Today is Day 2 of my war against the networks regarding the lack of coverage of tennis, and in particular women’s tennis. Overnight I sat down and I thought about this some more and I came up with a brilliant idea. Why dont the women of the WTA come together and start their own network. A network that showcases womens‘ tennis. Look, the ATP has ATP Masters Series Tv. Now I dont know whether with the advent of tennistv whether ATP TV is still around as I never subscribed to the thing, as guess what, Tennis Channel would inevitably be showing all these Masters Series Events, especially the ones from Europe. So, the thought crossed my mind, why dont the women of the WTA come together and have a television channel all their own. OK, so you say that this may be a bit far fetched, but listen to this. How did the WTA start? It started because people like Billie Jean King and Rosie Cassals had a vision and they decided to turn that vision into reality. They felt that female tennis player deserved a slice of the tournament pie. They felt that they should be paid for their services just as the men were being paid. What started as a protest against the establishment (men) became what is now known today as the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The last time I looked I understand that with the advent of Roadmap, as well as all the sponsorships coming in for tournaments etc, the WTA is now cash rich.
We have been hearing for years about growing the sport. The USTA has done a whole lot to try and develop future champions, but without an audience watching these champions, they will surely be turned off.
Last night saw the comeback of one of the most popular players on tour after a 2 year absence. Kim Clijsters was really never my favourite player but I can see how she was popular with tennis fans back then. For months all we could hear was how with the return of Kim how it would generate additional interest in the Tour etc. Well, she came back last night and won her match and 99% of tennis fans, including fans in her native Belgium and all her worldwide fans were left to watch a scoreboard and try and figure out what the hail was going on in Cincy, because guess what, this much anticipated match was not televised. This morning when I check all the sports sites you get all these write ups about the match. What good does it do to fans to have to read about a match when we could have sat in our living rooms and watched it, or better yet, sat at our computers and watched a grainy stream of this match. In the meantime, I visited sites and observed fans watching a match against Gilles Simon and Frank Dancevic on a live stream in Montreal. I tell you there is just something that smells rotten in this whole scenario.
Anyway, heres hoping that the women of the WTA will wake up and realise that their profession is being relegated to the back burners of prime time and unless your name is Williams or Sharapova you do not stand much chance of making it to the silver screen.