Friday, May 24, 2013

The 2013 French Open Singles Draws

by Savannah

The WTA Main Draw Singles

Serena Williams [1] v Anna Tatishvili
Caroline Garcia [WC] v Qualifier
Monica Niculescu v Johanna Larsson
Sorana Cirstea [26] v Kiki Bertens

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [19] v Andrea Hlavackova
Petra Cetkovska v Olga Puchkova
Qualifier v Qualifier
Roberta Vinci [15] v Stephane Foretz Gacon [WC]

Caroline Wozniacki [10] v Laura Robson
Bojana Jovanovski v Qualifier
Pauline Parmentier v Magdalena Rybarikova
Ekaterina Makarova [22] v Svetlana Kuznetsova

Varvara Lepchenko [29] v Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
Romina Oprandi v Elina Svitolina
Jana Cepelova v Christina Mchale
Angelique Kerber [8] v Mona Barthel

Agnieszka Radwanska [4] v Shahar Peer
Mallory Burdette v Donna Vekic
Mandy Minella v Qualifier
Venus Williams [30] v Urszula Radwanska

Julia Goerges [24] v Qualifier
Virginie Razzano [WC] v Claire Feuerstein [WC]
Chanelle Scheepers v Mathilde Johansson
Ana Ivanovic [14] v Petra Martic

Nadia Petrova [11] v Monica Puig
Madison Keys v Misaki Doi
Irena Pavlovic [WC] v Shelby Rogers
Carla Suarez Navarro [20] v Simona Halep

Sabine Lisicki [32] v Sofia Arvidsson
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor v Qualifier
Ayumi Morita v Yulia Putintseva
Sara Errani [5] v Arantxa Rus

Na Li [6] v Anabel Medina Garrigues
Bethanie Mattek-Sands v Lourdes Dominguez Lino
Tatjana Maria Qualifier
Yaroslava Shvedova [27] v Coco Vandeweghe

Klara Zakopalova [23] v Kaia Kanepi
Stefanie Voegele v Heather Watson
Lucie Hradecka v Ashleigh Barty [WC]
Maria Kirilenko [12] v Nina Bratchikova

Marion Bartoli [13] v Olga Govortsova
Kristyna Pliskova v Qualifier
Francesca Schiavone v Melinda Czink
Kirsten Flipkens [21] v Flavia Pennetta

Alize Cornet [31] v Maria Joao Koehler
Irina Camelia Begu v Silvia Soler Espinosa
Annika Beck v Qualifier
Victoria Azarenka [3] v Elena Vesnina

Petra Kvitova [7] v Aravane Rezai [WC]
Shuai Peng v Camila Giorgi
Yanina Wickmayer v Qualifier
Lucie Safarova [25] v Jamie Hampton

Jelena Jankovic [18] v Daniela Hantuchova
Karolina Pliskova v Garbine Muguruza
Kristina Mladenovic v Lauren Davis
Samantha Stosur [9] v Kimiko Date-Krumm

Dominka Cibulkova [16] vLesia Tsurenko
Marina Erakovic v Elena Baltacha
Alexandra Cadantu v Qualifier
Sloane Stephens [17] v Karin Knapp

Tamira Paszek [28] v Melanie Oudin
Jie Zheng v Vesna Dolonc
Eugenie Bouchard v Tsvetana Pironkova
Maria Sharapova [2] v Su-Wei Hsieh

I suppose after taking a week off from blogging with the French Open looming I should comment.

My first thought looking at the WTA draw was that thank all that is sacred that Sloane Stephens will not have to face any of those head games Serena Williams plays on her opponents. Since Serena is the only player who does those things I'm sure Sloane will breeze right through to the semi finals in the bottom half of the draw. No one there plays head games right?

Seriously Sloane is becoming tedious. Is it something with her generation? Isn't she around the same age as Taylor Swift who is from what I hear the Queen of the Whine? I refuse to listen to her music so that's strictly rumor control on my part. Just shut up and play. Maybe you'll learn a few head games of your own.

See I have been paying attention. I just get tired of posting the same old shite.

