Foot Fault Gate

I know my little blog is not getting many readers but if for some reason someone should see it and want to share the contents with the powers that be, i.e. commentators etc., I will be very happy. This blog entry is specifically directed at the following people: Patrick McEnroe, John McEnroe, Mary Carillo, Dick Enberg, Mary-Jo Fernandez, Martina Navratilova, Bill MacAtee (sp?), Chris Fowler, Pam Shriver and Cliff Drysdale. Have I forgotten anyone, no, yes, whatever, if I have maybe one of the others will forward it to them.

Foot Fault Gate is over. The fans, you know those people who pay good money to watch tennis players hit a ball over a net, scream their lungs out, sweat, argue with chair umpires and smile and wave at the crowd, yes those folks, we have moved on. We do not on any given day turn on our television sets (and I tell you us tennis fans pay a lot of money to watch tennis on HDTV) do not wish to sit and watch you go on and on and on about an incident that happened almost 4 months ago. We don’t care. In addition, the person to whom it happened, Ms. Serena Williams and her colleagues with whom she has to work, they don’t care. Lest we forget one of the people that the player on whom the sun rises and sets called was Serena Williams. She, of the infamous, “I will shove this ball down your fucking throat” was called upon to play an exhibition match, even though she is the devil incarnate, should have been banned, has brought the sport into disrepute, has tarnished her legacy, will have sponsors and fans keeping away from her in droves. Yes, she was the one who was laughing while players made fun of her Foot Fault Gate and the fans, yes those folks, who paid money at the spur of the moment to watch an exhibition match, doubled over in laughter as they found it quite funny.

Leave it alone. You are doing a disservice to a great champion. She has already done a disservice to herself and she has to live with that everyday. One of the reasons why the American justice system fails people is the fact that you are never fully rehabilitated. You are always being watched. Serena did not kill anyone. She lost her cool for a split second and she apparently will be crucified until the day she steps out onto the Newport grass to accept her Hall of Fame plaque.

And Ms. Navratilova. We do not care whether Serena does not weigh 150 lbs. We really don’t. Every single woman on the planet lies about their age. We lie about our dress sizes etc. In case you have forgotten, we live in a Mary Kate Olsen world and as Serena has pointed out she will always have a big ass and big boobs. That is what makes her a woman. She is also an exceptional athlete, despite the ass and the boobs and despite her allegedly lying about her weight. We watch tv and attend tennis matches to see her play because of her play. She is competitive, full of fire, and guess what she knows how to play tennis. She does not quit like some before her have. She has weathered the storms in her career and come back fighting. She should be the player on which most youngsters should model their games, but all the tennis world seems to be concerned about is Maria Sharapova’s dress and how much money she is making for Nike, forgetting the fact that had it not been for a walkover she would be going almost 2 years without a title.

I close by saying, let it be about tennis commentators. The fans have moved on from Foot Fault Gate. Is it not time you guys move on as well.

ESPN

I live in the Caribbean (Jamaica to be exact). I get ESPNI, ESPN2 (the Latin version or some other version, have no clue) and TSN (a Canadian channel which really is the Canadian Americanized version of ESPN). Whatever. I do not have Tennis Channel. Anyway, last night I got ready to watch the first of 120 hours of tennis on ESPN. First of all I had to wait until the football game which had 5 minutes in the fourth quarter to finish. You should all know that 5 minutes in the fourth quarter of an American football match can last 30 minutes. Just saying. In the meantime I watched as many matches as I could on the livestreams that are to be found on the Internet.

Finally, at about 8:10 p.m. I finally saw tennis on my tv. Sharapova v. Kirilenko. The battle of the babes. Whatever. During the match when things were heating up and Sharapova was struggling to break Kirilenko in the 7th game, 4-2, ESPN took the opportunity to interview Sam Querrey. Yes, Sam Querrey who stood on a glass table and cut himself and who has never been a factor in a major, all of a sudden Sam Querrey gets to be interviewed on ESPN. Needless to say I muted the tv and went back to watching the livestreams.

During the whole broadcast it came back to me why I really do dislike some of the ESPN commentators. I have heard it said over and over again but I never believed it. Mary Carillo really and truly dislikes the Williams Sisters, and in particular, Serena. It galls her so much that players and fans have put the USO incident behind them and moved on. She is still so caught up with that thing that you can see it on her face whenever she talks about it. I have only one thing to say to Mary. LET IT GO. IT IS OVER. MOVE ON ALREADY.

