For those who think ATP has a problem...

09-10-2002, 04:13 AM
If you haven't read this yet, here's from CNNSI Jon Wertheim's column:

What's up with the media criticizing men's tennis? It seems like every day there was a new story bashing the guys. Then I would turn on my television and the men's matches would be great!
—S. Fairchild, Dallas

A number of writers ought to be saying mea culpas and sending their apologies to the ATP Tour about now. The Williams story is an unbelievable modern-day fairy tale that, as far as I'm concerned, still hasn't gotten its due. But let's face it: Ultimately, the men's matches carried the Open. Neither the men's game nor the ATP are immune from faultfinding. The merits of the Champions Race, the debacle that was the ISL deal, the failure of unquestionably talented players like Marat Safin and Roger Federer to step up -- those issues are fair game for criticism.

But it's unfortunate when writers and columnists who are clearly watching the sport for the first time all year swoop into New York for a day and write a lazy piece about how lame the men's game has become. A particularly untenable column that ran in a newspaper of record opined: "Most of the top men on the tour are faceless. Costa, Cañas, Ferrero and Moya sounds like a law firm in Spain, but they are four of the top six money-winners this year. Ever heard of them? Stop fibbing. Unless you watch tennis regularly, and most sports fans do not, you couldn't identify them if they cranked one of their 125-mile-an-hour serves over your head." Huh? The implication that the players are faceless because they have foreign names is offensive. And anyone who thinks Juan Carlos Ferrero or Albert Costa is serving 125 mph is clearly out of his depth talking authoritatively about the sport.

A dead giveaway, incidentally, for one of these hit-and-run jobs is some mention of the length of the points. "The men's game," a fellow scrivener told us last week, "is just serve, ace, serve, ace." Really? Where was he when Andy Roddick finished off Alex Corretja with a 43-stroke match point? When, time and again, men's matches exceeded three hours? When Hewitt, a counterpuncher who doesn't weigh 150 pounds, was becoming No. 1? When, for that matter, Sampras and Agassi ran each other around in a final that went nearly three hours?

09-10-2002, 04:18 AM
Okay, I do think that we here are all diehard tennis fans, which are far more knowledgable than those faceless sports writers and columnist.:)

And I'm a little too excitd seeing this, because that's what we've been talking here for the past few days. :)

Chloe le Bopper
09-10-2002, 04:38 AM
I noticed this as well, I'm glad someone pointed it out :)

Of course there are two sides, and I expect someone will provide us with a rebuttle ;)

But for once he hit *some* things right on the head.

Tennis Fool
09-10-2002, 04:50 AM
the failure of unquestionably talented players like Marat Safin and Roger Federer to step up -- those issues are fair game for criticism.

Hmmm. Things I've been saying all along...

Weirthem also said this yesterday:

I think in general, it would have been nice in a different way had Andy Roddick been in the final. But to sort of send these guys off, in the oldest U.S. Open final, for them to show they can still hang in their 30s, they've been playing each other for 20 years -- it's not just two veterans. This was really special. At the same time, had the final been Roddick-Hewitt, I'm not sure we would have complained.

He was surprised (as we were all) that Pete resurged. Notice how he says its a great "send-off" for Pete, and how he mentions Roddick twice!

I guess what I'm saying, Vera, is that I agree with Weirthem about particular problems with the New Ballz...

09-10-2002, 04:50 AM
Ya, it didn't really answer all doubts ppl have. But with all those threads here seemingly bashing ATP and the New Ball, I thought it's worth a try. And I've posted so many comments in different thread saying why it's important to promote NEW BALL even if they are still just up-and-coming and not there yet, Or that tennis is still very excited, with those high quality rally. And the best part of all, I totally agree when he said "The implication that the players are faceless because they have foreign names is offensive". Damn right. And it's surprising how often that these ppl can't get the foreign players' name right.

Chloe le Bopper
09-10-2002, 04:53 AM
It is appalling how often they get names wrong :(

I couldn't beleive it at Roland Garros when two new players - Albert Corretja and Alex Costa hit the scene :rolleyes:

09-10-2002, 04:56 AM
Ya, it pissed me right off in Cincy when JC got into the semi and the article they posted on ATP called him Ferriera. :o Until some fan wrote in to ask them to change it.

Ada Monroe
09-10-2002, 05:00 AM
I agree with Tennis Fool, the problems are not the usual whinings, but what is taking so long for the next generation to arrive.

09-10-2002, 05:03 AM
BTW, TF, I posted this not to shut you up. Just thought it's an interesting article. Besides, you agreed with Jon for particular points that you like. I agree with him the big picture, that"Ultimately, the men's matches carried the Open" despite all those criticisms which may or may not have merit.

Tennis Fool
09-10-2002, 05:15 AM

Jon is saying the men's matches were better, more thrilling, AND also that New Ballz have been disappointment.

I saw only part of one thrilling match, Hewitt-Blake. (It was only getting good when I had to leave the house. I put on my VCR but it messed up! I came back to realize Blake had taken a set. I was really, really upset).

Though I hear those early round matches were thrilling, who lost? Marat, Federer, Guga, Haas.

