Wednesday, February 01, 2006

US Davis Cup Team Announced...and Martina Hingis


Davis Cup on TV
Oh happy, happy, joy, joy! Just when I thought we'd be out of luck watching Davis Cup on ESPN (who are no longer broadcasting the matches), OLN (Outside Life Network) steps in to take over tennis duties.

OLN will broadcast the singles and doubles matches on Saturday, Feb. 11 starting at 4:00pm EST and on Sunday, Feb. 12 starting at 2:00pm EST. Click here for their schedule.

SAP Open on TV too
Another cable channel I have and never realized it (amazing how many channels there are that I never watch or knew I had. LOL) is FSN NY, of which they will be broadcasting the SAP Open on Feb. 18 and 19. Click here for the US TV schedule and click here for the international TV schedule.

Hark! A Rumor That's Actually Worse than Roddickpova!


Someone posted this on a tennis board but when I tried to search for the actual article on Tennis Life magazine's website, I came up empty. Take it at it's entertainment value only:

From (allegedly) Tennis Life magazine:
Now that she has got the day job sorted for the forseeable future, Martina HIngis is working on her hobbies-and that means boys. In her pomp, La Hingis was seen on the arm of many a young hopeful chap but, alas, every player she dated was never heard of again.

From the up-and-comers such as Ivo Heuberger and Julian Alonso to the established champions like Magnus Norman (who was pushing for the World No. 1 ranking in the summer of 2000 as he followed Hingis around like a puppy), Hingis has had her wicked way with them and left them on the scrap heap. Anyone heard of Messrs Heuberger, Alonso or Norman of late? No, thought not.

Now the Swiss Miss has her eyes on Andy Roddick. The two were spotted gazing longingly, if secretively, at each other during Elton John's Smash Hits Aids fundraiser in Hershey, Pennsylvania, back in November. The gig raised $850,000 for the cause, even if Hingis could not get a win on the board, She was beaten by Samantha Stosur.

Still, Roddick's newfound love interest could explain his current lack of form. And if he doesn't get anywehere with Hingis, he could always ask her friend out for a date. Hingis teamed up with her old sparring partner, Anna Kournikova, for the doubles, only to lose to Stosur and Lisa Raymond.


TRUE LOVE AT LAST. Look into his eyes, Martina! You cannot deny your love for the A-Rod. The only thing that's separating you two from consummating your secret love affair are the two middle-age gay people standing between you!

OK, when you're done giggling over the image of Martina and Andy looking lovey-dovey at each other, hop over to Ace Tennis magazine's site and go vote for Andy (and Martina if you'd like) for Ace's new 2006 Hot List.

No room at the Davis Cup table for Ginepri


Davis Cup is just around the corner (February 10–12). Yay!

Patrick McEnroe announced his choices for the Davis Cup team for when we face Romania in the first round and has decided to go with James Blake over Robby Ginepri for the much-coveted No. 2 singles spot after Andy Roddick.

The news couldn't have come at a worse time for Robby, who was still smarting from a second round loss at the Australian Open, and who desperately wants to play for his country for Davis Cup.

"It was a tough decision," said U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe on Tuesday on a conference call, officially announcing the team.

"Basically, the fact that James went 7-1 or 7-2, because he won the first event in Sydney, lost in Adelaide, but he had some solid wins. Robby, I quite honestly thought was going to play a lot better down there. That didn't happen. But those guys are very close. We may need all of them at some point in the year."

Holding back tears and trying to figure out the slump that cost him a spot on the U.S. Davis Cup team, Robby Ginepri didn't mince words about his upset loss at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Tuesday night.

"It's pretty devastating," said Ginepri, head bowed, hat hiding his face as he was barely able to keep his composure. "It was a bad way to go out in Australia and then this, it doesn't seem like much, but I've been in putting in a lot of work."

UNDER WRAPS. Robby Ginepri is bumped from the Davis Cup team.

He is also upset at being overlooked for the U.S. Davis Cup team to play Romania next week in California.

Ginepri said he believed that as the third-highest ranked American player, he deserved the backup spot to Andy Roddick, but Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe selected James Blake to replace Andre Agassi on the team.

"I was (upset) I didn't get chosen," said Ginepri, who went 2-0 in his only Davis Cup appearance against Austria in 2004. "They should give me a chance to play."

