Monday, May 31, 2010

Paris In the Spring - RG Day 9

by Savannah

Samantha Stosur got the biggest win of her career today by ousting Justine Henin 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. The match was played on Lenglen.

Samantha will next face Serena Williams who easily won her match over Shahar Peer today. Serena is now the only American, male or female, left in the French Open draw. I guess the posts questioning her status and fitness will flood the fan boards today.

We Remember


Today is the day Americans pay homage to our war dead. It's a day for franks, burgers, steaks, fries, beer and sports. I plan to be camped out in front of the television with my laptop at hand watching the Yankees play baseball.

If tennis news warrants it I'll update later in the day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paris in the Spring - RG Day 8

by Savannah
The day dawned damp and cloudy in Paris. It meant that the clay would be slow and that the players who had made it this far playing hard court tennis would have a hard row to hoe.
The first victim of the terre battue was Venus Williams. Nadia Petrova, the fire still burning in her eyes, was better suited to today's condtions.

Sometimes another fan says something better than you. Tennishead "Nelslus" made the following observations regarding Venus Williams and Roland Garros.

As soon as I saw what the weather was like today in Paris, I knew that the faint chance V had today was over and done. V's only prayer today was a nice and hot day, where she could have played more of a hard court match. ANY kind of clay match, and either Nadia or Rezai were gonna win. Nadia is simply a better clay court player than Venus. will always kill me that V won't win all of the Slam titles. ...I still think that there's some faint hope for V to get an Aussie title. But, V's window for winning Roland Garros closed years ago. She was excellent at clay at non-Roland Garros tournaments years ago, but IMO never took Roland Garros seriously enough when she had her shot at winning the thing (albeit sometimes her body broke down on her, too)- when there weren't quite as many excellent clay court players as there are today.

Not much else to say is there?
The good news was that unlike other American's who suffered disappointing losses Venus played her scheduled doubles match with her sister Serena Williams.

If people stayed the same there would be no such thing as personal growth or repentance would there?
Several of you have written to say that your attitude towards Maria Sharapova has evolved and that your hostility level has declined significantly. There was a saying that I grew up with that went "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger". The other one is "suffering is seasoning." I'm sure every culture has their version of these expressions. They both came to mind when I read the following comments Maria made after her loss today to Justine Henin. Both come from Piers Newbery's Twitter page.
Asked about scheduling Sharapova laughs: "I'll be politically correct. Wouldn't you love that little drama for your English papers?"

And there's this.
Gallows humour from Sharapova in her presser: "I gave the French fans what they wanted, a Justine win. Merry Christmas!"

Maria had 15 break points and converted only 3. She was the second victim of the terre battue today. Despite her determination her game is not suited for slow clay and she lost even though she didn't play badly. Would she have won if she'd continued to play yesterday? That's water under the bridge. Both she and her opponent did not want to play on in the dark. Their wishes were granted.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pushed through the pain and completed his last match. Today the pain proved to be too much and he retired after the first set of his match against Mikhail Youzhny. Jo plays best on a hard or indoors surface. Who knows if the conditions had been faster he would've been able to soldier on? At any rate he will get a chance to rest and be ready for London.

I watched the Stan Wawrinka vs the Monogram match online. In fact I did most of my tennis viewing online today but more on that later. Stan looked like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was throughout the match. Several chances to break were not taken and the inevitable happened. If you get a chance take a look at the top half of the men's draw. That is all I'm going to say.

I should also mention that in her loss to Caroline Wozniacki Flavia Pennetta hit 45 winners while Sunshine hit only 22.

It drizzled on and off all day in Paris but the only real rain came during the Andy Murray/Tomas Berdych match. The precipitation was hard enough to force the match to be suspended. The match resumed about 8:30p Paris time and was played to completion.
Andy Murray was fighting the slow surface, the darkness, and everyone in his box as he never got on track and lost to Tomas Berdych in straight sets. There's a segment on Tennis Channel where they tell the players not to let your opponent know you're upset. They should modify it to say when playing before drunken French fans you should think twice about letting them see you're having a mental melt down. There weren't that many people in the stands but once they saw that their "Ole" chant was getting to Murray they went to town on him. One even yelled out, in English, that he should be okay with the weather since it was just like Scotland's.

Towards the end of the match Murray went on a cursing jag that would've made Andy Roddick blush. They say that very nearsighted people like me do more than their share of lip reading to get by. That doesn't make us good lip readers it's just that we know how the mouth looks when speaking certain words. The next time the sanctimonious prudes of the USTA move to fine anyone for conduct unbecoming the player should play this tape for them although I seriously doubt that if Murray had done the same thing in Ashe stadium anything would've been done to him.

Of Embargoes and Other Such Nonsense

Once again NBC played it's trump card and embargoed the matches it wanted to air starting at noon Eastern time. This meant that Tennis Channel could not show Roger Federer's match, Venus Williams match and Maria Sharapova's match. What made today a little different was that these matches took place before noon Eastern time so they were available online. Some of us on Twitter debated what matches they would show since their coverage was still implied to be live. Well it wasn't. Like ESPN did Friday all of their coverage was taped. My daughter, who didn't have computer access where she was, thought the Sharapova match was live. She quickly figured out it wasn't and texted a friend for the scores. I thought they would show the Murray/Berdych match since they had a three hour window and had gone past 3p the day before with the Sharapova/Henin match. I've been told I think too much and once again it was proven that I do. The match was available online though and many were able to see it.

What I don't understand is this. If you're going to show what amounts to a highlight reel of select matches let fans see the matches live when they take place. While many have computer access many don't and rely on their DVR's to record matches they can watch when they arrive home.

Fortunately for those who have access to it ESPN3 is back tomorrow. ESPN2 will take over coverage at noon Eastern time but if it's at all possible it's worth waking up at 5a, again Eastern, to catch Tennis Channel's live coverage. Katrina Adams has joined the crew in Paris and will provide her insights.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Paris in the Spring - RG Day 7

by Savannah

From the American perspective there were a couple of big upsets and a major surprise today.

Things got off on the wrong foot when top ranked Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan lost to the Brazilian team of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 3-6, 6-7(8-6). The Bryans had come to Europe early and played on the dirt. After their loss they said they were heading back to California implying that they were home sick and had been in Europe too long.

Soon after this loss perennial top ten player Andy Roddick lost to Teimuraz Gabashvili, the Russian qualifer 4, 4 and 2. I'd heard of Gabashvili prior to today and seen him play unlike the announcers who seemed not to have a clue who he was let alone that he was capable of playing good clay court tennis. While both men had 20 unforced errors Gabashvili had a stunning 58 winners compared to Roddick's 14 with Gabashvili winning a total of 102 points against Roddick's 73.

One blogger posted these comments after the match.

For Andy Roddick, Paris Was Just Practice
No, much like Murray, who has fought his way to another second week appearance, Roddick meant to use Paris as a springboard to later results. They may well spar for the title in Queens, where Murray is defending champion and Roddick has lifted the title four times.
Roddick in particular will enjoy moving to surfaces where his serve will count for more and opponents won’t have so much time for passing shots.

