi. Once again those pesky foreigners seem to be much more informed than those of us on this side of the Atlantic.

There are actually three men's events taking place this week in Lyon, Wien, and St Petersburg. The results have been interesting to say the least. Add Horatio Zeballos to the top fifty after his performance this week after his breakthrough performance in St Petersburg.

Cara Black and Liezel Huber have secured the number one ranking in women's doubles for the third consecutive year. Congratulations ladies!


Karen said...

I understand that if Venus and Serena win Doha then they will be the No. 1 doubles team. I also think that is the motivation for why both Sisters are continuing to gut out wins, at least on Serena's part. I think she wants to end the year as No. 1 in both singles and doubles. That would be some feat.

kraa said...

Why Sampras and Chang? Not at all obvious to me...

Craig Hickman said...

Say it again, Savannah.

All of it.

vw said...

Another easy draw for Fed.

Savannah said...

Kraa I'm not a big fan of Sampras but call me naive I just don't see him drinking the wrong soda. Don't forget Sampras was not one of the anointed until they looked up and found out he was still there. As for Chang I just don't see the anything goes mentality coinciding with his beliefs.

vw I laughed when I saw that draw. I kept expecting him to withdraw but why would he?

Christian said...

Unfractured lol? I just read an article that said she may miss the AO...the question is...What did I miss? lol

vw said...

Fed and the old cupcake again. Amazing isn't it? Djok has Cilic, Wawrinka, Karlovic, Benneteau.

Karen said...

So on the front page of ESPN this morning we finally have words from Brad Gilbert, the coach of Agassi from 1994 to 2000 or thereabouts and according to him he had no idea that Andre was on drugs or that he hated his father. You show me a player on either tour who does not have a coach that they confide everything to. Even Sharapova and Federer two of the most closeted tennis pros I have ever seen have relative close relationships with their coaches. From what we know of Gilbert, does anyone honestly think that he did not know that Andre was on drugs or that he hated his father? What, do we look like idiots or what?

Savannah said...

Christian Dinara has confirmed that she will play Brisbane.

Karen I'm sure everyone has consulted their lawyer and we're going to see some interesting comments going forward.
And yes, they think we're stupid.

As for Basel, what can anyone say? The draws are random.

Karen said...

@vw, before we start the whole discussion about cupcakes, I thought I would provide you with this information on the h2h between Roger and the 4 names that you mentioned:
Cilic 1-0; Karlovic 9-1; Stan 3-1 and Benneteau 2-0. First number denotes Roger's win, second the opponent.
On the other hand, here is the h2h with Novak of the same 4 gentlemen:
Cilic 4-0; Karlovic 1-1; Wawrinka 6-2 and Benneteau 3-1. As can clearly be seen Novak also has an excellent record against all the gentlemen that you have named.
Fact is that Roger has been on tour a long time, he has also been dominant for a long time, and there is no doubt that he will have a winning h2h against most of the members of the ATP, therefore it is going to be extremely difficult to give him a draw that could be considered a really tough draw, as against a cup cake. Just saying.

Karen said...

Savannah, that is so true. A lot of people are going to be losing a lot of credibility over this whole thing. It is becoming extremely funny to observe everyone coming out and saying "I did not know". Yeah right.

rabbit said...

Agree with everyone here on the comments about Agassi.

Thanks for the quote about Dinara! It is a strange one. I've always thought it strange that the orthodox Muslims made so much of a fuss about Sania and nothing at all about Dinara. But perhaps, the cultural distance between the Tatars and Arabs outweighs any religious similarities. Anyways, maybe, Dinara could have been an inspiration to Muslim girls if she did bring up her religion. But she doesn't and that is her right. (I'm glad she doesn't.)

About the cupcake draw, what to say? Karen said it all :) Oli Rochus, Roger's first round opponent, just got to the finals of Stockholm. Not the easiest opener, I'd say. Melzer just won a tournament. And like Karen said, Djokovic doesn't really have a bad record against any of the guys on his side. By the way, Nadal also got Blake, Gonzalez, Kohlschreiber on his side in Beijing.

I'm missing David Nalbandian.

Karen said...

hi Rabbit, it is interesting what you can find out on the ATP site if you just take the time to look. Yesterday, I did an analysis of the h2h of Federer and Nadal against the players ranked 3-26 and I have to tell you that there is no way that either of these 2 gentlemen will ever get a draw that is not considered a cup cake draw. Federer's head to head with ATP members ranked 3-26 is 183-36, that is 183 wins against 36 losses. Nadal on the other hand h2h against the same set of players is 124-40. I am sure that one of the reasons why the stats are so skewed with more wins for Federer is because he has been on tour longer than Nadal, but give him time, he will have the same statistics as Federer. The bottom line is that these 2 guys are a cut above everyone else and the stats prove it. I wont even bother to go to the Top 50 or the Top 100 because then we would be going into ridiculous numbers. So, from here on in every draw that Federer and Nadal gets will be a cup cake draw because frankly speaking that is what it is, but not by design but because of their records in the ATP.

Karen said...

Someone posted this over at as reported by JonW:
So Jon W speculates:

"A source close to Agassi offered a third explanation. Inasmuch as Agassi is considering a future in politics, his dalliance with crystal meth qualifies as a "skeleton in the closet," the kind of unflattering tidbit that, if brought to light at an inopportune time, could derail an election. By coming out with the admission now, Agassi preempts any embarrassing "gotcha" scandal and gets to control the message. I have no idea if this true, but it might be worth bearing in mind."
@HelenW and others who were speculating that this was not a clean revelation and that there must be something behind it, there you go. Confirmation. As we say in Jamaica, if it nuh go so, it nearly go so.