Opinion: Taking a Dump on Match Fixing, On-Court Coaching; Plus Tennis-X Notes
by Jeremy Davis | January 20th, 2016, 9:34 pm

Women are weak.

Why do I say that? I’m not saying that. I love the ladies.

The WTA tour is saying that.

It’s 2016, and the WTA is still allowing (mostly male) coaches to come on court during matches and rescue the poor women players who can’t think for themselves or construct their own tactics or learn when to drink or not to drink water or eat a banana during a match.

Isn’t it time to just shut this embarrassment down? I’m embarrassed. The WTA should be embarrassed.

Just let the women play. Woman vs. Woman. Woman-o a woman-o. That’s Latin.

It’s tennis, not a goddam golf match where you need a caddy telling you the distance to the hole.

The WTA can no longer explain it away as an experiment “[to] allow our many fans around the world to get a little bit closer to what’s going on behind the scenes, in the player’s head, in the coach’s head.”

No one gives a shit — nor can they understand what that fat Russian man is saying, in Russian, to his player.

Last year Allison Riske’s coach/boyfriend was caught on the mike telling his player to “shut the fuck up” during their on-court coaching session. Now that’s entertainment for the kids.

Now this year, to give a handy to their sponsor SAP, they’re even going to allow coaches to bring iPads on the court and share “real-time” data with players? This is totally out of control, and time for the WTA to backtrack this crap and shut it down.

For the final word we’ll go to Roger Federer who in 2014 said: “Yeah, I hope [the men stay] far away from that idea…It’s just not right….It’s not going to be pretty, you know. It just won’t.”

It hasn’t been pretty. The rich players get the upper hand bringing their super-coaches on court, while the qualifier who can’t afford a traveling coach just sits there. I’m going to even argue that players like Caroline Wozniacki would not have reached No. 1 in the world without on-court coaching. She has never been a consistent Slam competitor, winning all her titles where she could utilize on-court coaching.

“It will look amateur-like, in my opinion,” Federer said.

If the WTA won’t do it, it’s up to the players to rise up and demand an end to this amateur hour.


UPPER-LEVEL ATP MATCH FIXERS TO BE REVEALED? — World No. 1 Serena Williams says she has never had a run-in with match fixers, but Novak Djokovic says in his early days he was approached with a $200K offer to lose a match…CNN writes, “Paul Annacone, the former coach of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, believed elite players didn’t need to participate in match fixing to make good money.” — File that under “No shit, Sherlock.”…ATP head Chris Kermode says “It’s hard to catch everyone,” but apparently it’s hard to catch ANYONE unless you’re ranked outside the Top 500. Nikolay Davydenko practically reported to the Russian mafia and you couldn’t pin anything on him. Andre Agassi reported in his bio he was caught testing positive for crystal meth, and that the ATP swept it under the rug — and we’re supposed to believe the ATP did their due diligence in looking for doping or betting cheats (while at the same time, remember, they are the players “union”) before handing things over to the in-aptly named Tennis Integrity Unit? Shiiiiieat. Over the years of tennis touting itself as an Olympic-testing-level beyond-reproach sport over the last few years, it’s time people fessed up. The shit, hopefully, is finally going to hit the fan, and the players who have it coming to them will get it, and tennis can admit its policing problems and start fresh. Maybe with a little transparency? How bad has it been? Richard Ings, the former ATP rules and competition head, called match fixing a “regular thing” and called the Tennis Integrity Unit “very disappointing” and “far too secretive.” How can the ATP deny a cover-up in the face of this massive evidence dump? They are protecting their brand. The BBC’s investigative partner in the incident, the website Buzzfeed, teases, “The sport’s governing bodies have been warned repeatedly about a core group of 16 players — all of whom have ranked in the top 50 — but none have faced any sanctions and more than half of them will begin playing at the Australian Open on Monday.” Stay tuned…

