Wednesday, December 18, 2013

File This Under Interesting...

by Savannah

It's still the silly season. Fans are posting soft porn pics of female tennis players while the PR machines for the men are busily posting pictures of various and sundry men practicing on hard courts or posting announcements that Player X is now back training. Officially.

Maria Sharapova gave an interview with claws barely concealed. The only thing interesting was that it took her and her team so long to craft a statement about the Connors fiasco that didn't include the words "IMG thought it was a good deal for Jimmy. He could get some scratch and I would get some publicity". Otherwise it's the same old same old.

Roger Federer and his agent, Tony Godsick, husband of ESPN commentator Mary Joe Fernandez have formed their own publicity firm. They've already got Juan Martin del Potro under contract. So this season when Mary Joe is praising some player you either never heard of or who doesn't have a snow balls chance in hell of winning the match they're playing don't think that she's playing up one of her husbands clients. She'd never do such a thing. After all that would be a conflict of interest and we all know that would never, ever, happen with ESPN's tennis coverage.

So if that's pretty much all the news why am I even posting this a few days before the Holidays? I think this will make it all clear.

Boris Becker via top news In. photo Boris-Becker_6_zps23eb3339.jpg
photo via Rajiv Dhoot top news in.

Novak Djokovic is turning to Boris Becker for help in 2014.

The second-ranked Serb said Wednesday that Becker will join his staff for next season as head coach.
"He is a true legend, someone who has great tennis knowledge and his experience will help me win new trophies from the Grand Slams and other tournaments," Djokovic said in a statement. "Becker is a great person, too, and I am sure he will fit in our team in the best possible way."

The 46-year-old Becker, a six-time Grand Slam champion, will travel with Djokovic and other coaches to tournaments, including next month's Australian Open.

Djokovic won his fourth Australian Open title last year and finished the 2013 season ranked No. 2 in the world behind Rafael Nadal.
Becker will join a coaching staff that also includes Marian Vajda, Miljan Amanovic and Gebhard Phil-Gritsch.
"I will do my best to help him reach his goals, and I am sure we can achieve great things together," said Becker, who became the youngest man to win Wimbledon when he was 17 in 1985.

Vajda, who has been working with Djokovic since 2006, said the Serb needed a new head coach to continue improving.
"Becker's assignment will not affect much my position in the team, since I will do all I can for Novak, just like I did before," Vajda said. "On the other hand, choosing Boris as the head coach is a good solution, I am sure we will get along very well, and that Novak will continue to progress."

See nothing happens in a vacuum. I was puzzled by Twitter posts a few days ago asking whether Andre Agassi or Pete Sampras had ever been approached about coaching a top player. Personally I don't think either man is cut out to be a coach and yes that could be personal bias. But the people posting were dead serious and went on. And on. And on. And just as suddenly the subject was dropped. Now I understand why the flurry of interest and faux rage about why they've never been publicly considered by anyone.

I guess the USTA has its panties in a bunch because no one really wants an ex American superstar to coach them. Todd Martin, who was never a superstar in the way Agassi and Sampras were was coaching for about a minute and that's been it. As for the women Martina Navratilova has expressed interest in coaching but if she has gotten feelers nothing has been made public.

So back to Boris. It's an interesting choice to say the least. Boris has stayed around the sport but has, to my knowledge never coached a player, let alone a top ten player.

Long time readers of this site know that I am not a fan of the man ranked #2 in the world but putting that aside what does Boris bring to the table other than a name? Is this another Jimmy Connors moment for Becker? It'll be interesting to see what changes he will have made in his charge going into Melbourne.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Year that Was - 2013

by Savannah

The recently ended tournament season for the WTA and ATP was really about two players: Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. No amount of hype by agents or in some cases the tour itself (I'm looking at you WTA), can change that. Serena was too old. Rafa was too beat up physically. There were other stars for the tours to hype, stars they wanted to hype. Anybody but these two seemed to be the mantra.

But when the dust settled Williams and Nadal sat on top of the heap. And what about the players who were supposed to take their place at the top of the heap? By the end of the year Victoria Azarenka's mind seemed to be elsewhere. Her problems on court were not physical but mental. Maria Sharapova's shoulder injury once again appeared, this after she had been said to injure her hip in a fall at Wimbledon. They're saying she has shoulder bursitis now and the spineless tennis media simply parrots every word her agent says. Li Na is now working with known cheater Carlos Rodriguez and showed that without his "guidance" she was no match for a physically tired and mentally fried Serena Williams at the WTA YEC in Istanbul.

 photo 61677dbe-5fae-4d9f-878f-9ef29a9fe267_zps025d7bc5.jpg

Never in doubt is the only thing you can say about Serena being named WTA Player of the Year. Looking forward to 2014 the question becomes what next for this living legend? Will she play as full a schedule as she did this year? Will she play Båstad again? Or will she, with her huge lead over the top ten, focus on majors and the Slams and give herself a rest?

 photo 1c1a7371-ead7-444c-9834-5a6fccb579ef_zps3482fbe7.jpg

As you all know I don't talk about the ATP that much since I'm a fan girl but I have to mention the achievement of Rafael Nadal in coming back to dominate the mens tour in 2013 after he'd been consigned to the scrap heap by many in tennis, fans and "journalists" included.

What's amazing is that he had such a dominant season while building in time to rest. Everyone knows he doesn't play well indoors but he came ohsoclose to winning the WTF in London.

His challenges next year are different from Serena's. His tentative schedule for the beginning of the year looks like this:

Abu Dhabi Exhibition
ATP 250 Doha
(1 week break)
Australian Open
(2 week break - potential Davis Cup ties vs Germany on indoor hard)
ATP 250 Buenos Aires (Clay) - 10-16 February
ATP 500 Rio (Clay) - 17-23 February
(1 week break)
ATP 1000 Indian Wells

I'd say that's a pretty good start.

What makes Rafa and Serena different from other players is their ability to think and adjust to what the person on the other side of the net is doing. Are there times where they can't think themselves out of trouble? Of course. But they both have a will to win, to find a solution, that, coupled with their skill set allows them to battle their way through matches that other players would give up on.

Both Serena and Rafa work hard at their tennis and neither one sits back and rests on his or her laurels. Tennis is hard work on and off court and neither of them thinks they can do it on raw talent alone. That approach catches up with you eventually especially since even lower ranked players are more physically fit than ever and many have an understanding of the work that's needed to be at the top.

I ignore the end of season awards given by the tours for best shot, best dis of the chair by a player, etc. They're a way to get players not at the top a little post season PR. Nothing wrong with that. I used to do a whole thing about the best this and that but after this season in my opinion the only two players who deserve props are the ones I've singled out.

There is one coach that deserves to be singled out though and that is Marko Jankovic who took over coaching duties for his sister Jelena Jankovic. I for one thought it was an act of desperation for JJ to put her brother in charge of her tennis but she got the last laugh as she ended up among the top eight for the WTA YEC at Istanbul. She's cut down somewhat on her schtick and is playing tennis I wouldn't have thought she could play at the beginning of the year. She's a dark horse to fight her way into the top three or four and I think if she continues to play the way she has she'll kick someone out.

As for the ATP my end of season nod is for a team and goes to Rafael Nadal's coaching staff. He played most of the year with no tape on his knees. He was able to play grueling matches with nothing more than the normal wear and tear of a match.
As far as his thought processes he was ready for whatever challenges he faced. That is all a player can ask and his team delivered. So congratulations to Toni Nadal, Francisco Roig Genís, Rafa's Physio Titin Maymo, and the entire Nadal Parera family for keeping their player fit and focused during 2013.

A special shout out goes to Patrick Mouratoglou who has stepped into what had been a family affair with little or no public signs of discord. He gets credit for helping Serena manage herself this past year. That doesn't mean he "saved" her as some imply. It just means he gave her the means to rein herself in, to take all that emotion and fire and channel it productively. He, Aleksandar "Sascha" Bajin and the rest of Serena's team kept their charge focused and ensured that nothing happened to tarnish her reputation on the way to achieving her goals for the year.

Congratulations to all!

The Year Ahead - 2014

So what's coming? Judging by all the coaching changes you'd think that a lot of changes are on the way in the WTA. Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki have changed coaches for starters. Sharapova has chosen Sven Groeneveld as her new coach. Groeneveld was the guru behind the Adidas coaching collective and the US tennis establishment loves him. But looking at what he accomplished he's only had success one year and that was with Ana Ivanovic, the year she won the French Open. Maybe that's why Sharapova hired him. Normally I'd say anyone is an improvement over Jimmy Connors but in my opinion that was a PR move that, like the Sugarpova name change thing, was laughable. There's an old saying about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks. Nothing can be done about Sharapova's lack of mobility and I'm wondering if she'll change her ball bashing ways. If she does I'll be surprised.
If she continues to get draws that guarantee her reaching the quarterfinals she should have a decent year.

Caroline Wozniacki has added Thomas Högstedt to her coaching staff, something that was rumored and vehemently denied after it was announced that Sharapova had let him go because he didn't want to travel anymore. It was finally announced late in the year along with the fact that Caroline's father was taking a back seat. That is something I'll believe when I see it. Caroline's problems are similar to those of Sharapova in the sense that she will have to make major changes to her game in order to be seen as a serious threat to the top players. I hope Högstedt will be telling her more during those horrible on court coaching visits than "she's gonna cave any minute now". Still I expect to see her father back on court screaming at her in Polish by the end of the year.

