It’s kind of appropriate that Day 2 ended with a double fault by the woman who has perhaps benefitted the most from what passes for the WTA hype machine. Even after she admitted – she had no choice- that she’d been doping for ten years and that while every single athlete on the planet got the email and stopped taking that PED she alone missed it and according to some of her stans, was being persecuted by people out to get her for various and sundry reasons. The WTA broke its own rules to shoe horn her into a tournament a week before she should’ve been eligible and then proceeded to vilify events that wouldn’t give her a WC into the Main Draw. The subtext of all the hype was that she didn’t need meldonium, and that she was going to rise quickly through the ranks of a weak tour taking her “rightful” position in the top five. Things have not gone quite as planned though. Her days of bullying and screaming at people while not gone are not having the effect they once did. No one cares anymore.
Except they should. The women’s tour has long been seen as the poor cousin of the men’s tour. Many male players openly mock the women who sacrifice just as much as they do to play a sport many see as “effete” and “niche”. For the WTA to sacrifice it’s reputation for one player is pathetic. In any other sport – ANY OTHER SPORT – titles won while doping would’ve been stripped. Instead she was allowed to return as if she had been out for an injury. The hypocrisy surrounding her return and the return of a player who has won 23 Grand Slams after suffering major postpartum medical complications is there for all to see. All of the people “outraged” that Serena Williams was seeded sat on their hands while the women’s tour made itself into a laughing stock. When so called journalists can’t see the difference between the return of a doper and the return of a true champion the word “journalist” shouldn’t be applied to them.
From a US perspective the other big news on the women’s side was Sloane Stephens going down to defeat in Round 1 after making the Final at Roland Garros. It was only news to those who willfully ignore Stephens history and want to make her into someone she’s not.
Stephens showed up in London on the Friday before play began. Keep in mind most players had already been in town for at least a week: some had been there longer.I have no idea why Stephens showed up late, didn’t play a warm up event, and thought she was going to breeze into the second week of Wimbledon. She was woefully unprepared both mentally and physically and it showed.
Sloane is lazy (as attested to by former coaches) and arrogant. I guess it’s a good thing that she slinked out of London without going the route of fellow US player Jack Sock who is lazy, arrogant, crude and rude. Then again that seems to be a requirement for US men so maybe singling out his behavior isn’t warranted.
But back to Stephens. She will continue to get a free ride from the US media because her surname isn’t Williams. They want to show her off as that woman of color who didn’t have to come from outside of the US tennis system. Good luck with that. I wonder how long Kamau Murray is going to stick around?
There are two Petra Kvitova’s. One is a big, clean hitter of the ball, who can be a bit of a serve bot due to her lack of good movement and yet can come to the net if it’s on her own terms. Then there is the woman her fans call “P3tra”. You can always tell when P3tra is on court because she’s incapable of hitting winners or taking control of the court. Petra came to Wimbledon as fit as I’ve ever seen her and even I thought that she’d make a deep run and possibly win it all, especially since she’s won five tournaments this year on multiple surfaces. The evil twin made her appearance though and Petra will be able to rest and prepare for her next event.
In all fairness I did see about three minutes of the match and Petra seemed to be grabbing at her right hip.
It’s also a thing that being as fit (thin) as she is she just might not be used to playing at that weight. The paunch is gone, she’s mostly muscle now, and should’ve been able to wage war on her opponents. Instead she’s gone. Somewhere P3tra is laughing.
Then there is the weird case of Caroline Garcia. I know she’s the top ranked woman in France but every time I sit down to try and watch her my mind wanders. I wish I could say she works my nerves or has irritating on court habits but as far as I can see she doesn’t. She seems to be a very nice young woman. You don’t play professional tennis if you’re not hyper competitive but when she takes the court I wake up when her match is over. My feeling is that she doesn’t do anything “special” and yet I can’t say that with authority because, well, she bores me. At least Johanna Konta repels me. I don’t watch her matches but that’s because she just makes me want to scream. Or throw things. Or something.
I watched some of Vera Zvonareva vs Angelique Kerber earlier today. Vera showed flashes of the player she used to be but it was pretty obvious that Kerber would win. If Vera is playing this time next year her results could be better.
I expect that there will be a renewal of the Eugenie Bouchard hype. She made it through Qualies and won her first round match. Look out world!
I’ve been watching mostly women’s tennis so far. I plan to do so for the rest of the week. This way when I talk about all of the women playing the same and looking alike I’ll have a frame of reference.
I absolutely love the Adidas shorts kit. it looks cool without the player being half naked and allows freedom of movement.
Serena isn’t in a full body compression suit but she is wearing compression hose. Once again the same people who criticized the cat suit are hot and bothered by compression hose. They need to focus on her tennis and the fact that after going through what she did she’s back on court and playing competitively.
There is no easy answer at the present time re seeding of players coming back from maternity leave. I stick to my proposal that a panel of tennis players who have given birth, assisted by medical professionals, be consulted. The player’s on the panel should have given birth within the last five to ten years or so. If, like Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka a player has had a complication free vaginal delivery there should be nothing special done re ranking. On the other hand if there were life threatening complications that force a player to need special care and attention well after her baby has been delivered the special panel should consult with the ITF and the WTA about her return and how it should be handled, especially if the player was top ten when she went on maternity leave.
And please, miss me with that noise about paternity leave.
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