There's also been a bit of a verbal war between Coco Vandeweghe and the latest brat straight out of juniors Yulia Putinseva. I wonder how badly Yaroslava Shvedova will beat Coco in the first round? Last I checked it was winning matches that counted. This is not a pageant where Best Shade Thrower gets a trophy. Not that Yaroslava is a shoo-in. She hasn't been playing well of late.

Li Na gets the cheater Anabel Medina Garrigues first round. Keep your eyes on AMG. If she's blatantly cheating she's losing. Let's hope she gets caught cheating this time.

If Agnieszka Radwanska is seen in heels during the players party or any other promotional event look for her to have a decent tournament. If she's still in flats I think she'll have a hard time.

Heather Watson is coming back from illness so I don't expect much of anything from her. Marion Bartoli is overweight and out of shape and has played horribly the last few weeks. Shame on her for letting her fitness slide so badly. I mean her eating a Twix court side kind of sums up her season so far. I think Li, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko could do well in that section of the draw. Anyone can come out of the section anchored by Kirsten Flipkens and Maid Marion.

I wonder what Sloane will do if she has to face Maria Sharapova? Will Laura Robson beat Caroline Wozniacki? I wouldn't take Wozniacki's loss in Belgium too seriously. She was brought in to save the WTA from paying a fine for not having a top ten player at a Premier event not to win. Robson will be a nice test for her.

I didn't forget Petra Kvitova, another member of the fat and out of shape crew. She's less fat and out of shape than Bartoli though. That's the best I can say about her.

Do I expect the usual suspects to get through? Probably.

The ATP Main Draw - Singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] v David Goffin (BEL)
Ivan Dodig (CRO) v Guido Pella (ARG)
Alex Kuznetsov (USA) [WC] v Lucas Pouille (FRA) [WC]
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [26] v Alejandro Falla (COL)

Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [22] v Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) v Victor Hanescu (ROU)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) v Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) [16] v Qualifier

Tommy Haas (GER) [12] v Guillaume Rufin (FRA)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v Qualifier
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) v Ryan Harrison (USA)
John Isner (USA) [19] v Carlos Berlocq (ARG)

Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) [29] v Pablo Andujar (ESP)
Federico Delbonis (ARG) v Qualifier
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) v Marc Gicquel (FRA) [WC]
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) [8] v Nicolas Mahut (FRA) [WC]

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [3] v Daniel Brands (GER)
Martin Klizan (SVK) v Michael Russell (USA)
Lukas Rosol (CZE) v Qualifier
Fabio Fognini (ITA) [27] v Qualifier

Benoit Paire (FRA) [24] v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)
Lukasz Kubot (POL) v Qualifier
Grega Zemlja (SLO) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Kei Nishikori (JPN) [13] Jesse Levine (CAN)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [9] vThiemo De Bakker (NED)
Horacio Zeballos (ARG) v Qualifier
Kenny De Schepper (FRA) v Robin Haase (NED)
Jerzy Janowicz (POL) [21] v Albert Ramos (ESP)

Florian Mayer (GER) [28] v Denis Istomin (UZB)
Florent Serra [WC] (FRA) v Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Qualifier v Qualifier
Richard Gasquet (FRA) [7] v Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)

Tomas Berdych (CZE) [5] v Gael Monfils (FRA) [WC]
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA)
Igor Sijsling (NED) v Jurgen Melzer (AUT)
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [32] v Jurgen Zopp (EST)

Andreas Seppi (ITA) [20] v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Blaz Kavcic (SLO) v Qualifier
Martin Alund (ARG) v Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
Nicolas Almagro (ESP) [11] v Qualifier

Milos Raonic (CAN) [14] v Xavier Malisse (BEL)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Qualifier
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) v Qualifier
Kevin Anderson (RSA) [23] v Qualifier

Marcel Granollers (ESP) [31] v Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
Joao Sousa (POR) v Go Soeda (JPN)
Albert Montanes (ESP) v Qualifier
David Ferrer (ESP) [4] v Marinko Matosevic (AUS)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [6] v Aljaz Bedene (SLO)
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) v Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA)
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) v Gilles Muller (LUX)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [25] v Benjamin Becker (GER)

