Tennis-X Notes: Sharapova Says No to Miami, Kournikova Sued
by Staff | March 23rd, 2008
  • 47 Comments

HE READS BOOKS TOO: Mardy Fish after beating Roger Federer last week in Indian Wells: “Actually when I won that first set I remembered something from James’ (Blake’s) book. It was a quote from [Fish's former coach] Todd Martin who told him, ‘If you can win one set, you can win two.’ So I stuck with my game plan and went for it. These courts are really slow and all the players I have beaten this week defend really well but when I’m the aggressor I’m not sure they like it.”


ANDY AND JIMMY NO LONGER SITTING IN A TREE: From the blogging Doug Robson: “I ran into one of [Andy] Roddick’s handlers today and he relayed some interesting info, including more insight into his split with [Jimmy] Connors, as well some new digs for the Austin basher. According to my source, the last straw for Roddick-Connors came a week or so before he arrived in Dubai, where he beat No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic for his biggest title since the summer of ’06. In a nutshell, Roddick wanted to stop in New York City on his way back so he could spend time with his squeeze, the blonde S.I. swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. He asked Jimbo to come to the Big Apple to train. Connors told Andy he preferred him to come to his home in Montecito. It was a good old-fashioned standoff. Neither would budge. Not hard to imagine, is it: Two bull-headed champs standing their ground. Vexed that Connors wouldn’t be more “flexible” considering the princely sum he was paying the eight-time champ from East St. Louis, Ill., the two had a longer conversation about their working relationship, travel, commitment. One thing led to another and…Kaput. The split didn’t involve breach any contract since Connors was being paid on a weekly basis. The split follows a pattern in recent years with Roddick, whose earnest but edgy personality can wear thin over time. His hyper mind also gives him a wandering eye for coaches.”

MARIA RUNS THE TOUR?: How can Maria just say she’s skipping Miami, the biggest WTA Tour event outside of the Slams, to take a rest without getting a fine? When much of her travel has been for exhibitions and sponsor appearances? She needs a week off? She has a week off before she has to play in Miami. What a crock, the WTA Tour needs to respond.

BEST MESSAGE BOARD HEADLINE: “Is it just me, or does FSN (Fox Sports Net) make ESPN look fantastic”
Justin “Mardy You’re a Credit to the Game!” Gimelstob — dial it back a bit and remember you’re media, not a PR intern.

NOBODY BEATS AMERICANS 42 TIMES IN A ROW: Mardy Fish’s win over world No. 1 Roger Federer in Indian Wells broke a streak of 41 consecutive wins against Americans for the Swiss.

THE WEAKER WING: Rafael Nadal did not have a backhand winner in his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells.

PAT MAC INTO HALL OF FAME: Patrick McEnroe has been elected into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Men’s Hall of Fame. McEnroe will be inducted in a ceremony on May 21 at the 2008 NCAA Tennis Championships in Tulsa, Okla. McEnroe was a three-time singles All-American at Stanford (1986-88) and helped the Cardinals to two NCAA Team Championships in 1986 and 1988.

THE DOMINATOR IS BACK: 30-year-old Dominik Hrbaty made a comeback from double elbow surgery last week at the Sunrise (Fla.) Challenger.

HOW MUCH WAS THAT APPEARANCE FEE?: Steffi Graf defeated Martina Navratilova in an exhibition match in Tokyo.

KOURNIKOVA NOT ON-SONG: Songwriter Christopher Swann is suing Anna Kournikova and Lions Gate Entertainment in Federal Court, claiming they used two of his songs without permission on the DVD, “A Date With Anna.” Swann says Kournikova’s representatives contacted him to use the songs and he refused, but he happened across the Kournikova DVD in a video store and found it contained 22 minutes of his copyrighted works.

U.S YOUTH RACQUET SALES UP 80 PERCENT: Racquet shipments have increased 42.1 percent in units since 2003, with the fastest-growing segment youth racquets, with shipments increasing 80 percent according to the Tennis Industry Association.

OLYMPIC SHUT OUT: Marion Bartoli on not being able to participate in the Beijing Olympics for Italy after blowing off the Italian Fed Cup team: “It has been a situation where it was really hard for me to integrate the Fed Cup team, and with the situation after Wimbledon when I was in the final, first Slam, and I didn’t play against Italy, and we didn’t find a situation where it’s possible for me to integrate the team. So if I’m not playing the Fed Cup I can’t play the Olympics. It’s simple as that. I don’t care about this [Olympics] much, because I have to play back to back the French and Wimbledon, and then going to Montreal and Beijing and then come back to US Open and go to Tokyo again is really too much traveling…What I really want to play is to play Wimbledon 2012, and I would really commit myself to play this Olympics. I would find the solution, I am sure, with the French Federation.”

