Monday, December 17, 2012

The ATP Is Not Amused

by Savannah


The ATP released a statement this morning stating its position on the changes announced by the USTA regarding the 2013 US Open.

17 December 2012

ATP Statement Regarding 2013 US Open Prize Money / Monday Final

Following last week’s announcement regarding the 2013 US Open prize money and the modification of the schedule to a Monday final, the ATP said:

The prize money increase announced by the US Open for 2013 is appreciated and, together with the 2012 increase, represents the largest increase by the US Open since the ATP Tour began in 1990. However, over the last nine months the ATP and its players have asked that the US Open fully recognise the fundamental role of the players in driving US Open revenues, which are the largest in our sport.

The ATP therefore remains committed to continuing discussions on this issue, with the objective of ensuring that the players’ share of the revenues at the US Open truly reflects the value that they generate for the event.

By modifying the schedule to allow a rest day between the semi-finals and the final, the US Open has recognised the incredible physical demands of men's tennis.

However, the ATP and its players have made it clear to the US Open that we do not support a Monday final. We strongly believe the US Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams, with the men’s semi-finals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday. It is unfortunate the US Open response did not reflect our views on this issue and the ATP and its players will continue to pursue this matter in its discussions with the USTA.

All emphasis is mine.

Long story short the ATP is calling bullshit on the moves by the USTA. Players share of revenue is not what they want and moving the Mens Final to Monday isn't satisfactory. I believe that Davis Cup starts Friday of that week.

It's necessary to note that the WTA hasn't made a formal reply to the changes instituted for the 2013 US Open. They're going to let the men spearhead the charge and stand on the sidelines reaping the benefits since the tournaments, especially the Slams, pay the women what the men get. Some ATP player is going to say something about that. And he will be right.


I actually watched some live tennis this past week. Tennis Australia provided live streaming from its site and it was much appreciated.

The USTA also provided live streaming of its Wild Card playoffs. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to watch any of the play.

In the United States Rhyne Williams defeated Tim Smyczek for the United States ATP wild card. Madison Keys defeated Mallory Burdette for the WTA wild card. This is Madison's second straight win.

In Australia Bojana Bobusic and Ben Mitchell won their respective WTA and ATP wild cards.

Gisela Dulko confirmed on Argentine television that she is expecting her first child.

The WTA has redone it's website. I'll take their word for it that it's an improvement. In this day and age you don't roll out a website that doesn't allow basic functions. And it's very busy.

Stan Wawrinka seems to have found his voice regarding that other Swiss player and Davis Cup.

“Roger keeps on saying that Davis Cup is important to him, but clearly it’s not. At the end of the day, tennis is an individual sport and it’s fair that everyone looks at his own career, but I understood his decisions more in the past than now. Apparently, to him, Davis Cup is not yet that important; I’m sorry he turns things as he pleases.”

Wawrinka then spoke about his own love for the team: “Even if the results don't always come, I gave my best for this team. To me, it has always been a funny experience. I don’t know if Roger will change his mind, I don’t kid my self about it, because I’m not that naïve as he apparently thinks.”

This is my SOURCE . Corrected to show original interview.

If only more players would stop groveling and playing lip service at that particular altar.

End Note

The tennis tournament at Los Angeles is no more. The tournament will be replaced by one in Bogota, Colombia. The folks who ran Los Angeles had a chance to keep it in the States but refused the offer by Larry Ellison, who owns Indian Wells, to buy it. They then released one of the most maudlin press releases ever mourning the death of the tournament. Ellison lives in the real world of sports while tennis TD's continue to think of their tournaments as fiefdoms and the players their serfs. Yes the players make good money at the top but the players who fight to become eligible to play main tour events can't afford coaches unless they're provided by their Federations and of course the support of a Federation is political. At least the ATP has put its money where its mouth is.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The US Open Makes It Official

by Savannah

Buried in a press release about the increase in prize money for the 2013 US Open is proof that the USTA can pull its head out of its ass and let common sense prevail.

I found the release and think it should be quoted not paraphrased.

In order to accommodate the players’ request for a day of rest between the singles semifinals and finals, the 2013 US Open is scheduled to conclude on Monday, September 9. The women’s singles semifinals will be played in a single day session on Friday, September 6, and the women’s final will take place on Sunday, September 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET, in the time slot where the men’s singles final was traditionally played.

The men’s singles semifinals will continue to be played in a single day session on Saturday, September 7, with the men’s singles final to take place on Monday, September 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET. In the new schedule, no competition will be scheduled for the second Saturday night of the tournament.


“We recognize the increased physicality required to compete at the highest level of the sport, and we have responded to the players’ request for a scheduled day of rest between the singles semifinals and finals,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President.

Prize money in 2013 will be $29.5 million. Singles prize money at the US Open has now increased by 34% since the 2011 US Open.

Andy Murray is on record approving the schedule change and the increase in prize money.

Now if they could only get it about the need for a roof on it's show courts...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tennis This and That Part 2

by savannah

ITF Names Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic 2012 World Champions


The ITF released it's 2012 Champions list earlier today.


With no possibility of drama on the WTA side there was a lot of chit chat about who would be named the ITF World Champion for the ATP. The ITF didn't go strictly by ranking. It seems to have taken into account overall performance for 2012. If it didn't Serena Williams, who is not the top ranked WTA player, wouldn't have won.

With the ATP it was different. There were people pushing hard for Andy Murray. I thought he deserved it for getting the Grand Slam monkey off his back but Novak Djokovic had the better overall record and I can't argue with his getting the nod.

The win was the third time for Serena and the second for Djokovic.

The other winners are as follows:

Bob and Mike Bryan Men’s Doubles World Champions
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy become Women’s Doubles World Champions
Filip Peliwo ITF Junior World Champion
Taylor Townsend ITF Junior World Champion
Esther Vergeer ITF Wheelchair World Champion
Stephane Houdet ITF Wheelchair World Champion

Congratulations to all the winners!

Not So Idle Chit Chat

We've all known this for awhile but at least the FFT is aware. Very aware.

Former Top 10 player Henri Leconte tells The Tennis Space that Gael Monfils is “completely lost at the moment and doesn’t know what to do.” The former world No. 7 has been saddled with knee injuries and has seen his ranking drop to No. 77. He only managed to play 29 matches in 2012.

“Maybe he’s going to stop playing tennis, you never know for sure,” Leconte said. “I hope not. He has a strange way of training, thinking about sports, about his life, his entourage, his everything. It’s a nightmare. He doesn’t know where to go ... He’s been lost for two years. It’s a shame, because he’s so talented.”


The minute I read the headline I knew this had to do with Roger Federer and what happened in London. I wasn't wrong.

ROME -- Tennis officials are considering adding third-set tiebreakers at the 2016 Rio Olympics after marathon matches in London this year.

Also, bronze-medal matches could be eliminated to lighten the loads of players entered in multiple events.

ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti tells The Associated Press at the European Olympic Committees meeting in Rome that the matches this year were "very balanced and very long and that ruins the scheduling somewhat."

Roger Federer beat Juan Martin del Potro 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17 in the London semifinals and was soundly beaten by Andy Murray in straight sets in the gold-medal match.

If bronze-medal matches are eliminated, it would mark a return to handing out two bronzes for each of the semifinal losers, as happened at the 1988 Seoul Games.

via via ESPN

Someone please tell me when I'm supposed to laugh. Then again they say imitation is the highest form of flattery.


Is It January Yet?

There is actually live tennis being played and streamed now. The Australian Open Wild Card playoffs are under way. It's a good chance to put faces to the names we read about on the Challenger Circuit. Of course it means that many of us would have to adjust to Aussie time now instead of late January. But hey, did I mention it's live tennis?

Speaking of Australia Bernard Tomic continues to apply considerable effort off the court managing to force Tennis Australia's hand.

FORMER Davis Cup winner Paul McNamee has blasted Tennis Australia for its "public vilification" of young gun Bernard Tomic, warning it risks alienating the country's best young talent as it did with Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic.

After much speculation, it was confirmed yesterday that Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter would not select Tomic for the February tie against Chinese Taipei.

And TA is also set to cut its support funding for the 20-year-old due to his poor attitude on and off the court.

The news was met with howls of approval from tennis luminaries past and present. Australia's No 1 female player and grand slam winner, Sam Stosur, voiced the thoughts of many when she urged her fellow Gold Coaster to "grow up".

McNamee, however, said he had been left perplexed by the "bludgeoning" approach of the authorities, adamant there had to be better ways to handle these situations.
"He is 20. Surely there is a better way, but (TA) don't seem to have any other approach . . I believe they have really hurt our Davis Cup team at a time when we aren't exactly enjoying a huge amount of success."
...Tomic's ranking had slipped from 27 to 52, putting him three places behind Marinko Matosevic.

"It didn't work with Dokic. It didn't work with Philippoussis. It won't work here."

Stosur, who is widely regarded as one of the hardest-working players on the WTA tour, was not as sympathetic to Tomic's plight, suggesting the former junior Wimbledon champion needed to make some tough decisions.

"That's probably the most disappointing thing for a lot of people on the outside - that he's got this unbelievable ability and he's not really using it at the moment," Stosur said.

McNamee wants to go back to the days when bad off court behavior was simply swept under the rug. In the digital age that's simply not going to happen. For the complete article please click the link .

For those who defend Tomic's right to bite the hand that's been feeding him and his family study the careers of contemporary top five players and see what they were up to when they were 20.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This and That In The Off Season Part 1

by Savannah

Some interesting news via Colette Lewis


On Monday morning, Lagardere Unlimited announced it had signed ITF World Junior No. 1 Taylor Townsend to a representation contract. Townsend and her family had been talking with the company, which represents current and former World No. 1s Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki as well as young Americans Sloane Stephens and Melanie Oudin, since the US Open in September.

"I thought it was all about timing, and was really ready and really excited," said the 16-year-old from Georgia. "Lagardere has been showing interest for a while and my mom was talking with them for a while and we got a chance to meet in New York. It was over time, it wasn't just an instant decision. There was a lot of thought put into it, and I was really excited and I thought now was the right time."

Townsend, who made her decision right before Thanksgiving, was back on the court Monday in the first round of the Orange Bowl, after falling in the third round of the Eddie Herr last week.

With all the controversy surrounding Taylor last year and the not so subtle dis by the USTA I can understand Taylor and her family wanting to get away.

That said I don't think Taylor is ready for the main tour. Yes the USTA was ham handed in it's treatment of the sixteen year old but that doesn't mean she doesn't have fitness issues. From what I saw of her game over the summer she is still playing a junior game. It would've been very good for her if she'd gotten a WC into the US Open Main Draw so that we could better assess her game.

But she didn't and she's still decided to go pro. I wish her well. I do hope that those early round beat downs from the top women don't discourage her. I expect her to be pro level in 2-3 years.

Twitter Melt Downs Tennis Style

This year tennis players, like many other athletes, took to Twitter. We've had ATP players dissing WTA players for pimping off of the work the ATP. We've had the online version of flirting between players who are officially a couple and those who aren't.

And last night we had a major meltdown from a tennis veteran. Most of the time the veterans tweet to let fans know what they're up to: new books, exhibitions, promotional appearances, that sort of thing.


The whole thing started when veteran tennis journalist/blogger Jon Wertheim tweeted a link to an article on regarding an "exclusive" interview Jennifer Capriati gave to a sports gossip columnist in Florida about the restraining order an ex boy friend got against her. Capriati's responses to Wertheim doing his job was Lohanesque in it's outrage and "denial".
This is the article that sent Ms Capriati off the deep end. I found the Twitter exchange and here's a sample of the exchange.

Jon Wertheim ‏@jon_wertheim
Sad Jennifer Capriati item: …

2h Jennifer Capriati ‏@JenCapriati
@jon_wertheim u know what's sad is being a victim of serious emotional abuse and people not caring about the truth and believing what a disgusting gossip reporter writes and the media humiliating me and not having compassion. I'm not sad I'm a good human being that's a good daughter a good sister and good hearted person that doesn't deserve to be humiliated and slaughtered by those who can sit around and judge and not come close to any achievements I've made in my life. I will not take this anymore

I think this is the last part which had by then become a soliloquy:

They say dont do things that would draw negative press. Well aren't we all just human? Don't we all feel and do things that aren't perfect?

There were a couple of fans who got involved but most long time fans/bloggers/writers steered clear of it.

Let's all hope Jennifer was just having a bad night.

As The Tennis Ball Bounces

So Rory McIlroy's ex is pissed at Caroline Wozniacki presumably for stealing her meal ticket, uh, man. Seems she had a party of some kind of gathering called "Tennis Pro's and Ho's" and Ms Wozniacki got her panties in a bunch. Honey take if from a mature woman. When you get pissed at the ex it means your relationship is not as solid as you want everyone to believe. Take the high road. Go practice and see her face on every ball you hit.
That's the mature way. Or brawl in the gutter. Whichever suits you.

ATP Player of the Year


It's no easy thing to get a monkey off your back. In professional sports it's even harder. Once you're tagged with a rep, be it good or bad, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Great Britain says it's been waiting for years for a British man to win a Grand Slam. The Olympics was always a pipe dream. This year Andy Murray won the US Open against the ATP's top ranked player, and won the Olympics. Is it because of his new coach, Czech champion Ivan Lendl? Maybe. Lendl seems to be just as big a motherfucker as Murray does. And Murray is listening to him.

As for British tennis fans they should all be ashamed at how they behaved during the ATP WTF. Here is your guy, the man who has worked hard to do what was expected of him, and you're cheering for the fading star with all your heart and soul.

It is what it is. I think Andy Murray deserves Player of the Year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The WTA 2012 Awards and Other Tennis Stuff

by Savannah

The WTA has finished releasing it's best of list for 2012.

