Brad Gilbert @bgtennisnation · 22h 22 hours ago
I can not believe for the 2nd year in a row US down 2-0 to GB,this is unacceptable and new low for US tennis = I am so absolutely bummed out
I'll get to Brad Gilbert's statement in a few minutes. A lot happened in women's tennis this past week that I'd like to comment on.
The first has to do with Serena Williams and her long time friend and hitting partner Aleksandar (Sascha) Bajin.
When Sascha didn't show up with Serena in Australia talk started. Some saw a conspiracy masterminded by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena's coach and to say that their comments bordered on the absurd is putting it mildly. Sascha has always referred to Serena as his boss but for these "fans" Serena has lost her mind, is dickmatized, and is unable to resist the suggestions of the Svengali now running the show in their view.
Let's all take a deep breath, take a step back and look at the situation realistically. Serena will be 34 in September. She is no longer the girl who blasted her way onto the Main Tour and began winning slams. It sounds silly because she is definitely not in her dotage but at her age she has to become more protective of her body and mind. Will this mean playing less? Yes.
Will this mean changing the way she plays? Yes.
To play the hard charging take no prisoners style she played when she was younger would be stupid and one thing Serena is not is stupid. I think she's playing just as aggressively as she always has. She's just become more subtle about it. And that seems to be a problem for some of her fans.
It's interesting that Venus Williams has worked with David Witt for years now without too much controversy. Serena has worked with Patrick for a shorter period of time and yet he's seen by some as the devil incarnate. He's destroyed Serena. He's cleaning house and replacing long term allies with his own people. And poor Serena is just standing by and letting it happen because he's got the magic stick. These people want Richard Williams and Oracene Price to start traveling with their daughter again, to restore the style of tennis they want to see her play and the hell with what Serena has decided is best for her.
Let's be honest. Serena's goal is to play the Olympics in 2016. Will she be playing less? Probably. Will she be focused on the Slams? More than likely. Does playing Indian Wells fit into this strategy? Absolutely.
Let's take a few more steps back. Remember a few years ago when Sascha first made noise about leaving Serena's team and what her response was? She wouldn't let him go. The situation now is totally different. After 2016 will she still play a full schedule? I have no idea but my guess would be no. Does it then make sense for her to let Sascha, a man she considers a brother, test the waters and maybe end up coaching another top player and not assigned the position of "hitting partner"? Would she be that selfish? The answer is apparently no.
I do have one little worry about Sascha going to work with Wim Fissette and Victoria Azarenka. I lost a lot of respect for Fissette after his stunt at the YEC with Simona Halep who turned around and fired him. We already know that Azarenka is a win at all costs woman and I suspect that if it had been her who had been on the receiving end of the advice Fissette gave Halep we'd have seen a different response. Her fans hate for it to be brought up but that ten minute medical time out that she admitted was a tactic to disrupt the rhythm of her opponent on court only to deny it later shows the lengths Azarenka will go to. I think she and Fissette are a perfect match. Sascha is coming out of a different environment, one where winning was everything but there was never the hint of cheating on the part of the woman he worked for.
I suppose Sascha is looking towards that break Fissette is said to be taking later in the year for the birth of his child. It would mean he'd be head coach for a time. That is if Azarenka and Fissette last that long.
No matter what I wish Sascha the best. We all should.
As for those who feel they know what's best for Serena they need to check themselves. Serena is still in charge of her life. Stop it.
For those who think Serena put no thought into her return to Indian Wells here's a post by Andreen Soley that I found posted on Tennis Panorama News that speaks to the reasoning behind her decision to support the Equal Justice Initiative and tie it to her return. If you still want to hate, the line is to the left.
Remember a couple of years ago when Petra Kvitova first came on the scene? She was this publicity shy, out of shape player who could hit the snot out of the ball and won Wimbledon? I do. I remember saying at the time that she didn't have the personality to withstand the pressure that comes with being a top tennis player.
Fast forward to 2015. Like so many others she showed up in Australia fit, the fittest I've ever seen her. Yet her results were surprisingly weak. Maybe she was used to lugging around the extra weight, I don't know. I do know that she has withdrawn from Indian Wells citing "fatigue". Really? Did her birthday this past week have any bearing on her "fatigue"? Still at least we got an explanation for her withdrawal even though the Main Draw hadn't been released yet. We're all still waiting for the reason for another withdrawal, this one in Monterrey. Yes it's an International level tournament but the WTA rule book says a reason has to be given for withdrawal. I guess the rules are made for some and not others.
2015 Davis Cup: Great Britain vs the United States Glasgow, Scotland
I've been saying for a few years now that US tennis was in a crisis. That Brad Gilbert, the insiders insider in US Tennis, made the statement posted above before the doubles rubber had been played and that it stayed true is surprising only because someone like Gilbert said it.
US men's tennis was not prepared for Andy Roddick's retirement. He'd been carrying men's tennis on his back and got tired of it. Who would be the next star? Sam Querrey, the man who said a loss was no big deal because he could go home and drive his mother's Porsche? Yeah he was going to have that killer instinct. John Isner? All serve and very little else? The man who came onto the main tour after college? The man who said he was glad to escape from the wilds of New York City and return to "God's Country"? Donald Young who needed a different game than the one preferred by the US tennis establishment and is just now starting to develop it? Ryan Harrison who just recently stopped throwing tantrums on court and buckling down to play tennis? Robbie Ginepri?
The results in Glasgow have left the US tennis program naked and exposed to the world for what it is. Some were snarking that it was a shame that the US was defeated by a team with only one player in the top 100. What they didn't mention is that that player is ranked #4 in the world. Who is the highest ranked US player? That would be John Isner who is currently ranked #20.
Who is coming up behind the men I mentioned above? They're all very young. Except for Steve Johnson who has created a bit of a buzz around himself. It would've been nice if he'd been made eligible to play one of the rubbers on the final day of singles. He might not have won but it would show that the US is looking outside of the box for talent.
Instead of that the main focus seems to be on Jim Courier, Davis Cup Captain. Many are calling for his head because he should've done better. My question is with what? Isner hasn't been having the best of years. Young is just getting used to doing well. I guess it's his fault that the only players used to pressure are the 36 year old twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. We're in bad shape in singles. We're in worse shape in doubles. If the Bryans retire after the 2016 Olympics are there any men ready to step into their shoes? If you see any your eyesight is better than mine.
There are still those who are trying to put a good face on things. I understand one comm was heard to say that Isner played very well today. I don't know what match he was watching. It was Donald Young who took a set off of Murray not Isner who looked unable to think coherently during today's match.
Meanwhile look at what Sweden did with young Elias Ymer. No one expected him to win his rubber today and while he put up a good fight he didn't. Playing in the hot house environment that is Davis Cup will pay dividends three or four years from now. The US is not ready to lose now in order to win later.
Until the US tennis establishment realizes that when it comes to men's tennis they're a few years away from possibly having competitive players our status will not improve. Great Britain has that one guy in the top 100 who is pretty enthusiastic about Davis Cup. None of our guys looked that enthusiastic. None.
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