Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - TWBARFs and Other Issues
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TWBARFs and Other Issues 12/21/2007 - 4:31 PM

Howdy. The office is all but abandoned, and New Yorkers are fleeing the city in droves to get an early start on the Christmas holidays. Don't know what y'all are doing, but Lisa, Cowboy Luke and I are going to spend the weekend with our friend Paul, in Washington DC. He's just back from almost two years in Iraq (he's with the State Dept.) and we have a lot to catch up on.Rockcenter

I plan to take the little cowpoke to the mall in Washington, one of my favorite places on the planet. I am a big fan of the Memorial to the Korean War; maybe I'll write about our visit next week.  Then, on Christmas Eve, we'll drive over to Easton, Md., to spend the holiday with Lisa's dad and stepmom. I'll be back in New York on Wednesday, but will have a Christmas Eve post for you (as well as one over at ESPN).

Meanwhile, there are a few odds and ends I want to tie up. And for tomorrow, I will publish a post that will enable some lucky reader to sample some succulent, prime steaks from the ranch operated by former doubles standout Alex O'Brien's family. So drop by tomorrow to check that out; if you win, you might be able to get the steaks in time for your New Year's celebration - and if you don't win, you might want to order some steaks anyway!

So. . .

There was a lot of talk earlier today in the Pete and Roger post about whether or not the recent Asian exhibition matches were "fixed" (in order to provide entertainment value), and I want to clear up a few misconceptions I found in those enthusiastic posts. I know how exhibitions are fixed; I've been in rooms when people have discussed it. I think you need to know how it's done before you start making accusations or drawing inferences or conclusions.

Usually, the agreement is to make the match "competitive", meaning that whoever wins the first set allows the opponent to win the second. The players usually tread water for most of the third, but it is always (in my experience)understood that, as the end of the match draws near, all bets are off. That is, there is no pre-determined winner - just a pre-determined degree of closeness in the match. That's what fixing an exo is all about - making sure the customers get sufficient "entertainment value."

Personally , I think it's preposterous to think the exos were fixed, and I'm surprised how many people buy into it, and don't see how badly that reflects on both Roger and Pete. On the whole, I also think that TWBARFs (Those Who Worship Before the Altar of Roger Federer) often make Federer less appealing to the rest of us, because they are so shrill and defensive on his behalf. Sorry folks, but some of you reallyl asked for it.

Okay, let's move on:

I had a call yesterday from Kris Dent, the ATP's Corporate Communications Director. He called from home (in London), in the evening, while chasing around his toddler, who was taking his (her?) first steps. The ATP folks read my recent ESPN post, in which I awarded them Dumbest Idea by a Major Sports Organization honors for their plan to name future tournaments for the number of ranking points they represent (1000s, 500s, and 250s). Chris basically said the ATP has  made no decision in that regard yet, nor has it canned the "Masters" concept. In fact, present-day Masters Series events may very well end up being called something like, "Toronto Masters Series 1000" (as opposed to "Toronto 1000").

"Whatever the new brand identity will be, we will want them (fans) to know how the event in question affects points and rankings," Kris told me. "We've been looking at the car industry and how that works. People seem to know the difference in designations like 250, 500, or 1000 when it comes to cars, so that's something to look at. And with numbers, there is no language problem. They're easily understood."

I understand what Kris is driving at (heh-heh) but, as I told him, I find it very hard to imagine that you can use the name of an event to explain how the tour and rankings work, unless you have a really streamlined tour and ranking system (which is not the case). That is, you will always have to know going in that the tour has different level events if you're going to understand that a 1000 and a 500 are different, no? How are you going to have a name that gives the proverbial "casual fan" that level of built-in information?  I just don't see it.

However, I will say that the ATP isn't just casting about, trying to come up with a solution. They are doing due diligence, with market research and surveys. That may leave you cold, but it is how people do business these days. As Kris later wrote to me:

We have undertaken considerable consumer research over the last 18 months and it is clear that many do not understand how the tennis season works or how our tournaments relate to each other.  The research has also told us that the Tour would be more understandable to fans if tournaments were linked to their winners ranking point levels of either “1000”, “500” or “250”.  We continue to undertake research and consult on the final identity and the final decisions will be approved by the Board in 2008.

I don't know, maybe I'm stupid, but (without having done any market research) it seems to me that something like the Miami Masters Gold, the Hamburg Silver and Sopot Bronze intuitively tells us a lot more than Miami Masters 1000, Hamburg 500, and Sopot 250 - especially if we have no prior knowledge of how the tour values different events, or how it awards ranking points.

Here's something good, though. Kris promised that he's going to try to set up an exclusive TW Question-and-Answer session with Etienne de Villiers himself. That is, you will be able to submit questions to Etienne (perhaps even live) and he will answer in real time. I'll keep you posted on that.

BTW, I will say this for the ATP - they acted swiftly and transparently to kill that stupid round-robin experiment, and in the end it was a "no foul, no harm" situation.

