Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Sporting behaviour

So Agassi's been surfing high on the ol' CM (I have no idea what the street name for Crystal Meth is, it seems unlikely that's its CM, but maybe thats what The Meth* does,  makes you really boring and unoriginal?  Would explain the latter half of Agassi's career... Apparently it was cut by his assisstant Slim (enough said I think), in 1997.  He then lied to the ATP drug testers when he failed a drug's test, saying he accidentally drank one of Slim's spiked drinks.

He has graciously offered this information in his new autobiography (yes, one wasn't enough).  It raises some interesting questions, with obvious answers- like will he lose the titles he won (including grand slams) after the failed drgus test, as you would if you admitted using a performancing enhancing drug rather than a recreational drug (that's what they call them), and the answer is no obvious there would be outcry- he's a great legend, he's done such good things for the sport, he workd with children, he's confessed, just let sleeping dogs lie.  The confession angle is an interesting one, as if it absolves all guilt.  The fact that he lied about it at the time, and has confessed in a book hes trying to sell may slightly undermine this point just a bit.

My personal opinion (well its my blog, so I guess its all my personal opinion, and I just try to pretend like Im objective) is that it would be nice if there was some sense of dissappointment from the usual tennis-ers who will be asked to comment, for the following reasons. 
1.There would be for anyone otehr than Agassi
2.I just know there wont be for Agassi
3.They have to answer questions about Agassi's drug taking, instead of their tennis, in their press conferences, and isn't that just a bit annoying??
4.They also have to take drug tests, and most accept this necessary inconvenience to maintain the integrity of the sport
5.Agassi's revalation only serves to undermine the integrity of the sport, and sell his book

I don't suggest that recreational drugs are as bad as performancing enhancing drugs, in terms of tennis, but it's still clearly against the rules, and he compounded his actions by lying to the ATP officials.   He has said he felt his career was on the line, but for a recreational drug he would only have served a 3 month ban- hardly his career.  Anyway, one can only hope nobody reads the papers for a while and the story dissappears...And maybe they can finally talk about tennis for once?

*oooh much better name, and I always call things The..., why didnt I think of it?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Became a bit of a numbers game...

I think the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month (to give its full name) will be exciting, its in London and will actually be shown on actual TV channels, that I actually own (actually to be more acurate and even more exciting it will be on free to air channels, that you don't need to 'own', although you do need to pay for licence, but our landlord takes care of that...anyhoo...).  The Finals (to give an abbreviated name, so that I can get down to business and not waste precious time and energy on excess wordage) are a sort of climax to the year. 

Sort of in the sense that it is the top 8 men (the women going to Doha this year) who have worked hard all year to raise and maintain their rankings will compete against each other.  The best 8 men in the world will battle to determine the best player.  Although by this time in the year there is a sense of tiredness and ennui about the whole thing (if I correctly understand the meaning of ennui), and perhaps because of this it doesn't have the same importance as a Grand Slam (the holy grail), or a Masters event (the next level down and really rather lucrative.  Although The Finals 'let players earn'/ give away stupid money: $5 million total prize money).

One aspect I can't decide whether I like or dislike, whether it increases the suspense or diminishes it: players can guarantee their places months before The Finals take.  At the moment the top 6 men have already qualified, they have amassed enough points so that no one can knock them out of the top 8 before the end of the season. Although there remain two spots up for grabs and its all to play for the 3 or 4 players competing for those places (increased suspense), the top 6 are basically the same top 6 we've had all year. When top players compete the tennis might be good but does it matter that much who wins?  I mean do you want to see the top players who have been winning everything all year, winning something else?

I started this by saying The Finals would be exciting, and I think they will be- but maybe thats because Ive hardly seen any tennis this year.  Im looking for a Roddick vs Del Potro in the final in The Finals.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Unreported World

Well, its been a while since my last post and I wonder whether my patient fans-a-plenty will still be there waiting... The Gymnastic championships have taken over London and 73 male tennis players have pulled out of the Shanghi Masters (inc Andy Roddick, see previous post, and Del Potro, see whatever post it was that I mentioned him), its easy to see how people have lost a little interest in tennis.

Our own Katie O' Brien (who? I know, bare with me) won a match at WTA tour level, not long after breaking into the top 100, which was a good result.  Not that anyone would know because no one ever mentions her, well not very much.   And here I have two gripes. One, that no one reports lower level tournaments, and two, that no one reports womens events.  Last year when Jelena Jankovic was actually playing super fantastic she won three tournaments back to back.  The Guardian (only newspaper I read) gave her about a paragraph nicely slotted into a two page story about Andy Murray sneezing or hurting his foot or something.

Frustratingly womens sports (because there is such a genre as 'womens sports') get little attention, so people don't know about the players or sucesses, and therefore no one wants to watch them play.  A nice vicious circle ensues.  The England womens football team got to the final of the European Cup, the first time an England team have reached an international final since 1966.   More attention has been given to the Mens Premier League or England Mens World Cup qualifying, which we can all agree is really boring.

Lower level tournaments get little attention either, so although our players have won titles in the last few months because they weren't at tour level they were hardly reported (unless you have a subscription to LTA weekly or whatever).  Similar to my gripe about Doubles Tennis; so rarely on TV, so rarely mentioned, so rarely remembered.

Katie O'Brien incidentally was beated by Wozniacki in the second round, shame, if she had won it would have been a boo yah ending to my email.  Well thats my understanding of boo yah anyway.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Autumn falls

Oh Andy, whats happening?
The Roddick was supreme at Wimbledon- blasting his way into the final and back into my heart (bikini model wife be damned).  He did amazingly after he and others believed he would never play at that level again  (seems harsh since hes remained dancing in the top 10 for the better part of a decade).  Of course he lost the final to Federer some how, seriously I have no idea how he managed to lost it and i watched it.  He had 5 set points in the second set tie break to take a 2 sets to love lead, but somehow lost it.
He should have won, and maybe deep down he feels he blown his last  chance and its made him go crazy...?
Losing in the 3rd round of the US Open and now in the first round of the China Open is not the best end of the year.  I may have some personal bitterness in this as I stayed up until 2am watching the Live Text Updates on the BBC during his US Open match against John Isner only for him to lose, and for me to feel rather rough in the morning.
This part of the year is always a little lack lustre- the slams are over and every feels tired and tennis-ed out.  But after such a great summer a few poor performances may leave a bad taste in Andy's mouth.