I Watched WTA TV. My Thoughts

by Karen

After months of silence and fans sitting around and waiting to find out where they can watch the WTA product, they were rewarded for their patience with the announcement of the launch of WTA TV.  At the time of writing, I have subscribed to this online streaming service and I am currently watching Mertens and Krunic battle it out in Bastad, Sweden.

A few years ago I wrote a piece in which I called on the WTA to launch its own tv service.  I posited the view then that outlets like Tennis Channel were holding the WTA to ransom by neglecting to show its product and asking fans to pay extra to watch the WTA by subscribing to TC Plus, Tennis Channel’s online streaming platform.  Many tennis fans, especially those in the US not only had to pay extra on their cable or satellite network to get Tennis Channel, but then they had to pay more money just to get to see the women.  To compound matters even more

So as a public service to all the tennis fans out there, I have taken it upon myself to review WTATV.  As part of the review process, I have done the following:-

  • Checked App availability on iOS
  • Checked App availability on Android
  • Checked browsers (Chrome, Firefox and IE)
  • Reviewed the various features on the site itself

App Availability

As at the time of writing this piece (between 27 and 31 July), the WTATV app is not available as an app.  I have checked on my iPhone and my Samsung and it is not available as an App.  I have also asked the question of tennis fans on social media and I can confirm that as of now there is no app.  The WTA website indicates that WTA TV is available on your mobile phone, tablet and computer, however, when you click the images on the site it does not take you to an app. As a matter of fact it takes you nowhere.

Browsers

The big complaint that I have received from many fans is that the WTA TV site has been marked as a phishing site and that you should not plug in your credit card information as it will get stolen.  I have told folks that I got the website by clicking the WTATV link on the WTA website and it took me straight to the web page where I was able to sign up.  Unfortunately, over the weekend, I checked all three browsers and this is what I am getting.

Internet Explorer

 

Firefox

00749802.DOC

 

Google Chrome

00749800.DOC

I note that you cannot just input wtatv.com or https://wtatv.com in your browser window and get to WTATV.  You will either have to search for it and then either enter through the WTA website or scroll down to the site itself, as I did in this test.  Surely, there can’t be that many WTATV sites around.  The WTA should do more to ensure that the site is easily found on all search engines and that it is not blocked as a phishing site to most web blockers.

This leads me to the biggest issue that I have with the service so far, the fact that one cannot access the site via an app.  The WTA has had the better part of a year to get this done.  The WTA surely did not decide to drop TennisTV and launch its own web based service.  It must have had meetings with website designers as well as persons in the know about how to launch a product that would be the face of women’s tennis.  To not even have an app either in development or indeed ready to launch is yet another indictment on Steve Simon and the WTA and its intention regarding women’s tennis.

Features

One of the things that I was expecting to see more than anything on WTATV were historical matches.  It did not need to go back to the start of women’s tennis, but it would have been nice if the WTA had some of its classic matches.  On the TennisTV website, one can watch classic ATP tennis matches that go back all the way to 2001.  It would have been nice if the WTA TV site at least provided classic matches for the last 5 years of the WTA. Some quick pointers on what is available. Under the features tab, there are interviews with the players from various tournaments during the course of this year.

Live

I like the fact that under the matches that are going to be shown live, there is a count down clock which tells you how long until you can watch matches.  For those of us who live outside the US, it is sometimes hard to know when matches starts in the different US time zones.  This is quite helpful.

On Demand

Under the On Demand tab, you can find match highlights for most of the WTA events that have been held this year.

Tournaments

Under this tab is a Q&A on what tournaments are available.  If you have no idea of the various WTA events, this is as good a place as any to get started.

Verdict

All in all I am about 50% happy with the site.  I wish there was more in terms of classic matches, and more archival information.  The Q&A which is posted on the site is as unhelpful as anything I have ever come across.  It would bode the WTA well to look at the spelling errors on the website, especially in the Q&A section.

As one of those people who have always been of the view that the WTA should have its own dedicated television channel and streaming service, I am quite happy that it has finally done so. I know a lot of tennis fans are of the view that they should not be paying 2 different sums of money in order to watch either men’s or women’s tennis, unfortunately, that is the word that we now inhabit.  One can only hope that the powers that be in tennis will at some point get their lives together and realise that at no point should tennis fans have to spend at a minimum US$150.00 per annum just to be able to watch tennis.

