Jankovic, Ivanovic, Williams Sisters Headline Doha WTA Championships; Nadal Out of Shanghai
by Sean Randall | November 3rd, 2008, 10:39 pm
  • 45 Comments

Does anybody actually care about the Doha WTA Championships? I’m sure are there some pockets of people that do, but overall there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of buzz about the event. Then again, I’m not seeking to find that WTA buzz, nor do I or even this site put the women’s tour front-and-center as much as we do them men.

But I this case, since it is their final stop of the year, I’ll take some space to discuss it and give them some love.

First, why is this event in Doha? Is that the best place the WTA could find to host the tournament? Was Mobile, Alabama unavailable? Helena, Montana? Madison, Wisconsin? Yeah, I know money talks and tennis almost always listens.

Onto the field…

From my little knowledge of the event (I admit it!) I believe it’s structured the same way as the men, with two groups of four players with the top two in each advancing to a knockout semifinal, then final.

The draw/grouping have already been done and the four Russians have been split up, which is too bad because I would have liked to have seen a Russia v. The World theme. (Maybe next year.) While the Russian got split, the Serbs and the Williams sisters did not!

My gal, the top-ranked Jelena Jankovic, and Ana Ivanovic are in the white group along with Sveta Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva.

In the Maroon group (why maroon, anyone?), it’s Serena and Venus Williams plus Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva.

Of the two groups, I’d have to rate the Maroon tougher with the Williams sisters, Safina and gold medalist Dementieva. All four girls are capable of walking away with the title. But I like Venus and Safina to emerge.

In the White group I think Jankovic will get through and I’m going to lean to Ivanovic to beat Kuzy in the No. 2 showdown. Sorry Vera, more tears await.

So the semifinals, I’ll take Jankovic v. Venus and Safina v. Ivanovic, with Jankovic defeating Safina in the final.

By the way, matches begin Tuesday with Jankovic v. Ivanovic as the main attraction. And unless I’m mistaken the event is on TV here in the U.S. on ESPN2 and on the Tennis Channel. I’m not certain of the times.

Moving on to other news…

The big story today in tennis is the confirmed withdrawal of Rafael Nadal from the Tennis Masters Cup. I’d call it a pseudo-shocker as I think many of us saw it coming but few really thought he’d actually do it. At least that’s how I felt. Why he played Paris we’ll never really know, but perhaps that was the design all along, to play Paris, skip Shanghai as long as the No. 1 ranking was secured, and concentrate on the Davis Cup final.

So is it the right move for Nadal or the wrong move for the sport? Probably both. I don’t know just how bad this knee injury is but I’m guessing had Spain not been in the Davis Cup final I think Rafa would be headed to Shanghai right now. It seems to be more or a precaution, so again, Rafa fans should not get terribly worried over it. If he’s unable to go for Davis Cup, then feel free to hit that panic button. Then again what the hell do I know.

But it is bad for the sport not to have Rafa in Shanghai. His absence will change the dynamics of the tournament, and that’s too bad for the fans and organizers. Recall Rafa won the gold medal there in August so I’m sure he’s got quite a strong following in China.

The loss of Nadal also means that Roger Federer will go winless vs. his chief rival this year (0-4). But Fed will be able to pick up some points on Rafa looking ahead to next year, provided the Swiss has recovered sufficiently from his back ailment.

There has also been some mild speculation that either/both Juan Martin Del Potro or Andy Roddick may also withdraw. We shall see, though either would be a surprise, especially newcomer JMDP.

All of this injury/withdrawal talk has agains heated up the debate over tour scheduling, which James Blake came out against recently saying “it couldn’t be a clearer signal that the year is too long. There’s too many mandatory events, too many times that we have to be playing. Look at baseball players, football players, basketball players, they have a real off-season. That’s why they’re playing into their 40s and we’re retiring at 30. It’s just tough on our body.”

