Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Woman with the Rose Tattoo



Apparently, life begins at 29... at least when it comes to women's tennis players in Paris.

A year ago, a nearly-30 year old Francesca Schiavone threw herself mind, body and spirit into winning Roland Garros just weeks before her thirtieth birthday, thereby reinvigorating the notion that anything was possible in the sport as long as a player is willing to work long enough, hard enough and with as much passion as necessary to achieve the task at hand.

"It like fine wine," Schiavone said this week as she returned to France for the defense of her one and only slam title and fashioned an even more improbable run to a second consecutive final, "Stay in the bottle more is much, much better." Thing is, the same sentiments equally applied to the Italian's opponent in Saturday's women's final, 29-year old Chinese vet Li Na. "When I come here, I feel something special," Schiavone remarked of Roland Garros in recent days. She always will. But, now, so will Li. Because Paris is where she today not only claimed the first slam title of her career, but did so for the entire sporting nation of China, as well as for the budding tennis revolution filled with "wannabe Na's" that her accomplishment will undoubtably help to further spur to bigger and greater heights.



In the women's slam final with the oldest combined age of its two participants ranking the fifth-highest ever, and the highest on tour since the 1998 Wimbledon championship (Jana Novotna vs. Nathalie Tauziat), Schiavone's artistic endeavor to write yet another favorable ending to a springtime trip to the City of Lights proved to be no match for "the Henny Youngman of women's tennis" -- "take my husband, please!" -- with a few billion far away souls on her side. After her semifinal victory over the favored Maria Sharapova, Li had openly discussed the effect that her success might have on the future of many girls and boys back home. "Maybe children, they saw the match, and they think that maybe one day they can do the same or even better," she theorized, accompanied by her always-ready-to-light-up-the-immediate-surroundings smile.

Four months wiser after her losing experience in the Australian Open final against Kim Clijsters, Li didn't show up at Chatrier Court wondering how she was going to once again use her hitting partner/deposed coach Jiang Shan in another comedic punchline, which she'd done with great humor in Melbourne as well as after her come-from-behind 4th Round win over Petra Kvitova in Paris. She came to win. With Jiang, for whom Li has a rose tattoo over her heart lest there be any questions about the strength of their relationship, in the stands sitting along-side new coach Michael Mortensen, Li went about the business of becoming a groundbreaking soon-to-be-legendary figure in the minds of many of the players who'll one day make their own dreams come true in professional tennis.

As the final began, something that would become a match trend was immediately noticable. Like the three other Top 10 players that the Chinese vet had vanquished along the way in Paris, Schiavone had a hard time breaking through Li's mix of offense and defense, two styles which she liberally intermingled in her game throughout the afternoon as the situation warranted. After having so often played defense against the big hitters from previous rounds, Li better utilized the offensive weapons that they couldn't against HER in her own tactical plan of attack against Schiavone's variety-filled game of creative angles, slices and volleys. The 1st set was decided but by a few spare points, but it was Li who was in control of them.

Li's forehand winner got her a break point chance in the opening game of the match, though the Italian managed to hold. But, later, after racing to cover a Schiavone drop shot and putting away a volley following Schiavone's scrambling retrieval, Li was gifted with two more chances to berak. She only needed one. Schiavone couldn't effectively respond to another big Li forehand, and her errant shot sailed out to give Li a break and a 3-2 lead. Serving at 5-4, 30/30 Li took a Schiavone return and smacked a winner from the baseline. When the Italian's forehand sailed on set point, Li claimed the opening stanza 6-4 on the strength of a 15-3 edge in winners.

"Be that self which one truly is," said dead Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. And that was what a desperate Schiavone was in search of as the 2nd set began -- her true self. Try as she might, though, she had a hard time successfully discovering her free "Francesca flow" against Li, who was having none of it.

In game #1 of the set, Li reached triple beak point after her deep, driving groundstrokes pinned Schiavone on the baseline, keeping her off-balance and unable to utilize all her shots as well as the entire breadth of the court, as is her desire. To this point in the match, Li had actually approached the net as often as the volley-seeking Italian. Schiavone saved two break points, but Li finally grabbed a 1-0 lead on the third. From there until the end of the match, Schiavone would often briefly resemble her "old" self for a few shots in a rally, as she did in game #2, during which she abruptly ended her own potential surge by pushing a shot just beyond the lined boundaries of the court. In that same game, Schiavone DID finally get her first break point of the match after a rally in which she managed two volleys, but Li threw in an ace and held for 2-0.