An Italian media report has accused Novak Djokovic of deliberately losing a match in 2007 to Fabrice Santoro at the Paris Masters. “It’s not true,” said Djokovic. “What it is to say? I’ve lost that match.” Djokovic in his post-match conference on Wednesday asked reporters to not ask him any more about it…Is this match-fixing scandal the best thing that could happen to tennis or what? Tennis was front and center yesterday on almost every media outlet in every country…Roger Federer hasn’t reached an Aussie Open final in six years…Radek “The Worm” Stepanek at 37 became the oldest man to win a match at the Australian Open since 1978 when he won his first round…Lleyton Hewitt hasn’t beaten David Ferrer in 10 years…Former ITF world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend lost in the qualifying of an ITF event in Florida this week…Jack Sock is receiving some slack for tanking the third set 6-0 against fellow American Taylor Fritz, moping around the court like he was sick and on his deathbed, before storming back to win the final two sets and the match against the then-psyched-out Fritz…30-year-old oft-injured American Brian Baker lost in the first round of the Aussie Open to Simone Bolleli in four tiebreaks, competing in his first match since the 2013 US Open after knee surgery…Belinda Bencic says she learned English by watching the movie “Titanic” multiple times, and Simona Halep by reading the Harry Potter series…American Taylor Fritz was the youngest player in the Australian Open draw…Tennis writer Ben Rothenberg: “Grigor Dimitrov is not wearing sleeves. This is not a good look.”…Venus Williams is 0-2 in 2016, is dropping QF points in Oz, and should be concerned about qualifying for the Olympics in singles…Rafael Nadal needs another coach in his camp — like, yesterday…Is Fabio Fognini pregnant?…Will Rafa visit the Hair Club for Men?…Andy Murray on the tour having betting sponsors: “I think it’s a little bit hypocritical, really. I don’t believe the players are allowed to be sponsored by betting companies but then the tournaments are. I don’t really understand how it all works. I think it’s a bit strange.”…Andy Murray is 17-0 career against Australians.


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58 Comments for Opinion: Taking a Dump on Match Fixing, On-Court Coaching; Plus Tennis-X Notes

Humble Rafa Says:

I have a feeling that the Egg Lover may not be so innocent in that Santoro match.

Wog Boy Says:

You read Italian press and particularly Tuttosport..?

jane Says:

wog boy, i’ve heard some people say there isn’t even a story in that paper. not sure about the publication or not, but you can hear it was a british reporter who asked him about it at the press conference, not an italian.

Wog Boy Says:


I read on the other forum that Tuttosport came out with tha and British reporter use the chance to ask the question, they can be wrong.
What is happening now is that everyone is picking some unexpected results from the past and throwing accusations without any hard evidence and it is going to hurt a lot of people for the reason unknown to us, yet.
If you ask me, I suspect that Nole fixed his 2010 FO match with Meltzer, I would investigate that one, after going two sets up he lost the match and that against the Meltzer, very suspicious indeed..

jane Says:

wog boy, has anyone seen or posted a link to that italian article i wonder?

Wog Boy Says:

Not that I know Jane, I just read on Serbian forum that it was Tuttosport that made allegation, but no link was posted.

Humble Rafa Says:

It is well know that Hot Sauce’s matches have a “pattern”. Betting increases dramatically when he plays.

danica Says:

Even Santoro was not approached for that Italian article. It is pure rubbish and imagination. And WB, you ask for what reason? To discredit Nole and make him nervous, make him not thinking about his matches 100%, make him loose. It is always British press, I am sorry to say. It is fake injury allegations, it is yelling at ball boy/girl, it is match fixing, it is everything… Not one of those British journalists found Murray 3:0 in the Wimbledon finals suspicious. C’mon, was Rafa involved in all these early round losses in Slams? How about Roger losing to Canas of all people? As Nole said, you can take any early round loss of a top player and make fantasy and fiction around that.

Shameful, disgusting, pure evil. What they do not know is that the more they aggravate him, the better he will play. In spite of all that.

