Monday, August 16, 2010

Wk.32- Home is Where the Hard Court Is

Back "home" on the hard courts of North America, a comeback by any other name smells just as sweet... if you're Jada's Mom, that is.

Twelve months ago, the eventual 2009 U.S. Open champion returned to the WTA tour in Cincinnati after an absence of more than two years. As a wild card, she reached the quarterfinals to kick off a hard court summer that would end with her lifting her second career grand slam singles trophy. All around the world, she was lauded for deciding that her athletic career need not be over forever simply because she'd become a mother. Well, not really. That would have been the sensible and respectful way to address her accomplishment. Actually, she was essentially portrayed as some sort of alien being with superpowers beyond all reason, and some acted as if her feat was the most spectacular in human history -- even though it'd been done before in tennis, and even more finely-tuned track athletes had spectacularly returned to form after having children before her, as well.

Ah, but I've come not to bury Elke's Sister, but to actually praise her. For the most part, at least.

The Original Belgian Comeback in America+1, so far, looks even better than the first installment. While Maria Sharapova was garnering more media ooh's and ahh's during the week, it was the Squeegee Queen who was the steady presence throughout. Well, at least until she faced Sharapova in the final.

And what a mothernature of a final it was, too.

Not that it started out that way, for as has troublingly been her way far too many times in big matches in the past past, the Belgian Barbie didn't really seem as if she'd ever left her hotel room for the tournament grounds. The 1st set wasn't a pretty one by either player, but Sharapova won it resoundingly 6-2 after BB lost the last four games after serving up 40/15 at 2-2 and losing the game in which she hit three double-faults in all. In the 2nd, the Russian edged toward a quick straight sets win that seemed as if it would signal something of a return of the onetime Supernova to the forefront of big time WTA tennis. But once The Former Easy-Bake staved off three match points at 5-3 to hold serve, then saw the match interrupted by a seventy-four minute rain delay, everything changed.

When the pair returned to the court, Justine's Countrywoman was a different player. She joked afteward that during the break she's retrieved her serve from her hotel room, but the fact is that she may have rediscovered something even more precious. Her desire to win. All season, its presence within her has been something of a question, as was so often the lament in her career's first go-round. It might have been an illusion, but she even seemed to noticably pull out her patented splits slide more often after having cut back on it at least a tiny bit in order to preserve her body (it'd be easy to wonder here whether this says something about the inner workings of her mind when it comes to decisions about her career's future beyond '10, but that's something to discuss some months down the line, I suspect). While Cincinnati provided the backdrop for Barbiella's original comeback last summer, the one that took place in this year's final was a tad more tangible to the naked eye.

After the three saved match points, the '06 Open champ saw her opponent serve for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd, and then go up 3-0 in the 2nd set tie-break. But it didn't matter. The Belgian's game was crisper and more forceful, and she took control. She won the tie-break 7-4 to knot the match (even while trailing 23-11 in winners), then went on to carry her momentum through the 3rd set to put away a 2-6/7-6/6-2 win that could do as much good for her psyche as it might do damage to Sharapova's over the next month. Even that it took five match point to finally wrap up the victory, much like her pair of nearly-gave-them-away wins over Justine Henin earlier this year, turns out to be something that works in her favor in the end.

Whatever doesn't kill her spirit makes her stronger.

It's odd. Brian's Wife has had a fairly lackluster year. She rose to the occasion in matches against countrywoman Henin, but her near double-bagel exit in Melbourne, near-disasterous clay/Fed Cup season and disappointing grass campaign has provided a more realistic framework for a season that has been something of a letdown after her quick return to prominance last summer. But, still, her Cincinnati title gives her three crowns on the season -- a total which leads the tour through thirty-two weeks. Talk about "lies, damn lies and statistics" playing tricks with your head.

Not surprisingly, though, all three of those titles came on hard court. That fact IS important, and could be telling.

