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.