MCENROE PASSES ON OLYMPICS: First Andy Roddick announced he would not participate in the Beijing Olympics, now Patrick McEnroe has followed suit. The U.S. Davis Cup captain says he will not travel to Beijing to coach the U.S. men’s team. Instead USTA coach Rodney Harmon will lead the team, with Jay Berger as an assistant coach. Both coaches work in Florida out of the USTA High Performance program at the Evert Academy. “I just felt like, I’ve been there, I was lucky enough to have the experience,” McEnroe told the AP. “I’ve been the captain for eight years. It seemed like a good opportunity for someone else to have that experience.”

PETE GOES TO THE SOUTH AMERICAN BANK: Pete Sampras will collect some exo cash in May when he travels to South America to face Marcelo Rios in Santiago, Chile, on May 18, and David Nalbandian on May 20 in Buenos Aires and May 25 in Sao Paulo, Argentina.

HAVE ANOTHER CHALLENGE: The USTA announced it will give players an extra video-replay challenge per set this year at the US Open, making for three challenges per set and one more if the set goes to a tiebreak.

LINDSAY MISSES DANCING: Lindsay Davenport was scheduled for a night match at Indian Wells during the debut episode of Dancing with the Stars, featuring her pal Monica Seles: “I am so bummed,” Davenport said. “I play second after 7 p.m. I’m like, what are the odds that that happens? But I’m so excited for her. I’m hoping someone in this area TiVos it for me so I can watch it after my match. I sent her an e-mail today wishing her good luck, and there’s signs in the locker room for all the players to vote for her and watch. I swear, she’s so great, she’s so courageous I can’t wait to see her.”

LET’S NOT FAKE AN INJURY: Serena Williams speaking to Sportstar on playing her sister Venus in WTA Tour meetings: “Oh, I would love to play her more often. It is not that we avoid playing each other. We have different managers and tour schedules are pretty different and we don’t get to meet each other. That’s all. I loved playing her in Bangalore and all the good time that we had here together, we shopped, which we have not done for quite some time.”

ROLE MODEL OF CONSISTENCY: Serena Williams in 2003: “Also, [Venus and I] consider ourselves role models and we always thought that a lot of teenagers and a lot of pre-teens look up to us and say, ‘I want to be just like them. They’re positive and they’re fun.’” Serena in 2008: “I don’t think I set out to be a role model or icon. I just wanted to play good tennis and enjoy doing that, and I will continue to do that.”


Also Check Out:
Anna Kournikova 3D in Maxim October Issue [Video]
Sharapova v. Azarenka in Saturday Screamfest Battle for Miami Title
Sharapova Shrieked-Down by Azarenka in Miami Final
They’re Back
Shocker as Sharapova Withdraws from Miami, Fine on the Way?

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47 Comments for Tennis-X Notes: Sharapova Says No to Miami, Kournikova Sued

Anom Says:

Didn’t sharapova pull with an injury? You get fined for that now?


jane Says:

This is the second posting about Sharapova pulling out of the SEO in 2 days. Yes, she cited her shoulder problem as the reason for her withdrawal. Sheesh. What about the William’s sisters boycotting of an event – seems slightly more problematic, no?


Zola Says:

Jane,
I was not a fan of Sharapova until last year, when an opponent won her by jmping up and down in front of her and distract her. She herself said in her presser that was her tactic! They asked Sharapova and she said that didn’t matter. She lost because she did not play well enough. I love Serena’s fire on the court but she is unbearable in a press conference after a loss. I don’t like Maria’s shrieks at all but I have lots of respect for her after that incident. She carries herself like a champion. no excuses. I think the media should give her a break. I hope her shoulder gets better.


jane Says:

Zola,

I know Maria has flaws: she’s not an all-round athlete and doesn’t have the shot-arsenal of, say, a Justine. And there’s the shrieking. But man, I so admire her determination; she works so hard (she doesn’t rest on her laurels – or on her blonde and leggy looks, like another certain Russian tennis player in legal troubles at the mo) and she is so feisty on the court. Like RAFA! Btw, I am sorry Rafa lost as I really didn’t want him to lose points; I wish he and Djok could’ve played in finals again this year. But Rafa had some great, confidence building matches and I really hope he gets to the quarters or deeper at Miami so he equals or betters last year’s results.