Does this win bode well for her U.S. Open title defense attempt? Well, the comeback does, but the sleepwalking start most definitely does not. During the course of this match I went from "no way" to "yes way" (hey, an old "Wayne's World" movie just broke out) as far as the Waffle's chances to win in New York (and maybe went the opposite way with Sharapova) next month. Of course, the truth probably lies somewhere in between the two extremes, depending on Serena Williams' condition and temperament at Flushing Meadows. The Top-Ranked Belgian likely won't get another well-timed assist from Mother Nature as she did in Cincy, but maybe with her experience in Ohio in her recent memory bank she won't need one.

In a hard court summer where it's been difficult to determine anything for certain, Leo & Els' Devoted Daughter is the perfect poster child for the upcoming deuces-are-wild U.S. Open. As good as she can be (see '06 and '09 in NYC), she can be just as bad (see Oz '10) if her head's not totally in it.

Two weeks to go before the first ball is struck in anger, and the season's final slam gets interestinger and interestinger.


CINCINNATI, OHIO (Premier+ $2m/hard outdoor)
S: Belgian Barbie def. Maria Sharapova 2-6/7-6/6-2
D: Azarenka/Kirilenko d. Raymond/Stubbs

a year after playing the first tournament of her comeback in Cincinnati, Brian's Wife actually managed to improve upon her QF result of a year ago. The fast North American hard courts are most definitely her favorite -- and most effective -- stomping ground... and that she now makes a home of things there to be near her American in-laws only serves to make the environs even more Barbie-friendly. Last week's wins over Safina, Ivanovic and Sharapova gives her seven victories over former #1 players this season, nearly double the players with the next two highest amounts (Sam Stosur and Alisa Kleybanova with four each) combined, career title #38 moved her one past current #1 Serena Williams' 37, and her new #4 ranking is her best since she originally retired from the sport back in 2007.
RISERS: Marion Bartoli/FRA & Maria Kirilenko/RUS
Bartoli opened up the '09 U.S. Open Series by winning a title in Stanford, but never advanced past the 2nd Round the rest of the summer. She hasn't had the same sort of early success this time around, but her quick takedown of Caroline Wozniacki in the 3rd Round in Cincinnati to reach the QF -- her second such result in three weeks -- was a nice step toward something resembling consistency. Meanwhile, after winning the doubles crown in San Diego last week with Zheng Jie, Kirilenko claimed the Cincy title with Victoria Azarenka this week. She's up to #12 in the doubles rankings.
SURPRISE: Madga Linette/POL
the 18-year old Pole from Poznan claimed the $25K challenger in Vermsmold, Germany with a victory in the final over Swarmette Irina-Camilia Begu. It's Linette's third circuit title this season, and her second of back-to-back crowns the last two weeks.
COMEBACKS: Maria Sharapova/RUS & Ana Ivanovic/SRB
Sharapova had another good week in Cincinnati, becoming the first Russian in 2010 to reach a "Premier 9" final, but her inability to neatly close out matches is producing a one step forward, two steps back tango that threatens to push back any legit belief that her slam "rebirth" will take place anytime before the calendar turns over to 2011. At times, the Russian looked great and her serve in fine working order as she made her way past Svetlana Kuznetsova, Andrea Petkovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli en route to the SF. But her difficulty putting away La Trufflette in the closing stages of their previously-routine QF match ultimately foreshadowed what would happen to her over the weekend. Sharapova made it past fellow Hordette Pavlyuchenkova in three sets to reach the final, and carved out three match points for a straight sets victory over the Squeegee Queen in the final. But she couldn't put the match away, then had to wait out a long rain delay. She served for the match again in the 2nd, but was broken. She led 3-0 in the tie-break, but lost it. Coach Michael Joyce tried to settle her down in between sets, but his efforts only partly worked. A call for the trainer to look at and wrap her heel and a slide that couldn't be stopped later, and what seemed like her biggest title/win in ages became one of the biggest ones she's ever let slip away. Still, Sharapova is now just 70 points outside the Top 10, has reached back-to-back finals and played in the deciding match in three of her last four, and four of her last six, events. She's only won a title in Strasbourg during that stretch, though, in Week 20. Sharapova is moving in the right direction, but she might not yet to be ready to be back to "normal" next month in New York. Meanwhile, maybe Ivanovic should play with a chip on her shoulder more often. After initially being denied a wild card into this week's Montreal event, AnaIvo started play in Cincinnati peeved and had enough in-your-eye venom later in the week to turn down the WC after the Rogers Cup powers that be belatedly decided that she was worthy of entry. In between, she ran off a string of wins over Victoria Azarenka, Yaroslava Shvedova and Elena Vesnina to reach her third SF of the season. Alas, she injured her foot against the Belgian Barbie and had to retire just two games into the match to fall to 0-3 in that trio of '10 semifinal appearances. Still, it has to be a positive sign that there still lurks inside this Serb a player worth having some faith in. Well, at least until she has another of THOSE matches that got the former #1 into the position of being able to be denied a wild card two weeks before the start of a grand slam in the first place, that is.