With time running short, Schiavone spent most of the 2nd set simply holding on, possibly hoping that things would eventually break her way as they did in the QF match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in which she escaped a 6-1/4-1 deficit against the 19-year old Russian. Twice the Italian was threatened with going down a second break of serve, as Li continued to come out on top in rallies by ending them with winners that weren't the risky sorts of shots like those of Sharapova, but were simply solid and effective strokes often set up by the same crosscourt forehand that tends to pull opponents wide of the court that has proved to be her bread-and-butter shot throughout this Roland Garros. The Chinese woman held break points in both the 3-1 and 4-2 service games of Schiavone, but Schiavone held for 3-2 and 4-3.

After that second hold, though, the moment arrived when Schiavone found a way to get back into the match. Showing signs of slight tentativeness as her formerly deep groundstrokes began to fall a few feet short, Li blinked in the face of the occasion. Just a little. But it was enough to spur Schiavone on as the defending champion made an attempt at pulling off yet another Parisian passion play. The t-shirt donning Francesca supporters of '10 -- this time sporting clothing emblazoned with "Schiavo Another Show" -- had something tangible to cheer about for the first time. Finally with enough room to operate on her side of the net, Schiavone began to use the entire court again and force errors from Li. She got a break to knot things at 4-4, then held twice for 5-4 and 6-5 leads, the latter service game being won at love in another two-volley game played in the style that had helped her string together thirteen straight RG wins.

But right when it looked as if a classic Roland Garros final might be about to break into the clear on Chatrier, producing the first three-set women's final in Paris since the Capriati/Clijsters 12-10 3rd set thriller in '01, one point sent things in a direction that could never be reversed. With Li serving at deuce, down 6-5, a Li shot on the right sideline of Schiavone's court was called wide. The Italian celebrated being just one point away from knotting the match a one set each. But then the chair umpire raced across the court to examine the mark in the terre battue, quickly ruling that Li's shot had hit the edge of the line. Rather than having set point, an upset Schiavone found herself down game point. After she netted a backhand to end a short rally after initially thinking that Li's previous shot wasn't going to make it over the net, causing her to relax for a moment and then have to lunge at the last instant at a ball that she wasn't properly prepared to hit, the defending champ found herself in a life-or-death tie-break. Out of sorts, Schiavone wouldn't win another point in the match. Whether the Italian's concentration was broken and she was unable to get it back, or if it was Li's continued calm under pressure after her earlier wobble, that caused the clean-sweep of the remainder of the match, it's a shame that what looked to have been budding as the 2nd set wore on wasn't allowed to fully blossom due to the natural flow of the match. But the umpire made the call that she felt was correct (and it seemed to be so), so there's no unfair blame to place in this situation.



In the tie-break, Li grabbed a first-point mini-break by winning a very Francesca-like point in which she both volleyed and lobbed over Schiavone to lock away a 1-0 lead. Later, she expertly moved Schiavone from side to side on the baseline and took a 4-0 lead. The Italian, unable to stem the Chinese's woman momentum, missed an easy volley and it was 5-0. Schiavone was three mini-breaks down and the course of history seemed assured. And it was. Schiavone's long backhand ended the tie-break with a 7-0 score, giving Li eight consecutive points following the changed line call. With her 6-4/7-6 victory in hand, ironically the same scoreline as in Schiavone's win in the final over Samantha Stosur last year, Li dropped her racket and slid onto her back in celebration behind the baseline.



"If at first you don't succeed... so much for skydiving," Henny Youngman famously joked. Well, luckily for Li, her inability to become the first Chinese grand slam singles champion didn't prevent her from taking the opportunity to succeed in her SECOND attempt to do do. As she celebrated her win with the terre battue caked on the back of her shirt being carried with her as she ventured to the net to shake Schiavone's hand, the rest of Chinese tennis history will now carry the memory of HER with it.

As Schiavone talked this past week of falling in love with Roland Garros when, as a junior, she watched the 1999 Steffi Graf/Monica Seles semifinal from the stands and said that she wanted "to be like them," the same is likely the case tonight back in China. Last year, it was Schiavone giving rise to future "little Francescas" by becoming the first Italian slam champ, "little Na's" by the thousands (millions?) will soon be running around the court with rackets as big as they are trying to emulate their new heroine.