Patrick McEnroe had announced James Blake to the No. 2 position on the Davis Cup team right before Ginepri's match was scheduled to play and that factored in to Robby's premature loss.

Lee, 30, who has one ATP title (Sydney, 2003) in a nondescript 11-year career, said he sensed that Ginepri was not focused after his Davis Cup snub.

"I had a preconceived notion that he wasn't happy about Davis Cup,'' said Lee, now 2-2 against Ginepri. "I felt on the other side [of the net] that he wasn't confident. ... I tried to be aggressive on his second serve and put pressure on Robby.''

"Yeah, I'm pretty pissed I didn't get chosen for Davis Cup, but as long as we get the [victory] and move on. I just want a chance to play,'' said Ginepri, who is 2-0 in Davis Cup, last playing in a first-round sweep over Austria in 2004. "I've got to get my game in shape.''

Wishing James, Bob and Mike, and Andy
good luck at Davis Cup this year!



***
Happy Chinese New Year!

January 29 kicked off the Year of the Dog. It is worth noting that Roddick was born under this sign (1982) as are Ginepri (1982) and Andre Agassi (1970). Perhaps this is a sign of good fortune for our Davis Cup team this year!

***
AndyRoddick.com Update

Some of the AndyRoddick.com forums are finally back up and running. AR.com claims they had a "security problem" and had to shut it down for a week while they sorted it out.

I'll bet the site went down because Andy had opened that Anna Kournikova e-mail virus.


Australian Open Ratings Are In


The ratings came in for the Oz Open on ESPN2 and there's some good news to go with a bit of bad. The good news is that they didn't lose any viewers this year and their live coverage of matches was very successful; the bad is that the average non-tennis sports fan in the US is still not watching tennis unless an American named Roddick, Agassi, or Williams is in the final:
Oz Open Numbers Remain Even For ESPN2

The chanting, cheering Cypriot fans who turned out in full force for Marcos Baghdatis during the Australian Open weren't the only popular presence during the Melbourne major. ESPN2 reports its Australian Open 3:30 a.m. telecasts nearly doubled its audience for that time period, though overall the network's Australian Open numbers remained stagnant when compared to last year.

Comparing its 2006 telecasts to the equivalent telecasts from 2005 (excluding the new overnight windows that were added in abundance for this year's tournament after selective use last year), ESPN2 reached approximately 460,000 homes on average during the Melbourne major, which produced the same 0.5 rating as the network's 2005 tournament telecast.

One reason for the lack of ratings rise was the fact that Andy Roddick was the only American man to reach the fourth round this year, whereas four-time champion Andre Agassi was a quarterfinalist and Roddick reached the final four a year ago. [. . .]

Amelie Mauresmo's victory over Justine Henin-Hardenne in Friday night's women's final did a 0.9 rating compared to a 1.5 rating for the 2005 Williams-Davenport final, which reached 1.35 million homes. Mauresmo's abbreviated 6-1, 2-0 triumph over Henin-Hardenne, who retired with an upset stomach, was viewed in only 839,000 homes (that total is for the women's final alone — it does not include the awards ceremony or the doubles final featuring the Bryan brothers), a dramatic drop of 61 percent, further supporting ESPN2's assertion that American viewers will tune into tennis in great numbers when American players, particularly the Williams sisters, Agassi and Roddick, are playing.

On the plus side, ESPN2's 3:30 a.m. telecasts nearly doubled the network's audience for that time period, reaching 182,000 homes compared to the 96,000 homes it typically reaches. Roger Federer's four-set triumph over Baghdatis in the men's final generated a 0.4 rating, up from 0.3 for the Marat Safin-Lleyton Hewitt 2005 final with the total number of households tuning in up 20 percent to 319,000 from 265,000 for the 2005 final. The re-air of the Federer-Baghdatis final at noon Eastern on Sunday earned the same rating as the 2005 men's final re-air (0.9) with about 830,000 households tuning in to both matches.

Tennis-X Guzzles the Haterade (a.k.a. Delray Beach Postscript)


I've been disappointed by the Australian Open finals (on both the men's and women's sides, but especially the women's) and suffering from slam-withdrawal syndrome, plus with the weird Delray Beach is-he-or-isn't-he-playing? fiasco, and then that somber-looking photo of Andy attending a basketball game showing up, well, I've been in a rather cranky mood lately.