Tournaments This Week

The Tour as most folks know kicks off the US Open Series which is apparently without a title sponsor this year.  This week we get to see for the first time matches from Day One at the Citi Open, which features Simona Halep as the top seed.  On the other side of the country, is the Premier level Bank of the West Classic, which sees Garbine Muguruza as the top seed.  Both tournaments have the requisite big names, some of whom will be looking to jump start their seasons with a much a much needed win.

Also returning to the Tour from a hip injury is Maria Sharapova, who will be competing at the BOTW courtesy of a wild card.

Victoria Azarenka who was also scheduled to compete at the BOTW has withdrawn due to a viral illness.

 

 

 

Anyone Up for Some Tennis

by Karen

This morning, I received the below email from bet365.com

“We are contacting you to advise that you have funds in your bet365 account. As stated in our Terms and Conditions, your account will be subject to an ongoing administration fee which will be deducted 28 days from now and every 28 days thereafter until your balance reaches zero. No further charges will then be applied.  To avoid this fee simply log back into your account and place a bet, make a deposit or withdraw your full balance. Please note, we will need to verify your account before you are able to withdraw. The easiest way to do this is to log into the bet365 website, select Services in the top right corner, click on Members, choose My Account and select Know Your Customer (KYC). If you have forgotten your login details, refer to the Lost Login also in the top right corner of the website. If you have any questions regarding this please see our Terms and Conditions, or alternatively Contact Us to speak with a member of our Customer Service team.”

I have had a bet365 account for going on 10 years.  I don’t gamble but I find it to be one of the best ways to watch tennis, especially tennis that is not streamed in the US.  It is a very safe site.  I was referred to it a few years ago by one of my tennis buddies that I met on the old Tennis World chat room (thanks Cracked Gem).

When I first got this account, I deposited my US$10.00 and it stayed there for months at a time with no problem.  Then they started to take administrative fees if they perceive that there is no activity on the account.  As you can see, activity has to include betting or topping up your account.  I will be topping up my account before the expiration of the 28 days and unfortunately, it seems as if I will have to continue topping up my account every 28 days in order not to lose the benefit of the live streaming on this site.

Why am I writing about this?

We are entering the time of the year when the Tour moves from Europe and settles in North America.  There are a great many big tournaments coming up, and while the men’s Tour will have the benefit of TennisTV, the WTA Tour will be languishing in now you see me, now you don’t hell. Fans of the WTA will have to either follow the hot shots from the WTA Twitter handle or log on to illegal streams (if they even exist any more) to try and see the women over the course of this  summer.

Unless I missed it,  I have not seen any statements issued by the WTA and its missing CEO since he came out defending Sharapova for not getting a WC into the French Open.  At some point in time, either Mr. Simon needs to let us know where streaming rights for the sport has reached, or he needs to relinquish what is no doubt a high paying job with lots of benefits.  The consumers, i.e. the fans, have  become disgruntled and it is affecting how fans see the women’s game.  If this were any other industry, surely Mr. Simon would now be out of a job.  Surely, someone, somewhere would be held accountable for what can only be described as a debacle in relation to the disappearance of the WTA product from the airwaves.

The USO Series will be starting soon. The tournaments are currently advertising the big names who will be competing in the various tournaments.  It makes no sense that they are doing this, when fans far and wide, who absolutely adore the women’s game, are left wondering well how do I get to see so and so play if I can’t pull up a stream.  Surely the WTA owes its millions of fans an explanation. Surely the journalists who cover this sport must  force Mr. Simon to come to the table and tell the fans the truth about the lack of visibility of the WTA.  Surely someone somewhere cares about tennis fans.

I did a recent survey amongst tennis fans and one of the biggest concerns that arose from that survey is the fact that people want to see more tennis on tv.  What was even more surprising about that survey is the fact that most people preferred the women’s game over the men and thought the women’s game had better storylines than the men, despite most fans not being able to tell what is the WTA’s current marketing campaign (for what its worth, I have checked the WTA’s website, but I can’t find any evidence of their current marketing campaign).

Women’s tennis is a literal gold mine.  It hurts to see people who have been put in power over a product that sells itself, do so much harm to the product.  I know that folks like David Kane and Courtney Nguyen have done yeoman’s service to get women’s tennis to the forefront of people’s minds.  The WTA has won the social media war as both persons are engaging and have used Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote the women’s game.  The women themselves have also embraced social media and have added their names to issues that affect women, most especially, Madison Keys’ effort against online bullying.

