Australian Open Women’s Final Open Thread: Victoria Azarenka v Li Na
by Staff | January 25th, 2013
  • 77 Comments

Our first Grand Slam singles winner will be crowned this evening from Melbourne. Defending champion Victoria Azarenka will meet former finalist Li Na for the Australian Open women’s singles title.

Azarenka, who was a controversial winner in a her semifinal victory over Sloane Stephens, has lost just one set entering the final, and the top seed hasn’t lost a match this year (she did withdrew to Serena Williams before they Brisbane match). However, the highest ranked player she’s faced was No. 25 Stephens.

Li Na, a finalist in 2011 and a semifinalist in 2010, won the French Open in 2011 and like Azarenka, she too is bidding for her second career Grand Slam win. The 30-year-old has beaten two top 5 players Agnieszka Radwanksa and Maria Sharapova both in straight sets to reach tonight’s title match.

“Last time,” Li Na said yesterday, “is more exciting, nervous, because first time to be in final. But I think this time more calmed down, more cool little bit.”

Azarenka has leads Li Na 5-4 winning four straight, but Li Na is 2-0 in Grand Slam matches.

“Last year she was doing very well for all the year, so is not easy for the athlete,” Li Na said of her opponent. “So for her is tough match. I mean, she have tough matches here, as well. She was defending champion. For me, really how you say, really have to enjoy for the moment.”

[1] VICTORIA AZARENKA (BLR #1) vs. [6] LI NA (CHN #6)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 5-4

The winner of the 2012 Australian Open will join Serena Williams (15), Venus Williams (7), Maria Sharapova (4) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2) as the only active players with 2 or more Grand Slam titles.

Both finalists are contesting the Australian Open title bout for the second time.

Since 2009, Azarenka is 40-5 in the month of January and her last 20-straight matches in the month; her last loss in January came at 2011 Australian Open R16 (l. Li).

Seven different players have successfully defended the title at the Australian Open: Court, Goolagong, Graf, Seles, Hingis, Capriati and, most recently, S.Williams (2009-10).

The top seed has won the title 18 times.

The Australian Open finals have been decided in 3 sets 12 times.

Time spent on court at this tournament: Azarenka – 8hr47min compared to Li – 8hr32min.

Azarenka is 73-5 at Grand Slams when winning first set; her last loss in a GS match when winning the first set came at 2010 Australian Open (QF, l. S.Williams 46 76(4) 62); since then she has won 41-straight when winning the first set at a Slam.

Li is 59-7 at Grand Slams when winning the first set.

Azarenka has won 13-straight matches here in Melbourne; last year she started the year by winning her first 26 matches If Azarenka wins the title, she will retain the world No.1 ranking; is she loses in the final, she will dip to No.2; she is defending 4150 points through March.

Azarenka owns a 60-9 match record while holding the world No.1 ranking.

Azarenka withdrew prior to her Brisbane SF match (right big toe injury) in her only event heading into the Australian Open.

This is the third consecutive Slam that Azarenka has been the top seed.

If Azarenka wins she will reclaim the No. 1 ranking. If she loses Serena Williams returns to No. 1.

At 30 years, 335 days (based on the tournament end date), Li would be the oldest woman to win the Australian Open singles.

As a result of her success this week, Li will return to the Top 5 (from No.6 to 5) after the Australian Open Li won back-to-back matches vs. Top 5 opponents by defeating world No.4 A.Radwanska (QF) and No.2 Sharapova (SF); she now has 20 career wins vs. Top 5 opponents (20-31) and is 7-8 since the start of 2012.

Li is 2-7 all-time vs. world No.1s with wins over S.Williams (2008 Stuttgart) and Wozniacki (2011 Australian Open).

Li is trying to become the first player to defeat the world No.1 and No.2 at the same Grand Slam event for the first time since 2009 Roland Garros (Kuznetsova d. No.2 S.Williams in QF and No.1 Safina in F). The last player to achieve this feat at the Australian Open was S.Williams in 2005 (d. No.2 Mauresmo in QF and No.1 Davenport in F) title. She will celebrate her 31st birthday on February 26.

SATURDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 12:30 PM Start Time
1. Junior Girls’ Singles – Final
Ana Konjuh (CRO)[3] v. Katerina Siniakova (CZE)[2]

Not Before:2:30 PM
2. Junior Boys’ Singles – Final
Nick Kyrgios (AUS)[3] v. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)

Not Before:7:30 PM
3. Women’s Singles – Final
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[1] v. Na Li (CHN)[6]
4. Men’s Doubles – Final
Bob Bryan (USA)[1]/Mike Bryan (USA)[1] v. Robin Haase (NED)/Igor Sijsling (NED)

LADBROKES ODDS
Victoria Azarenka 8/11 v Li Na 11/10

WEATHERUNDERGROUND MELBOURNE FORECAST
Partly cloudy. High of 70F. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph.

U.S. TELEVISION
ESPN has live coverage starting at 3:30am Saturday morning.