So to cheer myself up, I decided to head over to tennis-x.com and promptly rip them a new one.

Tennis-X has been having a field day with the Delray Beach story, "reporting" on it three days in a row now (not really reporting, but just regurgitating crap that had already been proven false) and trying to squeeze as much juice out of it as possible, even going so far as to claim that Roddick has "lost international respect" because of this little hometown non-story. Wow! And why does tennis-x say such things? Well, I'm not sure but I'd guess it's because they get more hits and posts to their site whenever they mention Roddick. What can I say? People are obsessed with talking about him.

So I peed on their party by posting a few facts about the Delray Beach story that I'd managed to dig up on my own. Predictably enough, there has been no response from tennis-x and the haterparty was shut down near immediately. Damn, I'm such a wet blanket.

It was all just a little too easy. Like taking candy from a baby. I mean, where's the challenge in that? Now I need to find a new target to sharpen my claws on. Meow.

As an addendum to all of this, Deb over at MTF posted part of Patrick McEnroe's Davis Cup press conference that discussed the Delray Beach incident. Further proof that the Sun-Sentinel was way off-mark with what what had previously been reported by them.

The Sun-Sentinel has already printed a tail-between-the-legs mea culpa after the truth came out. It'll be interesting to see if tennis-x does the same.
Q. Maybe you could respond to what I would classify as a Super Bowl rumor. This story deals with tennis. The story is that after his defeat in Melbourne, Andy was anxious to get in another tournament, and he contacted the directors of the event in Delray Beach, asked them if they might have a wildcard. They didn't, at which point he volunteered to play in the qualifying with a proviso that he wouldn't show up unless they did not seek advance publicity. They sought the advance publicity and he didn't show up. Is that story accurate?

PATRICK McENROE: As far as I know, and I did speak to Andy when he was getting ready to go to Delray Beach, and his attitude at that point was, "I'm going to go and play the qualifying." I spoke to him probably two days before he was getting ready to go. I haven't spoken to him since. But based on what I read and heard, I don't think Andy was particularly pleased that it came out in advance. I also think his understanding initially was that he was going to have to play just one match per day, meaning two matches total. I guess because so many players -- they don't know how many players are going to show up for qualifying until the day before, and I guess it turned out that enough players were showing up that he would have to play two matches in one day. Andy Roddick is one of the fittest players in tennis, but I don't think he wanted to put himself through playing two matches in one day. Maybe not the smartest thing for him to do in the long run. So I think when he heard that, combined with the fact that they released this information maybe a little earlier than he had hoped, I think that was a determining factor.

Q. The fact he was willing to go to Florida and do that, do you think that speaks well for his eagerness to play?

PATRICK McENROE: Oh, definitely. He takes Davis Cup very seriously, thankfully for all of us Davis Cup tennis fans. There's one of our top guys who is always committed and always played. I think sometimes people take that for granted. I know I don't. I think it was a good sign. Look, he didn't play that much in the end of last year. He had the injury to his back. He trained his butt off. He went to Australia, played in the warm-up event, which is a couple of practice matches, then played the Australian Open and lost earlier than expected. He got home. He was home a full week before he expected to be. He thought, "Well, I might go, and I'm ready to play. I've done all my training, I've done the off-court work, now I need to play." I think that's why he wanted to do it. I think Davis Cup is part of that to get himself ready. It's too bad it didn't happen. At the same time it's certainly not the end of the world
...............

Q. About the rule why Andy couldn't play in Delray, that you had to either get one of threes wildcards or apply six weeks in advance, should there be some sort of exemption for top 10 players? It seems like it would have been a win-win for Andy and for the tournament if he had played here.

PATRICK McENROE: You know, I have trouble saying that. Maybe there's some way to do that if I guess a couple people pulled out, right, at the last minute?

Q. James Blake pulled out, for one.

PATRICK McENROE: It's sort of tricky because it does hurt the guys that are waiting to get in. That sort of goes against what the ATP has been about for many years. I'm a little torn by that. At the same time I would have loved to have seen Andy been able to play. It seems like something could have been worked out. The tournament director has the prerogative and has the wildcards at his disposal. It was a tough situation. I mean, I think it's worth looking into. I'm not going to go out and say I think they should change it because, quite honestly, I haven't given it that much thought.

