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The Lonely Coach (WCC, Day 12) 07/04/2009 - 8:26 AM

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by Pete Bodo

Mornin', everyone, and a fine one it is again.

A few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with Sven Groeneveld, who heads up the novel and productive Adidas group coaching effort. Sven has coached an impressive list of outstanding players, including Mary Pierce, Michael Stich, Nathalie Dechy, Greg Rusedski, Fernando Verdasco and, most recently,  Ana Ivanovic. BTW, Ana is back with the Adidas program after a patchy experience with Craig Kardon (formerly Martina Navratilova's coach). And Darren Cahill has joined Gil Reyes, that other member of team Agassi, on the Adidas coaching roster. Those are Cahill, Reyes and Groeneveld (L to R) in this photo.

It turns out that Sven and our mutual friend, tennis insider Lisa Sommermeier, had both read the on-again, off-again series I started on coaching (it makes me think I ought to continue it), in which I wondered why tennis coaches - who run the gamut from manipulative opportunists with precious little to offer  to distinguished Grand Slam enablers - didn't have some kind of official organization, or registry. I can think of a dozen ways in which an official organization, like the players, tournaments, umpires, and even press already has (and let's not forget that strong organization of teaching pros, the USPTR), would be a welcome addition to the growing infrastructure of our sport.

It turns out that Sven had been thinking along the same lines, and he already has an interactive website that functions as a virtual employment agency for coaches. It's called Orangecoach.com. The big news Sven wanted to share with me is that this is merely Stage 1 of a 2 stage effort - the second part will consist of creating a formal organization or registry of coaches. It will not only help coaches and players find each other, but also give coaches, those lone operators, an organization that will set guidelines, create opportunities (like sponsorship deals), and give coaches the backing of the same kind of official, institutional voice that others can fall back on in times of need.

To pick a simple example, right now any charge of inappropriate behavior of any kind against a coach is simply a "he said, she/he said" affair, and who would want to be the coach in that scenario - especially if it were one of the all too common partnerships of a young female player and an older male coach?  Moreover, the WTA commitment to on-court coaching means that coaches could potentially supplement their income with sponsorship deals on a less haphazard basis. "I was never for the on-court coaching experiment," Sven told me. "But it's here and there's no reason not to take advantage of it."

Largely, though, Sven sees "job security" as the most critical issue for coaches. He points out that coaches come and go randomly, usually at the mercy of the players for whom they work. When that player retires, or moves on, the coach is back at Square One. He or she has no real way beyond networking and personal salesmanship of staying in the game. "Not too many coaches stay in the game for more than five years," Sven said. "I want to try to find a way to enable legitimate coaches to stay in the game. For example, if the player I've coached for three years decides to move on, right now I don't even have access to my workplace - the tournaments. If we had a certification process, the members of our registry could stay in the game and enjoy the same benefits as other tennis professionals."

A registry would also enable the organization to police its membership and even institutionalize the background checks that are a reasonable burden. Sven objected to the heavy-handed way the official game instituted its intrusive background checks in a panicked response to abuse and gambling scandals, but has no problem with the basic concept. "It would be part of a general certification process that would take place in stages," Sven said. "People would know what the system expects and get comfortable with it."

Sven also noted that academies, representation firms, and even manufacturers (like Adidas) have increasingly close ties to coaches, and use them in increasingly inventive and diverse wasy (as scouts, for example). The coaches need to be better informed on everything from the available opportunities to the general task-by-task pay scale.

I think this plan will work, partly because sponsors already have greater grasp of inventive ways to use coaches. The coaches are not only vital to the players on-court success, they're an increasingly significant go-between with other wings of the game, like the media. And a coach is a pipeline to a player. I've learned over time that if you have a good relationship with a player's coach, you're more likely to develop the same with a player.

I hope Sven pulls this off.


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Posted by Lee 07/04/2009 at 02:19 PM

Great final between Venus and Serena, ofcourse I think it could have been better but you can't expect too much when Serena and Venus play. I wish the Bryans won, but the other guys were too good. I'm American but I really want Federer to win tomorrow....is there something wrong with me?