The third call I had was from Chris Widmaier, the US Open's head PR guy. He wanted me to share a few items of cheer pertaining to US tennis with you all for the holiday season, and I figured why the hail not. So here they are:

1-  All-Time US Open Attendance Record: The 2007 US Open final attendance total of 715,587 far surpassed the previous all-time high of 659,538 set in 2005.  US Open attendance has grown by more than 100,000 since 2000.  Total attendance of all pro tennis events in North America topped 2.8 million.

·  Record-Breaking Viewership for US Open Series:  US Open Series television viewership topped 46 million for the first time, more than doubling in the four years since the Series launch. In total, 121 million viewers tuned in to the US Open and US Open Series tournaments.

·  Fastest-Growing Participation of any Major Sport Since 2000:  More than 25 million Americans are now playing tennis.  This increase in participation has fueled the four best consecutive years of growth for industry sales since the 1970’s.

·  All-Time High USTA Membership: More than 720,000 members for the first time in history.

·  United States Wins Davis Cup: The U.S. captured its first Davis Cup title in 12 years.

Well, this is all good news, especially that bit about the improving numbers for viewership of the US Open Series. I have always been a big fan of that "Series" approach, which brings to mind something else that Kris Dent told me: The ATP believes that by moving the year-end championships back to London (they will be held in London's 02 arena starting in 2009), it will revive the fall European circuit - making it, in essence, a Fall Indoor Series culminating with a big celebration of the game.

That's good news, too.

Phpo166rypm


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Posted by Yummy Prince Fed/Karen 12/21/2007 at 04:43 PM

Yaay First - now goes to read the post

Posted by Yummy Prince Fed/Karen 12/21/2007 at 04:54 PM

Pete, I hear what the ATP guy is saying and it is good that the decisions to change the names of the tournaments to numbers has not yet been made. In relation to viewership, I am a bit shocked at the numbers as I thought that the coverage for both the US Open and the US Open Series was dismal. I live in the Cayman Islands, and most of the time I either had to stay up late to catch tape delayed matches, or watch repeats of matches in which I already knew the outcome. It would be good if the ATP could in the future, try and collaborate either with Tennis Channel or Masters Series TV to broadcast live matches, instead of sticking with ESPN. On another note, as a fan of tennis, I am a bit disappointed that Mr. Scott has not seen it fit to try and grow the women's tour by broadcasting more matches. For this fall indoor season all we saw were quarter-final matches onwards. It would be good if Sony Ericsson could try and come up with some money to have women's matches shown all the time. The head of these organisations need to know that they need to promote the game and not individual players.

Finally, I wish for you and your family a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2008. Your site as well as the other members here have made me laugh when I am down and have made me more interested in tennis than I ever thought I could be.

Posted by jb 12/21/2007 at 05:15 PM

Hey Pete! just posted over on the Pete / Roger post. Here here on the TWBARFs. I mean, I'm totally a fedkad, but for heavens sake even I get exasperated by the lack of a sense of humour sometimes.

And very interesting re: the ATP and the dropping of the masters title. Here's hoping they NOT drop that branding... And for heavens sake - why don't they go with the gold silver bronze? i mean - that's international and doesn't require the context that the numbers do.

Can you also see what you can do about them not naming the Masters Cup the WTF tourney? :))

anyhow - enjoy the holiday and have a great little roadtrip!

Posted by Ed McGrogan 12/21/2007 at 05:18 PM

Pete, I'm a pretty big Federer fan in my own right, but even I had to laugh when it was finally divulged what the hell TWBARF meant. Hilarious.

Posted by beth 12/21/2007 at 05:19 PM

TWBARF- great acronym
has anyone heard from ptenisnet ? speaking of acronyms - he was great at those
about fixed exos -I always thought the "fix " went something like you explained it , Pete .It makes perfect sense. Give the people what they want - make it go on for the maximum time - and then fight it out in the end. I have seen a few exos , and that pretty much sums up what my experience was like.
I like your gold , silver, bronze idea - but as long as they don't take away the Masters name- I can see the point of the numerical titles of tennis tournaments. It does seem logical and universal. That - she said sarcastically - would be a first for the bodies governing tennis these days.
Have a very Merry Christmas with your family , Pete!

Posted by MissTari 12/21/2007 at 05:25 PM

Great post, Pete! Even as a Fed KAD all the way, that acronym made me do a gingerbread latte spit take!

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you all have safe and peaceful travels to wherever you're headed (even if it's just to the kitchen for another GE!).

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 05:31 PM

", I also think that TWBARFs (Those Who Worship Before the Altar of Roger Federer) often make Federer less appealing to the rest of us, because they are so shrill and defensive on his behalf. "

You nailed it, Pete. Glad to see that some of my fellow Fed fans feel the same way.

Posted by Mlelly 12/21/2007 at 05:31 PM

For me the most interesting thing about this post is... well, someone in headquarters is reading Pete and presumably at least some of what is written here. If they want to do market surveys, this place is one big marketplace for public opinion and I must say some very sound ideas on the structure of tennis pro and amateur . (See previous thread!) And I was definitely doing a WTF with TWBARF:-)... some folks just have their minds made up, period. And a wonderful Christmas to you and yours, Pete. Thanks again for making this place possible.

