So, the March swing is over. That went by quickly, didn’t it? Suddenly we’re in clay season, which is just insane. Looking back on March, the only big surprise was Flavia Pennetta winning Indian Wells. I wasn’t expecting Novak Djokovic to win the double, but now that I think about it, given the play of the rest of the ATP so far this season, it’s far from shocking.
I just wish I could cast a magical spell over the ATP and WTA and everyone would suddenly be healthy. How much better would March had been if, say, the Miami semifinals were actually played with a healthy Kei and Tomas? Or if Vika’s foot/ankle was all good and she was back in top form challenging Serena? Or if Aga had been able to actually push Flavia in the Indian Wells final? It would have been infinitely better.
Anyways, that isn’t the case. Such is life. Before we move on to clay (I go to Charleston tomorrow!), lets look at some of the things that I loved and hated from Miami.
I loved this quote from Li Na:
Q. Is there any point where you were thinking, Maybe I should have signed up to have Carlos?
NA LI: I think he trust me a lot, and also I trust myself. I think I’m strong enough to face to do that.
So we already decide the tournament start, no coaching at all. Yeah.
You know what? We all know that Li got blown off the court once Serena woke up in that final, but I love the fact that she is starting to really and truly believe in herself. She is strong enough. She should trust herself. End of story.
I hated the sexism shown by the silence of tennis journos
At the top of this great post on sexism in tennis that Amy wrote last year, you can read the tweets that some journalist wrote last year at Indian Wells when both Victoria Azarenka and Sam Stosur had to pull out of their quarterfinal matches on the same day. As we’ve come to expect with these things, those unfortunate withdrawals were not seen as isolated cases where two women were dealing with injuries and unable to compete on that day, but as an indictment of the entire WTA.
As you all know, last Friday both Nishikori and Berdych had to pull out of their semifinals against Djokovic and Nadal, meaning that no singles matches were played on Friday in Indian Wells at all. Not once on my timeline, where I try and follow a lot of journalists and fans whether I agree with them or not, did I see anyone insinuate that this made the entire ATP look bad.
Anyone who pays attention knows that the WTA is always on a shorter leash than the ATP. This isn’t just a tennis thing. Billie Jean King talked last year in Toronto about the lack of long-term investment in women’s sports–men’s sports are given room to fail and grow, while women’s sports are always on a do-or-die trial. (You see this thought process almost across the board in regards to opportunities given to women and minorities, but we’ll keep to the pertinent scale for now.)
In tennis, when a woman withdraws or when there’s a bad match, it’s seen as a catastrophe for the entire tour and proof (to some) that women shouldn’t get equal pay or be respected as professional athletes. When the men have a bad match or a retirement, it’s just seen for what it is–an unfortunate, isolated incident.
So, while not at all surprising, the silence on Friday from those who criticized the WTA last year in Indian Wells said it all.
I love these pictures of Nole:
The Miami winner’s photo shoot is just the best. Remember this?
I also love how fabulous she is:
They’re not here for you, Patrick.
I hate that doubles doesn’t get more TV coverage. So do the Bryans.
Q. With doubles, every tournament I have been to, the stands on the smaller courts are really packed, but they don’t get televised very often. Do you think there is anything that could be done from the ATP end to boost the visibility of doubles?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah. I mean, today would have been nice if the match was at least live streaming on the Internet, especially that one, a big final. It’s a Masters 1000, two marquee teams, and it was great tennis.
People‑‑ you know, a lot of our fans back at home, especially our parents, are like ‑‑they would love to have watched the match. It doesn’t have to be on Tennis Channel or ESPN or anything, but just to have a live stream. Having the cameras rolling would have been nice.
BOB BRYAN: It’s criminal there is not a camera in the back just rolling, live stream taping. It doesn’t take much. I’ll pay for the videotape. You know, I’ll put my friend back there with the camera or whatever.
But it’s absolutely criminal that there isn’t a live streaming at least on the Internet. That’s the least this tournament and the ATP could do.
MIKE BRYAN: It’s tough in the U.S. to have that go out to a major network, but I know a TV station in Colombia would have picked it up.
BOB BRYAN: I mean, we’re not asking for much. Just a live stream.
MIKE BRYAN: That’s the first thing that could be done that will popularize doubles even more. That’s what we need from, you know, whoever, ATP, but that’s the first thing and then take it from there.
BOB BRYAN: I think that has to be done at the, you know, player council levels. You know, we have to have a vote to get that mandatory, especially Masters 1000 level.
So we will take it ‑‑I have to talk to our player reps, and we’ve got to get a vote because it just‑‑ you know, doubles gets swept under the rug a little too often, especially in times like this where it could help out the popularity.
You tell them, Bryans. I love that they are standing up for themselves on this front–I wish the women had complained more about their lack of visibility in Miami.
What about you guys? What were your favorite moments from March?