It’s worth noting that Blake has played 22 events this year, plus three Davis Cup ties, plus being the Shanghai alternate and if I’m not mistaken he’ll also be partaking in that upcoming Asian exhibition series with Federer. Now who put a gun to his head and told him to play that schedule, that many events? And now he’s complaining? Sheesh.

As I’ve said many, many times before, when it comes to the schedule it’s really on the players. But the lure of money is always quite the temptation.


Also Check Out:
Venus Rises, Beats Jankovic to Reach WTA Championships Final in Doha
Jankovic in, Year-end WTA Champs Field Set; Safina No. 1 Again
Serena Williams: I’m A Complete Perfectionist
Serbia Behind Ivanovic and Jankovic Joins Fed Cup World Group, Plans Domination
Williams Sisters, Loaded Field at WTA Rome

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45 Comments for Jankovic, Ivanovic, Williams Sisters Headline Doha WTA Championships; Nadal Out of Shanghai

Giner Says:

It’s true. The tennis season is longer than the season of many other sports.

I do think that it is workable if the Masters and Slams were spaced apart more evenly (no back to backs), and for top players to be discouraged from entering so many smaller events. They should still be free to enter them but instead of counting 5 non-mandatory events, how about counting just 1, unless their result there is better than in a mandatory event?

So let’s say player A is a good player, his best 14 results are counted, which would be 9 AMS + 4 GS + 1 other. Player B is a crap player, his best results came from 14 ‘other’ events because he sucked in all of his mandatory events. Then the mandatory points won’t count and all of his international series events will count instead.

I know this will never happen, but if it did, then players who do well at the AMS and Slams will find less reason to bother entering small events since their points won’t be added. That way they are more or less forced to keep a lighter schedule and will be there for the big events later in the season and not pulling out from fatigue or injury. I believe pullouts from Masters events are legit. I cannot conceivably see why a top player would pull out from a high-paying and high-prestige MS/MC event to play some low profile, low-paying event in some backwater city.


hengky Says:

the white and maroon group name is based on Qatar Flag color


Michel Says:

White and Maroon are the colors of the flag of Qatar


Tennis Spectator Says:

James Blake protests too much.


Von Says:

“Was Mobile, Alabama unavailable? Helena, Montana? Madison, Wisconsin? Yeah, I know money talks and tennis almost always listens.”

Which luxurious resorts can we find in the aforementioned places to entertain the rich and famous? NONE.


Von Says:

James Blake will be the first alternate on the plane to Shanghai. Why didn’t he do something about the schedule when he was part of the player’s council previously? He’s ensuring that his Asian exhos with Federer remains status quo by jumping on the bandwagon of protest on their behalf. Money, money, money.


anel Says:

Sean,I like Your post,that is how I would like them to be:without personal attacks and hatred.I would like Your prediction to be true because Jelena Jankovic is my favorite, but I think that Vera will not cry this time and Venus is going to win it.


JJFAN Says:

I think it’s unfortunate that you didn’t confine this article to the women’s game. The very first post is in reference to the men, and we know the group generally either ignores the women or offers negative thoughts about them. What’s to discuss?


SG Says:

Hey JJFAN,

I definitely agree that the women’s game is worthy of it’s own space. I can’t think of a time when it’s had so many interesting and talented players all near the top of their games at the same time. Only the period in the mid 80′s with Navratilova, Evert, Mandlikova and a young a Graf seems comparable.

This being said, there is one thing missing from the women’s game. Rivalry. The Williams sisters occasionally run into each other these days. Other than that, there isn’t much associate with. There is no Martina-Chris match-up these days tingles the imagination of the fans. I remember there being a lot of hype around the Martina-Chris rivalry. These were two historically great players hooking up for matches.

The men do have that rivalry now and it seems like there has always been at least one in every generation. Rafa and Fed today, Sampras and Agassi in 90′s, Borg/Lendl/Mac/Connors/Becker in the 80′s. I think that men’s tennis has been very fortunate that things have worked out pretty well. If the women can get something this, they won’t ahve share blog space, or any other kind of space with anyone.