Player of the Year - Serena Williams
Newcomer of the Year - Laura Robson
Comeback Player of the Year - Yaroslava Shvedova
Doubles Team of the Year - Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani
Most Improved Player of the Year - Sara Errani

The above list comes to us courtesy of the professional Tennis Writers.

Then there are the awards voted on by the players:

Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award - Kim Clijsters
Player Service Award - Venus Williams

Fans voted too.

FAN FAVORITE DOUBLES TEAM - Serena Williams & Venus Williams
FAN FAVORITE TWITTER - Caroline Wozniacki
FAN FAVORITE FACEBOOK - Agnieszka Radwanska
FAN FAVORITE VIDEO - Agnieszka Radwanska & The Bee

So, Laura Robson, who finished the year ranked #53 gets "Newcomer of the Year". Sloane Stephens finished the year ranked #38. Heather Watson finished the year ranked #49. Who the hell voted for Robson? Was the ballot stuffed or weighted by British tennis writers who see Laura, not Heather Watson, as the second coming for British women's tennis even though Heather ended the year ranked four places ahead of her? And what about those slackers in the American tennis hierarchy? Sloane finished at #38, 11 places ahead of Watson and 15 places ahead of Robson. Right now I have nothing against Ms Robson but she's been the darling of the Brits since forever.

I wonder if the voting went like this: The Yanks got the top spot so we deserve the next most prestigious place. Sure Laura was born is Australia but we gave her British citizenship and the Aussies are part of the Tennis Axis Powers so it's all good. Heather? Where is her mother from again? Papua New Guinea? We don't even know where that is. Laura is our girl. You say it didn't go that way? I'm still trying to figure out how she got the award over two newcomers who finished higher in the rankings.

I'm skipping over the awards Clijsters and Venus won. If their peers voted for them there's nothing else to say.

And whoa to the Aga Radwanska Fan Club. You guys did your player proud.

ATP This and That

Grigor Dimitrov is no longer being coached by Patrick Mouratoglou.

John Isner has parted with long time coach Craig Boynton and will now be coached by Michael Sell. Sell, who once coached Monica Seles has worked with the USTA since 2003.

Sergei Bubka who sustained multiple fractures after a three story fall in Paris is standing and taking hesitant steps. He underwent 9 hours of surgery to repair his injuries. I wish him the best of luck in his recovery.

Speaking of recovery Mardy Fish has withdrawn from the Australian summer swing due to issues related to his heart problems that were diagnosed last year. He's looking to come back for the US spring hard court swing.

End Notes

I'm tennis'd out. I've been tennis'd out since late spring. Yes it has a lot to do with my favorite player being out but it goes deeper than that.

I'm a blogger, not a journalist, and I've been doing this for awhile now. I've never wanted to be part of the in crowd. I want, and continue to want, to be someone who can speak free encumbrances to a press organization or professional organization.

My interest picked up at the big events - the tennis season is hardwired in my brain - but I remember staying up to see the fall Asian swing. Not this year. Coming to my senses? Perhaps.

But when you look at the decision made by the WTA re it's television rights, the fact that my cable company hasn't made Tennis Channel available since September 2011 (or was it 2010? It's a blur) and Tennis TV, something I pay for, is blacked out more often than not forcing me to rely on sometimes shady live streams out of Europe it's become very difficult for a fan like me to actually watch live tennis. The ultimate frustration for a tennis fan is watching a stream and the person decides he or she is bored and changes the channel. If you're lucky you'll get a Eurosport stream that is clear and has decent announcers.

If I want I can watch UEFA, Serie A, Spanish or British football any time I want. How many of us here in the States saw Ibrahimovic's fantastic goal from a couple of weeks ago? Yet to see a tennis match I have to jump through hoops no other fandom does. Maybe the tennis establishment wants it like this. They want to control the commentary, fan attitudes towards players, and deem which players are worthy of fans adulation.

That is the only conclusion I can reach based on the antics of the tennis establishment this past year.

Will I stop watching tennis? Of course not. Come the end of December I'll be watching whatever I can online however I can. I like American football, baseball and basketball but I love tennis. I think it's time that tennis stop pretending it wants to be a sport everyone can relate to since it continues to make it difficult for a fan to be a fan. If tennis is serious about becoming a big deal, especially in the States, it's time for it to stop behaving like the niche sport it presently is.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Year is Over...Kind Of

by Savannah

The ATP has crowned it's King of 2012. Novak Djokovic, who showed remarkable restraint when faced with an opponent at the ATP WTF final who usurped the top ranked players seat to the left of the Chair surgically took the would be usurper apart. Anger saw him go down 0-3 in the opening set but then he pulled himself together and won in straight sets.

Apologists for the Usurper have tried to say that it's not a given that the higher ranked player in a match, who comes in last, always sits to the left of the Chair. They've even denied that Djokovic gave his opponent a look as he took the lower ranked players chair. True he didn't stand hand on hip, right leg thrust out and ask "Really?" but he did give a quick look to an opponent who avoided eye contact. They were on an indoor tennis court not a playground and Djokovic decided to take the high ground.

I am not, and will never be a fan of Novak Djokovic but I was pleased with how this match played out. The would be Usurper claims to respect and love the game of tennis. I would've preferred it if he had gotten up after realizing his mistake and moved to the proper position on the sidelines. Tennis is already living with the results of his backing new ATP head honcho Brad Drewitt and costing lower ranked players a bigger piece of the pie. Now he's spit in the face of tennis tradition publicly. And his fans still pretend he is a god and can do no wrong.

Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers won the doubles crown at the ATP WTF. A nice ending to what was a good, if not great year in men's doubles. I hope that doubles gets more coverage going forward not just when a top player is playing the doubles tournament.

Davis Cup Champions


The Czech Republic put its Davis Cup hopes on the racquet of one Radek Stepanek who stood across the net from Spain's Nicolas Almagro to play the decisive fifth rubber in the 2012 Davis Cup Final. It wasn't Radek, who is more known for his, uh, let's say colorful on court attire and his celebratory worm dance these days than winning tournaments, who had thrown shade on Almagro though. It was Tomas Berdych who did that, saying that Almagro was the weakest link on the Spanish team and implying that he would be the way to victory for the Czechs. There was a lot of drama about those statements but in the end he was proven right.

It wasn't that long ago that Almagro was complaining bitterly about being left off of Spain's Davis Cup teams because he wasn't part of the "in crowd". In the deciding rubber he was playing the most pressure packed match of his career. Maybe he'll do better next time.

Captain Alex Corretja strongly defended his choices including not playing Feliciano Lopez in the final rubber in an interview after the tie ended in an interview with Reuters.

Corretja was unrepentant.

"As captain I try to cope with the situation as best I can and in the end we fought as hard as we could to win a final that eluded us by a tiny, tiny margin," he told Cadena Ser.

"If we played Czech Republic again tomorrow I would choose the same four players."