Since the off season is in full effect until the end of December every country is busy hyping it's top junior players. Keeping my focus on the women Canada's Eugenie Bouchard was named WTA Newcomer of the Year, a surprise to absolutely no one who was paying attention. She fits the marketing model for the WTA and since we've been told ad nauseam that the Asian market prefers blondes she's perfect for their plans going forward. Last year's winner Laura Robson is still playing a junior level game and ended 2013 ranked #46. Sloane Stephens, who many thought should've been last years Newcomer of the Year finished 2013 ranked #12. Bouchard ended 2013 ranked #32, about where Stephens ended last year.

Not to be left out Belgium's Fed Cup coach, Ann Devries is saying Alison Van Uytvanck is a more complete player than Sharapova. Okay Ann. All that means is that she can move and has a good variety of shots in her repertoire. She's 19, and has won a title, a $125k in Taipei and ended the year ranked #100. I do wish they would leave players alone and let them develop at their own pace instead of labeling them "the next ____________" and putting more pressure on them than what they put on themselves.

The ATP equivalent of Newcomer of the Year is Jiří Veselý of the Czech Republic. I don't know anything about him other than what I've read on Wiki. He's won one challenger and nine futures and ended the year ranked #84. He did win the Junior Australian Open Title and made the US Open Junior's final. He exited the French Open in the first round and Wimbledon in the second round in 2010 - 2011. I'll be paying more attention next year.

End Notes

I think that come this time next year the top four or five on both tours will look pretty much the same as it does now and that all of the movement will be between those ranked between six to twenty. On the ATP side will Juan Martin del Potro or Richard Gasquet make serious runs at the top? Gasquet has gone to the enemy camp so to speak and hired Spaniard Sergi Bruguera i Torner (his full name) who won the French Open twice in 1993 and 1994. This continues the trend of French players going outside of France for coaching help.

Will last years breakthrough star Jerzy Janowicz be able to keep his emotions in check? Will Tomáš Berdych live up to his potential? Will an American end the year in the top ten? Will Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gaêl Monfils be able to stay healthy for more than a couple of weeks at a time? Will the British have someone other than Andy Murray to brag about? Will Murray be able to repeat at Wimbledon? Will British tennis, where we saw the LTA importing a Canadian to run it's tennis operations bypassing the man who took the helm of the ATP be able to stop being a patronage system for favored players and be able to compete on the world stage?

What about the WTA's huge investment in Asia? Will they be able to attract fans to women's tennis or will it still rely on joint events with the ATP to try and fill seats? Hell will they begin marketing women's tennis and not individual players? If the off season is an example I don't think so. All I'm seeing are soft porn pictures of players posted on women's tennis fan boards. Of course the people posting these pictures may have the mental age of 13 but some of this stuff is coming from the tour in my opinion.

You don't see that thing happening with the ATP do you? It's about the tour not the individuals. Yes you have fandoms that try and dominate all conversation about the men's tour (along with some commentators) but the official stuff is all very nice and above board.
Does that mean that in the final analysis the mens tour is run better than the women's tour? If so why? Is Martina Navratilova right to say it's easier for Roger Federer to be "universally loved" than it is for Serena? Can we ignore issues of race and gender when it comes to the polarizing effect she has on tennis? I don't think you can and that's why I will continue to call the WTA out for it's emphasis on blondes with long hair as representative of women's tennis. It also doesn't help that a player like Sara Errani is in the WTA top ten.

It seems that every year I end up saying the same thing about the WTA and I'm really tired of it. I'm hoping that the WTA will begin to promote women's tennis not just certain women who play tennis going forward. I hope the WTA stops behaving as if it's a fly by night organization getting rid of established tournaments with a high interest in its product to take risks in an area where the favored net sport is played with a shuttlecock not a yellow ball and where the YEC promised to be played in an empty stadium where canned cheers give the illusion of fan support.

Yeah, I know I did it again. I said the same shit I say every year. Maybe this year the WTA will realize it's potential to make a difference in 2014. Maybe pigs will begin flying.

Unless something major happens I'll see you at the end of December. Happy Holidays!!!

ETA: I just read that Rafa will indeed play Miami in 2014. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Monday, November 4, 2013

WTA Official End Of Year Rankings

by Savannah

Here are the top twenty women players for 2013.

1. Serena Williams 13260
2. Victoria Azarenka 8046
3. Li Na 6045
4. Maria Sharapova 5891
5. Agnieszka Radwanska 5875
6. Petra Kvitova 4775
7. Sara Errani 4435
8. Jelena Jankovic 4170
9. Angelique Kerber 3965
10. Caroline Wozniacki 3520
11. Simona Halep 3335
12. Sloane Stephens 3185
13. Marion Bartoli 3172
14. Roberta Vinci 3170
15. Sabine Lisicki 2920
16. Ana Ivanovic 2850
17. Carla Suarez Navarro 2735
18. Samantha Stosur 2675
19. Maria Kirilenko 2640
20. Kirsten Flipkens 2495

Serena Williams is 5,214 points ahead of Victoria Azarenka, the only woman who comes even close to her point total. The rest of the top ten are eating the dust of the top player.

Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Europe) photo 1424d51a-f9ac-4646-8e22-983c741a6d8e_zps5b93ad9f.jpg
Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Europe)

Serena had a great year, a career year to be honest in 2013. She played a full schedule for the first time in recent memory and the toll it took on her mentally and physically was clear in Istanbul. She was running right up to the wall and somehow managed not to run into it. It looked for awhile in the final that Li Na would slam her face first into it but that turned out to be an illusion since Li was being stage managed by her coach, her every move dictated by him. Once Li was forced to stop cheating Serena showed that even running on fumes her killer instinct, her will to win would overcome any of her rivals.

I'm going to be honest here. Serena is 31 now. Her team got her over the finish line this time but will she be able to repeat what she accomplished this year? Will she hit the ground running in Melbourne this coming January? Will she be able to play the schedule she played one more time? In my opinion I don't think she will. She will play the majors including Miami during the US spring hard court swing and Charleston. The big question is will she play Basel again? She got a great welcome from the tournament and the fans there but a championship season depends on more than sentiment. And lets not forget the 2014 YEC will require the women to go from Europe to Asia and all that entails.

In fact the WTA's increased emphasis on Asia is going to force all the players to have to make interesting choices about where and when they play. I'll take the time now to say I'm going to miss Istanbul. The fans there are enthusiastic about women's tennis, a sentiment that's not shared by many fans anywhere else in the world.

But back to the top players.

I'm not sure Victoria Azarenka will hold on to the Number Two ranking. She appeared almost disinterested at the end of the year and you have to wonder if her mind is elsewhere. She appeared in her boyfriend Stefan Gordy's last video and the bright lights can be distracting. Li Na is close but if she has become dependent on Carlos Rodriguez to guide her every move I don't know if on her own she'll be able to push past Victoria, assuming Victoria is still interested. Don't forget Victoria's infamous ten minute medical time out because "she had to win" and it seemed like a good idea to feign injury. The warning Kader Nouni gave to Li may have set the tone for how other chair umps will approach the problem of Carlos Rodriguez. Let's see if he chairs any more of her matches next year or if another ump seems to always in the chair for her matches.

I'm reading all this stuff about Maria Sharapova stepping away from the sport because of her "recurring shoulder issue". Yeah right. With Azarenka and Li ahead of her now and threats being made about her exit I can see more soft draws to get her through to the quarters of majors, pretty much what they've been doing all of her career.
Don't forget Sharapova has all those endorsements that depend on her being a tennis star. Of course we don't know the terms of those contracts and maybe they're going to expire. I'll believe Sharapova is leaving the game when I see it.

I would love to know how Agniezska Radwanska feels looking back on her year. On the outside looking in I'd think she's a bit disappointed. I also think she had some kind of injury this year. Remember all those Player's Party pics where she was wearing flats all the time? Aga is not that girl. I was also surprised that she checked out of the YEC so early. It was obvious that mentally she was on a beach somewhere having an umbrella drink or two. She has firmed up her game and become a bit more offensive minded though and it'll be interesting to see how she plays in Oz.

There isn't much to say about Petra Kvitova. Instead of playing all those exhibitions in the Czech Republic she needs to get in better shape. As an asthmatic - she was seen using her inhaler court side during the YEC - she's always going to have some issues. Her gut hanging over the top of her skirt shouldn't be one of them.

I'm not even going to give more than a sentence or two to Sara Errani. She has no business in the top ten of the main tour. If you get a chance go and see her play live. She's a junk baller with no serve. She can give people a hard time given the right circumstances but I'm still pissed about the two hours of my life she took playing a match that had fans in the stands going "for fuck's sake".

Of the three women left, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki they can move up in ranking but it's going to depend on how they think about how they ended the year and what they expect of themselves for next year.

Wozniacki as we all know finally announced that her father will be stepping aside and that Thomas Högstedt will be her coach for 2014. I'm not quite sure what he will bring to her game but there's no doubt she has to improve her aggressiveness on court. JJ, under her brother's tutelage, has to be happy about how she ended the year. If she can keep it up she's going to make herself relevant again.

As for Kerber she shouldn't have been shoe horned into the YEC and she may think more of her abilities than she should. She's got a wonky serve and trouble closing out the big girls. She's not my cup of tea but it seems some are really anxious to make her a favorite.

I am going to mention two players not in the top ten, Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens. She had a very nice end to the year and won a total of six titles out of the blue. Fans are predicting her to take the top ten by storm. One thing about the WTA is that doing well on the International level and so so in the majors is a route to the top that many have taken in the past. JJ and Wozniacki of course come to mind. You just play as much as you can physically stand and suddenly you're in the top five or approaching the top three. Halep is going to have to play big tournaments better. She's going to have to get past Jelena, Angelique and Caroline. None of them are going to hold the door open for her.