Posted by steggy 12/21/2007 at 05:33 PM

The ATP may be "doing due diligence, with market research and surveys", but this "rebranding" idea is more ludicrous than the current system.

I have to wonder one thing, though: who are they questioning?

As for the possibility of EdV coming into this place and being subjected to our questions, well, I just hope (for his sake) that the man wears a cup.

Posted by creig bryan 12/21/2007 at 05:41 PM

TWBARF:

Whilst reading the other thread, I'd already assumed this meant:

Trolls With Belligerent Attitudes Regarding Federer

Tennis World Bad-Arse Roger Fans

Terminally Wack Boneheads Attacking Roger Federer

Keep Smiling

Hi, Steggy!

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 05:50 PM

LOL creig. I like the first version the best.

"I just hope (for his sake) that the man wears a cup."

More like full body armor.

Posted by jb 12/21/2007 at 05:54 PM

creig bryan - you're on fire lately!

steggy - *hugs* for the 'wear a cup' comment! Welcome back giirrrrlll! Now go get to protecting frosty.

*waves at sam* We gotta chat about my tv. its like less than 3 weeks till Oz. but tonite i gotta go drink martinis.

have a great nite guys!

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 06:07 PM

jb: No prob, just shoot me an e-mail!
Have fun. I already went out - Worked a half day, then had a few drinks with a friend.

Posted by Pete 12/21/2007 at 06:15 PM

Hey, any of you steak lovers out there MUST tune in tomorrow!

Posted by Sherlock 12/21/2007 at 06:17 PM

"This increase in participation has fueled the four best consecutive years of growth for industry sales since the 1970’s."

That is really nice to hear. Wonder what age group has contributed the most to this trend? Aren't a lot of high school and college programs still struggling to stay afloat?

Posted by Ruth 12/21/2007 at 06:19 PM

While there have always been a few Fed fans whose attitudes, I always feared, could easily turn off other Roger fans and neutral tennis fans, that troll today took the cake! He reminded me of a character (maybe JR remembers him, too) from my days at the NYT tennis forum who would make Venus and Serena fans like me cringe because of the outrageous comments that he'd post, thinking that he was the one true fan of V&S: the "Nubian princesses" were always wiping the floor with their opponents and so and so and so on. We finally "lost" him when registration was required for posting on the tennis forum.

I believe that the use of 1000, 500 etc would be easily understood as indicating the relative importance of the tournaments; it would also remind those of us who care of the number of points that the winner would get. However, I do think that the numbers should be combined with "Masters" and the name of the location to produce the full name of the event -- Miami Masters 1000 etc. I'd omit the word "Series"; it could be used for the USO Series and the AO Series. (I don't know if "AO Series" is an official or legitimate designation, but I saw the term used in an article recently and thought that it had a good ring.) There should be an FO Series, too.

Posted by (Mister)jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 06:19 PM

Are Tari and MissTari one in the same? like Tennislover Foo and Snoo Ferrrruuuuu et al...

I work in market research, so I'd be curious to take a looksy at the research data-- hmm, maybe there's a future for me pro tennis land... MrsSanta, can you tell your hubby I want a pro tennis job for Christmas?

Posted by (Mister)jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 06:20 PM

Pete- when are you handing out the end of the year awards?

Posted by (Mister)jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 06:22 PM

ooh Ruth- I flove the Grand Slam series idea, a series for each-- yeah! although, the grass court season would need to be extended to achieve proper consistency :)

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 06:29 PM

Ruth: Did you venture over to Steve's blog today? That troll posted some gems over on the latest thread.

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 06:32 PM

"We continue to undertake research and consult on the final identity and the final decisions will be approved by the Board in 2008."

I'm sure they'll be proactive in promulgating synergy too ...

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 06:42 PM

Mlelly -

I'm not sure that we're (posters of TW) are the market the ATP are going for. We don't need an explanation on how the ranking works, and we'll recognize the masters no matter what name they go for, people who post on a tennis blog on the internet aren't exactly what I would call casual tennis fans. JMHO.

Re: Fixing. What you are describing is a form of fixing, Pete. I definitly don't think anyone agreed on a pre-determinated winner, but in Roger/Pete case, a similar desicion to "Lets make sure we keep it competitive and go for it at the end" or some form of it would undoubtedly give the edge to Sampras. Because it's harder to surprise Roger thoughout a whole match if he was playing 100% rather than trying to surprise him toward the end of the set when it is finally the moment to "Go for it".

I also think it is important to differ between matches between two current, similarly ranked players (take the battle of surfaces, for example - I believe Roger and Rafa were going for it from point 1) - where no matter what, it would probably not be a blow-out, and the Roger/Sampras exho, where one player who has a distinct edge, has to scale down to make it competitive, while the other guy gets to work very hard to make it competitive through - and it's harder on the 'scale down' guy to switch gears.

Throw that in with the fast court, and Sampras's superb serving ability and it's totally clear to me how Roger could have lost that one.

I suspect we see something different on NY.

Anyway. JMHO.