Also Check Out:
Victoria Azarenka: “Being No. 1 Is A Difficult Job”
Victoria Azarenka Takes A Bath In Balls [Video]
Lucky Victoria Azarenka Hits 60 Errors But Still Wins
Victoria Azarenka Appears On Ellen Show Tuesday [Video]
Sharapova v Lisicki the Popcorn Match; Wimbledon Women’s Semi Previews

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77 Comments for Australian Open Women’s Final Open Thread: Victoria Azarenka v Li Na

jane Says:

I think Li Na might win it if she plays efficient and sharp tennis like she did versus Maria. It sounds like the first set is crucial for both of them (at least historically speaking).


roy Says:

azarenka…yet another vulgar, intolerable wta persona at the top of the rankings.


Margot Says:

Cheering for Li Na and hoping for an excellent match.


Wog boy Says:

Jim Courier picked Li Na to win and he is pretty good in doing that. Let us see if he is right. His words are “she has less to lose,” does make a sense.


Kimmi Says:

this is sad. hope she is able to play


Kimmi Says:

too many errors from li at the end of the second set..she needs to sort that out. quickly!


Kimmi Says:

seriosly!! so much drama with li na


Kimmi Says:

hmmm, too bad for li na. congrats to azarenka


Wog boy Says:

Great job Azarenka, well deserved, you are The Champ !!!


mampo Says:

Damn Azarenka is really intolerable and unlikeable. No matter how much the crowd was against you, you thank them after the match. Boooo


Wog boy Says:

Margaret Court best ever, I am glad she is there.


the DA Says:

The master of ceremonies describes Li Na as “battered, bruised and buggered” lol. I don’t think we’ll ever hear that at Wimbledon.


Margot Says:

@ the DA
Oh my….
Well played Vic, she kept her head whilst all around her…
Li Na so infuriating – incredible shot-shank-incredible shot etc etc
Very dramatic match but not a very good one and the crowd! Just hate it when they cheer double faults


Wog boy Says:

the DA,

That is Aussie English, after while you get used to it, I like it and Australians are very proud of it and why not:)


Wog boy Says:

REDFOO is in the studio with Vika, nice shirt … GET YOUR GRUNT ON says on his shirt. Good job REDFOO:)


Giles Says:

Well done Vika! Just ignored the crowd! That’s the way to do it!!


jane Says:

Congrats to Victoria. She’s living up to her name and her ranking. She’s definitely been consistent.

Here’s some words from her coach:

The coach was highly criitical of the media coverage of Azarenka’s medical timeout controversy in her semi-final against Sloane Stephens, “You’re sharks, guys. It’s tough,” he also said, post-match, to a small group of reporters.

“When you’re after something, your story, when there is no story, you’re pretty good, so it’s tough. Everybody has to handle it the best way possible. I understand you have to do your job, but sometimes you can maybe do it a little bit more … I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t have the right word, I don’t want to be mean.

“She’s 23-years-old, guys, come on … I think the journalists should take some lessons out of this – not necessarily the athletes. Let’s try to be fair here, let’s try to say everybody should take a good lesson out of it.”

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/sport/tennis/azarenka-suffered-to-win-says-coach-20130127-2defm.html#ixzz2J5m4DPds


Polo Says:

roy Says: “azarenka…yet another vulgar, intolerable wta persona at the top of the rankings.”

I could not agree more. Another reason to stay away from watching women’s tennis.


Skeezer Says:

@jane

Thanks dormthat link. Srill don’t get what the coach is syaing. She created the event, not the media.

Do they feel it was fair to Stevens? She is only 19. Take a break so you can get over your chokeness while your opponet waits for you to get over it? Never knew that is a legitimate MTO.

Congrats to Li Na for a fantastic run at the AO. Underneath her humbleness, her star power and humor is fun to watch.

Azarenka? Hope you like your trophy.


Giles Says:

Does anyone think Birdsh!t will follow Vika’s example and take an mto for “chokeness” or for that matter even Tsonga, ala FO 2012??


Miss Pam Says:

Vulgar. Yes, that’s the word for Vika. And maybe that’s what the sport is coming to, and not just the WTA. Maybe more hype, more “jokes”, more cheating. Will that create more fans? Maybe so. I’m outta here.


the DA Says:

@ wog boy – don’t misunderstand, I was surprised but kind of loved it! It’s one of the things I love about the AO – it’s not as stuffy as Wimbledon.


MMT Says:

Well, Azarenka has made her bed, and now she must sleep in it. Instead of basking in well deserved adulation, she and her coach have to deal with the fall out from her own nonsense in the semi-final. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for her.

The crowd are right to give her the business if they feel she wasn’t sporting – how else with this sort of thing get cleaned up? And the press didn’t make this up – Azarenka could have solved the problem by playing out the set fair and square, rather than calling for a phony injury time out. After all, they had a third set to play.

As for the rule, it’s a simple fix. One injury time out per tournament, and it must come between sets. If you can’t play without the treatment, then concede the set. An alternative would be one injury time out per match, which must also occur between sets. No incessant visits, and no tactical interruptions to the flow of the match.