That left the forgotten American, Robby Ginepri(above), as the last man standing. I don't know why Ginepri is always an afterthought but today he became the lead when he managed to pull out a 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4 win over Juan Carlos Ferrero who on paper had to be the prohibitive favorite to move on to the next round. Ginepri will play Novak Djokovic next.

Lost in all the talk about the American men was Serena Williams overcoming a dizzy spell and winning her match over the young up and coming Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Serena blasted through the first set managing to execute a slide into a shot to perfection along the way. When she started the second set it was as if she was on one of her sister's walkabout's. She called for the trainer who took her temperature and checked her pulse before giving her some medication. That did the trick as Serena righted the ship and won 6-1, 1-6, 6-2. She was going to take the court to play doubles with her sister Venus Williams but their opponents, Caroline Wozniacki and Daniela Hantuchova, both still active in the singles draw, withdrew.

The conclusion of the match between Aravane Rezai and Nadia Petrova ended with Nadia winning 10-8 in the third set. You hardly knew anyone was in the stands.

The most anticipated match of the day, at least by the American announcers, was the one between Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin. The French fans didn't seem too interested as there were tons of empty seats in Chatrier.

The match started late and the first set belonged to Henin. She was bossing a listless Sharapova around the court and it looked as if she was going to run away with the match. Instead Maria woke up and the second set was an eye opener. Sharapova, using every inch of her six foot plus frame jerked Henin around the court like a marionette. In a dominating display she rolled over Henin 6-3 after losing the first set 6-2. Where Justine had made Maria chase drop shots and short balls in the first set Maria just, to borrow a phrase, made every shot a power shot (Thanks to Canon for coining that one). There was nothing Justine or Carlos could do.
Once again the players took the court after 8p Paris time and it was never a question that the match would either be over or stopped after the second set. The NBC announcers were aghast asking why Maria wanted to stop. Maybe because it was dark? I mean d'uh. Gael Monfils was raked over the coals by the media and some fans for choosing to continue when he felt he was on a roll just a couple of days ago. I guess it's different when the talking heads are fans of the player they want to continue.

In Other News...

I watched most of the match between Jarmila Groth and Anastasia Rodionova this morning my time. What should have been a straight set victory for Groth ended up going three sets when Groth, serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, froze and lost that set 7-5. She came back to win the third set 6-2. I wasn't impressed with either woman.

Groth will play Yaroslava Shvedova in the next round. I didn't see any of this match.

End Note

I warned everyone that NBC had afternoon coverage today and tomorrow. Going in I knew there wouldn't be ESPN3 to fall back on if they totally screwed up but I assumed there would be live streams. I assumed wrong. NBC made sure that every single live stream available in the United States was shut down. That meant whether you wanted to or not you had to watch the matches of most interest to the perceived American audience as defined by the tennis folks at NBC. My fangirl streak came out on Twitter because I didn't have the choice of watching the match I wanted to watch. Of course every player has his or her KAD's so some people were very happy since players like Fernando Verdasco and the aforementioned Robby Ginepri made it onto American television screens. Yes that is a good thing. But I wanted to see another match. Isn't the digital age all about choice?

Last but not least The Slob got to interview Roger Rasheed and Marat Safin. I have no clue what either Rasheed or Marat said. Rasheed I wasn't that interested in but as far as Marat went I just wanted to look at the pretty. Apparently so did The Slob who couldn't resist touching either man. Maybe that's just his way. I don't know. I read reports that Marat chided him for only showing him breaking racquets instead of showing some of his wins. Davai Marat.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Paris in the Spring - RG Day 6

by Savannah
I hate to always start out bitchin' but what in the names of all the gods are they thinking over at ESPN?! I don't think they've shown one second of live tennis since they came on the air at 12 noon Eastern US time.

When they started their coverage Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, back injury and all, was battling Thiemo de Bakker who had just beaten him in Barcelona. Did United States viewers get to see any of that match? Not unless their ISP allows ESPN3 or they had access to an online live stream.
And just now, in the Match of the Day, Nadia Petrova and Arazane Rezai split the first two sets and battled to a seven all tie in the third. Both women had match points and lost them. Nadia, more animated than I've ever seen her, was screaming for play to be stopped and Aravane, stubborn woman that she is, refused to give in. Once again unless you had online access you were watching matches played and decided earlier in the day. If all ESPN is going to do is tape all of their coverage as it happens and replay it during the afternoon it should not be implied that they are providing live coverage.
I'm not quite ignorant of the fact that they feel they're going with players who will attract American viewers but way back when it was matches like the one's I've mentioned above that made me a fan. Americans may not have a clue who Aravane Rezai or Nadia Petrova are but their match would have made new tennis fans. The same with the Tsonga vs De Bakker match. Jo was grimacing after every point and didn't even do his celebratory dance when the match was over. It's just very, very frustrating to hear and read the Grand Poobah's of tennis whining about why the fan base of tennis doesn't expand when they do their best to make sure fans see the same players over and over instead of exposing them to the greatness of the game regardless of who is playing.

In Other News...
Maria Kirlenko eliminated last years Women's Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Sveta had struggled throughout the tournament coming from behind to win both of her matches leading up to today. Maria will play Francesca Schiavone in the next round.

The dream match up between Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova will take place. Sharapova won her darkness delayed match over Kirsten Flipkens and Henin won her delayed match over Klara Zakopalova. May the best woman win.

John Isner had a very good clay season. He proved that he is more mature than his peer Sam Querrey. He lost today. I for one applaud him for crossing the pond early and getting good results on red dirt. It's going to pay off for him in the long run. Of course I said the same thing about Querrey and he may still show excellent results on clay. It's whether or not he can stand up to the stresses of high level tennis that are in question.
Elena Dementieva won her match today despite the wrapping on her calf.
Alexandra Dulgheru lost her match today.

End Note

Please note the weekend television schedule!
Tennis Channel will have coverage Saturday,May 29
5:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (live) R32
3:00-6:30 p.m. ET French Open Tonight
Sunday, May 30
5:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (live) R16
3:00-6:30 p.m. ET French Open Tonight

NBC Sports will have coverage Saturday, May 29
12:00-3:00 p.m. ET (live) R32

Sunday, May 30
12:00-3:00 p.m. ET (live) R16


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paris in the Spring - RG Day 5

by Savannah


DRAMA Takes Over the WTA

Did someone at the WTA consult with WWE folks and decide the way to make people watch their matches is to have it's players deliver verbal smack downs to each other? Today the barbs are flying hot and heavy. Here's a sample.

Q. This is going back a little bit, but you lost to Jelena in Madrid. I was wondering when you heard about that fist pump imitation she did after the match and just what your reaction was.
ANA IVANOVIC: You know, it's very, very hard for me to comment on that, you know. You know how they say: Sport doesn't build character. It shows it. Yeah, it's very hard for me to say.

Q. So apparently Ana was talking about what happened in Madrid after the match with you and the fist pump. You want to talk about, you know, your version of that? I know it was a big win for you, but why you decided...

JELENA JANKOVIC: What was her version?

Q. Well, she basically said that, you know, sports reveals character. That's what she was saying.

JELENA JANKOVIC: For me, you know, I don't need really to comment on that, you know. I don't think it's a right time to comment on this kind of thing.

