Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shaking My Head And Cussing

Venus and Serena Williams got completely shafted by the scheduling today. Especially Venus, who only got in one set of her singles match, which she lost in a tiebreak. It was moved from Chatrier to Lenglen, but it could have been moved much earlier to Court 2, where the sisters' held over doubles match was scheduled even later.


Karen said...

They could have because they put Cornet up as the second match of the day on Centre Court, so it is not like they could not have done so. I cannot wait until real tennis starts. I am so over the FO right about now. Bring on Wimbledon

Karen said...

I just saw this article over by and felt that I just had to post it.

Karen said...

What struck me about the article was the fact that in 2002, a little over 7 years ago, the WTA was where it was in terms of tennis. What the hell happened? The ATP had no star power. Roger Federer was relegated to a footnote in an article (boy has things changed) and Lleyton Hewitt, Safin etc were discounted. What happened between 2002 and 2009 when the WTA is now being laughed at for not being able to get ratings and the ATP becoming a bigger and better product. What happened to make the women have to go begging the men hat in hand in order to maximise the Tour. I will tell you what happened. Larry Scott happened. He decided that the Tour should be marketed along the lines of one individual player to the detriment of the rest of the Tour and many fans were apalled by this. How could he do that? Market a shrieking, ugly tennis looking person, over people who could actually play tennis. This is just bizarre

Trudy said...

Thx for sharing that SI piece. WTA carried tennis for some time in the late 90, early 00's and somewhere along the way, they lost the plot.
Piece certainly provides valuable perspective...still digesting

sG said...

Um... This is real tennis. Whatever. I second your third comment! A real disservice was done to the WTA by ignoring other players in favor of one.

As for Serena and Venus, talk about disservice! Something's going to give and I'd rather it be the doubles.

pompelmo said...

Wow! Two very controversial comments in just three posts!

I can understand liking faster plays and games, and getting bored of long rallies, but calling a ground which clearly favors the lesser players and chokers "where real tennis is played" is a bit too much.


Two days ago Maria Kirilenko lost to an other unseeded player in the first round. I think I last saw her on court two or three years ago because of her insignificance in major events. She is a cute girl, and had a higher rank three years ago. You can see more photo shoots of her than pics while playing tennis.

Then I recalled the career of Kournikova. How people disrespected her tennis because she had never won a major tournament although she reached a ranking of number 8. She earned much more through modelling.

Anna never reached her potential seen when she was 14, because she did not have to. She had become the most earning female athlete with that level of play being enough. But make no mistake. If I ever have a daughter and if she can reach the levels not even Kournikova but Kirilenko did, she would make me very proud. These are some very good athletes and skillful people earning a name for themselves. But since these women catch so much attention, critics get brutal as if anybody can win grand slams. Some of them can be mediocre compared to the top, but beeing in the top 50, still significant in talent. Not "nothing but looks."

There is a curse of beauty, especially for women. It makes life easy, removes the challenges that will fire you to get better and stronger, hindering them from reaching their potential.

So... the woman, former number 1, trying to recover from a serious injury which killed her big serve, somebody who probably earned more than enough fame and money already but still keeping the champion spirit alive in herself, deserves some credit. She is one slam shy from a career grand slam, and already one of the top 20 female tennis players in the open era for god's sake. You cannot win slams just because somebody wants you to win unless they are rigged.

... and lets face another dimension. The ratings of WNBA are ridiculous compared to NBA, as nobody likes to watch the slower and weaker ones when there is a better product. But WTA players earn the same what ATP players earn, even though they play less. They play less, so they can earn even more by entering the doubles events. This is just because the looks of some players make watching the slow matches with weak shots bearable. Even when the match is not good. That keeps the ratings in par. These women bring ratings and sponsors, therefore supporting the whole sport. Sometimes people who are not really interested in the sport, are caught by the looks, start watching and then get interested in the game. In this commercial world, Sharapova is a blessing.

WTA is poor at the moment because Henin and Clijters left the game prematurely and created a hole before the next generation could develop. Not because of Masha, other than her injury.

b said...

Craig - They've done it again - Serena is playing THIRD..... Makes no sense, she didn't play today so doesn't need to recover....

Venus is playing 2nd, which is standard for unfinished matches.... and doubles AGAIN scheduled 5th and LAST court 2.... After 2 men's matches... Ridiculous, If given time it could be over pretty quickly.... It's like the schedulers want them out..... And they need the doubles....

Also they are on track to qualify for YEC doubles.... which I don't believe they've played..... I believe they are 5th in the Race with just the AO win

HoiHa said...

Why is anyone surprised at the treatment of the Williams sisters? Take a look at Wimbledon last year and how they were treated there - which courts they were playing on and what their scheduling was ... nothing new here folks ... I think Wimbledon is even more blatant in its behaviour than the French ... it's part of the reason I love it when they win the titles despite the organisers' best efforts to prevent that.

Karen said...

I am not sure I understand the post about Sharapova but I will read it again tomorrow and comment.

nykinora said...

Craig, I know you love Serena and are largely indifferent to Venus but thanks for being fair enough to notice that she *is* being shafted by the schedule. She was never going to win RG anyway, but I hate unfair scheduling.

And yeah, had to smile when I saw Klara and Schnyder in Serena' quarter, and Lisciki in Venus'. What a surprise... I should have put money on it.

I saw Venus' interview. She was very cold, detached and evasive. I've seen her on court, and I've got to say, she may like Paris as a city but I don't think she much likes or gives a shit about RG.

I do think that Serena is going to be left to carry the Williams flag into the third round, and the doubles isn't looking good and it's scheduled late yet again. But if they crash out that may work to Serena's advantage in the singles.

But yeah - I'm over RG.

Karen - good argument. I don't hate Sharapova and respect her game, but I agree that there has been a reversal in fortune in the tours. Part of it is due to good-old-fashioned sexism and the obsession with over-promoting any allegedly pretty, thin blonde yet conveniently and hypocritically leaning on the WS star-power, leadership and ability to win slams whenever convenient.

It started with Anna K being hyped to the heavens for no good reason, but the top players (the Sisters, Hingis, Lindsay, Capriati, Seles, Pierce, and later the Belgians had too much talent, presence and personality to be nonenities, and so it made sense to promote them as well and play up the rivalries amongst the women.) It made women's tennis interesting.

Sharapova alone, does not a tour make and casual viewers get confounded when some young player breaks through and they have no idea who they are, because all the pundits do is talk about Maria (and sometimes Ana) all day long, with occasional swipes at the WS. A tour has to do more than just promote its existing stars or the girl that they consider to be the prettiest 'it' girl on the block.

It's pathetic that even now many casual viewers and even journalists genuinely don't know who Vera Zvonareva is or know next to nothing about her career!

But people can at least tell you who Gilles Simon, or del Potro or Monfils, or James Blake is and it isn't as if they've achieved much more that Vera in their careers.

The ATP has been brilliant in terms of promoting most of their top ten and creating profiles for their up-and-coming stars. The WTA has been a disaster at it.

Karen said...

nykinora, excellent point. I am sure that the injuries of both Venus/Serena as well as the other tragedies played a major role in what happened to the WTA, but it all really went downhill when Larry Scott decided to promote a player instead of the players.