With all the women doing their best to ensure that the Tour is relevant, and popular, it is even more disheartening when you can’t get to see them at all.

Steve Simon it is time to either put up or get the hell out.

 

View from the Fans

by The Spin Team

Ever since I started this blog, I have had many opinions.  I have given my views on how to market the sport.  How the No. 1 ranking should be viewed. What the WTA needs to do in order to have more visibility.  How the players should be presented etc. I am not the only one.  There are a thousand blogs, podcasts, tennis journalists and even some players who have weighed in on the sport.  Sometimes I wonder in all the noise, what do the fans think?  What do the Administrators of tennis think?  Do most folks believe that tennis is reaching across the aisle and gaining new fans or has it remained stagnant?  If it is not moving across the aisle, what is preventing it from doing so?

These questions came to me as the ratings for this year’s French Open and Wimbledon finals have shown a sharp decline in viewership, down from last year.  This morning, there were a great many articles in major newspapers all over the world covering Roger Federer’s win, but barely a peep about the women’s champion.  The same applied at the French Open where Rafael Nadal’s 10th French Open title, was met with La Decima, but Ostapenko only seemed to get glowing tributes in her home country.  To make matters even worse, Ostapenko, the reigning French Open champion never saw Centre Court until her match against Venus Williams in the quarter finals.

So, on that note,  I am going to turn it over to tennis fans to give me their views on what needs to improve in tennis.  I have inserted a poll  and I would be very interested to see the responses of tennis fans.

Have at it folks

This post will be updated with views from our readers. On the question of how would you improve tennis, the answers are so similar in nature it is eerie.

  • Make it so viewers could actually watch it
  • Need more WTA coverage on regular cable TV ie Tennis Channel
  • More tv viewership
  • Since most fans’ first introduction is through TV, make viewing more accessible. WTA’s lack of streaming is digraceful and it is a shame that the Grand Slam tournaments are no longer featured on basic broadcast TV. This is why the ratings have gone down. Tennis Channel and ATP TV ain’t gonna cut it! WTA should consider a streaming deal with You Tube or something! Exos and special events like Arthur Ashe Kids Day could be streamed on Twitter or on the USTA’s website, etc. Tennis doesn’t utilize the platforms available well enough. It’s weird that when I was a kid in the ’80s and growing up in the ’90s that tennis seemed way more accessible than it is today.
  • Give the WTA equal pay on all levels and an equal platform to play and showcase their immense talent. After all, the WTA has the GOAT.
  • Improve tennis reporting and commentating, make them more informative. Stop putting the tours against each other. Try to recognize they are separate.
  • the problem with the WTA is coverage and their stupid CEO!! There are so many compelling stories to be told and heard. But the regular people not really watching tennis are not being reached!
  • Get rid of the McEnroe brothers
  • In general, make it easier to follow & consume (simpler tour structure/naming, cheaper & easier streaming services, TV availability etc). In specific, make slams Bo3 first week for both genders, Bo5 second week for both genders (or similar).
  • 3 sets; 3rd set tiebreaker
  • I like it warts and all

 

Venus Williams – #LifeGoals

by Karen

Venus Williams

I thought long and hard about writing about the phenomenal year of Venus Williams.  If anyone had told me when the year began that Venus Williams, at age 37 would win 2 Grand Slam titles, hell if anyone had told me that Venus would actually make it to a Grand Slam final again, I would have run them out of town.  For her to actually reach the final and beat not only her sister, Serena to win her first Australian Open title, but then venture to the lawns of her beloved Wimbledon and raise once again the Venus Rosewater Dish, as a fan I could not ask for more*.

At a time when people in the tennis world are celebrating consistency, I want to celebrate the resilience of a player who many, including myself, from time to time had thought was dead and buried.

A few years ago, Venus had to withdraw from a match at the US Open after she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Sjorgen’s Syndrome.  As someone who suffers from arthritis, and who had to stop playing tennis as a result of it, knowing what Venus has to endure as a professional athlete made me appreciate what she has been doing more and more every day.

Many of us did not think that Venus had a chance against Serena.  After all, Serena was only going for a record 23rd Grand Slam title.  This was Venus’ first Grand Slam final since Wimbledon 2009. 8 long years. In tennis terms that is the whole career of some players.  For her to not only win that event, but follow it up on Saturday by defeating Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in a thrilling straight set victory should let people know that at no point should you call for the retirement of players who are struggling either with injuries, motivation or just out of form.

