Quick Hits: Sharapova No. 1? Davis Cup Popular, is Doubles?
by Richard Vach | October 10th, 2006, 5:04 pm

A few quick hits:

Sharapova to Steal No. 1?

Amelie Mauresmo is No. 1 on the WTA Tour Rankings. Justine Henin-Hardenne has had a better year that Mauresmo, and is currently No. 1 in the 2006-points-only standings. Who will come out on top at the end of the year? Maria Sharapova?

Henin announced on her website she is likely out until the year-end championships in Madrid, if her bum knee even allows her to play that. Mauresmo is attempting to play Moscow this week after pulling mid-tournament last week in Stuttgart with a right shoulder injury. Stuttgart, by the way, had eight of the Top 15 pull out with injuries. That’s not injury, that’s an epidemic.

Enter the No. 3 Sharapova on the 2006-only standings, a mere 145 points behind the No. 2 Mauresmo. The leggy global brand can bridge that gap with 135 points for reaching the semifinals this week at Moscow, depending on the injured Mauresmo’s results. A win in Moscow would put her at No. 2, roughly 450 points behind the idle Henin. Then the global brand will get additional point-earning opportunities at Zurich (Tier I) and Linz (Tier II) before the year-end championships in Madrid.

Sharapova needs to play her brand of muscle ball while doing what few of the WTA top players can do nowadays — stay uninjured.

Davis Cup Popularity Up and Up

The International Tennis Federation announced that hits on the official Davis Cup website last month, which featured the World Group semifinals (Russia d. U.S., Argentina d. Australia) and the World Group Playoffs, were the highest in recorded history.

Especially in the U.S., where viewers are frequently forced to hit the web when broadcasters think tennis fans are content with watching tape-delayed matches.

“Daviscup.com and Fedcup.com, the official sites of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, have enjoyed more traffic on each tie weekend in 2006 than in any previous year,” says the ITF. “The 2007 Davis Cup draw, covered live on Davis Cup Radio for the first time, also proved a big attraction as 51,000 visitor sessions and 267,068 page views were recorded on draw day alone. There were 45,000 unique visitors to the site, and 1,400 people accessed the live radio coverage.”

What’s the point? I don’t know, but if you’re huddled in front of your computer listening to on-line live radio coverage of the Davis Cup draw — I bow down to you, you are on another level of fandom — and maybe should consider seeking help.

One of tennis’ jewels, yet not ATP or WTA events, the Davis cup gets short shrift even as the oldest and largest event in world sports. Maybe someone besides the promotion-challenged ITF could polish that jewel a little more, especially in the U.S. where sporting news of the Davis Cup is on par with girl’s high school JV soccer.

Pub That Masters Cup Doubles

When the ATP sliced and diced the doubles game, changing to no-ad scoring and a tiebreak instead of a third set, the reasoning was that more singles stars would play doubles since the matches were shorter.

So how is that going?

The highest Top 20 singles player on the ATP Doubles Race standing is Mario Ancic at No. 27 with partner Mahesh Bhupathi. They’ve played two tournaments together all year.

The “Doubles Revolution,” as they say, will not be televised. From the looks of things, you can’t be sure it even happened. Are you following the fact that this week five of the eight positions at the Masters Cup Doubles have been filled (see if you can name a team besides the Bryan brothers), and the final three spots are being contested by teams such as Fyrstenberg-Matkowski and Dlouhy-Vizner? Try and promote that.

The ATP announcement of cutting doubles to get more singles players involved brought back memories of the years John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Guy Forget and Patrick Rafter earned year-end doubles berths.

Doubles remains the most-played, and most popular, aspect of tennis among recreational players, as it ironically disappears from the pro game.

Most of the doubles guys don’t mind what’s going on with “doubles promotion,” as long as there are doubles draws at events and they are still getting paid. But perhaps it’s time to start worrying, if you’re a doubles specialist, whether this “Revolution” has an end goal of improving the game, or if it’s just a diversion until the ATP tournament voting block again tries and get the ATP to completely cut the doubles cord.

You Might Like:
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Maria Sharapova: Serena’s Coach Will Never Say Nice Words About Me, And You Know Why!
Murray Leads Great Britain Into Davis Cup Final, Will Play Belgium In November
Join the Live Davis Cup Doubles Blogging: U.S. vs. Switzerland
Andy Murray Looks Forward To Playing The Bryan Brothers In The Davis Cup Doubles

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11 Comments for Quick Hits: Sharapova No. 1? Davis Cup Popular, is Doubles?

alice Says:

wining 2 Slams and making 4 slam finals and winning 1 doesn’t make mean you had the better year.
I’m sure if you ask Justine H2H to choose between(option 1) making all 4 Slam finals and winning JUST ONE and making 2 slam finals and winning them both she’d go for option 2
nice try though

Dan Says:

What makes a good year in tennis is consistency. Justine has been the most consistent player out there this year. True, she won one slam to Amelie’s two, but Henin played just has to go one extra step next year, Amelie has to go several to win more slams. Winning slams aren’t everything in tennis either.