Cheers.


Nick Says:

“OLYMPIC SHUT OUT: Marion Bartoli on not being able to participate in the Beijing Olympics for Italy after blowing off the Italian Fed Cup team:”

Marion Bartoli is French, not Italian….


Dr. Death Says:

I would love an explanation of this on Bartoli. The EU is getting to be too much if one can be French and Italian.

However, whatever Bartoli does, I hope she does not bore us on tv with her non-style of tennis.


Skorocel Says:

Zola said: “I was not a fan of Sharapova until last year, when an opponent won her by jmping up and down in front of her and distract her.”

Huh? Can you please elaborate on this one?


grendle Says:

Radwanska kept shifting backwards and forwards as Sharapova prepared to serve – at US Open last year.


Zola Says:

Skorocel,
As grendel said ( thanks grendel, I had forgotten the name), Maria lost a match to Radwanska. Every time she wanted to serve, RAdwanska would move to the service line, jump up and down and would move back after Maria served. I think she said on court after she won, that she knew from somewhere that Maria gets distracted by that, and that’s what she did to win the match. I remember tracy Austin said, you got to win and maybe PMac or someone else said this was not right…..

Anyway, if MAria told in her press conference that she lost because of distraction, no one would have objected. Instead, she said she lost because her opponent played better than her. It really made me change my mind about her. I thought she was a class act.


Zola Says:

sorry it was the debate between Austin and courier. Lucky for tennis that Courier was there. You don’t want Austin as a coach for your daughter!

this is a clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8knA5g2x3E


Skorocel Says:

To Zola and grendel:

Thanks for clearing the things up, even though that video link somehow didn’t work :(

Anyway, tough to say. Did you ever notice what Bartoli does when her opponents are serving? Pretty similar I guess… The same about that Chang vs Lendl FO 1989 match (though I can’t confirm what was happening there as I didn’t see it). Huh, even Williamses were doing this!

I remember when my fellow Slovak Daniela Hantuchova lost that tight AO 2008 semi to Ivanovic – in the post-match presser she said that when she was about to serve, Ana was continuously chaffing with her boots, which, according to Daniela, disturbed her… What a silly excuse! Even though I (as a Slovak) would be glad to see her in the finals, I believe she lost that match PURELY because of: 1. choking, 2. a couple of stupid errors, which she made in the penultimate game (where Ivanovic broke her in the end)…

Anyway, I’m sorry to ask you this Zola, but when you (as a fan of Sharapova, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, as a fan of Nadal) consider that Radwanska’s tactics disturbing, then HONESTLY, what do you think about:

- those Sharapova’s stupid shrieks?

- those 30 s+ long breaks between the points (which both she and Rafa do EVERYTIME they play)?

- those 2 medical timeouts in the Monte Carlo 2006 final, which even the biggest tennis laicus would understand Rafa chose PURELY TO DISRUPT FED’S RHYTHM?

- Rafa “suddenly” lacing his shoes when entering the Wimby center-court before his 2007 final vs Fed only to make the Swiss wait like an idiot?

- Rafa letting the opponent wait till he’s finally ready for the coin toss and then jumping before him in similar fashion like a boxer does before the staredown?

- Rafa and Sharapova ilegally receiving some advices by Toni (and that crazy man named Yuri, respectively) during their matches?

- Rafa taking literally an eternity to be finally ready to return the opponent’s serve (by sweeping the baselines from clay and then adjusting his socks)?

- Rafa’s signature on the camera after the Davydenko TMC 2006 RR match, where he just wrote Fed’s surname and then scratched it?

The list could go on and on…


Zola Says:

Skorocel,
don’t get me wrong. I am not a Maria fan. But I don’t dislike him anymore and somehow I was able to tolerate her shrieks during Australian Open. I think she played great. don’t ask me about papa sharapove. Ask Maria.

I watched Huntechova-Ivanovic match ( btw, just go on youtube and you can find clips). Everytime she was about to serve, Ivanovic would squeek her shoes. Even the commentators talked about it and said the umpire should do something about it. It was indoors and the noise was very uncomfortable. I noticed the squeeking in IW too, but perhaps the outdoor noise nuetralized it. It wasn’t nice.