Juan Monaco (ARG) [17] v Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v James Blake (USA)
Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [WC]
Marin Cilic (CRO) [10] v Philipp Petzschner (GER)

Gilles Simon (FRA) [15] v Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) [WC] v Pablo Cuevas (URU)
Jan Hajek (CZE) v Qualifier
Sam Querrey (USA) [18] v Lukas Lacko (SVK)

Julien Benneteau (FRA) [30] v Ricardas Berankis (LTU)
Tobias Kamke (GER) v Paolo Lorenzi (ITA)
Qualifier v Qualifier
Roger Federer (SUI) [2] v Qualifier

Wait James Blake is in the Main Draw of a Slam? Really? Has he played anywhere during the spring European clay court season? If he has I don't remember. He's opening against Viktor Troicki, he of the epic meltdown. At least Troicki has played on the red dirt recently. Someone is going to win that match. Really.

The section with Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer is very interesting. There are a lot of guys in there who have been playing well lately and will come in with a bit of confidence. That section is the one I'll be keeping my eyes on. The other half of the bottom of the draw is a freaking joke. Unless someone in the section grows a pair the section is set up for one man to cakewalk to the semifinal where he will probably lose to someone from the top half of the bottom of the draw.

I'd keep my eyes on Tommy Haas in the top half of the draw.

Monday, May 13, 2013

When A Rivalry Isn't A Rivalry

by Savannah

Serena Madrid 2013 photo f83491fe-fab6-4eda-9c92-b6913e07fc9c_zps5ba35f3d.jpg

People desperately want a rivalry between the WTA #1 Serena Williams and the WTA #2 Maria Sharapova. Since the Russian hasn't beaten Serena since, oh, 2004, they simply make one up.

No matter where Serena has been ranked she somehow manages to find a way to defeat Maria, something that seems to keep people up at night trying to find ways to keep Maria from having to face Serena. Cakewalk draws for Serena's opponents, willfully blind chair umpires, brazenly cheating opponents, you name it. And yet Serena finds a way to win at 31.

The talk now seems to be that Maria, now a clay expert, will defend her title at Roland Garros because Madrid doesn't matter. You know altitude, that sort of thing. Not many talked about Serena having something to prove in Madrid but I think she did.

She had to redeem herself for her comments about "weenies" and prove that there was nothing flukey about her win last year on the blue stuff. One person you don't want on a mission is Serena Williams, especially when she created the drama to begin with. She redeemed herself and that is what matters to her. Don't get me wrong, defending her title and holding on to the #1 ranking are important too. But so much of the tennis press tries to fit her into some preconceived notion of who and what she is refusing to talk about the competitor, the athlete who is Serena Williams. She proved them all wrong this week fighting through some really bad patches and showing up at the final mentally and physically ready and giving her detractors and those who wish her ill something to chew on.

It's not totally correct to say there is no rivalry between these two women. Anyone who saw the coin toss and felt the coldness between the two women no matter where they were watching from could think otherwise. They understand and respect each other. It doesn't mean they're going to be meeting for lunch or sending each other gift baskets though. One brings out the best in the other on the court and one brings out the worst in the other on court. And in the end Serena has shown that on the court she can survive whatever they throw at her to defeat the woman who wants her ranking and her cred.

Pavs Lucie Madrid 2013 photo 1bf7eb1b-8660-44ac-ab82-080374be2920_zps8b13bded.jpg

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova teamed up with Lucie Safarova to win the womens doubles in Madrid. I didn't see one doubles match although they were available on TennisTV.

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Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan continue to be the only American men who have a clue about how to play on clay. You'd think the USTA would use them in training their men. Maybe they do, I don't know. I do know that American men are not doing well in singles on red clay while the Bryan's keep winning.

