Saturday, September 12, 2009

US Open 2009 Day 13 Open Thread

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11:  Fans walk past the Arthur Ashe sculpture garden during a rain delay on day twelve of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Getty

Fans walk past the Arthur Ashe sculpture garden during a rain delay on day twelve of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

::

I suppose it was fitting that there was no play on September 11 as the sky cried all day over New York City.

Take two:

Order Of Play

Arthur Ashe Stadium 12:00 Start Time

1. Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
Rafael Nadal (CHI)[11] v. Fernando Gonzalez (ESP)[3] To Finish 7-6(4) 6-6(3)

2. Men’s Doubles – Finals
Lukas Dlouhy (CZE)[4] v. Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)[3]
Leander Paes (IND)[4] Mark Knowles (BAH)[3]
This match may be moved to Armstrong Stadium.

3. Women’s Singles – Semifinals
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) v. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[9]
This match may be moved to Armstrong Stadium.

Not Before:20:00
4. Women’s Singles – Semifinals
Kim Clijsters (BEL) v. Serena Williams (USA)[2]

Louis Armstrong Stadium 12:00 Start Time

1. Women’s Doubles – Semifinals
Cara Black (ZIM)[1] v. Samantha Stosur (AUS)[3]
Liezel Huber (USA)[1] Rennae Stubbs (AUS)[3]

149 comments:

oddman said...

Oh no. Gonzo with blister problems? Not good.

Rain, you better hold off.

edma1022 said...

Och! I just took a quick shower to hunker down in the couch and lo and behold the match was done !

wow

Poor, poor, Rafa. Those conspiracy Gods threw him a fixed tough draw so he had to "battle" it up with the ever flaky Gonzo ... instead of (ehem) Soderling. Now it seems he had the luck of the subsequent scheduling changes.

wow

Those sports God are so stupid slam after slam after slam ....

;-)

rabbit said...

And Rafa gets to play the first semi and has more time before the final. Watch this space for novel theories on how this is more luck for Roger!

Helen W said...

Actually Gonzo was playing great tennis until the screw ups with the scheduling.

edma1022 is it your contention that Mr. Monogram got the tougher draw? Did he also get the tougher schedule?

Helen W said...

Gee rabbit Rafa also gets a LOT less rest between his quarter final match and his semi final match. But let's just forget that in the calculation, right?

So which of Rafa & Monogram got the tougher draw, in your humble opinion?

Pamela said...

I don't get into the conspiracy theories. Roger is lucky. He's always been lucky. It's up to individual opinion to figure out how he came about that luck. Whatever ...

I'm glad Rafa got through with minimal problems. It's raining again. Blah ...

edma1022 said...

Helen (nice name) Take it easy.

I'm not making any contentions nor proposing any theories nor making assumptions.

Until the last ball is struck.

The folks who bewail Fed's luck of the draw, given the cakewalk ... forget that 128 men are in the field, and anything can happen. Now, look at how things turned out - Rafa getting an easier time in the quarters compared to the others. So it's really an inefficient way to spend time - making theories and being proven wrong. That was my point since last night.

Let's make a deal - I don't ride the worshipful monogram wagon, you don't play the sympathy card and let's quit with the conspiracy or other theories.

Until the last ball is struck.

For the record, I agree Fed's draw was the weakest quarter. But that's beside the point now isn't it?

Savannah said...

I read that Monogram/Djoke will be the first semi on CBS. Of course the Order of Play isn't out for tomorrow yet since it's raining.

BayouPeach said...

Definitely happy that Rafa was able to close it out easily today. I think he might need some rest. I'm making a toast right now to some Djokovic magic.

Helen W said...

edma1022 we realize that, no matter how much they may want to, TPTB cannot guarantee their desired outcome, and, as you say, that despite their best efforts, anything can happen. The point is that they deliberately favour someone -- again and again and again. IMHO, that sucks.

Wimbledon has publicly admitted that they assign courts in the women's tournament based on their assessment of the players' attractiveness. So they have come right out and told the world that they do NOT make their decisions strictly on the basis of fairness to the players. So accusing everyone who questions the fairness of the scheduling and draws as being a conspiracy theorist is resorting to a rather weak ad hominem attack, isn't it?

In this USO, to me it appears that Gonzo is simply collateral damage. He was playing strong, confident tennis with his forehand really clicking before the match got postponed. You can argue that he should have been able to pick it up this morning, but for whatever reason he couldn't.

Simply because TPTB failed to get the outcome that they wanted does NOT make it beside the point that they played favourites -- yet again.

Joe said...

The notion that "TPTB" would prefer Fernando Gonzalez over Rafael Nadal for the US Open semis is just laughably inane. Casual American sports fans have no clue who Gonzalez is. Would anyone who's not a hardcore tennis fan watch a Gonzalez-Del Potro semi? On the contrary, everyone knows who Nadal is, and it would be great for the TV ratings if it's a Federer-Nadal final.

Savannah said...

The TD of the US Open and the head of the USTA are getting their heads kicked in during a presser they're holding now about the schedule per @ptbodo.

Craig Hickman said...

Conspiracy theories?

Interesting.

Craig Hickman said...

ed said....

"Rafa getting an easier time in the quarters compared to the others..."

You are basing this opinion only on the scoreline, I suppose.

edma1022 said...

"You are basing this opinion only on the scoreline, I suppose."

Answer: Is there supposed to be any other basis that matters?

Riddle me this - Based on our actual view of the matches, did Rafa had an easier time with Gonzo compared to Roger with Soderling? Or Djoke against Verdasco? (Y/N)

Back atcha!

Michael said...

Edma,

A match that lasts three days with the middle one suspended by rain takes a lot out of you. Sure,

Gonzo gave a bagel to Nadal, but it was the last set, Soderling gave the first set as a bagel to Federer. Federer could relax after that, the match was his, even barring a late charge by the Swede. Federer had an easier match, all-in-all. Nadal's scoreline does look easier, though.

Djokovic and Verdasco was competitive at times, but again, it's only a one day match with two days of complete rest after it. That's easier.

As for draws, I have no idea now they are done. This process needs to be more transparent.

Craig Hickman said...

Brad Gilbert, who often says the strangest things, said that RF deserves soft draws because he's RF.

Did he betray the thinking behind those who produce the schedule at the events RF contests? RF deserves advantageous scheduling because he's RF?

When people come together and plan to do something, they conspire to do it, so what they conspire to do is, by definition, a conspiracy, but it sure as hell isn't a theory. peytonallen has argued that tournament organizers conspire to make as much money as possible.I don't necessarily disagree with him. I simply wish they conspired instead to bring about fair play.

"Conspiracy theory" or "conspiracy theorists" are phrases that has developed a connotation of lunacy.

What I find crazy is when folks ignore what's right before their eyes and simply repeat what they've been sold without questioning it. Draws are always random because we told you they were. Scheduling is always fair because we told you it is. A player abruptly retires because we told you she retired and that's all there is to it because that's what we told you. Fans always cheer for the underdog because that's what fans do. Such and such is the greatest player who ever lived because we told you so.