Stephens problems are different from those of Halep. Sloane became the Queen of Semifinals in 2013 since she could never get herself into a final. The one thing I think Sloane needs to do is trust her instincts. She does think pretty well on court when she's not throwing temper tantrums because frankly her opponents don't give a shit that she beat an injured Serena in Melbourne early in the year. It's fascinating that she plays a great first set with minimal interference from her coach. After a good first set the coach comes out and whatever he tells her she goes off the rails and stops doing what she was doing. All that smoke blown up her skirt by those around her didn't help her one bit and at some point someone is going to have to cull the herd that surrounds her now. I don't know what happened to her first coach but he seems out of the picture now. He played up her strengths and her on court attitude was so much better. Sloane you're not the shit. Not yet anyway. You're young I know but you've got to start handling your business.

Finally I can't say enough about the effect the increased WTA presence in Asia will have on the players. It has to be depressing to play in mostly empty stadiums where canned cheers are pumped in to give the illusion that there are really lots of fans there when that's obviously not the case. As for fans twelve to fourteen hour time differences don't make it easy to see matches and no one likes scoreboard watching. I'd like to be wrong but I don't think I am.
I plan to watch as much women's tennis as I can and I'm sure other fans will as well.

I also hope the WTA will start promoting the SPORT of women's tennis and not try and sell women's tennis as a bunch of hoochie's who happen to play tennis. We're often told that blondes are big in Asia so I guess that's the emphasis on players like Sabine Lisicki, Kerber and yes, Sharapova. That's why I don't see Pova walking away from the sport. They're going to find some way for her to win big again. You can bet that it won't involve her making too many changes to her game though. I think that horse is long gone.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Best of the Rest

by Savannah

Simona Halep Sofia Nov 2 2013 via WTA photo f5bd6281-72ef-4939-b8e0-50ea82d1f56c_zpsb3d51095.jpg

I thought from the beginning that the tournament of the also rans was a dumb idea. Then I thought that maybe it wasn't such a dumb idea since it gave the women who play and win on the International level do deserve a chance to shine so I backed off criticizing the idea of the tournament.

After the shenanigans of this year I've reached a different conclusion: the tournament is being used to give WTA favorites a chance to win something pushing it's original raison d'être to the background.

Lucie Šafářová should've been among the eight women who journeyed to Sofia. Instead Ana Ivanovic, who has won...nothing this year on any level was granted a Wild Card. A wild card into a tournament where only the deserving are supposed to play for the trophy. Yes I know there was another wild card granted to Tsvetana Pironkova but I can half way understand that the Federation of the country where the event is taking place would demand one of its own be part of the field, especially since a WC was granted to someone who had no business being there. Lucie did win Quebec after all.

But I digress. While the male dominated tennis press drooled over Ana the real cream of the field went pretty much unremarked upon. Simona Halep, the Romanian the tennis press ignores in favor of Sorana Cirstea had won five titles coming into Sofia and she's the one everyone should've been looking at. Most serious fans of the game who don't think with their little head (or don't have a little head to think with) were talking about Simona though.

It amazes me that people still spill gallons of cyber ink on Ivanovic who wasn't playing well before she dropped so much weight. Because of all the smoke that's been blown up Ana's ass by TD's and tennis "journalists" she's never been forced to have to rethink and improve her game. She's pretty much playing the same way she did years ago barely acknowledging that the game has changed, that the skill set required to be at the top of the sport has changed. But she keeps getting soft draws and manages to win a few matches before being eliminated from contention. It's just like a parent coddling a child. Said child will have to step out of the nest and find out the world doesn't think the sun rises and sets on his or her head. Chaos often ensues afterward.

With her win in Sofia Halep has won a total of six titles this year and will be ranked #11. Ivanovic is currently ranked #16.

I think that Halep, if she remains injury free has a chance at wreaking havoc among the players ranked 4 to 10. A lot will depend on how she handles the transition from the hunter to the hunted.


There were no shenanigans like those surrounding the WTA YEC and Angelique Kerber when it came to the ATP WTF in London. The top eight men made it and it was based solely on ranking. It's the little things that matter when it comes to running an organization. The ATP is considered classier because publicly it is. No one expects an association to flaunt its rules so that a favorite will get into its championship tournament. When it comes to the WTA however it's pretty much the wild west when it comes to rules. Don't like one? Wait a minute and the rule will be violated without a second thought. In case you don't know who made it into the WTF here are the eight in their groups.

Group A

N. Djokovic (SRB)
J. del Potro (ARG)
R. Federer (SUI)
R. Gasquet (FRA)

Group B

R. Nadal (ESP)
D. Ferrer (ESP)
T. Berdych (CZE)
S. Wawrinka (SUI)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Simply The Best

by Savannah

She Dances in joy photo 136827bc-d8c8-4389-8eec-c674ad5bfc24_zpsd64838dd.jpg
AFP/Ozan Kose

The comment is almost apocryphal now. Asked by some reporter covering the tennis beat which of his daughters was the best without hesitation he said Serena, who was barely on anyone's radar at the time. The reaction was "what does this crazy black man know?" That reaction resulted in a lot of time and money being spent to create an answer to Venus Williams. Meanwhile Serena, cat suit and all, did her thing almost in the shadows. She won, but unlike her sister she seemed freer to express her inner self.

Fast forward to October 27, 2013 and the WTA YEC in tennis crazy Istanbul, Turkey. Having played a full schedule this year Serena Williams came into Istanbul the favorite to win the crown and the title of Best of 2013.

Barely challenged in her first three Round Robin matches there was a lot of surprise when Jelena Jankovic, the Clown Princess of the WTA, pushed Serena around the court. Was the Great One hurt? Tired? Disinterested since she would end the year at #1 no matter what?

After recouping and winning the match Serena said that she was tired, that she had simply run into the proverbial wall. But she still had one match to win before she could find a beach somewhere and chill out for a few weeks. That match was against Li Na who, like Serena, came into the final undefeated. Li had not won a set off of Serena since practically the Year 1 but that was all to change. The Li Na who played the first set looked nothing like the Li Na fans knew. She was nearly perfect at the net. Whatever offense Serena tried to generate she negated. Serena was so flustered she was hitting the ball to where Li was standing instead of to the open court. That's stuff she does in her sleep. Li started the second set much like she had the first although Serena showed signs of waking up. She had no legs. She was playing on instinct as Alicia Molik, half of the commentary team along with Kevin Skinner, said. And it looked as if she were on her way to a loss.

I'm going to go slightly off topic for a minute. A win by Li would've been great for WTA CEO Stacy Allaster who has overseen a transfer of WTA tournaments from Europe and the United States to Asia. During the semi final a young woman from Singapore did the coin toss. And in the group picture taken after the event Stacy positioned herself between Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, the doubles champions.

All The Finalists YEC 2013 photo 0c3e8ec2-ab9a-40eb-b738-0d5424bf27cf_zps25f4c503.jpg

I think this is an amazing picture. No serious tennis fan expects the atmosphere provided by Istanbul at next years Year End Championship Yet Stacy is implying that China will provide next years champion. That's a tall order for a country that is obsessed with table tennis. I for one will miss Istanbul. The fans there provided the only full and enthusiastic houses for women's tennis for the last three years.

But back to today's match. First Serena braided her hair. She was wearing A LOT of hair for this tournament and some wags speculated that the weight of it was weighing her down. She began to wake up towards the end of the first set after she braided her hair though but that wasn't what turned the match.

The man with the Golden voice, Kader Nouni, rather loudly told Li to tell her coach to "stop it". She knew what he meant. It was said with the mic open so Carlos Rodriguez knew what it meant. For the next five to ten minutes Molik and Skinner praised Rodriguez to the hilt while on court Li Na, no longer having her coach choreograph her every move and shot, began to play like she always does against Serena.

It remains to be seen how many bloggers and commentators pick that as the turning point. It took years of fans calling Rodriguez and his former pupil out for the obvious coaching and her inability to think on court without his "guidance". Sunday the dependance on him Rodriguez fosters in his charges and what happens when he can't do his thing was painfully obvious. Li wasn't the player she'd been for a set and a half. Serena lifted her game but it wasn't a "dramatic" come back. It was Serena showing that even running on fumes she's the best woman on the court everything else being equal.

In my opinion Serena had to win today. It was the win she needed to stop anyone from saying she had not had the best year in recent memory reducing all of the rivals to sad wannabes. Give Victoria Azarenka credit. She showed up in Istanbul. A mysterious, recurring shoulder injury kept someone else away from any competition after Wimbledon.

But that is the stuff to talk about until players report for Hopman Cup at the end of December. Right now the moment belongs to Serena Jameka Williams and her team. They helped her keep body and mind together and they, along with their boss, can hold that trophy up high. And at the end Serena gave a shout out to the man who put her on the road to her triumph this year, her father, Richard Williams.

Congratulations Serena!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

There Can Only Be One, and other Tales from Istanbul

by Savannah

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via WTA

We're down to the last two players in Istanbul. Serena Williams will play...Li Na? But, but wasn't Victoria Azarenka supposed to be across the net from Terror Fabulous (still my favorite nick name for her) on Sunday? Oh yeah, she showed up looking and playing as if she hadn't touched a racquet since we last saw her. Sure she had time to appear in Stefan Gordy's latest video but that put no stress on her back...not the kind you get from playing tennis anyway but could it be she was more severely injured in the fall at Wimbledon than has been let on? I mean Maria Sharapova is still injured from her falls right? Oh it's her shoulder? Nevermind.