About Toni coaching Rafa, I believe it was a Federer tantraum because he was losing to Rafa. I have watched Rome 2006 and did not see where Toni was coaching. It is more typical of Federer to get nervous when losing. As he did in Wimbledon this year.

About Rafa’s shoes, etc., I have not seen anyone complain. He is a very nice person and is friends with most of the guys on tour. He is very concentrated on what he is doing. I am sure if he did that to insult other players, people would not respect him as much as they do.

why don’t you talk about positives? When he defeated Andre, did he stand back in Wimbledon to give Andre his time with the media and the people? Has he ever made excuses for a loss? Could he simply retire against Ferrer in USOpen or against Youzhny in Chennai? the list goes on….


Zola Says:

Skorocel,
btw, I want to make it clear that I don’t want to start a debate about Sharapova or Rafa or Toni or whoever here. You asked a question and I answered. That’s my last comment about it. I am perfectly OK with you not liking Rafa.


Skorocel Says:

To Zola:

I’m also perfectly OK with you liking Rafa :) Yes, you’re true that Fed got nervous in that Wimby 2007 final – I have no problems to admit that. The guy really shouldn’t have complained about the Hawk Eye system, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, should’ve refrained from screaming: “Challenge that!” at Rafa – that’s true. But you know, it just bites me that you (as a Rafa fan) consider such things like that Radwanska’s tactics disturbing (or unsportsmanlike) – yet your favourite player himself has some history in doing these things…

About that Rome 2006 coaching, well, as far as I know, Fed once screamed “That’s okay, Toni!” on Rafa’s uncle (or something like that), so I guess there must be something on it, don’t you think? You may claim you didn’t hear anything when watching the match, but you know, the players COULD…

Re: that Hantuchova vs Ivanovic AO 2008 semi, well, I can tell you I’ve seen the match live (on Eurosport), and to be honest, didn’t notice a thing. Frankly, would you notice it if those commentators haven’t mentioned it? The point is, if Daniela found it disturbing, then WHY she didn’t find it disturbing when Ana was moving DURING THE RALLIES? If you’ll next watch a match played on hard-court, try, just for fun, to concentrate on the sounds which the players’ boots do (especially when there’s a certain long rally), and you’ll find it almost comical (or better said, even more disturbing)…


Zola Says:

Skorocel,

***it just bites me that you (as a Rafa fan) consider such things like that Radwanska’s tactics disturbing (or unsportsmanlike) – yet your favourite player himself has some history in doing these things…***

this is not true. What Radwanska did was deliberate and was during the time that Sharapova was serving. I have not seen this from anyone, let alone Rafa. Your bias clouds your judgement. You can find fault in anything Rafa does and I can’t stop you. So, I let you be.

About Hantachova and Ana, I like Ana more and I noticed the noise before the commentators. It was just too loud. Anyway….I guess this will go nowhere.


Daniel Says:

I am not trying to put fire on the debate, but Rafa clearly gets tips from his uncle a lot, specially against Fed’s. It’s very annoying! If I can watch the French this year as I intend to, I will bring a poster saying: “Look at his uncle and mark the F*%^&*… time?” and will seat in front of the umpire! :)


Zola Says:

Daniel,
Show me a clip where Rafa gets instructions from Toni. It is always easy to throw allegations, hard to back them up. But I can show you many clips where players even for challenges, look at their team. Rafa is never one of them, because he plays in a very concentrated mood. Some people say he plays in a trans.

It is pretty obvious that your allegations against Rafa are not objective but stem from your hatred towards Rafa. Your language gives it away. So, there is no use for me to argue with you or try to convince you otherwise.
Enjoy your Rafa hatred. Seems you have company here.


jane Says:

Zola,

It’s beyond me how anyone could hate Rafa! He seems so respectful and focused on his own game. But these things are subjective, so what can you do? :-0


grendle Says:

Daniel: this business about players getting coaching from the stands – why does it matter? I mean, someone does something with his fingers with his tongue hanging out, or shuts one eye and wriggles his left ear, these things being code for summat or other – why would it make a tangible difference to a professional tennis player? When Henin constantly looks to her coach, it’s reassurance she is seeking, isn’t it. Apparently, she’s the type who needs reassurance. It strikes me as absurd that someone as skilful and knowledgeable as her could possibly need instruction. And the same for all of them, really.