VETERANS: Akgul Amanmuradova/UZB & Flavia Pennetta/ITA
#114-ranked Amanmuradova qualified in Cincinnati, then got main draw wins over Kimiko Date-Krumm, Bojana Jovanovski and top seed/defending champ Jelena Jankovic (her first career Top 10 win) to reach the QF. Pennetta, who finished tied for 2nd in the U.S. Open Series race in '09, has played well so far this 3rd Quarter, but she's having a hard time living up to her own past accomplishments this time around. She got wins in Cincy over Zheng Jie, Monica Niculescu and Vera Zvonareva, and played a tight QF match with Elke's Sister, but her '10 summer continues to resemble a melting ice cream cone (still tasty, but a bit of a mess in comparison to the previous version). Even with a whopping seventeen matches (13-4) under her belt this quarter, her ranking has fallen to #20 and more than a few big names are threatening to knock the former Top 10er down further in coming weeks. Worse yet, all that play makes one worry that she'll be too tired to match her QF U.S. Open run from a year ago, as well. She DOES have Montreal this week, though. Is it an all-or-nothing situation for Madame Butterfly?
FRESH FACE: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
more than half a decade ago, Anastasia Myskina proved to be the player who rode the leading edge of the Russian tennis revolution in the post-Anna era as she became the first Russian woman to win a grand slam singles crown. Well, it's 2010, and another Anastasia looks be seeking out the lead role in the next wave of Hordettes crashing onto the WTA's shores. 19-year old Pavlyuchenkova was the #1-ranked junior in the world just a few years ago, and over the last year her improvement has continued unabated. Last week in Cincinnati, she rode a nine-match winning streak into the SF by impressively stringing together wins over a handful of accomplished players -- Hantuchova, Dementieva, Peer and Wickmayer -- in either dominating fashion or by winning in come-from-behind style. She couldn't take out Sharapova in their first-ever meeting, but she pushed things to three sets and fired a nice warning shot over the bow of the players ranked ahead of her. That number of players continues to shrink, too, as she's now up to #22 and is the youngest player ranked in the Top 40 (and one of only three teenagers in the Top 80). I dubbed that first Anastasia "Czarina Myskina" back then, but with that streaky Russian's unique charms now but an unfortunately "distant" memory it's time to dust off the old moniker and bestow it upon the next deserving Hordette. Hail the new Czarina.
DOWN: Jelena Jankovic/SRB & Elena Dementieva/RUS
Jankovic won the Cincinnati title in 2009, but as the defending champ and #1 seed this season the Serb ultimately played second fiddle to countrywoman AnaIvo. The two might have squared off in a QF match, but JJ's 3rd Round loss to qualifier Amanmuradova prevented it from becoming a reality, provided her ranking with a hit (she fell to #3, barely ahead of the Belgian Barbie at #4 and the still-out-of-action Venus at #5) and gives her a 2-3 record in her Open tune-up events this summer. Meanwhile, Dementieva was crushed 1 & 3 by Pavlyuchenkova in the 2nd Round in Cincy after receiving a 1st Round bye. She's 1-2 in her return to action following her calf injury, has fallen to #8 in the rankings, and doesn't look like a very good bet to hold onto too many of her championship points in her return to Canada to defend her '09 Rogers Cup crown.
ITF PLAYER: Anna Lapushchenkova/RUS
in the final of the $50K challenger in Kazan, Russia, Lapushchenkova, a WTA semifinalist in Stuttgart earlier this season, defeated countrywoman Vitalia Diatchenko 6-1/2-6/7-6 to claim her fourth ITF circuit crown of 2010.
in the Wimbledon Girls competition, the 14-year old Yorkshire native knocked off Gabriela Dabrowski by winning the final twelve games of the match (3-6/6-0/6-0) in the 1st Round, and defeated Ksenia Kirillova in the 2nd, before finally losing to eventual champ Kristyna Pliskova. Last week in the Luxembourg Outdoor Junior Championship in Esch-Alzette, Dean swept the singles and doubles titles, defeating Germany's Katharina Lehnert in the final. For all the hits the LTA has taken in Britain, there sure are a lot of young British teens popping up around the tennis landscape huh?

