Thursday, August 12, 2010

This and That

by Savannah

Ana Ivanovic has officially withdrawn from Montreal citing the article below as part of the reason. Personally I don't have any problem with the premise of the article but that could be because being female she does nothing for me.
Should Tennis Canada have been so blunt? Maybe not. But is there anything in the article that isn't true? An excerpt.

The vast majority of media and fans seem squarely on the Serbian cutie's side.

Ana Ivanovic, in the qualifying? How disrespectful, given her track record, the fact she won here four years ago -and mostly, how cute she is.

Ivanovic is cute, and really nice, and everyone wants her to get back on track.

But in the particular context of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, she's not necessarily added value. And that made the decision a little easier for tournament director Eugene Lapierre.
But unlike the three U.S. tournaments (San Diego, Stanford, Cincinnati) that did give her wild cards, Lapierre did not consider Ivanovic an "incontournable" -a player you couldn't pass up like, say, if Steffi Graf decided she wanted to play.
Beyond all that, you have to wonder if they're really helping Ivanovic, long term.

When you're struggling with your confidence as much as she is, the best cure is to win tennis matches. Unseeded, the 22-year-old Serb could very easily run into a top player in the first round, lose, and be no further ahead.

"If I were her coach, I'd force her to play qualies," Lapierre said.

Ivanovic seems to be running her career as if she were still on top, or as if all it's going to take is one good win -and she'll be right back there. During a training week last week, she wrote on Facebook that she had her entire family with her.

How can that be anything but pressure, a group of well-meaning people Ivanovic -who is a people-pleaser above all -has bearing down on her at all times as a reminder of what she no longer is?

The entire article is HERE

What gets me is that no one is clamoring for Dinara Safina to be given wild cards and she was ranked number one for more weeks that Ivanovic. Double standard much?
Both women are where they are because of the decline in their level of play. Dinara does have a back problem she says she is free from now but Ana has never to my knowledge cited injury as her problem.

I guess the boys want to be able to continue their visual masturbation and they're going to keep the pressure on. Will the US Open grant her a Wild Card into the Main Draw? I guess we'll know soon enough.

Tennis Channel Commentators

Robbie Koenig, Doug Adler and Jason Goodall are fonts of knowledge when the commentate a match and I mean that in a good way. During Andy Murray's match yesterday the subject of his not having a coach naturally came up. It started calmly enough and the obligatory picture of Judy Murray flashed on screen. Then the comment was passed that Murray is a very head strong individual and that if a person is hired as a coach he needs to be in charge of the players professional life and the player must listen to him. Hmmm Andy. I guess you know best what's good for you huh?

But back to the announcers mentioned above. During last night's match there were times when they knew to keep their mouths shut and let the tennis speak for itself. That doubled the enjoyment of one of the best tiebreaks played in a long time. It ended with a 14-12 score. It was so nice not to have to hear a discussion of Isner/Mahut while it took place. Or the Monogram. I wish the ESPN announcers would learn that sometimes silence is indeed golden

I should mention in passing that Jamie Murray comes across as much more likeable than his brother in his bag check spot on Tennis TV. I'm just saying.

The WTA Follies

The WTA never ceases to amaze. The Premier event in Cincinnati had some dynamite first round and potential second round matches lined up. As @olerafa put it on Twitter here were the big matches. Emphasis is by @olerafa.


Azarenka - Ivanovic first round

Clijsters-Safina potential second round.

Jankovic's section is Rezai and 5 qualifiers

Unless you were on site you didn't see any of the first round matches because the WTA, in its infinite wisdom, made sure the cameras were off so that fans and potential fans of its product were unable to see how play went.
Coverage starts today on where a paid subscription is required. That means there will be live streams since the cameras will now be turned on.

Meanwhile a shout out has to be given to the men and women who got press credentials or who attended as civilians for keeping the tennis public updated on Cincinnati via Twitter. The tournament's official Tweeter has also done a magnificent job at keeping the public updated and informed during rain delays and reporting play by play. Thanks people!