JJFAN Says:

But again, you are bringing the discussion right back to the men’s game as the standard. The women do actually have a dramatic rivalry, either determining who can hang on to or solidify a number one ranking or how long the current point leader can retain the rank. To demand that each gender have its dominant player is not “rivalry”.

I just think pro tennis is a lot more than a shootout at the end of the season among slam winners, winner take all. If a “journeyman” with no slam wins takes the whole event, what will the excuse be then for refusing to respect the accomplishment.


Dr. Death Says:

Von – excellent point concerning Blake. Several of the big boys sit on the council and while they could have been voted down, there has never been any indication that there was any protests at the meetings.

You cynical person to think money drives any of this. Perhaps it drives the whole show.

Women’s tennis could be revived from the death grip it is now in by giving the whole thing over to BOSS. It would be sexist, but the audience would be … male driven. Imagine how the events would be if Boss or D&G were to run an event. Impure throughts so sure!


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

Do you have radar or what? I just got on line and there you are again!. Are you sending me some type of subliminal message? :P Please don’t beckon me to my resting place so soon — I’m too young!! :P

Thanks for the kudos. Am I a cynical person to think that money drives everything and is the underlying motivator of all and sundry? Well, you should compliment yourself for that thought. Wasn’t it you who said “show me the money”. I used that quote in one of my posts some months ago, but I remembered to give you credit for the pearls of wisdom. check out my in-depth post on Blake on the http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2008-10-31/640.php“Tsonga, Roddick Serve Up a Treat; Nadal, Federer Opt for Tricks in Paris.”


Von Says:

DD:

I forgot to mention re: Blake, I posted on November 3rd, @5:31pm.


Von Says:

TO ALL:

FYI the Women’s matches are being shown on the Tennis Channel at 9:00 am throughout the day and is again repeated in the evening at 7:00 pm. Enjoy when you watch. I saw the Jankovic/Ivanovic match which was very entertaining.


Stefan Says:

Wow Sean, I guess we should all be so grateful that you finally decided that women’s tennis was worthy of your effort and “give them some love”. Your articles are always so critical of women’s tennis, that’s if it rates a mention at all; even in this apparently ‘dedicated’ article you still brought the article back to the men’s game. Women’s tennis is at it’s most interesting stage in years (albeit Henin’s retirement- extremely unfortunate- was the cause). The season-ending championships being held in Doha is a great chance for tennis fans outside of the US/Europe (shock! there are people to consider outside the US?!) to see and enjoy the atmosphere of top-level tennis in person. Oh and the group colours are maroon and white to represent the two colours of the Qatar flag, just for your information.

No offense intended here Sean, but I’d prefer you stick to writing about the men’s tour; reading your pathetic attempts at reporting women’s tennis is quite a drag.


Von Says:

Ra:

It’s so nice to see you posting here again. :P I missed your sound analysis, so stick around will ya. Thanks for providing the info on Nadal’s knee. I’m glad that it’s nothing more serious like a torn meniscus or ligamenet, but just tendinitis. I’m sure with his diligent adherence to a protocol of anti-inflammatories, rest and ice-packs he’ll be up and running again in a week or so. For a while it seemed very serious, especially the part with the sharp pain running up his leg, but from my little experience on pain, inflammation can cause those scary symptoms.

Will you be watching the TMC? Quite a few changes and new faces from the past 4 years. Tt’ll be interesting to see exactly which final eight (8) players will make up the groups. Enjoy when you watch and visit us more frequently! :P


Von Says:

Despite the fact the threads are dedicated to separate topics, it’s extremely difficult for the writers to keep those threads mainly on the headlined topic because posters will post on the newest thread or the thread that’s active at the time of posting. Also, there will always be comparisons with respect to the men’s games vs. the women’s game. The two are intertwined. Let’s just be happy we have the threads on which we can blog to our heart’s content.


