Wimbledon Notes: NBC Tape-fest, Safina Defends No. 1 Rank
by Staff | July 2nd, 2009, 4:31 pm


Serena Williams belted 20 aces in a 2:49 win over Elena Dementieva…
Venus Williams gave Dinara Safina the worst loss ever by a No. 1-ranked player…

A Williams sister will have won Wimbledon 8 of the last 9 years…

Did we mention no No. 1 has suffered as bas a loss Safina’s today?…

Venus and Serena have split their 20 previous meetings…

Venus Williams has won 35 straight sets at Wimbledon, and 20 straight matches…

Roger Federer has never lost a set in a Wimbledon semifinal…

Venus has won five of the last eight against Serena…

DEAR NBC — Dear NBC, aside from your horrendous tape-heavy coverage of Wimbledon, thank you for the live streaming the Blake-Fish men’s doubles five-set semifinal on Thursday (Blake-Fish lost 10-8 in the fifth).

The Times’ Richard Sandomir on American tennis fans having to put up with taped tennis matches while tennis is being played live: “We’ve heard for years NBC’s reasons for tape-delaying Wimbledon and the French Open: its allergy to pre-empting the “Today” show on weekday mornings and past difficulties in pre-empting Saturday morning kiddie programming or Sunday morning religious shows. It’s become so much yadda yadda yadda. I’m sure that NBC knew that those majors were played in Europe when it signed those deals. And I’m sure that it’s 2009 — technology keeps changing, and fans have little or no tolerance for sports events not shown live. NBC’s license to tape-delay matches dates to old contracts the All England Club should have changed long ago. Now, the club must require significant change. No fan should have to care that NBC’s arrangements, in its world, or with ESPN, argue against live match broadcasts.”…

I’M STILL NO. 1 — Dinara Safina after winning only one game off Venus Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals, on her No. 1 ranking: “Well, I’ve been in last four Grand Slams, I reach at least semifinal. I mean, they haven’t been in the semifinal of the French Open. I think this is the result of how you play the whole year. It’s not about one, two tournaments how you play. It’s a result of tournament by tournament, day to day that you play. I think this is the end result. I mean, it’s not like just that you focus on the Grand Slam. I won Rome. I won Madrid. I been in the final French Open. I been in the final of Australia. Yes, I haven’t won it, but this is not end of the world. But I still play consistent.”…

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43 Comments for Wimbledon Notes: NBC Tape-fest, Safina Defends No. 1 Rank

Kimo Says:

No disrespect to Safina, but no matter what tournament the Williams sisters are playing, they never lose 1 and love, let alone lose 1 and love in a slam semi.

Kimmi Says:

Safina is right, she has been consistent for a very long time and the ranking don’t lie.

If not for Safina, who else deserve the # 1 ranking ? Not Venus, her GS results this year has been poor except Wimbledon. Serena has 4 or 3 loses back to back to back while safina was making the final or winning. I think they should give her a break, as long as she is on it …she deserve it.

I saw that Serena was also asked about this in her presser but she was politically correct this time. Yes..she better be…

I think safina had a bad day and found a form player on the day. Federer won only 4 games in the 2008 FO final to Nadal. He was also # 1 ranked player. Does that loss made Federer not worthy # 1 player at the time ? I don’t think so, they’ve all earned it.

ben Says:

“pre-empting Saturday morning kiddie programming or Sunday morning religious shows”


Fact check please. The finals are always live. The semis and quarters are the problem.

Skorocel Says:

“No disrespect to Safina, but no matter what tournament the Williams sisters are playing, they never lose 1 and love, let alone lose 1 and love in a slam semi.”

Not quite… Venus lost 1-6 1-6 to Hingis in the AO 2001 semis and 0-6 4-6 in the USO 1997 finals – but that was still 1 & 3 games more than what Dinara won today :-)

Chrys Says:

There is no way that Safina is anywhere near the calibur that entitles her to be called the Number One player in the world. She’s a choker, pure and simple. In any other sport on earth, chokers who come in second or worse are not Number Ones.
And she didn’t even try today. That constant whining to her coach…Man, that gets really old.
Reaching a final and consistently LOSING only proves that she can’t win the big tournaments. In my world that’s a loser, not a number one player, computer or no computer!

topspin Says:

hahahaha @ NBC, thank GOD I don’t have to deal with that mess anymore.

