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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

Grading on a curve
Time to hand out the mid-term grades for the Australian Open
Updated: Monday January 26, 2004 1:04PM


When was the last time we were a week into a Major and the men's draw was less denuded than the women's?

Through three rounds, none of the top four male seeds has been tested. Meanwhile, among Lisa Raymond, Tatiana Golovin, Nathalie Dechy or Patty Schnyder, one is guaranteed of being a semifinalist.

In any case, here are our mid-tournament grades for the 2004 Australian Open. (All marks distributed on the Missouri Tigers basketball curve.)

A
Male seeds: Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andre Agassi and David Nalbandian have thus far waltzed (Matilda-like) through the draw.

Kim Clijsters: Ankle injury? What ankle injury? With the possible exception of Amelie Mauresmo, no female player has looked sharper -- and that includes top-seeded countrywoman Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Lisa Raymond: Sure, tennis' equivalent of ring rust played a role in Venus Williams' exit. But credit Raymond -- as well-liked a player as you'll find -- for her go-broke shotmaking, her dead-on game plan, and mental strength.

B
Comebacks kids: Absent (or it just seemed that way) in 2003, Marat Safin, James Blake, Andrei Pavel, Hicham Arazi and Willie Canas all made the round of 16.

Brad Gilbert: Unless you've been living rural Mongolia, you know about his partnership with Roddick. But Gilbert's first steady work after parting with Agassi was with ... Tatiana Golovin, who reached the round of 16 before falling to Raymond.

Venus Williams: This event prompted more questions about Venus than it answered. But credit Williams the Elder for being exceptionally gracious in defeat. (Now let's hope she keeps her vow to play a full schedule in 2004.)

Italian women: The best of the bunch, Francesca Schiavone, lost early. But both Sylvia Farina-Elia and little-known Mara Santangelo reached the round of 16 -- as many Donnas represented as Russians.

Lindsay Davenport: She hasn't looked particularly sharp and dropped a set to Emilie Loit in the second round. But the 2000 champ is still around -- which is, ultimately, what matters most.

Todd Reid: Aussie prospect was thoroughly outclassed by Federer in the third round. But he's come out gangbusters this year and his boot-and-rally, second-round episode against Sargis Sargsian endeared him to the fans.

C
Daniela Hantuchova: Things are getting ugly for Hantuchova. A legitimate threat to win the tournament a year ago, she now has trouble simply winning matches. Can an active player receive a protected ranking?

Pat Cash: Oh, how I long for the measured, level-headed diplomacy of John McEnroe.

ESPN's coverage: When it comes to tennis, the "worldwide leader" has a curious concept of "world." Airing Lisa Raymond-Venus Williams for the second time at the expense of Lleyton Hewitt-Rafael Nadal -- the most egregious unforced error in a week full of them -- was as insulting as it was short-sighted.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 05:26 PM
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunk18bsb
Grading on a curve
Time to hand out the mid-term grades for the Australian Open
Updated: Monday January 26, 2004 1:04PM


When was the last time we were a week into a Major and the men's draw was less denuded than the women's?

Through three rounds, none of the top four male seeds has been tested. Meanwhile, among Lisa Raymond, Tatiana Golovin, Nathalie Dechy or Patty Schnyder, one is guaranteed of being a semifinalist.

In any case, here are our mid-tournament grades for the 2004 Australian Open. (All marks distributed on the Missouri Tigers basketball curve.)

A
Male seeds: Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andre Agassi and David Nalbandian have thus far waltzed (Matilda-like) through the draw.

Kim Clijsters: Ankle injury? What ankle injury? With the possible exception of Amelie Mauresmo, no female player has looked sharper -- and that includes top-seeded countrywoman Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Lisa Raymond: Sure, tennis' equivalent of ring rust played a role in Venus Williams' exit. But credit Raymond -- as well-liked a player as you'll find -- for her go-broke shotmaking, her dead-on game plan, and mental strength.

B
Comebacks kids: Absent (or it just seemed that way) in 2003, Marat Safin, James Blake, Andrei Pavel, Hicham Arazi and Willie Canas all made the round of 16.

Brad Gilbert: Unless you've been living rural Mongolia, you know about his partnership with Roddick. But Gilbert's first steady work after parting with Agassi was with ... Tatiana Golovin, who reached the round of 16 before falling to Raymond.

Venus Williams: This event prompted more questions about Venus than it answered. But credit Williams the Elder for being exceptionally gracious in defeat. (Now let's hope she keeps her vow to play a full schedule in 2004.)

Italian women: The best of the bunch, Francesca Schiavone, lost early. But both Sylvia Farina-Elia and little-known Mara Santangelo reached the round of 16 -- as many Donnas represented as Russians.

Lindsay Davenport: She hasn't looked particularly sharp and dropped a set to Emilie Loit in the second round. But the 2000 champ is still around -- which is, ultimately, what matters most.

Todd Reid: Aussie prospect was thoroughly outclassed by Federer in the third round. But he's come out gangbusters this year and his boot-and-rally, second-round episode against Sargis Sargsian endeared him to the fans.

C
Daniela Hantuchova: Things are getting ugly for Hantuchova. A legitimate threat to win the tournament a year ago, she now has trouble simply winning matches. Can an active player receive a protected ranking?