While listening to the Eurosport commentators last night, a gentleman said that it would be bad for the tournament if Sharapova was ousted in the first round. Really. It would. I thought that 128 women came to play a tournament in order to win. I did not realise that players were supposed to kowtow to players because of who they are. Kudos to Kirilenko for coming out to play a match and try her very best to win it, and actually win the darned thing.

Another thing that really galled me last night was the ever growing discussion about Sharapova’s off court exploits. The money that Nike is paying her over 8 years (US$70M if you live in a cave and have not heard about it) as well as the fact that she now has her own collection that other Tour players will be wearing. In addition to all that she has her own production company, has a tv series in the works and basically is what is termed a one woman stimulus package. And everyone is happy with that.

Go back circa 2003 and Serena and Venus Williams who want to do a little acting, go to fashion school and do other stuff, including grieving for their murdered sister and all you could hear is this … if they paid more attention to their tennis they would be better off. How come they did not play any warm up tournaments. Do they really think that they still have that aura or that invincibility factor. They need to focus more on tennis.

Now we have someone who has not played a Tour event since October 2009. She only played the Hong Kong exhibition and apart from Pam Shriver (bless her) no one has spoken out about the fact that Sharapova has not participated in any Tour event and that she actually needed the match play. Poor Mary-Jo was left to stutter her way through excuses etc. Poor thing.

Vera Dushevina. I cannot believe that the girl that I saw this morning playing Dementieva is the same person that pushed Venus Williams to 3 sets in last season’s US Open first round. She also played credibly in her match against Serena at Sydney this year. Today, she could not even keep the ball in the court. Is there anything in the rules about tanking matches?

Anyway, I hope everyone has enjoyed what little of Day 1 that ESPN deigned to show us. Heres hoping that we will get to see more tennis and less tennis commentators in the coming 2 weeks.

2010 – New Year – Same Crap

Hello All. It is a new year and I am back. I promise that this year I will be blogging more than ever to bring to the eyes of the world all things tennis all the time, at least that which I can get on tv. I have now relocated to Jamaica and one of the things I do not have is Tennis Channel. Now that may be a good thing or it may be a bad thing. For right now it is a bad thing as Tennis Channel usually has good coverage of MS events, but little or no coverage of the women’s events, you know the ones, Mandatories, Premiers etc. Anyway, I now have TSN (that is Canada’s response to ESPN). I also have a ESPNI as well as a host of other ESPNs. The only problem is that because I am in Jamaica all of these channels are geared towards the Latin American market. Now I have nothing against that if but for the fact that I get to watch football (soccer to you North Americans) all the time. That would have been great except I do not particularly like soccer, so there you go.

Anyway, the new year has started and already message boards are abuzz with tennis being played. Live streams seem very hard to come by these days as folks over at tennis.com were visibly frustrated last night and early this morning with the Hopman Cup streams. I see from the tv schedule that Hopman Cup should be up on the tv by 4 January so I will be looking out for that. Oh, I am in Cayman now and back in front of my HDTV and Tennis Channel, so hopefully I will catch a little bit of it before I have to head back to Jamaica.

In December I watched via a livestream the playoffs for the Australian Open wildcard. I have to say that I am sorry a player that I had never seen much except for that one match against Dinara at the USO (Olivia Rogoskwa) but I like the mentality that she displays on court. In addition there was no drama to her, no fist pumps, no grunting, no smashed racquets. She just stepped up to the line and did her thing. What I liked about this match was not the play of the players themselves but that a Federation thought it would be a good thing to livestream their wildcard playoffs for all the world to see. Kudos to you Tennis Australia. I hope that other Federations take a leaf out of that book as it would be good to see the up and coming talent before it hits the big time.

Brisbane is on right now. I have not seen a ball being hit just yet but this is only the third day of the year. Tennis Channel is showing Davis Cup and WITC matches from days gone by. I would have thought they would have shown Classic AO matches in order to generate interest in the upcoming AO, but that would have been too easy. Anyway, maybe there are plans to do so. I will write them and enquire as to whether fans of tennis will be able to see Classic AO matches. Will keep you informed if I get a response but please do not hold your breath.

Until then have a happy new year and all the best for 2010 and beyond for tennis.