Posted by Sharon 07/04/2009 at 02:20 PM

Wouldn't it have been cool if the Bryans had won, then the Williams in doubles and obviously we would have Serena than Andy? Unfortuntely that's not the case but I refuse to give up on Andy tomorrow. You never know.

Posted by Anne 07/04/2009 at 02:22 PM

"I'd rather have won three Grand Slam titles in a year and be #2 than have won none and be #1. Dinara deserves to be #1. She's done really well -- she won Rome and Madrid."

Okay get control over yourself Serena. You just won Wimbledon. Now is not the time to complain.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 02:27 PM

Serena was twittering from the court, after she walked out, but before the match started. A touch surreal.


Posted by kiwibee 07/04/2009 at 02:29 PM

"I'd rather have won three Grand Slam titles in a year and be #2 than have won none and be #1. Dinara deserves to be #1. She's done really well -- she won Rome and Madrid."

I prefer the momma Serena who plays great tennis than trashing Dinara indirectly. Be a classy lady momma Serena, please. :)

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 02:29 PM

Hi, beth.
The Roddibago is all set to go!

And we won't worry about turncoats like creig bryan who've jumped off. More food for us! :)

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 02:30 PM

Serena and Venus stood back in the 3rd game, but some terrific play from Sammy, gets the Australians the break. 2-1, Stubbsy on serve.

Have the sisters been broken at all this tournament?

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 02:30 PM

hmm.. surprising.. Go Oldies! aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi!

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 02:31 PM

The presser was way worse than that quote sounds. She burst out into uncontrollable laughter -- as did the room -- after the comment about Rome and Madrid.


Posted by Kate 07/04/2009 at 02:33 PM

"What I love most about Serena is that she lets you in. She tells it how it is & to heck with the consequences. I get a little sick of the fony "graciousness" or the cookie-cutter responses. That's what I love most about Roger too--these athletes need to tell the truth."

I agree to a certain extent about being honest but usually Serena crosses the line between being honest and just being a sore loser. Never giving credit to her opponent, stating it's always her fault she lost (even when sometimes it's clearly not), complaining about the rules (like you can't eat in the Wimbledon lockeroom), saying negative things about her opponents and acting like she deserves the number one ranking when she clearly doesn't other wise she would have it. And yes I realize that she has 11 grand slams and Dinara has zero but just maybe if Serena competed in the tournaments outside of the grand slams, than she would have the number one ranking. She has no right to complain when she clearly will always be remembered has a excellent player with many slams to her name. Roger is honest, however he is not rude, annoying or selfish. There is a HUGE difference between the two, they should never be compared.
I'm just so tired of hearing Serena moan and complain and pretend like she's getting jipped, when she's not!

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 02:33 PM

Serena needs to start carrying her weight. Looks like Venus is doing most of the work, atm.

Posted by DJ 07/04/2009 at 02:35 PM

yeah the women should play five sets like the men for obvious reasons.

Posted by Kim 07/04/2009 at 02:36 PM

Serena is the definition of sore loser. She just doesn't know when to stop.

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 02:40 PM

oh evie, that's horrible. i just can't get on the Serena bus. Way too much rampant ego there. So sorry Vee didn't have a better day.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 02:42 PM

whoa, great forehand volley from Vee there.

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 02:44 PM

I think the women should play 3 out of 5 in the finals of majors at least. Today's match was very anti-climatic. It was over before it began.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 07/04/2009 at 02:46 PM

Every time I watch Rennae Stubbs, the same thought crosses my mind - she has a very poor attitude on court. I listened to the commentary on her mixed doubles match, and she was berating her opponent. Today, she just looks angry

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 02:50 PM

superb point. deuce

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 02:51 PM

Honestly, how much energy do you need to spend hitting a volley? Isn't it about footwork, delicate touch, etc? It puzzles me that Serena is screaming/grunting while she's at the net.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 02:52 PM

ouch watch out stubbs. good hold by venus. WS up 5-4 in first set.