But for me, as a player, it's ‑‑ every player has their way of, you know, motivating themselves and pumping themselves up, you know, if you win a point or you didn't win a point. But I don't think it's nice to put it, you know, the fist in their face. That's what can be a little irritating. That's the only ‑‑ but all the players, they do, you know, different kind of gestures, you know, with their hands.

But, you know, it's a little bit ‑‑ when you do that in the player's face, and especially after not winning a point after your opponent missed an easy ball, I don't think it's ‑‑ I don't think that's fair play.

Then there's this. The word "gross" in French means fat.

Notorious French interviewer Marc Olivier Fogiel has provoked outrage in France, following comments he made this morning on Europe 1 radio programme.
While another host was live on air reading out a biographical article about Marion, Fogiel, his microphone open, was overheard saying "Elle est grosse Marion Bartoli", translated as, "She is gross Marion Bartoli" - a blatantly derisory remark understood clearly enough in French and in English.

Walter Bartoli is understood to be extrememly angry and seeking to have it out with Fogiel on a French news station this evening.

Fogiel was previously embroiled in an incident over a racial slur, and two years running was voted the most disliked and unfriendly interviewer in France.

And this doozie. The link is in Russian.

Rausa Islanova on the split between her daughter Dinara Safina and Željko Krajan.

" Being a coach myself I can say that Krajan's coaching has produced almost zero result. I couldn't step it in because Dinara has got good results, (but) it had been based on her (previous)collaboration with her former coaches. Željko just listened to her and realized what were the things Dinara hadn't worked on with other coaches. Perhaps he used to say her something that she as a girl was pleased to hear. But the work that was to be done hasn't been done.

During this 2 years he hasn't make it better, he only made the shortcomings of her game worse. (Gaston) Etlis had arrived to Paris 2 days before the French Open started, Hernan Gumi had helped her before that. Anyway, problems can not be solved quickly and Dinara understands that.

It should be said that she did get to the Number #1 ranking and three Grand Slam finals. Anastasia Myskina said something very similar yesterday and also accused Kimiko Date Krumm of faking injury to throw Dinara off.

Finally there's this exchange reported by the Polish Press. The link is in Polish.

Robert Radwanski counted all errors of his daughter. Discretely, silently - hardly anyone heard it. Unfortunately Aga outbursted and started the polemic. She began: "Shut up, go home with all your mathematics, get out!" afterwards it got worse: "You're still counting? Fuck off! Do you understand? Fuck off!"

I wonder if they'll hand out popcorn before pressers and matches going forward?

Tennis News

There was tennis played today despite all the rain. Maybe some players would've preferred that their matches be postponed to tomorrow.
Alisa Kleybanova handed Ana Ivanovic a bagel.
Yaroslava Shvedova sent Agniezska Radwanska packing.
Jarmila Groth defeated injured Kimiko Date Krumm.
Anastasia Rodionova defeated Vera Zvonareva. The Tournament Director and the WTA must as thrilled as the French fans.
Gael Monfils threw away a two set lead to Fabio Fognini losing 9-7 in the darkness delayed fifth set of their match. Gael needs to decide if he wants to play tennis or continue to showboat.

End Notes

With all of the filmed footage available to ESPN of players from all over the world the casual American tennis fan has to be forgiven for thinking that the tennis world consists of Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova (I know she's Russian but that is downplayed on ESPN), John Isner, and Venus Williams especially if she's wearing that black lace thingy. After showing Andy Roddick and Venus Williams matches ad nauseum the commentators got to drool over the Monogram to close things out.

The American sports establishment has finally gotten the message that the rest of the world could care less about football and baseball and is now actively promoting the World Cup. Maybe in another few years the American tennis establishment will start to promote tennis as a world sport and not focus just on Americans who play "those people".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lights Out

by Savannah

For those who haven't seen it here is a YouTube of the fifth set of the match between Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini. About seventeen seconds in you see the actual situation on the court not the television enhanced version.

Paris In the Spring - RG Day 4

by Savannah


Why is anyone shocked that Taylor Dent served as a door mat for someone who can really play on clay? I'm stunned he even made it to the second round. The United States tennis establishment is determined to shove serve and volley down the throats of the rest of the world where it is rightly seen as a tactic during a match and not the sole strategy.

The announcer on ESPN3 calling the Aravane Rezai vs Angelique Kerber match said that the way Rezai plays reminds him of American trained female players. He's not totally wrong.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga complained bitterly during his post match presser today about his scheduling request not being granted.

Q. So you didn't want to play on Sunday? So you're surprised, I suppose. You're French No. 1, we're in France, this is a French tournament and an important one. Were you surprised? Did it get on your nerves to be imposed to play on a Sunday?

JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I expected this question, to tell you what I think about this. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed because I was playing on a Sunday. I had asked not to play on a Sunday, absolutely, because I had practiced in such a way that I thought I wanted to play on a Monday or Tuesday, to be totally fit.
But they imposed it on me. I had to play on a Sunday. I have to accept the rules. This is the game and this is it.
Now, if you're world No. 80 and you're not that important in the hierarchy, if I can say, loads of things are imposed on you in this case. What really bothered me is that, you know, if you look at Murray, if he decides on a day or hour at Wimbledon, nobody's going to impose anything on him.
For Federer in his country it's the same. In the U.S. I suppose it's the tame thing for the best American players. I think that Lleyton probably plays in the sun during the Australian Open because he loves the sun and other opponents don't like the sun. He wants to play in the sun.
Today we're in France. I'm French. I'm French No. 1. I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to, that I would be given a choice. They should listen to me when I wanted to play or start.
But I accepted the rules, and that's all. I'm disappointed. That's true, because I expected a bit more from the organization and the rest, but this is the way it is. I mean, had I lost on Sunday because I was not feeling good, then many people would have been disappointed. This would have been a bit silly, I think.
But it wasn't the case, so I'm here, and I'm fit. I'm ready to play. This story will continue, and that's the end of the story.

Q. Is it a lesson for you? Will it not change your behavior vis a vis number of top managers to be firmer and to behave like someone who's got nerves?

JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no, because I'm quite open, and organizer or not, my job is to play tennis. Sometimes there are unforeseen events, so we have to adapt. But what I expected from them is to listen to me a little.
But, you know, sometimes it's this thing here, that thing there. You know, during Davis Cups you don't necessarily play in the towns you would like to play in. I'm French No. 1. I can't really decide when I'm going to start the tournament, which is at home.
So, you know, all these little details which sometimes can be quite annoying, sometimes we complain because we don't have enough good French players, but sometimes we're not given the best conditions. I think it's a bit of a pity.

I read that one of the Russian women made a similar request to the FFT and her request was granted while Tsonga's, along with that of a tired Richard Gasquet's, were not. Bitch on Jo.

The following exchange happened during Dinara Safina's post match presser yesterday. It's being reported by the Russian press.

Q: For how long do you plan to work with your new coach?
A: When you go out with a girl for a few times do you also ask her for how long she plans to date you?

Q: Your today's opponent left tennis for 10 years and then returned. Now she is winning. Maybe you should do that too?
A: Stupid questions you have today... (and left the room)

I would've left after punching the reporter in the face. At least she didn't cut and run like Viktoria Azarenka.

Cat Fight

Rezai on Bartoli: "Marion is a difficult girl....She attacked me many times in the press. "I don't have the same education as the one she has...I have respect for players."