The failure of Spain's bid for a fourth title in five years left a bitter taste for Corretja and his players and the absence of the injured Nadal, who has only lost once in 21 Davis Cup singles rubbers, proved decisive.

The victory by the Czechs ended a year in which their players won The Hopman Cup, The Fed Cup and the Davis Cup. Congratulations to their players.

Gisela Dulko Retires


Gisela Dulko of Argentina retired from the women's tour at the age of 27. Playing with Flavia Pennetta of Italy she was part of one of the most popular women's doubles teams. Good luck and best wishes for your future Gise!

Does Anyone Know This Man?

Reputed to be a big time tennis player he's rumored to have been practicing in private for awhile now to test out a bad knee. He's also been posting pictures of himself online with a totally different look.
Fans of this man are reportedly waiting patiently for his return in 2013. Being realistic he won't be match tough and will have to play his way into top competitive form. He is also rumored to be playing a clay court swing in the Spring.
Let's wish him well.


There is a lot of drama surrounding top Czech players Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych, most of it centered on Miroslav Cernosek (seen to the left in the picture below)
Apparently Cernosek, described as a "sports manager" with a long time association with Czech tennis is quite a controversial figure. Unfortunately all of the articles related to the controversy are in Czech. If you think Google translations make a hash of French and Spanish you haven't tried to translate an article from Czech. Hash doesn't begin to describe what you get. Gibberish is closer to it.

If anyone can translate this article please do. There are summaries around that have one time player Pavel Složil stating the following about Kvitova and more about the situation in Czech tennis in general:

- in late 2011 he predicted that Petra wont dominate in 2012 for sure, maybe win few tourneys
- she isn't good enough (yet) to be on par with in form Serena/Masha (brain, fitness, ...)
- he didn't know for quite a time that she had asthma problems
- he recommends her to eventually contact Marian Vajda (to change few things in health/fitness/food - Djoko like)
- he openly said that she is fat a and that is a a big reason (often with ashma) that she cannot compete at 100%
- her overweight is cause of lack of fitness and that is big factor to her confidence in matches
- he suspect that she isn't traning hard enough in fitness area
- he said that she is for sure better than 8th in the world, but

Thanks to "Lufa" on fan board Tennis Forum for the above. There are also supposed to be comments about Berdych in the same article.

ATP Challenger Tour Finals

The ATP Challenger Tour Finals will be played in Sao Paulo, Brazil from November 27 to December 1. The tournament will feature the top seven Challenger tour players based on their top ten results of 2012 and must have played in a minimum of 8 ATP Challenger Tour events.

The top ten players are listed below.

1 Lacko, Lukas (SVK) 165
2 Becker, Benjamin (GER) 135
3 Viola, Matteo (ITA) 113
4 Rosol, Lukas (CZE) 110
5 Smyczek, Tim (USA) 109
6 Russell, Michael (USA) 95
7 Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER) 93
8 Mayer, Leonardo (ARG) 90
9 Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS) 90
10 Montanes, Albert (ESP) 80

Defending champion Cedrik-Marcel Stebe is not in this years top 100

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Who Is Really Running Tennis?

by Savannah


A right nasty little war has broken out between the very rich Indian Wells Tournament Director Larry Ellison and the rest of his TD peers over prize money.

You may recall that Ellison proposed, and the Players Council accepted, Ellison's offer of an additional $800,000 in prize money to be distributed in a way that would see lower ranked players receive more money. It's that simple. A guy who fights his way through qualifying rounds only to lose in the first round would receive enough money to justify his competing in the tournament.

Unfortunately nothing is simple in tennis. Want to create a surface that is virtually untested for one of tennis major tournaments? No problem. Want to pay lower ranked players more money to ease their financial hardships (and maybe make it less likely for them to be tempted by wicked people to do illegal things) you may as well be proposing to outlaw off shore accounts.

As you know the ATP WTF's (I simply refuse to spare them and use the words those letters symbolize) are taking place so I guess the ATP Board - not the Player's Council - thought they'd be able to slip their action against their members by without the tennis public - read fans - finding out about it.

But like so many powerful they forgot about a social media thingy called Twitter. The Board split 3-3, with head honcho Brad Drewett doing the administrative version of "sudden fatigue" abstaining from casting the deciding vote thus shelving the proposal. There will be no $800,000 increase in prize money at Indian Wells this year.

There was such a hue and cry on Twitter that the ATP released the following statement justifying their vote.

"We welcome tournaments increasing prize money. However, in this case, a tournament is proposing a distribution that is not in line with the ATP rules that players and tournaments themselves have agreed to, and which every other tournament on tour follows. The ATP distribution model is designed in part to protect the middle-ranked players' share of prize money, and more evenly distribute prize money throughout every round in a tournament. We would be happy to approve a prize money increase if it complies with ATP rules on distribution."

Dissect the statement and what are they saying? Nothing. Well that's not quite true. They are saying we would make less money if we do this so we ain't doin' it. Who was against the proposal? Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim is reporting that IMG, the outfit that just happens to run the next event on the tour calendar that takes place in Miami, has a seat on the board.

I've written about the influence of IMG on tennis before and have always felt that it had too much power over what takes place on court.

I should also mention that while all of this drama about prize money is taking place with the ATP not a peep has been heard from the WTA. I know people get bent out of shape when it's pointed out that the women's tour is freeloading off the men's tour when it comes to prize money but I don't blame the men for being pissed off about equal pay. The top players of the men's tour talked boycott. The top players of the men's tour held out for better conditions at the majors. The top players of the men's tour took a stance against that blue stuff in Madrid. What they fight for the women get without doing a damn thing.

But that issue hasn't been raised yet so I'll move on.

Wertheim has separated himself from the herd when it comes to tennis reporting of late. I expect that somehow he'll be reined in too, especially after penning a paragraph like this:

This, after all, is tennis, the sport that can't get out of its own way. If Ellison boosted the Indian Wells prize money, how would that make other events -- most obviously the IMG-owned Miami event the following week -- look? And ... well, actually, there are no other logical reasons why an organization tasked with growing and improving the sport would turn down a volunteer increase in money. Yet, that's what happened. With IMG's representative allegedly leading the charge, the three tournament representatives on the board rejected the prize money increase. The ATP's CEO, Brad Drewett, invertebrately declined to take action. And the measure died.

So who is on the ATP Board? A quick Google search provides the answers.

Brad Drewett - Chairman
Gavin Forbes - Senior Vice President of IMG Tennis for Cleveland
Mark Webster - Chief Executive Officer of ATP Media and also serves as Vice President of Business Development of MediaPro
Charles Smith - New to the ATP Board in 2011, Charles Smith is the Managing Director/International of Juss Event, China's largest sports/events management company

To read Wertheim's entire post please go HERE

This story isn't over. It may die down but the issue isn't dead.
I'm not in the habit of siding with billionaires but in this situation the man is trying to do the right thing for the sport he loves by making the life of it's journeymen easier. That's not a selfish act.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's All Over But The Shouting...

by Savannah

It was his to win. The last ATP Masters 1000 of the year took place in Bercy, France as it has for the past few years. One by one the superstars of men's tennis put in an appearance, and one by one they lost matches that at any other time of the year they would've fought tooth and nail to win. London England was singing it's siren song with the ATP WTF beginning on Monday November 5 no one seemed to want to play until the end.