Twocents Says:

Sean, Nadal has an OK following in China consisting mainly hype media (like you, sort of). With 5k years of history, Chinese do have good memories: in 2005 TMC Shanghai, 5 out of 8 qualifiers pulled out. Nadal the no.2 came, watched Fed’s opening 3-set match (vs. Nably), and quit w/o stepping on court. The 05 final btw Fed and Nalby was a 4.5 hour 5-setter. Fed’s Mercedes driver got a call by end of 2nd set to get ready coz Fed’s foot couldn’t hold any longer. But Fed hang in there and blessed Shanghai’s new Qizhong stadium an epic match it craved. Fed told all reporters after the match that he only had faitigue and no real pain. We all saw that he still wore his ankle wrapp at 06 AO. And when Fed came back to Shanghai 12 months later for 2006 TMC, the Chinese therapist found the 05 injured ankle was still a bit swollen. Remeber in 05, Fed’s no.1 ranking was secured in October or so already. He didn’t have to play TMC!

I was at this year’s summer Olympics. Fed’s arrival in BJ got 30 seconds video in the most prestige CCTV National evening news, even though he’s lost WO and no.1 ranking. Fed was voted the 2nd best flag-bearer for Olympic openning ceremoney by Chinese netters, second only to Yao Ming the Chinese flag bearer (of course). Chinese packed the outside court for Roger’s double matches, and always gave him standing ovation. Fed returned Chinese’s favour by stepping back on doulbe court within two hours of losing his single’s match to Blake, and in less than 20 hours returned to court again to play 1.5 match and beat former and current world double no.1 pairs.


gulu Says:

Thank you Twocents for your information about the results of the poll about the best flag-bearers in Beijing Olympics! Glad to know that Fed’s adjudied the second best flag
bearer in China Olympics ! :-)


Sean Randall Says:

Okay, fair enough, maybe next time I’ll consider splitting up the men and women into separate posts when topics warrant.

Stefan, I wouldn’t say that I’m always critical of the women’s game, just maybe 90% of the time, but not “always” as you say. And please don’t tell me having the championships in Doha does more good for the sport than having it London or Paris or even in the U.S. It’s a transparent money play and in this economic climate I understand it. But to think pro tennis is holding events in Doha and Dubai in effort to grow the sport in the Middle East is garbage.

Twocents, thanks for the info. Fed certainly is a much bigger figure than Rafa in China. His ovation during the opening ceremonies a testament to that fact.


JJFAN Says:

Von Says:
Despite the fact the threads are dedicated to separate topics, it’s extremely difficult for the writers to keep those threads mainly on the headlined topic because posters will post on the newest thread or the thread that’s active at the time of posting. Also, there will always be comparisons with respect to the men’s games vs. the women’s game. The two are intertwined. Let’s just be happy we have the threads on which we can blog to our heart’s content.

JJFAN writes:

Why do you think it’s your place to be that patronizing? It is not your site, and you are not a moderator, an administrator, nor an editor.

It doesn’t take much internet and computer savvy to post to a relevant thread. I could point to many cases where older threads remain active while new ones are virtually ignored. I agree that a thread at the top of the queue will tend to attract current posts, but I really don’t think it demonstrates much discipline or even common sense to post to the wrong thread.

I expect to get bullied over this but am not intimidated.

The fact is that the group does not demonstrate respect for women’s tennis. That means that TennisX.com, by way of its staff, does not reflect respect for women’s tennis. If that’s the image the owners want, I expect many visitors will respond accordingly and look somewhere else. Actually tennis.com has a better women’s discussion, clearly and explicitly providing an area for the subtopic (WTA).


MMT Says:

Sean Randall, I agree that holding the WTA YEC in Doha is nothing more than a money grab. It makes no sporting sense to me at all, and I find it mildly ironic that a country that sent and all male Olympic team to Beijing is hosting the WTA YEC. I am also surprised that none of the women in Doha have said anything about this. Perhaps the hope is to build interest in women’s sports in that region, but this seems to me to be putting the (money) cart before the horse.