Of course the game caters more now to the players than ever before, which is a good thing, but a consequence/side effect is that the rules have been written to give the benefit of the doubt, which has clearly been abused by a lot of prominent players. It’s up to them and the fans to create the impetus for change.


jane Says:

skeezer, I am not sure; I just thought it interesting that her coach entered thee fray. He seems to feel that the journalists were too hard on her, saying she’s just 23. Is he saying she’s young and screwed up (i.e., faked?) or that she’s young and wasn’t clear in how she expressed herself? I don’t know. And then he says that it should be a learning experience for all – so does he mean players, media, and officials, or what? Again, I don’t know. He had a hard time finding the right words, as he said himself.

I’d personally like to hear a statement from the doctor – just out of curiosity. It must be difficult for the trainer or doctor to try to assess the situation. When they show video of the incident, Vika isn’t talking much to them.

As for the match, Sloane was playing okay but not as well as she played vs Williams. I suspect Azarenka would have won in the end because she was breaking Sloane’s serve with more regularity. Sloane’s second serve seemed more attackable. However, Sloane was hitting a lot of errors at first; maybe she was finding her range, and had it even gone a 3rd set, you never know.


grendel Says:

Skeezer – excellently and pithily put.

This coach says:
“She deserve it because I know how hard she works, how hard she wants it, how tough she is, etc etc, so I believe that this one nobody can take it away from her”. This amounts to saying anything goes in the pursuit of success. It’s a naked endorsement of might is right – and nothing else counts.

The coach’s other stuff:
“You’re sharks, guys. It’s tough. When you’re after something, your story, when there is no story, you’re pretty good, so it’s tough.” No story. And black is white and 2+2 =5. No wonder the coach subsequently lapses into incoherence.

“I think the journalists should take some lessons out of this – not necessarily the athletes. Let’s try to be fair here, let’s try to say everybody should take a good lesson out of it.” First sentence: get your attack in first, confidently announce the exact opposite of what is the case and who knows, some readers will scratch their heads, and wonder, well, perhaps…And then (this is the one-two punch gig) the 2nd sentence: well, after all, we’re all in it together. Isn’t he being nice and forgiving? It’s like the rapist saying to the raped victim:look, I don’t approve of what you did – luring me on like that – but I daresay we both made mistakes and can do better next time, eh?

This coach fellow understands publicity and the art of manipulation pretty well. Got to give him the nod, even whilst I’m being quietly sick in the corner.


jane Says:

^ Eek grendel – that’s a harsh analogy.

I wasn’t sure if the coach was being manipulative or just stupid or if it was language barriers. Maybe all?

The other interesting thing in that article was Li Na’s comments. I didn’t see the match, but it sounds like she had a rough time, falling etc. It’s too bad. I love her humour, but I wish she wasn’t quite so hard on herself. I can’t tell if there is a serious side to her self-deprecation, but I suspect so. Maybe she’ll have a great chance at the French again; she seems rejuvenated by her new coach.


jane Says:

^ Actually, it sounds like she’s fine, at least according to Tignor’s write up on the final. “Her humor is strength.” She sounds optimistic, so that’s good.

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2013/01/lonely-top/46198/#.UQQgxJjHaQI


jane Says:

Very polemical take on Azarenka’s situation: don’t shoot the messenger (to quote nadalista), but thought some might like to read it.

http://allineedisapicketfence.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/aus-open-day-11-the-gameswoman/#comments


alison Says:

Jane great article thanks,she didnt break any rules according to this article either,however be that as it may what she did was morally wrong in a lot of peoples eyes,however shes not perfect and she aint the only one,doesnt make it right though,its a shame as she should really be basking in the glory of retaining the title,and holding the no1 ranking.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Great link! Allineedisapicketfence is an excellent site, with intelligent and original posts.


jane Says:

I’d never seen that site before mat4. Someone put a link up in the comments section at Tennis.com, which I read for “racquet reactions” normally.


mat4 Says:

It is a Federer’s fan site, but the author is very original and quite often very “inspired”. I like to read it when I have time.

There are other excellent tennis blogs. “Savannah’s world”, mostly about WTA. “The Changeover”, with three excellent posters. “Tennis Prose” is good too, but of another kind. “Ruan’s Federer blog” is good too. I like also the ATP blog on “Essential tennis” — the author is a big fan of Andy Murray, so you would like it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a good blog, or site, about Novak. There is “Let, second ball” (I think), but Ana doesn’t write very often.


Margot Says:

@ MMT
Surely the first thing that’s got to happen is consistency between umpires at different matches.
A simple example: yesterday one of Fed’s shots landed on the line, called out, wrong call, Andy hadn’t a hope of getting it so Fed got the point.
Today in women’s final same thing happened but Azarenka, whose point it should have been, didn’t get it and they had to re-play.
Same match the umpire came down hard on VA about another challenge, said it was too late, which it was, but how many times do we see players being allowed to challenge really, really late?
These kinds of discrepancies happen all the time and need to be sorted.