And after all the shit they went through to get Angelique Kerber into the final eight at Istanbul she didn't show much did she? I mean she did beat a totally disinterested Agniezska Radwanska in what was the most bizarre match of the tournament for me. Kerber's finger wag was just annoying.

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AFP/Getty Images

Sara Errani, who will be on my list of worst ever top ten player for a long time won a match from someone else who had no interest in beating her, Jelena Jankovic, avoided ignominy in a way I guess. I mean if your opponent shows absolutely no interest in winning her match you have to win right?

It was obvious that JJ wanted to conserve both mental and physical energy for her match against the World Number One and she put up the best fight of anyone this week.

Serena looked to be in pain although she says she hit the wall and there was no visible taping it was Serena in tears on court à la Sabine Lisicki against Marion Bartoli. The difference is that Serena found a way to win despite being out of sorts for whatever reason.

In my opinion Jelena Jankovic should be the come back player of the year. She was going nowhere fast until her brother showed up as her coach. She's gone from counter puncher to aggressively trying to win points. She's cut out the clowning somewhat - I mean she did do a bit of her schtick during her match against Errani but then Errani...oh never mind. Anyway there was none of that versus Serena today.
It seems that JJ is back from her disastrous association with Ricardo Sanchez and looks to be in great shape mentally and physically. She's going to make a lot of people very nervous down under in January. And while I snarked about Alicia Molik and Kevin Skinner singing Marko's praises I agreed with them. You know they're going to try and put some teenager from Britain in there but if you've watched her play the end of this year JJ is number eight with a bullet.

I haven't said much about Petra Kvitova have I? There really isn't that much to say about her. Her physical condition is not the best. I mean the gut isn't hanging as far over the top of her skirt as it was earlier this year but it's still there and they did show her using her inhaler during a break at one point. Still I think her biggest problem is between her ears. She needs a steady diet of players who aren't used to winning in order to be ready for the big matches. When she's playing women who are used to winning and want to win she has trouble playing well back to back. The comms said her physical condition is what her camp says they'll be working on during the off season. Let's hope they don't have her playing a shit ton of exhibitions in the Czech Republic like they did last year.

There will be one more match on the main tour before the farce that is Bulgaria begins. Shouldn't they play that before the YEC? I'm just being that person again? Shrug. Deal with it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

WTA YEC Round Robin Groups

by Savannah

The Great 8 2013 photo cba30c69-5f6a-4976-9452-841d450430bf_zps29532c40.jpg

Red Group

Serena Williams
Agnieszka Radwanska
Petra Kvitova
Angelique Kerber

White Group

Victoria Azarenka
Na Li
Sara Errani
Jelena Jankovic

There it is. The Red Group is the stronger of the two in my opinion. The weakest link in that group is Angelique Kerber, who has the worst head to head of almost everyone in the tournament except for Sara Errani. Think I'm wrong? A fan was good enough to put together a chart or two comparing stats. The first chart compares all time H2H's.

all time h2h stats photo alltimeh2h_zpscd85d6ed.jpg

Still not convinced? Lets look at the 2013 H2H between the same players.

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Thanks go to the fan on Tennis Forum who put these together. I'm not this good with computers.

Looking at these charts I have to wonder what the rush was to get Kerber in.

Still a tournament like this exists in its own reality. Anyone could get hot. Someone can falter. Should they just play the final now? Some think so but as the saying goes one never knows do one?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Judgement, Responsibility and Decisions

by Savannah

Sports associations of all kinds usually wait until the end of a yearly cycle, their season, to make changes. It's always been presented as a meeting where a group of people steeped in all the lore of their sport sit down and after a review of the season, good and bad, decide to make changes, or not to make changes, to assist in the promotion of their particular sport.

Angelique Kerber photo ea7f7c8a-439f-43bb-91c4-996546919216_zpseac52d4a.jpg

That is why what happened in Linz, Austria is so perplexing. Over at I found the clearest explanation of what happened.

First top seed, Petra Kvitova pulled out on Saturday with a lower back injury. Under WTA rules, once the qualifying had started, only a Lucky Loser could replace a non wild card such as Kvitova.

Kerber, who is just a handful of points behind Jelena Jankovic in the Race to the WTA Championships, wanted in after she lost in the quarters of Beijing. Apparently, she had applied for a wild card a week before Linz was about to start, which is within the rules.

But the only way that the tournament could get Kerber into the main draw on Sunday just before Monday’s order of play was to released, was to have one of its other wild cards withdraw, which very rarely occurs.

Apparently, Tournament Director Sandra Reichel approached No. 337 ranked Lisa -Maria Moser of Austria, and asked her to withdraw. Moser then did so for “personal reasons.” Had she withdrawn for medial reason, the tournament would not have been allowed to replace her with anyone but a Lucky Loser.

Moser was given a wild card into doubles in which the tournament described in an official statement as “a small compensation.” That statement indicates that tournament took an end-around when it came to tour rules

“Angie is totally happy, Reichel said. “And for me, this is of course also great of still being able to invite a top 10 player at such short notice. ”


However, Ana Ivanovic, who was the second seed at the bottom half of the draw but was moved into the top section as the No. 3 seed, wasn’t thrilled. She is now in second seed Sloane Stephens half of the draw.

Kerber is the top seed, but is in the bottom half.

“One of those things when you realize you’re powerless… No matter what they say! #linzdraw” Ivanovic tweeted.

As a top 10 player, Kerber normally would not be allowed to play her third WTA International Series event, which Linz is, but she is being allowed to do so because when she played the Washington DC International Series tournament this summer she did so because the Premier Level event in Carlsbad, California, was oversubscribed.

All together now: WHAT. THE. FUCK?!

Here's the original draw:

[1] STEPHENS, Sloane USA vs RYBARIKOVA, Magdalena SVK
WC MOSER, Lisa-Maria AUT vs VOEGELE, Stefanie SUI
KNAPP, Karin ITA vs [7] HANTUCHOVA, Daniela SVK

[4] FLIPKENS, Kirsten BEL vs WICKMAYER, Yanina BEL
PLISKOVA, Karolina CZE vs SCHIAVONE, Francesca ITA
BEGU, Irina-Camelia ROU vs QUALIFIER
BECK, Annika GER vs [6] CIBULKOVA, Dominika SVK


CADANTU, Alexandra ROU vs WC KLAFFNER, Melanie AUT

Here is the new draw:

[2] STEPHENS, Sloane USA vs RYBARIKOVA, Magdalena SVK
KNAPP, Karin ITA vs [8] HANTUCHOVA, Daniela SVK

PLISKOVA, Karolina CZE vs SCHIAVONE, Francesca ITA
BEGU, Irina-Camelia ROU vs QUALIFIER
BECK, Annika GER vs [7] CIBULKOVA, Dominika SVK

[5] FLIPKENS, Kirsten BEL vs VEKIC, Donna CRO

CADANTU, Alexandra ROU vs WC KLAFFNER, Melanie AUT
NICULESCU, Monica ROU vs [1] WC KERBER, Angelique GER

Now let's look at the current standings for the WTA YEC in Istanbul, the last year it will be played in that city.

Serena Williams (USA) 12040
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 7676
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 5890
Li Na (CHN) 5120
Petra Kvitova (CZE) 4370
Sara Errani (ITA) 4190
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 3860
Angelique Kerber (GER) 3505
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)3300
Sloane Stephens (USA) 3185
Roberta Vinci (ITA) 3170

Jelena Jankovic is officially into the YEC since Maria Sharapova's withdrawal was made official on Monday.

Once again, WHAT. THE. FUCK???!!!

As it stands now if Kerber wins she's into the YEC because she's played one more International tournament than everyone else. She wasn't scheduled to play this week and Caroline Wozniacki, 205 points behind Kerber, isn't scheduled to play until next week in Luxembourg. If I'm Wozniacki I've got Stacey Allaster on blast. As you all know I've dragged Sunshine a lot in this space but this is some totally shady shit and Allaster has so far been silent.

My question is simple. Since the precedent has now been set that you can change a draw AFTER it's been made AND throw out a player who had previously been part of that draw and demote a seed to unseeded what stops a player, any player, from demanding that same right? The part about it being okay since she played her second International because Carlsbad was oversubscribed is bullshit. WTA players have already spoken out about it.

I say shame on you WTA. Someone at the top should've said no to this scheme. And what happens if after all this Kerber loses early? But why should we care? The TD is happy that "Angie" is happy. I'd be too if I'd bogarted my way into an event, got the top seeding, got placed in the BOTTOM half of the draw AND got a cakewalk draw while my biggest opponents slug it out in the top half.

And the WTA had been doing so well...

With Ranking Comes Responsibility

Tennis is an individual sport. The man or woman who is ranked at the top of the heap basks in media spotlight and gets perks only hinted at in the "tennis press". But with that rank comes responsibility. You are the face of your sport world wide. It's not like being a star baseball player like Yasiel Puig and it's a little less than being Lionel Messi in football. But tennis outside of the United States is a major sport and the kids trying to claw their way to the top look to the top ranked players for guidance in how to conduct themselves.
That is what a number one ranked player in tennis is supposed to do.

