This post is very late. I should've covered last weekends winners earlier in the week but life being what it is I didn't. I'll post their pictures throughout the post.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova - Monterrey
Monte Carlo is about to get underway and the most beautiful setting for tennis will be on display. I say this every year but it's worth repeating. There is no more beautiful spot on earth to hold a tennis tournament. There may be bigger arenas, there may be more storied locations, but with the blue Mediterranean Sea as it's background contrasted with the brick red of the courts the stage is set for a style of tennis that demands the most from players. You must be at peak condition mentally and physically to play well in the slower red dirt of Europe. You must play strategically, know how to construct points, and be able to think two or three shots ahead. I wonder if that's why not one top American player is showing up. Other than the Bryan twins I can't name one American who plays the clay season until they have to. Sam Querrey used to but he's injured and won't come to Monte Carlo.
Kristina Mladenovic and Lucie Safarova - Charleston
Of course Monte Carlo is the tournament the American tennis establishment, working through the ATP, wanted to get rid of. It was the European players, leading the fight to preserve this historic tournament, who saved it agreeing to the compromise of making it a non mandatory event but preserving its Masters 1000 status. The players fought. Keep that in mind.
Meanwhile in the States one of this country's oldest tournaments was allowed to shut down, it's place taken by a tournament in South America all to make sure a tournament owner who wants to treat players as more than chattel, couldn't get control of another event. So much for tradition in the States.
I should mention in passing that the tennis journalistic establishment would rather foam at the mouth about Caroline Wozniacki seeming to compare herself to a WAG (or whatever it is she meant by her statement) than deal with the state of mens tennis in the States right now. We've got one man in the ATP top 20, just barely, and that is considered a big deal.
Serena Williams - Charleston
What they are ignoring is that it's women's tennis in the States that's almost off of life support. I say almost because the USTA Pro Player organization, as exhibited in the last matches by Sloane Stephens and the defection of Christina McHale to her own coach, doesn't seem to have a clue what to do when faced with genuine talent that isn't male. They may nip this nascent revival in the bud with their idiocy if the players aren't careful.
The other news that the professional tennis journo's seem to be ignoring is who will take over from ailing ATP CEO Adam Drewett. It was USA Today that published a story about who the front runners are to take over. All emphasis is mine.
The contenders are Mark Young, who heads up the ATP Tour's Americas division and is its chief legal and media officer; and Laurent Delanney, who oversees the European division and commercial operations.
Two people with knowledge of the search confirmed that Young and Delanney are the only candidates being considered. They spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the search is ongoing.
The ATP board, comprised of three tournament and three player representatives, has been looking for a successor to current ATP executive chairman and president Brad Drewett since he disclosed in January that he is suffering from Motor Neuron Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) and would step down when a replacement was found.
"The board is focusing on a number of strong internal candidates and is not considering external candidates at this stage in the process," the ATP said in a statement provided Thursday.
The two people said no consensus has formed around either candidate, but that continuity was paramount.
No successor to Drewett is likely to be named until the ATP board meets again during Wimbledon, which begins June 24.
Young, an American based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is the more experienced candidate but also carries more baggage.
An attorney and the tour's general counsel, he joined the ATP in 1990 and became CEO of the Americas division, which includes North and South America, in 1996. He has negotiated many of the tours major sponsorship and TV deals.
French-born Delenney has an agent and marketing background (he once managed Yannick Noah's career) and joined the ATP in 1994. He directed sponsorship and licensing teams and became CEO of its European division — the seat of power in the men's game today — in 2009. He lives in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Both are seen as having strong ties to tournaments. Reaching a final decision could rest with which man players rally behind.
Notice there was no mention of Richard Krajicek. I think that Young will get it unless something major happens behind the scenes involving the players.
The WTA - Merchants of Soft Porn?
I love pictures. Seeing players on and off the court, in their kits or on tournament red carpets is always fun for me especially since I love fashion. So imagine my chagrin when scrolling through a popular women's fan site I had to make sure I hadn't landed on some tits and ass site. After making sure that I was indeed on a tennis site I scrolled through several pages of young players in various stages of undress. I say young because many of them are players who you see on the ITF circuit week after week, some doing well and some not. I'm not sure I care if a young player looks like Taylor Swift or not. I do care about her game and if she's fighting her way into main tour draws though.
And it's not only the up and comers. There was a serious discussion about how sexy Maria Sharapova is and whether her lack of pendulous boobs takes away from her sexiness. Then there was the discussion of Victoria Azarenka's nose which of course segued into a discussion of her being with Stefan Gordy and that he's an annoyance. Somehow that conversation ended up being about Anna Kournikova. I have no idea.
I've said over and over that the WTA needs to focus on the women's game and the best players minus their physical attributes. I mean if boobs make a woman sexy why isn't Serena Williams always the sexiest woman on the tour? Oh yeah, there's that thing about her being of African descent that leaves her out of who is sexy conversations.
Also left out of these idiotic conversations are Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.
To the fans credit someone asked why players who are known lesbians are all of a sudden flashing boobage? It's a good question but then it was back to the half naked, the flat chested, and those with big noses.
The thing is how can I blame the fans reducing the women's game to one of tits and ass when the tennis press, the place where you should be reading about the different games played by the top players, is obsessing over Caroline Wozniacki and her golfer and whether she should want to compare herself to a WAG.
I mean what could be more important right?
Until the WTA starts promoting the GAME of tennis and not the IMAGE of tennis we'll continue to see twenty people in the stands watching a match between the top women while a nearby court if full to overflowing watching two guys in the top fifty slug it out. It's this that makes all the talk about getting rid of combined events being good for the women's tour moot. If there are no combined events who would come and see the WTA unless Serena or Venus Williams are playing? No one puts butts in the seats the way these two do and any one who argues otherwise is delusional.
So lets make women's tennis about tennis and not about physical beauty or lack thereof okay? Please?