Wog boy Says:

Just for the record. I have been watching Azarenka in Melbourne since she entered tha tournament first time. Spectators didn’t like her from the begining. You couldn’t watch her match without some idiots around you screaming yelling same “smart” things during her matches, she couldn’t even do on court interview without being interupt by some smartass screaming. Even when she won first title they were doing that. She took it on the chin and kept doing what she does best, beating her oponents. To say that that injury thing turned fans against her cannot be more further from the truth, she never had them in Melbourne. It was siege mentality last night that prevalied and that is why she was crying after match. Everything was against her last night, injuries of sweet Li Na, though they were not real injuries, those seemingly naive and sweet faces of Li Na that makes people feel sorry for her. It was harder for Azarenaka to play in that kind of situation than Li Na, she kept it together and won. She is warior with big hart so give her a brake and give her a credit.


Wog boy Says:

the DA,

I know what you meant, I was just saying that it took me while to get used on Aussie English since English that I learned back in Europe was English English.


grendel Says:

Choking really badly tends to have physical expression, especially in the heart and chest. I gather (not having personal knowledge) this can actually be quite serious. This raises certain tricky ethical issues. Even so, if a person is so nervous that they become, say, physically immobilised – obviously they will need treatment, but at the same time, so far as the game is concerned, it’s tough cookies. Why should the opponent be penalised?

According to the author in jane’s link, “I’m not saying that what Azarenka did was classy, fair or even appropriate. Azarenka violated the spirit of the game and then had the audacity to be utterly shameless about it.”

So what’s the problem? It’s threefold: 1)The accusations against Azarenka are especially hypocritical since they stem from a more or less systematically practised misogyny. Well, there is widespread prejudice against womens’ tennis, there is no doubt about that, and most of it is irrational (most, because obviously there are real criticisms to be made, here as in any other large organized body). But just because, say, one group of baddies opposes a second group of baddies doesn’t mean that the second group is thereby excused from criticism by others, hopefully not baddies themselves. So that point doesn’t wash in my eyes.

Then (2) – although really, this part of (1). The hostility to Azarenka is unwarranted because of similar depredations by certain male players, whom she names. This can only, at best, be a partial criticism. No doubt there are Azarenka critics who turn a blind eye to the antics of their own hero, but that doesn’t have to be the case, quite obviously. Certainly on tennis blogs, many male players are frequently criticised, often in the most intemperate language. I must admit, I don’t know what the record is with newspapers.

3)”You do not get to rail against actions… simply because you feel like piling hate onto a player you disliked to begin with.” This is a stronger point. It’s only human nature to be a little hypocritical – most of us pull our punches a bit for our faves, are less tenderhearted where those we dislike are concerned. Even so, as you sow, so shall you reap. Azarenka kind of invites judgement from the harsher side of the spectrum by her relentlessly self-centred attitudes. She might care to ponder on that.


jane Says:

grendel, interesting points about / responses to the article.

“The hostility to Azarenka is unwarranted because of similar depredations by certain male players, whom she names”

Just wondering – is the writer saying this, or is she saying the response is “exaggerated” as opposed to “unwarranted”? I was thinking that she’s suggesting there’s extreme hostility towards to WTA in general and the reaction to this is metonymically linked (a symptom of an underlying dis-ease). So she used the example to make a bigger point. I don’t know if she’s right, but that’s how I interpreted her point.


grendel Says:

Wog boy – “though they were not real injuries”. ??
See, for instance, http://eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/tramlines/injury-drama-concussion-scare-overshadows-final-134709672.html

That second photo looked pretty convincing. It wasn’t serious, but it was a real fright. Anyway, “, those seemingly naive and sweet faces of Li Na that makes people feel sorry for her” – that’s just silly. People like Li Na, because there is an openess about which they respond to. You make it look as if this is calculated. I think you thereby underestimate the understanding of ordinary people – they very soon cotton on to someone trying to manipulate their emotions. I have watched Li Na for a while now, and she is as honest as the day is long.

” It was harder for Azarenaka to play in that kind of situation than Li Na, she kept it together and won”. If it was “harder” for Azarenka, she brought that on herself by her own actions. If she changes, people will give her credit. As for winning, she won for the same reasons she is #1, she is the most effective player on the womens’ tour – always excepting the exceptional case of Serena.


grendel Says:

jane – “exaggeration” is better, certainly. I agree about the WTA point – and some people are using the Azarenka case to bolster their own prejudices. I thought I’d covered that by that bit about the baddies. Of course it is true that even when someone does something wrong, reaction to it can be overheated, even hysterical. I don’t read newspapers very much, so I am not aware of this. In my original post to MMT, I did allude to the hothouse atmosphere of international tennis. I won’t quote myself (delightful though it is to do), but will just repeat that in some ways it’s an artificial and almost mad world these athletes inhabit. Not surprising things go wrong.


jane Says:

Yeah, after I re-read your post, I realize you already linked your second point to your first point saying that one is “part” of the other. Synecdoche instead maybe. Maybe all this hype will lead to a reassessment of the rule, and it’ll be a learning experience for Azarenka for sure. School of hard knocks. Oh wait – maybe that’s a better descriptor of Li Na’s experience! ;)


grendel Says:

Margot

“Same match the umpire came down hard on VA about another challenge, said it was too late, which it was, but how many times do we see players being allowed to challenge really, really late?”