I saw those supposed "thrilling" semi-finals, and I have to say I didn't think they were thrilling at all. In fact, very disappointing. Especially, Hewitt, who I didn't think served great and looked very flat.

09-10-2002, 06:00 AM
Jon said Safin and Roger, not necessarily the whole New Ballz group.

Safin lost to Guga after winning the previous match in 4.5 hours. He looked a little fatigue. Guga and Haas were recovering from injury and suffering injury respectively. And Roger, no idea why he lost these days.

I'm sure you will accuse me of giving them excuses. And I'm just sorry that these tennis players are not supermen, as much as I wish they are.

I saw Hewitt's match, he seems a bit out of sort. But I saw that he still played some remarkable defensive tennis, may not be pretty but it's surely effective.

Well, I think we can't agree on this issue because I'm just too positive. Preferring to give these players benefit of a doubt by not judging them based on one tournament. And you are so negative about men's tennis that you just refuse to see there's any good in it.

Tennis Fool
09-10-2002, 06:06 AM

If I'm negative it's because I'm a dishearted fan. If I didn't care anything about the sport, I wouldn't waste my time here.

But, just my beliefs.

Tennis Fool
09-10-2002, 06:07 AM
But, thanks for trying to sway me to the light. Thanks for the Wertheim post.:)

09-10-2002, 06:15 AM
Any time!:)

09-10-2002, 06:59 AM
I don't know if this helps the discussion or not. Frankly I don't know what to make of it.

Time for a new rivalry

Sampras and Agassi have dominated the men's game

By Dan Warren
BBC Sport Online

Pete Sampras' triumph over Andre Agassi in the US Open has forced the record book writers, once again, to rewrite their tomes.

Yet, while the American's 14th Grand Slam title is the highlight of a glorious Indian Summer to his career, the golden era of Sampras and Agassi is coming to an end.

Sampras: Victory was "best ever"
These two great rivals have dominated the men's game during the past decade, but who among the next generation will be filling their shoes?

Head to head:
Sampras v Agassi
Sampras 20
Agassi 14


Career titles:
Sampras 64
Agassi 53


Grand Slam wins:
Sampras 14
Agassi 7


Prize money:
Sampras $43m
Agassi $25m
Lleyton Hewitt, who became the youngest-ever world number one towards the end of 2001, is widely tipped as the next player to dominate the men's game.

Just 21, the Australian has already won 16 titles and his Wimbledon triumph in June was his second Grand Slam win.

He has been labelled by Sampras as "the future of tennis", although his game bears more resemblance to Agassi's.

Not a huge server, his unerring - and unnerving - accuracy saw him sweep aside allcomers at Wimbledon, dropping just two sets along the way.

It would seem the only person who can prevent Hewitt enjoying a lengthy spell at the top is himself - despite his passion on court, his love of the sport remains curiously lukewarm.

He has admitted he would sometimes rather be playing Aussie rules football than tennis.

Who will challenge Lleyton Hewitt in the future?

He needs a true rival to force him to improve - in the same way as John McEnroe needed Bjorn Borg to reach his best.

Russia's Marat Safin seems the most natural opponent.

His big-serving, powerful game contrasts with Hewitt's in a similar way to how Sampras' differed from Agassi.

In head-to-head encounters, both players have three wins, yet Safin is notoriously inconsistent, seemingly plagued by even more inner demons than the Australian.

Still, aged just 22, time is very much on the Russian's side - not a luxury which Britain's Tim Henman enjoys.

Henman, 28, has consistently failed to beat the very best in the sport.

Players' ages upon winning their last Grand Slam
Bjorn Borg - 25
John McEnroe - 25
Stefan Edberg - 26
Boris Becker - 28
Andre Agassi - 30
Jimmy Connors - 31
Pete Sampras - 31
He has only beaten Pete Sampras once in their seven meetings, at the ATP Masters Series event in Cincinnati.

And it is cruel for Henman that as Sampras' powers began to fade, in came Hewitt - who has a 100% record against the Briton in their six meetings.

Perhaps a bigger threat to Hewitt's dominance comes from the clay court specialists.

Gustavo Kuerten is moving towards fitness after a lengthy lay-off and will be always be a threat on clay.

Hewitt has, however, beaten Kuerten in their one and only meeting on the surface - although the Australian has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

Albert Costa, this year's French Open champion, is another clay-courter who could trouble the Aussie.

But Costa is now 27, and Kuerten approaching 26 - so neither are likely to be able to sustain their challenge at the top for the next decade.

Maybe the new breed of American stars, Andy Roddick and James Blake, will prove the biggest rivals to Hewitt in years to come.

Both are young and have plenty of promise, although neither has quite managed to impact on the world stage as of yet.

Pistol Pete v A-Rod
Indeed, the way in which the old master Sampras knocked over young pretender Roddick in straight sets in the US Open suggests the upstarts might still have to play second fiddle for a while yet.

09-10-2002, 08:43 AM
Thanks for the article Vera. I'm not a big fan of Wertheim's but he made some exellent points that I wholeheartedly agree with.

As for Warren's article... LMAO!

