Sunday, May 15, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

by Savannah

I was in Niagara Falls, Ontario last weekend and on my way back home when I checked the Madrid score on the ATP/WTA app on my Smartphone (no it's not an iPhone) and got seriously depressed for obvious reasons. Since I felt that my fave shouldn't have even played Madrid I was doubly depressed.

You can imagine how I feel today especially since regular readers know my feelings about Novak Djokovic. They're not new and they haven't changed. I will say this though: he has changed his game and the ATP tour will have to adjust. How long can he keep it up? Who knows?

I rarely get personal here but I have to ask you all to indulge me in this. That is the extent of my whining/fangirling folks.

On to the weekend results.

With the withdrawal of Andy Roddick from doubles play at Rome citing a shoulder injury John Isner and Sam Querrey are the ATP doubles champions in Rome.

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If anyone of you says you knew Maria Sharapova, self proclaimed "cow on ice" when it comes to her claycourt play, would win it all in Rome you're liars. In a victory that has to be called mind over matter, or maybe mind and will over matter, Sharapova dispatched the WTA #1 and proceeded to totally dismantle Samantha Stosur. I'm still waiting to see Stosur play up to her hype.

Meanwhile love her or hate her (I'm meh at the moment) it was good to see a tour veteran decide she was going to win and do just that. No one will claim she has a great clay game, she doesn't. I mean Twitter lit up when she actually slid into a point so that tells you how her clay play is, but she played her game and won on her terms.

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Novak Djokovic won Rome. He was the best player this week.

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Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai won the ladies doubles over Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova.

This and That

It should be mentioned in passing that Petra Kvitova, one of the hottest players on the women's tour, skipped the Premier 5 in Rome to play an ITF event in Prague. She lost in the final to Magdalena Rybarikova. There was some controversy about her skipping Rome but apparently there is some loophole that allowed her to do this. She has now pulled out of the newly minted Brussels Premier event. Why is the WTA putting a new Premier event in place the week before a Grand Slam?

Come to think of it how serious is the WTA about marketing their product? The only way you could see WTA play the past week was via live stream. I'm talking about the United States of course. Eurosport covered all of the play live. We afterthoughts in the States got television on Saturday. I hope someone explains the logic of this to me. I'm serious. If you want to build the American audience for a women's tour dominated by non American players you have to let people see them. Sharapova's win today is a triumph for the American way of playing tennis but that irony was lost on all except tennisheads.

When Italian press reports said that the men's final would happen before the women's final many found it plausible. Why? Most of the week the women were given the worst courts and horrible scheduling. Fans of women's tennis were appalled and made a lot of noise about it. When the rumors surfaced this morning the feeling was that so few people sat to watch the women play anyway and putting them second would guarantee an empty stadium.

Needless to say the order of play wasn't changed and everyone was able to calm down.

The lack of coverage makes me wonder about the financial situation of the WTA. Instead of hating on the ATP fans of women's tennis need to start asking the really hard questions.

Kind of like the American tennis press finally taking its collective head out of its ass and asking, timidly, but asking the same, about the real status of American tennis. With both Serena Williams and Venus Williams out with injury there are no American women in the top ten. All but two of them, Samantha Stosur and Li Na, are European. In the ATP everyone in the top ten is European.

Andy Roddick said last week that basically he's carried the load for awhile now and it's time for others to step up to the plate. I can't blame him. He's got a wife and other interests now and he's been the sole American hope for years now. That's a large burden to bear.

I have to give Patrick McEnroe credit. He's trying to change the anti clay court tennis culture of the United States tennis establishment but right now he's shoveling manure against the tide. It's a difficult fight he's undertaken but it's one that has to be fought and won if the United States plans to reclaim it's role on the worldwide stage.

If the powers that be don't change their attitude we'll end up like the LTA living on reflected glory with our players used as practice partners by the rest of the world.

1 comment:

TennisAce said...

With all the money that the women of the WTA make and with the current No. 1, and 2 of the most accomplished players sitting on the Player Council, one wonders whether talk of setting up WTA TV has ever entered the discussion. Clearly, the women must see that their Tour is taking a back seat to the men. Are they happy with this development? They must be. I thought they all wanted to be models and get sponsor contracts. I fail to see how they plan to do that when no one knows about them and know whether they can market a product or not. They never get face time on tv anyway.

I am wondering what is going to happen when the majors roll around because with Venus and Serena not playing, and Oudin being but a memory, I wonder what ESPN and the like will do. They must be so happy that Sharapova is back in the conversation.