Q. Not that common of a situation.

PATRICK McENROE: It doesn't happen that often, so I hadn't really thought about it. I guess if there's a situation where a couple of players pull out, maybe that's not a bad idea to think about. But I'm not going to go out there and say it's a huge problem. It just doesn't happen that much.


Also from the Sun-Sentinel:
Sargis Sargsian inadvertently found himself in the middle of a pre-tournament controversy as hometown star and No. 3-ranked Andy Roddick was unable to receive last-minute entry into the tournament because there were no more wild cards to be had.

Some thought, including wild card Mardy Fish and USTA coach Ricardo Acuna, that the 392nd-ranked Sargsian, who had retired after the U.S. Open and was basically along for the ride with Agassi, his close friend, should've surrendered his wild card.

"It's one of the craziest things around the tour,'' Sargsian said. "[Roddick's] so good for tennis and he lives around here, so I kind of felt bad having it.

"I found out about it Friday, and then I thought he was going to play [qualifiers]. I think if somebody would approach me to give it up I would have sure considered it. At the same time, I've been working so hard.''

I know exactly what some of you are thinking: who the hell is Sargis Sargsian? Well, he's a formerly retired tennis player and Andre Agassi's best friend, which is why he got a wild card in the first place. I wonder if Delray Beach tournament director, Mark Baron, can give us a breakdown as to the number of tickets sold based on Sarge's fame alone?


Kudos to tennisreporters.net who actually reported on the facts of the story instead of making up falsehoods about Roddick (like the rumor about Andy demanding that someone hand over their wildcard to him) a la the National Enquirer of tennis news, tennis-x:
Roddick unqualifies after media exposure

When it comes to controversy, the big story in Delray Beach surrounded Andy Roddick playing qualifying. Yes, Roddick was actually contemplating taking his game down to the qualifying level to earn a spot in this tournament's draw.

When Roddick lost early in Australia, he called ITC Tournament Director Mark Baron for a wildcard. Baron told Roddick that unfortunately he couldn't help out since he'd already awarded his wildcards to Agassi, Sargis Sargsian and Mardy Fish.

Roddick then indicated he might show up to play the qualifying. When Baron saw that Roddick had flown in from Austin, Tex, on Friday, he wrongly "assumed" that Roddick was going to play the qualifying and released the information to the media. Following a practice session at the Delray Beach Tennis Center on Friday afternoon, Roddick told Baron he decided not to try to qualify for the tournament.

Baron said there were no hard feelings and he understood Roddick's decision. He also said that he felt it would be wrong to approach either Fish, who he checked in with to make sure he was healthy, or Sargsian, who was awarded the wildcard on his good friend Agassi's coattails, to give back the wildcard invitation he already extended.

Roddick was mum but Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel spoke with Roddick's coach, Dean Goldfine, who offered this explanation as to why he decided to skip the qualifying. "The only issue of contention that Goldfine would specifically address had to do with Roddick's agreement with the tournament not to publicize his participation in qualifying until he actually was playing."

And the direct quote from Goldfine in the Sun-Sentinel read - "Why would Andy fly in from Texas at his own expense to play? Sure, it would've been easier to get a wildcard, but it didn't have anything to do about playing qualifiers. Andy couldn't justify being out there playing their tournament when he felt deceived by [tournament director] Mark Baron."

News Item:
• Blake Joins Roddick, Bryan Brothers On U.S. Davis Cup Team [Tennis Week]

4 comments:

ellen said...

tangy, your post on tennis-x was fabulous...

Anonymous said...

Excellent at your request I actually emailed the said journalist and got a "testy" reply honestly old news now! By the way check out tennis-x on more Andy/Maria rumours!

Noelle De Guzman said...

I'll bet the site went down because Andy had opened that Anna Kournikova e-mail virus.

Genius!

By the way, tennis-x forumers are creeped out that you took the time to make two phone calls to try to confirm the story is true. Gee, it's creepy when someone actually takes the time to find out the truth rather than simply accepting regurgitated crap. 8)

Anonymous said...

That Martina/Andy thing was definitely written before the Aussie Open though, in which, you know, the Maria/Andy rumours just flew...

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