BTW Dubai has 2 have more fans. What half people out there now for Caro vs Halep? Must be better than that. Fly airplanes free from England?
— Matt Cronin (@TennisReporters) February 20, 2015
As part of our return to Indian Wells, Serena is partnering with OMAZE, a legal advocacy group that helps convicted felons obtain justice. This is a remarkable initiative and I am sure that the donations will go a far way to easing the burden of many persons who have been unfairly convicted.
There are many who will try to demean Serena’s return to Indian Wells by talking about money etc., but to those haters I say no one wants to hear your nonsense right about now. This is a time of renewal and rebuilding. It is also fitting that Serena would announce her return to Indian Wells while we are celebrating Black History Month and also at a time when women’s tennis is going back to the halycon days when it outpaced the men’s tour by a very wide margin.
Think I am wrong, the overnight ratings numbers are now out for both the men’s and women’s finals. The link to Sports Media Watch is here. This is not the first time and it certainly will not be the last that the women’s event has garnered more mileage than the men. For the last few Grand Slam tournaments the women’s ratings have far outweighed the men. Perhaps entities like Tennis Channel should take note of this. People are not tuning in to see Djokovic and Murray and despite the calls for the end to shrieking, people still got out of bed at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to watch 2 women who shriek, grunt or whatever, play tennis.
This and That
There was an article penned by doubles specialist Sania Mirza about the weight of expectations that is placed on the shoulders of young players, especially those who come from traditional tennis playing nations.
I agree wholeheartedly with Sania’s reflections in the article and it should really be required reading for all tennis federations. There is without a doubt some amount of undue pressure placed on these young children to perform and not only perform but to perform at their optimum best. This not only leads to burnout but it also leads to early career threatening injuries, some of which players never recover from. There is a reason why Venus and Serena have had such long careers. Apart from the fact that they have paced themselves during their professional careers, but I believe the fact that their family withdrew them from junior tennis, and the fact that both Sisters have taken the route of seeking higher education and becoming involved in so-called outside interests has led to their longevity in tennis.
- Serena Williams continuing to set the bar really high
- Maria Sharapova showing us that if but for Serena she would be in the WTA Penthouse
- Venus showing us that age is nothing but a number
- Garbine Muguruza, the talent is there, everything else needs to catch up
- Elina Svitolina, again the talent is there, just needs to show more on the bigger stages
- Ekaterina Makarova – you make the semifinals of back to back hard court Majors, you are a winner but …
- Madison Keys, firing on all cylinders with weapons aplenty. If only she could get fitter.
- Dominika Cibulkova – she lost in the quarters and her ranking is headed south, but she played one of the best matches of the tournament
- Victoria Azarenka – welcome back. Tennis missed you
- Irina Camelia Begu – little known Romanian made it all the way to the fourth round
- Julia Georges – great to see her playing great tennis again. Here’s hoping that she has truly found her game.
- Lucie Hdrackea – she came through qualifying and pulled the biggest upset of the tournament in taking out Ana Ivanovic in the first round.
- Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, Australian Open doubles champs. Maybe this will spur Lucie on to greater heights.
- Yanina Wickmayer played one of the best matches of the tournament against Sara Errani. This match was barely shown on tv but it was enthralling if only for the fight shown by both players. Maybe this match will somehow revive Wickmayer’s career.
- Jarmila Gadjosova – she finally won a match at the Australian Open. I guess that should be in the winners column
- Madison Brengle – much was made of another Madison, but Brengle, who usually slugs it out in the outer limits of tennis, came back from a cancer scare, made it through qualifying in Hobart and got to the final and then made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open. Well done.
- Tennis Australia – you do not under any circumstances call a press conference with one of your most decorated sporting icons to announce his retirement especially during a women’s match, and certainly not when it is a match as important as a women’s semifinal of a Grand Slam. It was in poor taste and showed the ultimate disrespect to the women.
- Angelique Kerber – our 2014 Almost is back to her tricks again in going out in the first round
- Petra Kvitova – I don’t care how hard Keys was hitting the ball, your experience should have pulled you through that match
- Simona Halep – failing to turn up for the second set of your quarterfinal is embarassing
- Ekaterina Makarova – you have been down this road before, you should know what to expect and how to deal with it
- Caroline Wozniacki – no way you should have lost to someone who had only played one match all season long
- Sloane Stephens – seriously?
- Ana Ivanovic – again seriously?
- Umpires – if you are going to call out illegal coaching, you need to do it to everyone, not just a chosen few
- Court assignments – we note with some amount of displeasure the fact that some players got every single match on Rod Laver Arena while the No. 1 ranked women’s player in the world and now 6 time champion started her campaign on Margaret Court Arena.
- Its a little thing but it can become a big thing. Canadian Eugenie Bouchard needs to learn how to behave professionally. Yes, we know you are hungry and yes we know you are disappointed about losing but there was absolutely no need for you to act like this because you lost a match.
- If you are in doubt as to how to shake hands after a tough loss, go pull up a YouTube video of Venus Williams or just Google Venus Williams handshake and you will see how it is done.
- Aga Radwanska – new coach, same problems. It is all well and good to beat up everyone with bagel sets. It is quite another to go away completely in a match without putting in a bit of effort.
- The German Fed Cup team – Petkovic, Lisicki and Kerber. Blink and you missed them.
- Bencic – while it was good that she was seeded and Georges played a terrific match, I have no idea what happened.
- Martina Navratilova – her on air critique of Aga Radwanska was “low rent”. The fact that your charge did not follow your game plan or look at you during her match is no reason to go on air and criticise her. Apalling behaviour.
- Conflict of interest in tennis – seeing Lindsay sitting in Madison Keys’ player box and then providing commentary from the Tennis Channel irked me.
- Sam Stosur won a few matches in Australia. This is a good thing. She lost to Coco Vandeweghe in the second round. This was unacceptable. Maybe Tennis Australia should consider putting her on an outside court so that the Fanatics can cheer her on.
- Women’s tennis is in a pretty good place right now. The matches from round 1 to the finals was a testament to the talent and depth on the women’s Tour. No doubt as the season progresses we will see more breakout players and some even more compelling matchups.
- Tennis commentary needs to evolve. I, and for what its worth many tennis fans have now become aware of the tennis memes and frankly many of us have become tired by the same old lines.
- It cannot be stated enough how uncomfortable tennis fans have become with the blatant conflicts of interest in tennis. Frankly what gets me is the fact that the outrage seemed to only be directed at one person, i.e. Mary Jo Fernandez and her friendship with Roger Federer. To my mind the conflict that exists over at Tennis Channel and to a lesser extent ESPN is even more blatant and flagrant. It needs to stop.
- Eligibility for the 2016 Olympics is in full swing. The marquee names who are suiting up for Fed Cup, especially after the end of a a Grand Slam tournament has brought out the rolling eyes from me and many others. The fans of the sport will however benefit from seeing people like Serena and Venus Williams all the way over in Argentina and Maria Sharapova playing in Krakow, Poland.