Look, I admit that for the most part, I find the men’s game more satisfying to watch nowadays than the women’s. Before the Roger era, when Lleyton Hewitt and the like were ruling the ATP roost, the WTA, with its Williamses, Capriatis, Seleses, etc. was more interesting. So what? It’s cyclical, and if you keep watching during the awkward stages, you get to appreciate the golden years that much more.
Right now the women’s year-end championships in Madrid are being broadcast on the OLN/Versus network. What? This is insulting! I have upgraded cable with Tennis Channel and I still can’t watch one of the WTA’s premier events (it is a major event, right?). The only part of the tournament that’s on Tennis Channel is the doubles – sure, I like doubles, but it’s not the main event.
I don’t understand – why are the dedicated tennis fans constantly being screwed over? I realize that Tennis Channel is not available everywhere (and it definitely isn’t free!) but who on earth is actually tuning into tennis on OLN/VS. on purpose? How can Tennis Channel be a viable subscription network if the WTA year end championships are broadcast on a different specialty cable channel that I’m assuming is equally difficult/expensive to obtain?
To add insult to injury, the people at tennis.com seem to be in the same boat as the fans, judging from their crap coverage of the event in general. As of this posting, the only recent women’s tennis related photos on the site’s “Photo Wire” are from Martina Hingis’s press conference. I guess that’s the big news in the women’s game right now, according to the sport’s most popular English-language website. LAME!
I support equal pay at slams, I appreciate that the WTA players get male ball models in Madrid (although I’d really appreciate being able to look at them!), and I am thrilled that the WTA is partnering with UNESCO to promote women’s equality around the world. But all of this hype and all of these well-meaning initiatives make the shoddy treatment of the WTA’s premier event (and I assume the WTA itself has a hand in how this event is marketed) even more frustrating to the fans and embarrassing to the sport’s image.
In case anyone’s interested, Sharapova and Ivanovic came out on top in the Red Group and it’s
Chakvetadze and Henin in the Yellow. Sharapova and Ivanovic will play on Friday to determine who has to face Henin in the semis. I’m tempted to write the loser of this match off as “dead girl playing,” but I think either of them could test the uber-talented Belgian. Sharapova, who’s supposedly back in form this week, may have the best chance against her. Maria has a canny way of coming back from nowhere, and she has last year’s US Open victory over Justine to motivate her. And if she beats Henin, there’s no way she’s losing to Chaky or Ana in the finals. On the other hand, if Ivanovic meets Henin, she’s young enough and good enough to use the beatdown she suffered in the French Open final as fuel for revenge. I like the Serb and would love to see her beautiful forehand match up well against the Belgian’s. Of course “would” is the best I can do this weekend.