And JJ Fan – what’s going on? Von is right, Randall can’t control who posts what about his articles, and he did headline it with the women’s game. Posters apparently are more interested in the men’s game, but this can be cyclical, and the editors of this site box themselves into writing about just one subject or another. In fact, it’s their prerogative to write about what they want to write about, and as you pointed out, there are other venues exclusively for the women’s game.

There are always comparisons between the games, and at the moment there’s more interest in the women’s game. Big deal, it may swing back in the other direction very soon if there appears to be more of a consistent “world order” on that side, but right now with #1′s changing monthly, and no reliably interesting rivalries to speak of, that’s the way the ball bounces…pun intended!

Let’s all just take a deep breath and enjoy the end of the 2008 season…on both sides!


MMT Says:

“…and the editors of this site box themselves into…”

should read

“…and the editors of this site should not have to box themselves into…


JJFAN Says:

Von is right, Randall can’t control who posts what about his articles, and he did headline it with the women’s game.

JJFAN writes:

Don’t try to dismiss what I wrote because you didn’t get it. The WTA and ATP articles need to be separate for either of them to be done justice. Otherwise we treat them as men’s articles with maybe some ignored clutter from women’s tennis.


MMT Says:

JJFAN said: “Don’t try to dismiss what I wrote because you didn’t get it.”

I get it – you think he should restrict each article to EITHER the men’s or women’s game, and posts should stick to the subject.

I’m just disagreeing with you. Generally, Randall focuses on the men’s tour, which is his right to do as the author, and regardless, posters can post about whatever they want.

And you did criticize the fact that one of the first posts took up the men’s game (“The very first post is in reference to the men, and we know the group generally either ignores the women or offers negative thoughts about them.”)This is unfair to Randall because that is out of his control.

Maybe you should start your own blog about just the women’s game – it’s pretty easy to do that on blogspot. But personally, and I think the number of readers and posters to Randall’s articles would concurr, I think he does a good job of tapping into whatever is of interest at the moment in professional tennis, and at the moment, the women’s game is just not as interesting to him or me.

The WTA isn’t going to be helped by forcing reporters and bloggers to give exclusive coverage to the WTA. It just needs the fortune of a consistent #1 player and at least one good rivalries with that player to keep interest high. BJK had Margaret Court, Chris Evert had Tracy Austin, Martina had Chris, Monica had Steffi, Hingis had the Williams sisters, the Williams Sisters had each other, then Henin had the Williams sisters.

Unfortunately, at the moment, nobody as nobody.


Sean Randall Says:

With respect to what people post, they can go in any direction of their choosing, as long as it’s related to tennis and within reason. If I write a blog about the men’s tennis and people want to comment about the women’s game, that’s fine. And vice-versa. I’m not going to police that.

To follow up on the WTA, it’s true I don’t give women’s tennis the respect, but neither do the players. If the players don’t care about the WTA events why should I?

That whole circuit is such an out-of-control sham in many ways. The biggest names seem to only show up at the Slams, otherwise they feign injury or just withdraw on a whim. No. 1 players retire overnight. Former No. 1s get busted for coke.

Since May, Serena Williams has played two WTA events until this week. TWO! Venus at least played three entering this week.

I’m not saying the men’s tour has no issues, but WTA has a lot more room for improvement.


JJFAN Says:

MMT writes:

I’m just disagreeing with you.

JJFAN says:

No, you are not, because you present no arguments why you think I am wrong. You can’t speak for Randall. Why do you care? You just want to shut me up. You are “dismissing” my point once again. About what do we disagree? Defending Randall’s choice doesn’t present any argument why men’s and women’s tennis cannot be or should not be separate articles. Why do you need to interfere with my attempt to lobby for separate or less half-hearted treatment of the WTA, save maybe a weekend summary post?

There is plenty of rivalry and great tennis in the current group of women’s players. You just have to follow close enough to know the players and their records. Nothing is interesting, unless you know the environment. If there is very adequate incentive for players to do their best. If all one knows about women’s tennis is who makes headlines by winning a slam, they don’t know much and are not likely to find it interesting. They become a bit like people who are only baseball fans during The World Series.