Matches of the Day
No one expects anything from Svetlana Kuznetsova this French Open. Not only is she not expected to compete she was relegated to Court 1 for her match today. Instead of succumbing to expectations Sveta gutted out a three set win over a game Andrea Petkovic who actually served for the match in the second set. Sveta has played two matches and had to come from behind in both of them. I'm not saying she'll repeat as champion but she's not going down without a fight.

There are matches still being played as I post this. It's now going on 9p in Paris. Tomorrow's schedule will be interesting.

“One of the most amazing sights that I could barely see.”
Patrick McEnroe

In the heat of battle men should not be asked to make a decision about whether to stop and continue at a later time. Too much adrenaline and too much testosterone are flowing in their bodies and the thought process is muddled at best.

This is the decision Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini were asked to make during the fifth set of their match. Monflls had been up two sets to none and looked to be cruising when Fognini woke up and leveled the match at two sets all. It was already late and as we all know Roland Garros has no lights. Figuring that common sense would prevail I figured they would stop play at 3-all. I was wrong. Instead an argument broke out and that guy named Drama who is always hanging out in the corner sipping scotch got up and took over. Both men wanted to continue. Fognini's camp was telling him to get off the court but he refused. Monfils was already walking back on court as if to say he was finished talking and it was time to play. Fognini got up in chair ump Carlos Bernardes face and next thing you know he penalized Fognini one point for delay. By this time it was pitch black and both players, pros that they are, were playing on instinct, knowing where the lines are and making sure they kept the ball away from them. For the most part that is. The only light was cast by the scoreboard and to say it was eerie was putting it mildly.

In the end, with the score at five all play was suspended. Monfils, who had been gung-ho to continue from the beginning was cramping and yet managed to play well. Fognini cursed his way off the court. Some are saying Carlos is not going to chair the conclusion of the match tomorrow because he gave Fognini the point penalty. The arguing had gone on for six minutes and it was time to crab or carry the basket. If he doesn't chair the conclusion I hope it's because he has another match to work.

If you're thinking this is a back to the future scenario it is. Last year it was Andy Roddick playing against Gael Monfils and the darkness.

It's going to be exciting to see how this all ends. Monfils was cramping at the end of play.

By the way matches featuring John Isner, Marcos Baghdatis and Andy Murray will also resume tomorrow.

In other news...

Husband and wife tennis players looking to be based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Late last year, soon after Australian husband-and-wife team Jarmila and Sam Groth lost their individual $150,000 scholarships at the Australian Institute of Sport, they received an offer they could not refuse. It was from Gavin Hopper, now involved with a new tennis academy in Turkey. Within months, the Groths, too, will be based in Istanbul.
Hopper is an experienced coach and trainer, whose clients before he served a 27-month jail term for indecently assaulting a 14-year-old student while a teacher at Wesley College in the 1980s, included Mark Philippoussis and Monica Seles. He also founded an academy on the Gold Coast with former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. More recently, he has been working for the Turkish Tennis Federation and living with his family in Istanbul for several years.


Paul Annacone will not have his contract renewed by the Lawn Tennis Association when it expires in November of this year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paris In the Spring - RG Day 3

by Savannah

I think the right word for today is "interesting".

A few weeks ago Andy Murray gave an interview in which he said he wasn't feeling tennis at the moment and needed to get his head together. Then he got back with his girlfriend and the tennis press, feeling they didn't have to delve deeper into his malaise, declared all was right with the world and Andy's comments were forgotten.

Today American Sam Querrey after a loss to fellow American Robby Ginepri also gave a woe-is-me post match presser that is getting a lot of attention stateside. The entire interview is on the Roland Garros Official Site.

Q. What happened out there, Sam?
SAM QUERREY: Um, just tired. Not into it. Mentally not there. I mean, you know what, I don't know. Just not did not enjoy myself out there.
It's been like that on and off for like a while. So I'm going home tomorrow.

Q. You had talked about being here for five weeks, you and John both putting in the time, the effort, and the matches. You won a ton of matches. You rethinking that a little bit?
SAM QUERREY: No, I mean, even the first week I was over here in Rome I lost first round. It was similar to a match like this. Passive not that I was passive today. The main thing is I didn't enjoy myself on the court. Wanted off the court.

Q. Is it a natural reaction just being over here?
SAM QUERREY: No. I don't know what it is. I just need to just be in a better mood or just need to enjoy the competition and enjoy being out there more than I do.
Right now, I mean, I'll enjoy it, and as soon as one thing goes wrong, I'm done.
Q. Where is home that you're going back to?
SAM QUERREY: California.

Q. Were you in dubs with John?
SAM QUERREY: I am right now. I won't be in about an hour.

Q. Just want to get out of here?

Q. So do you feel like going in you're not in the frame of mind, or does it happen right in the middle of the fight?
SAM QUERREY: I think it happens in the middle. I think if you ask my coach, David, he might say otherwise. When I lost that second set tiebreaker and got broken in the first game, I was done. I wanted to be off the court.
I started thinking about leaving and pulling out of the doubles and how much I wanted to go home, how much I wasn't enjoying.
You're never gonna win a match if you're just being negative. I'm only hurting myself.

Q. Isn't that the definition of a professional, that you don't despair so fully as the match progresses, that you somehow control your feelings?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, I need to work on that. I've not been a professional the last, you know, on and off for the last few months. You know, you're out there facing one opponent. I don't want to face the opponent and myself.
You know, I just need to be better than today, in this case, it was Robby. It's someone different every week. But I don't want to be fighting myself out there and also fighting the opponent.

Q. Yet, Sam, you've had some good results on clay. You won Belgrade, won Houston. Are you fighting sort of a Jeckyll/Hyde part of yourself here?
SAM QUERREY: A little bit. Those are 250s, and they're great. I love you know, a tournament win is a tournament win. A final is great. It builds my confidence, but I won Belgrade and my ranking didn't move. I'm kind of past that point right now. Those 250s do nothing for me ranking wise. It's all about the Masters Series and the Grand Slams.
That's where I just have not been playing well. You know, I just need to mentally get it together in my head. I need to enjoy myself out there. I need to enjoy playing. You know, if a guy has a breakpoint against me, I should know, Hey, I've got one of the biggest serves out there. Let's see you win this point off me.
But like I said, I just tank some points.

Here's a thought. A lot of players, male and female, travel with family. If Kid Porsche gets so frustrated he forgets he's a professional tennis player maybe if he had some family with him he'd do better. This interview makes me wonder if he's chosen the right job. Then again, maybe it's the pressure from the American tennis establishment that's getting to him and that he's running away from. I truly don't know. If this is the mental attitude of a top American player the future of American tennis is truly murky.