I’m not trying to make an argument, Daniel – I appreciate your posts. I’ve just never understood this particular gripe. It is true that, according to the tennis code, “coaching” is illegal. But here, I think you have to say, the law is an ass. I recall Myskina (lovely player – what a pity she’s given the game away) making a fuss about poppa Sharapov “coaching” his daughter. But really, this was just about Myskina not liking Sharapova, don’t you think?

Skyrocel: I saw the Hantuchova-Ivanovic match. My elder son is a keen fan of your countrywoman, and always adopts a hopeful mien as he settles down to watch her. He understands tennis a lot better than me, and he has convinced me that her game is right up there with the very best. But he’s beginning to droop a bit. There’s only so much disappointment you can take. She looked like thunder, didn’t she, as she came off the court: poor kid couldn’t face the fact that it was another self-destruct job, hence the squeaky shoes stuff and so on. I do think we posters are a bit tough on these players. We expect them to be so truthful and honest with themselves. Just like we are, eh, in the difficult moments in our lives. I have no information, but my guess is that Hantuchova’s coaches will all have tried to boost her, insisting that she is one of the very best – which is true. But then, this will make the constant failures all the more difficult to bear – and maybe even unintelligible. If Hantuchova is, in a way, a head case, I think we should look on this with compassion rather than contempt. In a very real sense, it is not her fault, since we choose neither our nature nor our nurture. Which doesn’t alter the fact, of course, that she is completely maddening…..


jane Says:

I’ve always liked Hantuchova but she is a painful player for whom to root. I remember how she’d always implode, when she first burst onto the scene as one of the initial tennis “hotties” – it was so hard to cheer for her, then to watch her lose a lead and collapse into tears. She seems to have hardened her resolve with age, but I’d sure like to see her come through one of those difficult matches. My feeling towards her is definitely one of empathy, but at the same time, I rarely cheer her on anymore. She really should’ve had Ivanovic at the AO.


Daniel Says:

Yes, these whole coaching are subjective. But there is a big difference when a coach gives a look to incentives their protégées and saying instructions like Toni Nadal, who puts his hands close to his lips, and say it pretty visible. I don’t recall precisely in what matches these behavior happens, but I am not blind. And for Federer manifested as he did, it probably was clear. If I am not wrong it was in MC and Rome 2006, epic battles when Nadal use everything he could to win. Fair victories, but to me, kind of ugly (I am sorry if I don’t have any tangible proof of the coaching, but I am certain that a lot share the same view). These things diminish the victories. The same way that Fed was favorable due to rain delay in Wimbledon, that insane schedule will always be in our minds.

The players tend to look a lot to their coaches to get themselves motivation and keep the focus or when a player is having his ass kicked and make an expression kind off “I am not doing nothing wrong, did you see that?!”. My point is that I always have the feeling that Nadal’s habits somehow make the opponent look like a fool (especially with the time between services, the coaching is bad taste but don’t bother me that much). And there is nothing worst then the feeling that you are being cheat, deceived. To me is a little bit of lack of respect. If Nadal had a different coach, maybe his habits would change?!

In professional tennis, as a gentleman’s (respectful) sport, a player wouldn’t need to ask for the umpire to mark the opponents time between services like Tsonga did. That is my vantage point!

And last, I don’t hate Nadal, in fact, I am liking him more and more every day. If you stop to think that he is only 21, undefeated in Paris, still humble and handle the pressure, the press and everything the way he do, is astonishing! Just because I disagree in some points people start leading it to hate. I like almost everyone on the circuit, and first of all, good tennis. As I mentioned before one of the things that create a lot of conflict in this blog is that we get ourselves attached with our player’s preferences beyond critics.

Zola, I even put a smile in that sentence when I use “bad” language to make a joke with the time issue, to avoid misinterpretation, sorry! The last thing I want is be marked as intolerant and associated with hatred.


Daniel Says:

grendel

Yes, that is my whole point; the players shouldn’t be disrespectful with one another as human beings and as tennis players. But, they are young proud people with huge egos and even separated with a net, sometimes seem that they need to feel like furious animals prepared to eat each other!


rogers twin sister Says:

How about Yuri Sharapov wearing a hoodie and dark glasses at the AO match between Sharapova and Henin? If that wasn’t an intimidation tactic, I don’t know what is. Then he caps it all off with a throat-slitting gesture. Of course, Maria giggles and says, “It was just an inside joke.” I fully believe the two of them cooked it up to unnerve Justine, and it worked.
Also, let’s not forget the banana coaching when she played Henin at the 2006 US Open final.

