Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kim Clijsters WTA Player of the Year

by Savannah

To absolutely no one's surprise Kim Clijsters of Belgium was chosen as WTA Player of the Year. The WTA site posted the following:

Kim Clijsters was voted Player of the Year for the second time in her career, having first earned the accolade in 2005. The Belgian, 27, had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open. Additionally, Clijsters won four other titles, at Brisbane, Miami, Cincinnati and the WTA Championships - Doha 2010. For her off-court achievements, she was also given the Player Service award, which recognizes the player who has done the most to support her fellow players through the WTA Players' Council or other initiatives.

"It's really nice to win the Player of the Year award just one year after making a comeback and while I didn't think it would come so quickly, I am thrilled with the news," Clijsters commented. "To be honored by your fellow players with the Player Service award means so much to me because I believe the social contact with the rest of the players is very important. This year I met a lot of new girls and it was very nice that so many of them had positive reactions to my daughter Jada as well. I want to thank my fellow players and the media who voted for me and I look forward to seeing everyone again in Australia."

How do I feel about it? Kim won the US Open. That was her major. I guess the good news is that she at least has one this year. I guess everyone knew they couldn't sneak Sunshine in with no major despite her top ranking. Still it kind of surprises me that the woman who won two majors this year and was only unable to compete due to injury at the end of the year wasn't chosen.
As someone posted here Kim plays ugly tennis and forces opponents to her level which of course is pushing in a way but I'll save that for my end of year write up. Congratulations to Kim and her fans. It could've been worse.

The other winners, and an explanation of how Kim was chosen can be found on the official WTA site by clicking the above link.

The Pressure of Hype
Grigor Dimitrov is a name many tennisheads are familiar with. He's not so quietly been moving up the ATP rankings and ends the year ranked # 106. Which makes what happened after the Helsinki Finland challenger a bit disturbing.

Grigor Dimitrov has been charged €2000 and could face further punishment as a result of attacking an umpire at the Challenger event in Helsinki last month.

...after his final four loss to Ricardas Berankis at the Helsinki Challenger is reported to have attacked umpire Daniel Infanger away from the court before pushing the official in the chest using both of his hands.

According to one of the Finnish newspapers, an irate Dimitrov also swore at Daniel until an Italian colleague of the umpire separated the two of them.

The newspaper also reports the director of the competition saying that the Association of Tennis Professional could yet impose a more severe punishment on the contender once the incident has been further examined.

Antti Aine who is the President of the Finnish umpire's association, was extremely critical of Grigor after witnessing the argument himself.

"The immunity of the umpire is a sacred thing in sports. You can disagree with calls but this was way out of line,” said Aine.

A suspension could possibly endanger Dimitrov’s place in next month’s Australian Open with the contender’s current ranking of world number 106 enough to secure him straight entry.

The article doesn't make clear what set Dimitrov off but there is no excuse for his behavior. That's what walls, and locker rooms are for Grigor. It seems that young Mr. Dimitrov may have the talent to be the next big thing in men's tennis. It remains to be seen if he's got the temperament for it.


I'm doing my civic duty and may be a juror in the near future. My first day was today. I read the entire NY Times today. I'm so informed it's disgusting.

I'll post as I can in the evenings if it's necessary.


TennisAce said...

Jury duty. One of the disadvantages of working in the legal profession is the fact that I hardly ever get chosen for jury duty. For some reason judges and those in the judiciary believe that persons who are versed in the law never make good jurors. Go figure.

As to the WTA awards, the one that caused me to raise my eyebrows somewhat is Sharapova winning the humanitarian award. I am a big follower of the WTA, and I had to go back in my memory banks to figure out what humanitarian cause she was a part of, apart from "giving" many opponents who, according to the pundits would not have otherwise have won, except for her shoulder, tiredness, night matches, the sun, the moon, and all points in between, beating her. I guess the work that Serena did is of no account. Oh well.

I also wish to take you a bit to task Savannah in the write up of the WTF. I know you are not a Fed fan, but I think journos and bloggers alike do a great disservice to Nadal and indeed the sport of tennis when they consistently denigrate his opponent's beating him and find a reason, i.e. injury, tiredness etc.