1. Cincy Final - Squeegee Queen d. Sharapova
Like so many of the "best" WTA matches in 2010, this was hardly a masterpiece when it came to technical proficiency. But the drama of the battle was evident, as the courses of two players' summers -- and maybe a slam? -- may have drastically altered course mid-match. Come a month from now, we might look back at this one for clues that foreshadowed or stoked what we'll have just witnessed on Ashe.
2. Cincy 3rd Rd - Pennetta d. Zvonareva
Well, at least Vera didn't blow a match point (or six) THIS time around.
3. Cincy QF - Pavlyuchenkova d. Wickmayer
The Russian "enjoyed" falling behind 1-5 in the 1st set so much that she did it in the 2nd, too. Her comeback attempt didn't work as well the second time around, though. No matter, she defeated the OTHER Belgian in the Cincinnati draw anyway.
4. Cincy 1st Rd - Sharapova d. Kuznetsova
Will this loss signal a return to bad form after the Contessova's title in San Diego, or simply a "rest day" in between another nice run this week in Montreal?
5. Cincy 2nd Rd - Elke's Sister d. Safina
Last season, the Belgian lost to Safina in the QF in the first stop in her comeback. Please, no one utter that cliched "what a difference a year makes" line to Dinara, though.
6. Cincy 3rd Rd - Amanmuradova d. Jankovic
In the matchup of qualifier vs. defending champ, the qualifier put up twelve aces to zero double faults and pulled the upset.
7. Cincy 1st Rd - Vesnina d. Oudin
Oudin is 1-8 (0-6 in WTA matches) against Hordettes since her glorious 4-0 run at last year's Open. Pavlyuchenkova, Dementieva, Sharapova, Petrova... it seems even more unlikely in retrospect, doesn't it?
8. $25K Tallinn EST Final - Elena Bovina d. Anne Keothavong
...6-4/4-1 ret.
The Russian Who Never Quits notches her second ITF title of the season.
9. $10K Itaparica BRA Final - Roxane Vaisemberg d. Ana-Clara Duarte
#2-seeded Vaisemberg might have hurt #1-seeded Duarte's feelings with this win, but the relationship was likely saved by their teaming to win the doubles title in Itaparica.
10. Cincy 3rd Rd - Bartoli d. Wozniacki
C-Woz still managed to climbed back to #2 in the rankings. If by some amazing turnabout Serena were to miss the Open, with her New Haven title defense no factor since it takes place after the Open draw, the Dane would likely be in position to be the #1 seed in NYC. How weird would that be?
HM- Montreal 1st Rd - Rezai d. Kvitova
The unfortunate post-SW19 beat goes on.

