Tennis, the season that never ends.
As someone who blogs about tennis and as a fan of the game I really do sympathise with the players when they talk about burn out, tiredness, lethargy and general disinterest. It is really hard to have that get up and go every single day of the year. I am not a professional athlete, but I am a professional, and even I find it difficult to get out of bed sometimes and make my way to work. I am counting down the days until vacation and trying my best to have my desk cleared before I jet off to parts unknown. In that way I truly do sympathise with tennis players.
The break between Wimbledon and the USO Series is a welcome one as it gives the pros a chance to take a break, recharge their batteries, work on aspects of their games that did not work during the French Open/Wimbledon stretch and make one last push at the last Major of the year.
Today, I am not really going to be talking about the USO Series as I find it a bit depressing. While it is good that there is a road to the US Open, it always seems a bit forced and it is made even worse when a lot of the women’s matches never see the light of day.
Every year the CitiOpen in Washington, D.C., which is a combined event, but the women’s portion is not part of the USO Series gets absolutely no coverage. Last night’s match (Tuesday 29 July) saw Sloane Stephens going up against fellow American Christina McHale. From what I understand the stands were wall to wall packed with fans who from reports from Twitter got their money’s worth. On the main show court was a men’s match and I understand that there were about 40 people in the stands watching that one. Now some will say that the reason for the disparity was because it was 2 Americans playing, but we have always been told that the ATP is a more popular option than the WTA so go figure.
Odds and Ends
Tennis has to decide whether it is serious about doping control or it is just going through the motions. Victor Troicki has been welcomed back with open arms into the tennis community by being given a wildcard into an ATP event. Compare that to Wayne Odesnik to whom many of his fellow players were ready to form a lynch mob against him. I can’t help but wonder why the disdain for one and support for another.
In other news, Serena Williams makes her return to competitive tennis after falling ill and withdrawing from her doubles match at Wimbledon this year. Pete Bodo has a bit of a sarcastic take on it. One wonders what Mr. Bodo’s views are when it comes to Victor Troicki and his homecoming to the ATP.
Tennis, Doping and What The Fuck?
There was a brilliant article from Garry Doyle in the Irish Post that a friend of mine forwarded to me recently that had to do with doping in cycling. The mention of tennis in the article in such disparaging terms makes me see red, even more so after reading about Andy Roddick’s attempts to play doubles at the USO with his friend Mardy Fish. In case you missed it, Andy Roddick retired from professional tennis a few years ago. During that time he has been making his living working on Fox Sports as a quasi-journalist/sports announcer whatever. Roddick, since he has retired is no longer bound to adhere to WADA’s rules about doping and he would have had to submit to doping tests at least 3 months prior to return to the Tour. Sports Illustrated has an article featuring Roddick's comments.
Lest we forget when Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin planned their return to the women’s Tour they actually had to undergo dope testing from WADA before resuming their tennis careers. Last time I looked both Henin and Clijsters have had pretty long careers and have had many great accomplishments and are poised to enter the Hall of Fame. What is the difference between both of those ladies having to adhere to WADA’s doping rules and Andy Roddick? The answer, both women did not consider that they were entitled to play without adhering to the doping rules but Roddick in some way believes he should be exempt.
What irks me is the fact that tennis fans seem to think that Roddick should have been given a pass. The question is why? Why after all that has happened in other sports should someone be given a pass about sticking to the rules of the sport. This is the same reason why Roddick was always given a pass when he took on tournament officials. He, for whatever reason, has always felt that he is bigger than the sport of tennis. He is not.
Bank of the West Classic
It was fun to see Venus Williams play great tennis last night. This was my first time seeing her opponent Paula Kania play and I will really be keeping my eye on her as she has a really interesting game.
I am looking forward to see how Pliskova (no clue how to separate the twins) does against Serena Williams today.