Thursday, January 21, 2010

Australian Open--what they said

...I'm playing much better than I was. It's just that expectation that sometimes I put on myself, and it's very overwhelming. And then I use so much energy. And then when it counts the most, I'm behind.
Ana Ivanovic

...your next opponent looks like Hantuchova. Tell us a little bit about that. What do you expect from her game?
Tough to play because we are good friend. Of course, we have to fighting on the court, because opponent. We can say hello after or before, but I don't think she want to say hello on the court.
Li Na

One of my favorite shots in tennis to watch is the fluid, athletic serve of Serena Williams.
Pam Shriver


Conne said...

Sorry, a bit of an irrelevant comment to this blog post, but i was just interested in your opinion on this topic. Why is that all the hype seems to be based around Serena, Kim and Justine right now? Sure i completely understand the attention Henin is receiving, and i'm stoked that she has returned to tennis, but i just find it so irritating that there is little mention of of players such as Wozniacki, Azarenka, Jankovic, Safina, Randwanska or Kuznetsova, who is my absolute favourite player. I just find all the media attention on those previously mentioned players so biased and a little bit exaggerated as well. Besides, here in Melbourne, if the papers arent writing about those girls, they then turn to Sam Stosur. Why not give someone else the spotlight for a little?

See the reason why i chose to ask your opinion on this topic is the matches they're boradcasting tomorrow night on tv. Channel seven, the main broadcaster for the aus open in australia, usually show the two featured night matches on rod laver arena in the evening. Tomorrow night on rod laver arena, nadal is playing, follwed by kuznetsova. So i assumed that they would broadcast those two matches. However during dellacquas match, i saw an advertisement for tomorrow nights schedule, and instead of showing nadals match live, they are swapping to hisence arena instead, and showing kim clijsters vs. nadia petrova. Now i hope thats a good match, because i'm a big petrova fan. But after that, they will then show nadals match. Now i dont know if they will cross live to the nadal match or show it from the start. But the point is that they have not even recognised the fact that svetty kuznetsova is playing after nadal, or if they will even broadcast it. I really hope they will, because she is my absolute favourite player, and i admire her a lot for the brilliant player and for the person she is. They havent shown any of her matches yet, and in fact i havent seen any match played by wozniacki, azarenka, jankovic, or even ivanovic. I guess in a rather long version, i'm saying that i am really over the constant attention placed on Serena williams, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, and was wondering if you shared a smiliar view on the matter? I'm 18 and i'm a massive fan of womens tennis, and the sport really pushes me to achieve my dream of being a sports psychologst, but i find it hard to enjoy it when you dont get to see an array of different players.

Thanks for your time, and i really enjoy your blog, because you have such an open opinion to the game, and arent biased to certain players. :)

Overhead Spin said...

Conne, I am sure that Diane will be responding to you but for the record the attention that Serena is getting is warranted insofar as she is the defending champion of this particular tournament, has won 11 majors, and has won here in Australia on 4 occassions. The story of Clijsters and Henin are the comeback, feel good stories of the tournament and the networks are playing on that as fans (I am not one of them) are interested to see how they will both play having regard to the history between both players. I am not in Australia but I have also seen the paucity of tennis in relation to those players that you have mentioned. I am in Jamaica and I have to suffer through ESPN and its commentators. Wozniacki has been featured as she was actually in the broadcast booth of ESPN and Sveta has never gotten any love from tv, unless she either players a big name player or makes the final of a tournament. She is also one of my favourite players and I think it does her a great disservice when she is ignored. Except for live streams most of who have mentioned have not been on tv at all and I doubt they will be.

Diane said...

First, Conne, thank you for reading my blog, and for your kind words.

It sounds as though--as much as some of us in the U.S. complain about it (cheesy commentators, constantly mispronounced player names, rampant sexism, etc.)--that the TV coverage here is not as narrow as what you're getting in Australia. We do get to see Kuznetsova (a wonderful player, yes), Ivanovic, Jankovic, Wozniacki, etc.

Professional sports is part of the entertainment industry, and it is also influenced by nationalism, so television is going to show matches with players who tend to have broad appeal or who are from the country from which the match is being televised. A complaint in our household, for instance, is that we would much rather see an interesting match played by lesser known players than to watch Serena beat someone down in an hour.