Madrid 2013 photo 8cb616a2-8e4e-477c-a2bc-0f5ca041e948_zps415a7955.jpg

This man knows something about winning on clay too. Comms seem to love talking about his current ranking without mentioning the why of it while pushing the ATP #1 who was booed by fans in Madrid for his obvious gamesmanship during a match, something the comms never, ever mention when it comes to his behavior on court. Instead they focus on how boorish the fans in Madrid, and by inference, in Spain are.

Rafael Nadal is not a big fan of the Madrid tournament for many reasons but this year he wanted to win it and he did.

The tour has moved on to Rome, the Eternal City. That means another week of living on European time. It also means another glorious week of clay court tennis.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

THIS is the WTA's Response?!

by Savannah updated it's report on "FluffyBalls-gate"

Update: In a statement to, the WTA Tour acknowledged that Media Garrigues could have been issued a code violation. “Had the umpire witnessed the scuffing of the balls, the umpire would have instructed the player to stop,” the WTA said. “If the player did not stop, it could have led to a code violation.”

So let me get this straight.

Kerrilyn Cramer, a Gold Badge Chair, who has been reported as being the chair umpire during the quarterfinal match between Anabel Medina Garrigues and Serena Williams, had no idea that Ms Medina Garrigues sat in her chair during a changeover and in front of cameras defaced new tennis balls not once, but twice during a match.

I'm aware that chair umpires have a lot to do during a changeover but really?

And what about Medina-Garrigues post match presser?

The following quotes are from the same article:

“The match went pretty well until 3-3 when they changed the balls,” Medina Garrigues told reporters in Madrid, according to “Afterwards in the 5-all [in the third set] I was serving with new balls, which I hated. It’s an error. For her the ball moves faster; you have less control.”

The woman is admitting that she did something and that her tactics to deface the balls were justified because after all she was playing Serena Williams. Really?

There is no doubt in my mind that Ms Cramer would've seen Serena defacing balls and the entire tennis world would be demanding something be done. Instead it's been left to fan boards and bloggers to keep the story going.

There's been no public mention of any repercussions to either Medina Garrigues or Ms Cramer. And the top tennis journalists haven't said squat.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What Would You Have Done?

by Savannah

So you're sitting on the sidelines during a changeover. It's 4-3 in the first set and new balls are going to be introduced. The person you're playing is observed doing the following.

Now as a player you're probably going over the shots you've played and how you want to play going forward. As the chair umpire you're looking over the court, making sure everyone and everything is where they should be but somehow you miss one player taking the new balls and scuffing them up on her racquet before tossing them to the ball kids for use when play resumes.

As you can see Anabel Medina Garrigues did just that during her match against Serena Williams. The chair umpire was apparently busy with something else since Medina Garrigues scuffed up not just one or two but at least a couple of cans of new balls. She didn't even try to hide it.

I don't pretend to be a rule book expert so I have to ask if this violates if not the letter of the law then the spirit of the law? How is this not cheating? How did the chair umpire miss this? Did Medina Garrigues do this today or has she done this every day she's played? Who's job is it to review the video and decide what should happen to Medina Garrigues?

I hate to go where I'm going but I wonder if Medina Garrigues opponent sat in her seat and did this if the chair umpire would've noticed? I'm just throwing that out there.

Thanks to the tennishead "ShiftyFella" for posting this. We're waiting for the WTA or the ITF, or both, to make a statement.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The WTA Chooses Singapore

by Savannah

In one of the worst kept secrets in recent memory the WTA made a huge announcement about the location of its YEC for the next five years. From 2014 - 2018 the women's year end championship will be played in Singapore. The city state won out over Monterrey, Mexico and Tianjian, China and will have a brand spanking new sports complex in which to stage the event.

Stacey Allaster, in an interview with the New York Times Christopher Clarey is trying to emphasize the positive.

The WTA chief executive, Stacey Allaster, wanted an extended deal for the elite tournament, and she got it: a five-year agreement from 2014 through 2018.

That last figure is particularly important to an organization that still lacks a lead global sponsor after its lucrative, multiyear deal with Sony Digital ended in 2012.

“Well, look, I definitely am sleeping a lot better right now,” said Allaster in a telephone interview from Singapore. “These championships are 35 to 40 percent of our net operating revenues.”