Interestingly, at the '99 RG that Schiavone mentioned, Graf was 29 years of age when she pulled off what was a surprise title run to claim the final slam crown of her fabled 22-slam win career. Of course, that's the same age at which both Schiavone and Li have now gone down as FIRST-time slam titlists.

Sometimes things just seem to work out that way, I guess. It's just a matter of time... and life beginning whenever you desire it to do so.



=NOTES=
...as with Schiavone a year ago, the success of Li, who quit the sport at age 20 before returning a couple of years later, SHOULD serve as an inspiration to the still slam-less players in the WTA field as much as Li's win today might be offered up as a shining light in the eyes of any number of little Chinese girls when they reach a similar stage on tour a decade or more from now.

In the current Sports Illustrated, Caroline Wozniacki's post-defeat comment from last week about "knowing (she's) a great player" was pretty much sneered at because she's yet to win a slam, although she's won far more of everything else than any other player on tour over the last few seasons. Yes, slam titles ARE, on many levels, how history sorts out the "greats," but it seems a bit absurd to offhandedly and comprehensively indict the sport's entire younger set (heading up the "worst-ever" era of women's tennis, as SI put it) because they are collectively struggling to claim their maiden slam crowns and/or deal with the pressure associated with high expectations. Honestly, it seems all-too-easy, especially when it's coming from former players who either never won a slam themselves (Pammy) or never won another after the Sisters rose to power (Lindsay), to beat those players and their sport over the head with the notion that loads of college-age women are somehow "abject failures" because they aren't the best in the world at something yet, even though some won't even be legally allowed to buy alcohol (or will just barely be) when they arrive in North America for the hard court circuit later this summer. The fact is, if those players WERE trading off slam titles, many of those same critics would likely ignore them or fret that there was no DOMINANT player. Remember last year, when the nonsensical, apocalyptic idea was put out into the ether that Schiavone willing RG was "the worst thing that could happen to women's tennis," rather than the heartwarming "Moment of the Year" that it actually was? Case in point.

It's easy to rip apart and take verbal shots at failure in sports (♥ ya, Kim), but it's just as important to give credit when it's due (psst... Oz). Ah, but in a perfect world. Thankfully, in the new world of women's tennis, life CAN begin at 29, or somewhere close to it.

Neither age, an aversion to a surface (clay is Li's "worst" surface... but she winningly says she "likes it now"), the doubts of others nor even the abandonment by a coach (Thomas Hogstedt, who left Li for Sharapova this year, only to be recently replaced in the Li camp by Michael Mortensen, who helped her pull off something greater than Hogstedt ever did) should deter any player from thinking that they can't one day ultimately accomplish what they set out to do. Be it tomorrow, the next day, or the next year. Or maybe even long after that.

Of course, when was the last time a professional tennis player REALLY learned anything from watching another tennis player? At least not until they're old enough to realize that they can learn something valuable from just about anything that they do or see, that is.

...hmmm, there's an interesting little "connectivity thread" streak going on in Paris:

The whole thing began at the 2008 Roland Garros, the one that took place right after Justine Henin had abandoned her potential defense of her '07 title for her first retirement just weeks before the tournament began. Henin had beaten Ana Ivanovic in the '07 final, and the Serb ended up replacing the Belgian as the champion one year later, defeating Dinara Safina in the final. In that same RG's semis, Safina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova. One year later, Kuznetsova defeated Safina in the 2009 final in Paris. That year, Francesca Schiavone lost to Samantha Stosur in the 1st Round, only to come back in 2010 and defeat Stosur in the final. Lastt year, Schiavone beat Li Na in the 3rd Round in Paris, only to have the Chinese vet come back to get HER in the 2011 final.

If this pattern continues in 2012, does this mean that Li will fall victim to the likes of a Sharapova, Azarenka, Kvitova or even Schiavone in next year's final, or that the next (different) champion will defeat yet another player she lost to at this year's RG?

Who says LPT doesn't still have a presence in this slam? In a sense, she "kicked off" this weird little Parisian streak when she didn't show up to defend her title in '08. Where this run stops nobody knows... but one might say that Justine's "blood" is still coursing through this event.