So you can imagine my surprise when the following quotes came out of Beijing, China. Emphasis mine. Via ASAPSports

Q. Two days ago we received a statement from Viktor Troicki, from his agent, I don't know, saying you have been the first one to sign a petition about a new rules for the doping process. Can you say if it's right and can you tell us more details about the protocols about that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the whole case around Viktor is just very unfair towards him. I believe that he's innocent. He hasn't been charged for being positive on any kind of substance. He was just accused of failing to provide the blood test that day.

You know, I know him since I was eight years old. We grew up together. He's one of my best friends. There is no doubt in my mind that he's innocent. I supported him from the first moment.

I think that knowing that now it's coming up, the date, 9th of October he has an appeal in Lausanne. I hope that he's going to be discharged and he's going to be able to play, because he's definitely not guilty.

What happened in that room on this day, for me, it's very clear that he is supposed to play. That's it. I leave the authorities to deal with that, but I'm confident that he's going to come back on the tour, hopefully already in the next couple weeks, and he's going to be with us in Davis Cup final, because we wish him that.

I don't see why they're keeping him suspended. For what? For failing to provide the blood test? He asked the lady that day, you know, he's not feeling well. Can I provide you tomorrow? She said, Yes, if you write report.

He wrote the report, and the next thing you know she's failing to say the truth in the court in London. She was saying that he was convincing him, that it took her 20 minutes to walk from anti‑doping office to the ATP office in Monte‑Carlo tournament, which is 20 meters. So she was lying a lot.

That's very bad for our sport. That's very bad for anti‑doping agency, you know, to have people who are responsible for this work to fail to say what really happened that day.
There was another person present in the room that day that wrote a perfect English on the report, and then in the court in London he didn't understand a single word.

So the reason why I was the first one to write a petition for the rule change is to try to spread the awareness to the people around that obviously there is‑‑ it all comes down to who said what and who believes in who, you know what I mean?

It's just not fair towards the players, because there has to be I guess technology or a camera or an additional person in the room while you're doing the test, because then ‑‑ the player has no really rights. Maybe he's trying get as much proof that he can, but in the end it's his word against the word of the people who are authorized.

Let's talk about what Viktor Troicki is said to have done. He REFUSED to provide a blood sample when asked. He decided that he wanted to give the sample the next day. So lets imagine a sports world where a player is asked to provide a sample and refuses but names the day he feels he will be able to provide said sample. Would we have random drug tests anymore? In this day and age when even I know there are ways to flush illicit substances out of your system the entire concept of drug testing would become a joke. I mean Lance Armstrong would still be a seven time Tour de France champion if he could've told the folks who do drug testing when they could take a sample.

That is what makes the comments disturbing. Doesn't he have PR people? How could he, a man who is admired by many around the world, make a statement like that without considering the ramifications? Even some members of the press wanted to know why there were no follow up questions and vowed to ask some in Shanghai. I hope they do. I understand supporting a friend in private. I don't understand how a top player can imply that it's the player, not the anti doping agency, who decides when, where and how he or she should be tested.

End Notes

I don't think anyone involved in the Linz draw or who does publicity for Djokovic should get off easy. The Linz controversy is not going to go away and I think Ms Allaster has to say something. Maybe that line of horse manure about overbooking came from her minions. I don't know. Then again FluffyGate has never been adequately addressed. Both the player and the chair umpire have continued as if nothing happened. If officials break the rules why should the players obey them?

I'm waiting for those promised follow up questions in Shanghai. If and when they come they'll probably be tweeted before the official transcript comes out. At least I hope so. For a top player to come out and advocate for the right of the player to refuse a sample on request is controversial to say the least.

Lets see if after the YEC and WTF something is done by the tours.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time to Catch Up

by Savannah

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I have been watching tennis. Well kind of. It's hard to switch time zones from one coast of the United States to another, a three hour difference. Changing fourteen hours is another thing altogether.

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Zhang Shuai via WTATennis

There have been firsts during my little hiatus. There have been signs that some do have the ability to live up to what their Federations expect of them.

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Ernests Gulbis via StPetersburg Open

Some even managed to drop their perceived don't give a damn attitude and hoist a trophy.

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Gilles Simon via French Tennis Magazine

Some went into witsec to avoid aliens enraged that once again one of their children has been snatched.

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Aga Radwanska via PAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

Common sense finally won out for one woman who decided that brunettes have more fun and that ombre hair works much better for her than a total blonde dye job. And she managed to lift a trophy.

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Joao Sousa via AP/Vincent Thian

Do National firsts trump personal firsts? When they mesh its a beautiful thing no?

Kvitova via AP photo c9c8d82b-f39a-4d38-8ec3-66305bc1178c_zps5d888116.jpg
Petra Kvitova via AP

If all of tennis believes your personal life will cause your professional life to go on the skids the best way to shut people up is to win a title right? So what if you're still out of shape and your bustline will end up somewhere around your knees before you're thirty if you don't start using a decent sports bra? Oh, and you could stand to lose a few pounds so your gut doesn't hang over the top of your skirt? What was that? He likes it? Well then. Who are we to say? Maybe frump is the new in look but I didn't see it in the September Vogue. Then again Ms Wintour wouldn't let you anywhere near her magazine would she?


At any rate there was a lot of news taking place off court. I guess this is the time of year when Federations, what passes for the tennis press, players and anyone remotely associated with tennis decides to let mere mortals, aka regular fans, know some of what's going on behind the scenes.

An example of this was the announcement that Canadian Michael Downey will be the new chief executive of the British Lawn Tennis Association. Well he does speak English right? I won't go into how different British English is from all other forms of English but I digress.

A few days after Downey was publicly announced an interesting news article was published that said, well read this for yourself.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is set to announce a two-year funding freeze for grassroots projects just as clubs are bursting at the seams and desperate to capitalise on Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph.

As LTA chief executive Roger Draper steps down from his £640,000-a-year post tomorrow at the end of a controversial five-year reign at the top of the game's governing body, documents circulated earlier this month warn that the highly contentious move is on its way.

Instead of awarding capital grants to clubs around the country, the LTA will announce that any club wanting to expand or improve its infrastructure will receive only an interest-free loan. Coaches and club chairmen said the move was incomprehensible at a time when interest in tennis was unprecedented.

Sources told The Independent on Sunday that the LTA is prioritising the elite game over grassroots tennis.

The source said: "There is only a certain amount of money at the LTA and something has to give, but it will be a shame if grassroots projects are being hit at a time when we all want to capitalise on the interest around the UK after Andy's fantastic year."

Emphasis mine. That emphasis on the elite game has worked soooo well for them hasn't it? Long time readers will remember the hype when Draper took over. He was going to stop the paying of large stipends and other kinds of support to players who have performed poorly at best on the world stage. I get the feeling nothing has changed.

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Obviously feeling no pain Andy Murray, who is British Tennis, Tweeted this picture from his hospital bed after undergoing back surgery to relieve what's been described as a long term back injury. Keep in mind Murray had just played Davis Cup for England. I was going to say his country but he's a Scot by birth and seemingly by inclination. Is there any British man who can step into Murray's shoes in the near future? There's been some hype around Daniel Evans but we'll have to wait and see if he can handle the pressure.

Then there's the WTA. It deserves it's own series here but it gets tiresome writing the same thing over and over for me.

Anyway WTA CEO Stacey Allaster when asked whether women should play three-out-of-five sets at the Grand Slams, Allaster said her players were, “Ready, willing, and able—all you have to do is ask us.”

Really Stacey? Many of your players are dead on their feet if they have to go three sets. Five sets and you'll need paramedics courtside. Why fan the flames at this time especially when even your top players play in mostly empty stadiums (except in Istanbul)? You think people will pay to see who collapses in a heap first in the fourth set?

Meanwhile newly named Spanish Davis Cup Captain Carlos Moyá went after Ivan Lendl and his pupil, the above mentioned Andy Murray. Why? Maybe he was bored?

For me, Murray is neither Novak nor Rafa," Moya writes. "He can become one [of those types of players], but right now he is not. In terms of consistency, he is far away. Rafa has made 12 finals in 13 tournaments and has won 10. Djokovic has lost very few matches. Murray—not just this year—is a player who has trouble mentally enduring throughout the year.”

Moya also criticized Murray's coach, Ivan Lendl. Moya believes Lendl is having Murray focus too much on the majors and not enough on the other tournaments.

The original article is in Spanish . A translation is HERE

If we're going to have throw downs between the previous generation maybe Stacey Allaster can rent out her paramedic team. That'll help any cash flow issue no?

The controversy surrounding Marin Cilic continues. Tennis fans are shocked and appalled that Cilic cited an injury when he withdrew from Wimbledon. YAWN!!!
If Andre Agassi was given a pass by what passed for drug testing and discipline because he tested positive for crystal meth why do people think that Cilic is the first player to ever cite an injury as a reason to withdraw from a competition?

Anyway the ITF has " released the entire decision on Cilic. Read it and make up your own mind. I think Cilic has shown respect for the sport by opting not to play while his appeal is pending unlike others who continue to play.

Sigh. There's even more. Patty Schnyder has surfaced and is separated from her last Rainer. He's living with a new girlfriend on a horse farm somewhere while Patty is said to be teaching tennis somewhere. I've attached a horrid Google translation.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continues making somewhat controversial statements " regarding tennis, his this time but of course he threw another player under a bus.

How did Murray win his slams? Because he's surrounded by 14 people. I won't be travelling with that many, but perhaps I'll have a group where I train.