The Rogers Cup official Tweeter has also done a great job but we the public have been able to see the men play.

End Notes

Is it time to start worrying about Elena Dementieva?

Note to fans of Novak Djokovic: When a commentator asks on air if your fave is playing possum there is no need to get upset. The commentator is not the one who looks ready to be carried off on a stretcher one minute and is running like a gazelle the next.
I was reluctant to follow the Spanish speaking players on Twitter because I don't speak a lick of Spanish that can be repeated in public but it's a great idea to have them comment and then have the comment translated by persons unknown into English. Feliciano Lopez has really been great. So has Fernando Verdasco. They're reaching Andy Roddick and Serena Williams levels in terms of personality and tid bits about what they're up to. Without Feli's tweets how would we know he and David Ferrer visited Niagara Falls? Now if someone would just provide translations of Gustavo Kuerten's Tweets...

It also seems that some former players are upset about Paul Annacone's new gig with Roger Federer. Greg Rusedski was named on Twitter yesterday as being among those who ridicule the choice saying that Annacone was not much more than a water boy for Pete Sampras. That makes him a perfect fit for Federer if you ask me. Towards the end of his tenure with The Monogram Tony Roche(?) was reduced to picking up the balls that had been used in practice by the Monogram and his hitting partner. Not much difference in temperament between him and Murray is there?

A well known online tennis source hinted that Andy Roddick's medical issues may be chronic. I haven't seen this repeated anywhere else and I'm sure something would've been said by Andy's publicists if there was any firm information ready to be released to the public. I won't repeat what they said here because it hasn't been confirmed. And it's not Hey I did my first blind, well semi blind item! I'm so happy. Cheap thrills.

Has David Nalbandian stopped with the cerveza and gotten himself ready to do battle during the outdoor season? He's looking fit and ready to go. Ask any of his recent opponents.
As someone who suffers in heat and humidity I feel for Dinara. This is how I would look just walking a few feet in Cincinnati.

Andrea Petkovic of Germany has also become a Twitter favorite.

Best comeback of the day was made by Vera Zvonareva. She was down and seemingly out in her match against Maria Kirilenko but after a long rain delay she sucked it up and won.
Nicolas Almagro won the Fernando Gonzalez Award for best racquet destruction in Toronto. Didn't get to see this melt down but from what I hear it was spectacular.
Yanina Wickmayer continues her charm offensive, emphasis on offensive. She spent most of her match yesterday berating a ball kid. Way to go hon.


cp said...

LaPierre told her she could not have a WC because she is not Canadian. Then people start dropping out and they want to give her a WC. I don't blame her for saying NO.

cp said...
Here is what she said on her site.

I think they could have handled it better. I don't see her going back there again evah.

WTA Blog said...

Nobody is asking WCs for Safina because she has not needed any yet. And the USO won't give Ivanovic a WC because she doesn't need one. She will have direct entry along with the top 108 players.

I'm okay with your opinion, I understand you don't like Ana, but at least get your facts straight.

A tournament director simply should never go out to the press saying a player sucks. If he was a coach, a former player, a journalist.. fine. But a tournament director should never do that. And then when his tournament had plenty of withdrawals (Serena, Henin, Stosur, possibly Venus), he goes back and asks her to play. I wouldn't in her case, and I'm glad she stood up and said no.

Savannah said...

I don't have anything against Ana. What I don't like is all the sturm und drang about her not getting a WC into Montreal. If she were Marion Bartoli or Flavia Pennetta I don't think the outcry would be as loud. I think that the fanboys - and that includes a lot of the tennis media - are in wuv and are going to miss her for that reason alone. She's playing well right now but if it takes someone telling the truth about her current situation in public to motivate her so be it. I just don't think a TD should've been the one to tell the Empress she has no clothes.