Kimiko Date Krumm
Surprisingly 29 of 32 WTA seeds made it to the second round. The woman pictured above, thirty nine year old Kimiko Date Krumm sent the number nine seed, Dinara Safina, home early. Dinara, amid rumors of a relationship with her married coach, and an emergency visit by her big brother Marat, changed coaches after her loss in Madrid. Watching her today she was the same Dinara, needing a kick in the ass from her coach but this time not getting it. Many people saw the relationship between Dinara and her previous coach as abusive forgetting that Dinara had said he was perfect for her. I could snark and ask what it says about the former number one that a thirty nine year old woman on one leg could overcome a 1-4 deficit in the third set but I won't. I thought Date Krumm came back because she simply wanted something to do. Apparently what she wants to do is win tennis matches.
Anyone who has been following tennis has probably heard the name of Gianni Mina. Mina, born February 9, 1992 in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe has been talked about as the next big thing and was the number two junior in the world. He lost today but I don't think we've seen the last of young Monsieur Mina. He has that raw and hungry, I'm gonna kick your ass look in his eyes that promises greatness. If the FFT doesn't destroy him in a couple of years, once he's finished growing mentally and physically, he could be a force on the main tour. He's being brought along slowly, or was, up until today. I hope the FFT learned from what they did to the young Richard Gasquet.

The Fashion Police
This has got to stop. I actually like this. It's flattering to her body and looks good on the court. The wind does strange things with the fabric but that's a minor quibble. She's finally found her groove fashion wise.
Zheng Jie of China is a woman who has learned what looks good on her petite frame. When I first saw her the clothes she wore on court were too big for her. Now they fit, and the colors looks good on her.

Picture of the Day

The Williams Women
Total symmetry brought to you by Venus Williams and Serena Williams

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Did She Say?

by Savannah

Caroline Wozniacki apparently has carte blanche to say whatever she wants and get away with it. No need to mention her father giving bettors in Poland a nice pay day when he told his daughter to go out there and fake it last year which she did. No matter that the exchange was caught on tape.

During her post match interview today Caroline made the following statements.

Q. How was the ankle out there?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels much better today. Yeah, I felt really good, actually.

Q. Do you feel like in the last few weeks that it was a good idea to play so many tournaments or do you think it would have been better to take a little time off?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, you know, there are some rules on the WTA Tour, and we have to follow those rules. Maybe it would have been better if I could have taken a few weeks off, but those are the rules, and I did what I had to do.

Q. When you say those are the rules, it's mostly a question of fines and money. Can you talk about how you juggle that? Why not just pay the fine and take the week off?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It's not just a fine. It's also commitment tournaments, zero pointers. Yeah, some other things that plays in mind, and if you read the rules, you'll know. I think we should talk about other things. About my match today, maybe.
Q. Did you feel the ankle today? If you did, was it in certain moves or...
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels pretty good today, actually, and I've had good support in the tape, so I was really happy about that.
Q. Didn't feel it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, not really. No.

So let me see. Elena Dementieva was accused of tanking after losing a three hour match so that she could get to Paris early and supposedly threatened with an investigation by the WTA while Sunshine admits she faked an injury and played like it today hence the questions. What gives WTA? Are only certain players subject to disciplinary action?
The entire interview can be found on the Official Roland Garros Site

What Not To Wear
I saw the pictures of Venus Williams, or should I say her derriere, yesterday. I chose not to post them here. Little did I know the pictures made their way all over the world wide web and one network television news show.
Venus is a grown woman and she can wear what she wants. If she chooses to continue to, uh, show her ass that is her choice. I do hope they can convince her to wear a different color undergarment though. For her sake.

Meanwhile Jelena Jankovic wins the best dressed award for the ladies at the French Open.
Her buttercup yellow dress fits her perfectly and contrasts well with the red clay.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The French Open Day 1

by Savannah

Before I get to the pictures I want to understand something. It was known that Viktoria Azarenka was injured going into the French Open. Well known. So why is it that her loss is being talked about as a major upset while this result - Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) d. (20) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 62 64 - is being ignored? MJMS was hot coming into Paris and many expected her to go deep in the tournament. Instead she's out to a woman who barely played any tennis during the clay season.
Meanwhile Azarenka left the grounds without granting an interview to the press. That means that in addition to not defending her quarterfinal points from last year she's being fined. Not a good day for Miss Azarenka.

I also need to understand how Chris Fowler could talk about Janko Tipsarevic being a contender when at the time this comment aired Tipsarevic had already lost? When did they record this stuff?

I watched Ernests Gulbis spraying shots all over the court and thought it was nerves. Instead he retired with an injury.

And finally I need to know who the hell told Svetlana Kuznetsova to wear shorts that do nothing but call attention to her derriere and not in a good way. I'm also guessing that Aravane Rezai is wearing that horrid gold thing. The only picture I saw of her was on the RG official site and she was in it.
Glad to see butts in the seats for Venus Williams match against Patty Schnyder.
The Frenchmen rained catcalls on Venus when she revealed the black lace version of her French Maid outfit. The skirt appears to be see through. They liked it. A lot. Especially since the shorts are skin toned. Venus skin tone.
It was a bright sunny day in Paris and the courts needed to be maintained.
The French Tennis Federation turned down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's request to start later this week. They were consistent and turned down Richard Gasquet's request as well. Gasquet cited the Nice tournament win and Tsonga cited illness. It took Jo five sets but he prevailed over a determined Daniel Brands of Germany.
The Big Yellow Ball Brigades were out in force. When they're on the move you know a match is over.


Despite her loss it's good to see Anne Keothavong competing again.

End Note

I've been spoiled. I lasted an hour listening to the announcers on Tennis Channel/ESPN today. Not one of them seemed to have been watching any of the clay court season and Chris Fowler wasn't the only one who suffered from foot in mouth disease. When one of them commented that a player was sliding into his shot instead of using a more traditional approach I'd had it. I don't remember if this was before or after John McEnroe waxed poetic about how a day like this would play on the hard courts at the BJK Tennis center in New York.

Sure Robbie Koenig , Jason Goodall and their compatriots had their fanboy moments but in the end it was all about the tennis. The thing is when you wake up at five in the morning and are still lying in bed what happens is that you fall asleep. Oh well.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday's Champions

by Savannah

Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania successfully defended her title at Polsat winning in straight sets over China's Zheng Jie.
Maria Sharapova won the title in Strasbourg beating Kristina Barrois of Germany.
Virginia Ruano-Pascual of Spain and Meghan Shaughnessy of the United States won the doubles crown at Polsat.

The Doubles team of Alize Cornet of France and Vania King of the United States won the doubles title at Strasbourg.

Team Argentina - from left, team captain Luis Lobo, Juan Monaco, Horacio Zeballos, Diego Veronelli and Eduardo Schwank pose with the winners trophy for the Team Cup Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The American doubles team of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won the doubles crown in Dusseldorf.
The Brazilian doubles team of M. Melo and B. Soares won the doubles in Nice, France
Richard Gasquet holds the trophy after winning the men's singles title in Nice, France

Friday, May 21, 2010

Roland Garros - The Women's Draw

By Savannah

The Top Half

[1] WILLIAMS, Serena USA vs VOEGELE, Stefanie SUI
CZINK, Melinda HUN vs GOERGES, Julia GER

[18] PEER, Shahar ISR vs (Q) QUALIFIER
KING, Vania USA vs PENG, Shuai CHN
PERRY, Shenay USA vs (W) SANCHEZ, Olivia FRA
CAMERIN, Maria Elena ITA vs [13] BARTOLI, Marion FRA

PIRONKOVA, Tsvetana BUL vs [22] HENIN, Justine BEL

[25] ZHENG, Jie CHN vs BYCHKOVA, Ekaterina RUS
(Q) QUALIFIER vs OLARU, Ioana Raluca ROU
(Q) QUALIFIER vs [7] STOSUR, Samantha AUS

The biggest surprise in Serena's quarter is that Alize Cornet will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round. With Alize's recent form Anastasia is almost sure to move on to the next round.
With Zheng Jie still playing in Warsaw she may make it to face Samantha Stosur before bowing out. Meanwhile Justine Henin faces giant slayer Tsvetana Pironkova who just loves collecting the scalps of the big girls. Depending on which Pironkova shows up this could be a barn burner, or sleep inducing.
Many are hoping for a Henin vs Maria Sharapova match up. It could happen.

