Archive for the 'WTA' Category

24
Oct
11

Top 8 ladies converge on devastated Turkey for final tourney.

TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships

The eight competitors at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships were split into their two round robin groups at the official draw ceremony Sunday night, with play set to begin at the $4.9-million year-end finale on Tuesday. Women’s Tennis Association officials briefed the eight players on the quake. The season-ending tournament runs from Tuesday to Sunday at Sinan Erdem Arena. Second-ranked Maria Sharapova said she received many phone calls and e-mails expressing concern. “I think it gives us an opportunity to sit down and say, ‘We’re very, very lucky and fortunate to be doing what we’re doing,”’ Sharapova said. “These things that happen around the world, you just never know where it can happen. I mean, this was only a few hours from here.” Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki arrived in Istanbul on Thursday and wanted to pass along condolences on behalf of all the players. “All our thoughts are with everyone affected, and of course it’s never nice when something like this happens,” said Wozniacki, whose profile in Turkey has risen since she signed a commercial deal with a Turkish airline last year. “I definitely got a few messages yesterday and just asking if everything was OK, and if we’re all OK here.” At the draw ceremony Sunday, CEO Stacey Allaster said: “We will do whatever we can to support the people of Turkey in some small way through the power of sport.”

 

01
Dec
10

The winners of the 2010 WTA Player Awards.

Kim Clijsters was voted Player of the Year for the second time in her career, having first earned the accolade in 2005. The Belgian, 27, had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open. “It’s really nice to win the Player of the Year award just one year after making a comeback and while I didn’t think it would come so quickly, I am thrilled with the news,” Clijsters commented. “To be honored by your fellow players with the Player Service award means so much to me because I believe the social contact with the rest of the players is very important. This year I met a lot of new girls and it was very nice that so many of them had positive reactions to my daughter Jada as well. I want to thank my fellow players and the media who voted for me and I look forward to seeing everyone again in Australia.”

Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta earned Doubles Team of the Year. While the competition in doubles was fierce in 2010, Dulko and Pennetta, who were the No.1-ranked team in the world at year-end, won seven titles, including the WTA Championships – Doha 2010. Earlier in the season, they compiled a 17-match win streak – the longest on the WTA in over three years – which garnered three consecutive Premier-level titles. Petra Kvitova won Newcomer of the Year after a season that included a run to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon (beating Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki along the way). She had never won a match on grass before. After her success at Wimbledon, Kvitova broke into the world’s Top 30.

Comeback Player of the Year went to Justine Henin, who made a stellar return to the WTA in January. At her first tournament back in Brisbane she reached the final, falling to Clijsters in the third set tie-break after holding match points. She also reached the final of the Australian Open, her first major since 2008, and won titles at Stuttgart (on clay) and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (on grass).

Elena Dementieva, who retired from the WTA in October, was honored with the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, which acknowledges a player’s conduct, attitude and sense of fair play. It was her second time receiving it.

The Humanitarian of the Year award went to Maria Sharapova for her role as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. In 2010, Maria visited Chernobyl and spent time with kids affected by the disaster while pledging $250,000 to the United Nations Development Program. Additionally, Sharapova won several fan awards including Favorite Singles Player and the Most Fashionable Player.

29
Apr
10

It’s time to change the Grand Slam structure to benefit the players and the fans.

Have you ever wondered why players who have no chance of winning an event go to all the expense of travelling with their entourages to compete? For most palyers the Grand Slams are an expensive lesson in futility. Unless they make it through the first 2 rounds in the first week they will probably lose money. They would have more potential for making money if they entered a Challenger Tour event. Being a participant in a Major tournament doesn’t buy the groceries! But participation is mandated by the ATP and the WTA. 