While declining to give a specific figure, Allaster said that this was the “largest and most significant championships deal” in the WTA’s history and that it was also worth more annually than any previous deal for the championships.

With the previous high-dollar mark a reported $14 million per year in Istanbul for three years, the Singapore deal would be worth in excess of $70 million.

“If we look at the prize-money commitment, rights-fee commitment, international marketing commitment and of course operational budget, it’s an incredible investment that Singapore has made in women’s tennis,” she said.

The move to Singapore is strategic for both parties.

By bringing its championships into the heart of Asia for the first time, the WTA wants to consolidate its finances as well as its role in a still-emerging but clearly vital sports region. Meanwhile, Singapore, a nation of about five million with one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world, wants to promote itself as a regional sports hub. A major multisports complex is nearing completion in the city.

Singapore, for the moment, has no player with a WTA ranking in singles or doubles, but it is eager to promote sports participation at home, particularly among women.

“We continue to go east,” Allaster said. “I think it’s no coincidence that two of the three candidate finalists came from Asia. It shows the growth potential and aspirations of these markets to use world-class sport to drive growth and platforms for participation.”

The season-ending championships, won by Serena Williams in 2012, bring together the top eight singles players, and with the move to Singapore, the doubles field will increase from four teams to eight. Prize money will increase to $6.5 million in 2014 from $6 million this year, and the event will expand from six days of competition to seven. It will be staged at Singapore Indoor Stadium, which has an approximate capacity of up to 12,000 but will be configured for fewer fans initially.

“We’re looking at 7,500 to 8,000 to start,” Allaster said. “We want to make sure it’s full, provide positive energy for the athletes. In time, it will grow.”

All emphasis is mine.

At least at the end she's being realistic (honest) and saying that they will not fill the arena. Hell I doubt that there will be the fan support the WTA got in Istanbul where almost every seat was routinely occupied by a paying customer. The arena is not going to be full unless like many award shows they hire seat warmers. It's no secret that the WTA is the weaker of the two professional tennis associations and if the ATP can't fill stadiums what will the women, who even in combined events see fans ignoring their matches for mens matches, do in Singapore?

The WTA fan base is in Europe and the Americas. I understand that the money will help the WTA stabilize it's finances but as far as growing the sport? I don't think so. The time difference is too great for fans of women's tennis in the Americas and Europe so the potential to draw new fans is minimal. And isn't the International group championship in Malaysia? It looks as if the WTA isn't really interested in growing women's tennis but is in desperate need to shore up its finances.

In all honesty I hope that I'm wrong and that screaming fans fill the seats to watch the top women in the world play each other. There is nothing more depressing than a tennis match held in an empty arena.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Tomic Affair, And A Legend Shows How It's Done

by Savannah

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The New York Times Christopher Clarey has posted the following regarding Bernard Tomic, his father John Tomic, and Thomas Drouet.

In January, in an interview with the French newspaper L’Equipe, Drouet said of John Tomic: ‘‘He gets upset easily. He speaks loudly, but it dies down just as quickly. The shell is hard, but he is truly good on the inside.’’

But in an interview published Tuesday in L’Equipe, Drouet said of John Tomic: ‘‘I want to make it understood that this man is violent and dangerous. Unpredictable, too.’’

Drouet said in the interview that he had also seen John Tomic punch Bernard Tomic, 20, in the head during a training session in Monaco on April 30.

‘‘Bernard was bleeding around the mouth, the teeth, there was blood on the court,’’ Drouet told L’Equipe. ‘‘All that because Bernard had told him that he had had enough of hearing his criticisms. I didn’t intervene as I have read I did other places. Afterward, John took Bernard’s three rackets and destroyed them. Bam. Bam. Bam. A half hour later, he was joking with Bernard.’’

Drouet said he was coming forward to help Bernard Tomic and in the hope that the A.T.P. and International Tennis Federation would ban John Tomic from the circuit.