Wog Boy Says:

Yes, agree, just couldn’t put it together the way you did it so opted to leave it to somebody more eloquent that me, and you pitched in nicely, as usual, thanks.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ than me

sienna Says:

yup. Here we go!

sienna Says:

Nadal reals in his first fish of the season while hot sauce loses against journeyman.
Rafael beware people might remember downfall more when it last longer.

danica Says:

Sienna, something bothers you? Or, upon seeing you here, maybe we should say “here we go!”? Yup indeed.

J-Kath Says:

I had hoped to read something about Andy’s win and Stan’s win rather than another article on a dubious subject. Also wonder why we are getting so many articles on Roger when Andy and Stan’s progress is equally relevant to players of interest.

Sigh, sigh.

Wog Boy Says:

HR, in a case you don’t check the other thread I’ll repost it here,

This is what Fabrice Santoro had to say about Tuttosport allegations:
“I was never the best player in the world but I’d beaten 19 of the 23 best players in the world, and a week before I’d beaten American Andy Roddick, who was world number five,” Santoro, who was ranked 39 at the time, told BeIN Sports television.
Here is the link:

Gypsy Gal Says:

Women are weak?seriously is this the most sexist tennis writer in the history of the game??….

Margot Says:

Just seen pigs flying past my window…..more likely than a write up about Andy…;)
Ah, our very own Jeremy, who can’t possibly be sexist in any way whatsoever because you know, “he loves the laydees.”

J-Kath Says:

Yep Margot…will write when I like, about whom I like, when I like…so buzz off – you unappreciative lot…

scineram Says:

100% true article!

Chrisford1 Says:

Some cracks at the “dump”, starting with an attaboy to Jeremy DAvis:

1. Nice to know Jeremy is one writer with more thoughts than the Big 4, Slam count, Serena, and Goathood in his head.

2. On court coaching is one problem with the WTA, but many others are combining to present it as an inferior product to the ATP. Focus on glam, golden girls. The erratic performance of its marquee players. The list goes on.

3. In America, giving someone a hand, vs. a handy, are two different things.

4. The BBC/Buzfeed attack is now in the process of attracting swarms of lawyers. This all originated in the UK, it seems. More to follow. Aside from the mechanics and who is who of old events and who is legally liable for slander, cheating, etc.. it is hard to ignore tennis is part of the next great crisis of capitalism and democracy. Namely wealth if flowing away from the masses and certain nations into the hands of fewer and fewer people – and those people play by different rules – and votes of the masses are coming to mean nothing, just the agenda of the Elites. The elites, not the people, want tens of millions of 3rd Worlders pouring across borders, tennis has IMG and Nike calling many of the shots, and the war on terrorism is mainly about Elites protecting themselves from insurrection (have to spend money to make the Bastille proof against terrorists storming it, the streets able to be cleared of “terrorist” blockades, the masses disarmed for their own safe
And more into gaining the favor of Marie Antoinette or Maria Sharapova than pleasing some peasant with bread or making the life of a WTA player stuck in coach with a 8 hour stay on the tarmac in New Delhi on the way to Australia any better.
5. It is an insult to Fabrice Santoro, aka “the magician”, to imply the only way he could win against a top player is to take a dive. And an insult of course that of all the dozens of top players Santoro knocked off, Djokovic must be the only one taking a dive for gamblers money.
6. Andy the Aussie Killer 17-0 against Australians? Fair dinkum, that! Think he’d rather the 1-11 mark against Djoker in the last couple of years was reversed.
7. Rafa and losing hair? *Sigh* AS if Rafa did not already have enough other issues to wrestle with!
8. Taylor Townsend having problems related to her being big and fat? Who would have guessed!!
9. The US Olympic Committee does good in not keeping washed up former medal winners on the squad on deference to their past greatness in any sport. An attitude that nothing is owed the older washouts – their past Olympic glory should be it’s own reward. That is a good thing. Venus should be no exception. And if Serena is hurt or not playing doubles – no spot for Venus on doubles, either.
10. If he and his soulmate Flavia have a baby coming, hands down Fabio Fognini will act more pregnant, with more mood changes than Pannetta. BTW- Best match of the 2015 season in terms of drama was Fognini-Nadal 3rd round USO. It was a true classic match. Had it all.