**2010 WTA FINALS**
4...Venus Williams (2-2)
4...Justine Henin (2-2)
3...BARBIELLA (3-0)
3...Serena Williams (2-1)
3...Caroline Wozniacki (2-1)
3...Elena Dementieva (2-1)
3...Samantha Stosur (1-2)
3...Vera Zvonareva (1-2)
3...Flavia Pennetta (1-2)
3...Victoria Azarenka (1-2)

**2010 "Premier 9" CHAMPIONS**
[$2m+ events]
Dubai - Venus Williams, USA
Indian Wells - Jelena Jankovic, SRB
Miami - Brian's Wife, BEL
Rome - Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, ESP
Madrid - Aravane Rezai, FRA

[all-time Tier I + "Premier 9" titles]
31...Martina Navratilova
30...Steffi Graf
17...Martina Hingis
11...Lindsay Davenport
11...Chris Evert
11...Gabriela Sabatini
10...Justine Henin *
10...Serena Williams *
9...Conchita Martinez
9...Monica Seles
8...Venus Williams *
7...Maria Sharapova *
[Tier I / "Premier 9" titles - active]
10...Justine Henin [10/0]
10...Serena Williams [10/0]
8...Venus Williams [6/2]
7...ELKE'S SISTER [5/2]
7...Maria Sharapova [6/1]
6...Jelena Jankovic [4/2]
5...Dinara Safina [3/2]
["Premier 9" $2m+ titles, 2009-present]
2...Jelena Jankovic
2...Dinara Safina
2...Venus Williams

Eastbourne - Aravane Rezai, FRA (1st Rd. def. #1/DC Wozniacki, to 2nd Rd.)
Bad Gastein - Alize Cornet, FRA (2nd Rd. def. #1/DC Petkovic, to SF)

**TEENAGERS IN TOP 100- as of Aug. 16**
#22 ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENOVA, RUS (born July 3, 1991)
#44 Melanie Oudin, USA (September 23, 1991)
#46 Polona Hercog, SLO (January 20, 1991)
#84 Chang Kai-Chen, TPE (January 13, 1991)
#87 Petra Martic, CRO (January 19, 1991)
#97 Simona Halep, ROU (September 27, 1991)
NOTE: #163 Ajla Tomljanovic/CRO (May 7, 1993) is youngest in Top 200

**WEEKS IN TOP 10 in 2010**
[of 33 weeks]
22...Svetlana Kuznetsova
22...Dinara Safina
18...Victoria Azarenka
13...LI NA
10...Vera Zvonareva
3...Flavia Pennetta
BOLD - currently in Top 10

MONTREAL, QUEBEC ("Premier 9" - $2m/hard outdoor)
09 Final: Dementieva d. Sharapova
10 Top Seeds: Jankovic/Wozniacki

#5 Leo & Els' Beloved Daughter d. #10 Azarenka
#15 Pennetta d. #11 Kuznetsova
#5 Leo & Els' Beloved Daughter d. #15 Pennetta

...I didn't really expect to get last week's Cincinnati pick correct (and certainly not in the way it happened on Sunday), so I'm sure I'm poking the Tennis Prediction Gods in their collective gut by going with the same player to win again. But she's got the best draw and the fewest questions about her form and/or history against the players she'll probably have to go through to get to the final. Anyway... if she does go on to lose this week I'll just look at it as the scales of fate tipping the other way and leveling off after "stealing" a win with her overcoming three match points against Sharapova. If she wins -- hey, I got it right again.

All for now.

COMING SOON: Backspin Time Capsule: 2006 U.S. Open - "Drama for Drama's Sake"


Blogger 孫邦柔 said...


Wed Aug 18, 11:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kevin Pondikou said...

I really do believe that the Hard Courts is where my hear is.

Wimbledon may have the prestige but the US Hardcourt Season is the Season in which Tennis player of a lower calibre then Leytton's Ex make their living.

I am beginning to evolve as a tennis voyeur by seeing that life is not all Barbie dolls, twitter outbursts and fashion faux pas( though it is a huge chunk of it).

I hope the standard of tennis in terms of finances has defintitely been heightened to orgasmic levels, but I do hope that the journey women of the WTA tour, without whom the GOAT battles could rage have a piece of their cake and eat it too.

Thu Aug 19, 05:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

"Lleyton's Ex"... I like that one. I might have to borrow it. :)

Thu Aug 19, 10:35:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fri Aug 20, 11:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

"If by some amazing turnabout Serena were to miss the Open, with her New Haven title defense no factor since it takes place after the Open draw, the Dane would likely be in position to be the #1 seed in NYC. How weird would that be?"