Posted by Lee 07/04/2009 at 02:53 PM

"Serena Williams holds three of the four Grand Slam singles trophies, but according to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, she is the No. 2-ranked player in the world.

No. 1 is Russian Dinara Safina, who has never won a major. On Monday, when the new rankings come out, Safina will have 10,521 rankings points, compared to 8,758 for Williams.

This obvious rankles Williams, who was a touch catty on the subject after winning at Wimbledon for the first time in six years. She was asked if she was motivated to regain her No. 1 ranking.

"I'm not super motivated," Williams said. "I think if you hold three Grand Slam titles maybe you should be No. 1, but not on the WTA Tour obviously, so & my motivation is maybe just to win another Grand Slam and stay No. 2, I guess."

Is it a disappointment not to be No. 1?

"No," she said. "If it did, I would go crazy just thinking about it. I think anyone really could. That's just shocking. But whatever. It is what it is. I'd rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any."

This, of course, was a shot at Safina -- the same Safina who was waxed by sister Venus 6-1, 6-0 here in the semifinals. In May, Serena proclaimed herself as the true No. 1 and Safina was drawn into a chippy back and forth.

"Yes, I didn't win a Grand Slam, but I was in two finals and a semifinal in one year," she said. "Overall, I think I'm where I should before the consistency of my whole year."

On Saturday, Serena couldn't resist another volley. Asked where she saw herself, she said, "I see myself as No. 2. That's where I am. I think Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid," said Serena before laughing.

Later, she added, "I'm not picking on anybody. I think [Dinara,] who is No. 1, you can clearly see by her physique how hard she works. You can't get anywhere by not doing the best and not working your hardest.

"So, you know, I'm happy for her. I'm really excited that I won Wimbledon, though, because, like I said, I'd rather win that than not win the Championships."

A WTA spokesman pointed out that Williams had several first-round losses, including Madrid, which is a mandatory tournament. The spokesman added that Williams skipped Indian Wells this year, which is also mandatory.

"I think among the tennis press and the general public, there's a lot of focus on the Grand Slams," the spokesman said. "We, as the WTA, need to offer the fairest and most objective ranking system for our players over a 12-month period, and not just focus on the Grand Slams."

Posted by Anne 07/04/2009 at 02:54 PM

I honestly don't know how anyone can be a fan of Serena, her attitude is disgusting.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 02:55 PM

serena acts like a ditz: lindsay lohan, britney spears or paris hilton, anyone - in interviews. but of course unlike those, she actually does something amazingly, geniusly well. i don't get why she likes coming across as a ditz. her t-shirt is totally bizarre. tp me. unless she is like michael jackson and pt barnum and obsessed with shocking people, i can't explain it.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 02:55 PM

venus and serena need to wake up at the net.

Posted by Lorraine 07/04/2009 at 02:57 PM

"Honestly, how much energy do you need to spend hitting a volley? Isn't it about footwork, delicate touch, etc? It puzzles me that Serena is screaming/grunting while she's at the net."

You don't play tennis, do you greenhopper? Not saying you need to grunt/scream (neither are necessary for any part of the game), but implying that playing at the net is not physically taxing (as well as being mentally taxing, which in turn is physically wearying, etc.) is wrong IMHO. If you're doing it right, you're up on your toes the whole time, bouncing, moving up, back, side to side, diagonally, etc., etc.

Posted by Sherlock 07/04/2009 at 02:59 PM

Serena seriously needs to just stop talking.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 02:59 PM

Oh please. So many ppl on a high horse? Why don't you win 3 GS, be ranked No. 2 and then talk. It's not a criticism of Dinara, but a criticism of a formula. This is obviously a boundary case that ppl did not anticipate for.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:00 PM

Moving up front is very physically taxing, I get it. But when you are already in position to hit a volley of a put away, I don't get why there has to be a grunt. *shrug*

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 07/04/2009 at 03:02 PM

Oh, Serena. Just because what you're saying is TRUE doesn't mean you have to say it! LOL And you'd been doing such a good job of holding it in...