It's complicated for me. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. It's really a bit sad because I train like crazy. I'm an animal physically, but that's not how I'm going to beat the top 2-3. I've tried to see just how far I can go. But there's a point where my body says to me "You're a nice guy, but this isn't possible." I can't go 5 sets with those guys without it affecting my health. I'm not on the same planet as Nadal and Djoko. Their level never drops, so I have to beat them quickly.

I have to be explosive. I have to change the way I work. I have to be quicker, pack more punch, move forward, hurt them.

Some things never change. The link is in French which the machine translations don't screw up as much as they do other languages.

(Illustration: Igor Kravarik photo d5300016-1828-4e52-b383-be1dfd72518c_zps03e8714d.jpg
Illustration Igor Kravarik

You didn't think I'd leave this out did you?

I have to say tennis fans are loyal fans. Player abused meth? Still has tons of fans. Player mistakenly takes a controlled substance? Loyal fans. Player and her family attack soon to be ex husband, steals his passport and other items, and it's a plot by the estranged husband to get his hands on her money.

So far only one source has posted a denial by Hingis camp and it wasn't attributed to anyone.
Why did Martina and her family jump her ex? Who knows? It'll probably be revealed by sources overseas not anyone who covers tennis here. There were questions about why she was enshrined in the Tennis Hall of Fame and then went back out on the main tour as a doubles player but have you read any explanation about why that was okay? Me neither.

I did find out that Hingis is known for having a temper. There is the incident from back in the day between her and her then doubles partner Anna Kournikova.

In November 2000 they played an exhibition match in Santiago, Chile, which featured an on-court strop, followed by a locker-room bust-up over a disputed line call. Hingis had asked Kournikova to intervene regarding the decision but the Russian is reported to have concurred with the line judge. At the next changeover Hingis, then the women's No1, hissed: "Do you think you are the queen? Because I am the queen."

Cut to the locker room later and a screaming match that involved vases, flowers and trophies being flung. "It was so bad I thought they were going to beat each other up," said a frightened Jaime Fillol, the former Chilean player, who organised the event.

The details are " HERE

Who says tennis is dull?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Drouet Diaries Part 2

The second part of Thomas Drouet's diary was posted today in the Australian press. It's not easy reading.

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Picture: ELLA PELLEGRINI Source: News Limited

I HAVE been many months with the team now and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. There are good days and bad days but mostly unpredictable days with John Tomic regularly blowing a fuse and yelling at all of us.

It's hard for me but I want it to work in the team. We want Bernard to succeed and he is a good guy but it's difficult. John doesn't pay me enough and sometimes I even have to pay excess baggage on flights even though I am carrying Bernard's things. But I continue with them.
Then the worst news, my only real friend in the team Salvador Sosa tells me he is leaving after Miami. He can't stand the humiliations anymore and the screaming. John doesn't let him work the way he wants, John doesn't let him do what he wants and then reproaches him for things related to Bernard's physical condition.

Salva told me he has had enough of all of them. "I can't do this with them anymore," he told me. He said: "Twenty-five years in this tennis world and this is the first time I see something like this".

I feel alone, lost, with Salva leaving.

He has been my confidante and we helped each other because it was very hard for both of us every day. I just have to try and remember what he told me about keeping on going, being patient and staying calm but it is more and more difficult because I am doing more and more things for the team. Book flight tickets, play with Bernard, give him drinks, give him his tablets, prepare his protein, carry his orange juice for him every morning, book practice courts, string rackets, make the booking for flights for all the team. It is more and more difficult.

Bernard does some stupid things but he is young. But most of the time, behind his father, he has tried to protect me and Salva. Each time after his father screams at us or whatever he would come to us and say "no, okay I like you guys, it's good, I'm good with you, don't worry". When he was doing this, it was good but sometimes Bernard was nervous when John attacks me and Salva. John I think thinks it is three against one. This is why he loses control. Maybe Bernard worries about this perception too.

For John I think it is a control thing too.

I remember when we were at the Gold Coast right at the start of this, John would cut off the internet at home so that we couldn't use it. I thought it was strange. He didn't want to give us the password so we could use the internet. We did get it but only via Bernard's sister Sara. It was a control thing.

John saw that between Bernard, Salva and me it was like a team within the team. That's what I think now and why when we were in Marseille he disappeared was because he wanted to cut the link, he wanted to make Bernard think things were going wrong with us because he is not there. He wanted to make out we were losers.

It was the same even when I am not around. When we are at Monte Carlo, I sleep in my own house, not in their house like at the Gold Coast or with them together in a hotel. So John has no power over me like when we are in a hotel and he rings me every two minutes, just all the time, any hour to go here, do this, go there. When I am at home, he knows I am with Sophie. This one time he rang us at home during dinner and tells me to go to him and pick up the rackets for the stringer the next morning. I tell him "but John there is no problem, I can collect tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, there is no problem and I am having dinner with my family" and he said "no take it now, take it now". So there I go. I think he doesn't like having less power and wants this constant control.


There is a new guy starting, Josko Sillic who has worked with them before and will now replace Salva. I have to take care of his flight and pick him up from the airport. John initially says he isn't coming to Monte Carlo and then turns up anyway and insults me for not picking him up at the airport. John is just very tense. For me though less is requested because I am at home.

We train well as a team even though every morning at 8am John blows a fuse.

One players' evening someone does a sketch about the "incredible Tomic father" and everyone one makes fun of him. John actually gets into fits of laughter but he won't be talking to the guy who did the sketch anymore.

The yelling continues. The other players and coaches can see how I have been treated in the past six months, most ask me how I can stand it. It's a fair question. I tell them that I can find strength because I have a partner and kids (Sophie has two children aged 13 and nine and I have a son Timothe aged four) and a house to pay. I also want to hold on until the end of the season if I can because I want to become better known on the circuit.

Not a good time. Bernard is defeated in the first round of Monte Carlo Masters by Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2, 6-4.


Without John. What more can I say, mood is good. Bernard has an infected hair on his thigh but wins his first match against Kenny De Schepper in three set thriller. Goes on into second round against Juan Monaco from Argentina.

The next day Bernard doesn't play well and is defeated by Monaco 6-0, 6-2 in less than 50 minutes.

Josko is there with us in Barcelona and Bernard says after dinner if he can leave us to talk to me alone. I'm wondering what it's all about but then he shows me a YouTube video of some man telling a story about how to become successful and self-improvement. It was like a motivational video. It was so honest a moment to see Bernard show me this. I tell Bernard he can do this but he has to work harder if he wants to be successful and at the top of his game. "It cannot just be on your talent," I say as I tell him about my experiences playing with Rafael Nadal who so impressed me with his professionalism and rigour. He says "yeah you are right from now on I am going to practice every day, every day". I am really happy. I think maybe we find the solution and he is evolving. After an hour and a half of really honest talk he suddenly says "Okay Thomas now we go and party together and drink a lot to cement and celebrate these good words and we can start again on a healthy basis." I tell him "no, now we go to the arms of Morpheus, celebrate in Morpheus' arms", meaning we go to sleep.

Bernard just looks at me blankly and asks "who is Morpheus?". He thinks it is a girl at the tournament.


On the Monday before Madrid we are doing hard training for five minutes but Bernard is not listening to his father and John suddenly stops the training session. "Practice finish!" he yells. He tells me to leave the court and Bernard trains alone.

On the Tuesday we are on Court 10 and it is the same thing, John stops the training session this time 10 minutes in after Bernard tells him "you can sit on the bench, but don't talk, you don't give any advice, I don't need you".

John again says that practice is over and tells me to put my rackets in the bag. Bernard tells me to stay but John again tells me practice is over. I'm standing there not sure what to do. John tells Bernard if he doesn't want to listen then he will not play. Bernard comes to the net and John is screaming at him and Bernard answers back and tells him again to sit on the bench and not talk.

John is furious and then - pow! One punch. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, right there just in front of me. Bernard doesn't say anything but has tears in his eyes. John walks away and rests two rackets on an angle against the wall then snaps his foot down on them breaking them. Crack, crack - breaks both rackets and tells Bernard that he doesn't play tournaments now for three weeks and tells me to cancel all the flight tickets. Bernard sees this and then breaks his racket. My God, these people, it's crazy. Josko is picking up the balls and doesn't seem to see anything. I want to help Bernard because I can see the tears and he isn't saying anything and I really want to help him. I remember in Marseille I did tell him "you have to tell your father it's finished" and for me maybe no more tournaments, but it's not possible to see this all the time anymore. I can see even for Bernard he is stressed all the time because he never knows how John is going to react. I have seen so much of this now, almost six months and I am really sad for Bernard because inside I think he wants to do something but he can't. When he says to John "no you sit on the bench and not talk to me" you can see he is trying to say stop but John is manipulating him all the time.

Yes I broke Salva's rule not to get involved between father and son. In the beginning I just try to show him the way but don't say anything but then when I saw the punch I couldn't hold it in anymore. I tell Bernard "I know it's your father but do something you can't let this go on".

John was very nervous in Monte Carlo already thinking Bernard might tell him to go. Tension in the team is high.


On the morning of our departure for Madrid I drop by Bernard's to help John pack up his suitcases to avoid what had happened in Marseille. John is at the window and says "we don't need you, go buy some milk" and I answer "no we are going to be late".

Sophie must drive John and I to the airport because he doesn't want to pay for a taxi while Bernard and Josko are driven by a friend of Bernard's to the airport in Nice.

I arrive at the Tomics' place with Sophie at 10.20am.

At 10.40am John comes over to the car, mad with anger and insults me saying "why didn't you go buy some milk, why didn't you come upstairs to pick up my suitcases". Right there, humiliated in front of my girlfriend, I get out of the car and stand up to him and tell him that I can't stand him talking this way to me anymore. He treats me like a dog.

