Let me be clear. I’m only going to touch on the players if what happened to them bears on the general management of the tournament. Which, as the title of this post says, was abysmal.
There is nothing anyone can do about the weather. Anyone who cared to check knew that the rain that ended up flooding Paris and its environs, was going to affect play. How the Tournament Director, Guy Forget, handled the problem would show his ability, and biases, to the tennis world. It’s bad enough that Roland Garros has the worst website of any Slam. It doesn’t matter if you use a PC, MAC, or a mobile device the web site sucks. But in the long run that’s an issue that can easily be corrected if more than cursory attention is given to the site.
Roland Garros website is also the only one where player interviews are not easily accessible. The big shots of tennis journalism saw to that. They felt that with the proliferation of bloggers and information on line their jobs were in danger so interviews are hidden away somewhere on that site that I frankly don’t have the inclination to search for. I shouldn’t have to. I’ll be back to the ITWA later.
But back to the rain and Forget’s management of it.
Kudo’s to the tournament for canceling play early and putting ticket holders who bought their tickets from RG at the head of the line for next years ticket sale.
As for the players it was obvious from Forget’s comments that he didn’t give a rat’s ass about the WTA. His entire focus was on the ATP. When asked how the washout would affect play he responded “If players need to play two matches in two days,” Forget said, “I guess the guy who is more fit will win.” He also said that no ATP player would have to play more than two days in a row. Meanwhile the top half of the WTA draw had to play four straight days up to and including the Final. The option of moving the Women’s final to Sunday was never publicly considered. Still, when it came to scheduling the women were scheduled after the men, who would have an extra day, Saturday, to rest and prepare for a Sunday Final. I’m nit picking? Don’t the women only play best of three? It shouldn’t matter if they have to play four days straight right? It’s the men who play best of five and would suffer the most right?
The ATP seems to look for ways to diminish the woman’s game. The only male who was having issues with his early rounds was Andy Murray who had a draw that while not as much of a cakewalk as the ATP #1’s draw on paper was not that difficult. But the argument about the best of five men’s format always wins at Slams.
Anyway there was a significant delay on Tuesday, May 31 (Day 10) which saw the Order of Play changed twice. The first revision showed the women scheduled up first. Then it was changed and the men, including the ATP #1, saw their matches scheduled ahead of the women again before all matches were cancelled. On Day 11 the women were up first again. And the top half of the draw began it’s long march towards the Final that completed about an hour before I started this post. While all of this was going on there wasn’t one word from WTA management. It’s new head, Steve Simon, has only stirred himself to comment on how he feels about admitted doper Maria Sharapova. His players being treated like second class citizens didn’t appear to bother him in the least.
Try as they might TPTB of men’s tennis can’t cover up the true personality of their current top player. The two incidents that occurred during his match against his pigeon Tomas Berdych were eye opening and could’ve resulted in serious injury to a linesperson. The official line became that the blind racquet toss made by the #1 was a slip, that the racquet slipped out of his hand and without the agility of the linesman involved would’ve meant he’d have to be disqualified. I’m not sure you can still find the video online since the person who originally posted it got upset at fan reaction to what looked to be an intentional throw of the racquet.
I wonder what David Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria thought about the non action taken against the ATP #1? We know what would’ve happened if say Nick Kyrgios had done the same thing.
The other incident was during the same match. The ATP #1 was actually being pressed by Berdych and slipped on the court. He immediately asked for the match to be suspended. The chair, Eva Moore, didn’t do what he wanted as he went to his seat and began to pack up his things. Berdych took up the argument with Moore and as the tournament official walked on court the ATP #1 walked off court. The official told Berdych to step inside the tunnel for about five minutes until the shower passed. The other men’s match, between David Goffin and Dominic Thiem, continued on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
There’s been a lot of criticism of Marion Bartoli for revealing that Serena Williams was suffering from an adductor injury. “Betrayal of the locker room” seems to be the going reason for condemning Bartoli’s “faux pas”. Serena is the WTA #1. An adductor injury is going to affect her movement and ability to put some heft behind her shots as well as how she serves. Yet Marion is being raked over the coals for revealing the injury. If the ATP #1 was carrying a comparable injury wouldn’t it be made public?
Those of us who have followed Venus Williams and Serena Williams over the years know they are very reluctant to reveal injuries. They’ve gotten better in recent years but Venus has been wearing a wrap on her thigh for quite some time. Serena’s wrap was hidden under the leggings she wore against the chill in Paris.
It seems to me that the criticism of Bartoli is coming from the ITWA members who want to keep a stranglehold on access to and information about tennis players. Don’t get me wrong I get it. You can’t have fanboys and girls running rampant in the locker room. By the same token you can’t have a stranglehold on information that fans want to read. Tennis is the only sport that gives the reporters who ask questions at pressers complete anonymity. No other sport does that. It’s time for tennis to get away from the country club mentality and find a way to open the flow of information to fans. David Goffin had a press conference after a win this week where only one question – one – was asked in English. As a fan I want to know more about him but the US press is content to continue to write about him as if he is an international man of mystery.
Not all bloggers are fanboys and girls. It’s time to stop punishing those who are working hard to get information to fans without compromising professionalism.
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