Rafa is 24 years old and the fittest player on tour. It is inconceivable to those of us who are fans of the game that apart from the fact he got the earlier match, he had 5 weeks off in which to rest up for the WTF. He lost going down the stretch to a player who is 5 years older than him and who played consecutive weeks coming into the WTF.

Sometimes a loss is just that. A loss.

Savannah said...

If you notice I didn't offer an excuse for Rafa's loss. The "meh" is because in comparison to the Rafa/Murray semi the match was dull. Rafa never makes excuses and most of his fans won't either.

I got picked for a jury. The trial starts on Tuesday.

TennisAce said...

I take your point about the 'meh' final. I am yet to see it by the way. I am tired of FeDal. I am tired of 2 guys winning everything significant on the ATP and then the pundits telling me that this is a better product than the WTA.

The clay season is boring as all out because one guy keeps winning everything in sight. The hard court season is not much better. Slow hard courts with all this top spin. Best tournament this year that I watched was Paris Bercy and match of the year has to go to Soderling/Llodra or Llodra against anyone that he played in Bercy.

As for jury duty, my take: someone has to do it.

Hope you have a good Christmas and all the best for the New Year

cp said...

Sharapova winning the humanitarian award.

Doesn't she do Chernobyl work? I think her parents were there when it happened. Maybe she just gave a huge chunk of change to someone.

Nick said...

Um.. honestly? To imply that racism or dislike for Serena played a role in her supposed Pyayer of the Year "snub" is ludacrous.

I am huge Serena fan, and have often been displeased with her historical portrayal in the press. Even following her withdrawal from the AO there has been negative speculation concerning the legitimacy of her injury. But the fact remains that she played 6 tournaments. I'm not saying that the player who plays most frequently deserves the honor, I would have been troubled if Wozniacki won. The fact that Serena netted two GS within the span of those six tournaments is a testament to her skill, but a Player of the Year it does not make. You cannot in good conscience give it to a player who plays only a selection of tournaments, regardless of the reason. It's not a personal attack against Serena, nor is it unadulterated adulation for Kim.

Fact is, sure, Serena, if healthy, would have likely won more tournaments. But "ifs" aren't quantitative. You could just as easily argue that Kim would have reached the final at the French if she were healthy. The facts are Serena won two slams, played 6 tournaments. Kim won 5 tournaments, a slam, the SEC, Miami, Cincinnati and Brisbane. This is only Kim's second player of the year award so to imply that she had been awarded one previously undeservedly is ridiculous. Slams are the pinnacle, I agree, but to discount the other tournaments is to negate the rest of the tour. Performance as slams is what makes Serena the player of the decade, but it shouldn't award her player of the year.

And about the ugly style of play remark. That sounds like an uneducated tennis viewers needling perspective on a woman's game. Clijsters has been disappointing to me throughout her career, but I honestly think she is one of the greatest players of her generation. If she had the mentality of Serena or Sharapova, she'd be invincible. Unfortunately she's nowhere close. But its a testament to her game that she has been able to achieve what she has without the mental fortitude of the other greats. She has great baseline feel, defensive ability, attacking strength, and shot prowess (Her lob was deemed the best in the women's game by Martina, BJK, and Conchita). She doesn't have the visually appealing "big-babe" style of the Serena, Sharapova and Venus, but that's not due to a lack of skill. She can't hit the sharp, flat shots so she throws heavy, deep, powerful shots near the baseline. Not as aesthetically pleasing as a clean winner, but that's not due to a lack of skill.

Writing this has been cathartic and confusing. I acknowledge that I'm ranting and don't want to discredit the quality of your blog. Also, I'm not a Kim fan, and a massive Serena fan. So to defend her so fervently is odd. To see you mindless debase her year due to her favored public appeal, however, touched a nerve. She's well-liked and as a fan, we naturally want our favorites to be as publicly revered as we enjoy them personally. But to attack Kim just to prove to the world how wrong there are in liking her, is unnecessary. If I held the same belief, I would criticize Wozniacki so thoroughly, I wouldn't have time to enjoy tennis.

It would have been great if Serena hadn't been injured, had the chance to reassert her dominance on the women's game through the latter portion of the year. But she sustained an injury, which is an unfortunate element of sport. Women's tennis soldiered on and gave us a worthy Player of the Year: Kim Clijsters. It wasn't ideal, but it's the only decision that makes sense.