It goes on, and on, and on.

We have the ability to think critically. We either use that ability or we don't.

Craig Hickman said...

ed said...

Answer: Is there supposed to be any other basis that matters?

::

Obtuse.

Now I'm yawning.

edma1022 said...

"A match that lasts three days with the middle one suspended by rain takes a lot out of you."

Huh? Did you see the match before the suspension? Nadal was in great pain, had to get the trainer, and Tito Tony himself conceded that the suspension saved Nadal.

"Federer could relax after that, the match was his, even barring a late charge by the Swede. Federer had an easier match, all-in-all."

What? Federer was lucky to get out of that hole. Yes, he had a 2 set lead but you forget he had a 5-1 lead over Tsonga and flubbed that. Like driving, isn't downhill easier than uphill?

"Djokovic and Verdasco was competitive at times, but again, it's only a one day match with two days of complete rest after it. That's easier."

Now, this is downright ridiculous. Djoke had rest AFTER the match so that makes the match easier??? Puh-lease.

"As for draws, I have no idea now they are done. This process needs to be more transparent."

Now this is a good point. How transparent do you want it to be? In public? OK. By balloting? OK. In front of media? OK. What else?

Now riddle me this - how can TPTB conspire with God to produce rain enough to beat the living daylights out of Rafa's chances to advance in the Q's ? (uh, please make it rain so we can tighten Rafa's schedule, oops wait, let DelPo and Cilic finish first, then rain, okay? ... that way we can get the finals everyone wants - a Verdasco/Cilic final! ... right, so the entire tennis world don't get to see another sick Fed/Nadal final, ok?)

edma1022 said...

Obtuse? Thank you, Craig. I take that as a compliment.

You're now quoting Brad Gilbert. Obtuse? I won't use that word on you.

You're a friend. That's what friends don't do to each other.

*yawn*

Joe said...

The draw fixing allegations are pretty ridiculous to me. The ATP would risk the entire credibility of its sport in order to get slightly more favorable match ups for Federer? Really?

I don't even agree that Nadal has had to face tougher opponents en route to the semis than Federer. If Fed got Almagro (who's never done anything in a hardcourt slam) in the 3rd round and Nadal got Hewitt, a former U.S. Open champion, then you all would be crying foul over that. Also, I fail to see how Monfils is a demonstrably tougher opponent than Robredo. He certainly hasn't accomplished more in hardcourt slams than Tommy has. Gonzalez hasn't been any better than Soderling this year, either. Sure, Federer has long winning streaks against Hewitt and Soderling, but unless you're putting Nalbandian, Murray and Nadal in his quarter, that's pretty much always going to be the case.

Pamela said...

Not to get in the middle of this, but I heard Justin Gimelstob say the same this morning. "When a guy has won 15 grand slams, he deserves a break."

Huh? Ok.

Helen W said...

Before Wimbledon publicly admitted that they assign courts in the women's tournament based on their perception of the players' attractiveness, how many of you folks would be accusing me of being a conspiracy theorist if I had suggested such a thing, based on my own observations? Just wondering.

And how do you think the draws and schedules are produced? Just randomly? Do you think there was a 50% chance that Rafa would be in the same side of the draw as Mr. Monogram?

Craig Hickman said...

Obtuse? I won't use that word on you.

::

I used that word to describe your question-as-answer. Not you.

Are you okay?

Craig Hickman said...

The ATP would risk the entire credibility of its sport in order to get slightly more favorable match ups for Federer?

::

I remain unaware of the ATP's credibility.

Michael said...

edma,

I suppose I should say Federer and Djokovic have had an easier 3 days than Del Potro, who has had an easier three days than Nadal has had. Having to be ready to go on court at any time is wearing. You can't do anything else other than be ready to play. This is wearing in a different way than playing tennis.

I'm not claiming that anyone is manipulating the rain. Your riddle was who has had an easier time in the match? I answered based on the full set of 3 days, which is more relevant than just the actual match, IMO.

Now, they have just scheduled Rafa and Del Potro before Federer and Djokovic. That is a move toward fairness. Fed and Djok have had more rest up to the SF, so they should have less for the Final, but all this could be avoided with a similar scheduling as the other slams.

Joe said...

Do you think there was a 50% chance that Rafa would be in the same side of the draw as Mr. Monogram?

:
:

Yes, I do. For the 2005 French Open they were on the same side of the draw, despite the fact that Federer was the #1 ranked player, and Nadal was the oddsmakers' pick to win the tournament. I'm sure RG would've preferred a Federer-Nadal final to a Nadal-Puerto one. This year's US Open is unique in that the #3 seed overshadows the #2 seed, but generally there's not enough to gain for the Tour in rigging draws to outweigh the risk of a huge scandal.

pompelmo said...

there's not enough to gain for the Tour in rigging draws to outweigh the risk of a huge scandal.
---

I agree with Joe, despite the fact that Federer's draw was a joke.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, well, the conspiracy theorist in me could list quite a few things they could gain that would outweigh the risk of a huge scandal that would never ensue anyway because they would simply say such a thing was ludicrous, a crazy idea from conspiracy theorists, most fans would believe them, and we'd be off to the next thing.

But I won't bother, because it would be pure lunacy.

Joe said...

If there were no draw at all, and the matchups were solely dictated by seeding (like in the NCAA basketball tournament), then the QF matchups if all of the top players advanced would've been:

1. Federer v. 8. Davydenko
4. Djokovic v. 5. Roddick
3. Nadal v. 6. Del Potro
2. Murray v. 7. Tsonga

So the one change that doing the draw produced at the top was switching Del Potro and Tsonga. This change is, unquestionably, beneficial to Nadal and detrimental to Murray. But wait, I thought all the draws are rigged to screw over Nadal, and that Murray is a favorite of TPTB?

Craig Hickman said...

How is switching Tsonga and Del Potro detrimental to Murray but beneficial to Rafa?

(By the way, I wish all draws were performed automatically by seeding just as you list....)

pompelmo said...

Joe, please check the "early" rounds. Federer enjoys a week of NY vacation when the others are competing.

Joe said...

How is switching Tsonga and Del Potro detrimental to Murray but beneficial to Rafa?

:
:

Because Del Potro is a better player than Tsonga. Despite what happened at the 2007 Aussie Open, I'd bet that both Murray and Nadal would prefer to take their chances with Tsonga in the quarters rather than Del Potro.

Joe said...

That should say, "Despite what happened at the 2008 Aussie Open..."

Helen W said...

If the draw were produced by a known, publicized algorithm, which it is not, then it would have been completely different, and so would the results.

Why isn't it? Why is the process so obscure?

Choosing the final 8 players based on the top 8 seeds all winning through and then stating that such a result clearly favours one player is beyond absurd. It's manufactured evidence in search of a theory.

Joe said...

Joe, please check the "early" rounds. Federer enjoys a week of NY vacation when the others are competing.

:
:

Considering that 1.) All of the top 16 seeds made the third round this year, and 2.) Federer hasn't lost before the semis since Kuerten in the 3rd round of the 2004 French (guess the draw fixers were on vacation for that one), do you really think that the first and second round match ups had much of an impact? As I already mentioned, Federer got a former US Open champion for his third round opponent.

