Ah the arrogance of mediocrity. The number one ranked WTA player Caroline Wozniacki was getting a huge fight back from Canadian qualifier Alexandra Wozniak. The Canadian had already suffered a bad line call but was holding her own when the World # 1 hit a ball long. The ball wasn't could've caught the line long but about three or four inches long. According to @MiguelSeabra World#1's breathing was "heavy" so what to do in that situation? Throw a hissy fit. The chair ump had already come down to verify the mark and was barely back in her chair when the World#1 demanded she come down and check again because the mark she'd checked was wrong. The chair ump refused. Word#1 then went on to demand that the head umpire come out. That request was denied. Wozniak, left to watch all this, was taken completely out of the the match and World#1 won the tiebreak and the match.
Martina Navratilova and Mary Carillo went to great lengths after the match to show that the Canadian woman played some sketchy tennis and that that was what caused her to lose. No mention of the shit fit and the role it played in clouding her opponents up to then pretty solid judgment. I'd love to know what questions were asked and what answers were given at World#1's presser but I'll have to wait until the "journalists" decide what we peons should know. I'm guessing that there won't be one question asked about what Craig Hickman rightly called gamesmanship.
A Simple Question...
Why is Brad Gilbert commentating on Nishikori Kei's match? Isn't he working with Nishikori?
Response of ITWA to Transcript Gate
I wrote to Sandra Harwitt of the ITWA. She gave me a very fulsome reply, and I thought it right that her points should be added to the debate:
“Our organization has requested this on behalf of all journalists — not just ITWA members. The truth is that most of us are having to fight with our editors to still be covering the Grand Slams and tennis at all. Times are tough in the media and cutbacks are dramatic.
“The truth is the first outgrowth of transcripts continuing to appear in full will be more editors pulling trips to tournaments — their writers, at least temporarily, will be made to writer the tournament off of the TV and he transcripts from home base.
“The second outgrowth will be even more shocking to fans. The lack of journalists on-site — even more stunning this year here at the French and will be for Wimbledon as well — is that tournaments will stop hiring the costly transcription service as there’s no need to provide the service to just a handful of journalists — the price of the service has been an ongoing subject for a number of years.
“And thirdly, if there aren’t many journalists around at tournaments there will be no one asking the questions. That will make transcripts a moot point.
“This might seem dramatic to you, but I can assure you it is a serious situation — At least one major U.S. newspaper, located in a warm weather area with a great many tennis fans, has surprisingly followed the lead of other papers and has pulled the Wimbledon trip from their tennis writer. But even more shocking, they’ve also pulled the U.S. Open — and this writer is not the only one going through this situation. In South Florida, the Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach Post has stayed home for years.”
I was very grateful to her that she made these points honestly.
Almost everyone knows that news bureaus that once had National and International desks in almost every corner of the country and the world have now cut back to the point where most "reporters" get their news from the Internet's. They wouldn't know how to pound the pavement to save their lives. Sports coverage outside of the big team sports (I'm talking about the US now) is reported in short one paragraph pieces at the bottom of the sports page. Therefore her argument is disingenuous at best. The truth is that the "journalists" whose names are synonymous with tennis have grown fat and lazy. When they attend a Grand Slam instead of "walking the beat" and going to outer courts and watching actual matches they sit in the air conditioned comfort of the media center, take handouts from the IMG's of the world and regurgitate them as fact. This is why commentators can say with no shame that they've never heard of someone playing in a Grand Slam. It's why their columns are filled with inaccuracies and opinion presented as fact. It's why they're just getting around to talking about the problems with American tennis and are reduced to cheerleading for a player instead of being able to present a coherent analysis of why matches are unfolding the way they are.
One prominent tennis writer got so pissed off at being called out by someone he referred to pejoratively as an "intern" he said he was staying off Twitter for a day and not releasing some information on World #1 to show just how peeved he was. I didn't know we were dealing with third graders.
What they can't stand is that bloggers who get credentialed are more versed in what is going on in the world of tennis than they are. They go out and actually watch matches. They take the press releases with grains of salt and go out and find out for themselves what the hell is going on. This includes post match pressers. The most dangerous thing to the hegemony of these "journalists" is the availability of post match interview transcripts. They can't take one quote out of context and use it to smear a player, support some PR firms claims about it's client, or forward their own biases. If bloggers had been around in the numbers they are now when Venus Williams and Serena Williams first came on the scene I sincerely believe that the noxious attitudes they faced in the press wouldn't have been perpetuated. There would've been someone sitting in the room or reading a full transcript of their presser who would report fairly on what was asked and how the question was answered.
The prevalence of bloggers also means that the tours don't have the control they used to have over what gets reported about not only the players but the tours themselves. This is what Craig was talking about when he said certain players don't fit the narrative. There is good and bad about the ATP, WTA and the ITF. In today's environment all of it gets reported.
The bottom line is that organizations like the ITWA are fighting a losing battle. The more they try to herd the kittens the more difficult it's going to be for them. Get used to it guys. We ain't going anywhere.
Were They Too Harsh?
I have to say that I was surprised to read that some "fans" were taken back and upset at the questioning of World #1 by Mary Carillo and Martina Navratilova live on the air after her win today.
The two former players asked really hard questions like "Why do you play so much?" "Why don't you play more aggressively?" "How do you deal with the WTA's policy of mandatory tournaments?"
I didn't see Caroline Wozniacki as being upset but maybe she was surprised she wasn't being asked the usual bullshit she's asked at her post match pressers but she answered the questions. This is what should be happening at post match interviews. They shouldn't be laugh fests. They're press conferences and interviews, not a conversation between friends.
Germany's Sabine Lisicki was taken from the court on a stretcher after the end of her match with Vera Zvonareva. Lisicki played until the end after having her blood pressure checked on the sidelines. After the match was over she collapsed on court sobbing loudly. Pam Shriver reported that the doctor told her the problem seemed to be cramps and that Sabine's father, who is a physician, said his daughter had no preexisting conditions.