Sarah Says:

I guess the tennis x staff is high today :)

Gypsy Gal Says:

Sarah and not to mention some of the posters….

Ben Pronin Says:

You guys know this is a blog and the title of the article is labeled “Opinion”? No? OK…

Does anyone disagree with the underlying notion that on-court coaching is doing nothing positive for the WTA? Whether it makes the women look weak is pretty debatable, but that the higher ranked aka wealthier players have a distinct advantage over lower ranked opponents is completely true. How is this “experiment” still running with such an obvious imbalance?

Skeezer Says:

Tennis was never meant to have on court coaching. Glad its a bust.

Skeezer Says:

One thing I like about this guy Jeremy, he knows how to stir the pot, right or wrong. And once in awhile, he’s friggin hilarious.

Ben Pronin Says:

Skeeze, it’s a bust that’s been around since 08 (according to my google search, anyway). That’s a ridiculously long time for these shenanigans to go on. I honestly don’t get it. ESPECIALLY considering it’s not allowed at the slams. You’re almost handicapping the players by letting them get used to this hand-holding crap that they don’t even get to use when it matters most. Honestly, either use it every where or don’t use it all. Preferably not at all.

I never understood the appeal. Fans ask for shorter matches and tiebreakers in 5th sets and equal prize money and all this other stuff all the time. I never heard anyone say “you know what would be awesome? on court coaching!” And once it was implemented, no one liked it, either. They came up with the worst idea on paper that has proven to be the worst idea in practice.

RZ Says:

Now every time a top player loses a match or even a set, it’s going to be considered suspect.

RZ Says:

The visuals of a male coach telling a female player what she needs to do to win is not ideal to say the least.

Ben Pronin Says:

RZ, Djokovic was pretty spot on in his answers when asked about the accusations. He said that the top guys haven’t lost in early rounds all that often in the last 10ish years so you can pick any match and create a narrative.

Just a little context regarding the match in question for Djokovic. 1, he claims he had his wisdom teeth removed prior to the match and he wasn’t feeling well. 2, that match was the second of 5 straight matches he lost to end the year. He lost to Nalbandian in the semis of Madrid, then Santoro in Paris, and then all 3 matches at the Masters cup. And all of these matches he lost in straight sets. The general consensus around the time was that he was burnt out by the end of what was a really long year for him.

RZ Says:

Ben – My overall point is that a lot of this is based on speculation and anytime people see a result that isn’t what was expected, they could cry foul. I agree that context is important, and I would add that this happened before the GF era of Djokovic that led to his 2011 and 2015 years. He had a lot of asthma, injury, and illness issues back in those days so this shouldn’t be considered a shock. Plus Santoro was well known for driving his opponents nuts with his style of play.

Ben Pronin Says:

Yeah, any upset can look suspicious. I’d say at the very least we have to look at the betting patterns to say “hey this might be a fixed match” before randomly saying “he lost when he shouldn’t have so he must have thrown the match for money”.

Margot Says:

Totally agree Ben, this practise of on court coaching infantalises women.
And they should play best of 5 in the slams too.
FFS Paula Radcliffe et al run marathons.

MMT Says:

I think those who accuse the author of sexism should read the article – he has not criticized women in general, but the WTA and specifically their on-court coaching and the image of women it portrays. I agree that it’s an abomination and wish it would go away immediately. Not for the women’s sake, but for the game itself…this is the last bastion of the player driven sports, and I’d like it to stay that way, although I think it’s headed in the wrong direction.

I should point out that this is not the only paradox that the WTA has created. They advertise, “Strong is Beautiful”, but frankly the one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. They should all seek to be strong, and who the hell cares if they’re “beautiful”. They exchange a rational competition (with points and discrete winners and losers) for a completely irrational one (who is ‘beautiful’) and then complain that they still suffer from sexism. Nobody has imposed that on them, they have imposed it on themselves – that includes the consequences thereof.