It's easy to say that the tournament was left to the second tier but that is really what happened. Still there was some excitement as a 21 year old from Lodz, Poland, Jerzy Jancowicz, went from the Qualifying rounds to the final showing that big men - he's 6'8" tall - don't have to be serving machines with limited movement. Don't get me wrong he has the monster serve but he can also move like a gazelle around the court. He has all the shots and showed he can hang with the big boys.
His biggest scalp of the week? That's Olympic and US Open Champion Andy Murray you see slinking off to the right in that picture.

This was young Jancowicz's best performance on a big stage. Commentators duly reported how his family had had to sell almost everything to be able to afford to keep their son on the pro tour. There were solemn pronouncements about players like Milos Raonic, John Isner and other big men were seeing their approach to the sport rendered obsolete by this youngsters mobility.

It remains to be seen how Jancowicz will perform now that he has gone from the hunter to the hunted. Last year he couldn't afford to travel to Melbourne. 2013 will see him not only travel there but be a seed.

While all of this was going on, and one player developed "sudden fatigue" to deny Jancowicz his deserved semi final victory David Ferrer, the man who at 30 was finally being noticed not just as part of the Spanish Armada but as a player with a distinct personality and attitude. With the others in the chunnel Ferrer was still flying under the radar playing hard and winning matches. He was going to make the semi's and probably the final. When he took the court on Sunday afternoon in Paris the only question was would he be able to stop the young fireball from Lodz.

The first set was a nail biter. Ferrer showed himself to be a wily opponent. By mid set he'd figured out Jancowicz's deadly drop shot and was anticipating his opponents use of it. He absorbed all of his foe's tricks while making him move, using the movement to wear the youngster down mentally and in the end physically. Jancowicz was pressing in the second set and finally hit the wall that was already looming in the later stages of the first set.

It's hard to believe that this was David's first M1000 crown but it was and it's long overdue. His confidence is going to be sky high going into Melbourne and that will make him a factor where ever he lands in the draw.

Congratulations David Ferrer. You're no longer just another Spaniard.

Fed Cup 2012

The Fed Cup Final had a little something for everyone. Lucie Šafářová played the best tennis of her career. Ana Ivanovic redeemed herself by defeating Petra Kvitova who seemed to have her mojo back on day one but had lost it again on day two. Jelena Jankovic left the court on day two in tears and said she as finished with Fed Cup.

In the end the Czechs lifted the trophy aloft for the second year in a row. Lets see if Šafářová will carry her great play into 2013. We can also ask if Petra Kvitova's time is over before it really began.

I was never a fan of Jelena Jankovic - all the drama on court was just too much - but she's never been the same after having Ricardo Sanchez as her coach.


Speaking of Sanchez he's coaching Nadia Petrova now. Earlier this year he tried coaching Caroline Wozniacki. It didn't work out well and if there was any bitterness he let his player do the talking today. It was Wozniacki who ended up taking a medical time out for a calf injury to cover up the loss she knew was coming. The "I'll pretend I have an injury cause I'm gonna lose" thing is becoming a regular feature of the WTA. It needs to stop.

WTA $125's and ATP WTF

The WTA is premiering this level of challenger in Asia. The first tournament was held in Taipei and saw promising French player Kristina Mladenovic win the title. There will be another $125k tournament in Pune, India this week. Of course no one will be paying much attention with the ATP WTF taking place in London.

So let's see. How did the Top 8 of the ATP get assigned for the Round Robin?


[1] N Djokovic (SRB)
[3] A Murray (GBR)
[5] T Berdych (CZE)
[7} J-W Tsonga (FRA)


[2} R Federer (SUI)
[4] D Ferrer (ESP)
[6] J. M. del Potro (ARG)
[8] J Tipsarevic (SRB)

I guess they gave the Monogram carte blanche in deciding the groups. Group A is Murderer's Row. Group B is the Cakewalk Division.

This picture seems to indicate that he's Number One. I'm guessing that's how he wants to be seen and what he expects the outcome to be.

I'm already pissed off and not a set has been played yet.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

WTA Player of the Year

by Savannah


I love this picture. Oh sure there's another picture that will probably be used by bloggers and journals around the world but this says it all. With the help of her team Serena Williams has accomplished the following in 2012: Wimbledon Champion in both singles and doubles. Olympic Champion in both singles and doubles. US Open Champion. I should mention that Serena defeated Victoria Azarenka in the US Open Final. And didn't Maria Sharapova manage to win only 1 game against Serena in the above mentioned Olympic Final?

While today wasn't a 6-0, 6-1 blow out Serena dominated the YEC Final from beginning to end without facing a break point. She finished the tournament without dropping a set.

It would me easy for Serena to pose with the trophy and leave it to fans to speculate about the why of her year but she chose to give credit where credit is due and pose with her team, even her little dog, to show everyone how she did it.

There are some who are arguing that the Year End number one should be player of the year. They'd all better put the pipe down and step back from the mic. There can be only one Player of the Year this year and her name is Serena Williams.

While the women were playing in Istanbul the men were playing in Basel and Valencia. I didn't watch either of these events.
From the "A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words" files this is all you, and I, need to know about it.


I think that just about says it all don't you? The picture is from L'Equipe.

David Ferrer has a lock on his hometown tournament. He won his third title there Sunday.

Congratulations to David and Juan Martin.

End Note

Juan Carlos Ferrero said goodbye to tennis at the Valencia ATP Tournament. Juanqui was never the same after he came down with adult chicken pox. By the time he came back the game had passed him by. There were flashes of his old brilliance but he couldn't adjust.

Don't cry for Juanqui though. Maria Sharapova credits him with giving her the confidence to win the French Open this year. I think he will find life after the Main Tour.

Still he will be missed.

WTA Player of the Year

Friday, October 26, 2012

And Then There Were Four

by Savannah


The Final Four of the WTA have been decided. The women ranked from #1 to #4 have made the semi finals. Agnieszka Radwanska took three hours to defeat a game Sara Errani.


With her win against Li Na in the last match of Round Robin play Victoria Azarenka clinched the year end Top Ranking and everything that goes with it.

Like Azarenka Maria Sharapova disposed of Samantha Stosur in straight sets.

Serena Williams, the only woman to play three straight days clinched her group and had Friday off. She made it through without dropping a set.

The semi final matchups will feature Serena Williams vs. Agnieszka Radwanska followed by Maria Sharapova vs. Victoria Azarenka.

There are some arguing that because these four women made it to the semi's the WTA product is validated and vindicated. Others argue that a field that there were players in the Final 8 that left you shaking your head.

I'll leave that discussion for a post championship evaluation.