I love Serena, "disgusting" attitude and all. *shrug*

Interesting that the WTA is now sending out spokespeople to defend its ranking system.

Posted by Lorraine 07/04/2009 at 03:02 PM

I agree, greenhopper, about the "need" for grunting (like, there's never a need, ever, anywhere), I was only taking exception to your point about the amount of energy needed to play a volley. Maybe I overextrapolated your point to the entire net game when I shouldn't have -- sorry!

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 03:03 PM

nice hold.. Tiebreak time.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 03:04 PM

Pspace, if you saw that section of the interview i am not quite sure it's clear that she meant it as tongue in cheek or just refering to being number 1 not safina. she played up her popular, mean, ditz girl thing-o to the max-o. again, i don't get it. i get the sense that she is intelligent, but she buries it. it was not one of her better moments. it in no way diminishes what she has achieved on the court - that's incontestable greatness, but her tone....whoa!

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 03:05 PM

That's Stubbsy for you, Cayman Karen. She has always had partner problems because of that. :)

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 03:05 PM

I agree with Pspace. Seriously, what Serena said is the truth. Someone with 3GS should be no 1. Serena is criticizing the ranking system not Dina and she's right.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 07/04/2009 at 03:06 PM

WOW (and LOL) at that lob from Serena.

Posted by Jenni 07/04/2009 at 03:06 PM

"It's not a criticism of Dinara, but a criticism of a formula."

The problem is that it seems like a number of people are unable to separate the two. There appears to be a lot of blame thrown Dinara's (and previously JJ's) way for exposing the glaring weakness of the WTA ranking system simply by playing well, and it's not fair. As far as Serena's comments, both today and in the past, I do sense an undertone of snide derision directed towards Dinara but I could be misreading it through my Dina-colored lenses.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:06 PM

Sorry, I was trying to justify the need to grunt with expending energy. The kind of energy you spend while bending down to retrieve for a volley, I'd think the grunting will distract you more than anything.

Goodness. Serena scrambles a bh lob and it lands right on the baseline. Fortune favours the brave or something such. 4-1.

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 03:07 PM

Goodness, I don't think I have ever seen Serena hit so many winning lobs.

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 03:07 PM

Or missed returns.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 03:07 PM

venus and serena are not playing well.

Posted by Libby 07/04/2009 at 03:07 PM

I don't care how many slams Serena's won, she still has no right to act like that. None of the other great champions have acted like this so why should Serena?

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 03:08 PM

Olive, I saw it and it was tongue and cheek and it was clearly a dig at the ranking system. The reason why the WTA is sending out someone to defend their flawed ranking system because they know people are criticizing it.

Posted by Bismarck 07/04/2009 at 03:09 PM

hoppie,
serena at times plays whole sets totally silent (while *murdering* every ball) and then i´ve seen - or rather heard - her use her warcries *while* hitting a droppah.
there is no rhyme or reason to it. other than "pumping herself up" and "showing the witch(es) on the other side of the net that she´s ready to clobber them into a bloody pulp if neccessary".
wait, that´s actually quite a lot of reason, jajaja.

*but a criticism of a formula. This is obviously a boundary case that ppl did not anticipate for.*

Pspace,
there are no perfect formulas. the best formula is the one which has the most positive effects most of the time.
yeah, you know that already.

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 03:09 PM

Venus is completely caring the team right now.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 03:10 PM

If Fed had gotten to the final against Murray and lost he would have been #3 in the world holding two Grand Slams titles and being the runner up in the other two. Does that seem "fair?" Yeah, because he didn't do well at other tournaments and those above him did much better. The WTA and ATP obviously want to incent players to participate in more than just the GSs -- and not just to participate, but to do well.

Right or wrong, though, Serena's attitude in these press conferences on the topic reflects poor sportsmanship. Can you imagine Rafa or Fed or Venus laughing at the absurdity of their rival being ahead of them? It's too bad because she's got a great game and I'd like to support her more. Venus is the sportsperson in the family and I that means something to me.