My 2 cents…


Tennis Vagabond Says:

My understanding from the BBC report was that changing of odds before a match was only one criteria; others included unusual amounts of money for that level of match, multiple instances with the same player, and some other patterns.

Ben Pronin Says:

TV, yes, it’s not just the odds. The Davydenko match is the best example of this. Lots of money was coming in on his opponent even though Davydenko was much higher ranked. He won the first set, money still coming in for his opponent. Went up a break in the second, and still more money coming in for his opponent. It was so blatantly obvious. But that’s also a rare instance. That’s usually not how the fixing goes. But they’re essentially accusing Novak of the same thing. He was probably a heavy favorite, so the question is was there suspicious amounts of money being placed on Santoro before and during the match?

J-Kath Says:

Exactly Margot

Otherwise what is the difference between women competing at Masters on a 3-set basis and gaining double points at Slams – also on 3-set basis. This is sexism in reverse.

MMT Says:

Ben – have you read Davydenko’s testimony? (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2685375-ATP-Investigation-1.html). You continue to castigate him based exclusively on the evidence of betting patterns and other people’s perception of his injuries, that have nothing to do with HIM.

Davydenko openly discussed his injury problems with the Russian press (not the mafia…the press). He was the #4 ranked player in the world playing a 125 in Sopot, Poland. He almost certainly received an appearance guarantee that was larger than the winner’s check. Most importantly, Davydenko was talking, in Russian, within earshot of on-court microphones, about an injury that he had already discussed, and was saying that it was getting worse during the match, and was saying he would retire…all of this during the match which is broadcast on the Betfair site.

It wouldn’t take a genius who 1) knew his injury 2) spoke Russian 3) understands appearance fees and 4) is watching the match in progress to realize that a golden opportunity was presenting itself by way of those idiots who had bet on Davydenko based on raking alone and not bothered to follow the match or don’t speak Russian.

There is a difference between match fixing and a punter doing his/her homework and gaining an edge..there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE at all whatsoever that the Davydenko fixed the result. The only thing suggesting match fixing was irregular betting and the fact that the Betfair cancelled all bets on the match.

Neither of which has anything to do with Davydenko.

You will also note, when you read this report, that there is DIRECT evidence against Vassallo Arguello (in his phone records) that he was in contact with associates of known Betfair account holders. The report said this evidence would lead to a separate investigation – THAT evidence is a MUCH better case against him than the “evidence” against Davydenko, but for some unexplained reason Vassallo Arguello was never pursued.

Davydenko is getting a bad rap, and I don’t think it’s fair to drag his name through the mud based on evidence that is weaker than tangential evidence against his opponent on the day.

Gypsy Gal Says:

J-Kath/Margot our Brit girl Konta is having such a great run so far,yet nobody has even bothered a single comment about it….

Ben Pronin Says:

Thanks, MMT, I didn’t know most of that. I’m not trying to drag Davydenko down, I like him. But the point still stands that those irregular betting patterns would have to be seen before accusing a match of being fixed in any regard.

I didn’t know there were Russian chair umps.

J-Kath, would you agree that winning a Masters title for the women is actually much harder than winning a slam based on the physicality of it? 4-5 matches in 6-7 days vs 7 matches spread out over 2 weeks?

MMT Says:

Ben: to clarify, Davydenko was speaking to his camp about his struggle with the injury and his plan to retire the match, not the umpire. With the umpire he had a normal exchange concerning the trainer and the rules on MTO because the treatment he received wasn’t helping and he wanted more attention, but the rules prevent a second time out for the same injury. So he then started saying the problem was with toe (which had been diagnosed earlier in the year, by the way, by tour doctor as inflammation and a possible stress fracture).

But you’re right – betting patterns must figure into accusations of match fixing, but they cannot be the only evidence that castigates and ostracizes an accomplished professional as a cheat. And more importantly, when they had evidence suggesting match fixing, on Vassallo Arguello, they simply let that die on a vine when the case against
Davydenko was (correctly) closed.