For now, officials from the A.T.P. tour have revoked John Tomic’s accreditation for the Madrid tournament, where Bernard Tomic, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist who is currently ranked 53rd, lost in the opening round to Radek Stepanek on Sunday.

John Tomic could not be reached to respond to Drouet’s claims that he had attacked Bernard Tomic in Monaco. Phone messages left with John Tomic’s lawyer, Carmen Dieguez, were not immediately returned.

But at the hearing Monday in Madrid, where John Tomic also appeared, Dieguez said that her client disputed the charges in the altercation with Drouet, and she later told reporters that Tomic had acted in self-defense. Another court hearing was set for next Tuesday.

If John Tomic is found guilty of assault, it could result in a prison term and an extended ban from the tennis tour. That could include the women’s tour. John Tomic’s daughter Sara, 15, is a promising junior player.

‘‘A bit inappropriate to make a comment until all the facts are known and this is played out,’’ said Darren Cahill, an Australian coach and commentator, who knows the Tomic family well. ‘‘If the early reports are accurate, we can only hope the A.T.P. takes an extremely tough position against anything of this nature.’’

A.T.P. officials in Europe said in a statement Monday that the organization was still ‘gathering information. Several prominent figures in Australian tennis called for Bernard Tomic to sever coaching ties with his father.


Drouet said Bernard Tomic had later come to see him at the hospital. ‘‘He told me: ‘I’m sorry. He went too far, It’s over. I don’t want him to come to tournaments anymore,’’’ Drouet told L’Equipe.

Drouet added: ‘‘Bernard has been a victim of his father forever. Many times, I’ve heard Bernard tell John he didn’t want him on the court. After that, it’s difficult for Bernard because he’s only known this way of working. He’s a hostage and he’s developed Stockholm syndrome.’’

As "Karen" rightly indicated there is absolutely NO WAY Tennis Australia didn't know this was happening. Cahill's mealy mouthed "it's inappropriate to make a comment" spiel is bullshit. If he "knows the family well" he knows that John Tomic didn't start punching his son in the face last week. And if he knows, they all know. It's convenient to say let the ATP decide especially when the CEO, a fellow Australian, just passed away. If Drouet, who has been working with Bernard for just six months can talk about Stockholm Syndrome what about those who "know the family well"?

If the so called tennis journalists, an exclusive group that wants no part of bloggers and other lower life forms doesn't pursue this story including asking Cahill how long he's known about this abusive behavior than they will just prove that they're a bunch of hacks who want to be spoon fed what the tours want fans to know.

Serena Replies

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The following was posted on Twitter by @TennisNewsTPN

"I don't really know. I don't have many thoughts. I'm a big Sloane Stephens fan and always have been. I've always said that I think she can be the best in the world. I'll always continue to think that and always be rooting for her. So I really just always wish her ‑ and anyone, really, especially from America the best. We don't have that many American players (smiling), so it's always exciting to see so many young players doing so well."

That, Ms Stephens, is how a champion, a legend handles the press. Hopefully one day you will earn the right to be called a champion. Now get to work on your game and let the big girls play.


Sloane Stephens ‏@sloanetweets 5m
Guilty of being naive. Much respect 4 @serenawilliams , a champ & the GOAT. We spoke, we're good. ONWARD! #lifelessons

Life lessons indeed. Next time listen to your mother!

Monday, May 6, 2013

What Will They Do About Tomic?

by Savannah

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The man with the broken nose and neckbrace is Thomas Drouet. He has worked as a hitting partner for several ATP players, most recently Bernard Tomic, the troubled Australian player with tremendous talent and a history of erratic play. Tennis Australia has suspended him and he's had run ins with the law for joy riding, called "hooning" in Australia as I understand it.

Last evening French sources broke a story that should be upsetting to tennis fans, one that had John Tomic assaulting his son and head butting Drouet. Reports were that Drouet was left bleeding on the sidewalk as John Tomic walked away.

As everyone knows news travels fast in the Twitterverse and some were calling for the senior Tomic's banning from tennis before the full story was out.

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Well now the story is out and to say it's troubling is an understatement.