Posted by Pam 07/04/2009 at 03:11 PM

"Oh please. So many ppl on a high horse? Why don't you win 3 GS, be ranked No. 2 and then talk. It's not a criticism of Dinara, but a criticism of a formula. This is obviously a boundary case that ppl did not anticipate for.

HA! That's what she wants you to think or what others are trying to make it out to be. Serena has absolutely no sportsmanship and she needs to stop acting like she deserves everything! She needs to just stop talking.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 03:11 PM

olive, Serena doesn't care. She knows she's a brat. Said as much herself. This whole business of behaving like a saint when that's not your nature is soooooo overrated, to me. This is her personality...take it or leave it. I can't say I fault her for feeling this way, as I would've felt the same in her place.

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 03:11 PM

Annie: As we've seen many times, 3/5's can be just as short as 2/3's or just as long or just as boring or just as exciting. I have found that the length of a tennis match usually has very little bearing on the quality of the play in that match.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 03:11 PM

Folks, I'm by no means a Serena fan, but even I'll admit today's presser was nothing to grouse about. Remember the time when she called Henin's winners "lucky shots"? 'Nuff said.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 03:12 PM

samantha i hope you are right for serena's sake. i love watching her on the court. i am just not sure i care much for her off the court. if it were tongue in cheek, she is the next jonathan swift, for she is such a master at satire i may have missed it.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 03:12 PM

good news: they have lost the first set in all their matches this week.
bad news: I don't see them winning a set today.

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 03:12 PM

The people asking the questions (journos) are the instigators here. They keep on asking the same question about the ranking. Sometimes Serena takes the bait, sometimes she doesn't.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 07/04/2009 at 03:13 PM

You know what I am giving Serena a pass right now. The woman has 3 Grand Slam titles and is ranked No.2. She deserves to crow about it. The No. 1 got creamed the other day. Apart from tour events where she can bring her coach on court, she has not shown that she has the mental fortitude. Dinara deserves her NO. 1 ranking because she is consistent. Serena deserves her NO. 2 ranking because that is what the numbers say. I am tired of people thinking that Serena should not speak her mind. Last time I looked she has very broad shoulders and should be able to counter anything that comes her way.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 03:14 PM

Bissy, jajaja. Yeah. I just don't see why any1 takes anything Serena says so seriously. I mean, she prolly doesn't care that much anyway. But the press keeps shoving the questions in her face all the time.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:14 PM

That makes sense, Biz. She's been out of sorts here so far, I get that she wanted to pump herself a bit. I still take exception with how she chooses to do it though.

and stick around more, will ya?

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 03:17 PM

Serena is not the anti-christ, people. Sure she can be a brat, but she has her charming well-behaved moments too.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 03:18 PM

Pspace is right, who can blame Serena. If I had 3 slams and another player had O, most people would think the same. Didn't Roger say Murray needed to win a slam to justify a number l ranking. The ranking systems need to be change to reflect who is really the best, not the most consistent. Players are judged by their slam titles. Put yourself in Serena's shoes.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:19 PM

That my friends, is what we call AWESOME doubles net play.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 03:20 PM

brilliant brilliant point. play of the day!

Posted by tennisesq. 07/04/2009 at 03:20 PM

Lovely atmosphere. Crowd having a good time, just laughing during a point.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 03:23 PM

People who didn't want her to win are making a big deal out of nothing. She's saying she would rather have three slams then the no 1, who wouldn't?? She's saying she feels she deserves to be no l, who can blame her.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 03:23 PM

What do you know, Pete must have his own CB. See for yourself on the new thread.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 03:25 PM

Or new post, to be pedantic.

And I'm outtie. Have a good one, folks. Be sure to carry a fire extinguisher.

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 03:26 PM

Remember the time when she called Henin's winners "lucky shots"?

Yep, that was the match after which Henin said separately in her presser that she had been lucky. I remember that match/incident very, very well.