ESPN in South America shows the events LIVE!

during the first week or every slam, ESPN and ESPN+ are showing live matches and at night the highlight matches, gotta love it.

FoT Says:

Comparing Roger vs Safina doesn’t computate. Roger had won – what – 12 slams by the time he lost that match to Nadal at the French in that lopsided score. How many has Safina won? Those 2 folks should never be compared. That was not the norm for Roger to lose in a slam by that score. It seems to be the norm for Safina in big matches.

Ty Says:

topspin: I hate you so much right now :).

Is it bad that I’m actually thinking about moving out of the US to get good tennis coverage. Now that is a true tennis fan.

SG Says:

Safina will have to pull it together or she’ll be another Jankovic. It’s nice to get to grand slam SF’s. But, as a pro, you have to knock the door down and win some big ones here and there. She seems like a good soul. Like her brother. Let’s hope she gets more out of her talent than Marat did.

Skorocel Says:

“Safina will have to pull it together or she’ll be another Jankovic.”

I think she’s already there, if not better ;-)

Kimo Says:

Even though Safina’s results have been consistent this year, having someone like her at the top of the ranking is not good for that WTA. Safina is the personification of all the WTA’s woes:

1. One-dimensional players who can do nothing but hit every stroke with power from the baseline. No variety whatsoever.

2. The fact that she’s successful shows how pathetic the women’s field is.

3. Chokers. Big chokers. Chokers don’t come any chokier than this.

Some people complain that the Roger-Rafa dominance over Men’s tennis has been bad for the game. I beg to differ, and what’s happening to the WTA now is proof. Any sport needs someone to grab it by the horns and be the best. As Pistol Pete put it: A guy with a big target on his back.

Golf needs its Tiger. Formula ones needs another Schumacher. Tennis needs Roger and Rafa. The moment you don’t have a super-star, when everyone has a shot, that’s when ratings plummet and sports disappear from the radar. The best setting is when you have a rivalry between two super-stars. When Djokovic challenged Rafa and Roger in 2007, people were welcoming a change yet they weren’t ready to give up watching Rafa and Roger make history. A man who doesn’t care about tennis will not be able to recall who won the majors in 2002, the ATP’s year of transition (aka the Hewitt era), but I bet you he’ll know who won them in 2004 to 2009.

The WTA right now needs a Graff, a Hingis, a Henin, but the bohemian existence that’s come to rule the WTA will only lead to chaos.

Cindy_Brady Says:

Can’t stand NBC!!

Let ESPN have it all and broadcast it live!!!

NBC, you can have your precious Regis and Kelly, and Today shows. Tennis fans deserve LIVE tennis especially at the most prestigious events.

It is an insult to broadcast matches that everyone already knows the outcome while “live” epic matches are being played.

BOO to NBC and its horrible coverage of professional tennis.

jane Says:


The super-star point may well be true. But your painting of things in extreme terms is not realistic. If one person isn’t dominant and winning all the titles, that doesn’t mean things have to be in chaos a la the WTA. There’s such a thing as a middle ground!!

There have been plenty of fantastic eras in men’s tennis, where there were regular champions, like Sampras, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Connors, and yet there were more than ONE super-star; there were three, four, sometimes even five, who could potentially win it. And there were some surprises as well.

Meanwhile, between Federer and Nadal, they’ve gobbled up 20 of the last 24 grand slam trophies. Never has there been such as sustained period of the same people winning — person, really, since Nadal has mainly been a winner at the French, with two other slams coming thereafter — regularly. Only four have crashed this long stretch of slam titles since Fed’s first: Roddick, Safin, Gaudio and Djoko. That’s it. That’s a long time.

It may be good in some ways, but we’re talking about 6 years. It would be nice if there were a few other guys who could step up and take some of the slams, imo.

Here’s the slam title list:


Cindy_Brady Says:

Interesting Jane,

Tennis needs more rivalries and bad boys. Federer and Nadal are just too nice. Their tennis is fantastic but they are boring people. Tennis needs characters who can play and have personalities like Nastase, McEnroe, and Connors. Players who weren’t afraid to show their utter disgust of one another. They make the average viewer want to watch tennis and even play it.

