Monday, June 18, 2012

Well That Was Some Weekend

by Savannah

Being American and all I suppose I'm required to start this post with a picture of Miss Melanie Oudin, a Southern girl who said that she really didn't want to come up North because, well, she's a Southern girl. It brought to mind Blanche Devereaux's comments about her going against social barriers in the south by dating a northerner and scandalizing her class.

But I digress.

What is kind of interesting is that Blanche, uh, Melanie, defeated Jelena Jankovic, a former WTA #1. Do I have to mention she was one of the Slamless number ones? I guess I should because there are some who may be new to tennis who are trying to learn as much as possible about the sport. JJ played every tournament known to God and man in order to achieve the top ranking, a path followed by several other of her peers who made it to the top without winning a Slam along the way.

Anyway I think it's time to acknowledge that JJ is in a serious decline. She's never been the same since that idjut Ricardo Sanchez had her bulk up to improve her stamina. Does JJ need to take some time off and assess where she wants to go in tennis? Then again who am I? I sit on my couch or at the dining table watching television and knowing every move a player should make on court. Still a brief vacation may do JJ some good.

Then there's Alize Cornet looking like she stepped out of a Renoir painting in her trophy picture. Alize showed great promise as a young teen and was being touted as the next best among the French women. Alize then proceeded to fall off the face of the earth tennis wise. She's been making a comeback, this is her second title in four years, and I'm glad to see her continuing to play and try to get her ranking up. I'm not sure if she's ready for the big babes of the WTA yet but she's trying to live up to her potential more or less out of the limelight.

There is this grass warm up tournament held in Germany right after the French Open in a place called Halle. The tournament pays big bucks to big names to have them show up with clay court hang over's and bring the fans out. The players do their thing and then go off for some rest and relaxation before the next big dance held in fabled London SW19.

When the dust settled this year the Halle Final was played between two men who are both in their thirties. Tommy Haas, seen above, is 34. He played this guy named Roger Federer who found himself in another final.

Federer is not used to his opponents fighting back. He loves the adulation and resignation many who take the court against him exhibit and uses it to push him towards his goal sure of a win and building up more adulation from the prostrate tennis media.

Haas had nothing to lose and played aggressive, fearless, non adulatory tennis. He treated Federer as just another guy across the net and came away with a win.

MV did send me another email by the way. Something about her Captain being locked in the man wing of the house - you didn't think a mere man cave would suffice did you - and not coming out for food or practice.

Anywho Haas earned himself a Wild Card into Wimbledon based on his play. I don't think there are too many players who want to see his name in their quarter.

Then there's Marin Cilic, the tall, dark and some would say handsome player from Croatia (Is there any other kind?). He found himself playing another man who seemed to have decided that he was sick of waiting for the indoor season to get some silverware to put in his trophy chest, David Nalbandian. It was very windy and I wondered if Mr. Indoor Tennis would have trouble against Cilic who played well this tournament. David - not Fat Dave at the moment - is Nalbandian fit. That is all I'm going to say about that.

But it wasn't stamina or the elements that cost David the trophy. David, in a fit of blind anger, kicked one of the ad boxes the lines people stand in during play and sit in during a break. I've always thought those boxes were silly since they restrict the movement of the line judges.

I'm going to take a minute and describe "blind anger" for those who seem not to understand what that term means. There are people who get so angry, with
themselves, others, or circumstance, that they are literally blind. It's why murderers sometimes say they don't remember committing the act. They're blind not only emotionally but in a way physically since they grab the first thing they can and wail away. In David's case he kicked the thing that was in front of him, the ad box. I don't think he even saw that there was someone sitting inside the box. The line judge had no way to get away.

Yes it's a cut. Cut's bleed. David did not run away, he stayed there talking to the man until the medics arrived. If you read some of the shit the "professional journalists" tweeted yesterday you'd think David picked up a piece of the splintered wood and bashed the man's head in. Not only was the physical act of kicking the ad box raised to the level of a capital crime but some of the comments revealed a deep seated animus against David Nalbandian, coming from where I don't know and don't want to speculate lest I come down to their level, a place I don't want to be.

The rule book states there are penalties that have to be assessed in a case like this and David has been penalized by the powers that be. All of which makes me wonder where these outraged "journalists" were when current favorite Grigor Dimitrov chased after an official after a match and assaulted him not only verbally but physically? What about Victoria Azarenka's outbursts a mere two or three years ago that are never discussed by the "tennis media"? And of course there's Yanina Wickmayer who threw a racquet and hit a lines woman in the head? That woman went to the hospital. I guess because none of these people follow tennis that's played away from glamourous resorts or stadium complexes think no one else does either. Then they wonder why certain of their favorites are not popular with the average tennis fanatic and think good p.r. and nice pictures will win fans over.