But yes, Serena is sore loser, she's a sore winner, she doesn't filter her thoughts/statements yada yada yada. This is all true. I have to wonder, though, about the thought processes of those who always seem to bring these things up after she has WON. Some sore losers among them, perhaps? :)

I don't know what makes Serena decided when to take the bait of the reporters and when to deflect it, but I admit that I'm very happy that Venus, my williams of choice, knows how to handle the provocative questions very well.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 03:26 PM

samantha. of course she is the de facto number 1 if not the de jure number 1. and safina is number 1 kinda too. consistency and dedication to the tour mean something too. but serena didn't make it clear that it wasn't about safina. that laugh was really cruel. like of a bullying 17 year old. i hope it inspires safina to win. more great players on top the better. again i am notdismissing anything serena has dome on the court. i often give her a free pass with the lucky shots. but that laugh was really creepy.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 03:26 PM

Samantha -- I saw the press conference. It was horrible and you won't see it on television here because it reflects poorly on the top women in the sport. I'm not even saying she doesn't have a case... you can make the argument. But how you do it makes a difference.


Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:27 PM

Finally. Very huge hold for the Australians. 1-2, WS.
I can't believe Sammy is just 25! And Stubbsy 38.

Commies say an hour of light left.

Posted by Bismarck 07/04/2009 at 03:28 PM

*and stick around more, will ya?*

we gonna see. i gonna try. ;)
certainly miss some aspects of TW. but some others... not so much.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 03:29 PM

oops i meant lucky shots comment

yes she talks the talk because she can back it up, but it still is unfortunate to see. especially from someone into jehovah ( just like michael jackson was too). it's just weird. end of my comments on my inability to understand american pop culture icons in interviews.

and on that note, i am rooting for the williams sisters to win the doubles!

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 03:31 PM

Reactions to Muzzah's loss:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/sports/tennis/04araton.html?ref=sports

Hmmm...seems like he's not beloved like Tim. :-(

Posted by Or 07/04/2009 at 03:31 PM

I wonder whether anyone caught Roger's quote about Rafa+injuries+him taking back number 1.

______________________

. A few weeks ago the story was about Nadal winning everything, you struggling a little bit. Then you won Madrid, you won Paris. Now you're about to regain maybe the No. 1. Tennis seems to change fast. What's your reflection on this?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, there's a good side and a bad side, because it's kind of a very important period in tennis, the French Open and Wimbledon stretch.

So if you get injured ‑‑ I think like what Murray got injured as well with his wrist a couple of years ago, and Rafa now a little bit. I don't quite remember now who else got injured ‑‑ but you can lose so many points. Especially him being back‑to‑back champions, Paris and Wimbledon last year, you can't play, you lose four thousand points. It goes like in a hurry. From being invincible, you're all of a sudden No. 2, No. 3 in the world, having to prove yourself.

Other tournaments are looming around the corner which you have to defend again. Does that just mean that he's only the second best, you know, or third best just because he couldn't play? Probably not. He deserves to be all the way up there in the rankings, but somebody has to win the tournament.

All you can do is put yourself in that position, and I did. Of course, I'm very happy. Shouldn't be forgotten what a great player, what a great champion he is. Stories come about very, very quickly in tennis.

At the same time, because they go so quickly, some fade quickly as well. Sometimes it's not fair towards certain players, if you achieved a lot like I did for so many years and then you don't win some tournaments, people say you're already on the decline very quickly.

So that's the way this business works, unfortunately. But I hope it just opens some eyes at least these last few months, because they have been very different maybe to what people expected.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 03:36 PM

Ruth, that's why Venus 2 is my Williams of choice. Level-headed, polite and modest, but not to the extent of servile meekness, as she showed yesterday when she pwned one of the interrogators. I don't want Serena to be false to herself, but she does occasionally cross the line between self-assurance and giving her opponents short shrift. But like I said I didn't think she crossed the line today. I don't mind cockiness, only arrogance.