Ben Pronin Says:

Didn’t mat4 say the case on Vassallo Arguello was dropped due to threats of violence?

MMT Says:

Margot: to your point, Stacey Allaster has indicated that the WTA was ready and willing to go to best of 5 sets in majors and remove any reasonable source of contention for equal pay, but they were rebuffed by the ITF who cited scheduling concerns (http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Stacey-Allaster-Says-WTA-is-Ready,-Willing-and-Ab.aspx). That is unfair to the women, although I suspect they may not have been too displeased that the best of 5 offer was not taken. After all, if all the top players boycotted the majors until the got best of 5 for women, they would cave. To date, they have not done that.

I think the WTA has missed several opportunities to band together for the greater good, and this is just another example. The treatment of Shahar Peer in Dubai a few years ago was a disgrace (http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2009/02/to-no-preserve-union.html)- and Venus Williams saving a word of consolation for her as she accepted a 6-figure winner’s check that she wasn’t allowed to compete for, was a bit like the cat pining for the canary as feathers dribble out of it’s mouth.

But I digress…

MMT Says:

“Ben Pronin Says: Didn’t mat4 say the case on Vassallo Arguello was dropped due to threats of violence?”

I think he was referring to Davydenko, but should he have been allowed to continue playing for 4 more years. They could have asked him to “voluntarily” take a hiatus from the game (like they did Wayne Odesnik when he was caught with HGH – http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-only-dope-is-anti-doping-believer.html), if that was a real concern.

I should also point out that evidence against Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali resulted in their ban by the Italian Tennis federation, some of which stemmed from their association with the same cast of characters that Vassallo
Arguello was associated with. But actually, that ban was the result of a police investigation (like the Odesnik case) and not a tennis investigation.

MMT Says:

The bottom line is that the report’s main contention is that tennis hasn’t done enough to stamp out match-fixing, and I agree with that. I just disagree that Davydenko is the test case for that – Vassallo Arguello is.

Ben Pronin Says:

I agree with not changing the women’s game to best of 5 due to scheduling issues. I thought the equal prize money debate was settled pretty well last year during Serena’s run: no matter how many sets or who’s playing, everyone was paying to see Serena first and foremost. Prize money comes from the fans who are paying to see the best. If you really want to be fair with prize money then create an algorithm to identify how much each player draws the fans and divide it accordingly. But then what’s the point of even playing a tournament? Just stage exhibitions. So keep things simple and give everyone the same check and forget about the rest.

But when we have Sean writing articles every few months about how tennis will surely reduce best of 5 set matches, then getting any of the tours to extend matches in any capacity is never going to happen. And I think that’s fine. I think adding a tiebreaker to the 5th set at all the slams is more important than getting women to play 5 sets.

RZ Says:

@GG – Konta was mentioned after her first round match against Venus and a few of us commented that we didn’t view it as a big surprise. But she probably needs to win a couple more rounds before getting in the articles. Right now it’s hard to get attention.

Margot Says:

I know there are issues re scheduling but I really do think they could be overcome, if the will was there. However, as MMT there have been missed opportunities.
The fact men play best of 5 brings a different, more exciting dimension to slams. We all start waking up and paying much more attention.
But as for the women’s slams, it’s a bit “so what?” And the fact it’s harder for women to win masters makes it even sillier. Yes, I know the same could be said of the men’s masters but it’s the slams we tend to reverence.

MMT Says:

I’d rather see the women play 5 – that nobody insists on them doing so is yet another example of the sexism of low expectations. Pay them the same, but don’t expect them to play the same format, that’s just asking too much. Let them have their goncourt coaching – they need it.

Absolute bollocks, if you ask me. But – we don’t even begin to discuss it if we don’t discuss it, which is exactly what you do if you call the author a sexist for pointing out the absurdity of the worst argument against equality in tennis that exists today. If you believe in it, then you should be thanking those who question on-court coaching and best of 3 at the majors, because the women can’t handle 5.