Alice Says:

considering the fact that she’s had BettyCrocker draws at all the Slams,I’ll agree with you.
And let’s not talk about the “tummy gate”
You better not talk to me about Mauresmo winning several more slams,mate.Since this is about the year 2006,let’s stick to that and that alone.
Henin didi indeed make the finals of all 4 slams,
retired in the first one after her arse was getting kicked,hey I even got the pre-final interview on which she said she was ” felling better than years before” so don’t go there with me.
She got Kuznetsova in the finals of RG,what has Kuznetsova done other than win titles beating great players but when in Slams she stinks and hey go for her stats I’m not making this up.
Again Mauresmo had the toughest draw at Wimbledon, won 3 straight 3 setters at 27 years old while HH didn’t drop a set and still kicked the Belgian’s arse
EVerybody knows that Mauresmo came to the USO injured (shoulder and groin tears and still made the semis) after skipping the Hard court season. Who did HH have to face to get to the finals?
bunch of nobodies,she got there cause Jankovic chocked.
What extra more steps?
any tennis fan with half a brain will look at the stats, 2 Slam wins rule over 4 finals and 1 win.
Having said that i’m done.

momofan Says:

Whatever the case, if Sharapova ends the year at No. 1, that will be the worst travesty *ever* in the WTA because here we have two players who have CLEARLY separated themselves from the rest of the field, and yet, due to injuries at the end of the year (no doubt from playing so well *throughout* the entire year), have a hard time “sealing the deal.” Sharapova’s one Slam win, 2 Semi’s, and a fourth round at RG certainly DO NOT triump Henin’s 4 straight GS finals and one win, and let’s not even talk about Mauresmo’s 2 Slam wins, GS Semi, and fourth round at RG.

That said, ALLEZ AMELIE.

Aldrin Says:

Hi! Hey guys, don’t be too harse on Maria! If she can win both Kremlin and Zurich then she probably has the right to be No.1 in the world. That would be 4 Tier 1s and the US. In fact, Mauresmo admitted that both Justine and Maria threaten her position. The problem with Justine is her injury but still have the chance if she win in Madrid. With Mauresmo, she seems to me to be unpredictable and at times vulnerable to players like Svetlana and other top players. She also has an injury and has to defend the title in Madrid. Failure to do so, then she may relinquish her No.1 position. With Maria, she played fewer tourneys compared to Amelie. I believe it’s still among the three. It really depends on how Maria and Amelie perform in the remaining tourneys before Madrid.
I think you guys are just afraid of Maria because she’s capable to grab the No.1 ranking, aren’t you?

Dan Says:

I appreciate what you said. But, again, if winning slams is all that matters, why could Maria Sharapova possibly end the year at no. 1? She has only made it to one Slam final, and won. It is because of consistency. Consistency is what makes a better player. “Any tennis fan with half a brain in their head” cannot argue with that.

alice Says:

yeah off course feed her arse with Betty Crocker draws as usual and it woll get her everywhere.
Time to go to work my child,have a good day.

JCF Says:

Alice, JHH has had more consistent results despite fewer slams.

Players like Mauresmo and Clijsters have managed to get to #1 without winning a single slam during the year. Don’t downplay JHH’s achievement and race lead just because she won fewer slams.

JDC Says:

The two of you are defining “more important” differently. The WTA (i.e. ranking officials) view the consistency as more important. However, I’m sure that all of the players (no exceptions) would take 2 Slam wins in 2 finals over 1 Slam win in 4 finals. So, to the players, Slam wins are more important.

2006 has been great for all three. Mauresmo was best at capturing the biggest trophies. HH was best at consistency in the four biggest tournaments. Sharapova has been (or has the potential to be) best at year-round consistency.

Dan Says:

Thank you JDC! I couldn’t agree with you more!

Hako Says:

Amelie has had a great year, the best of her career. That said, JHH had a her best year in ’03 winning the French and the U.S. Open and generally dominating the field to reach number one. JHH has continued to win big events and slams since then, which Amelie will have to do to equal her accomplishments….in my view. Lets see if Amelie is able to add a slam or two next year and in the future. Don’t forget that JHH is years younger, but it’s Amelie that is trying to play caught-up. Btw,their record against one another is quite even….Amelie has had her arse whooped by JHH as well…and likely will have again. Also, Amelie has only recently escaped the domination of Serena and clijsters…players JHH has beaten several times over the years.

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