Sunday, February 22, 2009

The week (or two) that was

So, I joke a lot about how some players shouldn't even bother to show up to events (ahemAndyRoddickatFrenchOpenahem), but everyone should have a chance, right? Specifically Shahar Peer, who, being an Israeli, was denied a visa this week so she could play in the Dubai tournament. Organizers claimed there was concern about her safety because of Israel's incursions into the Gaza Strip. But essentially, Peer was denied the chance to work because of her nationality, which I thought was called discrimination. And credit is due to the WTA and the Tennis Channel for fining and boycotting the event, respectively. More credit is due to Andy Roddick for speaking out about it and marking it off his calendar in support of Peer (although the Dubai organizers classily pointed out that Roddick wouldn't have made it to UAE if he made the final of the Memphis tournament anyway. Like I said, classy). The tournament gets a little bit of credit for clearing Andy Ram to play in the mens draw next week, I guess.
Here's something, though, that I have to put out there. Where is the outrage? Does anyone know what would have happened if Venus Williams was told she couldn't play because she was black? I actually do know. That tournament either would have been canceled or participants would have been forced to drop out, even if they didn't care, just because of the public outcry. Not really clear yet on why some discrimination is okay, while other forms are not. Maybe because if the tournament had not been bleeding cash like Dubai, there would have been a bit more outrage.

Speaking of the sisters Williams, don't they appear to be in the way-back machine. On the way to winning the tournament, Venus had to take on (and took down) Serena in the semifinals. Both women spoke early and often about the two of them being the best players in the world right now. Hunh. Well, I guess that's half-right. Serena is No. 1 in the world, but Venus lost in the third round of the Australian Open, right? Is that what one of the best players in the world does? (OK, it was Carla Suarez Navarro and a tight match, but ...) And you can't be the two best players in the world and be streaky as hell. This is why Jelena Jankovic hangs around, by the way. That's nit-picking, though. Women's tennis needs the sisters to make some noise right now. Be nice to have some other players making some noise, too.

Like Amelie Mauresmo. She beat Elena Dementieva last week in the final in France for her first win in two years. Others who just found themselves in Mauresmo's way were Aggie Radwanska and Jankovic. Very impressive for Mauresmo. She is a two-time Slam winner, and still has a dangerous game, obviously. I never quite understood how she just fell off the radar AFTER winning two majors.


TopSpin said...

I feel Venus was a little unlucky to draw Navarro at Melbourne, who played the match of her life. I still think that Venus is looking the more sure of the two sisters, in spite of #1 ranking.

You're right, It'd be nice to have other players making noise on tour - it was great to see what Amelie is still capable of. I'm also happy that Wozniacki (some 45 min dismissals aside) continues to impress; the tour is ripe for a new talent to break through and she seems to bring something a little more convincing to the table.

Naf said...

I think that's why it's so frustrating to watch the women's tour right now, TopSpin. On paper, there's so much talent out there, but at Slams, nothing happens! Plus, there's no Sharapova -- might not be for a while.