The point I’m making is that Sharapova is no innocent angel when it comes to “gamesmanship,” a ridiculous spin on “bad sportsmanship.”

As to Henin looking to her coach: let’s remember that she didn’t start that nonsense. She finally joined in since everyone else was doing it…starting with the Williams sisters and Sharapova.


jane Says:

I think it’s all Yuri, but I may be being naive. Somehow Sharapova doesn’t seem that conniving to me, and thus she’s left trying to explain the antics of her ridiculous father, who is probably overbearing and the bane of her existence. Imagine – his daughter is losing, and so does he show her support, cheer her on? No. He leaves the stands in disgust. He’s a jerk.


MMT Says:

“rogers twin sister” you’ve got an amazingly long list of things wrong in such a short comment:

1) Sharapova’s father did the “throat slicing” after the match, not during, so it had no impact on the result at all

2) I’m not sure how Shaparov’s choice of attire is an intimidation factor – was Henin to think that she’d be whacked if she won? I’m sorry, but that’s absurd.

3) Henin has looked in her coach’s direction since she joined the tour – she’s always had the same coach, so it’s not a new thing she decided to do because everyone else is doing it

4) This has nothing to with the Williams sisters – their father hardly even attends their matches anymore, and has never been accused of in match coaching – your antipathy towards them is revealed in this rather obtuse attempt to embroil them in this imaginary web of “gamesmanship”


Von Says:

Albeit, I’m not a Sharapova fan, I didn’t see anything wrong with her father’s attire. It was a very cold day and I suppose the hooded garment was more for protection than for the use of intimidation. However, his assassain-type throat cut gesture was in poor taste and should be discouraged. Maria at times, has displayed poor gamesmanship, e.g., her antics/semantics in which she engages between serves. These little quirks cannot easily be extinguished, since they have now become part and parcel of her serve ritual. There was one occasion at the ’07 (?) FO in her match against Patty Schnyder, wherein Schnyder held up her hand, and Maria just coontinued to serve, even though she saw Schnyder’s hand up — Schnyder lost the point, the game, the match, and Sharapova just remained silent. That was extremely poor gamesmanship on Sharapova’s part. it was reminiscent of Justine’s poor gamesmanship at one of the FOs also, wherein a similar incident occurred between Serena and Justine, and the same result ensued, Serena lost the match, and Justine won.

Justine, on the other hand, has always looked over to her coach for assurance and it’s amazing that one who is so skilled is equally lacking in self-confidence. I remember hearing her state after one of her championship wins that her coach has implored her on several occasions to discourage her habit of looking over at him. This too, like Sharapova’s pre-serve antics, can be very difficult to change. I suppose we’ll just have to live with these little idiosyncracies of each player.

The Williams’ sisters, especially Serena, even though guilty of sore loser comments, should not be included in the use of ‘gamesmanship’. This is not their style and have transcended that aspect of their game. They are great champions and have relied solely on their skill to win matches, minus ‘gamesmanship’ tactics.

In sum, many of the players are guilty of gamesmanship and are not innocent little darlings as we would want to believe. But to paraphrase Daniel’s comment, because we like certain players, we are accepting and overlook their actions which come under the umbrella of ‘gamesmanship’.


jane Says:

At first I thought Justine’s lack of confidence might’ve been due to her evil husband, but it doesn’t seem to have dissipated since her divorce; she still looks to that box endlessly.

I’d beg to differ on the Williams sisters & gamesmanship: I think Venus is an honest and fair player but I am not so sure about her sister. Take Wimbledon last year, Serena’s leg cramp, while seemingly very real, came at a strikingly opportune time in her match against Hantuchova. She also often stares down and even glares at her opponents, sometimes going so far as to call them names under her breath (at least I think I heard that once). But I have never seen the Williams girls coached from their box, and it seems that once they are on the court, they are usually very focused players. Personally, I prefer watching Venus, though.


jane Says:

But Von you’re right – subjective perception definitely plays a role in this.


grendle Says:

rogers twin sister: “gamesmanship” – or, if you insist, “badsportsmanship” (actually, I think it’s rather a clever spin off; language doesn’t stop still, you know) – is one thing. And that’s a contentious enough matter in itself. The question of “coaching” is really quite another. My point simply is: even if it goes on, so what? Are we really to suppose that it is ever, in any way, instrumental in procuring victory for a player?