Federer needs to break more rackets and Nadal needs to spit on people. Now who wouldn’t tune it to watch that. Maybe cuss out an umpire in different languages, too. Tennis needs spice. All the tears from Federer and the apologies from Nadal are a yawn fest. They may be great tennis players but they stink for ratings!

jane Says:

Cindy, “Tennis needs spice.”

Yeah, you got that right. Too much PC behavior does put a damper on the rivalries. But people on these boards have crucified Roddick for smack talk, Djoko for pounding his chest, and Murray for cursing. God forbid! Can you imagine if they’d’ve watched a Mac or Connors or Nastase? Coronaries all round! This business of “tennis is a gentleman’s sport” and therefore players shouldn’t say “Come on” or shouldn’t be boisterous and sweat and wear sleeveless shirts like Rafa used to (before Nike and the rest tamed him) is something I have never liked. Let’s have a mix, and a full array of human emotions and behaviour. Now that would be exciting.

When Fed smashed his racquet in Miami it made every sports summary for miles around the globe.

Cindy_Brady Says:


While I’m on the subject. At no time can I remember a more sorry #1 player in woman’s tennis.

Safina’s game is not attractive. Safina herself is not attractive. The average sports viewer looks at her and changes the channel. She is bad for woman’s tennis. Thank God one of the sisters took her out. The William sisters are the best thing woman’s tennis has going right now with no Martina, Steffi, Monica, Chris, Tracy, Gabriela, or even Justine in the mix.

The army of female Russian players all look alike and play alike. How incredibly boring it all is. Woman’s tennis needs more of a shot in the arm than man’s tennis does. Maybe I’m just a relic of the past but tennis used to be more colorful than it is today. I looked forward to the Steffi/Monica battles. Who could get up for a Safina/ Kuznetsova final. Can’t even pronounce it.

This is why the tennis ratings stink in the US. These generic European players all look alike.

jane Says:


I agree Safina is lacking something; she’s consistent, but she can’t get over the hurdle. I know a lot of people hate Sharapova, but she wasn’t bad for the starpower factor of women’s tennis. I mean, you can call her overrated, but she does own three of the four slam titles.

I like Dementieva and kudos to her for fighting Serena tooth and nail today to produce an over all excellent semi final. Since when has one been so long? Plus she’s improved her serve and I like players who work and get better.

There are also a couple of young ones coming up, specifically the German Lasicki, who actually has a good serve, like the Williams sisters. A little more consistency and she may be a force to be reckoned with.

Anyhow, I am trying to be hopeful. But yeah – where is the next Steffi et al? Hopefully, coming soon to a court near us.

NachoF Says:

womens tennis might be crap but men’s tennis is the most exciting it has ever been IMO.. Fed-Nadal rivalry is much more exciting than Sampras-Agassi…. and the quality of the tennis is much higher.. have you guys watched those matches form the 90s??.. it really was nowhere near as elegant/powerful as today

jsmauger Says:

Give Safina a break. She’s doing better than the previous number ones post Justine. Frankly, she doesn’t have a clue how to play on grass and made it as far as she did on guts alone. The woman doesn’t know what attacking the net means, much less what a volley is. She had the misfortune to run into one of the best grass court players ever and got her clock cleaned. End of story.

Cindy_Brady Says:


The Borg/Connors/McEnroe battles >>> Fed/Nadal

xmike Says:

To Cindy-Brady, Jane & NachoF:

male tennis of the 90s and todays is almost unconparable! pick up any game almost at random and it just ace, serve, ace, serve, etc, really boring to watch compared to variety, quality and longer ralies we have nowadays; and it’s not like they had these great on-court personalities either, like McEnroe and Connors in the 80s; ivanisevic had a sense of humour, but his game was almost as boring as Karlovics. I wanna personaly thank whoever started slowing the balls and courts, it’s much more fun to watch now than it was then :)

however, despite the fact that the play was technicly, from a viewers perspective, getting more boring, audiences and attendneces kept growing all the time and i think one of the reasons was because of Sampras and Agassi: people followed their rivalry like it was like a soap opera, always with the same caracters, it almost didn’t matter how they played, everyone wanted to know what happened next and, specificly, like in all sports, it’s all about the numbers, everyone wants to see records being broken; i think in all sports the general public likes to feel they are watching history being made – in 50 years time, if we live that long, we will all remember Sampras win in Wimbledon in 2000 and Federers Rolland Garros win, but how many of us now will be able to name the French or Australian Open winner of 2002?