In this day and age of social media, there is a hashtag that goes around that is called #LifeGoals.  To watch Venus raising trophies at the age of 37, after battling for years and having to listen and read articles about the death of her career, I think we can now say, after watching her overcome so many obstacles that this hashtag sums up her life.

As a fan these are now my #LifeGoals

  • never complain when I wake up in the morning with my knee hurting and I don’t want to go for my morning walk #LifeGoals
  • never complain when I have to work late into the night because I am tired and really ready to go home #LifeGoals
  • if it means never eating sweet potato pudding again in order to live a healthier cleaner life, I will do it #LifeGoals
  • I will never complain that life is too hard or that I should give up because others think that my best days are behind me #LifeGoals
  • believe in myself even more (and that goes for everyone) because no one knows what is waiting around the corner #LifeGoals
  • age is just a number.  You can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (and you) #LifeGoals
  • block out the noise of the naysayers, they are who they are and who they will always be.  Don’t be a naysayer, be like Venus #LifeGoals

In an age when we are living with mediocrity at the highest levels of government, let us look to Venus Ebony Starr Williams, who at age 37, played 2 of the best matches of her life and showed that despite what everyone else says, she is once again a Grand Slam champion.

Congratulations Venus

 

Children and Tennis

by Karen

I am not old but I have lived a long life.  I recall a time in the not too distant past where you were counselled not to put that you had young children on your CVs (when putting that on your CV was a thing) and if you were a young married woman that was something that was seen as a negative, as it was assumed that you would want to start a family and therefore would not be a 100% effective employee.  This was not the 1950s.  This was the 1980s and it happened worldwide.

I recall as a young woman just starting out with a young child how hard it was to prove to folks that I could do the job that I was hired to do notwithstanding that I had a young child at home.  After all, the same mindset that led me to believe that I could have a career and a family, was the same one that made me put things in place to ensure that I not only spent quality time with my young child, but that I also had the ability to do 10 hours of tough legal work on a daily basis.

My son is now a millenial (30 something) with his own life and I am still in the legal field and now known as an elder.  I am once again faced with the same questions when I have to deal with young lawyers.  I am coveted for my experience, but I am also battered because I won’t stand for foolishness.

You may be asking yourself, why am I writing about myself on a tennis blog?  Its because  it would seem as if most commentators and tennis journalists don’t seem to think that women can walk and chew gum at the same time.  Women are capable of being mothers, wives and working women.  We do, as a matter of course, know how to compartmentalise and we don’t need to look to someone else for inspiration when we decide to embark on certain aspects of our lives.

There is a piece written by Christopher Clarey about Azarenka that speaks about her time off court and watching her mother battle breast cancer.  During all this time Azarenka had to show up for work, then find out she is pregnant and then realise that not only does she have to put her career on pause, but she also has to try and be there for her family.  This is what women do.  We compartmentalise.  We put things in order of priority and we do what needs to be done.

It is become tiresome, tedious and downright ridiculous listening to the commentators during this year’s Wimbledon marvel at Azarenka’s play.  If Azarenka was television commentator would we be wondering if she can speak after having a child?  Would we be wondering whether she became inspired after watching Brad Gilbert return from having surgery?  We would not be asking these ridiculous questions.  It is also going to get even worse when Serena Williams returns to the Tour after giving birth.

Maybe the time has come to remove men from the commentary box, especially when it comes to women’s matches.  I for one have become bored with this whole conversation about Azarenka and her child.  Women have been dropping children and going back to work since time began.  It is what what we do.  Many of us do not have the privilege of  Azarenka (and I am not ragging on her) to have a nanny, a fitness trainer, a dietician or just very good genes, but we make do.  Stop making it seem as if women are doing the impossible by having a child and returning to work.  It may seem impossible to men but it is what we do every single day of our lives.

 

Narratives and Storylines

Tennis loves its narratives.  It also loves storylines.  There are the tried and true versions.  Comeback from illness, injury, race to be No.1., race to win a Grand Slam for the first time.  Youngest/oldest to ever do something extraordinary since aeons before we had television.  It is how sport sells itself and it is how tennis in particular sells its product.

This year, on the WTA side the storyline has been the Race to No.1. Since the start of the clay season with Serena announcing her pregnancy, the story has been about the No. 1 ranking.  I think tennis needs to start talking about players coming back when all is done and dusted.