Oh, and for the Roger kads.

Mirka and Roger vs. Hewitt and Molik, Hopman cup 2002.

http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=QoEpkZyPo0k

Posted by Ruth 12/21/2007 at 06:44 PM

jbrad: When the USO Series started a few years ago and I heard that some European promoters were annoyed by the idea, I wondered why, instead of pouting, they didn't simply organize and publiczie a French Open Series. Wouldn't it be nice if we could expand the grass court season and have a real Wimby Series, too? But I think the chances of that are few to none.

Sam: Haven't seen those other troll droppings that you mentioned. Heading over to Steve's now.... :)

Posted by steggy 12/21/2007 at 06:47 PM

I've often thought that taking a "day off" and playing troll would be good for all of us. A chance to exorcize all those nasty demons.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 06:51 PM

steggy- you speak from experience?

;)

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 06:54 PM

"troll droppings "

Interesting phrasing, Ruth. ;-)

steggy: You know, that would probably be a lot of fun ...

Posted by steggy 12/21/2007 at 06:54 PM

jbrad: Eh, not really. Times I was heavily tempted and wanted to, true. Unfortunately I never had a chance to act on those impulses.

Posted by TWBARFoo 12/21/2007 at 07:00 PM

Mkay dude I am so not making this up, but my strongly worded letter to the ATP regarding The Fining of Kolya the Obscure was addressed c/o Kris Dent and in that letter I quoted liberally from TW comments and wrote "From several posters at Peter Bodo’s TennisWorld website..." and referred him to the url.

Dun dun DUN!!!!

Just sayin.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:02 PM

steggy- just jokin with you...
I wasn't a twiber when you were first puttin in the long TW hours, but I can still say "Thank you!" because obviously you were (and still are!) a flover of all things tennis and I appreciate that you so graciously gave your time and energy to make TW the special place that it is

:)

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 07:07 PM

LOL Steggy.

This reminds me how 10 years ago I decided to be a troll on this soap opera website. Well, not really a troll, more like a spy - the mission was to befriend the people on that board to figure out what they've been saying about the people from OUR board, and I created a new account for that, and use a new nickname.

I was like 15 at the time and this was an American soap message board, so I had to be really careful about the English because I was the only forginer there. so I spell-checked everything and paid attention to the phrasing...

And signed the post using my regular nickname. No edit feature or anything like that. Luckily, the monitor was a friend so she cleaned it up before anyone could see it.

For years afterwards, the running joke in our group was that I have officially lost the chance to have a career in the Mossad :) I make a horrible spy.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:09 PM

Or- which soap opera site were you infiltrating?

Posted by temes 12/21/2007 at 07:10 PM

Yes, I'm waiting for the year-end awards as well, jbrad. I could join in then, because I pretty much don't have anything else to say during the off-season, other than talking in Whitney lyrics.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:15 PM

temes- I believe that the TW awards are in the future
we'll breach them well and let them have their day
show the Twibe all the beauty they possess inside
they'll give us a sense of pride
and make it easier
let the twibers laughter
remind us how we flove to be

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 07:18 PM

Well, at the time I used to post on several, but the one I'm talking about is Soap Opera Central. It's still up and running. I was a big fan of the Young and the Restless from when I was 9 till into my twenties, but really got out of the habit of watching it in the past 4 years or so, and I gradually stopped posting on the message boards, as well.

Posted by temes 12/21/2007 at 07:21 PM

Hahaa good one Jbrad. =)

Oh how cute Or, posting on young and the restless message boards.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:22 PM

I useta be hooked on Days of Our Lives-- but it was back when Lisa Rinna was still playing Billie, and Kristen had the twin Susan, and Marlena was possessed by the devil

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:24 PM

but I think Passions replaced Days in the absurd storyline category LOL

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:25 PM

When I was in college and would go eat lunch in the dining hall, all the TVs would be turned to Days :)

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 07:30 PM

I'm watching the mixed doubles match. The person who uploaded it put up the whole match, which is really great.

Hewitt serve outwide really gave Mirka heaps of troubles, but she had some nice clever shots as well. So WEIRD watching her play. Lots of little touching between the two, really cute.

Posted by temes 12/21/2007 at 07:31 PM

Oh hey merry christmas and happy holidays TW! I suppose it's not too early anymore...Do you hear what I heeaar!! But now I sounded mentally disturbed.

Posted by Rosangel 12/21/2007 at 07:35 PM

Where have all the TWBARFs gone, now that we have a new acronym with which to bamboozle them?

While looking forward to the Year-end awards, I'm also still hoping for that full-on Rafa post that Pete said he'd be doing not long after Thanksgiving.

Regarding Etienne de Villiers answering questions - he'd probably think that the things Kolya has said about him are words of love compared to the reaction he could get around here. Bring it on!

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 07:38 PM

Oh yes, I used to watch a bit of Days as well. We only got DOOL in Israel in 1997 (got the 1993 episodes, though), and I got totally into the whole Marlena/John affair, Sami's bullimia, etc. But I could only fit one soap and stuck with Y&R... I still follow what is going on the show thrugh the internet, but I rarely have time to watch.

