What a weekend for Nike and IMG (International Management Group). Nike/IMG clients Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer win US Open titles, and Tiger Woods gets major pub watching the Fed make it happen.
Interesting how the very first on-court question from Dick Enberg to Roger after his title was about Tiger sitting in the stands. Just a hunch, but I doubt the next time Tiger wins a golf Slam with Federer in attendance the first question to Woods isn’t going to be if having Roger watching added to the pressure. But I guess that’s the problem with tennis these days here in the U.S. Who’s watching can be just as if not more important than the event itself in our biz.
What was really amazing was reading that while the men’s final TV ratings fell 15% – no Andre Agassi so I get that – the women’s title bout featuring tennis queen Maria Sharapova only rose 3% from last year’s drab Kim Clijsters-Mary Pierce finale.
Three percent! Are you joking? That must be a numerical mistake. Pierce-Clijsters was an awful final match-up for the Open last year, while this Saturday’s Sharapova-Henin was probably the “dream.” And only a 3% difference? Obviously Maria is not the drawing card that Madison Avenue would have us believe.
Maybe it’s the grunting, maybe it’s her “ugly” game, maybe it’s her manufactured image or maybe it’s something else – Yuri cheating? Who knows, but I’ll be anxious to hear the WTA spin.
Who would have believed a month ago Roddick would finish the US Open at ranked No. 3 in the ATP Race? Just about everyone would have bet the house on that NOT happening, myself included. But it is fun to have Andy and his intensified antics back in full force. And remember detractors, he’s got few in the way of points to defend between now and next summer so he’ll only be making up ground on Roger and Rafa (in points that is).
What I love about Roger, though, is when he goes deep into the ad side corner of the court on the backhand side to retrieve a ball. Just watch how he takes what seems to be a thousand baby steps, then he bends his knees and flicks that backhand with appropriate follow-thru including the continuation of the baby steps. That’s how ya do it. Baby steps…remember that.
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