Personally i always root for the person that is always winning, be it Steve Davis, Valentino Rossi, Tiger Woods, Phelps or Federer. Why? Because i want to feel i’m a part of something great being achieved (even if just passivly sitting on the coutch watching), something that will be remembered for a long time and that will be almost unbreakable and that sets the standard even higher; then i will be able to say in 2050 that “these were the days”, just like the ol’ geezers do when they talk about their old times :)

about womens tennis, since Henin retired, i completly lost interest: all players look like clones of each other, just screaming and whacking the ball as hard as they can, you don’t see a slice, a volley, a chip, or whatever; in the 90s i would choose Graf and Navratilova and Sanchez and Hingis over any mens match, now, like one of you said, Safina and Kuznetzova are playing in a tier 1 final yaaawnnnn who cares?

jane Says:


“Personally i always root for the person that is always winning… Because i want to feel i’m a part of something great being achieved”

I tend to root for a player a take to for whatever reason: guts, passion, great work ethics, and that’s usually the underdog or the bad guy. Not always: sometimes I take to the natural champion, but generally I have to think the player is interesting in some way to want to root for him/her. It’s more subjective than simply picking the winner and cheering for him or her. I liked Steffi Graf’s game and personality (did you ever see her reaction when she was proposed to by an audience member) and it was only incidental that she was one of the biggest winners of all time.

b.t.w., I disagree about 90s (or 80s) tennis: did you ever watch Agassi? It wasn’t ace, ace, ace with him. He was a returner extraodinare. Or Edberg? He volleyed sublimely. Or Lendl, one of the first big baseliners? Or what about Rafter? I can’t agree with your assessment of these guys at all. There was loads of variety back then.

jane Says:

Sorry I transposed your name: the above post should be addressed to “xmike.”

xmike Says:

hi jane, no problem about the name

apparently we don’t agree in much, but you are right about those players you mentioned, although i associate lendl and edberg more to 80s than 90s (edberg had his beautiful game killed by the power servers in the early 90s)

i think agassi and rafter and muster and chang and few others were the exception other than the rule, players that didn’t base their game around the serve, i associate the 90s more with sampras, krajicek, rosset, ivanisevic, rusedski, philipoussis, etc, around half of the top 10 players were huge servers with sometime little else to their games (the other half was the spanish armada :), when as nowadays we have maybe only one or two in the top 20 (roddick and karlovic and not many else) thanks to the slowing of the courts and balls. So their was variety as you said but there was to big a percentage of power servers hanging around to make a lot the games boring to watch.

about rooting for the winner, i agree with you, the “winner” has to have a game you like to watch and a personality you enjoy, for example i didnt really care about stephen hendry, shcumacher and lendl in particular, and screaming players with one dimensional games in general, like seles and sharapova.

and its 5 am here, going to sleep so i can wake up in time for the fed-haas match, have a good day/night, wherever you are :))

jane Says:

True xmike – there were a lot of big servers; even the Fed vs. Soderling match turned into, as Fed put it, “a serving contest” though. But I do like the all-court games, with lots of variety in one player.

Anyhow, yeah, good night. I am just gearing up to watch a film. Enjoy the semis tomorrow.

Hana Says:

Cindy Brady…

You almost sounded intelligent and then you throw Gabriela into a list of multi grand slam winners. She barely won one US Open in a time when women’s tennis was REALLY bad!!!

And somebody teach that fat-ass Safina what a sit-up is!

jules Says:

Ok now I hope Venus win it!

huh Says:

Nobody can break racquets better than Fed and he proved it just like he’s proved none’s as unbeatable as him in the present era.

huh Says:

I mean how superbly Fed smashed the racquet, nobody’d come even close in this respect. ;)

Kimo Says:

huh, I agree, and I discussed it with my friends after I saw it. I told them: “He even smashes racquets better than anybody else. I mean, the surprise, the shock, the furstration, the technique with which he broke the racquet, his balance while doing it, the way he turned his head away to protect his eyes from any debris, all of that was done to perfection. WOW.

By far the best racquet smash I’ve ever seen.