Joe said...

(By the way, I wish all draws were performed automatically by seeding just as you list....)

:
:

For the record, I agree with Craig on this point. Outside of the top-2, there's been enough volatility in the rankings that there wouldn't be the same match ups major after major.

Helen W said...

Well, at least we all seem to agree on one thing -- the draw process should be transparent. And the fact that it isn't, by itself, discredits the whole business imho.

Craig Hickman said...

Tsonga has gotten farther in the draw at a hardcourt Slam than has del Potro, won the US Open Boys title so he knows how to win in New York, and has beatean both Murray and Rafa in a hardcourt Slam. Del Potro has only defeated them in best-of-three encounters and lost all of his best-of-five encounters against them both, including to Murray right here last year. They have both played Del Potro more times than Tsonga, and both have a slightly better record against the Argentinean.

All this would lead me to believe they would each prefer to play Del Potro in a Slam quarterfinal on a hardcourt than Tsonga.

Just shows how many ways the same situation can be viewed so differently.

Tennisfan said...

Tsonga has gotten farther in the draw at a hardcourt Slam than has del Potro, won the US Open Boys title so he knows how to win in New York, and has beatean both Murray and Rafa in a hardcourt Slam. Del Potro has only defeated them in best-of-three encounters and lost all of his best-of-five encounters against them both, including to Murray right here last year. They have both played Del Potro more times than Tsonga, and both have a slightly better record against the Argentinean.

xxxxx

A player is as good as the last match he played. Here is where Del Potro has done a lot better than Tsonga.

Helen W said...

A player is as good as the last match he played.

Exactly, TennisFan. Which is why we have them actually play their matches in the first place. Can anyone think of a slam where there haven't been a bunch of surprise wins (losses)?

rabbit said...

I agree. Even though I like Tsonga's game better, at this point, Del Potro is far more threatening a matchup than Tsonga.

Helen W said...

O, BTW Craig, you may think of fixing the spelling mistake in the title for this thread, as we wade through the rain delay ....

Craig Hickman said...

Yes, Helen. I will. Thanks for pointing it out.

::

A player being as good as the last match he played is only one way to look at it.

Matchups are another. Del Potro is a more favorable matchup for both Murray and Rafa in the quarterfinals of a hardcourt Slam than Tsonga.

I got the stats to back up that claim.

Other than a tennis cliche, what you got?

Craig Hickman said...

Bottom line: Tsonga and Del Potro are tough outs in New York for both Murray and Rafa.

Joe insisted that Del Potro is a tougher out. I countered that with another way of looking at things.

Why is it necessary to proclaim one way or the other? Bottom line: Raja's draw to the semifinals was the easiest draw of the Top 4.

The bottom half of the draw was tougher than the top half, both on paper and in terms of matchups.

For instance, RF hasn't drawn Gilles Simon in a pre-quarterfinal round at any Slam since Simon proved himself to be RF's Kryptonite. Unless I'm forgetting/overlooking the specifics of a Slam draw. I'm sure one of Raja's fans will correct me if I'm wrong.

If I'm not wrong, then having Simon in a Raja draw as early as possible for their respective seedings would reflect a challenging draw on paper for Raja, especially on a hard court.

Far as I'm concerned, Raja has had a tough draw on paper at exactly one Slam since Roland Garros 2004.

He's lucky like that.

Beth said...

The thought that the draw(s) may be fixed and biased really makes me sick. I wonder what, if any, player has spoken in even a veiled way about this possibility. Anyone know? After reading all these posts, I am inclined to think the draws are not fully above board. They are something that I have simply taken for granted and 'oh well'd" over the years. Like Craug said, we get told they're fair so the naiive fans among us (of which I unfortunately include myself) just go with what we're told. I'll admit I tend to be very gullible. I'm sort if ashamed to admit I've never given the fairness of the draws a lot of thought. I was shocked to read Helen W's telling of the reality behind some of the Wimbledon scheduling.

Beth said...

I meant to say Craig. Sorry.

Joe said...

While I agree that this is ultimately a meaningless debate, here are the stats that I would use in favor of Del Potro over Tsonga:

2009 record: Del Potro - 42-11, Tsonga - 36-14

2009 summer hardcourt record: Del Potro - 9-1, Tsonga - 3-3

2009 record vs. Nadal: Del Potro - 2-1, Tsonga - 0-1

2009 record vs. Murray: Del Potro - 1-2, Tsonga - 0-1

2008 US Open result: Del Potro - QF, Tsonga - 3rd round

I do think that I initially overstated Del Potro's edge over Tsonga, for the reasons that Craig mentioned. However, I stand by the claim that Nadal and Murray would've rather drawn Tsonga in their quarter going into the tournament.

Craig Hickman said...

Yes, both Tsonga and del Potro are dangerous hard court players.

Both were in the bottom half of the draw, the toughest half.

And even the bottom half of the top half was the toughest.

RF is lucky like that.

Craig Hickman said...

Whoever that was who crawled out from under a rock to invoke the "race card" you can post that somewhere else.

And I'll continue to delete your posts if you keep it up.

I'm not in the mood.

Helen W said...

Well the Schedule of Play is now published on the USO site, and they have DelPo-Rafa on Ashe at 9:00 am followed by Nole-Monogram (not before 16:30) & the Women's final to follow.

Craig Hickman said...

There isn't going to be a women's final tomorrow. I don't think.

Savannah said...

The weather map is perfectly clear but the drizzle is expected to last the rest of the evening.

rabbit said...

According to tennis.com, Rafa specifically requested the earlier semi. So hopefully, the new schedule works for Rafa fans.

About Gilles, I'd really hesitate to call him Roger's kryptonite. They've played exactly two matches, one right after the Wimbledon final "disaster" (Roger's words) and the other in a tournament where Roger requested a medical timeout for the first time in forever. I'd think these are legitimate mitigating circumstances. Canas had wins against Roger in more convincing circumstances in 2007, yet was destroyed when they faced off in late 2007. Still, I believe Craig's statement is true that Simon and Roger haven't been close in Slam draws recently (they have been in MS tournaments but those matches didn't come to pass). Anyways, sadly, players like Simon and Tipsarevic have really fallen by the wayside in 2009.

One thing about Roger though is that his head-to-head against almost every player other than Murray and Rafa is extremely one-sided. So obviously it makes him an unusually easy target if you want to claim fixed draws.

Tennis Vagabond said...

Craig, thats wonderful that you found a Brad Gilbert quote that suits you, so he becomes an authority to quote.
Its also great that you guys stick up for the poor disadvantaged players like Nadal, Murray, Roddick whose careers have been massively disrupted by tour rigging, yet they are too polite to say so. Thank God someone is standing up for these guys whose whole careers are on the line yet they never seem to claim for themselves that draws are rigged.
Good on you guys for dragging the truth into the light.

Occam's Razor folks, Occam's Razor.