Either your crystal ball is spotless, or your cursing powers are almighty!

I wonder who's the "most" cursed: the thirteen-Slam-winner injured player who misses her favourite Slam, or the twenty year old player #1 seed who might not be able to stand the pressure?

Sat Aug 21, 01:05:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you've followed the Montreal tournament you are not that affraid of the pressure on Caro. The way she OUTplayed Schiavone wit 81% fist serves, 0 double faults AND 7 aces. CARO rules and so does the Montreal audience - nice to see PEOPLE attending tennis games unlike Diego and Cinny.

Sat Aug 21, 04:27:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1*Serena W*7895
3*Jada's mum*5325
4*Venus W*5176
9*Li Na*4015

Caroline rules!

PS If you wonder a little about e.g. Carolines number then remember it's the best of 16 tournaments and her semi in Montreal gives 395 and replaces 125 point which you have to minus Montreal - OK

Sat Aug 21, 04:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kevin Pondikou said...

Thank God for a consistent player such as Carolyn Wozniaki.

The WTA Tour needs consistent top performers willing to grind it out on the tour&also play in the lesser tournaments.

Although how these tournaments can be deemed "lesser" is a mystery to me.

Sat Aug 21, 05:35:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Of course I follow Montréal, I live there ;)! Unfortunately, despite your comment about the crowd, this year is a "bad" year; I feel there are not as many people there as usual.

She was impressive against Schiavone. But I don't want her to go forward (I'm sorry, I'm a Kuznet fan, and it's time for revenge for the last US Open :D). But if she does, nice then.

But Montréal pressure and US Open pressure are quite different things. A few ravel in the latter, most are overwhelmed by it. Yes, Wozniacki is strong enough mentally to be in the first category. I hope she can do it, for her career (see Ivanovic) and for tennis. But we'll have to wait.

Sat Aug 21, 09:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I think Wozniacki's mental toughness is pretty sound. Her physical fitness appears to be quite sound, too. She is obviously poised to make a big run, and now it's just a matter of the draw....

Sat Aug 21, 12:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Zidane, I knew I shouldn't have bought that used crystal ball from that guy on eBay. Maybe C-Woz should wrap herself up in blankets and sneak into NYC immediately after she's finished in Montreal. Too many bad things are happening to too many players. Wozniacki a #1 seed at the Open... I get a feeling people are already preparing all their talking points about why that "proves" that the WTA is (fill in the blank with whatever insult will fit the conversation).

Really, could the WTA have any worse a week than one that sees Henin announce she's done for the season AND Serena says she's officially out of the Open? On a side not, I wonder how much the odds changed in the last 24 hours for either both or one Williams Sister to actually be able to play in those Fed Cup matches they've committed to in a few months?

Federer is looking good again, though.

While the women's final weekend in NY could be crazy, might the men's be something of a return to normal?

Sat Aug 21, 01:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

I guess it COULD get even worse, considering that Leo & Els' Devoted Daughter was injured in Montreal, too.

I guess she should have known, though. After all, she missed her chance to defend her Open title in '06 after getting injured (wrist) in Montreal. She then retired before the '07 Open rolled around.


(I guess this means we're going to get a steady diet of Maria, Caroline and Venus in the night matches on Ashe, huh? If they lose early, ESPN2 will be frozen in terror.)

Sat Aug 21, 01:56:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you can use this remark I had for the defeat of Dementieva:

Dementieva was not impressive in her game. A strange way to serve she's got. Who on earth thought that out - she's using too much energy just to remember how her trainer wants her to do it. ;-) She won't get far with a performance like the one today - so back on track you're still in the game.

Has been brought on but I think it's a pretty good way to describe her mysterious serve ;-))

Sat Aug 21, 07:58:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caroline Wozniacki nick names:

Miss Sunshine, Wozzy,(short Woz), C-Woz, Caro (she uses this on her racketbag)and a nice one The Golden retriever. :-))

Sat Aug 21, 08:03:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's grotesque what goes on in Montreal - it's NOT a way to treat a lady! Theres must be some way they can end this farce INDOOR so the players can get on with their next tournament. Are there any rules for this - they are threatening with final on Tuesday! - they must be kidding!