The best thing about this YEC is the crowd. For the second year in a row the fans of Istanbul have shown that they are ready, willing and very able to support major tennis events. They are much more informed than the highly touted and much courted Asian fans who at times seem to not have a clue.

I mention this because there is talk of the WTA taking the YEC back to Doha. As one wag said on Twitter Doha is where matches are attended by a couple of guys and their camels. Shanghai is also being talked about but again the fan support is just not there.

I understand that the bottom line is what TPTB in tennis go by but with the WTA under attack for riding the coat tails of the WTA when it comes to paying players while fielding a product that few fans support I hope that someone decides that the fan support in Istanbul accounts for something. So far they're the most enthusiastic WTA fans on the planet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

And So It Begins...

by Savannah

The Final 8. The women who have made it to Istanbul Turkey to fight it out for top dog, the best woman tennis player of 2012.
As usual, they have been divided into two groups.

Red Group:

Victoria Azarenka
Serena Williams
Angelique Kerber
Li Na

White Group:

Maria Sharapova
Agnieszka Radwanska
Petra Kvitova
Sara Errani

I think it's safe to say the Red Group is where the battles will be. Of the four women in that group Li Na is the weakest. She's been listless all year and seems hard pressed to show that she can hold her concentration for an entire match.

Serena hasn't played since the US Open. This can cut two ways. She's had time to rest herself mentally and physically after a grueling summer. A totally rested and focused Serena is a scary proposition. Then again she could be a little rusty from lack of match play so it's also possible her matches could be closer than anticipated.

Victoria Azarenka has to keep her emotions in check. She's going to be in a war. No one is going to give her anything. Her H2H is even at 4 with Li and 1-10 vs Serena. She has a winning H2H, 2-0 against Kerber.

Angelique Kerber is going to have to up her game. She's been found lacking in a lot of her matches towards the end of the year and could crash out of contention early unless Li totally implodes. Their head to head is 5-1 in favor of Li.

As for the White Group there's going to be a two woman race there unless Petra Kvitova beats the demons in her head and Sara Errani manages to play fearlessly.

Maria Sharapova owns the head to head against Aga 7-2 and there's no reason to think that pownage will change. Pova should blow Errani off the court - they've only played once and Pova won.

The biggest wild card in the group is Petra Kvitova who, as I said earlier this year, doesn't care for the limelight and tends to lose her way mentally during a match.

As regular readers know this is not the blog to rely on if you can legally wager on tennis. My opinions are just that, opinions. Anything can happen during a round robin tournament. I'm hoping for competitive play from both groups.

Play starts tommorrow with the following line up:

Order of Play Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stadium (from 17.00hrs)

1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Petra Kvitova
2. Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Maria Sharapova vs. Sara Errani

End Of Year Tournaments

Venus Williams won her first title in a while in Luxembourg despite problems with her back.

Juan Martin del Potro won in Vienna.

Andreas Seppi won Moscow for the ATP

Caroline Wozniacki won the WTA Moscow crown

Tomas Berdych won Stockholm

I saw absolutely none of the above tournaments. I'm not proud to say that but after the US Open it takes a lot to get me to watch tennis. Of all the wins the biggest, in my opinion, is Berdych defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Stockholm.

Caroline Wozniacki defeated Samantha Stosur in Moscow. I think it's safe to say that Stosur's US Open win was a fluke.

Venus is supposed to beat Monica Niculescu no matter what her physical condition.

Delpo played Qualifier Grega Žemlja in his final.

Seppi beat the erratic Thomaz Belluci in his final.

Silly season? I wouldn't say that since it's insulting to the men and women who fight and claw their way to finals when to top players have other things to think about at the end of the year.

The men are playing in Basel and Valencia this week, and Paris next week. I hope to get to see Juan Carlos Ferrero play his final tournament in Valencia.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Grand Slams and Equal Pay

by Savannah


There are bloggers whose thoughts I read and have forgotten as soon as I've finished. Most of the stuff they write is what the tours and top agencies want them to write. You know the ish. "Great new player" who in six weeks everyone is asking "whatever happened to player x"?

But there is a topic that won't go away and that is the equal pay for the WTA issue.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought Gilles Simon had a valid point - that the ATP was doing all of the heavy lifting while the women sat back and reaped the benefits of their work.

I'm a minor player in the tennis blogging business and a known crank so I didn't get too much flak for my views. One of the original tennis bloggers has come out with the same perspective I did, and all hell has broken loose.

What did this guy say that has WTA fans and apologists apoplectic? I'll quote from his column. The link will be at the end of this post. tennis, the men of the ATP have stepped up in a big way for their female peers in the WTA. That’s one of the more interesting if less obvious takeaways from the recent announcement by Tennis Australia that prize money for the 2013 Australian Open will be increased by $4.15 million to $31.1 million.

Under the equal prize money agreement, that means two million and change for the players from each organization.

The curious thing is that the WTA has been almost invisible in this entire process, from the time the ATP decided to make a concerted push to secure a greater slice of Grand Slam tournament revenues right through the obligatory post-bump comments and press releases.

Could the WTA really have been as unengaged in the process as it appears? It seems so. (A WTA source is refuting a Tweet from ATP player Sergiy Stahovsky that the WTA recommended its players not to support the ATP.) And that inevitably suggests that equal prize money is essentially an entitlement. Why should the WTA have to negotiate or lobby or threaten job actions when they can let the ATP do all that and then simply rake in the benefits because paying equal prize money is the “right” thing to do?

This brings us right to the heart of the “equal prize-money” issue. The reason this topic has been controversial is because you can look at it through different lenses that give different views. One lens might be called the “social justice” lens, through which the details are viewed in terms of an ongoing struggle for gender equality.


Let’s call the other lens the “competitive market” lens (you could also designate these “idealist” and “realist” lenses). Viewed through this lens, the picture isn’t quite so sharp, and the history of the recent Australian bump illustrates it.


The Australian bump was the result of a dialogue that began at Indian Wells, when ATP executive chairman and president Brad Drewett invited representatives from each of the four majors to a meeting with the top four ATP players to discuss future compensation. By then, as we all knew, the ATP natives were restless and some were even tossing around the “b” word (boycott).

The WTA was not a party to that meeting, nor to any of the further discussions the ATP had with Grand Slam representatives. Stacey Allaster was too busy this week to give me a few minutes on the phone, but agreed to give me a statement about the Australian bump.

I specifically requested that she address the degree to which the women felt militant about the prize-money levels at the Australian Open, what they did about it, and the degree to which they engaged with the ATP on the subject. But this was the only reply I received:

“We continue to work with our partners to ensure prize money across all events on the calendar—both WTA and Grand Slams—increases at a level to fairly compensate our players for what they bring to the sport. We applaud Tennis Australia’s commitment to equal prize money and vision to continually raise the bar for the athletes and fans of the game. We continue working with each Slam, maintaining a consistent dialogue and updating the players accordingly.”

