Now that my main distraction of the Winter Olympics - Figure Skating - is over I can focus on the sport I jones over - tennis of course.
Photo via www.news.cn
I'll start off by saying gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they're gift wrapped with big bows and sometimes they come in plain paper wrapping. I'll just say that I hope that gifts from one member of a family to another can take strange forms. Sometimes they're sweaty and come at a cost. Let's hope that sisters understand that and that the recipient of the gift can make the best of it.
Photo via abnamrowtt.net
Scheduling has been on my mind especially as it relates to Fed Cup and the WTA schedule. Should a Premier event be scheduled right after Fed Cup? It's almost as if players are punished for being patriotic. It also does nothing to counter the argument that both Fed Cup and Davis Cup are intrusive and disrupt the flow a player needs so that he or she gets sufficient rest.
Dubai, another Premier event, had to entice Serena Williams to take a Wild Card into the event to add a marquee name after Victoria Azarenka pulled out with a foot injury.
This sort of thing is happening a lot on both tours now. After Rafael Nadal pulled out of Buenos Aires
David Ferrer came in to save the tournament. Some ignorant "fans" have given a name to this phenomenon and call the player coming in to save the day a "vulture". Damn auto correct wouldn't let me type *vulturing*. They're the same type of fan who would call for a return to wood as a surface in tennis. I mean really? I guess they aren't aware that if a tournament doesn't feature a player of a certain rank in its draw fines kick in. And I'm guessing they aren't aware that the surface they're asking to return was retired from tennis more than 50 years ago. I guess they want wood racquets back too. They're kind of the "Flat Earth Society" of tennis.
But back to Davis Cup and Fed Cup. I'm a fan of both and I hope that the ITF and the Tours can find a way to keep the spirit of team play alive on the pro level. Some steps are being taken - some scheduling changes have bee/are being made and I'm guessing in a couple of years there will be major changes in format as well.
Photo via Reuters Marcos Brindicci
It looks as if the ATP 250 tournament at Memphis may be in trouble. To be honest I didn't watch any of it and it seems not too many people bothered to show up. Some will say it has to do with the lack of a United States star in tennis but I think it's more than that. Tennis is an international sport and fans root for whoever they want. Yes they favor their own players but that doesn't mean they won't pay money to see good players from other countries.
Photo Rogelio V. Solis AP
I noticed at last years US Open that the crowds were smaller. The grounds were still packed and there were many out of towners but there were less people. People save up for years for the trip to New York to see the best that tennis has to offer but I think economics has caught up with tennis. A middle class family may be less able to put money aside for a trip to Flushing Meadows even if they live in one of NYC's five boroughs or the surrounding suburbs. And lets not say that if there was less television coverage people would come. That's not the case. Live tennis is the best tennis and fans know that. With even the nose bleed ticket prices pretty high people will settle for watching television.
If that's happening at the US Open imagine what's happening in Memphis. Yes there are those for whom tickets aren't an issue but that base isn't broad enough to sustain the cost of putting on a tournament in a mid level city like Memphis. There was a lot of talk that this may be the last year the tournament takes place in Memphis and that it will be sold, possibly to a South American country. It will be sad if this happens since outside of the US Open there are very few huge tournaments in the States now. Let's see. Indian Wells, Miami, Stanford, Cincinnati come to mind. That adds up to five. Will one of the WTA tournaments add an ATP component? Charleston? Who knows. I sincerely hope it doesn't move to Asia where literally no one will be in the stands and few will be watching on television or on line.
The Golden Swing is in full effect. I'm so sorry that Acapulco has gone from clay to hard court. It was one of my favorite tournaments. Venus Williams won there. David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro owned the joint. No more. Ferrer is scheduled to play as of now but names like Andy Murray, John Isner and Grigor Dimitrov are now in the Main Draw. Ferrer won Buenos Aires and is now playing Rio. I know he wants to play Acapulco but maybe he should give himself a bit of a rest. Meanwhile Rest in Peace clay tournament. I for one will miss you.