Robert Lansdorp Comes to the Defense of Maria Sharapova

by Savannah

In a stunning interview posted by  respected US coach made the following comments:

The coach says he can’t understand why the anti-doping body didn’t call Sharapova’s team directly to inform them of the change in the rules.

He said: ‘I mean if it’s that important then why don’t you call Max [Eisenbud] her agent and say, “hey Max we’re going to change this”, why send an email to a girl who gets thousands and thousands of emails?

‘Something that important, why wouldn’t you make a phone call or double check the email and say, “did you get the email?”. This wasn’t just anyone, it was Maria.

Let the implications of those words sink in. The WORLD Anti Doping Agency, responsible for monitoring the use of PED’s by athletes of all stripes should have made an exception for one athlete and one athlete alone. Does he not understand that if, in an alternate universe, that call had been made from WADA or someone working there it would be an admission that it knew she was using meldonium? Why should she and she alone have been notified by the anti doping agency to stop what she was doing?

Furthermore doesn’t her presumably highly paid staff bear the responsibility of telling her that the rules had changed? In the end it’s the athlete who bears responsibility for what goes into his or her body. WADA is not in the business of notifying drug cheats that their drug of choice is on their radar. The assumption that Sharapova deserved special treatment from WADA is stunning in it’s arrogance.

Of course Lansdorp goes into the whole “everyone is jealous of her ‘beauty’ and wealth meme that some “fans” promulgated when tennis was blindsided by her admission at her press conference. He also goes after tennis stars who have spoken out about the negative effect doping has on the reputation of tennis, a sport fighting to gain respect as legit and not a country club sport. He also says that her penchant for secrecy and distance may be genetic.

‘Russians are born KGB people I think, very private people,

What apologists don’t want to talk about is that there were 450 tests done at the 2016 Australian Open. There’s only one result that was negative.

They also want us to ignore the admission by Ms Sharapova that she has been using this stuff for ten years. That means she’s been using this since she was 18 years old. Lansdorp was on her team when she was between the ages of 10-18.

There is something going on here. Why is the US tennis establishment pulling out all the stops to defend a woman who has been doping for ten years? Not even the Russians are defending her that hard, saying that the level of meldonium found in Sharapova’s system was too high to allow her to try and claim she last took the drug at the end of last year.

There have been reports that Ms Sharapova’s hearing will take place May 18-19 2016. There is no guarantee anything will be announced then but I could be wrong. At any rate it seems the US tennis establishment, in trying to defend the woman it considers its star product may have raised more questions about its motives than it intended to.

Andy Murray and Amélie Mauresmo Call It A Day

by Savannah

I admit some sadness over the split between Andy Murray and his coach Amélie Mauresmo. Still the split was inevitable. Amélie is a new mother and babies are known for obliterating your life as you knew it once they arrive on the scene. Amélie also had duties she performed for her native country that included working with the French Fed Cup team. She was in Madrid in that capacity while Jamie Delgado was coaching Murray. Delgado did look involved and I wondered what was up but now we all know.

Delgado is a Brit born March 21 1977 and has represented Britain in Davis Cup. He’s been Murray’s assistant coach since February 29 of this year so he’s familiar with Mr. Murray and his wants and needs. The fact that he’s been his assistant coach since February could mean that Andy and Amélie had already become aware of the constraints on her travel time.

Andy made history choosing not only a woman but a French woman. I hope that his choice, and their need to split for what in the end are personal reasons, doesn’t end up being an anomaly in the world of men’s tennis.

©SavannahsWorld 2016 All Rights Reserved

WTA Madrid and Other Tennis Tales of Woe

by Savannah

I heard it with my own ears. Mary Carillo, on Tennis Channel said, after going over the days results on the women’s side “Come back Serena. We need you”.

@ESPNTennis posted the following re the women’s Quarter Finals in Madrid, a Premier Mandatory event roughly equal to an ATP M1000.

WTA Madrid QFs today:
Cibulkova (Ranked 38) vs Cirstea (127)
Chirico (130) vs Gavrilova (39)
Halep (7) vs Begu (34)
Stosur (23) vs Tig (134)

As I type this Dominika Cibulkova, Louisa Chirico and Simona Halep are through to the semifinals. The winner between Samantha Stosur and Patricia Tig will round out the final four players. That match is last up tonight.