I believe now we have the laughable situation whereby in some womens’ tournaments, overt coaching is permitted between the sets. And after play resumes, we’re back to the banning of even disguised hand signals.

Who thinks these things up?


Von Says:

jane:

“..subjective perception definitely plays a role in this..”

Absolutely, it’s how we interpret these behaviors. I think we as fan/spectators are all guilty of imposing, what we believe, to be proper or improper conduct by these athletes. It all reverts back to our upbringing and our morals, and some of us have made up our own set of rules, regulations and codes of conduct, whereby we expect these athletes to adhere. However, it’s not gonna happen, and we can debate and reiterate them until we’re blue in the face, it won’t change anything. End result, instead of exasperating ourselves, we’ll just have to accept and resign ourselves to the fact that when these players get on court, XYZ is going to happen, it’ll be easier for us to handle, as our frustration will only lead to detract from our enjoyment of these matches. Players and coaches will always find ways and means to circumvent the rules. As the saying goes, ‘the smarter the govenment, the wiser the population’.


Daniel Says:

Jane, agree with you 100% regarding Venus. She is so much more classy then Serena and so focus that sometimes she not even raise her hand to apologize when a ball hits the net and go her favor, avoiding that awkward moment . To her is part of the game, and she thinks: let’s go to next point. Period!


grendle Says:

Also, Daniel, Venus never complains. I’ve only seen her use hawkeye once, and that was at AO. She seems to just accept bad line calls as part of life. There was that ridiculous business with Sprem, who seems to have disappeared b.t.w. wonder what’s happened to her, when the umpire actually got the score wrong in a tiebreak, 2 or 3 Wimbledons back, to Venus’ detriment. You could see that both players knew it was wrong – Sprem actually looked the more startled – but no complaint was made, and Venus was out. Quite bizarre. She declined to make a song and dance about it afterwards. A philosopher, in the old fashionned sense of the word.

The year Kuznozova won US Open title – largely thanks to Davenport injury, frankly – the real final took place in semis, between Venus and Davenport. Serving for the match, there were umpteen deuces. The commentators started to giggle nervously. You could sense a shifting amongst the spectators. Davenport let out some wry grins as she heaved herself up for one more serve. Venus’ expression never flickered. Absolute focus.

Again, at the last US Open the real final, once again, was in the semis – this time between Henin and Venus. Personally, I thought Henin a little lucky to get out of that one. But no complaints or excuses from Venus – although some were forthcoming from the parents, including this nonsense about coaching.

Since Hantuchova was under discussion earlier, I remember Venus beating her at Wimbledon several years ago, when the Slovak was a young up and comer. Asked about her opponent, Venus remarked she could see no reason why she shouldn’t go far, provided she knuckled down to it. That may seem banal, but it is sort of typical of her down to earth attitude. She is above all a professional.


Skorocel Says:

To grendel: I’m not quite a big fan of the Williamses, but you’re right about that Sprem match. Credit to Venus for not complaining – even though she had million reasons to do so! To be honest, I’ve never seen something like that in a tennis match. Even though I quite liked Sprem, she should’ve at least appealed to the umpire to correct the score… I mean, what the hell Allan Mills and co. were doing?

I agree that Lindsay should’ve won that USO 2004 (actually, she should’ve even won the Wimby in that year – if there wasn’t that rain-break in the Shriekapova semi, of course), but I guess the other semifinal between Capriati and Dementieva wasn’t a bad match as well, was it?

I know what you’re trying to say with that coaching stuff… It surely ain’t gonna decide the match (after all, it’s still on the player HIM/HERSELF whether he/she can implement those necessary changes in his/her game or not), but you know, if it was of absolutely NO help, then WHY they would ever bother to look at their coaches? Furthermore, if it’s still BANNED, it also tells you something about both the player’s and the coaches’s class…


Skorocel Says:

Daniel said: “If I am not wrong it was in MC and Rome 2006, epic battles when Nadal use everything he could to win. Fair victories, but to me, kind of ugly (I am sorry if I don’t have any tangible proof of the coaching, but I am certain that a lot share the same view). These things diminish the victories. The same way that Fed was favorable due to rain delay in Wimbledon, that insane schedule will always be in our minds.”

“If Nadal had a different coach, maybe his habits would change?!”

