Milos Raonic via PORNCHAIKITTIWONGSAKUL
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.
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.
Ernests Gulbis via StPetersburg Open
Some even managed to drop their perceived don't give a damn attitude and hoist a trophy.
Gilles Simon via French Tennis Magazine
Some went into witsec to avoid aliens enraged that once again one of their children has been snatched.
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.
Joao Sousa via AP/Vincent Thian
Do National firsts trump personal firsts? When they mesh its a beautiful thing no?
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.
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
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?