That’s always been a bugbear of mine. I suspect it is impossible to achieve absolute consistency in such a fluid situation. Exactly when is it too late to challenge? Even so, the discrepancies are ludicrous and even shaming. And bloody annoying although – don’t you sometimes think, gosh, the umpire surely won’t allow this will he, will he – yes! He has! You don’t? Well, all I can say is, you’re a better person than me…..


Wog boy Says:

Grendel,

I have been watching Li Na too, my opinion is that her endless jokes with her husband who makes his dumb faces in the box like ” … me no speak english..”, year after year are calculated like few more things, I don’t buy it, everything is just too sweet, but that is me. When I said “harder to play” I meant on the game beeing interapted few times. In a case you didn’t notice I watched the match so there is no need to show me how big injuries were. She didn’t twist her ankle, it didn’t swell, she didn’t limp one single time, (check Serena’s ankle or anybody’s ankle how quick it swell’s) , she was running, serving and it was her left legg with no problems whatsoever.
You obviously missed my point, so I am going to ask you … What did she do last year and year before and before to deserve that Melbourne park fans make AO very unpleasant place for her to play? Since you didn’t get it first I will say it again, she never had fans in Melbourne so why and what to change? What did she do before (few years) to deserve that?
She was unfairly targeted from the very beging.

Li Na is second best paied female athlete in the world (after Sharapova) she has 1.2 billion people behind her, Vika has 9 million. Vika doesn’t have to worry about mone and popularity will not bring her any more, she will be paied whatever her contract states, fullstop.


Alok Says:

So much drama here because of an injury and MTO because of preferences for one player over the other.Geez

I didn’t see the live match, but am now watching the rebroadcast by Tennis Channel, which is good as am able to focus and look more carefully for those points made by some posters comments on Li Na’s injury.

Li Na’s foot and ankle, which was shown, had some swelling, and Marina did say it appeared to be swollen which was confirmed by Davenport at courtside, who has a better view than even a fan who’s sitting in the audience. The focus of the camera on zoom, showed it to be a real injury with swelling. On replay, it showed that she rolled her ankle, which was not taped previously, and had to get a tape job.

Li’s right knee is a problem also, and then she sustained the injury to the ankle, which had to have some impact on her movement, even though she put up a good front of not letting the injury get to her focus.

It’s OK not to like a player, but it’s not OK to make decisions about their injuries, and criticize them for something a fan cannot feel or see happening. e.g., A player getting a muscle rub-down of their leg, smiling and chatting with the trainer during the rubdown, shows more gamesmanship, as it’s something no one can see, except to take their word that they are feeling muscle pain. It’s a lot worse than a player who genuinely became injured which everyone saw at the time it occurred.

If Azarenka’s made up MTO was considered real, her ‘chokeness’ and was acceptable to her fans, why can’t Li Na’s be accepted as real? Did anyone see Aza being injured, no, but her word on what happened to her was real in her fans’ eyes.

I didn’t see any dramatics from Li Na, and her husband’s faces are silent, as compared to some players’ boxes which are overly dramatic and vocal
IMO.


Wog boy Says:

Alok,

Firstly, I was talking about Li Na on court interviews after matches and her husband, not during the matches.

Secondly she didn’t roll the ankle all the way and it was not real swelling, I will take Sam Smith’s word for that one apart of seeing it myself on a pretty big screen. Her movement was as good as before, when she serves she lands on that very foot. Her serve would be very compromised not talk about movement if it was real injury. taping was prevention, that is all. Her knee didn’t stop her of not dropping the set until final.

She gave quite a few dirty looks to Vika’s box to in the second and thrid set.

Last thing, Vika won because she was and is better player than Li Na. Give her a credit, will you?


Alok Says:

Give credit to LiNa for continuing the match. Vika’s box is very vocal. Is there something called ‘fake swelling’? The ankle began swelling up, same like Serena’s. Dirty looks from Li was warranted. As a matter of fact, Li had to deal with a lot more from Aza’s box than Vika from Li’s box, and then there’s the wooooooooooo, on every point as if we’re seeing a sppoky film. Martina said that Aza’s woooooooooing is a habit, because she does it only on court not in practise, same for Sharapova.

IMO Li showed heart and was very sporting not to retire. She put up a brave front not wanting to show her opponent that the injury was affecting her, because it’s what many sports psychologists state, never let the opposition know how much you are hurting. Li’s aces in my books.