Von Says:

JJFAN:

“Why do you think it’s your place to be that patronizing? It is not your site, and you are not a moderator, an administrator, nor an editor.”

First of all, I’m not patronizing Sean, with whom I pretty much have a rather stormy relationship, and patronizing people is not part of my personality — I have enough personality to hold my own than to be an a**K/er. Sean is faceless to me, so please tell me WHY I’d want to patronize him. I’m merely speaking from my experience posting on Tennis.X and my observations with respect to the threads. I can guarantee you, by the end of every thread, if you were to look at the topic and the last post, you will see that very few of the posts remained on topic. such is the thinking of the human mind, where deviation is the norm.

Secondly, you are correct; I’m neither a moderator, administrator nor an editor, I’m just a regular poster the same as you are with the right to Freedom of Speech per the First Amendment, and that right of speech accords me the privilege to express myself as I see fit.

Last week when Roddick lost to Tsonga, I saw fit to speak up, along with several other posters, regarding the French crowd’s behavior and the umpire’s ineptness, bearing in mind my post was in no way directed to you, to which you replied as follows:

“JJFAN Says:
Von Wrote in part:

“I’m sorry Andy lost because he played a very good and exciting match, but unfortnately there were some big screw-ups from the inept umpire and lines people. Andy’s annoyance was visible and the incident broke his momentum. some things are just not meant to be.”

JJFAN replies:

“You are searching for excuses. He lost. Tsonga would not go to Shanghai without that win, so let’s leave it alone.”

I didn’t want to create a problem with you, but since you’ve seen fit to pull me on the carpet for my post yesterday, I’ll now ask you, just who the hell are you to tell me to “leave it alone”. that’s how I felt, and like you, I’m entitled to my opinion. Who made you custodian? You are encroaching on my right to Freedom of Speech. and I think in the future before you speak you need to censor your words.

A few months ago you posted under another name with the same MO. I remember commenting on Jankovic’s injury, a player you like, and you cut me off by writing (this is not verbatim but from memory) “It’s the yada yada catty female talk we hear about her all the time.” After that, very few posted on that thread, which seemed to anger you, when you wrote “I see no one wants to comment on the women’s game” (not verbatim). Well, JJFAN, who’s going to want to discuss anything if you’re going to knock them down when they write. I’m thinking you don’t want a discussion at all, because if you did, you’d want to hear other people’s opinion good or bad, and not just the sweet things you want to hear.

Yesterday SG agreed with you that there should be space donated to the women’s game, but he committed a cardinal sin, by stating:

“The men do have that rivalry now and it seems like there has always been at least one in every generation. Rafa and Fed today, Sampras and Agassi in 90’s, Borg/Lendl/Mac/Connors/Becker in the 80’s. I think that men’s tennis has been very fortunate that things have worked out pretty well. If the women can get something this, they won’t have share blog space, or any other kind of space with anyone.”
Posted November 4th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

To which you replied:

JJFAN Says:
“But again, you are bringing the discussion right back to the men’s game as the standard. The women do actually have a dramatic rivalry, either determining who can hang on to or solidify a number one ranking or how long the current point leader can retain the rank. To demand that each gender have its dominant player is not “rivalry”.

It seems to me that you feel that unless a poster sticks only to the topic of the women’s game, they’d better refrain from posting, or else you’ll be ankle-biting everything they write. You’re going to have a huge problem policing the posters’ remarks on this thread because even though it’s headlined: “Jankovic, Ivanovic, Williams Sisters Headline Doha WTA Championships; Nadal Out of Shanghai” there are several additional topics embedded in this thread and from what I’ve seen most of the posts have already veered away from the headlined topic. You seem to hold the topic of the women’s game to be sacred, but I don’t feel anyone is desecrating the women’s game by writng anything unrelated thereto.

Posted November 2nd, 2008 at 6:53 am


JJFAN Says:

Sean, WTA rules for next year provide suspensions and slam event disqualifications for not participating in mandatory tournaments. I think of that as the “Williams Sisters” rule. What remains uncontrolled is validation of injury status claims (impartial medical report), but I think the players have to pay a fine anyway. I doubt if that solves the whole mess, but the WTA is reportedly addressing the abuses.