...Roland Garros really needs to add an on-court interview component to the post-match ceremony, ala the other slams. Sure, there'd be the question of whether the questions should be presented in French, considering the native language of most of the fans in the stands (it's not an issue at the other English-speaking slam host cities), but it likely would have allowed the winning personalities of Li and Schiavone to shine through a little more in the moment than occurred today when they individually addressed the crowd after the match without the aid of an interviewer who might have been able to help produce a few of the genuinely hilarious and/or knowing moments that the two players usually produce in such Q&A situations. Tired and in quite different emotional states right after the final, they weren't really thinking about how to be entertaining. Really, the closest we got to catching a glimpse of the crowd-pleasing Li from Melbourne came when she opened her address by noting how her win is a pretty good present for her friend in the stands who was celebrating a birthday on this Saturday.

It'll take five years for a roof to be installed in Paris, but this could be taken care of far quicker.

...hmmm, I wonder if the "life begins at 29" standard for tennis veterans in will be extended still further tomorrow in the men's final when 29-year old Roger Federer attempts to put a startlingly successful stamp at the beginning of the tail end of his "championship years" by taking out Rafa Nadal for the first time at Roland Garros? As hard as it is to believe after all he's done, such a win very well could rightly move a 2011 RG title to the very top of Federer's already massive list of career achivements.

Of course, Federer still has one more slam to play in London before he turns 30.

...once again, I wanted to mention Li's quote from the other day, when she said of the kids back in China, "Maybe children, they saw the match, and they think that maybe one day they can do the same or even better." When was the last time we heard an American star utter a similar comment after a big win? It's probably been quite a while, and it's certainly the case if you're talking about many of the previous generation's U.S. stars when they were in their slam-winning heydays. Maybe that at least offers up a partial explanation for how America's tennis fortunes have been going for the last decade when it's come to finding the immediate replacement stars who should really be contending for slams right about now on the men's and women's side?

...the Netherlands' Demi Schuurs was denied her second slam Girls Doubles title of 2011 when she, along with partner Victoria Kan, lost in the junior final to #2-seeded Irina Khromacheva and Maryna Zanevska.

...and, finally, it's been announced that Chris Evert will be returning to the tennis commentary booth this summer after a ten year absence. Evert will join ESPN's coverage of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, possibly joining John McEnroe for some matches after having teamed with him in the past on NBC.

It's always good to have past greats in the booth, as long as they have worthwhile opinions to share. In recent years, Evert seems to have been even more willing to express her thoughts about the current players on the tour (mostly after having taken over Tennis magazine), so hopefully this will be a nice addition to an ESPN crew that has sorely missed Mary Carillo's viewpoint this slam season.

Really, the only bad thing here is that Martina Navratilova is over on Tennis Channel (teaming to great effect with Carillo at this RG, I might add) and a possible All-"Rivals" booth pairing isn't in the cards.




*WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL*
#6 Li Na/CHN def. #5 Francesca Schiavone/ITA 6-4/7-6

*MEN'S SINGLES FINAL*
#1 Rafael Nadal/ESP vs. #3 Roger Federer/SUI

*WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) def. #7 Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS) 6-4/6-3

*MEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#2 Mirnyi/Nestor (BLR/CAN) def. Cabal/Schwank (COL/ARG) 7-6/3-6/6-4

*MIXED DOUBLES FINAL*
Dellacqua/Lipsky (AUS/USA) def. #1 Srebotnik/Zimonjic (SLO/SRB) 7-6/4-6/10-7

*GIRLS SINGLES FINAL*
#9 Ons Jabeur/TUN vs. #5 Monica Puig/PUR

*BOYS SINGLES FINAL*
#14 Dominic Thiem/AUT vs. Bjorn Fratangelo/USA

*GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL*
#2 Khromacheva/Zanevska (RUS/UKR) def. Kan/Schuurs (RUS/NED) 6-4/7-5

*BOYS DOUBLES FINAL*
#4 Artunedo Martinavarr/Carballes Baena (ESP/ESP) def. Krueger/Vinsant (USA/USA) 5-7/7-6/10-5




*OLDEST FIRST-TIME SLAM CHAMPIONS*
Francesca Schiavone, 2010 Roland Garros (29 years, 347 days)
Jana Novotna, 1998 Wimbledon (29 years, 9 months)
Kerry Melville-Reid, 1977 Australian Open (29 years, 5 months)
LI NA, 2011 ROLAND GARROS (29 years, 3 months)
Amelie Mauresmo, 2006 Australian Open (26 years, 7 months)