No she won't need a WC into the US Open but then I'm sure the fanboys will be arguing that her draw sucks. Dinara's ranking will fall drastically next week and it's going to be interesting to see how she fares MD wise after the Open. I'll wait to see people agitating for her to get WC's.

LaPierre is not the only one to say that Ana is a legend in her own mind. I posted here a couple of weeks ago about Ana behaving as if she is above qualifying, something she now says she would've gladly done. That was not the case a couple of weeks ago.

I read the comments on her website and came away unimpressed. Whoever wrote that for her has a future in journalism.

I don't understand why with WTA players if you criticize them you don't like them.

TennisAce said...

Yeah, a bit like how fans of ATP players feel when they read criticism of their faves they are called the Worshipful. You are now quoting Rudeski in support of an argument. Rudeski, the pariah of the tennis world.

First the cry is that Roger needs a coach. Then they say he will not get a coach because he is too stubborn. Now he gets a coach they are now saying that he is just going to be a water carrier. Did anyone else ever get the distinct impression that perhaps one of the reasons why some of these former players are so angry at Roger is because they have privately asked for the job of coaching Federer and been turned down.

We know people like JMac has spoken a lot about coaching Fed and finding ways to beat Nadal. How about if others have done the same thing. I recall years ago after another defeat at the hands of Nadal, Federer came out and said that he got so many offers to coach him, all of which he had turned down.

That may have a lot to do with the current sniping by media commentators. They exalt and lift Nadal, not because they feel that he is better than Federer (perhaps he is, perhaps he is not) but because they have their own axe to grind.

As to Ivanovic, she should have got down on her knees and given thanks to the TD for lighting a fire under her ass so that she now starts to play tennis and get some wins. How long it will last, who gives a flying you know what.

Savannah said...

TennisAce I can't bear Rusedski. He was not cited because I agree with him but because like you said he probably wishes he could've gotten the job. That was the context of the original Tweet as well.

I remember reading about how Fed treated Roche (someone correct me if it wasn't him) and I really don't think he'll treat Annacone any differently.

I also said that Sampras was not easy to deal with back in the day and that Annacone was able to put up with him.

I should have clarified those comments.

TennisAce said...

It is funny people talking about how Roger treated Fed when to date Roche has never come out and said anything about his relationship with Fed.

Federer has actually come out and spoke about the relationship that he has had with his former coaches.

The thing that a lot of people forget is that these top players are egotistical. They have been doing this tennis thing since before they can walk. They have to have supreme belief in their games. For someone like Federer whose game and mind have taken him to great heights, how must it feel to know that worked for so long is no longer working.

Coaches have their place in the grand scheme of things, but they are paid employees just like the physio and the hitting partner. The player at the end of the day calls the shots.

As Federer put it, if I do not have good results how do I pay the people in my entourage and that includes the coach, so if the coach is not doing his job, then he really needs to be let go.

I am glad you agree with me that Rudeski is an idiot. I cannot believe he actually came out and said that.

TennisAce said...

Savannah, I know you are a fan of men's tennis moreso than the women, but I have to share this joke with you and your readers.

Yesterday after Bartoli beat Wozniacki they did an interview with her. During the interview Bartoli stated how impressed she was with Serena's game and how Serena has the full respect of the players on the Tour as they all want to be play like her. She was giving all the praise to Serena.

The commentators did not even respond to it. They just pretended as if nothing had been said and moved on to the next question. It was hilarious.

I am hoping that Bartoli is not intimidated today and just goes out there and plays her game. I want her to step up almost to the service line to receive Shrieky's serve. I want her to jump around on the baseline and twirl her racquet and take her time towelling off. I want her to get inside Shrieky's head.

Even if she loses, just seeing her do it will make me laugh my ass off at it and just listening to the commentators talk about it will of course make my day.

Savannah said...