Posted by Rosangel 12/21/2007 at 07:43 PM

I have the recording of the Rafa-Le Coquette exo that took place in Malaysia recently to watch now - it arrived in the post this morning. I'll be sure to report on whether it looks fixed or not:) It's billed as the Clash of Titans.....there are quite a few empty seats in the stands. Not titanic enough for local tastes?

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 07:44 PM

Ros- may I ask- how'd you get that recording? is there a website to order from?

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 07:49 PM

The idea to bring Etienne de Villiers is a great one, it should be done more - with players. Don't you think there would be players who would go for it, Pete?

On the Israeli tennis forum I post on, there had been a number of this Q&A with Israeli tennis players over the years. Dudi Sela did a Q&A earlier in the year, it was lots of fun.

Posted by Grant 12/21/2007 at 07:50 PM

"I'm waiting for the year-end awards as well"

Is Grant trying 100% for an award?

Or is he letting others win out of respect/self-interest?

Or is it all . . . FIXED!!!?

Let's discuss ad nauseum until the AO.

Posted by Rosangel 12/21/2007 at 07:51 PM

Rafa in his interview - looks relaxed but says he's going to try his best. Also says he's flying to Chennai on the 28th December, so a short Christmas at home. The 2008 season is nearly upon us. What a pity that tournament isn't on TV here.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 12/21/2007 at 07:56 PM

Pete,

I agree with you regarding the "TWBARFs". I am a huge Federer fan, but I regard him as a great athlete, not some God who should be worshipped ! I sometimes post on rf.com, and if I ever point out any facet of Federer's play that wasn't perfect or made suggestions of what he could do better, I have to face an angry tirade from the TWBARFs.

I sincerely hope the reaction you get from those type of fans does not influence your opinion of Federer, for that would be a real pity!

Posted by creig bryan 12/21/2007 at 07:56 PM

Rosangel:

I checked out the pics, from your reference on the other site.

#37, 39, 76, 74, 157 were particularly poignant, IMO. My question is : Did I miss the Rafa face shots?

Keep Smiling

Posted by temes 12/21/2007 at 07:57 PM

TWBARF is great great, but I prefer Fedtard. It has a nicer ring to it.

Posted by Rosangel 12/21/2007 at 07:57 PM

brad (do you mind being called that?):http://tinyurl.com/9sq92. If you e-mail them, they are usually very helpful. This particular version comes from Australia (Roger Rasheed commentating). It's not the cheapest source, but effective.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 08:05 PM

Ros- My name is Brad so feel free :) and thanks!

Grant- since you had an entire room dedicated to you at the TW party, I'd say there's somethin fishy going on around here- I suspect you will prolly win outright or in a tie every major TW award

now, since you've got the newer technology-faster internet connection etc, the odds are prolly stacked unfairly in your favor as compared to posters from last year etc... I would imagine that marieJ, had she not been hampered with slow connection and an un-wireless keyboard coulda been a dominant "TW Poster of the Year"

Posted by creig bryan 12/21/2007 at 08:07 PM

Or:

If I may ask, at the age of nine, which character carried you into the life of Y&R? Victoria? Victor? Brad? Druscilla? I'm jus' askin'

Keep Smiling

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 08:19 PM

Mostly Victor and Nikki's first divorce, lots of love and angst. They were always my favorite characters. And there was Brad in the cage storyline, remember that? Around 1988? That was also good.

It wasn't Danny's concerts, that's for sure.

Posted by Grant 12/21/2007 at 08:19 PM

"I would imagine that marieJ, had she not been hampered with slow connection and an un-wireless keyboard coulda been a dominant "TW Poster of the Year""

Well, give her a fast, um, posting surface (?) and she'd wreck me.

And so, folks, with that little blast of 'stretching the premise too far' I'm out for the season. It's off to foggy Nova Scotia, ancestral home of the mighty Grant clan, where we spend too much time tossing cabres or something to post. Also, my parents don't have a computer. If you don't hear from me again until '08, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 12/21/2007 at 08:21 PM

I have trouble getting into the Roger/Fed World Tour. It would interest me more in the WTT format. That's kind of odd...I guess.

I also guess the explanation from our friend at the ATP makes me feel a little better about the future tournament nomenclature. I think it could be potentially good if perhaps people would almost consider the lower tier tourneys like minor league baseball where people know they are hopefully seeing some "future" player grind their way to the top. Whatever happens, the Grand Slam's should be the 1000's, and I don't know that any other tourney should share that designation.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 12/21/2007 at 08:23 PM

Enjoy your X-Mas and New Year's Grant.

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 08:24 PM

I'm still watching the doubles match. Oy, Mirka and net play didn't really go together.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/21/2007 at 08:26 PM

Later Grant :) enjoy the holiday!

Posted by TennisRone 1000 12/21/2007 at 08:28 PM

....Did anyone at the ATP consider that US fans might be confused with the number convention b/c they may mistake a tennis tourney (American Express Rome 500, e.g.) with a NASCAR event?