*ACTIVE SLAM SINGLES CHAMPIONS*
[w/ first slam title]
13...Serena Williams, USA [1999 US Open]
7...Venus Williams, USA [2000 Wimbledon]
4...Kim Clijsters, BEL [2005 US Open]
3...Maria Sharapova, RUS [2004 Wimbledon]
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS [2004 US Open]
1...Ana Ivanovic, SRB [2008 Roland Garros]
1...Francesca Schiavone, ITA [2010 Roland Garros]
1...Li Na, CHN [2011 Roland Garros]

*FIRST-TIME OPEN ERA SLAM WINNERS AT RG*
1971 Evonne Goolagong, AUS
1974 Chris Evert, USA
1976 Sue Barker, GBR
1977 Mima Jausovec, SLO
1978 Virginia Ruzici, ROU
1987 Steffi Graf, GER
1989 Arantxa Sanchez, ESP
1990 Monica Seles, YUG
1997 Iva Majoli, CRO
2003 Justine Henin, BEL
2004 Anastasia Myskina, RUS
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Li Na, CHN
--
NOTE: Ann Haydon-Jones won first career slam at '61 Roland Garros, before Open era began in '68

*2011 WTA LEADERS*
[Titles]
4...Caroline Wozniacki
3...Victoria Azarenka
3...Petra Kvitova
2...LI NA
[Oldest Titlists]
31y,9m - Greta Arn, HUN (Auckland)
31y,3m - Alberta Brianti, ITA (Fes)
29y,10m,3w - Lourdes Dominguez Lino, ESP (Bogota)
29y,3m,1w - LI NA, CHN (ROLAND GARROS)
28y,11m,3w - Li Na, CHN (Sydney)
28y,9m - Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP (Estoril)
28y,2m,2w - Roberta Vinci, ITA (Barcelona)

*2011 CHAMPIONS - defeated defending champ*
Auckland - Greta Arn (def. Wickmayer in Final)
Pattaya City - Daniela Hantuchova (def. Zvonareva in SF)
Miami - Victoria Azarenka (def. Clijsters in QF)
Roland Garros - Li Na (def. Schiavone in Final)

*CAREER WTA TITLES - CHINESE*
5...LI NA
3...Zheng Jie
1...Sun Tiantian
1...Yan Zi




TOP QUALIFIER: #21 Sloane Stephens/USA
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #8 Samantha Stosur/AUS
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #6 Li Na/CHN
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): #6 Li Na/CHN
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: Ekaterina Bychkova/RUS d. Lindsay Lee-Waters/USA 3-6/7-6/10-8
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #3 Vera Zvonareva/RUS d. (Q) Sabine Lisicki/GER 4-6/7-5/7-5
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): QF - #5 Francesca Schiavone/ITA d. #14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS 1-6/7-5/7-5
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Final - #6 Li Na/CHN d. #5 Francesca Schiavone/ITA 6-4/7-6
=============================
FIRST WINNER: Simona Halep/ROU (def. Alla Kudryavtseva/RUS)
FIRST SEED OUT: #19 Shahar Peer/ISR (lost to Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez/ESP)
UPSET QUEENS: The Romanians
REVELATION LADIES: The North Americans
LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING: Chan Yung-Jan/TPE & Nuria Llagostera-Vives/ESP (3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARDS STANDING: Iryna Bremond/FRA, Caroline Garcia/FRA & Pauline Parmentier/FRA (2nd Rd.)
IT GIRL: Caroline Garcia/FRA
MADEMOISELLE & MADAM OPPORTUNITY: #5 Francesca Schiavone/ITA & #6 Li Na/CHN
COMEBACK PLAYER: Casey Dellacqua/AUS
CRASH & BURN: #2 Kim Clijsters/BEL (lost in 2nd Rd. to #114 Arantxa Rus/NED after leading 6-3/5-2 and holding 2 MP; worst slam result since 2002)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #7 Maria Sharapova, RUS (down 6-3/4-1, 2 breaks, in 2nd Rd. vs. Garcia)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: #11 Marion Bartoli/FRA (SF)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Virginie Razzano/FRA
DOUBLES STARS Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Monica Puig/PUR




All for now. More tomorrow.

10 Comments:

Blogger Hoergren said...