Really off. Enjoy the fireworks, of whatever your choice.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 07/04/2009 at 03:42 PM

good crowd for women's doubles - good to see. The British really love their tennis.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 03:43 PM

on the comments by serena, it disapoints me a little. but dont we all say things that maybe dont come out right or say something that we are only supposed to think. it was a little mean to laugh and all but it happens sometimes.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 03:43 PM

FYI, olive, MJ had left the Jehovah faith quite a long time ago. I've also seen some reports that he had converted to Islam like his big bro Jermaine, I think around '07 or last year, but the TV talking heads seemed to imply that those might've been incorrect. Who knows.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 03:44 PM

on the doubles, venus and serena are makin a lot of errors, especially on returns and volleys, but thier serve keeps saving them. hoping they close it out soon with this break.

Posted by FM (Rafa gets well and fit soon! Vamos forever!!) 07/04/2009 at 03:45 PM


"Does that just mean that he's only the second best, you know, or third best just because he couldn't play? Probably not. He deserves to be all the way up there in the rankings, but somebody has to win the tournament...

At the same time, because they go so quickly, some fade quickly as well. Sometimes it's not fair towards certain players, if you achieved a lot like I did for so many years and then you don't win some tournaments, people say you're already on the decline very quickly...

So that's the way this business works, unfortunately. But I hope it just opens some eyes at least these last few months, because they have been very different maybe to what people expected."

*******************************************************************

Words!! Can't agree more with Roger.

Rafa I miss you!!

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:48 PM

"their serve keeps saving them"

yeah, that's mostly what wins you matches these days. one of the reasons why the men's final went to 3 TB sets.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 03:49 PM

now venus is making all the errors.

Posted by DH 07/04/2009 at 03:50 PM

I wonder how the Williams' dad coaches them when they play each other.

I mean, typically, when you know who your opponent is for the next match, you and your coach can go over what you think their weaknesses are, what your game plan and approach are going to be.

But I wonder if the Williams sisters have that same chance when they know that will be playing each other. Will their dad point out their weaknesses to each other..just a thought..

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam! ) 07/04/2009 at 03:52 PM

Serena will never has the class and graciousness of Venus. That dig at Safina's number one ranking wasn't necessary at this time - not after such a huge victory, when you can afford to be a little magnanimous. The ranking system is what it is, and Serena has a right to voice her opinion. However, could have phrased it better -"Dinara deserves to be number one - she won Rome and Madrid" followed by derisive laughter, was a tad too bitchy and mean-spirited for my liking !

You can even tell when the sisters play each other ... Serena was resentful of her sister's success when she beat her last year. You never sense that from Venus, when she loses to Serena. You never sense resentment or jealousy from her, just genuine caring. And today, I don't think Venus was motivated enough to beat her little sister since she beat her last year ... today, she lacked the killer instinct and didn't seem hungry for the win.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 03:55 PM

Congrats to the sisters and their supporters. They've never lost a GS final. Good match overall.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 03:56 PM

well done by Vee/ReRe. Also the Aussie (g)oldies continue to impress me.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 03:59 PM

So 2 out of 3. Not bad. My CB said 3 out of 4. Jehovah had better work in mysterious ways, otherwise this CB is off to its final destination.

Off.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 07/04/2009 at 04:00 PM

Congrats fellow ReVee fans!

DH - Pretty sure (based on comments from Vee, Serena, and their parents) that the parents don't coach Vee or Serena when they play each other. The goal is an all-Williams final - beyond that, it's up to each sis to figure out how to win.

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 04:00 PM

For sure, Nadal will play his first tournament after the injury in Montral. He will start to practice very soon
I miss him too a lot, tennis is so different without him!!

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 04:05 PM

good win in doubles in total the williams sisters will walk away with a total of 2.7 million dollars in prize money. Not bad for two weeks of work.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 05:07 PM

Any indication of whether Pete Sampras will be there tomorrow? (yea I can't believe I'm the one bringing up Sampras this time) ;)

Posted by tina 07/04/2009 at 05:15 PM

I love Miss Lady Venus, but it never occurred to me for a moment that Serena wouldn't win this match. I would never bet against Serena like I could never bet against Seles.