Unfortunately, you now have started a discussion about the general merits of professional women’s tennis, when we should be discussing the Doha tournament. Women’s tennis is not different than men’s, in that everyone is pacing themselves in the chase for the tournaments with the largest purses. Those players with less of a shot at getting past opening rounds work the smaller events, trying to get both ranking points and seeding and some prize money.


Von Says:

JJFAN:

“I expect to get bullied over this but am not intimidated.”

BTW, don’t do your usual transposition of roles onto me. From the posts you’ve written above, who’s bullying whom? YOU. You don’t like it if anyone defends themselves, you view it as “bullying”, bearing in mind that you’re the INITIATOR. AN INITIATOR IS A BULLY. Keep an open mind there’s room on these threads for everyone to comment, there’s no need for you to shut up everyone, by transposition.


Sean Randall Says:

JJfan, can you tell me how Serena/Venus can miss Indian Wells next year AND avoid penalty?

Regarding the two tours, the top women realized some years ago that they didn’t need to play WTA events. They could just show up and win Slams, and to their credit they do. The men have no such luxury.


JJFAN Says:

Keep an open mind there’s room on these threads for everyone to comment, there’s no need for you to shut up everyone, by transposition.

JJFAN says:

And the head bully checks in.


JJFAN Says:

Sean Randall wrote:
Regarding the two tours, the top women realized some years ago that they didn’t need to play WTA events. They could just show up and win Slams, and to their credit they do. The men have no such luxury.

JJFAN says:

But I mentioned that the rule change is for next year. Then the flogging from you can be toned down a bit.


JJFAN Says:

Sean Randall Says:
JJfan, can you tell me how Serena/Venus can miss Indian Wells next year AND avoid penalty?

JJFAN syas:

Why is that my assignment? My understanding is that their consequences will be severe, if they don’t show up.


Sean Randall Says:

JJFan, an assignment? No. I would have thought you knew that answer. Perhaps you do, maybe do not.

But tell me how this is “severe”:

From WTA chief Larry Scott during a US Open press conference:

“first of all, the suspension rule is only in effect for players in the top 10. So assuming Venus and Serena are in the top 10, which is looking good for 2009 at this point in time, they will both be signed up and expected to play at Indian Wells.

They both said they’re not planning on playing Indian Wells, so they will be subject to the same rules as every other player, which means that to avoid suspension they will have to be available to do in-market appearances, promotional activities as designated by the tour in consultation with the tournament, either during the week of the tournament or at three other possible times during the year that we will designate.”

So Venus/Serena or anyone else who skips a major event can avoid a suspension simply by making themselves available for a few hours of “promotional activities” either during (but not necessarily at) the event or at a convenient time down the road. In the case of Serena/Venus, that probably means them sitting on their couch and doing a few media interviews.

Would you call that severe? I wouldn’t. I call it a cop-out!


JJFAN Says:

“will have to be available to do in-market appearances, promotional activities as designated by the tour in consultation with the tournament,”

JJFAN says:

quoted from Sept 8 Reuters article:

“If players don’t play the big events, there will be zero pointers (in their rankings),” WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott said in a news conference at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

“What the players are really committing to and sacrificing as part of this new Roadmap is stronger accountability and tougher penalties. We’ll have suspensions for the first time ever in tennis next year.”

Players who skip mandatory events will be given several chances during the course of the year to do some promotional work for the tournament. If they fulfill this, they will avoid any suspensions.

“But if they don’t do that, then they’ll be subject to a (two-tournament) suspension the following year,” said Scott.


Sean Randall Says:

JJfan, that WTA rule is laughable.


Twocents Says:

You are welcome, Gulu and Sean.

As a matter of fact, most attendances in BJ Olympic openning ceremonies were the rich and/or famous, along with pre-picked performers. Should be very few ordinary Chinese tennis fans there. So the ovation to Swiss team/Fed was a surprise, kind of.


