FRENCH OPEN WRAP … CLOSING THE UMBRELLA

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Garbine Muguruza in what was her second appearance in the final of a Grand Slam was able to walk up to the line against the greatest female player to ever play the sport of tennis and win her maiden Grand Slam title by the score of 7-5, 6-4.  History will record the scoreline as a straights sets victory but for those of us who watched from the comfort of our living room it was anything but straight.

In winning her maiden Grand Slam title, Garbine has joined the ranks of few players who have managed to win a Grand Slam born in the 90s.  Congratulations to  Garbine and may she have many more wins like this on the big stage.

I will not go into the ins and outs of the final as many others have written ad nauseaum about the match.   It was for me not the most well played match, but it was competitive and both women really ensured that they gave the fans in the stands and those sitting at home their money’s worth.

There are many who with glee have taken to their keyboards sounding the death knell of Serena Williams.  For a few clicks and in order to pay the bills they are shaking the chains and being overly pessimistic about Serena and her legacy.  They are wondering whether or not she will ever win another Slam.  They are questioning her stamina.  They are saying that the younger players are now gunning for her and that she has no Plan B.

They are saying this about a woman who has not won a Slam in her last 3 attempts.

I find that when it comes to the women’s game tennis journalists, and some fans as well, have extremely short memories.  Every accomplishment that a player has achieved seems to get pushed aside for the newer, brighter, shinier object.  I find that some fans are like that as well. They never weather the storm with their faves.  They are only for the moment.

I am a huge Venus fan. On the days when things are not going right in my life, I check into YouTube and I watch some of Venus’ best matches from days gone by.  I am also a huge Federer fan and I do the same thing when it comes to him as well.  I love Serena.  I think what she has accomplished in her career is incredible.  When I wish to make a statement about something I will go and search for one of Serena’ demolishing jobs and I smile and think to myself, this is what she looks like when she is at her best.

Serena Williams is a winner.  She is a winner not because she has 21 Grand Slam titles.  Not because she has earned over US$70M in prize money. Not because she has won about 70 titles.  Serena is a winner because she held a racquet in her hands and stepped onto a tennis court and dared to believe that she belonged.

I grew up in the slums of Jamaica.  Next to where I grew up, Serena grew up in some of the most luxury that I as a young girl could only imagine.  I believe that I am a winner because I have achieved so much especially when I look back at where I have come from.  I am sure that Serena and the rest of the Williams Family feels the same way.

Serena does not need another Grand Slam title to make her great.  She does not need another Grand Slam title to let us know that she is a winner.  Serena is a winner

Forbes List

Today, it was announced that after eating the dust that is Sharapova’s meldonium for 10 years, Serena Williams has finally  made it to the top of the Forbes list of the most well paid female athletes.  People are going crazy over this accomplishment.

A little clarity here.  Serena has been at the top of the list that has been most important for the past decade.  She has consistently outshone Sharapova in terms of career earnings.  Serena is a tennis player, so is Sharapova.  It says a lot that at a time when Serena is losing that is the time that she is winning on Madison Avenue.  If I didn’t know better I would think that Madison Avenue loves losers.

Serena Stans/Fans

You guys need to cool it.  She can’t win everything.  It is a sign of her greatness that every single player believes that it is the highlight of their career to actually beat her in a Grand Slam final.  They dream about this.  Their reaction when they win speaks volumes of the high regard in which they hold Serena.  No one falls on the ground.  No one runs into the stands.  Everyone walks to the net and shakes her hand and on the rare occasion, Serena will walk over to the other side and sit and chat (see Stosur).

Serena has been so much more than a tennis player to these young players coming up.  She is what they aspire to be.  She is their benchmark.  If she loses a tennis match to these up and comers (and frankly Muguruza is not an up and comer), then we should wish them well.

WTA Product

Whenever the President of the United States gives a State of the Union address, he usually starts out by saying “the state of the Union is good”.  I want to steal that phrase and say that when Serena leaves the WTA the state of the WTA is good.

Many folks will castigate me for this.   They believe that the WTA product will suffer when Serena leaves.  I agree that it will suffer but it will rebound.  I am sure that there are many people who said the same thing about Graf, Martina, Chris Evert. Hell, I bet they said the same thing about Hingis, but look at where we are today.  The young women who are up and coming may not have the charisma and on court presence that Serena has.  They may not be able to achieve what Serena has been able to achieve, but I do believe that the WTA is in good hands, and if it is not, then somewhere someone’s head should roll.

I don’t make comparisons much, but when a Grand Slam has tickets for the finals (both men’s and women’s) at discount prices, and when the main television provider of the sport in the largest market decides to put the No. 1 ranked player on an online platform, rather than on the television, it says a lot about which Tour will rise once the familiar names have left tennis.

Tommy Haas as Indian Wells Tournament Director

In the wake of Raymond Moore stepping down as Tournament Director for the BNP Paribas Open, Tommy Haas, has been appointed Tournament Director.  One would have thought that with the nightmare of a PR issue that came out of Ray Moore putting the proverbial foot in mouth, the owners of the BNP Paribas Open, as well as the sponsors, would have felt the need to appoint a female as TD.  I can’t imagine what experience Haas brings to the table.  He has not, as far as I know been in charge of anything remotely close to management and from what I have seen he is still an active ATP player.  If they could not find a female TD, James Blake, I would have thought would have made a very good TD.  Blake has experience in management (he manages a foundation), he has experience in organizing events (albeit charitable events), and he has a very affable personality which would make him see both sides of the coin in terms of dealing with the tournament and its fans.

Sharapova Decision 

At the time of posting tennis fans are anticipating the decision from the International Tennis Federation (“ITF”) regarding Sharapova’s doping ban.  The fact that we have to await the announcement from the ITF tells me that she has received a significant ban, otherwise, a press conference would have been called and Sharapova no doubt would have used the opportunity to announce her return to the sport.

This post will no doubt be updated later once the decision has been announced.

Shortly after posting this news broke that Sharapova had been handed a 2 year ban by the ITF retroactive to January 2016.  It is conceivable that Sharapova will no doubt appeal to the Court for Arbitration for Sport but the Spin Team will have more on this decision and what it means for the women’s Tour.

Eugenie Bounchard v. USTA

Some folks have enquired as to whether a decision has been reached in the case involving Bouchard against the USTA. From what my sources have told me, it would seem as if settlement negotiations are taking place.  An order has been made by the Court stating that documents that are being used in the settlement negotiations should be sealed.  As a result, one can only speculate as to what proof has been submitted by either party as it relates to the issue of negligence and damages.

The Spin Team will no doubt update fans once a settlement that can be publicised has been made available.

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