I’ll take Martina’s word and objective opinion over many comms. Martina has won more titles than anyone can remember, and she’s totally unbiased, as comms are suposed to be.


Wog boy Says:

Vika: 23 years, 15 WTA titles (2GS)

Li Na : 31 years, 7 WTA titles (1GS)

You cannot even compare them, can you;)


Alok Says:

I’m not comparing anything, but you’re doing that. I’m talking only on the match that took place, and what I saw. Better player has nothing to do with with happened. for that matter Aza had the upper hand and should not have gotten broken so many times.

Aza is more an accomplished player than Sloane yet she found it necesary to pull her ‘chokeness’ MTO. There’s a big difference between better player and pulling MTOs and faked injuries.

If you want to compare, then look at this, LiNa is 31, 8 years older than ‘chokeness’ but she can still beat younger players, e.g., Masha, who was beating up on those low ranked opponents, but couldn’t doing when she met someone who could give her a run. Li was giving Aza a good battle, until the injury, but still hung in there and din’t disappoint the crowd.

Li Na is a lot more educated because she left tennis, took a sabbatical to attend college/university, and has a degree. She then resumed playing tennis and won a GS before AZA won hers. Can Aza top that? Li can manage a compy after tennis, but Aza not having the intelligence would have to look to others to do that for her. Education counts, and I admire anyone who gives preference to tennis. The interviews are testament to educated players vs. uneducated.


Wog boy Says:

Glad you posted this, speaks lot about youself, enough said.


Wog boy Says:

“yourself”


Alok Says:

Says nothing about me, more about your bias. you don’t like some players and you can’t refrain from being biased.

Know what, I’m sick and tired of your insults toward me. Enough already. You don’t have the ability to debate anything, unless you get your way. It’s your way or no way at all. So be it, I’m not going to get into anything with you ever.

You make underhanded comments, then put a smiley, e.g, want Raonic to beat Fed, then Fed and Serena complained at the AO08 because they lost, and several other things.

Get this, I’m not here to make friends so I don’t give a rat’s … what you or anyone think of me. IMO, there’s too much talk and politicking over shit that’s not pertinent to tennis, and I choose not to be part of it. I’m not going to pretend with you or anyone because I want to be liked. enough of that going one, for me to get involved. There are some of us who come here to talk tennis, period, and don’t need to be a frat member.

I still remember what happened to Dave and the ganging up, and the garbage I’ve had to endure from some of the murray fans here when I initially began posting.


andrea Says:

i’ve been mulling over the azarenka thing for a few days. first of all, congrats to her for winning. no matter what our personal feelings are toward her, she won the tournament. i really wanted li na to win. i haven’t seen the match but heard about the falls, twisted ankles and head bashing…in other words, sounds like there were plenty of reasons why li na lost, in addition to less than stellar playing.

re: the medical time out.
i’m a firm believer that when people speak in the heat of emotion. they are usually telling the truth. so when azarenka did her on court interview after the semi, and alluded to going off court to calm herself down, i think this is the ultimate truth. she also sounded one step away from being downright hysterical during that interview. she was shrill, not breathing properly and really flustered. not a woman in control.

in the heat of the moment on court, her panic attack translating into breathing problems and rib problems most certainly were very valid. but when a medical person hears a player complain about not being able to breathe, it’s impossible to make a call on whether a player is having a panic attack and trying to get herself off the court to get under control vs someone who could literally keel over and faint on the spot. it’s a tricky situation from a medical perspective. their priority is making sure players are receiving proper attention for their ailments/conditions/situations.

do we want to empower these on court med people to make decisions as to whether a player should justifiably get treatment? this gets into many shades of liability and judgement calls.

there isn’t an easy answer to this. i think sloane’s coach put the whole issue into perspective calling it ‘cheating within the rules’…. which is why this type of situation is almost impossible to adjudicate.


Alok Says:

@andrea, well said.

There will always be fans who are for and against such nonsense, but it comes down to the fact that Aza is another one who can’t deal with the heat, and that was a hot day. she’s always had those heat probllems, so it’s nothing new. I’ll say this much she got lucky serena had so many probles or else she might not be holding the trophy.

IMO Li was very sporting to keep on playing in pain, and it’s not for anyone to judge the extent of her injuries and pain, but only she can do that.

My mom’s a doctor, and according to her, the medics have to pay attention to any type of complaint that is deemed injurious to a player’s health. The Hippocratic oath, “first do no harm’, and that’s what medically trained people are supposed to do. in Aza’s case if her breathing problems were serious, and she had passed out on the court, the medics would be blamed, and I don’t know the law on this, but maybe, she could sue the tournament. That said, the medics had to give her complaints attention.

She cheated, but those are the rules. Sloane should have gotten up and started hitting during the MTO, according to Pam shriver and the other comms. However, she’s young and inexperienced.She’ll need to chalk this up and move on, which i’m sure she’s done.


jane Says:

“it’s a tricky situation from a medical perspective. their priority is making sure players are receiving proper attention for their ailments/conditions/situations.”

