Wimbledon. Grass court tennis. The Williams Sisters. The lawns. Rain delays. The roof. All of these signify the return of my favourite time of the year. I love grass court tennis and I love Wimbledon. However, there are days when I do hate Wimbledon. I do hate their out-dated scheduling polices and I do hate that the All England Club continues to pander to the least common denominator in joining those who continue to condemn the women game. I also condemn the professional women of tennis who continue to suck up the type of behaviour that is constantly being meted out to the women’s tour.
Since the commencement of the tournament the standard policy of scheduling one women’s match on Centre Court, along with 2 men’s matches continues. However, the schedule for tomorrow, Thursday 23 June is what has me really upset. Serena Williams, she of the 13 Grand Slam titles, the 2 time defending champion has been shifted to Court No. 2. I don’t care what anyone says. Court No. 2 has been given the name the “Graveyard of Champions” for so long that most fans of tennis will tell you that they hate to see their favourites scheduled for that particular court. The AEC has informed us that the old Graveyard Court has been demolished and this is a new and shinier version of the Graveyard Court. In that case, why not schedule the men’s matches for that particular court?
In what universe is Robin Soderling, a 2 time loser at Grand Slam finals, where he never even won a set, and Lleyton Hewitt, albeit a former champion at Wimbledon (so long ago that most fans don’t even remember) command Centre Court on Thursday’s schedule and Serena Williams gets to go on an outside court. Even worse, how is it that Sharapova, she who has not been to the final of a Grand Slam for going on 3 years, and who has not won at Wimbledon since 2004 gets to play on the Court No. 1 and Serena gets Court No.?
I can understand Na Li playing on Centre Court. After all she is a newly minted Grand Slam champion and one of those who the experts have picked to make it far, or even win this tournament, but again, I ask, why is the 2 time defending champion and the woman who has made the finals 3 years running, playing on Court NO. 2 and not on a main show court?
I am happy that the AEC has saw it fit to prove interview transcripts on their website and not follow the lead of the French Federation in bowing to the journalists’ association in putting a 24 hour hold on these transcripts. I have been reading through the transcripts and I have always asked myself the question, what if you were a journalist and had the opportunity to interview some of today’s big name players, what questions would you ask. I have made up a list of questions and I am hopeful that some enterprising blogger or journalist who reads this little blog could perhaps ask one of our top ladies any of the following questions:-
As a top player, do you believe that the WTA Tour is doing all that it can in promoting women’s tennis?
Do you believe that in this age of equality that the AEC should dispense with its credo of placing 2 men’s matches on the main show courts and relegating the women, despite their records and pedigrees, to the outside courts?
Do you think that the constant criticism of the women’s tour in relation to the issue of grunting is an issue that could become detrimental to the women’s tour, and if so, what do you think the Tour and players could or should do to address this issue?
Do you think that the Players Council should address this issue publicly? If not, why not?
With not so many teenagers coming up through the ranks, do you think the WTA should lower the eligibility requirements, and if so, to what age?
Do you think in order to promote the women’s game more it would be better if the WTA started its own commercial television station and start partnering with the various tour stops in an effort to fully promote the sport?
If you were given the job of CEO of the Tour, what if any changes would you implement in order to benefit the women’s game?
Do you believe that on court coaching has had a negative or positive impact on the younger players? If so, why and if not, why?