Sunday, September 23, 2007

Heard Around

by Savannah

The Thailand Open
This was going to be a very light-hearted look at the past week in tennis. Instead I find myself a little annoyed about the antics of the ATP and the tournament officials in Thailand. The Main Draw was released early this morning for those of us in the United States. It shows Novak Djokovic as the top seed as opposed to Rafael Nadal who had been seeded first. Rafa, it appears to the average fan, withdrew at the last minute. Here is one fan's reaction posted on Vamos Brigade :

Well, glad that finally it's cleared that Rafa will not show up...

But I'm so pissed about the fact that the organizer waits til the last minute then announce his withdrawal. I mean, Moya has already flew from Spain instead of, it's not possible that they wouldn't know that Rafa would not be at the tournament. They should announce it since yesterday when they are sure that it's gonna be Moya, not Rafa. It's not like Moya coming out of the gate then said..' hi guys, I'm Moya... I'm coming instead of Rafa' it doesn't work that way!! I think Rafa might have told or gave a hint to the organizers that he wouldn't be able to come...but they are just greedy, so they didn't notify the fans.

Now... what appears on the news is that --Rafa last-minute withdrawal 'again'--... sth like that... bad tone... bad for his reputation. I believe there'll be a lot of tennis fans who didn't follow the news, or know Rafa well enough... who will now have negative feeling about Rafa because of this. Poor boy!!!
And another:

Rafa comes here pls!!! I've been waiting for 4 years!!!
It's been no secret that Rafa was not going to play Bangkok. It's also no secret that Novak Djokovic is probably not coming either since he said after his Davis Cup match that his next event is Vienna, the same information that's been up on his official website for sometime now. I think the webmistress at Vamos Brigade, "Mamasue" said it best: is very sad for you fans as well as for Rafa to look bad. The ATP is ultimately to blame for lying to fans. They seem to think they can get away with it and even further strengthened their position to continue to lie by no longer allowing to post up-to-date withdrawals from tournament entry lists. Tennis really does need a commissioner or someone to look out for the best interests of fans and players and not just the money hungry.

These are the same tactics used by the WTA and so bravely denounced by Lindsay Davenport a couple of years ago. Way to go, guys. Did anyone stop to think that tennisheads in South East Asia would have come anyway? Why the bait and switch tactics? It's makes it seem that the other players, among them Andy Roddick (at least at the time I'm writing this) are chopped liver and not worth seeing. At the present time your product is much stronger than the WTA's ET. There is no need for this penny ante bullsh**.

Viral Illnesses and the ATP
Richard Gasquet of the famous red shoes had one at the US Open. It rendered him unable to play up and comer Donald Young. Today it struck Lleyton Hewitt making him unable to play his reverse singles match against Novak Djokovic. Maybe that is the reason Novak won't play Bangkok? Updates as they occur.

First There is a Mountain then there is no mountain, then there is...
Those lyrics written by Donovan back in the day came to mind when I read that Marat Safin, instead of riding the bench at the semi final Davis Cup playoff would be off climbing mountains in Nepal. Imagine my surprise (not) when Marat made it to base camp and decided he had other things to do. He showed up on the bench today. A guest columnist is going to do a review of the Germany vs Russia Davis cup tie for me so I'll just keep singing that song to myself.

Karma is a Bitch
The Serbian Diva Jelena Jankovic, after all the drama caused yesterday after a ball she hit over the net in frustration hit her opponent Lindsay Davenport managed a mental meltdown of massive proportions today. With the match on her racquet at 5-1 in the second set over new tour sensation Agnes Szavay Jelena went on to lose the match 6-7, 7-5, 6-2. To my knowledge there were no bad calls, nothing extraneous to distract Jelena. Maybe the reality and responsibility of being the world No. 3 is getting to her. I don't know. I do know that if you can't handle the heat standing outside the kitchen how do you expect to handle it standing inside of it?

Handle your business, Jelena. There are a lot of your fans who want to see you play your way to the top spot by winning, not by being a point whore.

Lindsay Davenport
Three months after giving birth to her first child Lindsay Davenport is back on the tour, and winning. She won Bali, her first event back, and made the semi finals in Beijing where she admitted that all the tennis caught up with her.

If anyone thought motherhood would mellow her out they apparently have another thing coming. Just like Lindsay of old would have done she let Jelena Jankovic have it for accidentally hitting her with an errant shot. It seems Jelena has a history of doing this when "frustrated". She hit Serena once and came close to hitting Marion Bartoli. If this keep up she shouldn't be surprised when an opponent, equally "frustrated" lets her have it one day. And yes, I am talking about tennis not baseball where "head hunting" is an art form.