Take the case of a player ranked outside of the top 200 trying to gain recognition, points and to earn a living. Does he or she have a chance to win the French Open? Of course not. The best they might do is to qualify for the main draw where they will most likely be drawn against a top 20 player in the first round. And the match between this qualifier and the seeded player will take 2-3 hours to complete, and will be boring, non-competitive, and will drive potential fans away from the game. If the qualifier happens to be an American player we will be forced to watch the whole dismal affair on ESPN to the accompianment of mundane commentary by a group of experts trying to find something of interest to add to the match. The deafening noise you will hear is people switching channels.

I feel sorry for good players such as Alize Cornet, who has sunk down to #85, Ana Ivanovic, who has fallen to #60, Giles Simon, who finds himself clinging to a top 50 spot, and others who have had a temporary lapse in form. Because of the unfavourable draw they have to defeat a high ranked player to gain points, and begin their climb back up the rankings. It usually doesn’t happen.

As a fan I do not want to watch Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer playing against a Bulgarian of Chinese qualifier for 3 hours! If I cough up $100 for a ticket to Roland Garros I want to see my favourite players pushed to their limits in a match I will remember. I”m not interested in watching an out of shape Serena cruise through the first week against a bunch of alsorans as she plays herself into shape.

The structure of the Grand Slam events must change! One of the main reasons that revenues are up is because of the increase in the price of tickets!

Here’s my solution to the problem.

Divide the players into groups of 32 based on their current rankings. The winner of the top group will be the Champion, but to get there he or she must play 6 matches against 6 tough adversaries, no easy pickings.

The two bottom players, numbers 31 and 32 will go down to the group below, while the two top players from this group will go up.

So if you are Alize Cornet, for example, struggling to climb back up, she will only have to play players within her group ranked between 64 and 96. She will have a better chance of winning, and her matches will be far more interesting for the fans. As the winner of her group she will earn a sufficient portion of the total prize money to keep her in the sport. She will also have to have played 6 tough matches!

16
Jan
10

‘Hit for Haiti’ fundraiser set for Sunday in Melbourne. We can all help! Anyone who publishes a blog can add a link to their site to solicit donations.

Roger Federer has set up a series of exhibition games ahead of the Australian Open to raise funds for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

The world number one has recruited a number of stars, including Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, to play doubles matches on Sunday at Melbourne Park.

“I had the idea that we could do something,” said the 29-year-old.

“It’s before the first Grand Slam, so it’s for some not so easy to mentally separate, but it’s a great initiative.”

Haiti was devastated by Tuesday’s earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, and the Red Cross has estimated the death toll at between 45,000 and 50,000, with millions more injured, orphaned or made homeless. If you would like to help donate to one of the many charitable organisations working to assist the people and children of Haiti. Follow this link to make a donation:-

http://www.friendsoftheorphans.org/haitiquake)

Tennis players are not the only sport stars offering their assistance with America’s National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association all pledging sums of money.

I think it is something as a tennis family we’re very happy to do

With the first major tournament of the season set to begin on Monday, the top stars in tennis are keen to unite and help provide some funds for the victims of the tragedy.

Spectators will be charged A$10 (£5.60) on the gate, with the event taking place in the Rod Laver Arena, the tournament’s showpiece court.

Federer, who lost to Spain’s world number two Nadal in last year’s Australian Open final, added: “I spoke to some other top players. They all said ‘yes’, we should do something.

“So we’re going to play doubles or mixed doubles, also with top women’s players and try to fill up the stadium.

“I think there will be a donation at the door to come and see us play. I think it is something as a tennis family we’re very happy to do.”

Defending champion Serena, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters and Australia’s 13th seed Samantha Stosur will all play in the “Hit For Haiti” event, with other players set to be added to the line-up.

21
Dec
09

My Favourite Things……..sing along!

With my apologies to Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music.

1. Rafa and Roger embracing and crying,

Delpo keeps winning without hardly trying,

Murray’s frustrations taken out on his strings,

These are a few of my favourite things…..

2.Backhands and forehands, drop shots and aces,

Melanie’s sneakers with bright coloured laces,

Nicolay soaring as if he had wings,

These are a few of my favourite things…..

When the Hawk-eye says the ball’s in

and the point is replayed,

I simply remember the rain in New York

and the reason the match was delayed.