T. Vag
p.s I missed the tennis today, I'm very happy that Rafa showed such strength. Nothing would make me happier, as a Fed fan, than a Roger vs Rafa Full Strength final. BTW, if Rafa would win, I won;t be claiming there's a consipracy behind it. I actually think that the guy who wins a tournament usually is the most deserving. Then again, my guy wins most of the big tournaments, so that's a pretty CONVENIENT theory isnt it?
Whenever I wonder how folks can contort themselves to such lengths just to sully the rep of a guy they don't like, I am comforted by the fact that he has made their tennis viewing lives miserable for 6 years. Going on 7.

Craig Hickman said...

Thanks for the info, rabbit.

I'd consider Simon a challenge, given their H2H, no matter the extenuating circumstances of his victories.

But as you point out, they haven't been close in a Slam draw.

I'm simply going to agree with everyone who believes that draws should be completely transparent.

Then we can only talk about luck and not conspiracies. ;)

Helen W said...

We may get some tennis yet today. From the USO site, Kim & Serena have arrived on court!

Michael said...

Your first rebuke was better Craig!

And I think Helen W meant to change the title of the post to:

U$ Exhibition Day 13 Open Thread

Michael said...

I like how the US Open Live tells us they won't show the Women's semifinals matches because CBS has bought rights to them and is showing them at 12pm!

To balance out my complaints (which are probably mostly because I'm bitter that the tennis is rained out), I'm really glad the US Open has lights. Imagine if this were Wimbledon (before their roof)!

Craig Hickman said...

Craig, thats wonderful that you found a Brad Gilbert quote that suits you, so he becomes an authority to quote.

::

TV, don't put words in my mouth. I'm not in the mood for that, either.

I never said Brad Gilbert was an authority on anything. I think he's a buffoon. Which is why I said he says the strangest things.

What I wanted to know was did he betray something with what he said?

Do you agree with what he said or don't you?

Does Raja deserve soft draws because he's Raja or not? Does Raja deserve advantageous scheduling because he's Raja or not?

I'm having fun with folks coming for me today, most fun I've had on my own blog in a long time, but I've STILL yet to hear a SINGLE FEDERER FAN make a concession about his good fortune (and if we do indeed make our own luck, can't someone else help us in the process???) or his own sympathy campaign on behalf of himself.

I'll keep trying to elicit a concession, but I doubt I'll have Raja's luck.

I'm dealing with some pretty thick skulls here.

Helen W said...

Hey rabbit I have no problem agreeing that getting to play first is probably an advantage. We Rafa fans leave it to The Worshipful to deny every advantage that their favourite enjoys.

We know that Mr. Monogram has a great head-2-head against all but the top 2 or 3 players. So do most of the top players. How does that bear on whether he gets preferential treatment when the draws are made?

And again, which of Rafa & Monogram do you think had the easier draw at this USO?

Helen W said...

Play has begun!

Craig Hickman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Hickman said...

Beth said...

The thought that the draw(s) may be fixed and biased really makes me sick. I wonder what, if any, player has spoken in even a veiled way about this possibility.

::

Jelena Jankovic on at least one accusation made a veiled reference to the draws being biased/fixed (take your pic.) I can't remember the details. Something tells me Savannah remembers better.

Matthew said...

This day of basically no actual tennis having been played (so far) has generated more comments than any day of play for the entire rest of the open.

Interesting.

Craig Hickman said...

Yes, Matthew. It is quite interesting, isn't it?

Craig Hickman said...

Serena be anxious. Kim be relaxed.

A three-setter in the works?

Craig Hickman said...

Serena gives away a break of serve. Serena takes it right back.

Now what?

Michael said...

We're pissed off because there is no tennis to watch, so we can complain about stuff.

Matthew, are you there at the Open still? What's it been like these rainy rainy days? Can you figure out the ticket complexity?

Craig Hickman said...

The last time both Serena and Kim played the USO, they won it.

Interesting.

Craig Hickman said...

Where the hell is Serena's return game when she's on serve?

Craig Hickman said...

Kim is slugging that ball.

Helen W said...

Wow. First set to Kim. Serena made some uncharacteristic errors in that last game. But they are both playing well.

BTW, I really like Serena's outfit.

Craig Hickman said...

I'll never be a fan of Kim's, but so far she's doing exactly what I suspected at her favorite Slam: playing without pressure.


Serena on the other hand....

Tennis Vagabond said...

Craig
Sorry, for my thick skull, but please elaborate on what the concession was you were looking for? I don't quite get it. Because of my thick skull. Did i say that already?
If the concession is that the #1 player doesn't have to play the #2 player till the final, I concede. If the concession is that Roger's record is so overwhelming that its hard to find a draw that looks tough until the semifinals, I concede. Of the concession is that Roger is good looking, charming, speaks several languages, and does a lot of charity work, well, guilty as charged. I've had the same charges made against me, dammit, and its tough to fight.
Would Soderling have been considered "easy" in Nadal's draw? Would Cilic or Gasquet or Ljubicic been considered challenges in Fed's draw? Roddick was considered a tough challenge for Djokovic, but he was also in Fed's half of the draw.
Fed has a better record against non-Big 4 players than anyone else. That's a fact.

Someone already pointed out the French Open when #1 Fed drew an obviously hottest-player-on-clay Nadal. Actually, I think Joe has done a pretty good job debunking these myths, which makes me realize once again that there's no point using facts against those motivated by hate.
There's also quite a difference between advanteagous scheduling and fixed draw. And advantageous does not equal more marketable either. A night match may be more marketable but not better for the player. So I really, really wonder, if its so OBVIOUS to you that Roger has had the draw rigged in his favour for so long, why the players whose very lives are being affected by it, haven't challenged that? Do you really believe you've uncovered something that Nadal (and all his agents and marketing entourage) and Roddick (ditto) and Murray (ditto), etc. haven't?

And really, obscure, offhand comments from Jelena Jancovic (who, like Gilbert, you also relegate to freak status except when it suits you) don't cut it.
Putting thoughts together... so hard with thick skull.


Can't we just enjoy TENNIS??

Craig Hickman said...

Motivated by hate?

You haven't a clue, TV. Not. A. Clue.

I'm not entertaining thick skulls at the moment. I'm watching Serena lose.

It's riveting.

Till next time.

Helen W said...

Craig I wouldn't give up on Serena quite yet :)

Craig Hickman said...

Okay, now that Serena isn't consolidating breaks and holding serve let me tell what motivates me, TV.

As I said, you don't have a clue.

Passion, love, integrity, gratitude, and spirituality motivate me.

I'm human. I'm fallible. As are all humans. But I don't have the energy or the inclination to hate people that I don't know and love intimately. Not even those who do me harm. I don't know or love a single tennis player intimately, so I hate none of them.

If Justine Henin needed me to save her life and I was able to save her life, I would save her life. And she remains the most unsavory character in the sport of tennis over the past 10 years. At least.

Too many of the Federer fans who comment on this blog take too much of my criticism of him personally.

That's unfortunate.

Facts can be chosen to support any point of view. I have no problem with that. It's why we have debates. But to fall back on a tone of sarcasm in the face of an opposing point of view, as you, TV, do as habit, says more about you than it does about me.