Pro_B Says:

LOL @ Kimo

huh Says:

Kimo Says:
‘huh, I agree, and I discussed it with my friends after I saw it. I told them: “He even smashes racquets better than anybody else. I mean, the surprise, the shock, the furstration, the technique with which he broke the racquet, his balance while doing it, the way he turned his head away to protect his eyes from any debris, all of that was done to perfection. WOW.

By far the best racquet smash I’ve ever seen.”

Completely agree,ha ha!! ;)

Tennis Freak Says:

Looks like a foggy day in London and its suburbs. The roof is open.
Players are about to enter the court. First, Tommy Haas.

Tennis Freak Says:

“We are two of the one-handed backhanders. It’s gonna be a great match,” Fed’s words before the match. I hope so.
Good morning, everybody out there !

Cindy_Brady Says:

Hana Says:

Cindy Brady…

You almost sounded intelligent and then you throw Gabriela into a list of multi grand slam winners. She barely won one US Open in a time when women’s tennis was REALLY bad!!!

And somebody teach that fat-ass Safina what a sit-up is!

You are trying to work my nerves, but that’s OK. I do it all the time. The reason I mentioned Sabatini is the way she struck the ball. Her topspin backhand was more like a mans shot. Her physical game was similar (but not as good) as Nadal’s game is. She gave Graf fits and was the only player (before Seles) to match her from the ground.

And Safina. What else can be said. She has more manly hips than her brother does. Too bad she doesn’t have the heart of a champion. Champions win grand slams. They don’t wilt under pressure going deep into slams. Safina’s consistency theory why she should be #1 doesn’t hold water. The grand slams are what people and history will look to in 50 years. Not winning other warm up events leading to the slams.

Safina stop making excuses and win a slam. That will shut the critics up and your #1 rank will be legitimate. Until then, Venus and Serena are the real #1 and #2 players You are a plastic #1 who should melted down!

Kimo Says:

Roger looked invincible out there today.

On Sunday, history will be made. Just imagine Roger accepting the trophy from Laver, Borg, and possible Sampras.

Kimo Says:

“possibly” Sampras

Skorocel Says:


It’s interesting that you’re praising the Williams sisters here (whilst labelling Safina’s game as “not attractive”) when it was exactly the Williams sisters who made the women’s tennis BORING LIKE HELL, first and foremost… There’s no denying they’re the 2 best female players on the world, but will I watch their tomorrow’s final? No. Another boring contest between 2 siblings who know virtually nothing but to whack that ball as hard as anyone on the WTA tour… Frankly, is that “more attractive” than what Safina, Kuzy, Lisicki, Ivanovic, and others do? I don’t think so…

Ryan Says:

!! Everyone’s upset. Lets does something about it !!


Sign the petition, get your friends to sign. Thanks for the support!

Cindy_Brady Says:


The Williams sisters play with flair and explosiveness. Never know what you’re going to get. They are exciting to watch. They both have athleticism. Something Safina and the other Russians lack.

Your portrayal of the sister’s games and their lack of understanding the finer points of tennis borders on racism. They both understand the game as well as any other player. They just play to their strengths, power and athleticism. They don’t just whack the ball. They serve hard, move well, improvise well, volley well, and most of all never give up.

Skorocel Says:

“Your portrayal of the sister’s games and their lack of understanding the finer points of tennis borders on racism.”

Really? Then what about your portrayal of all those “generic” European players? LOL!

SG Says:

I liked watching Mac and Connors in the early 80’s. They were fun to watch. Truthfully though, it was not for the on court theatrics. These were two great rivals. These guys didn’t know how to choke in their prime. They left it all on the court. Someone in a fairly recent thread talked about the Connors-Mac 84′ USO match. That match had so many twists and turns…it was remarkable. There were some unbelievable net exchanges in that match. Federer may be the best ever, but IMHO, Mac had the quickest and softest hands I have ever seen. I never really cared for the outbursts. I guess that’s why I liked Sampras. He was a tennis genius and cold eyed killer on the tennis court. No circus tent needed to draw you in.

Fred Says:

Serena should be No.1 not Safina. its absurd to think otherwise. Serena holds 3 out of the 4 grand slams played this year. The WTA looks stupid. Where is their comment on the matter?

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