3.Masha and Ana, Serena and JJ,

Looking ahead to a gigantic pay-day,

And the gossip surrounding their numerous flings,

These are a few of my favourite things…..

4.Roddick and Nole compete to be funny,

Andy wins out by wedding a bunny,

Clijsters returns and Vania sings,

These are a few of my favourite things…..

29
Oct
09

Is the price of being a Tennis star too high?

badages

I watch a lot of tennis! It’s a daily routine for me. Sometimes I will get up at 4 am. to watch a live stream from the far side of the world. One thing I’ve noticed in the past year is the number of players who go on court wearing some kind of bandage. On their knees, thighs, shoulders, elbows, ankles and arms. It won’t be long before some enterprising advertising executive decides to display their ads on these bandages.

The list of players on both tours who are sporting bandages is endless, in fact it has now become noticeable when a player appears on court without any. I heard a commentator say just yesterday that Venus looked undressed without her familiar bandaged thigh. In today’s match between Wozniacki and Zvonareva there will be about a mile of bandage spread between the two players, most of which will be torn off in frustration before the match is complete.

The bandages are physical evidence of the toll that the player’s limbs undergo. The pace of the game has changed, the power of the strokes has increased and the number of matches has grown. But the biggest factor in the injury prone game, is the court surface. When tennis was played on grass and red clay there were almost no injuries. European clay specialists, who were always fitter than their hard court counterparts, never wore bandages. Grass courts attracted serve and volleyers, short points, and zero injuries. But now the game has become an endurance bout played with oversize equipment on concrete-like courts, from the baseline. The red clay game has been transferred to all of the court surfaces to the detriment of the game and to the increasing break down of the players bodies.

Both the ATP and the WTA players must decide what price they put on their health. Is a broken crippled back at age 25 worth a couple of $million? Is crippling arthritis at age 35 the price to paid for being in the top ten?

I don’t think so!

13
Oct
09

It’s time for some changes to benefit the players.

atp_logo1wta_tennis_logo_150_eng_12nov031

Andy Roddick has been vocal in his comments regarding the strain of playing a complete season on the ATP tour. Others have echoed his feelings. Rafael Nadal has agreed with Roddick, and puts the blame for his prolonged injuries squarely on the ATP schedule. Maybe his style of play accentuates the stress on his body more than the styles of some other players, but most of the top players are either injured or just plain exhausted by the time the season ending tournaments come around.

The rules mandate the the number of tournaments that the players are required to participate in. The rules are made to accommodate the various tournament promoters around the world, the television networks, the players themselves and the ATP. The safety and longevity of the players has taken a back seat to the drive for a bigger audience, and the subsequent abundance of money that the tour generates.

The players benefit from larger and larger prize winning checks, greater visibility for their sponsors and even in some cases a taste of fame. But at what cost?

As with any sport the vast majority of the audience wants to see the best players. Not just the top ten players, but in reality the top four or five. Players outside of the top twenty often play to a sparse array of spectators barely able to fill the first few rows of the arena, and many of those have been given their tickets by their companies of by friends. We have all seen matches where the only spectators were those in the player’s boxes.

Is there an answer to the problem? I don’t know, but here are a few suggestions.

  1. Eliminate all five set matches from the schedule. Four or five hour matches only appeal to the tennis afficianodos, not the general public.

  2. Reduce the number of entrants to the Grand Slam events so they can be completed in one week. Nobody is interested in watching Roger Federer play the #260 player in the first or second round at the US Open.

  3. Provide more round-robin events such as the Barclay year end event which feature the top eight players.

  4. Have second and third tier eight player round-robin events, where the winner goes up, and the loser in the higher tier comes down. These type of events can be played over a long weekend or at the most a five day period. Great for TV!

 

Statistics show that the each year the attendance increases at Wimbledon, US Open etc., but I have to wonder how this is calculated because so many of the matches are played with the stands less than half full, especially in the first week. Maybe it’s calculated from gate receipts not actual numbers?




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