Posted by Ryan 12/21/2007 at 08:30 PM

A Q&A with Etienne would be incredible. Major props to the ATP if they pull this off and appeal to the most loyal tennis fans, and SERIOUSLY major props to Pete and my fellow posters here at TW for providing a forum that has grown in such relevance that the ATP would even stop to consider it in their PR efforts!!

Posted by Ryan 12/21/2007 at 08:32 PM

Speaking of Days of Our Lives, about a month ago I met John Black. THE John Black.

At a minor league hockey game.

In Peoria, Illinois.

Posted by creig bryan 12/21/2007 at 08:39 PM

> "...lots of love and angst. They were always my favorite characters. And there was Brad in the cage storyline, remember that?..."

Yes, I remember the Cage. But, love and angst and divorce, these were palpable and vital, at 9?

Could not stomach SOs for years, then in a moment of amourphic weakness, I was snared by Y&R. Specifically, Drucilla's entrance, but Loren's story captured me.

And for the record, I too, would love a Q&A with ET. And Larry Scott.

Keep Smiling

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 08:42 PM

Speaking of Days of Our Lives, about a month ago I met John Black. THE John Black.

Ohhhh, I like Drake and his eye-brow thing (you know what...).

I met Eric Braeden (Y&R) Victor in Israel, he's just as imposing IRL.

Posted by Sher 12/21/2007 at 08:45 PM

Wow, I love the bottom picture! So many reporters!

Posted by Rosangel 12/21/2007 at 08:45 PM

Spam filters playing havoc - let's try again...

creig: some Rafa face shots (in fact, all of these are cropped at least somewhat from a larger image, except for Moya - I was that close).

http://tinyurl.com/3djkas
http://tinyurl.com/2ttsw5
http://tinyurl.com/3ak4k4
http://tinyurl.com/3ctr2k

All my links are here: http://tinyurl.com/2q39lc The ones from BlackRock have not yet been linked in, but everything else from this year is there. There are actually six Rafa web galleries from Bercy (plenty more face shots or croppable shots) - I put them up separately so that the non-Rafa fans can avoid them. Apparently, it also makes it easier for posters on rafaelnadal.com and vamosbrigade.com to post the links for other members' benefit:)

Posted by Ryan 12/21/2007 at 08:45 PM

Or--

If you like the eyebrow thing, I recommend you check out a picture...

http://tinyurl.com/3b3lym

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 08:47 PM

LOL, don't ask me. Something about that romance that drew me in. I can't analyse my 9 years old self, but I suspect the same things that made me enjoy watching those actors and those character at 18 are similiar to the things that drew me in at 9.

Many people started watching soaps early, with their mothers or grnadmothers. Y&R is on 7 PM in Israel, me and my mom used to watch. My mother got bored with it soon enough, but I stuck with it for many years to come.

Oh, I still remember Dru's first show, pick-pocketing Nathan. She was such a fun character.

Posted by Or 12/21/2007 at 08:50 PM

Ohhhhh, the eyebrow in full upward motion. Nice. Whose myspace page is that?

Posted by Bismarck 12/21/2007 at 08:58 PM

*It's off to foggy Nova Scotia, ancestral home of the mighty Grant clan*
that has a really nice ring to it.

Ros,
watched a few weeks ago that exo between Rafa and le coq (thanks to the kind people at vb.com who upload all sorts of things concerning rafa ;))
but i have to say after about 2/3 of it i stopped watching. maybe because i was not in my usual sunshine mode or maybe because i generally tend to think exos are boring but i just had the impression it was a very low energy affair. seemed so slow and non-competitive. little grit, little fight, little speed.

Or,
(re some comment you made about the battle of the surfaces)
personally i think that exo was as fixed as can be without pre-determing who wins which particular point.

i wish everyone a merry christmas and a happy new year (in case of not being around regularly in the next 1-2 weeks).
frohe weihnachten!

re atp,
*We continue to undertake research and consult on the final identity and the final decisions will be approved by the Board in*

when did i read similar phrases the last time..? oh right, that was when they created the round robin "improvement" of the game... all done after precious research and with approval of the board...

Posted by creig bryan 12/21/2007 at 09:02 PM

Rosangel:

I thank you for those, in particular the sulty soul-searcher. Great work, and quite in keeping with your mantra. As Samantha would end, GO RNKAS!

Keep Smiling

Posted by temes 12/21/2007 at 09:03 PM

The one soap I was hooked was sunset beach, when I was something like 7 or 8. Creig, I always had a thing for the beautiful evil women in cartoons, such as ursula, magica de spell, cruella de vil etc, so this wicked woman Olivia caught my attention.

Posted by GVGirl(Fed KAD but I don't worship him) 12/21/2007 at 09:15 PM

First Merry Christmas to you and yours Pete and all the TWibe members. I have a new nephew(1 week old) in the DC area, as you are driving by blow a kiss to him for me. I hope to see him soon.

TWBARF- LOL! I love Fed, but I hope that I'm not one of these people.

So let me come up with some alternate meanings for TWBARF's please excuse my horrible creativity, it's been a long week.

