Friday, May 14, 2010

Heard Around

by Savannah

How come no one is talking about this little exhibition taking place next week?

Rueil-Malmaison: (May 19-21)

Team Guinot:
Captain: Andy Murray

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
IN Mikhail Youzhny
Fernando Gonzalez
Michael Llodra
Rainer Schuettler


Team Mary Cohr:
Captain: David Ferrer

Roger Federer
Andy Roddick
Stanislas Wawrinka
Mardy Fish
Sebastien Grosjean

Tennishead "Moose" posted the following article on TalkAboutTennis.com regarding the USTA building four clay courts at the BJK Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens.

Statistics show that a foundation on clay can help the top pros. Of the 103 men who have reached the top 10 since the ATP rankings were created, 91 of them grew up on clay, according to playtheclay.com.
(...)
The last American to win the French Open was Serena Williams in 2002, one year after countrywoman Jennifer Capriati accomplished the feat. Since then, Americans have claimed 16 Grand Slam titles at other events.

Chris Evert, who won a record seven French Open singles titles in 1974-1986, said her background on clay kept her healthy in a sport in which injuries are common.
(...)
On May 9, American Sam Querrey beat countryman John Isner in three sets to claim the Serbia Open, marking the first all- American clay-court final in Europe since the 1991 French Open, when Jim Courier topped Andre Agassi.

U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe gave Querrey a sliding lesson at a March practice in Serbia, Smith said. It’s an example of how much there is for Americans to learn about the surface.

“Sam’s 20th in the world and he was sliding after he hit the ball instead of into the ball,” Smith said.


The entire article can be found HERE

Too bad this is happening after the disastrous push lead by the United States tennis establishment to try and downgrade the clay court season. There was tremendous push back from the European and South American players led by the Duopoly and the Monte Carlo tournament was saved. Despite it's not being mandatory anymore it is still a major stop for the top players during the European clay court swing. It was this push that led to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic assuming major roles on the Players Council.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Those 3 players that you have named have really worked hard to ensure that European tournaments do not get overtaken by big money interests in the States. I think most players really do not want to come over for the American hard court swing of IW/Miami. There was even talk this year of Federer not even playing IW and I think he forced himself to come because it would have looked really bad if he did not play. Then on the other hand you have guys like Roddick who are of the view that there are too many clay court tournaments and that we should have more hard court tournies. It is a conundrum and there is no doubt that every single player and Federation are at odds over what is best for tennis. At this time I think the Europeans are thinking what is best for the players and playing on clay while it may not benefit the Americans in terms of ranking points, does benefit your body in the long term. However, I can see where everyone is coming from as while Europeans do very well on clay, on the other side of the divide you have other players who do poorly on the surface and in the long run you want to ensure that not only are your marquee players happy but that the rank and file are happy as well. What is the solution, nobody knows but at some point in time there has to be parity in terms of number of tournaments and surface.

Savannah said...

It was always an assumption in the US - and you hear it sneak into the conversation at times on ESPN - that if you hailed from South America you were a "dirt baller". If you came from Spain or Italy it was assumed you were a "dirt baller".

The truth of the matter is players like Fernando Gonzalez, Juan Martin del Potro, David Nalbandian and Feliciano Lopez are much better hard court players than clay court players. These men refuse to be categorized.

And yes the European players really don't care for the IW/Miami hard court swing but they come unlike the Americans, none of whom showed up for Monte Carlo. Only Sam Querrey and John Isner along with the Bryans have the balls to cross the pond and play in the dirt.

The European players don't care for the Canadian summer tournaments followed by Cincinnati either but they come.

Karen said...

Savannah true on the Europeans not liking the summer hard courts but coming nonetheless, even those who do well on the surface. Perhaps the reason why many players did not play MC is because while it is still an MS event, it is no longer mandatory, plus it is Rafa's playground so what is the use of coming. Fellow only lost 10 games during the whole tournament. LOL