The Australian Herald Sun posted the following account:

Speaking moments before Tomic Sr was to face a Madrid court last night, Drouet told the Herald Sun he had been treated like a "dog" and a "piece of s---" by Tomic Sr for months.

He said things came to a head after Tomic Sr demanded Drouet buy him a carton of milk as they were waiting to go to the airport.

He said he replied that he didn't have time.

Tensions were already high, he said. He said he saw Tomic Sr punch Bernard in the mouth during a practice session last Tuesday, leaving the player in tears.

He said that as they were about to board a flight, Tomic Sr again began abusing him, and then sacked him, saying he would not be paid; but Bernard insisted he take the flight with them.

Drouet said outside the Madrid hotel Tomic Sr asked him to walk with him.

"After 100m or something like this he was looking around and then he started again. I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse, but no.

"He spat in my face, then walked away, and said he wouldn't pay me any more.

"I said, 'OK, John, you are a real man. That's fine. Bernard will pay me'.

"And he headbutted me.

"Every day he treat me like a dog for six months, with disrespect and then this. But he need to be off the ATP (tour)."

This leaves nothing in doubt except what, if anything, Tennis Australia will do. In a way this is a decision Bernard Tomic and his family will have to make. When a parent is this abusive to his son, his meal ticket, I wonder if he's abusive to the rest of his family? If he is, and Bernard wants to get rid of him will his father turn on his mother or another family member? Is this threat the reason Bernard hasn't moved to sack him?

For assaulting Drouet TA can indeed ban John Tomic forever. Doing that would also provide Bernard with the cover he needs to hire another coach, and possibly get private help as a victim of abuse.

Let's wait and see what happens. The last thing Bernard needs is outsiders, fans, telling him what to do in this situation.

In Memoriam

Brad Drewett stepped down as CEO of the ATP after being diagnosed with what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig Disease or ALS. Despite that his death was not expected and hit the tennis community hard.

One thing I noticed searching tennis fan sites was that not many understood what his job entailed. That is a good thing. The man he replaced, Etienne de Villiers, had become a staple in the tennis press as he tried to force through measures that antagonized the Players Association and the top players of the sport. That Drewett did his job in the shadows is testimony to his effectiveness and hard work at forging cooperation between the players and the ATP.

I haven't seen much chatter about who will replace him. Should it be someone who can navigate the waters between the TD's and the players? Of course. Will it be an American? A Frenchman? A Brit? Time will tell.

End Note

Leave it to Maria Sharapova. When asked about the situation Sloane Stephens has created for herself she said the following as reported by @TennisNews TPN

Sharapova on Stephens' comments "I'm a pretty competitive girl. I say my hellos, but I'm not sending any players flowers as well."

She went on to mouth platitudes about how people perceive players. The day Sharapova sends anyone a bouquet you will know The Apocalypse is nigh. In fact the day Serena Williams sends anyone flowers you'll know it's upon us.

I'm amazed that people are trying to make this a problem caused by Serena. Haters gonna hate as the expression goes. Sloane started this mess with her "disrespectful" comment. If she suffers endorsement wise and p.r. wise that is on her, not Serena. Sloane should understand that the world of professional sports, as cut throat as it is, is not going to change because she's on the scene. You want respect you have to earn it. Talking shit about players who have won more tournaments than you've even sniffed at is not going to help you get it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

No Fairytales...

by Savannah

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Stan Wawrinka won the Estoril Men's Trophy with a decisive defeat of Spain's David Ferrer.

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won the Women's Singles crown at the same event.

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Tommy Haas overcame what had to be a case of nerves late in his match against fellow German Philipp Kohnschreiber at the ripe old age of 35.

But no one is talking about any of these wins and what it means for tennis that a woman who considers herself an athlete shows up on court looking as if she's on the see-food diet and a thirty five year old man wins on the most mentally and physically demanding surface of them all or that the seeding for the French Open is up in the air.

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Instead everyone is talking about the couple pictured above. This was during happier times when love was new and there were pink unicorns and sunny skies. Or so we thought.