I know most people will say well what about Kvitova?  Well what about Kvitova?  She suffered a terrible injury and the narrative about her return has been about her overcoming the attack to return to tennis.  A very good storyline, in and of itself, but let us talk about some players that most folks have never heard of and who have had some horrific injuries in the past.

One of these is Petra Martic, a favourite of mine in years gone by.  Martic suffered back injury after back injury.  Today, for the first time in a long while, Martic made her way to the third round of Wimbledon with a straight set victory over Denisa Allertova.  It was a very good win against a very good player with lots of upward momentum.  I for one am glad to see Petra doing so well.

On the flip side, most folks will be talking about Magdalina Rybarikova, the Slovak who today on Centre Court played truly exceptional tennis to take out the No. 3 seed and firm favourite to not only win the title but also to ascend to the WTA Penthouse, Karolina Pliskova.  Rybarikova showed us why she was considered one of the Slovak Republic’s best chances to win big titles a long time ago.  Her game filled with slices, and big hitting had Pliskova flustered.  Her net game, which has always been an untouchable part of her game was on show today for the Centre Court crowd.  There were points that had the fans in the stands oohing and aahing in amazement as she pulled off tough volleys against an opponent who first came to the attention of tennis fans via her doubles play with her twin sister.

Another player who I have always loved watch play and who has suffered from injuries is Zarina Diyas.  Today she struggled in her match but in the end came out on top against a very game Arina Rodionova.

There is also Lesia Tsurenko.  I don’t think I have ever seen Tsurenko and some part of her body is not wearing tape.  It is as if she is patched up together by her team prior to taking the court.  A hard worker Tsurenko is also beset by injuries.  Shoulder, back, legs, thighs, stomach.  Frankly every part of her body has worn tape at some point or another.  Today she struggled in the heat but came out the winner.  Finally, and not to be outdone there is Sorana Cirstea. Mostly known as Ana Ivanovic’s best friend, Cirstea was the Romanian who many thought would either be a Slam champion or be ranked in the top 10.  Unfortunately for her injuries and a lack of mental belief got in the way.  In addition, an experiment with muscles torpedoed her career, but it is great to see her back and playing tennis again.  Sorana you have been missed.

From the women above Rybarikova, Tsurenko, Martic and Diyas will be a quarterfinalist at this year’s Wimbledon tournament.  This is one of the reasons why I absolutely love this sport.  It takes a certain amount of belief in an athlete to believe that they can return to active competition after suffering in some cases career ending injuries.

I write this in the hope that folks out there who read this blog and who are fans of women’s tennis will take heart in Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ horrific knee injury today during her match against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.  It would seem as if Ms. Mattek-Sands’ knee has been displaced.  If that is the case, then there is no doubt that she is going to require extensive surgery and rehab in order to return to playing tennis.  I pray that she will indeed recover and return to the sport that she loves and which loves her.

I have found that doing recaps during Wimbledon is a complete non-starter especially on the women’s side.  The matches are flying so fast and furious and there have been so many wonderful outcomes that it is hard to catch one’s breath let alone write about matches.  Suffice it to say that today, Magdalena Rybarikova took to Centre Court and played one of the most beautiful matches I have ever witnessed against the No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova.  It was throwback grass court tennis, mixed with a lot of power and flair.  Both women had the Centre Court crowd on its feet during numerous points and the standing ovation after the match said it all.

All of this outpouring brings me to a very sore topic.  The lack of WTA TV during Tour events.  The women have  been doing their part in generating maximum interest in their sport.  At the Majors we have had storyline after storyline that has piqued the interests of fans who only tune in during the Majors.  If fans and drive bys are inspired by someone like Jelena Ostapenko winning the French Open hitting winner after winner or perhaps seeing someone new (at least new to them) like Rybarikova playing such amazing tennis, surely these folks will want to see these players again and again.  The WTA really  needs to sort itself out.  If not, Steve Simon will have to go.

 

The Championships … Wimbledon

by Karen

Day 1 has come and gone. I was home all day yesterday so I got an opportunity to see first to last ball.  It was glorious.  I loved every ground stroke, every volley, every serve and every argument about whether a ball was in or out.  I loved hearing the umpire saying ready … play.  As you can no doubt imagine, The Championships, Wimbledon is my absolute favourite tennis tournament.