Tennis World's Bodo Awards Readers Federbears.

Tell Widmaier Bodo Always Reviews Facts

or another way:

Tennis twibe- as in Tennis World members, big tennisheads

World- as in readers all over the world participate in this forum.

Bodo- as in Fabulous writer, editor, blogger etc....

Always- keeps Twibe informed and sometimes we inform him.

Roger- Federer of course whether he's TMF or GOAT or Barf whatever LOL

Fun- Whether it's GOAT discussions or talk about Tati's red undies, it's always fun tennis talk with Pete and the Twibe.

(I know GVGirl please stop.)

Posted by steggy 12/21/2007 at 09:33 PM

Ryan: Beat you. Steve Nichols (aka Patch), 1988, car show in Atlanta. I was dragged along as chief photographer for my sister and her best friend.

Posted by Tim (DARN proud to be a TWBARF) 12/21/2007 at 09:42 PM

I never ever for a second thought any of the results were fixed in the exos, that is just plain silly, but again, if we're gonna read volumes into the last match, then we can also start to assess Sampras and his chances with Rafa and the rest of the pack, who took a mighty beating from Fed a week before ...

clearly Sampras could for one match at least take Rafa or DJoker to the cleaners, right? its a fair conclusion if we're going to actually assume that Sampie can beat Fed fair and square, as he did in that last match...to me its a giant leap and pretty ridiculous, given the fact that Fed even lost to Roddick in an exo, and then a few weeks later showed what a difference a Slam makes to his form ...

i think Fed was embarrassed to lose, no doubt about it, totally proving it wasnt fixed in any way shape or form...

okay, lets move on :)

WAIT one more thing ... believe me, if this argument filtered into the 'if Sampras can beat Federer then what would he do to Nadal on grass?" game, the RNKAS would probably kidnap Pete and Federbear and quite possibly shut down the Australian Open in protest, so cut us TWBARFS some slack !

Posted by Tim (DARN proud to be a TWBARF) 12/21/2007 at 09:51 PM

Id like to immediately submit my name for president of the TWBARF association, I think we can do some extraordinary things in 2008, and hopefully garner enough overall votes to put the RNKAS out of business--permanently!


happy holidays!

Posted by JillfromNY 12/21/2007 at 10:04 PM

Pete: Please give lots of advance notice if and when the chat with Etienne deVilliers takes place. Do I have questions...lol! And, I really liked your ESPN piece on the topic.

Posted by 12/21/2007 at 10:14 PM

TinyWilandersBowAforeRoaringFederites... just to swing, (so to speak), the other way for a change. Tim - you have my vote. ... as long as there is an extra shot in the mocha in it for me. Come to that, your campaign slogan could be ' a shot in every pot!'

But true enough, Its a miracle ANYONE survives some of their 'fans.'

Posted by Tim (DARN proud to be a TWBARF) 12/21/2007 at 10:22 PM

hey anonymous nameless poster, thanks for the vote, but u have to have a name or it wont count!

'Gimme a shot, an extra shot!' is my campaign slogan to grab both the caffeine vote AND the GE vote....who says no to an extra shot, right?

I'm a cinch to win!

Posted by CL 12/21/2007 at 10:29 PM

oops...that was me at 10:14..type pad is having an identity crisis with my identity.

I went and read some of the Pete and Roger thread, (bad mistake), but to save others the trouble, here is how is how it all shook out mathmatically speaking:

- Pete >Roger/No he's not/Yes he is.

- Roger > than Pete/No he's not./Yes he is.

-Roger's KADs are dumber and more sensitive and have less humour than anyone's elses./No they're not-no they aren't- no they don't/ /Yes they are.... er do.....oh forget it.

- Pete's 5:00 shadow is > Roger's./Game over dude.

Posted by CL 12/21/2007 at 10:31 PM

Happy Holidays KADs, Passionate Fans, Cool heads, and Serene thinkers, laid back strategizers, all...and the rest of the Tribe too.

Cheers!

Posted by Heidi 12/21/2007 at 10:35 PM

CL, lol.

I am glad that Pete took the time to talk about this idea of fixing exos. Personally, I was surprisingly (to myself) nonchalant about them, so didn't have a vehement opinion either way.

as for the Masters, I do very much like the idea of the Masters 1000. I think Pete's issue with the numbers is that if you only see one, you don't know what the top level is (i.e., a 500 tournament could be the max for all you know), but Silver implies that Gold exists. That's a good point, but on the other hand, then it's hard to know how silver relates to Gold; is it half as important? small potatoes?

So, good to hear that the ATP is really thinking hard and not scrapping Masters just yet.

Posted by Sam 12/21/2007 at 10:35 PM

Tim: You have my vote too!

Hey CL! Nice summary. ;-)

Posted by Lydia 12/21/2007 at 11:08 PM

Thanks for the warm welcome back. I disappeared off the face of the Earth after getting married...enough said, I assume, since I've suddenly taken on responsibilities previously reserved for my mother...but my love for tennis never changes even if I can't post as often as I'd like. Hopefully I can keep in touch.
As for the post, as an avid fan I know little about how the tour works or how it all ties together. I think they're headed in the right direction.