Shahar Pe'er could also surprise people and end up facing Serena Williams. Marion Bartoli has been talking a lot of crap lately but it remains to be seen if she can walk the walk when it comes to doing well on the terre battue. It should be mentioned that American Vania King has had a good clay season.

[4] JANKOVIC, Jelena SRB vs MOLIK, Alicia AUS

[23] HANTUCHOVA, Daniela SVK vs TANASUGARN, Tamarine THA

[9] SAFINA, Dinara RUS vs DATE KRUMM, Kimiko JPN
(W) GROTH, Jarmila AUS vs CHAN, Yung-Jan TPE
RODIONOVA, Anastasia AUS vs MAKAROVA, Ekaterina RUS
BRIANTI, Alberta ITA vs [21] ZVONAREVA, Vera RUS

BALTACHA, Elena GBR vs [8] RADWANSKA, Agnieszka POL

Former French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic is nicely hidden in the bottom part of the top half of the draw and will face Chang Kai-Chen who started the year off with a bang but has faded of late. I'm keeping my eye on her. Alisa Kleybanova, who is rested coming into this event should have no problem with Ana. Sara Errani against Agnieszka Radwanska will be interesting. It's a toss up as to who will face Kleybanova.

Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva anchor a section and should end up facing each other. I'm not sure if Kimiko Date-Krumm is up to the rigors of Grand Slam clay court play.

Daniela Hantuchova and Yanina Wickmayer have a tricky section. Tamarine Tanasugarn and Carla Suarez Navarro are dangerous opponents and Olga Govortsova can rouse herself to play good tennis.

Jelena Jankovic may skate through especially if Vera Dushevina upsets Alona Bondarenko.

Bottom Half

[6] KUZNETSOVA, Svetlana RUS vs CIRSTEA, Sorana ROU
SPREM, Karolina CRO vs [30] KIRILENKO, Maria RUS

[17] SCHIAVONE, Francesca ITA vs KULIKOVA, Regina RUS
DUBOIS, Stephanie CAN vs (W) COHEN-ALORO, Stephanie FRA
(W) MLADENOVIC, Kristina FRA vs [11] LI, Na CHN

VINCI, Roberta ITA vs RAZZANO, Virginie FRA
DOKIC, Jelena AUS vs [24] SAFAROVA, Lucie CZE

[31] DULGHERU, Alexandra ROU vs HRADECKA, Lucie CZE
BARROIS, Kristina GER vs GARBIN, Tathiana ITA

With Svetlana Kuznetsova having a crisis of confidence it looks like the way is clear for Caroline Wozniacki to get through her quarter of the draw with little or no opposition. I said Ivanovic was hidden but Caroline is in plain sight.

WOZNIAK, Aleksandra CAN vs BENESOVA, Iveta CZE
COIN, Julie FRA vs [32] BONDARENKO, Kateryna UKR

LARSSON, Johanna SWE vs SEVASTOVA, Anastasija LAT
DULKO, Gisela ARG vs [10] AZARENKA, Victoria BLR

[15] REZAI, Aravane FRA vs (Q) QUALIFIER
SZAVAY, Agnes HUN vs (W) FORETZ, Stephanie FRA

(W) MCHALE, Christina USA vs LEPCHENKO, Varvara USA

Elena Dementieva is also at a crossroads in her career. She hasn't been playing well at all of late. Maybe she's saving it for the terre battue, I don't know. Kateryna Bondarenko is coming back from injury. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez should give Viktoria Azarenka a run for her money.
Aravane Rezai who has declared herself the target for this edition of Roland Garros should have to face Nadia Petrova to show she's up to the task of carrying French hopes.
I'm a Venus Williams fan but on clay, despite Acapulco, my hopes are not high. There is no one in her section she should not be able to defeat. Then again she is capable of losing to any random player on any given day.

End Notes

Unfortunately I don't see either Williams making the final this year. I see a lot of hidden traps for all of the seeds, the hallmark of a good draw. There will be more upsets than usual in Paris this year. I guess we should all fasten our seat belts.

This and That

by Savannah

Butts In The Seats Continued

While the tennis press in the States is whining about the Williams sister's causing a lack of enthusiasm for the WTA tour I see that at the new ATP tournament in Nice there is a healthy crowd watching Fernando Verdasco play Leonardo Mayer. It's a small stadium and holds about 3,000 people per the talking head. Meanwhile in Warsaw you could literally shoot a cannon through the stadium and not hit a soul. I haven't seen any play from Strasbourg so I don't know what is going on there.

Tennis News

The WTA tournament at Ponte Vedra Beach has breathed its last. According to the local press the 2011 WTA schedule would mean the tournament would have been moved from it's place in April to later in the year when weather and court conditions would not have been optimum.

The ATP is also making changes in it's tour calendar for next year with Rome and Madrid changing places. Most of the players don't like playing the altitude of Madrid just before the French Open hence the change.

Caroline Wozniacki has said that she will play the French Open despite retiring from competition at Polsat. And why not? With her quarter she'd be crazy not to play. I'm going to do a separate post for the women's draw. As usual I will not analyze the ATP draw.

The French Open - Draws

Women's Singles - Main Draw

Top Half

[1] WILLIAMS, Serena USA vs VOEGELE, Stefanie SUI
CZINK, Melinda HUN vs GOERGES, Julia GER

[18] PEER, Shahar ISR vs QUALIFIER,
KING, Vania USA vs PENG, Shuai CHN
PERRY, Shenay USA (W) vs SANCHEZ, Olivia FRA
CAMERIN, Maria Elena ITA vs [13] BARTOLI, Marion FRA

PIRONKOVA, Tsvetana BUL vs [22] HENIN, Justine BEL

[25] ZHENG, Jie CHN vs BYCHKOVA, Ekaterina RUS

[4] JANKOVIC, Jelena SRB vs MOLIK, Alicia AUS

[23] HANTUCHOVA, Daniela SVK vs TANASUGARN, Tamarine THA

[9] SAFINA, Dinara RUS vs DATE KRUMM, Kimiko JPN (W)
GROTH, Jarmila AUS vs CHAN, Yung-Jan TPE
RODIONOVA, Anastasia AUS vs MAKAROVA, Ekaterina RUS
BRIANTI, Alberta ITA vs [21] ZVONAREVA, Vera RUS

BALTACHA, Elena GBR vs [8] RADWANSKA, Agnieszka POL

Bottom Half

[6] KUZNETSOVA, Svetlana RUS
vs CIRSTEA, Sorana ROU
SPREM, Karolina CRO vs [30] KIRILENKO, Maria RUS