We can always agree to disagree.

You might try it sometime.

Craig Hickman said...

Helen, Serena will need Clijsters to choke to win this match.

That might happen, but I'm not counting on it.

Helen W said...

Craig I rather like Clijsters. Why do you not like her?

IAC, it was good to see Serena dig out of that 15-40 down and hit some huge serves.

Good match.

Helen W said...

What a f*ing end to that match.

Shocking.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, Serena.

You just can't get up in somebody's face like that.

You were going to lose anyway, but why take a default?

Pity.

Craig Hickman said...

I said I'm not a fan and never will be. That doesn't necessarily mean I don't like her. I'm not sure if I do or not, quite frankly.

She's alright. I believe her to be insincere. But I could be wrong about that.

The reason why I said awhile ago when she announced her comeback that she'd beat back the youngsters like Victoria Azarenka and eventually win a Slam is because she emerged from the life-changing event of losing the man who brought her to the sport.

Tenniswise, Clijsters has always been able to hang with Serena. Mentally, she has not. If Serena is only slightly off her mental game -- and tonight, that aspect of her game seems to be in the Atlantic Ocean -- Clijsters has more than enough game to beat her. Even at a Slam.

Whatever will be will be. I really don't care if Serena loses (and all those backhands into the bottom of the net will seal the deal) and I said that from the outset as well.

Serena got Wimbledon. I want her to win Roland Garros again at some point, but I know that probably won't ever happen.

Helen W said...

I'm sorry Craig but on that one my heart is with Serena. The foot fault call was bogus and it should never have been made, especially at that point in the match. No wonder she was pissed.

Who knows what she really said.

Michael said...

I'm just sad and in disbelief.

Karen said...

Hello All. I buried 2 things dear to my heart today. My sister and tennis. I am tired of seeing tennis reduced to a tournament where champions are relegated to footnotes and where fans are becoming more and more divisive and the officiating personnel in tennis are behaving in a despicable manner. They can no longer make bad line calls so now they are calling foot faults. Whatever Tennis Establishment. You have the final you wanted. The blonde ponytail. Everyone is happy. One good thing about giving up on something you find time for the better things in life. Somehow I just don't see Serena or Venus continuing their careers after thus.

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, so sorry about your sister.

Please, be strong.

PeytonAllen said...

What a bizarre ending to the match. You don't call a foot fault there. You just don't. Hopefully that linesperson never works again. You don't call things like that at that stage unless it's obvious. Do they not go over these unwritten rules in the meet and greet?

You can never count Serena out of a match. Do I think she was going to lose that game anyway? Yes. Kim wasn't fading tonight and was out hitting Serena. But with Williams' serve and fight...you never know.

As Craig said she was tense all night. I don't blame her for getting upset at the foot fault but she went overboard.

When she first turned I could read her lips and she said something like: "I'm gonna take the ball and shove it down your throat, okay."

lol One can only assume from there it got worse.

I think Serena tapped out, but that call was idiotic.

Karen said...

¤waves to Craig. Today was a really bad day. Signing off for the night. Feeling mentally drained

Craig Hickman said...

Helen W, I didn't see a footfault either. But if you want to fight to defend your title, you must must must contain yourself. You CANNOT threaten to shove a fucking tennis ball down a player's throat.

There are no excuses for such threats on a tennis court.

I won't excuse it. Not for Lleyton Hewitt. Not for Serena Williams.

I'm about ready to quit watching tennis myself. I'm losing my passion for the sport. This was the first Slam in 6 years that I didn't record a single moment.

It happens.

I didn't watch much tennis as it happened from 1990 till January 2003 with some forays into the USO 2002. Andy and Serena, both in the 2003 Australian Open, brought me back. More than 6 years is about as long as I've ever followed tennis continuously, anyway.

I could see myself dropping off till another set of players brings me back.

And all those thick-skulled Federer fans who can't concede a single point about his charmed existence will have one less place to take criticisms against him personally.

Mercury is indeed in retrograde.

PeytonAllen said...

On the early comments in this thread. Fun read!

Its obvious they wanted Fed/Nadal in the final and made that switch. But I have no problem with it because Murray hasn't proven he's the true #2. Ranking by default.

If you're the #1 seed you've earned a lighter draw by your ranking. But, I don't believe there's some widespread plan to usher Fed deep into slams. The guy barely loses to anyone. And really neither do the top five.

The tour is incredibly top heavy. That said, from rain delays and on Fed's blessed.

Nadal should be okay for the finish. About what, 35 minutes on court today? He practices longer than that.

And now Del Po will go in with three days rust.

Craig Hickman said...

If you're the #1 seed you've earned a lighter draw by your ranking.

::

So, according to your eyesight, did Rafa get lighter draws while he was ranked No. 1?

Helen W said...

OK Craig I take your point about losing it against a lines person.

But somehow I just can't help feeling that she got such a raw deal.

PeytonAllen said...

How many draws did he play as #1? And are we just talking slams? He was #1 at the Open last year, right? Aussie this year... the French, if he's healthy mentally and physically he beats Soderling. He destroyed the kid 6-0, 6-0 (or something of the like) earlier in the clay season.

I think Rafa and Roger overcome anyone in their way. Djoke and Murray as of yet don't and may never. But, who would be a bad matchup for Fed in say..the 3rd round if you were drawing? Or Rafa? It's hard to cherry picking tough opponents because they just run through slam draws together.

I'm tired of seeing Fed run through Hewitt/Roddick/Gonzo/Soderling.

I think the issue, at least for me, is with a lack of depth.

Helen W said...

Craig says:

did Rafa get lighter draws while he was ranked No. 1?

Not by mine. To me it was same old, same old.

Would someone please give us an example of Rafa having an easier draw at a slam during the time they were ranked #1 & #2?

PeytonAllen said...

Helen, the foot fault ruined the match and what was sure to be a dramatic close to the set, in-game and in a potential tiebreaker. The tension was building and a crowd who had waited for days to see action was finally getting it in spades.

And the replays show the call was touchy at best. You don't call that. It's another embarrassment to this year's US Open. From the scheduling to the Rafa kiss, to this. The end can't come quick enough for a lot of people I'd imagine.

At this point, only Rafa/Roger can kick it out with a good note.

Last point on Kimmy, it'd be nice to see her win. If she sticks around for a few years, Serena finally has a rival.

Joe said...

Would someone please give us an example of Rafa having an easier draw at a slam during the time they were ranked #1 & #2?

:
:

2008 U.S. Open. Nadal ranked and seeded #1. Nadal reaches the semis without facing another seeded player. The #3 player at the time, Djokovic, is on Federer's side of the draw.

BayouPeach said...

I am in complete shock right now...What the heck is going on? I can't believe what I just witnessed.

b said...

Unbelievable ending ---- it's going to be hard to keep watching tennis after this tournament is over

Why is it amusing or simply overlooked when certain players break rackets and scream.... while others are penalised.....


Congratulations to Kim..... who was also robbed a chance at finishing out the match......

Karen sorry about your sister..... and ditto to what you said

Craig Hickman said...

