Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not So Idle Chit Chat

by Savannah

Play started today at the BNP Paribas Open/Indian Wells. Of course none of the top seeds were playing but there were some interesting match ups for hard core tennis fans. I guess we tennisheads should be used to the cameras being turned off until the Big Babes and Boys begin to play but it's really not fair. Sometimes someone perceived as cannon fodder goes on a tear and makes a deep run in a tournament. Of course no one will be able to say "I saw the change in his/her game from their first match" because for most of us early round play consists of scoreboard watching. In the United States preseason baseball, basketball and football are televised. This way if some kid just up from the minors gets hot fans can see his development. I wish TPTB in tennis would recognize that fact. I would have loved to see how Patty Schnyder, coming back from injury, played today. Jelena Dokic, who hasn't been seen much at all this year, plays today not to mention Magdalena Rybarikova plays Justine Henin. You'd think the cameras would be on for that match. Don't scoff. I've seen them turn the cameras on for one match that involved Maria Sharapova and turn them back off. On the men's side I would like to have seen Michael Russell and Lester Cook as well as Ryan Sweeting. As it stands I'll have to wait and see who makes it through to Friday.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how Australian tennis is in turmoil with accusations flying left and right. In the same post I talked about the state of quiet desperation tennis in the United States is in. So how are the Brit's doing?

It seems all hell broke loose after the British Davis Cup team, led by John Lloyd, above, best known on this side of the pond for being Chris Evert's first husband, lost to Lithuania. The whole point of Davis Cup is that any country, on any given day, can beat another country. The loss to "lowly" Lithuania however has caused the tennis bigwigs in Britain to pull their hair out by the roots and begin to demand something to show for the large amounts of money that have been tossed at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

Admittedly I don't know much about John Lloyd's tennis brain but I wonder if he's going down in flames for problems he did not create.

Back in 2006 Roger Draper took over the LTA based on his success with Sport England and I remember him vowing to stop the bullshit and bring success to British tennis. To say that hasn't happened is an understatement.
There were rumors of tons of money was allocated to "stipends" for promising young British players and there was talk of stopping the payments unless there were results on the tennis courts. Now, along with John Lloyd, calls are being made asking that Draper step aside.

So who would take John Lloyd's place? Talk is that Tim Henman is in the running. Boris Becker, who, when last I checked, is German, has also thrown in his two cents. I guess since the roots of the current British Royal Family are German he has the right to register an opinion.
Meanwhile The BBC posted the following:

World number four Andy Murray won both his singles matches for Britain as they lost to Poland in September, but missed the match against Lithuania to concentrate on preparing for this season's Grand Slams.

The Scot, who moved to Spain as a teenager to continue his training, was supported in his decision by Draper, though David Lloyd believes Murray should have been encouraged to play.

"Murray didn't come from the system. His mother was brave enough to take him out of it," said Lloyd, who is also a successful entrepreneur with a chain of fitness and tennis clubs.
"Roger is wrong endorsing the fact that Andy shouldn't have played. That was a bad call.

"I would try and encourage him to play and give something back to the game.
"I would ask him to play against Turkey. We want him to help our young kids. We all owe something to the game."

The article is based on comments by David Lloyd who is, you guessed it, John Lloyd's brother. He is also a former Davis Cup captain which totally gives him the right to speak. I also think his talk of "encouraging" Andy Murray to play the tie against Turkey stops just short of dark colored vans and men in black. I think.

Serena Williams Wins Laureus Award

Serena Williams has won the Laureus Award for Sportswoman of the Year for the second time. The award was given to her for winning two grand slams and regaining the number one ranking in women's tennis in 2009. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the men's award. Kim Clijsters won the comeback award. Serena has also won the Comeback Player of the Year award making her the recipient of three Laureus awards.

End Notes

I took a few days off and of course the world kept turning. In the little reported on WTA tournament in Monterrey, Mexico Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Daniela Hantuchova to win the title. With the men playing Davis Cup it was the only pro level event last week.

Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova won the Doubles Crown.

Meanwhile David Nalbandian, who flew to Sweden from Argentina at the last minute to help motivate his countrymen during their tie against Sweden ended up catapulting them to victory. Nalbandian has been out for months with injury and was not expected to be able to contribute much.

After John Isner's heroics in defeat Nalbandian's is the biggest story to come out of last weekends play.


Karen said...

Savannah, just a correction. This is the third time that Serena has won the Laureus Award. Twice for Sportswoman of the Year and once for Comeback Player of the Year.
On Davis Cup. You all know that I am a big Roger Federer fan, but I have to tell you that I was very disappointed with him not even going to Spain to cheer on the team from the sidelines. Yes I know he was ill and everything but if he could fly to the US to start practising then he could have diverted the private jet to Spain and cheered on his team mates from the sideline. Nalbandian did it, he could have done the same.

Savannah said...

Thanks for the correction Karen. I wasn't aware that Serena had won the Comeback Player award.

Karen said...

In 2007 when she won the Australian Open, Miami and I think another tournament. Cannot remember which one now.