There were some who said Nalbandian's punishment didn't go far enough, that he should be forced to pay at least what Serena Williams was fined. Do. Not. Get.Me. Started.

There was no blood shed during that US Open incident. There was a verbal threat but no blood was spilled anywhere. The fear of the anger of an African American woman is what fueled that storm, nothing more, nothing less. Has Andy Roddick done more verbal abuse on court? Yes. Did Andre Agassi do physical damage to officials? Yes. But hey, it's just Andy in the heat of battle. And Andre is SUCH a competitor isn't he?

Nalbandian committed an infraction and he's paying for it. That is what the rule book calls for. He is not up for capital murder. Let's let this furor die.

The USTA Does Absolutely Nothing...

Except figure out how to spend a lot of money so that they can cram more people into the US Open in a couple of years. Are they putting a roof on Ashe? No. Armstrong? No.
Somewhere? No.

They're moving some of the outer courts around and taking away the best court for watching tennis, The Grandstand court. If you've been there you know that the Grandstand court is linked to Louis (pronounced Lewis as was clearly stated in Louis Armstrong's cover of "Hello Dolly") Armstrong stadium and provides fans a way to go back and forth without having to exit one to get to the other or vice versa. There was a lot of whining about the long lines that form for Grandstand entry and the logjam that sometimes follows.

It should be mentioned that admittance to Armstrong and/or The Grandstand requires the mere purchase of a Grounds Pass. There is no need to pay an exorbitant amount of money to get a decent seat in Ashe, or to pay a somewhat more reasonable amount to sit in the blue seats and watch the jumbotrons.

With this announcement the US Open will remain the only Slam without at least one of it's main venues having a roof. I've heard all about the swamp land and it's boring now. I mean they're moving the Grandstand off of the soft ground and onto a portion of the property that is not swamp. All I see them doing is shifting deck chairs. The longer they wait the more expensive it'll become. I'm just saying.


Randy Burgess said...

Savannah, your comments about the Federer-Haas match make me wonder two things: first, whether you watched the match and if you did, whether you saw the same match I did; and second, what the source of your animus towards Federer is to try and read his mind in such negative terms - specifically, your notion that somehow his goal includes building up "adulation from a prostate tennis media."

I generally respect you (and Craig too, by the by) for knowing far more about tennis than I do - its history, the various players, the evolution of both the ATP and WTA, etc. But I don't respect these particular comments. They just don't make sense to me.

Federer lost the Halle final because of three things: 1) Haas played gloriously well; 2) he kept his head better than he usually does; and 3) Federer played badly.

Federer didn't play badly because Haas was playing well - he just played badly, period. All through the Halle tourney he had been struggling. The worst of it was an almost complete inability to hit his usually routine forehand half-volley anywhere but into the net. Read Tignor's column on Haas and Nalbandian; I essentially agree with his take on Federer.

As for trying to read Federer's mind in the particular way you did this time around, I don't get it. We all know he's opportunistic and that many of his opponents have crumbled beneath the combined weight of his aura and their own insecurities. But that's hardly his fault. And we all know he struggles more against tough players who don't crumble - but again, this is hardly his fault, nor does it make him much different than other players: Nadal has struggled against Djokovic for similar if not identical reasons. To go so far as to say he wants insecure opponents as part of some weird scheme to garner still more press attention - where is that comment coming from? Can you cite quotes from Federer that make you think this? I don't love the guy's off-court persona, but I think you've misread him badly if you really think he thinks like this.

Savannah said...

Athlete's play for many different reasons. Some play for respect. Some play for adulation/adoration/worship. Some play for a combination of reasons. I've felt for a while now that Federer plays for adulation/adoration/worship.

This wasn't always the case. I remember how he was before IMG got ahold of him. It was just him and Mirka and he seemed much less into himself. He didn't seem to expect that the man across the net would make statements to the effect that merely hearing his name made him unable to play decent tennis. He seemed to thrive on this. A few years ago Mirka even made a comment that was made public where she said the handlers were destroying him.

The exact opposite happens with other top players. No one has ever said they shit their pants at the thought of facing players other than Federer. The American tennis establishment ruined several of their male players by repeating the mantra "you can't beat this guy". If that's the phrase running around in your head how successful are you going to be?

Let's not mention some of the cakewalks to the quarters Federer has gotten.

A long time ago, when he first came on the scene, I was a kinda sorta Fed fan. I know that's hard to believe but I was. I know it's "don't hate the player hate the game" and I don't dislike Federer. I don't know him. I only know what I see on court. Play him aggressively, don't buy into the FedGod mentality, and maybe, just maybe, you can beat him.