I'm still in shock, pissed, sad, deflated, disappointed and wondering if I'll ever watch another tennis match.

Craig Hickman said...

Peytonallen said,

Serena finally has a rival

::

Jennifer Capriati, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin don't count?

PeytonAllen said...

Are all of those ladies playing today?

Meant in today's game.

And no, she's never had one that's been able to carry her for over a year. I.E. take her to another level.

Aziz said...

I did not watch the match. But as soon as I opened my eyes, I crawl straight to my laptop and googled it.

Imagine how heart-wrenching it was to know.

I have no idea whether the foot-fault was correct but whatever it is, Serena is really upset. And so am I.

If I were in her shoes, I would probably do the same. I mean, it's a grand slam stage.

I'm just so pissed off. bloody pissed off.

b said...

"Helen W, I didn't see a footfault either. But if you want to fight to defend your title, you must must must contain yourself. You CANNOT threaten to shove a fucking tennis ball down a player's throat."

Well absolutely - she should have had more self control - she walked right into the trap.....


HOWEVER my issue has been the inconsistency of the sportsmanship rule..... why are some players allowed to abuse and berate the umpire, break rackets etc with impunity while others are fined?

Who was the umpire of this match - I didn't see much of it - I hope it wasn't the same Mariana Alves....

Helen W said...

Joe offers USO 2008 as an example of when Rafa got an easier draw than Fed.

Here is Nick Bolletieri's analysis:

"All in all, I think the top half is a bit stronger just because of the way Nadal, Murray, and Del Potro have been playing. Also on that side of Stanislas Wawrinka, Gilles Simon, and the aforementioned Blake. All three have the ability to make a deep run."

Then there is the little matter of the scheduling of the semi finals....

Aziz said...

God. It hurts.
I had been waiting for this match like years and when it finally came, it wasn't worth waiting for.

I mean, my girl Serena. Poor her. I have never liked Kim. I am so sorry guys.

Scold me, reprimand me, say whatever you want to say, but I have never liked her.

Serena might be vocal and outspoken, but that's what makes her a champion. Why would she have to pretend decent and all sweet if she could be herself.

I love Serena the way she is. And that's all that matters.

Joe said...

I'm about ready to quit watching tennis myself. I'm losing my passion for the sport. This was the first Slam in 6 years that I didn't record a single moment.

:
:

Craig - Since I rarely comment on this blog, and I jumped in on the draws argument today, I do want to say a few words. I've been a long time reader of your blog, and while I obviously don't always agree with your opinions, I really respect the passion you have for the sport. Given that tennis is treated by the American media as a second tier sport (I'm a big Tiger Woods fan, but it pisses me off that if he shoots a 63 in the second round of the Buick Invitational, it's treated as a bigger story than an American man winning the U.S. Open would be), I've enjoyed the fact you usually comment on every tournament on the tour calendar. Obviously, if you lose your passion for tennis, it makes sense to take a break. (I know that I'm much less of a baseball fan than I was ten years ago.) However, I wanted to make it clear that I didn't intend to be a troll and jump in to stir things up today, and that I really do enjoy the amount of coverage you give to the sport.

Craig Hickman said...

Venus is still playing, Justine will be back, though we'll see how hard she's able to hit the ball after her absence. I don't think Serena has been without a true rival or without a player who has forced her to raise her game to another level.

Hell, I'll even give Maria Sharapova credit for doing that. Ever since Serena lost to her for a second time in 2004 on a big stage, that was all she wrote for that. They contested one more close match at the beinning of 2005 where Serena had to fight of match points and then it was all Serena. A little known tidbit? Serena studied tapes of Sharapova at the 2005 Australian Open before their semifinal.

Serena outguts and outlasts many an opponent. She doesn't always outplay them, though.

I still think she's the best at her best, that a relaxed Serena beats Kim 2.0, but alas, this is what was to be, so this is what we got.

Craig Hickman said...

I feel for the Serena fans who are gutted right now.

I'm shocked, sad, disgusted, disappointed, deflated, but not gutted.

The Wimbledon final gutted me like I've never been gutted about a tennis result before and probably never again.

After that, every other disappointment has merely been a nuisance I'll recover from fast as a mosquito bite.

But I know that gutted feeling. It's not cute.

Craig Hickman said...

Joe, thanks for your kind words. We'll see what happens. Tomorrow is a new day.

Aziz said...

I need someone to slap me across my face and tell me I have been having nightmare all day long =(

BayouPeach said...

Aziz said...

God. It hurts.
I had been waiting for this match like years and when it finally came, it wasn't worth waiting for.

I mean, my girl Serena. Poor her. I have never liked Kim. I am so sorry guys.

Scold me, reprimand me, say whatever you want to say, but I have never liked her.

Serena might be vocal and outspoken, but that's what makes her a champion. Why would she have to pretend decent and all sweet if she could be herself.

I love Serena the way she is. And that's all that matters.
--------------------

I feel your pain. I'm just in complete shock right now. Not because Serena lost, but the way it happened. A foot fault? Give me a break. Even when Serena was down, I never count her out, because she's been in that position before and I've seen her claw her way back. This was just deflating......

At least Rafa is still in the tourney, but a lot of my excitement for the USO is gone....

HoiHa said...

Karen my thoughts and prayers are with you.

rikyrah said...

craig,

they're asking for you over at JJP. they are aching over SERENA.

Aziz said...

BayouPeach, this foot-fault call has just fucked up my day.

I mean, seriously, like you said, such call on a match point? This is downright revolting decision in tennis I have ever come across in my entire whole life!

The only joy I have left for this tournament is Rafa, exactly like you have stated.

But a bloody stupid moronic call?

I don't know.
I just have not bloody idea what else to say.

BayouPeach said...

Aziz,

Part of me wishes that the Williams sisters gave American tennis fans the same respect that they have given them. They should both retire and leave the WTA in shambles. Are there even any Americans in the Top 50???? Some of the blogs are calling for Serena to be banned for 5 years and saying she's a disgrace to America and all this nonsense. It's nauseating. Thankfully Craig's blog isn't filled with that kind of stupidity. I'm going to stick to this one permanently.

I can't believe that stupid foot fault call has completely ruined the entire two weeks for me.

Craig Hickman said...

Some of the blogs are calling for Serena to be banned for 5 years and saying she's a disgrace to America and all this nonsense.

::

Why am I not surprised?

I can't and I won't excuse Serena's behavior.

But she snapped and it wasn't pretty.

That said, the men get away with murder. Roddick, my other fave, berates umpires and linespeople on the regular (though not lately) and I don't excuse him either. But he gets away with it.

Because he's a man?

Serena doesn't need to be banned from anything. She took her penalty and her press conference performance was positive and strong, whether she was "acting" or not.

BayouPeach said...

Craig,

I honestly think she lost her cool completely on a questionable call during a critical stage in the match. Nothing more, nothing less. It happens when that much is on the line. I've seen it several times and I'm sure I'll see it again. I don't think it is something that will mar the legacy of Serena Williams though. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

HoiHa said...