[17] SCHIAVONE, Francesca ITA vs KULIKOVA, Regina RUS
DUBOIS, Stephanie CAN (W) vs COHEN-ALORO, Stephanie FRA (W)
MLADENOVIC, Kristina FRA vs [11] LI, Na CHN

VINCI, Roberta ITA vs RAZZANO, Virginie FRA
DOKIC, Jelena AUS vs [24] SAFAROVA, Lucie CZE

[31] DULGHERU, Alexandra ROU vs HRADECKA, Lucie CZE
BARROIS, Kristina GER vs GARBIN, Tathiana ITA

WOZNIAK, Aleksandra CAN vs BENESOVA, Iveta CZE
COIN, Julie FRA vs [32] BONDARENKO, Kateryna UKR

LARSSON, Johanna SWE vs SEVASTOVA, Anastasija LAT
DULKO, Gisela ARG vs [10] AZARENKA, Victoria BLR

[15] REZAI, Aravane FRA vs QUALIFIER
SZAVAY, Agnes HUN vs (W) FORETZ, Stephanie FRA

(W) MCHALE, Christina USA vs LEPCHENKO, Varvara USA

Men's Singles - Main Draw

Top Half

(1) R Federer (SUI) vs P Luczak (AUS)
J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs A Falla (COL)
Qualifier vs O Rochus (BEL)
Qualifier vs (27) F Lopez (ESP)

(20) S Wawrinka vs J Hajek (CZE)
P Lorenzi (ITA) vs A Beck (GER)
N Massu (CHI) vs F Fognini (ITA)
F Mayer (GER) vs (13) G Monfils (FRA)

(10) M Cilic (CRO) vs R Mello (BRA)
D Tursunov (RUS) vs D Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
L Mayer (ARG) vs Stakhovsky (UKR)
J Bennetteau (FRA) vs (23) E Gulbis (LAT)

(29) A Montañes (ESP) vs (Q)
S Robert (FRA) vs Qualifier
N Lapentti (ECU) vs T Dent (USA)
(W) L Recourdec (FRA) vs (5) R Soderling (SWE)

(4) A Murray (GBR) vs R Gasquet (FRA)
JI Chela (ARG) vs (W) R Sweeting (USA)
PH Mathieu (FRA) vs M Granollers (ESP)
(Q) vs (25) M Baghdatis (CYP)

(17) J Isner (USA) vs A Golubev (KAZ)
Qualifier vs M Chiudinelli (SUI)
(W) E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs K Anderson (RSA)
Qualifier vs (15) T Berdych (CZE)

(11) M Youzhny (RUS) vs M Przysiezny (POL)
Qualifier vs L Lacko (SVK)
P Petzschner (GER) vs (W) C Ball (AUS)
V Troicki (SRB) vs (21) T Robredo (ESP)

(32) G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs R Schuettler (GER)
(Q) vs T De Bakker (NED)
(W) J Ouanna (FRA) vs L Kubot (POL)
D Brands (GER) vs (8) JW Tsonga (FRA)

Bottom Half

(6) A Roddick (USA)
vs J Nieminen (FIN)
E Schwank (ARG) vs B Kavcic (SLO)
Qualifier vs D Koellerer (AUT)
Qualifier vs (26) J Monaco (ARG)

(22) J Melzer (AUT) vs D Sela (ISR)
M Zverev (GER) vs (W) N Mahut (FRA)
X Malisse (BEL) vs S Greul (GER)
(W) D Guez (FRA) vs (9) D Ferrer (ESP)

(16) JC Ferrero (ESP) vs P Cuevas (URU)
M Gicquel (FRA) vs P Riba (ESP)
P Starace (ITA) vs I Marchenko (UKR)
R Ginepri (USA) vs (17) S Querrey (USA)

(31) V Hanescu (ROM) vs O Hernandez (ESP)
R Ram (USA) vs Qualifier
K Nishikori (JPN) vs S Giraldo (COL)
E Korolev (KAZ) vs (3) N Djokovic (SRB)

(7) F Verdasco (ESP) vs I Kunitsyn (RUS)
F Serra (FRA) vs M Russell (USA)
Qualifier vs Seppi (ITA)
K Beck (SVK) vs (30) P Kohlschreiber (GER)

(19) N Almagro (ESP) vs R Haase (NED)
K Vliegen (BEL) vs S Darcis (BEL)
A Clement (FRA) vs O Dolgopolov Jr (UKR)
Qualifier vs (12) F Gonzalez (CHI)

(14) I Ljubicic (CRO) vs JH Lu (TPE)
M Berrer (GER) vs M Fish (USA)
Qualifier vs Qualifier
M Llodra (FRA) vs (24) T Bellucci (BRA)

(28) L Hewitt (AUS) vs J Chardy (FRA)
D Istomin (UZB) vs B Becker (GER)
H Zeballos (ARG) vs Qualifier
(W) G Mina (FRA) vs (2) R Nadal (ESP)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

So the big news is the report from Poland that Elena Demetieva made a deal with the organizers of the Polsat tournament that she would come and play one match, lose, and then head to Paris to prepare for RG. Of course ducats were to be paid for her to show up in Warsaw.
I remember reading a big argument on a fan site a day or so ago because some hinted right away that Elena had tanked the match and others came to her defense saying if you're going to tank why play a three hour match? The only link to this story is in Polish and so far no one else is discussing it.

Whether the allegations are true or not has to be determined by the WTA. I wouldn't hold my breath though. We should also not forget that the Tournament Director is feuding with the Radwanska family over payment of appearance fees and this could possibly be a case of him blabbing to a friendly journalist. Time will tell.

Juan Martin del Potro will not defend his US Open title. He had wrist surgery in early May and is now recuperating in his hometown of Tandil in Argentina. There was also talk a few weeks ago that Juan Martin was having panic attacks but that was quickly squashed.

I watched Caroline Wozniacki play Zheng Jie on tape delay on Tennis Channel. Wozniacki's ankle was taped when the match started and she took a medical time out to have it redone for better support. I have to say that there were not a lot of fans in the stands for that match which featured the highest ranking woman of Polish descent. I'm just saying.

I got a chance to rewatch the second set of the Madrid men's final about 2a this morning. My opinion? It was a whiff. Rafael Nadal's return bounced high and Roger Federer swung his racquet to hit the ball where he thought it was going to be not where it was. I still say if TennisChannel had replayed the shot ad nauseam as they would've done if it had been any other player whiffing match point there would be no argument. The YouTube replays are too short to let a fan make an honest decision.

The Men's and Women's singles draws for the French Open will be done tomorrow at 11:30a Paris time. That's about 5:30a Eastern US time. As is usual for the French the draw will be available live online.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Odesnik Suspended for Two Years

From the ITF

19 May 2010

Decision in the case of Wayne Odesnik

The International Tennis Federation announced today that Wayne Odesnik has been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article C.6 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (Possession of a Prohibited Substance without a therapeutic use exemption).

Mr Odesnik, a 24-year-old tennis player from the United States, admitted to having obtained eight (8) vials of human Growth Hormone in the United States in December 2009, which he then brought to Australia in January 2010. Human Growth Hormone is a Prohibited Substance under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

The human Growth Hormone was found in Mr Odesnik’s luggage by Australian customs officials. The ITF is very grateful to them, and to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, for their cooperation and support in this matter.