Trying telling that to Bill Scanlon, who couldn’t keep up with Martina Navratilova’s off-season training regimen.

RZ Says:

RE: the scheduling – keep in mind that TV has a big say in this, and tennis already has to compete with airtime for other sports. I can’t see any TV execs being thrilled with the idea of more 5 set matches; but I could see them being happy that men’s matches go down to 3 sets.

jane Says:

i’d be happy if even the women’s finals were changed to best of 5.

tennismonger.com Says:

medium.com has taken it upon themselves to parse the dataset – visit if you dare.

Some surprising names…

Ben Pronin Says:

RZ, exactly. The men’s matches will be cut shorter before the women’s matches are extended.

MMT, Margot, can you even come up with a rough schedule that would work if women also played best of 5? This has nothing to do with my expectations of any sex. I’m more in the “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” camp. I don’t want men’s matches reduced. But there’s no way to schedule women’s matches.

I mean, unless you either split up the event all together, or extend it another half week at least. Both ideas are actually even bigger scheduling issues.

I don’t think there’s a way.

J-Kath Says:

Ben Pronin

I see your reasons…but it is hardly the same challenge for women as it is for men to face possible 5 sets….

I note your comments to Margot….actually I think it is “broken” …where is the excitement of winning 2 sets in a Grand Slam and therefore winning the match….because of this I am barely interested in what the women achieve at a Grand Slam….apart from the money/prestige why is it different than a 250 ATP?

bojana Says:


These days the Russians and Serbians are blamed for everythiing and enything.

Ben Pronin Says:

“where is the excitement of winning 2 sets in a Grand Slam”

On the flip side, is it really all that enjoyable watching a first-timer get thrashed for 3 sets?

We’re spoiled on the men’s side by the quality of the top guys who’ve been reaching the semis and finals for almost a decade. One of the highest quality matches I saw all year last year was between Azarenka and Kerber at the US Open. Would I have loved to see 5 sets of that? Hell yeah I would, it was effing incredible. But that it was only 3 sets didn’t hinder the quality. But did we really need to see Federer make Gasquet look like a beginner for 3 sets guaranteed sets in the quarterfinals?? I think most people were done with that match after the first break.

The biggest, I guess, problem, is that it is physically harder to win a Masters event than a slam for the women. I do think that is something that is broken and it’s just bonkers to think about. I don’t want start a storm but I often wondered how much of Serena’s success can be attributed to the “easier” format of the slams? She skips a ton of tournaments throughout the year so that she’s more fresh for the slams. Meanwhile the other women are playing week in and week out. Then, even if she’s not fully fit (whether it’s injury or being completely out of shape like at the 05 AO) she has a day in between matches. Although when she is fit she does play doubles so I can’t say she’s just lounging around on the off days.

Anyways, I just don’t see how you schedule it if the women play best of 5.

MMT Says:

Ben: Scheduling issues is a weak response, in my opinion. They could build additional courts or invest in roofs to play longer hours. Roland Garros and Wimbledon don’t even have lights on the courts, for God’s sake. That’s no kind of answer. If they don’t think the people will pay to watch it, that is an answer, but it could easily be dispelled by the women playing their Year End Championships in best of 5 format.

I think the real issue is television revenue. The major broadcasters of the event would like to see ALL of the matches best of 3, and they’re probably the ones resisting best of 5 for the women and pushing best of 3 for the men for entirely self-serving reasons.

But they can do it, they just have to have the incentive, which I don’t think the do right now. They might if the women forced the issue with a boycott or having some of their own tournaments best of 5. They could start with the finals of their premier events and add to that as the women evolve into better and better athletes.

Gee Says:

ferrer and djokovic are still playing like superstars, even at age 28-33.
No amount of fixing would’ve helped people like Roddick and Hewitt. Talk about Karma.

Margot Says:

I agree with you. I don’t think Serena would be as dominabt if the women’s slams were best of 5. You can see how difficult it is for men to play power tennis for 5 sets.

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