He blows a fuse, tells me I am not going to Madrid, that I am fired, that he won't pay me. Seeing that, my girlfriend gets out of the car, and says to him "so you made me come here, I have better things to do, my kids are home alone so get in the car now".

He goes off to phone someone and I wait five minutes to let things cool down. I take his suitcase and put them in the boot. Luckily it's a short drive to the airport.

Then a scandal at the airport's Terminal 1 and everyone is shocked by John as he starts again screaming at me and saying he is cancelling my ticket. After 10 minutes I go back to the car but I want to say to John what I think of him to him.

We finally take off but John starts again verbally abusing me on the plane. It's incredible.

"Okay we will sort this out physically in Madrid because you won't be in your country this time and we will see if you are that clever and outspoken," he says to me.

We make our way to the hotel in central Madrid. In front of the hotel John asks me to put my bag down and to follow him outside. We walk to the side of the hotel. I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse. He looks around all the time which I think is weird. There is no-one around. He tells me "tell me again what you said this morning". I tell him again about how he thinks he is such a "big man, a real man but okay John that's fine Bernard will pay me to be his partner". He spits in my face. I wipe the spit away as he walks away and I tell him again what a big man he is and he suddenly turns and head butts me. I remember yelling help as I fall.

He then continues walking back into the hotel reception as if nothing has happened. I am told later I am out unconscious for a few minutes and when I come too Josko is there as well as Alexadr Dolgopolov the tennis player. Someone has called police and an ambulance.

I am taken to a hospital in Madrid. It's all very confusing. I don't speak Spanish and I am there for six hours and they do tests, give me stitches to the nose but there is a pain in my cervical vertebrae that has me very worried.

Bernard comes to see me at the hospital with Josko, and tells me that his father has gone too far, and that he will put him on the plane the next day, and that he no longer wants the presence of his father by his side. He said he wants to be alone in the team with just Josko and me. I go to police later and file a complaint until 2am. The next day at breakfast there is a change of attitude and Bernard tells me that if I sue his father, he will be on his side and they can afford to pay for lawyers whereas I can't. He's probably right there.

The next day and we are all at court. I am alone, lost, no lawyer. My nose is taped up and I have a brace on my neck. Outside the courtroom John's lawyer tries to negotiate. There is talk of 3000 euros compensation. I refuse and John later backs off and argues self-defence.

I get an SMS message from Bernard who says he is sorry and he is sad for what has happened. I am surprised by the message, then another, then a third from Bernard, saying he wants to meet with me and my girlfriend in Monaco. As I get off the plane in Nice to make the drive to Monaco, Josko calls me and tells me "whatever you do don't go to this meeting, it's a set up, John is manipulating Bernard and (John) wants you to blow a fuse. I don't go to the meeting, no more news from Bernard.

I return to Monaco and have further tests, scans, seeing specialists, sports consultants and everything is more serious than I originally thought. I have a whole written report about the injuries. It's not good reading.

I am depressed now and I know I am not eating. I have lost five kilos in two weeks. Obviously there is no more work for me.

I decide to go to Roland Garros for the French Open and see if I can find a job. I read a story in L'Equipe newspaper about Marion Bartoli not having a coach and hitting partner. It would be a good to get a job with her team. She is fantastic.

At Roland Garros John is banned from the stadium grounds and when he tries to get in he is sent off.

Later at Eastbourne I come across John. I feel uneasy, I am fearful, I look behind me every 30 seconds. I tell the ATP and they give me a bodyguard to follow me discreetly from a distance. He is supposed to be banned but is here.


John is suspended for at least a year by the ATP from attending future tournaments.

One evening I am walking and stop by the local Starbucks. At this point I don't know about the decision of the ATP. There I am on the phone and I can feel someone pushing the chair in front of me and sitting at my table. It's Bernard. He wants to talk to me. I am fearful and instinctively look behind me to see if John is there too. Bernard tells me he is unhappy with the ATP's decision and that the ATP should protect him. I think I am completely imagining this and ask him if he realises what his father has done. He has already forgotten that a month and a half ago I was laying on the ground in Madrid unconscious and covered in blood because of his father.

He apologises once more for what his father has done, but tells me it's his father and he loves him.

I tell him "OK you are allowed to love your father but at least admit to his mistakes". He agrees and he asks me how it is going with Bartoli. It is fantastic. I love working with her and her team. They are so professional and I realise this is how it should be. She is a wonderful tennis player, she listens and is always trying her hardest to improve her game. She has a fantastic attitude and outlook.

I just tell him it's fine. Then we shake hands goodbye, and I wish him good luck for the tournament. I feel he is relieved that he has come to speak to me and received a non-aggressive reaction. He seems relaxed.

I am carrying on with Marion and I think we work well together, peacefully and joyfully. She is a smart girl, lovely, and a hard worker ... it's a big change compared to what I was used to before. Her efforts and talent see her win through to the finals. I am being interviewed by the press for positive reasons now and not what happened with the Tomics. Marion wins the title. I could not be happier.

For seven months with the Tomics and almost every day it was like a nightmare. I am glad I have kept a diary because people don't know. I couldn't stand any more how he spoke to me. He had no respect for me. I think the worst thing for me was every day when I woke up I tried to do my best for Bernard and even with this he did not have respect, not one time "oh that's good", nothing. The more I did my job the less he paid me and the less respect he had for me. I would manage 90% of Bernard's daily schedule, John only came to the court to yell and tell his son he was a good for nothing.

I wish Bernard the best.

End Notes

There is no doubt that to many, lets say most readers, the story Mr. Drouet tells about what is going on around Bernard Tomic and why he's underperformed despite being a very talented player is disturbing. You can include shocking and disgusting too.

But there are those who seem to think this behavior is okay. As with anything on the net you have to take comments with a grain of salt because you don't really know who the person is and what interests he represents.

There are those who take a sociological approach and talk about cultural mores in Eastern Europe specifically in the Balkans. Others see nothing wrong with John Tomic trying to turn a hitting partner into a glorified servant there to do all the things a manager or coach is responsible for.

Tomic's behavior is excused by both Drouet and some of the seemingly self appointed defenders of the Tomic's. His lack of discipline is seen as part of growing up not as making it difficult for him to compete with the top players who for the most part are disciplined.

Drouet's comments about his tenure with Marion Bartoli are revealing since many fans considered her a bit of a flake.

Some are asking why Drouet would publish his diary. Could it be that he was afraid something would happen, that he would be accused of doing something after being provoked and needed something to document what happened? So far he hasn't made a statement.

It's easy for people to say he should've just quit but when dealing with someone like John Tomic even that becomes problematic. Drouet wanted to establish his bona fides in the tennis world and the way to do it was to take on a permanent position with a player. He wanted to care for his family and felt that the way to success was latching on to a star.

It's going to be interesting to see what reaction comes from Australian tennis sources. Again, I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Thomas Drouet Diaries

by Savannah

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Source: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Limited

So Thomas Drouet kept a diary about his time with Bernard Tomic and his father John Tomic. The entries that have been published make you understand who Bernard and his father are and why he's not the star Tennis Australia thought they would be.

November 2012

A 27-hour trip and I am feeling really jet-lagged. I barely arrive and there is a fit of anger from John because Bernard is playing on his PlayStation.


For the first two weeks there's minimum three to four hours training a day. John has multiple fits of anger during training. Bernard and John are always yelling. I am just very busy playing tennis, preparing drinks and muscle building, but the physical trainer from Barcelona, Salvador Sosa, arrives. He is very well known and respected on the circuit. This is a good team.

Almost immediately John abuses Salva on court because he dares to lean up against a wall. He makes him run after all the balls. Salva is in his early 60s but does as he is told.

Bernard, too, tells me to run or stay home. If I win a point, he then plays 10 drop shots and if I don't run each time there's drama. The pressure is constant.

PAY CUT CHRISTMAS with the Tomics.

I miss my family, but I'm happy on the tour. Then John tells me there is to be a salary change. It's Christmas, but he tells me he is dropping my wage from Euro1200 (about $A1720) a week to Euro1000. My food is also supposed to be paid for, but I have to pay for it myself.

"I pay you too much," John says. "If you don't want, you can go home".

I quit my job at the Monte Carlo Country Club as manager for the competition group and I can't go back. I don't know why this has happened. But John has more news. He tells me he won't pay me a wage for Christmas Day because we did not train. Salva and I tell him that's not the point, that we are here in Australia away from home and a salary is for each day we are away.

Bernard tells him to pay, maybe he will or won't, but I'm starting to think probably not.

I know now that I have made a mistake when I told John how I quit everything to be here. Now I sense John knows he has me, as I have nothing else to go to. But I have an ex-wife and a child and house to pay and I have to work.

I will keep going. It's still early days. It will get better.

One day after seven hours on court, John blows a fuse.

John asks me to play a set with Bernard. He tells me to play as hard as I can and to bug him as much as I can. He tells me that if I win more than three games in the set, he (Bernard) will run back home.

Caught up between my fear of John and my compassion for Bernard, I play the best I can for fear of retaliation and win the set. Bernard is furious with me, breaks a racquet and the father orders him to run home ... great atmosphere.


Exhibition tournament in Perth Arena and we are alone with Bernard; he wins his three games. John isn't there and it is a good atmosphere, good work.

Bernard beats Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 in their Hopman Cup clash. Fantastic. It's just about tennis and not all the other stuff I have seen.