The FF call was BS - whether it was a FF or not, to call it at that point in the match is unheard of and completely inappropriate. The lineswoman should lose her job, period. If Serena was foot faulting in the match, then call it at 30 or 40 love so she has a warning that she is being watched and stops doing it. The call was wrong, period. The motivation behind it? I have my own gut opinion on that but it is nothing that the Williams' sisters have not faced and had to deal with in the past.

Unfortunately, Serena simply lost it - the cumulative effect of the rain delays, the stress of serving to stay in the match and being behind on her serve, the desire to win the event etc etc ... all of these things contributed to a meltdown. We have all been there as human beings.

However, like it or not, human or not, Serena was wrong. Had she not broken her racket earlier in the match, for which she received a warning, she would not have lost the match point for the unsportsmanlike conduct but would probably have received a warning.

I wish Serena had chosen to rise above it - I am upset with her because she did not do that. She was hard done by but her response was over the top.

Craig you put your finger on it BTW - boys can be boys, but girls ... well, they can't be boys.

HoiHa said...

I just want to add ... then I am done - the lineswoman apparently said she was "frightened" by Serena's reaction and that's why she went running up the the Chair -now if Serena scared her, there can only be one thing behind such an irrational sense of fear - and I am not talking about Serena's muscles here. And therein too might be your motivation for the FF call.

Just saying ...

nykinora said...

"That said, the men get away with murder. Roddick, my other fave, berates umpires and linespeople on the regular (though not lately) and I don't excuse him either. But he gets away with it.

Because he's a man?

Serena doesn't need to be banned from anything. She took her penalty and her press conference performance was positive and strong, whether she was "acting" or not."

*This*
Sure, Serena was out of line but I can't stand the hyperbole and the selective amnesia - as if she is the only player in the sport to have *ever* lost her cool and behave badly/inappropriately. I call bs as people are using this as an excuse to vent vitriol that was bubbling under the surface against her all along.

Anyway, this open is done for me. Hope they win the doubles, but yeah...

The sisters may as well play for FRoW (Free Rebuplic of Williamstan) from here on in. As a non-American I'm heartily done with the US crowds and media. It really disgusts me, especially when I think on how many other countries would be ecstatic to have a WS playing for them.

I like Andy Roddick and appreciate what he said about the sisters, but I can't get over the disparity in treatment. Yeah, I'm a Venus fan so it kind of hurt to hear the crowd screaming for Kim and people trying to justify it by saying she married an American.

So what? Last time I checked it was Venus Williams who had won 3 gold medals for the US, not Kim or even their beloved Andy (who didn't even play at the last Olympics.) I'm not hating on Andy, or even Kim for that matter but I get sick and tired of the hypocritical, excessive patriotism on the one hand that extends to all the other US players, save for Venus and Serena.

As for Justine making a return? *eyeroll* Well, Kim better make hay while the sun still shines. (Evil grin...) Still can't stand the fact that it was okay for the Belgians to abandon the sport while the media did nothing but rag on the sisters...for not retiring. Ugh.

Other than a half-hearted "Go Rafa" I have nothing more to say.

Dapxin said...

Over here in london,
I just woke up 3mins ago,
it 9.03am,
and over to espn tennis,
and I see Serena's lost,
and I see a screaming
headling,
suggesting some,
random not-tennis-situation,
and I feel so bored,
of the annoying long wait,
that ensured I missed the game
for starts,
and my sunday is just totally
ruined.

Whatever happened in that game,
I dont care anymore,
but I'd say, for first,
Serena disappoints - hugely,
for now we are going to be
riled,
with a 'truly-awesome'
comeback story,
that will sure as hell
stink!
on the radio/tv for years
to come,
so much, it will suck,

Still, you can only beat
the opposition,
so welldone Kim.
and I know you will win now.

I am more than bored of this
game already. thx USO!

Dapxin said...

And finally,
I see there was some ups and downs,
in the game,
causing a serena technical knock-out?

lets just say I have had enough of this final. possibly of this game as a sport.

And I see I am not alone - even me that was never a major follower, I can only wonder how detached the rest of you are - but you will recover, guys. we will.

I will suggest this thrad is locked tho; the thought of it and all the hopeless build up drives me blood into over-drive.

lets find something else to talk about.

pompelmo said...

So long for the "mighty" Serena. "Overhyped" Kimmie takes her out.

Aziz said...

nykinora,

I just love the way you put it.

pompelmo said...

I watched the tape and I am not sure that linesjudge is acting in good faith.

HoiHa said...

Perotta's take over at tennis.com
http://www.tennis.com/features/general/features.aspx?id=184922

par3182 said...

Can somebody please point me to the section of the tennis rulebook that states a footfault can't be called at a certain point in the match?

PeytonAllen said...

nykinora,

I understand WS fans are sick right now, but to suggest they're not beloved in America is laughable.

Are there bad apples? Racist minds? Sadly yes and I'll never pretend to know what that's like. But, the Sisters are loved by and large.

Throughout their careers they, well mainly Richard, have done several things to alienate fans. So, let's not make it out to seem like they've come out on the stage fully embracing the tennis world and ready to accept its riches. They've been distant and times.

The fans cheered for both women last night and were reacting heavily on every point. Kim is easy to root for. I don't think doing so is at the expense of Serena or Venus.

The tennis world and the USTA will greatly miss the Sisters when they're gone. I hope its not for a while.

Craig, I also think there's a difference between Andy Roddick telling an umpire to stay in school than having Serena shake her racket in someone's face and say she's going to shove a fucking ball down her fucking throat. But, anyone on another board who suggests a 5 year ban is who they are and shouldn't be taken seriously. For the record I think Serena knew what she was doing and decided to put on a show.

She'll come back strong.

The incident is unfortunate for everyone involved. But the storm will pass.

PeytonAllen said...

I'd also suggest Roddick usually does his as a running commentary with the umpire doing changeovers.

The call was horrible, and the lineswoman should never work again.

But Serena is the one to blame. She threw her racquet. And she verbally went after the linesperson in an over the top manner. She made a spectacle of it. You have to call foul on that.

When it happens, she's measured for a second, composed, then goes after her. Part of me thinks it was an act to try and rile up the fans on her side.

She was on edge last night. Hopefully she'll recover quickly.

Craig Hickman said...

I've called foul on it, peytonallen. And while I haven't said much about the lineswoman, I agree with pompelmo that she was not acting in good faith. And that's all I'm going to say about her.

But I disagree completely with you that Serena put on a show just to rile up the fans and get them on her side. If you recall, she was foot faulted earlier in the tournament and gave stared down the linesperson for a good 30 seconds, which felt a lot longer. She was foot faulted in doubles as well, largely because of the wind she said.

Serena snapped. She lost it. She's never snapped or lost it before, even under more egregious circumstances. If you think she knew what she was doing or that she did it only to get the crowd on her side, well, then, that's your prerogative. But you're wrong.

Helen W said...

Speaking of Code Violations, I'm sure everyone here will be astonished to learn that Mr. Monogram was not give one when he smashed his racquet in his match against Djokovic in Miami earlier this year. From USA Today:

"Chair umpire Fergus Murphy did not cite Federer for a code violation, probably because he was speechless. Djokovic had his back to the outburst."