You’re right, but you know – there’s one, quite big difference… Whereas Nadal and his uncle KNEW and COULD REFRAIN from what they were doing (I’m not only talking about that coaching, but most importantly, about those 2 medical timeouts, which Nadal chose in MC), how do you think could Fed be guilty of having the luxury of 5-6 days of rest in that Wimby 2007 tournament?! The truth is the guy finished Safin just in time, whereas Nadal couldn’t do that with Soderling – despite leading 2 sets to love…

As for Nadal’s coach, I agree. It’s maybe only my personal opinion, but anyway, I’m convinced it’s actually Toni who taught Nadal these silly things (medical timeouts, mind-games before/during the matches, etc.)… Even though it’s nice to see him applaud the opponent’s shots, I just don’t trust that wicked look in his eyes… But again, that’s just my personal opinion…


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Agree on the Sharapova part completely. I don’t care what her father wore on that particular day, but that throat-slicing gesture was just unnecessary… The same about that Schnyder vs Shriekapova and Williams vs Henin FO matches (though I can only make conclusions from what I hear, since I didn’t see them)…


Von Says:

My, oh my, you’re a busy little beaver, aren’t you. Every thread I go to I find you there. We have to stop meeting like this. :)

Btw, those matches, Henin v. Serena and Schnyder v. Sharapva, really caused some bad blood, especially between Serena and Henin. The handshake at the end of the match was merely a brush of palms. Schnyder on the other hand, was as gracious as usual. A pity she has not been able to win more titles, since she’s such a solid player. So many unsung heroes.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

The above post was meant for you. I omitted to insert your name. Shame on me. :)


Skorocel Says:

Von said: “My, oh my, you’re a busy little beaver, aren’t you. Every thread I go to I find you there. We have to stop meeting like this. :)”

Yay, I knew you would sooner or later come up with this one :) But seriously, I just took a little timeout, but within a couple of minutes I’m back in that “March madness” (you know, it’s not that “madness” which Sean’s been pointing to :) )…


Daniel Says:

Skorocel, you said exactly what I was thinking, but better! I just don’t trust Toni Nadal and his hidden smile. As for Fed finishing his matches faster, you are also rigth. Nadal should finish his matches as soon as possible. Djoko made his homework and stopped wasting time on court. Look how he is doing!


grendle Says:

Suppose the powers that be decided to change the rules. Coaching becomes completely permissible. No need for any disguises, go ahead and make clear what it is you think the player should do, hold out placards if necessary.

Reckon that’ll change things any? Can’t see it. The great commentator (the former great doubles player) Frew Macmillan reckons this whole coach business is overblown. He meant that he couldn’t see that it would make a decisive difference to Federer whether or not he has a coach. And that’s a full time coach! What’s a bit of grimacing from the stands going to do?

Of course, gamesmanship generally is a different matter. Some people, for example, think Blake was put off his rhythm by Nadal’s excruciating slowness. There may well be something in that, I don’t know. There again, some would say that if you want to be a champion, you’ve got to learn to put up with that sort of crap. It may be unfair, but……


Skorocel Says:

To Daniel: The way Rafa plays his matches (i.e. taking all those long breaks between points & generally taking a lot of time) is just one side of the coin. What I meant was that he should’ve finished Soderling in three sets (which, if I remember correctly, was possible before that seemingly endless rain came out)…

To grendle: Frew McMillan was one helluva good commentator – that’s correct! Together with the former umpire David Mercer, these two used to be a very seasoned duo of skilled and knowledgeable commentators. Boy do I miss them! Are they still with Eurosport?


grendle Says:

Skyrocel: Chris Bradnam and Simon Reed are main eurosport commentators. But we still get David Mercer and, though more rarely, Frew Macmillan. He must be knocking on a bit! You know Bill Threlfall was commenting with Eurosport till last year. Then he went and popped his clogs. He was 82!


Skorocel Says:

To grendle:

Yes, I’ve heard about that Bill Threlfall’s passing (didn’t know he was working with Eurosport, though)… He used to comment the MS tourneys and the Shanghai TMC broadcasted by Sky Sports, didn’t he?


grendle Says:

Yes, you’re right. I get Eurosport and Skysports, so I got them confused. Threlfall was sky sports. Very old style Englishman. Peter Fleming is the best value onSky Sports, I think.


jane Says:

Does anyone know – has Henin been ill or something? Seems like ages since I’ve seen her on the court (not since AO in my case).


grendle Says:

she’s 4-2 up against Kerber of Germany right now.


jane Says:

I see, but I was just wondering if anyone knew what kept her out of IW…

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