Posted by Tim (vote for me for TWBARF prez) 12/21/2007 at 11:58 PM

haha...well done CL, well done ...

Posted by rick 12/22/2007 at 12:18 AM

French Open series?Why?
everyone in Europe and South America who knows tennis knows that Monte Carlo,Rome are THE tournaments prior to the big daddy of all clay court tournaments.
The Europeans don't want to commercialize RG anymore than it already is.Ask Bimes and all the flack he's getting from some of his best players.
Arnaud Lagardere will build new grass courts for the players of Team Lagardere:Mauresmo,Gasquet,Mathieu,Monfils,Tsonga,Simon,Santoro,Mahut,Cornet
Sidorenko,Eysseric,Fedossova

Posted by GSte 12/22/2007 at 12:25 AM

Funny stuff today guys.

I'll be gone for the next week skiing in Vermont, so happy holidays everyone!

"See" you all next year!

Posted by Pete 12/22/2007 at 12:37 AM

Geez, Tim, what did you do, enroll in one of those 12-step quit the Kool-Aid programs?????? I almost miss the old Tim - the operative word being "almost." Have a good 'un, compadre.

Posted by Pete 12/22/2007 at 12:39 AM

Hey Mlelly, have a happy holidays - everyone else, too.

Posted by GVGirl(Fed KAD but I don't worship him) 12/22/2007 at 12:41 AM

Tell Wilander "Balls Always" Roger Federer

Posted by GVGirl(Fed KAD but I don't worship him) 12/22/2007 at 12:42 AM

Hey Pete,

You are up late! Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Posted by Pete 12/22/2007 at 01:48 AM

GVgirl - and to you and yours as well, chica!

Posted by 12/22/2007 at 04:09 AM

" On the whole, I also think that TWBARFs (Those Who Worship Before the Altar of Roger Federer) often make Federer less appealing to the rest of us, because they are so shrill and defensive on his behalf. Sorry folks, but some of you reallyl asked for it."

So this explains your replies to comments in the Roger & Pete post. Were you drunk or are you always that embarrassing?
It must be difficult to retain credibility as a journalist when you allow people's opinions to alter your perception of the subject/person.

Posted by Sarah 12/22/2007 at 04:10 AM

" On the whole, I also think that TWBARFs (Those Who Worship Before the Altar of Roger Federer) often make Federer less appealing to the rest of us, because they are so shrill and defensive on his behalf. Sorry folks, but some of you reallyl asked for it."

So this explains your replies to comments in the Roger & Pete post. Were you drunk or are you always that embarrassing?
It must be difficult to retain credibility as a journalist when you allow people's opinions to alter your perception of the subject/person.

Posted by Marian 12/22/2007 at 04:46 AM

Pete,

TWBARF, Hmm let's see:

Tennis Without Borders Adore Roger Federer.

Happy holidays to everyone from a cold, though beautiful, Holland.

http://tinyurl.com/2j7s4y

http://tinyurl.com/2svqqc


Posted by Kat 12/22/2007 at 05:16 AM

"Sorry folks, but some of you reallyl asked for it."

Wow this sounds like something my six year old would say.

Posted by Papo 12/22/2007 at 09:38 AM

Lately the ATP has displayed a tendency to overreact to the lattest percieved crisis and worry about thinking things through later. Davydenko's $2,000 fine for "lack of trying" is one example. I think the ATP has become desperate to be seen as proactive in preventing match fixing. They are eager to make an example of anyone for anything.

http://tinyurl.com/2mozo3

Posted by tennis_lover 12/22/2007 at 09:38 AM

The interesting thing here is not about the reaction of the TWBARFs. These are a dime a dozen and all tennis message boards have them.

It is the fact that their reaction riles one particular TWBAPS and moves him to write a genuinely weird article. The argument that TWBARFs make Federer look less appealing is about as common as the TWBARFs themselves, and it is quite disingenuous. Similarly, people say that Rafa KADs make Rafa look bad, but this is just as silly. Rafa is what he is, irrespective of what people say about him. So, if you let your opinions about a player be governed by what others say about him, you are not being an astute observer.

You are merely being the anti-TWBARF, which isn't much more impressive than being a TWBARF.

Posted by Sam 12/22/2007 at 10:24 AM

Marian: Thanks, those were lovely pictures.

"Tell Wilander "Balls Always" Roger Federer "

Good one, GVGirl.

Posted by Pierre 12/22/2007 at 10:26 AM

As a way to resolve the GOAT debate, I suggest that the title could be changed. Instead of calling someone a “GOAT”, why not just call them a “Federer”?

For example, “Laver is one of the all-time Federers, because he won the grand slam twice.

Or, “Sampras is the current Federer because he has the most majors.”

It could be used sort of like we use the term “Einstein”. As in, “Wow, that new kid is an Einstein.”

Although I find that term is often used disparagingly, for example “Well, then what do you think, Einstein?”

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that if we call the greatest players “Federer” instead of “GOAT”, we won’t have to have a “GOAT” debate any more.

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