Posted by Andrew 07/04/2009 at 05:20 PM

Ruth: I completely agree with your observation "I have found that the length of a tennis match usually has very little bearing on the quality of the play in that match."

The argument over who should be ranked the no 1 player in the world seems like a tempest in a teacup. Both tours essentially use the same structure: results over the last year count, tournaments are bucketed by status and depth of field, doing well in one or two big tournaments can be balanced by doing well in many more lesser tournaments. You could come up with another perfectly defensible way of doing things, but this is what we have. FWIW, I find it way superior to methods like the BCS in college football.

An occasional heavy defeat by a highly ranked player doesn't, in my view, make me think less of that player. All players occasionally come up against an opponent in the zone, and all players occasionally get out on the wrong side of the bed.

That said, I'm pretty old fashioned. I expect top 10 tennis players to be able to serve, return, hit ground strokes, volleys, overheads, drop shots, touch shots, passes and so on with skill. If it turns out that you can be the no 1 player in the world without being able to do these things well in big matches consistently, that's not necessarily a knock on a player, but it says something about the era in which he or she plays.

Posted by tina 07/04/2009 at 05:26 PM

Posted by Kim 07/04/2009 @ 2:36 PM

Serena is the definition of sore loser.

Say what? How can she define any sort of "loser" when she's the one holding the trophy, in other words, the actual winner?

Posted by lira vega 07/04/2009 at 05:30 PM

imjimmy (I think) posted a link with all matches from Wimbles archived couple of days ago. I can't find it now through all threads and pages (and of course, I didn't bookmark it), so it would be great if someone could re-post it. Thanks

Posted by Or 07/04/2009 at 05:31 PM

BTW, any thoughts on the fact that Pete isn't coming?

I'm surprised, I thought he would. Apperantly they are doing some phone-call thingy.

I wonder whether it hurts him more than he'd admit. If he's anything like Roger, it would hurt him, can't blame him for not wanting to come - because I don't believe it is the flight.

Posted by barry (not Barry) 07/04/2009 at 05:31 PM

does anyone who wins 7 matches in a row (with a day or more of rest in between matches) three times within a 52-week period but fails to produce much when you only need to win 5 or 6 matches in a row without more than 24 hours rest b/w matches belong as #1?

all the players know the points system at the beginning of the year, any math idiot can figure out the ranking system, to complain and moan about it is plain stupid. you want #1, go out and get the most points. play and play well at ALL the tournaments you choose to play. let your racquet do the talking, not your ugly condescending McEnroe and Carillo like mouth.

Posted by sally 07/04/2009 at 05:31 PM

pete won't be there, he hates leaving california, who can blame him?

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 05:33 PM

It's always amusing when someone who demonstrably lacks graciousness in their dealings on this board criticises someone else for lack of same.

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/04/2009 at 05:34 PM

there is an article posted today at vb.com (comes from the Spanish press) that Rafa is doing 5 hours a day of rehab, he has not picked up a racquet, and that he is preparing to retool his schedule not just for the immediate future but for the long haul.

There's more & and an interesting quote from Rafa.

I thought Serena's comments were snarky and funny. But she shouldn't have thrown Dinara under the bus. And evie, the showed the clip from the presser on ESPN a while ago.

Posted by Andrew 07/04/2009 at 05:35 PM

Or: I think it would have meant a lot to Federer. It's a long way to come at short notice, though. I would have rather Safin had made a cross channel hop to see his sister play at RG F 2009.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 05:36 PM

Maybe it's for the best Pete won't be there. Should the unexpected happen, the last thing we need is someone making the ceremony as uncomfortable as the one in Australia

Posted by Or 07/04/2009 at 05:39 PM

He was a tennis player, surely hopping on a plane can't be all that difficult.

I just think that he doesn't really want to do it, but I bet Roger understands.

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