Thursday, September 8, 2011

We Are Not Protected

by Savannah

Being a tennis fan means being a student of nuance. Take a look at this picture. Take a good look. Notice anything wrong with it?

Okay I'll spill. Is Serena Williams dressed to play tennis? I mean yeah she has her kit on and all that but where's the bling? Serena let the world know she'd gone to Graff jewelers and purchased a pair of earrings to wear during the US Open. Just so you know Graff diamonds ain't Zales diamonds. See them? Neither do I.

I explained to my daughter that before Serena stepped on the court a group of WTA players gathered on the same court. All of them were set to play last evening. But when it came time to play only Serena and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova appeared. All of the others were in a meeting in Tournament Referee Brian Earley's office, Vera Zvonareva being the last one to enter. We were also allowed to see Samantha Stosur, Flavia Pennetta and Caroline Wozniacki conferring just before they went into Brian Earley's office. In the on court huddle Serena's agent was there representing her.
My daughter said "Serena wasn't going to play anyway and she knew it."
"Why?" asked the old person.
"No earrings."
In a day at the US Open that saw ATP players Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and importantly Andy Roddick doing the tennis equivalent of storming the Bastille a lot was made of why no noise from the WTA players who as the day progressed looked as if they were going to be sacrificed to the tennis gods. Were they perceived as more compliant, more malleable? Apparently not. Was a deal struck that saw Serena and Pavs come out on court to test the waters so to speak? Serena was standing up and ready to go a few minutes before the night was officially called.

In the end it doesn't matter if Serena participated in charade or not. The USTA was caught with it's pants down and there is no other way to describe what happened. They've managed to skate by for a long time with no real plans for putting a roof on the monstrosity that is Arthur Ashe Stadium, a stadium where if you have to sit above loge level you may as well stay home and watch television. I understand that some apologists were saying there are plans but in the end it was admitted that any talk of plans is pure speculation at this point. There aren't any.
In a day that saw EVERY former player contracted to ESPN expressing anger at how players are treated, that saw John McEnroe give a history of the struggles tennis players have had to endure over the years and Mary Jo Fernandez recount how she was injured in a bad fall on a wet court, it was an amazing day.

The weather report this morning is saying the heavy stuff will arrive from eastern Pennsylvania around 2p. Let's hope they're right.

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