Something new to write about -eh? Nice that an Asian woman won a slam. Again nicely commented by you - and Soren (if I may). Nice to see Danish influence again. The Woz camp providing Li with a new coach from - Denmark - Michael Mortensen. Like a little fairy tale isn't it - maybe you can use HCA in a later edition - Ugly Duckling, Clod Pod among others. Well it's been fun to see the quotes from Soren. Keep up the good work and follow your favourite Dokic in Copenhagen.

Sun Jun 05, 04:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Speaking of Copenhagen, while I can understand some of the other players playing an indoor hardcourt event that'll end a week before a grass court slam, and I KNOW WHY Wozniacki is playing there, I've still got to question why a world #1 seeking her first slam isn't preparing for a slam with either a grass event or practice on grass courts.
I realize she played the event back home in '10, but it was in August then and made more sense.

Not playing there with the event in this slot in the schedule is just one of the tough decisions she has to make, I think. If there were three weeks between RG and SW19, okay. But not with only two. Again, she'll arrive at a slam barely having caught her breath.

Sun Jun 05, 10:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Yes Li has the good mix of defense and offense. Mostly importantly she looked mentally and physically strong. I wonder if she cam bring the momentum to the next slam?

To be honest I still miss Justine in RG. She just has something extra when she played in Paris, like a little magic. And I miss the star power of the players these days.

Sun Jun 05, 10:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Oh, I forgot. I HAVE thought about using HCA like that, by the way. :)

I think I'm going to "play straight" with Wimbledon, though.

Sun Jun 05, 10:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Jo-

Yeah, I do agree with that. While I dismiss some of the complaining about the WTA because the drama of unknown makes up for the absence of dominating, head-strong champions, there is something of a longing for the sort of head-to-head meetings that DEMAND your and everyone else's attention that we're just not seeing very often. Probably Serena/Sharapova, Serena/Venus or Serena/Clijsters are the only ones that exist right now (and most of those players haven't been playing).

Sun Jun 05, 10:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jeppe said...

Living in Copenhagen, I can tell you that there is absolutely no way Wozniacki would chose not to play this tournament. It is simply not an option. It is 'her' tournament, just like Belgrade is Djokovic's, and it wouldn't exist without her.

I agree that the place in the calendar is a bit unfortunate this year (in 2011 it will be moved up to the week after Charleston), but having said that, playing indoors on a lowbouncing hardcourt might not be the worst transition from clay to grass, especially if the alternative is hanging around in the locker room in Edgbaston or Eastbourne waiting for the rain to stop. I also wouldn't discount the value of the home town love Caro will receive this week - it certainly seemed to boost her last year, when she had a great run to the end of the season after winning in Copenhagen.

Mon Jun 06, 06:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

I notice the figure in the tournament's logo sort of looks like Wozniacki. Not a coincidence, I guess. :D

(I remember an event in India having a logo that seemed to have a version of Mirza in the past, too.)

Surely the placing this year is an odd situation. Horrendous, really. There should be three weeks between the slams anyway, and the tour scheduling anything other than grasscourt events in that space is lunacy (and in past seasons they've even stuffed another clay event in there), even if the hard court surface isn't a total criss-cross for what comes next (of course, even playing on somewhere on grass isn't the same grass/balls, etc. as at Wimbledon, but still).

The ATP doesn't schedule quite as stupidly, holding four grass events over the two weeks. And putting one in Denmark, when you know the #1 player will play in it? There wasn't a spot somewhere else on the schedule for '11? Stacey Allaster is always lauding Wozniacki for doing so many things to support the tour, so you'd think she wouldn't be put in such a situation. You'll notice that Djokovic's event isn't scheduled within a two-week slot between the two most different slams of the season.

I'm glad to hear that's changing next year, but a little forethought and intelligence would have been nice this year, too.

That said, she'll probably win and feel good when she arrives in England. So at least there's that.

Mon Jun 06, 11:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Carl beat own face in with large rock.

Mon Jun 06, 03:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Maybe HE had something to do with the WTA's schedule. :)

Mon Jun 06, 07:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

The place for the Copenhagen event is not good but this is better than last year because of the tournament in Baastad - it's also an international tournament and as #1 you are NOT allowed to play more than 1 each ½ year and many of Carolines fans is in Sweeden so they had to move Copenhagen so Baastad is in the other half - wierd rule actually.

Tue Jun 07, 10:37:00 AM EDT  

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