True, andrea – it’s tricky. The medical staff have to do their jobs, and the players might not know the difference between a panic attack and a locked rib, and in fact those conditions may or may not be related (i.e. the not being able to get air leading to the panic attack or nervousness).

Maybe the answer lies in the ITF, WTA and/or ATP initiating some new rules so it’s not left to the medical professionals and/or the players to make the choices and then to be held accountable.

The governing bodies need to also be involved and accountable. A silver lining here could be that it will call for a reassessment since it generated so much attention.


Skeezer Says:

“and the players might not know the difference between a panic attack and a locked rib”

Phaleaese. That is drama, and the total use of it. We are talking pain. She admitted she was choking, there is no physical pain in that other than invented in her head.
Twist an ankle? You’ll feel the pain. Think you can’t breathe cause your choking? Then quit and get off the court and try another sport. Then she tries to explain it wasn’t that, but now a rib thing. Funny, where was the rib thing in the final aganst Li Na??
renka has tarnished the intregrity of womens tennis, and another reason why womens tennis is alled the drama part of Tennis.

Serena has her faults, but THE women warrior would never call an MTO cause she was choking.

They need to look seriously at MTO’s, and me thinks they will take a hard look at it this year. Sure Stevens may have most likely still lost, that is not the point here. Hardly anyone is talking about what was fair to Stevens in the situation, and then the renka coach comes on like its all everybody elses fault but hers. Ugh. She won the AO? Better take your trophy and run…..

——-

Congrats to the Bryan Bros on another GS title. There records continue to go unrecognized, and unappreciated to the difficuly of the task. Although they most likely will go down as the best doubles team ever.


jane Says:

skeezer, back troubles can affect breathing and it is possible that a person who had never had a panic attack might think it’s a body issue. People who have panic attacks apparently end up in the ER of hospitals quite often. It’s a fine line between body/mind after all. If a joint is out, a chiropractor can fix it with an adjustment. People do this all the time. More players than Azarenka have taken advantage of the MTO and other breaks on both the women’s and men’s side. Why make her the sole scapegoat. I am not condoning what she did, but she’s not the first and she likely won’t be the last to take a timely break, unless the rules are adjusted to circumvent such issues.


skeezer Says:

^because she first admitted the MTO was takin because she was choking, no? Am i wrong here? Later, she gave another reason?


jane Says:

Maybe…I thought she said she couldn’t breathe?? Anyhow, I should go nap if I am gonna get up in the middle of the night! ;)


skeezer Says:

Have fun watchin it, hope it’s a good one for ya!


Bada Bing Says:

Savannah’s blog

Mat 4 B
She is a Djokovic hater. Read her latest entry.


Bada Bing Says:

Jane: Anyhow, I should go nap if I am gonna get up in the middle of the night! ;)

January 27th, 2013 at 12:41 am

Who are you rooting for?


jane Says:

Bada Bing, Nole’s my fave, so I am rooting for him to get the AO three-peat. Hope it’s a good one, come what may.


sub023 Says:

Figures that Wog Boy would be a fan of the bitchiest player on tour.


Wog boy Says:

sub023,

Do you have a problem with that?

My favorites won, what happened with yours?


MMT Says:

Margot: I agree entirely that there should be more consistency, and you’ve cited areas that need to be sorted out. But these are honest mistakes/interpretations.

The case of Azarenka isn’t honest at all – there was absolutely nothing wrong with her, she was just having a panic attack. She said the right things to the doctor and 3 minutes turned into 10. That’s down to the player, and we don’t have to accept these shenanigans as fans.

But you’re right, all rules can be misinterpreted, bent and completed ignored, that’s why I say it’s down to the players to put it right, and the fans to say we’re not going to honor a cheat when they win.


grendel Says:

@Wog boy January 26th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

You’re interpretation of Li Na’s jokiness is merely malicious or stupid – take your pick. “Sweetness” has nothing to do with it. What “sweetness”?

You didn’t bother to read properly – I said second photo, referring to the head. However, none of that is relevant, you’ve just brought up a lot of extraneous stuff up which has nothing to do with whether or not Azarenka cheated.

For instance, why is Azarenka unpopular in Melbourne. I DID address that – she is a singularly self-centred player,a fact which is not altogether her fault, I went into all that,not doing it again. Not Relevant.

Again, you go into the population dynamics. Not Relevant.

You talk about money – always an interesting topic, but here: Not Relevant.

In other posts, you go on about Azarenka being the better player. Not Relevant.

What is relevant is that Azrenka cheated big time on a big stage. Pity not just you but others seek to disguise that.


Wog boy Says:

Grendel

Whatever.


Paul Says:

It seems that the winners of this tournament are Li Na and Stephens.

Sloane showed much more class than Azarenka… or maybe is it because they have the same agent?

http://www.tennistonic.com/view_tennisnews?nid=1731


skeezer Says:

@Paul

Stevens was the peoples winner imo. Hope this style of class, humbleness, charactor and bubbly personality not only re energizes womens tennis but ends the shrieka renka screama maximus annoyance factor that has taken down the WTA.