Idle Chit Chat
There is some. Reports in the Russian press say Anna Kournikova is expecting her first child with long time beau Enrique Iglesias. If true let's hope Anna reacquaints herself with a healthy diet and that both mother and baby stay healthy.

Tommy Robredo is reportedly dating Ana Ivanovic. No she hasn't shown up in his friends box and there are no pictures of them drunkenly singing karaoke.

Which brings me to the latest publicists wet dream. Yes I'm talking about the rumored coupling of Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic. What happened to Andy Maria? You never had any drunken pictures taken with him to my knowledge. Was it not serious between you two? I hope you and Novak make it. From where I sit you two are a match made in, well, someone's idea of heaven.

Picture of the Week

I've never been a Tim Henman fan but I will miss him on the main tour. He's been around for seemingly as long as I've been a tennis fan. It just seemed that he came along at the wrong time. His style of play is not for this time period. I'm sure after he takes some time off we'll see him on the Black Rock Tour.

Enjoy the rest of your life, Tim!


Craig Hickman said...

Roddick consistently playes elite-level tennis, but he has been cast aside as a draw card because he can't beat Raja.

oddman said...

Along with how many others? Why do they single out him - how many other players in the top ten have a winning record against Raja except for Rafael? Ech.

tangerine said...

This all goes back to my own theory that Andy is stuck in a kind of tennis purgatory: he's not in the elite with Federer/Nadal but neither is he a second-tier player like the rest of the top ten (Blake/Davydenko/Ferrer), etc. He's somewhere between the two groups so I think the expectations for him are higher. Andy himself says that he expects to perform like an elite player. Therein lies the mental difference between Roddick and the others: he still believes that he belongs in the top and it kills him that he can't get a handle on Roger. The others have given up and I know in Blake's case that he *still* doesn't believe that he should be one of the elite. At this rate Mr Flake will get his wish and be dumped out of the top ten in no time.

And Davydenko may be ranked higher than Roddick but does anybody truly believe that he's a better player than Roddick?

Djokovic is in an odd predicament too. He's at the cusp of joining Roger and Rafa at the top and he believes that he is going to be world number one someday. This sets him apart from most everybody else who would never dare dream of dislodging Roger from number one. I'm still struck by Nole's chutzpah. And the fact that he managed to do the near-impossible trifecta of beating the nos. 3, 2, and 1 in the same tournament to win it is no fluke, IMO. He may have completely faded away at the USO final but it was his first slam final so the nerves were understandable. I would be shocked if he never beat Nadal or Federer again.

Unfortunately, Djokovic's rise means that Andy may have been permanently removed from the No. 3 position, the same way Nadal kicked him out of the No. 2 position a few years ago. I think Roddick should forget about catching Planet Roger and aim for the two that he has a good chance of beating on a consistent basis: Nadal and Djokovic. But I don't think the media will ever get off Andy's back about Roger.

Savannah said...

I think Andy made a mistake when he changed the way he played after he dumped Tariq. He's coming back to the way he used to play and that can only be good for Andy.

What I think happened is that TPTB felt that hit hard and harder tennis would keep American players at the top. It hasn't worked out that way. If anything it's made our players regress. Instead of the fault being with the concept the fault is with the man they wanted to exemplify it, Andy Roddick.

Craig Hickman said...

I think the Andy/Roger rivalry was supposed to be the next big rivalry for men's tennis and when Andy didn't deliver, he was simply cast aside for someone else. Along came Rafa and the rest is history.

Ironically, Rafa isn't exactly the right nationality so now that Djoke seems like he's ready for his closeup, Rafa is being overlooked as the heir apparent to Raja's throne.

Tangy, we'll find out next year whether or not Djoke's rise is real or a fluke.

As for Andy. He went too far away from his meat and potatoes game. He tried to add too much variety too soon in order to beat Raja and when that didn't work, he started losing to other players he used to handle easily.

I like the idea of tennis purgatory, tangy. Let's see if he can get out of it.

Colchetes said...

As far as unfulfilled potential for rivals go, Marat had it best, in a way. He played that one exceptional match against Roger in that AO SF that made everybody think he was IT, and then faded away due to a mish-mash of injuries and lack of dedication - but not lack of talent.