However, there was one dark mark on Day One and it concerned Venus Williams.  I have seen Venus cry before, but they were happy tears.  It was 2005 and she had won Wimbledon that year.  She was at the Essence Awards where she was being awarded the Woman in Courage Award.  In her acceptance speech she broke down in tears when she talked about losing all the time.  She was laughing through her tears but you could feel that this moment and that award meant so much to her.  From time to time I will go back and watch that video on YouTube and renew once again my love for this absolutely extraordinary woman.

A few days before the start of Wimbledon, I happened upon a TMZ article which mentioned that Venus had been involved in a motor vehicle accident.  I shared it with a friend hoping that the news was mere rumour (as in someone driving Venus’ car), rather than Venus herself being involved.  Turns out the article was true.  I was devastated for not only Venus, but also the family who had lost a loved one in the accident.  I do not know who was at fault. That is something for a court hearing arguments from both sides are yet to determine.  Suffice it to say that there will be no winners whatever the outcome.

After her hard fought first round win against a very game Elise Mertens, Venus broke down in her press conference.  It was heartbreaking to watch this wonderful woman break down at the thought that she was involved, through inadvertence or otherwise, through the taking of a life.  I don’t believe that Venus was crying for herself.  I believe more than anything her emotional breakdown had more to do with the fact that someone had lost their life.

There were many folks on Twitter, myself included, who felt that journalists who covered the sport should possibly have not asked that question.  I disagree.  Journalists are there to do their jobs.  As we know they don’t always do that, but in this case, they did have a responsibility to at least ask the question.  I suspect no one realised that Venus’ reaction would have been so emotional.  Here’s hoping that as the Championships continue, Venus will be able to regain her composure and try in some way shape or form to put this whole incident, not behind her, but to not keep it at the forefront of her thoughts.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.

Day One Recap

Maria Sharapova is not absent due to injury.  She is absent because she is not qualified to play in the Championships.  It is not as if she was eligible to play in the first place.

I love Jelena Ostapenko’s game.  I love her fight and I love that all aspects of her emotion is on display for all to see.  After taking the first set 6-0 in her opening round match, her game went off the boil in the second set, but she recovered and took the match in 3.  Tennis has a way of selling everything via narratives.  During Ostapenko’s match yesterday, Chris Evert kept telling everyone that after winning the French Open, all the players will now be doing the same thing that Ostapenko did. That is the same false narrative that was being touted when Muguruza won the French, and when Kerber won the Australian and US Open, when Vinci beat Serena at the US Open and when Pennetta won the US Open.  It is a false narrative.  Each player on the WTA Tour makes their own destiny.  There is no Muguruza, Ostapenko or Kerber effect.

Victoria Azarenka had an incredibly tough opening round match against young up and comer, Cici  Bellis.  It took her 3 sets to see off the young American, but boy was it good to see her back.  She struggled in the first set but once she had found her game, it was like seeing the Azarenka of old.  I have zero expectations for her at this tournament, but a round one victory is a great victory.

Simona Halep and Madison Keys made quick work of their opponents, taking them out in straight sets.  Eugenie Bouchard did not. Carla Suarez-Navarro has never been a grass court player, but she has been playing very well on the surface this season.  Bouchard, a finalist at Wimbledon a few years ago, started strong, but seemed to either run out of gas, or run out of ideas down the stretch.  There is no doubt that there is either a mental or physical reset on the cards for Bouchard.  Surely, she can’t keep blaming the US Open fall for her dismal results?

Better writers than myself have written about Kvitova’s return.  I will not.  I will however say that I am glad that she has recovered from the injuries that she suffered as a result of the invasion of her home.  However, tennis needs to stop with folks wearing t-shirts promoting courage and fight etc.  It is demeaning to what Kvitova went through.  Not every moment deserves a social media hashtag or a t-shirt emblazoned with someone’s face on it or words of inspiration.  The fact that Kvitova is able to once again play tennis and not live in constant fear is a victory in and of itself.

Day Two Preview

Sloane Stephens makes her return to tennis today.  She plays Alison Riske.   This is a tough match for both women.  Stephens is a former semifinalist here and Riske has been having some really good results.  It is a bummer of a draw.

Also playing today is Garbine Muguruza going up against Alexandrova.  Also playing today is Angelique Kerber, Aga Radwanska who has a tough first round against Jelena Jankovic.  That match is no doubt going to be my match of the day.  Also playing today is Karolina Pliskova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kristina Mladenovic and Kiki Bertens (who has already lost to Sorana Cirstea).