Someone mentioned Marion's comments on Twitter yesterday and I totally forgot about it until reading your post. Ever since that embrace between the respective pere's a couple of years ago I've had nothing but respect for Marian and her father. Yes she has her ways but so does everyone. I'm really glad to see how fit she's gotten.

It never ceases to amaze me how much the tennis establishment resents any success by Serena or Venus. Marion spoke the truth. They know it's the truth but like a lot of inconvenient tennis truths they tend to ignore it.

As for Shrieky I was hoping Cliff kept his raincoat over his lap while calling her match yesterday. If he got any more into it he would've needed to take a bathroom break. ;)

TennisAce said...

LMAO at Cliffie and the towel. I tell you when was the last time you heard a man doing commentary on a women's match and talk about the clothes, 5 minutes into the broadcast. I mean come on.

People are now of the view that the commentators must be in IMG's pocket or they have instructions from IMG to only say complementary things about their No.1 client. Whatever. She is still no longer relevant, no matter what they say.

In her match yesterday they talked about how she took Justine to 3 sets and lost. Then they said she had 3 set points at Wimbledon against Serena, but never bothered to say that she lost. Whatever. Now no one can bring up 2004 wimbledon because guess what 2010 Wimbledon happened and it is much more recent.

Wayne said...

Sharapova is no longer relevant? What freaking planet are you on? The girl was out with a major shoulder injury for god knows how long and is now starting to get back to her best and you actually think she has no relevance? Wake up to yourself honey and see there is more to tennis than Serena and Venus, the girls who apparently can do no wrong.

As for Ana, good to see her in the semi finals and getting her ranking back into the 40's. If that does not jusitify a WC then I don't know what the hell does.

TennisAce said...

Wayne, just as how the media said that Serena was no longer relevant after she was defeated in the 2004 Wimbledon final by Sharapova, so I have the right to say that Sharapova is no longer relevant after not being in a major for nigh on 2 years.

If it is not the shoulder leading to the double faults, it is tiredness. When it is not tiredness, it is the heat of the day. When it is not the heat of the day, it is because of the glare of the lights.

At no point in time do other players get credit for beating Sharapova. When she beats anyone else it is through her grit and her fight. Give me a break already.

What grit and what fight when every chance she gets she calls her coach down courtside to whine and complain about her shoulder or needs Joyce to hold her hand and tell her what shot to play.

How can a player be considered the heir to the throne when she has not taken out the current holder of the throne in over 6 years. 6 years.

At least when Justine had Serena's number, Serena fought back hard and never gave up until she finally sent Justine packing. And when Justine did come back, again she was sent packing.

I have no problem with fans of Sharapova defending her. No problem at all, but when the media keeps pushing something down my throat and it is not what I am seeing forget it, I will call them on it.

TennisAce said...

Second part of post:

Before Stanford Sharapova had not beaten a player ranked in the top 40 all season long. To date, she has not had to play any really quality opponents. Bartoli played like crap yesterday and it will be interesting to see how she does against Clijsters if Clijsters can get past Ivanovic or indeed whether she can take out a new and improved Ivanovic who seems to have her serve working, but with her head, who the hail knows.

Women's tennis has revolved around Venus and Serena since the day they made their debuts. The only time within which certain players have been able to dominate is when those 2 are out with injuries. Mauresmo for all her vaunted skills never won a major until 2006 when both Sisters were out. Henin, dominated in 2006-2007, but once 2008 rolled around and the Sisters had found their groove she was gone on her sabbatical.

Right now tennis fans all over are lamenting the day when both put up their racquets. Look at the stands in Cincy and even worse look at what the stands will be like in Montreal where neither Sister is playing.

Every where they play, it is to sold out audiences. I was shocked at seeing the paucity of fans in Stanford this year. Last year it was standing room only when the Sisters played. Yes, they are relevant and regardless of what the media thinks, Sharapova is not the heir apparent.

Craig Hickman said...

These WTA updates are stupendous.