I have several problems with it but just the most glaring ones:

ALBERT COSTA?!? :eek: :eek: :eek: A threat to Hewitt? He talks about him not being able to sustain his challenge at the top for the next decade... when was Costa ever a pretender for the top 5 places, even for a day?

Why did Henman's name even appear in this article? Because it's a BBC article? I have a feeling it was just to mock him, because we all know his dismal record against Hewitt. He could never enter a debate about Hewitt's possible rivals except in a disparaging way. Nasty.

And last, but not least, the last paragraph. Why is EVERYONE so quick to draw conclusions from only ONE tournament. This is becoming ever so annoying. How are the young players playing second fiddle to Sampras. I haven't seen his name in the top 10 all year. There has been only one player who dominated the rankings this year, and he is 21. To suggest that he is playing second fiddle to the old guns in hilarious.

One match and the whole world turns upside down. :rolleyes:

09-10-2002, 05:24 PM
Mentioning Henman in this article is just bad taste. It's probably the biggest English sports journalists nightmare when Henman retires.

And this, whoever wrote this, seems to me that he can only see beyond English Channel and the farthest he sees is Paris where French Open held. Therefore, he only knows those French Champ (probably just read it on another newspaper). Couldn't even see far enough to remember Moya's also French Champ and he consistently beat Hewitt in the past 9 months.

Another example of those columnists writing a senseless article about tennis when they don't have a clue about the game. Everyone wants to say something when the biggest sports event in America (which happens to be tennis) is held. That's what's wrong with ATP if they can help it.

Tennis Fool
09-10-2002, 09:50 PM

Thanks for the article. I agree we need rivals 100%.

09-11-2002, 01:56 AM
Here's more.

09-11-2002, 01:57 AM

US Open

Slam-hungry Hewitt fears for life after the American dream final

Eleanor Preston at Flushing Meadows
Monday September 9, 2002
The Guardian

As American tennis gloried in the last hurrahs of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, the current world No1 Lleyton Hewitt painted a far darker picture at the weekend of the sport's future in the United States and worldwide.
"I love to see those two in the final, I think everyone [does] and it's great for men's tennis but sooner or later when they do retire there is a downside," said Hewitt. "People are going to want to go on seeing Sampras-Agassi finals and they are not going to be there in five, ten years' time."

At 21, Hewitt is a decade younger than either of America's veteran campaigners and knows that he currently has no genuine rival, and isn't likely to have one any time soon.

Instead of the roster of bankable stars which the women's game can boast, men's tennis is populated by journeymen and anonymous South Americans such as the Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian.

"It would be nice to have a rivalry going like Agassi and Sampras have had for so many years, but who knows?" said Hewitt. "I've only reached two grand slam finals and I've got to keep trying to give myself as good a chance of getting to the final - and then maybe I'll have Andy Roddick, Roger Federer or Marat Safin up the other end most times, who knows?"

Of the three potential rivals Hewitt mentioned, only Safin has won a grand slam title (at the US Open in 2000 when, ironically, he beat Sampras) and neither Roddick nor Federer has got past the quarter-finals of a slam. None of the three has shown anything like Hewitt's consistency or the mental fortitude needed to challenge him.

Instead Hewitt must content himself with the Nalbandians of this world while the fans and the TV network executives switch off in their droves. The reality of the current state of men's tennis is that Sampras's appearance in a major final is almost more surprising than Nalbandian's. The Argentinian was seeded one place higher than Sampras here in the US Open and, unlike Sampras, he has won a title this year.

One look down the roster of men's finalists in this year's previous slam finals says it all. The Australian Open was won by the 26-year-old Swede Thomas Johansson, who beat Safin in the final; then Albert Costa and Juan Carlos Ferrero contested a stultifying all-Spanish French Open final.

Boris Becker, who was part of the same golden era as Agassi and Sampras, thinks that Hewitt's potential rivals are being waylaid by playing relatively minor events on the relentless ATP Tour.

"There's a reason why Andre and Pete gear up for the slams," Becker said. "Those are what matters. It's not good enough to be No4 in the world, you have to win grand slams.

"Sometimes the priorities of these guys are not with the slams, they want to play every week and make their money, but at the end of the day you are judged by how many grand slam finals you reach, not by how many lower tournaments you won. The priority has shifted and it's wrong."

Roddick's loss to Sampras last Thursday was a case in point. The 20-year-old has been heralded as the future of American tennis and by winning four titles he has done enough in the routine ATP Tour events to justify some of the hype, but he has reached only one Masters Series final and has faltered on the big stage.

In the quarter-finals here, playing a night match in the 23,000-seater Arthur Ashe stadium against his boyhood idol Sampras, Roddick did a passable impression of a rabbit in the headlights. For all the American-led praise of Sampras's play, the 31-year-old will know deep down that he faced meagre opposition.

Hewitt should soon get used to that feeling, for once the old stagers have taken their last curtain calls and left tennis for good, the Australian may find himself cast as the reluctant star of a one-man show.

Tennis Fool
09-11-2002, 02:27 AM
Originally posted by luvbadboys
In the quarter-finals here, Roddick did a passable impression of a rabbit in the headlights.