But the reality is that while equal prize money has long been the goal of the WTA, and understandably so, there was no indication whatsoever that the women players were, like the men, disgruntled (other than the informal public relations campaign to press for equal pay), and prepared to do something about it.

And there certainly was/is no united ATP/WTA front for negotiations, no joint committee. In the aftermath of the Australian bump, a number of players, including Roger Federer, were quoted expressing their satisfaction with the deal and declaring their ongoing determination to continue down the negotiating path. The only player who publicly said anything about the increased compensation from the women was Maria Sharapova (and that came in a canned quote, via the WTA):

“The Australian Open has always taken great care of both players and fans, and been dedicated to making the event a fantastic experience for everyone. Today’s announcement is another example of Tennis Australia’s vision to lead and look after the players. I greatly appreciate this very significant investment in us as athletes and their continued commitment to equality. I can’t wait to be in Melbourne to play the Australian Open this coming year.”

That’s a pleasant, gracious comment. But contrast it with the words of the guy who did the hard bargaining, Drewett:

The ATP has had encouraging and positive discussions with Tennis Australia regarding the long term plans for player compensation at the Australian Open. Tennis Australia deserves credit for the way they have recognized the significant input the players have in the success of the tournament.

I’m delighted the players have given their full support to the ATP leadership during this process with the Australian Open, as well as backing our decision to pursue this issue through constructive dialogue. I am confident that the ATP and our players will remain committed to the ongoing discussions with the other Grand Slam tournaments."


The ATP got its message across at Indian Wells—and not least because the top four men, setting naked self-interest aside, agreed that their priority was raising prize-money across the board, not just for the top performers (and that’s an enormous break with the traditional lack of solidarity between the top players and journeymen).


The question that’s going to simmer among the ATP men, even if most of them know better than to go all Gilles Simon and talk about it, will be: “Why should we negotiate for the WTA, and immediately give up half of what we can bargain for?”

That’s a relevant question for a very practical reason: Tennis has separate male and female player organizations and it doesn’t seem likely that they will be merged any time soon.

Being against the WTA's bargaining position on this matter doesn't mean that you're anti gender equal pay or women's tennis. If you've worked for a living you understand clearly what's at stake here. Say a widget plant's workers decide to strike for better pay and working conditions. Some of the workers decide not to honor the strike and cross the picket line for personal reasons. The plant, realizing that it can't work with just management and a few of its workers comes to it's senses and grants most if not all of the workers demands. Is it fair for the workers who didn't strike to reap the benefits gotten by the sacrifice of those who did? I don't blame the ATP players for being upset. And it's blatantly dishonest for the WTA to act as if anyone attacking their passive stance is against gender equality and pay.

I'm glad that this blogger has come down on my side of the argument. I've been arguing against a lot of the positions the WTA takes, or hasn't taken, for as long as I've been writing this blog. I've criticized their lack of marketing, their apparent business plan, their inability to capitalize on their TOUR and not just specific players. Their inability to do adequate marketing of their tour results in the sad visual of friends and family sometimes being the only people watching a match that should be drawing a huge crowd.

For the complete blog post please go HERE.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Asian Swing Part 2

by Savannah


I don't mind staying up late if it's to witness history.

I intended to watch only one set of the Tokyo final and thought that I might be able to watch the entire match when Japan's Nishikori Kei raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

Then came the visit from the trainer and suddenly it seemed that Kei had forgotten what he'd been doing at the start of the match. He managed to hang in and force a tiebreak to decide the set and won a tense breaker 7-6(5).

But in the second set the man who had been scampering all over the court and creating some of the most amazing angles in recent memory disappeared. Milos Raonic was able to assert himself and use his serve effectively and take the second set 6-3.

So there I was looking at the clock and saying to myself that I'd be kicking myself if Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 40 years to win Tokyo. I wanted the chance to see the historic moment for myself.

I was rewarded with seeing the Nishikori who started the match come back. He feasted on Raonic's second serve and kept Milos pinned back unless he wanted him to come in, at which point he would unleash one of the many amazing shots he got off during the match. You could make the argument that Raonic wasn't thinking as clearly as he had been when he defeated Andy Murray the day before but that really wasn't the case. Nishikori wasn't allowing him to do what he wanted and a frustrated, emotional Milos was caught with no Plan B. Nishikori won the third set 6-0, an amazing feat against a big server like Raonic.

It was a stunning performance and one that I'm sure will get Asian fans buzzing. It followed on the heels of China's Zhang Ze making the quarterfinals in Beijing. Zhang has been given a wild card into Shanghai and it will be very interesting to see how deep he goes into the draw. I wonder if more Asian men begin to do well on the tour if fan interest will increase. It was interesting to see the array of important men sitting courtside last night. The stands were also packed to the rafters. It was a great match for Asian tennis and a great , innovative match for tennis in general. It was nice to see a mental AND physical match for a change.


I went on a bathroom break this morning and had just enough time to Victoria Azarenka defeat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1. When I turned on the match Sharapova was down 5-0 in the second set. I expected a much closer match. Since all I saw was the very end of the second set I can't comment on the match. The comm was saying that Sharapova's game wasn't working against Azarenka. With the score line that's the only assumption that can be made.

I wonder if the tennis media will be as upset about this loss by Pova as it was when she lost in spectacular fashion to Serena Williams this summer? No? I don't think so either. Although Azarenka isn't one of their faves she's not Serena.


I never had any intention of watching the men's final in Beijing because there was no doubt in my mind who would win. I only watch him play when I have no choice. I wasn't breaking night to watch him this morning even if he was playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The final score was 7-6(4), 6-2.

This and That


This is a picture of Roger Federer surrounded by security in Shanghai. The tight security was necessary because some nut job made threats against tennis in general and Federer in particular. Here is the story from
USA Today

11:40PM EST October 4. 2012 - Security was tightened around Roger Federer after the world No. 1 received an online death threat prior to a tournament in Shanghai, according to various reports.

Tournament director Yang Yibin confirmed the threat to the Shanghai Youth Daily. An anonymous poster using the name "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07" posted the threat on the popular Chinese website, "On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination," the posting read.

The threat was accompanied by a doctored photo of a axe-wielding executioner standing next to a decapitated Federer. The posting was taken seriously enough for the tournament to increase security around Federer and other players, but Yang told the newspaper he hopes it "was an oral threat only."

I hope the idjut is captured soon.

Shanghai Masters

Obviously Federer is in Shanghai. There was no way he wasn't going to be there to defend his ranking no matter how "wounded, tired and exhausted" he is. As usual he has a cakewalk to at least the quarters. If you haven't seen the draw I've posted it below.