Bernard's regime is strict, whether it is eating or drinking. For preparation of the drinks, I must have 2 litres of specific mixes: in 50cl, 1.5 spoonfuls of XTEN, 2 spoonfuls of Endura, give Bernard two pills 45 minutes before the match, three big white pills 15 minutes before the match, during the warm up of a match, at the beginning (of a match) a blue sachet, then in the middle (of the match) an orange one. If the powder dosage is not exactly respected and the bottles not taken out at the last minute I get yelled down

I must put Bernard's racquets in a cold room before the match and pull them out at the last minute. They are breaking racquets all the time. If John doesn't like a racquet he just breaks it.


Bernard wins his first ATP Tour title.

We all celebrate. Tomic wins, brilliant. There is a great feeling, everybody on a high and happy.

We are still in the tennis centre in the evening when John walks in and shows us the prize money paper. We think initially he is showing us as part of the celebration. Like, "Look at this prize money - yay!"

But no. "You see how much taxes I pay?" he says. "I give you too much money, I will pay you less". Our spirits drop.

Unbelievable. He leaves us deflated.


The Australian Open and my girlfriend Sophie (Lombard) comes over and I have to lie and leave my hotel room in the evening at 11pm to meet her at her hotel and then get up before 6am to make sure I give Bernard his fresh orange juice in his room every morning.

I knock, he tells me to "fuck off", but I have to say, "Can you drink this and take your energy pills, please Bernard". As much tension in the team as ever.

John is like jealous or something.

If I can slip out to see Sophie, I go like a spy to her hotel looking left and right to make sure John doesn't see me. How weird. Sometimes I can't go because we are still working. Tension, tension, always tension.

Every day, it's a new crazy scene.

Bernard is horrible during the training before the match against (Roger) Federer. He tells me to run, to play right, play left, treats me like a dog.

Maybe it's the pressure.

I remember back on the Gold Coast, in the evening Salva and I would stick together, drinking a beer on the terrace, the only moment of calmness for both of us.

One evening, I remember we are chatting and we see Bernard coming down around 11pm. He tells us, "What the hell are you doing here, go to bed".

Then later on, Bernard tells us that he often escapes at night to go see his friends. We then understand why it takes 30 minutes to get him out of bed every morning.

Off court, Bernard runs into trouble with his Ferrari and the police; went out to night clubs every weekend.


THE Tomics arrive in Monaco and I must pick them up at Nice airport at my own expense.

Bernard, meanwhile, had partied like crazy after the Australian tournament season and when he comes back he has lost 2-3kg of muscles.

Salva and I see him, and "Oh my god, who is this?"

Bernard doesn't want to do anything now. Salva fights to get him to do sprints. I watch as they go to this long track near the courts. Bernard runs like he is at a marathon, just a slow jog. Mr 50 per cent. He is like a zombie.

It is now five days before the Marseille and Rotterdam tournaments. He has worked only for five days training, not enough.

Four months in and I am very stressed. I never know how John will behave from one day to the next. Every day you never know how he is going to react to something or how he is going to behave, maybe nice, maybe not. Always it's stress, every day stress.


IT'S cold, it's snowing and Bernard loses in the first round against Grigor Dimitrov.

He is playing only 50 per cent because he is tired and didn't do anything after the Australian Open.

That night I go to John's room ... Salva, me and John - and John starts to cry.

He has tears, he genuinely is upset.

"Bernard doesn't want me anymore, it's finished I might as well go home," he says. Salva and I console him ... inside, though, we want him to go home and we want Bernard to say this.

Every day, we think today is the day maybe Bernard tells him to go home.

We can't say that, but we wish it. We know the problem is John, but, as Salva says, if you do one mistake it will be to try to separate them. "Coming between them, you are dead, let Bernard do it for himself," he tells me.


JOHN blows a fuse because I don't go upstairs to fetch the suitcases and he threatens to leave me back in Monaco and to exclude me from the team.

Bernard comes down and says, "Everybody shut up".

He asks why I am out (of the team) and can't believe it is because I didn't carry John's bags.

If it isn't me, John attacks Salva.

But then suddenly it's like he forgets that. He then starts to tell Salva that whoever gets to Marseille before 7pm first, the other pays for dinner. Salva uses it as a joke to lighten the mood. John just makes for the car and starts to drive crazy. I don't know, 160km/h maybe. Really, really fast. He really wants to win.

We head for our rooms and John tells us to be back downstairs in 20 minutes to eat. John takes two whiskies and a main and dessert, then asks for the bill which is Euro150. He hands it to Salva and says "you lost the bet, so you pay". We know he doesn't have the money. I feel so bad, so when we are back in the room I give him 20 euro for what I ate, and Bernard, too, gives him 15-20 euro. Bernard didn't feel good either.

Early morning training and Bernard breaks a racquet because John is insulting him. It's all back to normal.

John takes me apart because he saw me at breakfast with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He says, "Who pays you, Tsonga or me?"

Then he just disappears. I don't know what happened to John, but the day before Tsonga and after the match against Somdev Devvarman, John says we practice. Bernard does not want to listen to him.

John screams at me. "You don't play with him then, Thomas."

Bernard tells me to play.

I am standing there with a racquet and ball in hand and I don't know what to do. Bernard was telling me aggressively, "You play now". John is yelling at me, "No you don't play".

Then they yell at each other and Bernard starts whacking his racquet ... bam, bam, bam bam ... over and over on the court.


WE depart for Indian Wells and I am in charge of the logistics.

We arrive in New York, Bernard doesn't have the right visa, he talks down to the customs officers and is taken to the station for four hours. We miss our connecting flight.

Eventually he comes out and I negotiate with the girl at the desk, who puts us on the flight to Phoenix the next day.

Bernard tells us that we can sleep at the airport, that he has booked a hotel in New York and he is going to have a party with his mates.

Salva and I are stupefied as we are left to sleep on a chair all night. I take a photo. It's incredible.


JOHN buys a BB gun at a supermarket because he says he wants to go hunting. I laugh and say, "Okay, let's buy it". We go fishing, there is a big lake here and after practice we relax and fish then we just shoot dirt.

Then we come back home and Bernard says, "Who is the biggest man now, we are going to shoot each other". He says it as a joke.

John says I will do it, and he just pulls the gun and shoots him. He bleeds in his legs.

Then Bernard says, "Now you do it ... you do it or you are not a man." So John does it.

Then they shoot on Salva, too. Now they say to me it's my turn ... but I go to my room first and put four or five pairs of shorts on and then they shoot me, too, but I don't really feel it.

We make a video of it and it seems funny at the time. It's fun crazy.


BERNARD is supposed to train with Kei Nishikori but turns it into a scandal. He doesn't want to play with him, so he tanks it. They are doing this practice to find their rhythm, but Bernard just whacks it back, and he loses 6-1 in 10 minutes. Nishikori is really pissed off.

His coach tells me after we will never want to play with him again. Bernard doesn't like to practice with other tournament players.

Bernard is up against Andy Murray. It should have been a good game. Bernard starts well, but then misses the 40-15 break and after that he just lets go of the match.

I think 80 per cent of his defeats are either by abandonment (he gives up) or by injury, although his nickname is tank machine.

That's what people call him behind his back after John McEnroe said he tanked it against Andy Roddick during the 2012 US Open. Everybody jokes about him as "the tank".


Before we discuss who has what personality disorder here is a definition of sociopathy versus psychopathy

Sociopathy and psychopathy share many traits, which is the main source of confusion for differentiating them in psychology. Traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

  • a disregard for the rights of others
  • a failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • a disregard for laws and social mores
  • a tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts

Though not all psychology professionals agree on what exactly differentiates sociopaths from psychopaths, among those who believe each are separate disorders there is a list of definite differences. Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place. Some sociopaths form attachments to an individual or group, though they have no regard for society in general. In the eyes of others, sociopaths appear clearly disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath tend to be disorganized and spontaneous.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, often have charming personalities. They are manipulative and easily gain people’s trust. They have learned to mimic emotion and so appear “normal” to other people. Psychopaths are often educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they can have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

Psychopaths, when committing crimes, carefully plan out every detail and often have contingency plans in place. Because of this marked difference between the method of crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths, the distinction between these disorders is perhaps even more important to criminology than it is to psychology.

Another belief among some professionals is that the etiology of the disorders is different. According to David Lykken, a behavioral geneticist known for his studies on twins, psychopathy stems from a physiological defect in the brain that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy is more the product of childhood traumas and abuse. According to this model, some professionals believe that sociopaths are capable of empathy, but only in specific contexts.

For example, sociopaths may attach their loyalty to a person or group and will feel empathy for or not hurt those people to which they are attached. Psychopaths, however, have an inability to feel empathy and are just as likely to hurt their family and friends as they are strangers. Other psychologists make these same distinctions, but define them as primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy.

I wonder what Tennis Australia has to say about this? Probably nothing. At least I haven't found any official comment. I'm sure none of this is news to them. And keep in mind that Tomic senior got an eight month suspended sentence for his attack on Drouet. And he's fighting it.


Ladies we all have that relationship tucked deeply away in our psyche. You know what I'm talking about. The one that everyone told you was bad for you, wrong for you, that would leave you in a very bad place and doubting your self worth. Most of us have gotten through the psychological damage done by that relationship and gone on to form healthy and stable ones.

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So lets not judge okay? She'll hopefully come out of this a better woman. After all most of us make it okay right?

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For those of you who threw up a little in your mouth Thera Breath by Dr Katz works wonders.