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Michael said...

par3182, you raise a good point.

The rulebook states that all points should be treated the same. So you can certainly call a footfault on match point or next to match point. No one hear is saying you can't (I don't think). The issue is that especially on such critical points, you have to be certain of the call. The rulebook also clearly states:

5. The Line Umpire should give the Server the benefit of any doubt in
calling a foot fault.
[pg 148 USTA REGULATIONS VI.F. (Line Umpire)]

This linesperson made two serious mistakes: 1) miscalled the line (the serve in question could not be called a foot fault without any doubt), and then 2) likely misquoted Serena, as no one but the linesperson that I've seen reported to have heard Serena say "I'm going to kill you."

Serena also made two serious mistakes: 1) losing her temper at the end of the first set and destroying her racket, and 2) losing her temper and chewing out the linesperson.

She could have asked the linesperson to clarify how she footfaulted, or perhaps asked the chair umpire if she agreed with the call. Since the serve was in the ad-court, only the baseline would be a concern for the footfault, which the chair umpire should be able to see.

Michael said...

For the record, I think that destroying your racket should be an automatic, mandatory point penalty. There's no excuse for that kind of behavior.

Roger, Serena, or anyone else.

Helen W said...

To add to what Michael said, there is also a body of experience that comes into play, and that was totally ignored in this instance. The article HoiHa referenced by Tom Perrotta at Tennis.com makes this point:

"Let's start with something every tennis player can agree on: Foot faults are pathetic calls.

"The point of the foot fault rule, of course, is to prevent the server from gaining an unfair advantage by striking the ball closer to the net. For recreational players, it can be an important rule, but it's difficult to enforce since there are no line judges. In the pro game, the foot fault is a harmless sin. When pros foot fault, they do it by fractions of inches, distances so small that no unfair advantage is gained. And they do it by accident."

--
When you add to this the fact that the rules regarding Code Violations are not applied consistently, you can understand why Serena lost it, even if you also disagree with her actions.

sykotique said...

HelenW,

If you go a bit further back, Federer-Murray in 2006, Federer actually was called for a code violation for smashing a racket against Murray.

I understand the point you were making, but the way in which you sought to go about it so as to show the favoritism that Federer kind of clouded the issue, which is that, regardless of players, code violations and point penalties are not uniformly administered.

A lot of it depends not only on the popularity of the players on court, but on their general reputation for good behaviour as well and the strength of character of the umpire in the chair.

This is not a "look-how-pampered-Federer-is discussion" and I see no need to turn it into one.


On topic: the lines woman was an idiot. But so was Serena. It's hard to justify such a call at such a juncture, but it's even harder to justify her behaviour. You can't act like that and not because it might cause you the match, but because of the millions of people watching you and looking up to you as inspiration, knowing that someone can succeed against the odds.

It's difficult to say how anyone would have acted in the circumstances - it was definitely a bogus call on the most crucial of points - but I can't escape feeling some disappointment. Serena lost her head there, I would have preferred if she had taken the lines woman to task in the press conference, but then people would just accuse her of being a sore loser.

Helen W said...

sykotique point taken. Until I checked it this morning, I never knew whether Roger had been given a code violation or not. It was a recent case of a known star having smashed a racquet, so I did a search to find out what happened re code violations.

I agree with Michael when he says that any racquet smash should be an automatic code violation.

In Serena's case, she had already experienced a previous bogus foot fault call -- I don't know if it was from the same linesperson or not - but her losing it was the result of an accumulation of unfair calls, imho, in conjunction with other circumstances.

The whole episode just sucks on so many levels.

edma1022 said...

Trust Helen to relate this unfortunate incident to a Fed-bashing topic.

*sigh*

Unfortunate.

Helen W said...

Jeez edma I just acknowledged sykotique's point, but that isn't enough for The Worshipful is it?

Same old, same old.

sykotique said...

Any racket smash should be a code violation. But the ratio of code violations to racket smashes is completely out of whack. Watch any Safin or Gonzalez match and you will quickly realise this.

Hell, I've even seen Fabrice Santoro smash a racket and all the umpire did was smile and giggle, like the rest of the crowd was, that such a little man seemed so upset. It's unfair to the players that they don't know for certain when the rules are actually being conscientiously enforced or if they are simply being persecuted by officious umpires/linespersons.

Dapxin said...

Just got a download of the game,
managint to watch it now.

Helen W said...

I agree 100% sykotique. I know there are some code violation calls that require a certain amount of flexibility, but I don't count racquet smashes as one such. It's pretty clear cut.

The fact that it is so arbitrary discredits the whole process imho.

Dapxin said...

I love the triple hop steps or so
that Serena was doing moving here.
2-2.

Dapxin said...

Here is a hi-res capture of the game
if you havent seen it.
(http://www.megaupload.com/?d=GVP14JTB)
(http://www.megaupload.com/?d=41S38FWC)

Dapxin said...

hahahaha!
In realtime, events do take random shape, and happen with random spontenity.

Serena lost the 1st set,
by herself, after 4-4.

Just seen the racquet smash;
so totally un-necessary!
so absolutely unlike her.

whatever it was about playing Kim,
It got to her. It really did get to her.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, I don't agree that smashing a racquet should be an automatic code violation. It ought not even be called racquet abuse. A racquet is an inanimate object with no feelings. Abuse? Ummmmm.... No.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but on a changeover, if a player smashes their racquet against their chair or bag or whatever, they receive no code violation. I've never seen such a thing, anyway. They only receive that violation on the court and only at the discretion of the chair umpire.

Why the difference?

Tennis hasn't been a genteel sport for decades.

Let the players vent. I'd rather they smash a racquet than cuss out a chair ump or threaten a linesperson. They tend to only hurt themselves when they throw/smash their racquets anyway.

Michael said...

Craig,

I had thought about that, too, that "abusing" your racquet (stupid term) is less egregious than cursing your opponent, linesperson, umpire, or anyone else there.

It is an act of violence, though, and a clear sign that someone is out of control. And I think it is a terrible example for people playing the sport recreationally.

Perhaps it's also because I broke a racquet while playing many years ago, whacking it on the ground, not obliterating it, but it still cracked. This was a wakeup call to me and I don't think I've whacked a racquet on the ground since (just the net, and fairly lightly). But I had to lose my #1 racquet to learn that.

Would it do any good? Probably not. If Serena has lost a point at the end of the first set for the racquet smash, I think she still would have been frustrated and a bit out of control. But it's a clear line between dropping or flipping the racquet and actually breaking it. It takes the judgment call out of it.

Craig Hickman said...

Abusing an inanimate object is NOT an act of violence.

It's an act of aggression.

Violence is always aggressive. Aggression is not always violent.

Michael said...

Craig,

Interesting distinction, and though I disagree, I see your point. A "violent storm" is violent because of the strength and nature of its actions, regardless of whether these are directed at beings (human or otherwise) or inanimate objects.

Wikipedia seems to agree with you, but the dictionary with me.