Pat Cash: Oh, how I long for the measured, level-headed diplomacy of John McEnroe.

ESPN's coverage: When it comes to tennis, the "worldwide leader" has a curious concept of "world." Airing Lisa Raymond-Venus Williams for the second time at the expense of Lleyton Hewitt-Rafael Nadal -- the most egregious unforced error in a week full of them -- was as insulting as it was short-sighted.
I liked this. Wertheim writes very witty and insightful columns. I did agree with him about ESPN. They sure put a new spin on "worldwide".
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

yea Wertheim, IMO, is one of the better tennis columnists in the US. He's got his favorites and all that but I think he's pretty fair, he gives credit where it's due, and he's not afraid to speak his mind even if it goes against his parent magazine, and that's impressive.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 06:18 PM
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

I agree with the list. I was looking forward to see where he'd put JHH though.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 06:20 PM
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

I like his ESPN comments.

I think he was oversited in leaving out J. Johansson, though.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

Here's more on what he says about ESPN
---------
Right to the questions/rants this week....

Jakob Kans of Ann Arbor, Mich. asks: "Did ESPN get the memo that the Internet was invented years ago and viewers have access to live scoring?"... Tom Pullman of Miami inquires: "How is it that ESPN thinks it's smart to show Andre Agassi beating some qualifier while my live scoring tells me the Taylor Dent/Juan-Ignacio Chela match is at five-all in the fifth set? Ridiculous." ... Esha of Michigan wants to know: "Is there any way we can convince Roger Federer, Marat Safin, Juan Carols Ferrero, Mark Philippoussis, etc., to take up U.S. citizenship? If so, maybe ESPN will then show more matches involving those guys as opposed to the often dull contests that feature Americans." ... Robert Sciranko of Orlando inquires: "Why is it that ESPN and the other television networks have this opinion that we don't want to watch anyone but Americans play?"... Adrian Ewins of Saskatoon writes: "I know it's getting to be an old refrain, but here's more fodder for the 'Why don't the networks get it?' debate. I eagerly tuned in to opening day of Australian Open coverage on ESPN. Judging by the five-minute introductory piece, there are four contenders -- Andy Roddick and Agassi on the men's side and Linsday Davenport and Venus Williams on the women's. And what a coincidence -- they're all Americans!"

...Opines Greg Pietrykiewicz of Edmonton: "Being a first-generation Canadian with an unpronounceable (except in Poland) last name, my pet peeve has always been the mispronunciation of European names. Why can't American announcers learn that 'a' and 'i' have specific pronunciations in 90 percent of the languages in the world? The ESPN2 coverage of the Australian Open makes me want to puke. The host says one thing and the two announcers each say something else. 'Marat Safin' was pronounced five different ways (that I counted) in a half hour of coverage."

After about the 100th correspondence -- no joke -- griping about ESPN's Australian Open coverage, I stopped counting. But without question this was the hot button issue in Mailbagville. I'm in complete agreement with you guys: If you're enough of a tennis fan to tune into matches that often don't begin until midnight ET, it's unlikely you'd want to watch another Agassi/Roddick/Venus mauling at the expense of seeing better matches featuring -- get this -- non-Americans. And airing matches on tape-delay is so '80s. Don't we have the Classic Sports Network for that? One more point: ESPN's commitment to tennis is admirable and appreciated. But it would be nice if the schedulers thought long-term. It sure would be nice if the network devoted some coverage to players who will be on the tour five and 10 years hence, even if their matches don't stack up in the ratings. Think of it as an investment.

Anyway, I encourage you to redirect all that passion to:

ESPN
c/o Tennis Division
ESPN Plaza
Bristol, CT 06010

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 09:28 PM
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

So is ESPN is being bombarded with these "hate" mails after all.

Like father, like son

"For seven and a half years I've worked alongside President Reagan. We've had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We've had some sex...uh...setbacks."
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

Yep, guess so!!!!!!

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 10:58 PM
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Thanks for posting this, bunk.

Quote:
From Mid-term Grades Article
C: ESPN's coverage: When it comes to tennis, the "worldwide leader" has a curious concept of "world." Airing Lisa Raymond-Venus Williams for the second time at the expense of Lleyton Hewitt-Rafael Nadal -- the most egregious unforced error in a week full of them -- was as insulting as it was short-sighted.
*still fuming* and one more...

I thought Jon was pretty generous giving the items listed under "C" a "C" grade.

Did any one notice a difference in last night's coverage? I thought the schedule was for two womens' matches only. If so, it was a smart change to highlight Lisa's one-sided match, show Raymond/Myskina, then give us some Ferrero!!

Last edited by jmp; 01-26-2004 at 11:00 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

Yes.... I think they may be succombing to some of the pressure. This afternoon, they showed all of Hewitt/Federer, then the last set of Flip/Arazi, THEN the end of the Ferrero match AGAIN.... I was very pleased.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2004, 12:16 PM
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Re: Jon Wertheim's AO Mid-term grades

Quote:
Daniela Hantuchova: Things are getting ugly for Hantuchova. A legitimate threat to win the tournament a year ago, she now has trouble simply winning matches. Can an active player receive a protected ranking?
That was funny

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