[1] Roger Federer/BYE
[WC] Ze Zhang vs Qualifier
Denis Istomin vs Carlos Berlocq
[13] Stanislas Wawrinka vs Albert Ramos

[10] Marin Cilic vs Qualifier
Martin Klizan vs Thomaz Bellucci
Fernando Verdasco vs Go Soeda
[7] Juan Monaco/Bye

[3] Andy Murray/Bye
Florian Mayer vs Bernard Tomic
Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Jeremy Chardy
[15] Gilles Simon vs Jurgen Melzer

[11] Richard Gasquet vs Qualifier
[WC] Lleyton Hewitt vs Radek Stepanek
Kevin Anderson vs Jarkko Nieminen
[8] John Isner/Bye

[5] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/Bye
Benoit Paire vs Qualifier
Marcos Baghdatis vs Fabio Fognini
[12] Milos Raonic vs Qualifier

[14] Kei Nishikori vs [WC] Wu Di
Sam Querrey vs [WC] Zhe Li
Andreas Seppi vs Qualifier
[4] Tomas Berdych/Bye

[6] Janko Tipsarevic/Bye
Mikhail Youzhny vs Victor Troicki
Tommy Robredo vs Qualifier
[9] Nicolas Almagro vs Tommy Haas

[16] Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Ryan Harrison
Feliciano Lopez vs Alejandro Falla
Grigor Dimitrov vs Pablo Andujar
[2] Novak Djokovic/Bye

I'm sure Stan Wawrinka is tired of always being the foil. I know I'm tired of him playing that role. Keep in mind almost everyone in this draw has played the last two weeks. Some made the quarter finals, semis and finals. No mercy from this tournament though.

End Note


This is one of my favorite pictures. Rafael Nadal takes us inside his trophy room to show off his new kicks.
Have fun figuring out what trophies we can see on the shelf there.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Asia Swing Part 1

by Savannah

I'm a tennis junkie. There is no Twelve Step Program to help people like me. We get up at ridiculous hours to watch matches played somewhere where the time difference can be twelve hours or more.

Except this year I'm not doing it. I didn't watch any of the ATP matches in Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. I watched one match per night from Tokyo, sometimes only one set per night of a match. And I'm not apologizing for it. I understand the importance given to Asia by both tours but from what I see the people of Asia haven't exactly warmed to the sport, at least not enough to fill the huge stadiums where matches are played. The stands are sometimes embarrassingly empty.

Keep in mind that I only watched the WTA event in Tokyo. It could be that more people showed up in South Asia and I'm sure readers will let me know.

That said I have to say that Nadia Petrova played like the player that reached #3 in the rankings in Tokyo. One of the best matches lots of fans never saw was her match against Sara Errani. It went three sets and was a war from beginning to end. Errani will always have to scramble because of her height but in the end Petrova was hitting groundies that left vapor trails.

The match I'm sure most fans heard about was Nadia's match against Samantha Stosur and not because Nadia destroyed her. Stosur, mentally fried and apparently having a problem with her back left the court. The always lovable Ricardo Sanchez, the man who destroyed Jelena Jankovic's career and verbally harassed Venus Williams during a match between the two "forgot" he was mic'd and said something about waiting for this "fucking bitch" referring to Stosur.

Stosur fans are a lot like Roger Federer fans. I said a lot like not just like. No fandom is as, how can I say, fanatical as Federer fans. Still from the reaction on Twitter you would've thought Sanchez cursed her mother or something. Petrova cracked up after Sanchez made the comment. The Tennis TV comm said that the comment reflected real life tennis talk. I saw less of a reaction when it was revealed that Victor Krason counseled his daughter Caroline Wozniacki to throw a match, something that only Polish speakers would understand and that changed betting patterns in Europe among those in the know. As for Sanchez doing a Flavor Flav complete with oversized stopwatch/clock it was basically crickets except for dedicated Venus Williams fans.

But I digress. Calling someone a "fucking bitch" is normal now. It can be a term of endearment. It can be an expletive. It depends on intent. Sanchez wasn't using it as a term of endearment but really people get over it. He could've used the word that starts with "c" that I absolutely hate. Grow up people.

Anyway back to Nadia Petrova. She was the best player in Tokyo and deserved her win over Agniezska Radwanska in the final.

Richard Gasquet won Bangkok.
Juan Monaco won Kuala Lumpur.

This and That

Serena Williams withdrew from Beijing. And the bashing has begun again. How quickly some in the tennis world, fans, writers and comms alike, forget how much tennis Serena played this spring and summer. She won Wimbledon,singles and doubles, Olympic Gold, singles and doubles and the US Open. It's sad that this has to be repeated over and over isn't it? Haters you know where to line up.

Did anyone really think Roger Federer wasn't going to play in Asia to defend his ranking? If you did I've got a bridge to sell you. Or maybe you'd like that beach front property in Arizona? I also never hear any criticism of the long breaks Federer takes between events. I think it's called managing his time well. I guess Serena has no idea how to manage her time well. Or shouldn't. Victoria Azarenka has cited "general fatigue" for her withdrawal from Tokyo. Yet it's only Serena who is called a "malingerer". Go figure.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This and That

by Savannah

Spain will travel to the Czech Republic to play for the Davis Cup.
Somehow I don't think that the final will be played on European red clay. I'm thinking the Czech's might use a hockey rink.

In Other News...

Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will pay for their actions leading up to the Olympics.

NEW DELHI (AP) -- The All India Tennis Association says it will not consider veterans Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna for Davis Cup for two years after both refused to partner with Leander Paes in doubles at the London Olympics.

The association said in a statement Sunday it had "decided not to consider" Bhupathi and Bopanna for selection until June 30, 2014. Bhupathi has been a Davis Cup player since 1995 and Bopanna for 10 years.

Both players were dropped from the squad for a relegation playoff matchup against New Zealand in which a second-string India team completed a 5-0 victory in Chandigarh on Sunday.

The AITA said it would move forward with the young team of Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Divij Sharan and Sanam Singh.


'Wounded' Federer wants break from tennis


Roger Federer has admitted to suffering from exhaustion following his return to the top of the world rankings, saying he is "wounded” and "needs some time off".

Federer, 31, had a fantastic return to form this season, winning the Wimbledon title for a seventh time to retake the world number one slot.

However, he has since suffered defeats in the Olympic final and the quarters at the US Open, and the Swiss master believes his body is paying the price for a run which has seen him play 69 matches so far in 2012.

"I need a holiday badly," Federer said after leading the Swiss to a Davis Cup play-off win over the Netherlands.
"I'm wounded, tired, and exhausted and need some time off right now and see where I go from here.

"Nothing has been decided for the rest of year, even though there is a plan in place, that plan might change. I need to go back to drawing board to see what's important."

Sounds as if there's a chance that Mr. Federer won't be defending all those points he has to defend from last years indoor season. Time will tell.


It's back to work for Rafael Nadal. He posted this picture to his Facebook page.


Young Taylor Townsend Tweeted thanks to Lindsay Davenport, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams for their stands against her bullying by the USTA on Sunday.


Olympic Gold Medalist and US Open Champion Andy Murray was given a heroes welcome in his hometown of Dunblane, Scotland. I'm sure he'll be Knighted at the first opportunity. It'll be fun seeing a Knight of the Realm cursing up a storm on court won't it?