Jimmy Connors was never one of my faves. I used to watch tennis back when he was on top and knew he wasn't well liked by many of the commentators but I had no understanding of why this was. I know now that he was considered an outsider, not genteel enough for the country club set that set the standards for players back then.

Chris Evert had the image tennis wanted. Blonde, lady like, looking as if she barely broke a sweat defeating people like the overweight woman from then Czechoslovakia, Martina Navratilova.

Yet somehow they got together and became the ideal tennis couple. Chris at one point said that she lost a match because she saw Connors talking to another woman in the stands and couldn't concentrate.

But all the blue skies and lollypops are gone now. Connors, in what any woman would consider the ultimate betrayal revealed in his new memoir that Chrissie advised him over the phone that she was going to abort their child because her career meant more to her at the time. Evert, to her credit, has said via a press release that she will not comment.

Connors story is interesting enough on its own. He is still one of the only male players to have a female coach, his mother. Some of the teasers hint at dyslexia and a gambling addiction. He is from East St Louis and his early tennis was played in municipal playgrounds just like the Williams Sisters. He calls his wife the "love of his life" despite the fact that they split at least once that I know of. Why did he have to publish something that should only have been revealed by Ms Evert if she chose to? Editors always want something big. He could've, out of respect for the woman behind the image, said nothing.

For many this revelation has put Connors right back among the top douchebags of the sport. I can't argue against that. In making this revelation he destroyed not only an image but a trust. If his mother were alive I'm sure she would've told him to keep his mouth shut.

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The other big news was made by Ms Sloane Stephens. No, she didn't win a title. In fact she lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the first round of the Madrid Tournament continuing the slide she's been in since the Australian Open.
In what has to be the worse interview ever given Stephens whines about Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Serena Williams not being nice to her. This comes on the heels of another publicity driven campaign that tried to make it seem as if Serena was somehow mentoring Sloane. This fantasy didn't make it out of Melbourne to be frank but some wanted it to be perceived as a fact and it percolated along in the background.

I guess all that smoke that got blown up Sloane's rear end has really clouded her mind. Sports is a meritocracy. Champions respect each other but they may or may not be friends. People with very competitive natures are not warm and cuddly. They want to beat you, either on the court, in the pool, or on the chess or checkers board. They may love you as a relative but when it's time to play a game all bets are off. They want to win and will beat you into submission any way they can.

The amazing thing to me is that Sloane still thinks beating a severely injured Serena makes her one of the elite. I'm beginning to think this is her view of the world not one that's been imposed on her. In the interview it's reported that her mother kept trying to stop her from saying what she said but that she ignored her. That is troubling.

Richard Williams and Oracene Price bore the brunt of the attacks against their daughters. They chose not to comment on many of the outrageous things said about them.

Toni Nadal has done the same thing for his nephew who is only now beginning to speak his mind publicly.

Martina Hingis mother performed the same function. So did Kim Clijster's father.

I can go on and on. If Sloane is not willing to listen to reason, to not offend her betters, yes I say betters, women who went through hell to make her way easier her problems are only beginning.

I blame the US tennis establishment for this. Why? Because they only know how to create discord. The north Americans still don't understand how Spain has created a situation where publicly their players show respect for each other while regularly playing competitive matches. Sloane is now being coached by men from the USTA Player Development team who use the Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi rivalry as a template for how top players should react to each other. Has she gotten good results with them? The answer right now, after a poor showing during Fed Cup and in every tournament since the Australian Open has to be no.

Meanwhile Madison Keys has kept her head down and worked on her game, making a good showing in taking out the number five seed Li Na as a Lucky Loser in Madrid.

It may be too late to do anything about Sloane's big mouth. If that is the way she wants to be perceived so be it. I wonder if she will take on the other bitch queen of the WTA Maria Sharapova? Somehow I doubt it. She's not winning fans or turning any sane person against Serena or Venus. Their careers speak for them. If Sloane has any sense she will focus on improving and letting her career speak for her instead of trying to tear down her betters.

Then again Sloane's career is speaking for her isn't it?