Margot Says:

@ MMT
The first of my examples is far more of a spur of the moment judgement call and I mentioned it because the incidents followed each other on consecutive days and were thus fresh in my memory.
However, allowing players to take forever to challenge a line call is not.
On ROS how many times do we see players stroll down to the line, peer at it, look up at their box, then challenge?
Also, during play how many times do we see players wait to see if their return shot wins or not before challenging? This is not so frequent as the first, though I’ve seen it a few too many times.
In both these cases, the challenge should be immediate or not at all.


grendel Says:

Wog boy

Not going over the Azarenka business again – I just regret personalising our dispute. You of course are entitled to your view of Li Na without someone accusing you of being either malicious or stupid. Also, I have to admit, I exaggerated a bit in saying Li Na is as honest as the day is long. Frankly, nobody is like that – so why exaggerate? Well, one does, doesn’t one?

Just out of interest, I would say this about Li Na. She does have a certain image, and probably she plays up to it to a degree. After all, even we, as private people, play up to the images our friends and acquaintances have of us – up to a point, wouldn’t you say? How much more tempting, then, for a public person. Even so, the image in the end is based upon something real: quite a quirky character, I’d say, Li Na.


MMT Says:

Margot – I couldn’t agree with you more. The rule is contradictory, it says they have to challenge quickly and in a clear manner, but doesn’t specify clear (leaves it to the judgment of the umpire) allows the player to move forward towards the mark (with no time limit) and even consult with the umpire (which seems odd, because it seems the umpire gives their opinion by virtue of the call made or not made).

I agree that the challenge should be immediate without qualification, no exceptions. If you think it’s a wrong call challenge it from where you’re standing immediately. I agree 100%.


grendel Says:

But it can be much more gross. I’ve seen a player challenge when he has actually played the subsequent point AND his opponent returns that for a winner. The player is not challenging on the final winner but on 3 shots before. That much abused word “unbelievable” comes to mind. Nalbandian, sometimes a rather self-righteous character on court, has been guilty of this.

Recently, a strange situation arose. In what turned out to be the final game of the match, Sharapova challenged, but the camera didn’t catch this at first. The rally went on and Sharapova won, and had 3 match points. But then the camera swivelled onto her, holding her arm up and looking rather bewildered. Her challenge was disallowed so it was 15-30 instead of 0-40, and Venus Williams won the next point, too. Might have been disaster….


MMT Says:

grendel: Here’s the point in question, and this was a MAJOR mistake from the umpire:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHwSEafdjyk&feature=player_detailpage#t=4597s

Sharapova should never have been allowed challenge that point because she made an attempt to play the next shot, which precludes her right to challenge.

Here’s an example of the match with Nadal and Berdych in 2012 where Nadal did exactly what Sharapova did and wasn’t allowed to challenge – which is the correct application of the rule.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=3jZU2QzOUdI#t=511s

Now the interesting thing is that in Sharapova’s case she would have won the point if the rule had been appropriately applied, but in Nadal’s case he would have won the point only if the rules had been incorrectly applied.

The only thing I can think of Sharapova’s case is that perhaps the umpire didn’t see her move for Venus’ shot, because if you watch carefully you’ll see that she does turn her head towards Venus right after Sharapova returns the challenged shot, then Sharapova moves slightly out of her eyesight, then she looks back at Sharapova and see her challenging. So I give her the benefit of the doubt on this one – the umpire, not Sharapova, she should know better (as should have Rafa).

Interesting stuff – the challenge rule really needs sorting out.


grendel Says:

w.r.t to the Rafa video, my first reaction was: why is he making such a fuss, he is quite obviously in the wrong. So I watched it a few times, and I realised that Nadal after involuntarily, so to speak, returning Berdych’s ball, he hesitated slightly – in other words, he knew it was out, but it was kind of too late. I think his vociferous complaint was because he felt victimised but at the same time was furious with himself for not reacting more quickly. Such anger, in the heat of the moment, he projected onto the umpire.

You might say that is overanalysing it, but I am only responding to what I saw on film – that slight hesitation is interesting, and needs accounting for.

Rafa was still in the wrong, but his anger was not quite as cynical as it looks at first sight -and it does show to me at any rate how difficult it can be, in the heat of the moment, to get it right.

Thankyou for the video, MMT, very illuminating.


Liza Ditan Says:

Azarenka said “It’s my dream to get as many Grand Slam as I can” I think she’s doing great achieving her dreams., but how far? to what extent? to cheat to win, to fake injury to win, to bend rules to win, to grunt as loud as she can to win?


contador Says:

About Vika winning AO: I understand she is highly competitive and cannot help the howling and other stuff she does but it is annoying. She was the best WTA player, no doubt. But it was not fun watching the final; just not a Vika fan.


Wog boy Says:

grendel,

I don’t have a problem with your posts, on the contrary I enjoy them even when they are not in my favour. All good here.

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