JJFAN Says:

Sean Randal wrote:

JJfan, that WTA rule is laughable.

JJFAN says:

My sentiments too, but I figure they would use a soft touch in the early years and did not want to have an antagonistic relationship with players. Notice the suspensions don’t occur until the following year. You have to know that is staged to be pulled back, if there is too much abuse.

In any case, it is not my job to defend the WTA or to be flogged in their stead.


MMT Says:

JJFAN said: “You just want to shut me up. You are “dismissing” my point once again. About what do we disagree? Defending Randall’s choice doesn’t present any argument why men’s and women’s tennis cannot be or should not be separate articles.”

The argument against your suggestion is this: blogs are nothing if they are not driven by the interest of readers and posters, and I would have to say that the readers and posters to Randall’s articles seem to like it just fine as is. We could argue that the articles should be on just one player at a time, or one story at a time, but the readers and posters seem to like it as is, and as such I disagree with your suggested change.

More importantly, I don’t think your objective of giving the WTA exposure is served by asking the authors of these articles to write about something other than what they want to write about and what the readers and posters want to read. The WTA tour is in a bad spell because of the absence of a universally accepted #1, and ergo the lack of an interesting rivarly with that #1.

ATP has had it in spades over the last 5 years, but it lacked it during the Lleyton Hewitt era, the and during the brief period in the very 90′s when a different player seemed to be ranked #1 every few months. The WTA just has to cross its fingers and hope it becomes more interesting, but we as tennis fans, and Randall and the other writers, should not have to cover the WTA as if it’s as interesting to them as the ATP.

When the roles are reversed, I’ll be singing a different tune, but for the moment, the WTA for me is less compelling.


JJFAN Says:

Actually I feel even more strongly now, given these comments, affirming that women’s tennis is not respected, that mention of the women’s game should be in separate articles.


JJFAN Says:

I will try to research what is factual, but Tracy Austin, in her commentary today, is saying that next year, if a WTA player pulls out of a mandatory tournament, she will be disqualified for the next two major (mandatory) events, implying same year, sequential. I take from that the rule changes have been revised since the September article, which was clear that the penalty would be in the next year, which seemed really soft.


Sean Randall Says:

JJFan, but it’s too easy to get out of the suspension. That’s the joke of it.


;o Says:

So hi.
I’m a WTA-supporter, and rarely care for the ATP.

I agree a lot with what you regular posters say and what JJfan has said about the WTA. There is a major major problem within the WTA.

The first obviously are the scheduling issues. That’s seemlingly fixed next year, but lets see how that works out.

The second is the easy ability to weasel out of commitments etc. And thats a problem the WTA will never escape. Let’s face it, there is no way that the WTA will ever gain the audience the ATP has. Outside of respective countries, outside of Serena and Venus, Masha, and to some extent the serbs, the WTA has struggled to gain a tennis audience. Many people at ATP tournaments are there to watch ATP matches. the WTA has much fewer such fans.

Therein lies the biggest problem, forcing commitments. Commitments from top players will lead to a larger audience. The men only commit because they have no choice, otherwise they’d be just like the women. The women however, cannot be forced. Maybe a future generation, but not the current.

the WTA is more commercialized than the ATP. Im willing to bet that the Serena, Venus, Masha, JJ and Ana made more money this year than Roger Rafa, Djokovic, Murray and Davydanko (You guys are sorely until now lacking real underdogs.).

The WTA can’t force their top players to commit because those top players dont have too. Altogether they’ve probably made some 40million+ dollars off court through endorsements, media events, etc. These players dont need tennis to make a living.
Roger could retire now, but thats only because of the illustrious career he has. Rafa, Djokovic, and Murray cannot and would not be able to retire from tennis to live on endorsement deals.

There is no likely way ever to fix that problem. They cant force them off endorsement deals.

Top story: Federer, Berdych Breeze Into US Open QFs; Djokovic v Murray Wednesday Night
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