Mr Odesnik asserted that he had purchased the human Growth Hormone on professional advice to treat a recurring injury, and that he intended to apply for a therapeutic use exemption prior to using it. Mr Odesnik denied ever using any of the human Growth Hormone.

The ITF has no evidence to contradict that denial, but Mr Odesnik did not in fact obtain or apply for a therapeutic use exemption for the human Growth Hormone prior to obtaining it. Accordingly, Mr Odesnik’s possession of the human Growth Hormone is an anti-doping rule violation under Article C.6 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

On that basis, the ITF has determined that Mr Odesnik should be suspended for two years, commencing as of 29 December 2009 and ending on 28 December 2011. In addition, all of Mr Odesnik’s results in competitions played since 29 December 2009 are disqualified, with consequent forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won in those competitions.

The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is a comprehensive and internationally recognised anti-doping programme that applies to all players competing at tournaments sanctioned by the ITF, ATP World Tour, and/or Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Upon a finding that an anti-doping rule violation has been committed, sanctions are imposed in accordance with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code. More background information on the Programme, sanctions, tennis statistics and related information can be found at


In a statement released by his attorney, Odesnik said:

"I accept the ITF's decision regarding my sanction for being in possession of a banned substance. I made an honest mistake and I regret the impact that my actions have had on the sport of tennis; a game that I have loved since childhood and one which has given me many great opportunities and memories. The sole reason I was in possession of this banned substance was under doctor's advice for treatment of a recurring shoulder injury. I was unaware at the time that this would be considered an anti-doping violation. I never have taken nor tested positive for any banned substance in my career. Finally, I want to thank all my family, friends, and fans who have been so supportive of me throughout this difficult time. During my time away from tennis, I will try to give back to the game in a positive way and use this experience to motivate me to work harder than ever."

Really Wayne? Really?

Heard Around

by Savannah

Here's a follow up to Martina Navratilova's comments posted here yesterday.

It seems inconceivable that the Williams sisters, given their wide-ranging lifestyles and sporadic commitment, rank 1-2 in the world. Nothing says they can't combine to win the next four majors -- but that's not the point. Where's that traditional elite player, the Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graf, who shows up every week and presents a relentless, dominant challenge? The talent is there -- Serena, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova -- but somebody's always hurt, or inconsistent, or struggling to regain form.

It's a tour without a clear identity, and this has to be a reason why Europe shrugs in indifference. Crowds were shockingly thin for most women's matches in the recent clay-court events. Jelena Jankovic took the court in Rome for a quarterfinal against Venus, and the atmosphere resembled a match for seventh place in a Division III collegiate tournament. Venus and Aravene Rezai began their Madrid final in a near-empty arena, filling up (to a degree) only as the match approached the one-hour mark.

Tennis needs stars, people to count on, which is why a packed house was buzzing well before Federer and Nadal even took the court. If someone is going to step up on the women's tour, she has yet to identify herself.

I'm not quite sure where this Bruce Jenkins has been for the last couple of years but the WTA has been playing to near empty stadiums - as chronicled in this space - for going on two years now. It doesn't matter if the tournament is in the States or overseas.

And lets get real here. If Martina and Steffi were just starting out now they would not be considered stars by the WTA tour. Not the right look or lifestyle would be the unwritten attitude towards the two women. Until the WTA starts marketing the tour not individual personalities the stands will remain empty for even their marquee players.
And I don't know where he gets this idea that no one has stepped up to the plate to carry the tour. Venus Williams and Serena Williams have shown they can indeed play top ranked tennis. All the others have shown is that they can take a decent picture. I consider this talk about the tour being a mess to be racist. There is no beating around the bush on this. There was no one in the stands when Dinara Safina was number one. Aside from drooling prepubescent boys the stands were pretty empty when Maria Sharapova was on the court. Neither Kim Clijsters nor Justine Henin are major draws except in the United States where the Cult of the Belgians seems to be strongest. Lets be clear. What is being said is that two American women of African descent are not draws. Bullshit. It's the WTA tour and it's head in the sand marketing approach that have caused the demise of fan interest in their product. Let's not blame the women who have carried the tour for that. The blame goes right to the top and should be focused there.

This article is an interesting insight into how the American tennis establishment thinks as well as how the so called tennis media simply regurgitates their opinions.

Jenkins does manage to get one valid point in though.

As for TC's setup in Madrid: The men's tour has an international network for the nine Masters events and year-end championships, complete with announcers on the scene. The WTA has no such deal, which explains why Katrina Adams and Brian Webber called all of the Madrid women's matches from a studio in Los Angeles.

Random Results
Tsvetana Pironkova defeated Elena Dementieva at Polsat 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. The match lasted three hours and saw Elena commit 59 unforced errors.

Olivier Rochus defeated Robin Soderling at Nice 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Maria Sharapova beat up on Dia Evtimova, a qualifier from Bulgaria 6-3 and 6-0. Her first serve percentage for the match was 96%.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heard Around

by Savannah

Thanks to "Karen" for bringing this article to my attention. It's a transcript of a conference call featuring Martina Navratilova posted by GVGirl on her blog. Martina, as usual, is being real.

When asked about whether or not Serena and Venus at one and two in the world is a good thing or a bad thing, Navratilova remarked: “You would not be asking that if Federer-Nadal were one and two. You wouldn't be saying oh, does that mean that the men's field are not so strong because they are number one and number two again. Uh... no. I think those guys are two great champions and Serena and Venus are two great champions. They will be two of the greatest champions that the game has had. It just so happens that they are from the same family. ..but ... I think you would not be asking that if they weren't sisters as much. And, maybe be asking that question if it were guys rather than women. But, no, of course, they are fantastic athletes. They play the game on another level. They have so much power and so much speed. You think the point is over and somehow the ball comes back again. Not only do they get there, but what they do with it when they get there because again, they are so strong. Venus with her wingspan and Serena with her raw power. Yeah, they are two phenomenal athletes. But ... you should just be fortunate that they are still playing the game.”

She could have taken it one step further and said the question would not have been asked if Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters were ranked one and two in the world. It is vexing that after all this time and all they've contributed to women's tennis the Williams are still seen as interlopers by so many.

German/Jamaican player Dustin Brown has made it to the top 100 debuting at #99. If you remember I wrote about him a little while ago. He's one of the players I'm keeping my eye on.

Nishikori Kei is also back on the tour. He was out almost a year with injury and is making a good showing so far on the Challenger circuit.

The AP reports that eleven cities in the United States have shown interest in hosting the Fed Cup this November. The cities are Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Pacific Palisades, San Diego, Cleveland; the island of Hawaii; Jacksonville, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; and Surprise, Ariz. With many sports events pulling out of Arizona due to it's controversial immigration law I wonder if tennis will buck the trend. Final bids are due on June 4 with the announcement of the winner to be made on June 14.

Wimbledon has announced that Queen Elizabeth will attend the tournament on Thursday June 24. She last attended in 1977. Spain's Queen Sofia attended the men's final in Madrid on Sunday.

Here's Lookin' Atcha

Carlos Bernardes smiles for the camera

Bob Bryan cleans the court in Dusseldorf, Germany