Serena is number 1 in the world and has had--and continues to have--an amazing career. And despite the extreme talent of players like Dementieva, Kuznetsova and Petrova, Serena has that something extra--she knows how to win at big moments. I think that's why so much attention is focused on her.

As for the Belgians, it really is a good story (though I'm sick of hearing about Kim's parenthood): One comes back, then the other comes back. Henin's career speaks for itself, and Kim's 2009 U.S. Open win launched her into an entirely new category of fame. (Also, from your standpoint, she's still Aussie Kim.)

Having said that, I agree that more attention should be payed to other players. Kuznetsova has rarely been placed in the spotlight, despite her being one of the very best players on the tour. We do get to see a lot of Dementieva in the U.S., and a lot of Ivanovic. Now that Jankovic's standing has decreased, we don't hear about her much.

Perceived attractiveness has something to do with which players become famous, too. If women meet the cultural standard for "beauty," they tend to get more exposure. Men, of course, are judged on their performance at all times. (In the past week, the Australian press has constantly referred to this or that player as "glamour girl" but has yet to refer to a male player as "pretty boy.") Sadly, the WTA has bought into the whole sexist concept and also does its share of marketing via perceived sex appeal.

Are the Australian Open website's live streams available in Australia? I've been watching them, often with the sound turned off because the commentary is irritating. I get to follow an entire match from beginning to end, and I get to watch a match that may not be on TV.

Beatka said...

I got to be fortunate to have access to espn360, and I was able to watch my favorite, Aga Rad, playing yesterday her singles and doubles match. It was so much fun, because last year I watch her the whole 3 times, when she was loosing badly to Serena or Venus in Grand Slams higher rounds.
I agree with you, Diane, that if the girl aint' pretty, broadcasters are not going to show her match, no matter how good it is, or how interesting, unless they absolutely have to. (that's how I got to watch Agi in action last year) And it seems, that they are trying to convince us, fans, that if the woman player is beautiful, she must be good, right?
Well, I don't buy that, I am not looking for models playing tennis, I am looking for great tennis players playing theirs best game. I am glad, I got some means of doing just that!
By the way, I am excited about Justine comeback, she was my favorite, and her riterement left me empty for months! Now again I can relish on her beautiful game. That's the kind of beauty I am interested in!

Diane said...

Delete Comment From: Women Who Serve

Blogger Diane said...

I would really like to have ESPN360, but my ISP does not provide it. I do have Tennis TV, though, so I get to see a lot of matches. And now there are more live streams offered during majors. But I do so miss Wimbledon Live, which is no longer available to me.

Conne said...

Nah we dont have any live streams on the internet. One of the sports channels on foxtel (our version of cabel i'm assuming) used to also boradcast the tennis, and they would show a lot of the outside courts as they werent allowed to show centre court matches. However they arent showing any tennis whatsoever this year.

I just find it such a shame that many viewers dont really get to see the talents of so many other players who are lesser known. And while Serena Williams is a fantastic player, and her achievements are outstanding, sometimes a change is nice to put it simply.

And sure what kim clijsters and justine henin are doing is really good, but i dont think it is really necessary to see every single moment of the comeback, and here every little detail about her daughter (i dont really care about the mum bit anymore. We dont here all about Sybil Bammers kid). I also think its time that we lose the 'aussie' kim tag. I know she's a crowd favourite and all, but are all crowd favourites going to be dubbed that nick name? I never heard of Aussie Amelie or Aussie Serena, and it also sounds rather tacky to me. Besides, Lleyton Hewitt was a long time ago. They've both moved on :P

And i completely agree with you in regards to physical appearences. Remember at wimbledon how tournament organisers faced a bit of comtroversy for putting players on centre court who just happened to be quite attractive, as opposed to the top seeded players?
Can't we just enjoy the beauty of a players game instead? Or has most of our society become far to superficial?

Diane said...

I think the superficial nature of it is just a symptom of the real problem--sexism. God forbid we should really take women seriously as athletes.

Conne said...

i think you just summed it all up there :)