Sun Aug 22, 06:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Unfortunately, Hoergen, things are not that simple. It's a real dilemma happening here. They CAN play indoors, but there's no structures to play indoors AND have thousands of spectators watch. And this is not actually a problem: Montréal is not a city big enough to have two tennis stadiums, or to have a roof (Roland Garros still doesn't have a roof).

On one side, you have 8 players (4 in singles, 4 in doubles) still waiting to complete their tournament, who will most probably have to cancel their activities for next week should they have another tournament in their schedule, or reorganize their training schedule.

On the other side, you have the two most lucrative days of activity jeopardized. The organization and the sponsors cannot afford to reimburse those who bought their tickets in order to have the players end it indoors.

In addition, the fans have to be considered. You mentioned how nice it was to have people attending the matches in Montréal. One of the main reasons for that is the respect that fans and spectators get from the organization. Montréal fans deserve to see the finales and to be considered in that decision. One cannot ask for people to pay and wait to attend the matches, while not having to show them any respect.

And finally, the New Haven tournament has to be considered. It might lose some of its big names, as well as it will have to reschedule many things.

Since everybody loses from this situation, at this point, they're looking for the lesser evil. Trying to respect the players as well as the organizers and the fans. In the end, however, I'm quite sure most of the players left in the tournament don't mind much. Most wouldn't have played next week, or would have cancelled in order to get a week free before the US Open or would have gone straight to New York.

Respecting the players' needs is important. But respecting the tournament organization's needs provides the players for a good feel, a good atmosphere and good arrangements. Respecting the fans provides the players the chance to play in front of real crowds and being supported. Respecting the fans' and the sponsors' needs allows the players to receive respectable amounts out of their efforts. Consequently, this all ends up being in the players' "advantage" (still considering this is the lesser evil) as well.

Mon Aug 23, 12:08:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know you are right of course, but there are several solutions to this. I doubt that Montreal hasn't got an arena with 5-10 thousand seats for other sport arts. A tennis ground can be placed in any sports arena like that. It's only a matter of good will BOTH from the city, owners of halls and the tournament to make ends meet. It will of course cost to rent a hall but owners will earn a lot of good will if they are only getting the fundamental cost. WTA tour and City has to give a sum of money to keep a tournament as big as this in Montreal. Another idea was to make spectators watch on big screens what goes on inside in the tennis arena next to the stadium. I know it's not ideal but nobody wins in this situation, but they maybe don't lose so much as now.

Mon Aug 23, 04:44:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it ended in happiness for all parts - also me. A very well deserved victory without any chance from the oponent. Throught the week she was the one with most acec, highest 1st serve %, stediest games a.s.o. Looking forward to Todds comments - well 11 wins to go.

Mon Aug 23, 03:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Well, Montréal politics 101, you are asking too much in putting "good will" and "city of Montréal" in the same sentence.

Two closed stadiums could have made the job:

(1) The Bell Centre (the huge hockey amphitheater - it's Montréal after all), but the centre is occupied quite all year (when there are no hockey matches, there are music shows and other similar stuff). And so it should have been booked much sooner.

(2) the Olympic Stadium. Unfortunately, the stadium is a sensitive issue here, people (unfortunately) feel ashame about it. And instead of trying to improve it or make it better so that people could be proud of it, the City and Québec government are ignoring it at best, killing what remains at worse. For instance, they are about to permanently close the roof. An Olympic Stadium with a permanent cement roof! Only in Montréal.

However, Wozniacki's victories are interesting. I'm curious to see what she'll do in New York.

Mon Aug 23, 05:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Zidane -

We're still glad we got the Nationals/Expos from you guys, though. Even if Strasburg IS eventually run into the ground, I guess. :)

Mon Aug 23, 10:10:00 PM EDT  
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Wed Jul 06, 11:57:00 PM EDT  
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Wed Jul 06, 11:57:00 PM EDT  
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