Chirico you say? Who is this Louisa Chirico? Why is she here playing tennis with the big girls instead of in the States playing for a chance at a Wild Card into the French Open? My guess is that someone on her team has a brain. It’s pathetic to see US players constantly playing each other for WC’s into majors instead of taking their show on the road and playing during the spring European clay court season. Hell it’s news when one of them plays during the Golden Swing in South and Central America. If you keep playing the same people over and over, people who play the same style as you, people who travel in the same circles as you, what are you learning?

Exhibit A is Madison Keys, someone I said had the potential to be a star in the WTA. I doubt if anything I say reaches her ears but she put on a horrible display the other night versus Patricia Maria Tig in a match that was delayed due to technical difficulties on another court. I can’t judge the rightness or wrongness of what happened before the match started but I did watch and I’m going to paraphrase what another fan said about Keys: she hits the ball very hard but she has no idea how to play tennis. Tig didn’t have to do much of anything since Keys, clearly uncomfortable on the European dirt hit every ball as if she were in a home run hitting contest at a MLB All Star game.
Another thing about Keys, and Eugenie Bouchard, and Sloane Stephens is the way they run through coaches. I don’t pretend to know why they’re having so many issues and why no coach is good enough for them but I hope it’s not that they believe their hype and that they think they know what’s best for them at this stage in their careers because it’s obvious they don’t. If you decide that you should only stir yourself to play hard against a player with some cred you’re going to blasé yourself into a loss.

But enough about the woeful state of US tennis. Let’s talk about women’s tennis.

Simona Halep, ranked #7 is the only seed left for the WTA. Stosur, ranked 23, and Begu, ranked 34 follow her Then there’s Gavrilova at 39, Cirstea at 127 and the above mentioned Chirico at 130. Attendance has been low at women’s matches but there are big soccer tournaments taking place in Spain so there’s no contest about where the fans are going to go. That said attendance at men’s events has been better than attendance at women’s matches. When Tig and Keys were told to vacate the court so that an ATP match could complete there were lots of people who thought that the women were being disrespected and that the reverse would never happen. Maybe they’re right. But how does a sport where the top seeds crash out of major tournaments on a regular basis gain respect? I know, I know, the WTA has the depth the ATP doesn’t. Anyone can win on any given day and that shows that there are a lot of good players. Fine. But when tournament directors are complaining about who shows up and who wins you have to start paying attention to what is, and isn’t happening on the court. Every Federation has the right to promote it’s players and they do. What the WTA should be doing is promoting the sport of women’s tennis not individuals. The reason there will be more people watching a match between Ernests Gulbis and Alexandr Dolgopolov is because men’s tennis is perceived to be a level above women’s tennis. Tonights match, on center court in Madrid, is being played before empty seats. Would it be different if Serena Williams was there? I can’t say because she’s not. All I can say is that the match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic has a decent number of people in the seats. Until the WTA works harder at promoting women’s tennis as a whole fans can scream and holler about disrespect all they want. When the fall of one player shakes the entire sport to its core something is wrong. When fans are doing a better job of promoting players something is wrong. There are boomlets around certain up and coming players created by fans not the WTA.

Serena is in Rome and was photographed practicing. Let’s see if the top ranked women get themselves together and play a better level of tennis than has been seen in Madrid.

Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov

Tennis Australia has been silent about it’s bad boy Tomic’s comments this go around. I’m sure you’ve all seen the video where, on MP, instead of playing the point and giving his opponent a chance to win in a normal fashion Tomic pretended he was going to play the ball with the handle of his racquet.

There were screams of outrage and people saying he’d gone too far. Many said he should be suspended. All of that was before he said, when asked by a reporter, about his antics the following:

I don’t care about that match point – would you care if you were 23 and worth over $10 million”

TA created this monster who has done nothing but show up at tournaments, collect an appearance fee (I assume since he’s seeded highly at some of the tournaments) and leave.

I do wonder why everyone is after Tomic though when Grigor Dimitrov the week before appeared to tell the chair umpire, after already getting a warning for racquet abuse, that he was going to do it again, did, was disqualified and his opponent won the title, his first ever on the main tour. No one said he should be suspended. Instead a PR written apology was made and he’s on about his business. It’s this kind of double standard that leads to someone like Tomic showing his ass to the sport. Both men deserved equal censure.

©SavannahsWorld 2016 All Rights Reserved unless otherwise indicated