THIS AND THAT

Usually the time after the US Open is when tennis goes into the doldrums but due to the constant whining of some of the top players on the men’s tour, tennis is in the news now more than ever.

STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE

I have always taken exception to millionaires griping about how life is unfair. I usually say, wail and gnash your teeth to me when you are unable to pay your utility bills or when you have to look at your children dying for hunger. Same thing applies in tennis. While the top male players gripe about the schedule and threatening strike action, I can only say to them, in the words of Michael Stich (and it really pains me to agree with him, especially knowing his views on female tennis players) but these young professional male players really need to just shut up and play.

A quick glance at the amount of money earned by the top 4 players on the ATP, as against the rest of the field, makes you realise that these players who are complaining about scheduling and in the case of Murray stating that if they had to play for longer periods they would need to get more money, stops short of being greedy, not really in tune with what is happening in the world of economics, and indeed supposes that men’s tennis is all about the top players.

One of those 4 guys who are complaining so vociferously about the schedule and prize money should go and talk to Dennis Kudla who has only made 33,000 for the year. Andy Murray has made 3.5M, Rafael Nadal has made 6.2M, Djokovic 10M and Federer 3M. Compare that to even the rest of the men in the top 10 and one wonders what Murray and Nadal are complaining about.

SERENA AND THE USO

In today’s Mailbag, L. Jon Wertheim intimated that as with criminals, your past is taken into account when judgment is being passed. Judges, he posits, look at the records of criminals before them in order to consider whether some type of leniency or whether they should throw the book at repeat offenders. In this regard, one would think Serena Williams’ history of professional conduct would mitigate her in the public’s eye in terms of her behaviour. Apparently, that is not the case, because according to L. Jon Wertheim, Serena’s behaviour has been so egregious on the 2 occassions that it has occurred that the book should be thrown at her.

In the same breath, Mr. Wertheim is of the view that because Serena is a star of tennis, her behaviour, because it takes place on a show court, on public television is a more serious violation in tennis, than Mike Bryan allegedly hitting an official on an outside court.

The question I have to ask Mr. Wertheim is this, if a woman is assaulted in the dead of night where no one sees what happens and another woman is assaulted in broad daylight, is it not the same assault? What makes one assault more poignant than the other. As far as I am aware the rules of tennis are the same regardless of which court you are on.

Mike Bryan’s fine was swept under the carpet by journalists because they did not consider it newsworthy, plus the Bryans have a reputation as good guys. Serena on the other hand has a reputation, ill deserved of being an aggressive, angry player who uses her power to dominate opponents. I have never seen an article written by any journalists that describes the way that Serena plays as anything but dominating, overpowering, savage, brutal, etc. I guess that is one way of sticking to the narrative.

SHRIEKING, GRUNTING, WHATEVER

The hindrance rule was put into full effect during this year’s USO. There were a number of decisions that invoked the hindrance rule, none of which involved players who shriek, grunt, scream or otherwise release air upon contact with the ball. There were numerous cries of come on, vamos, allez or any other words that players use to pump themselves up during a match. It is important to note that the only time a hindrance rule was called on a come on was during the Stosur/Williams match. I understand that a hindrance call was also made during Bartoli’s match. We are not told just what the hindrance was.

The calling of the hindrance rule has renewed calls for the WTA to take action regarding the shrieking, grunting or other exclamations of air that players use during matches. It is instructive that no calls are being made for this rule to go into effect for the men. In case you are not aware of the men who actually do grunt, shriek or otherwise exhale upon contact with the ball, here are their names:-

Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic
Andy Murray
Every single Spanish player
Gael Monfils

If you know of any male player who grunts, shrieks or otherwise releases air while playing, please tweet those names to the ITF, journalists, and to anyone who is interested.

There is a concerted attack on women’s tennis. I think it is unfair that the cries to silence the women is being met with silence when questions are raised about the men. If tennis is to go silent, then I say in this day and age of equality, silence the men as well.

There are women on the Tour who are powerful. They command millions of dollars in sponsorship dollars. They are affiliated with sporting goods companies that are worth billions. These women need to take to social media and stamp out this unfairness in sports journalism.

Silence everyone. Not just the women

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