Saturday night’s women’s final will forever be remembered in the history of the US Open, but for all the wrong reasons.
A dramatic argument between Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos resulted in the former world No.1 ending up with a game penalty. Williams was warned three times for coaching, smashing her racket and verbal abuse towards the official. The fallout from that match was just as dramatic. Ramos has been accused of sexism in what was arguably the most difficult moment of his entire career. Both the WTA and USTA backed Williams before the ITF finally stood up for Ramos. Arguing that he just followed the rules.
In the aftermath of the match is an entire debate about the treatment of women in the sport. Although many don’t believe sexism was a factor in that match. Ramos has a history of being strict with both male and female players. Upon reflection many, including myself, don’t think Ramos made his decision based on gender.
What seems to be extraordinary is the lack of reaction to the conclusion of the women’s doubles final on Sunday. Ashleigh Barty and Coco Vandeweghe battled to an epic 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) win over second seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Earning their first grand slam title as a pair. It was a magical moment for Barty and Vandeweghe, but neither got the award ceremony that dreamt of.
“I’m just bummed we didn’t have any sort of award ceremony,” Vandeweghe told reporters.
“We couldn’t thank anyone. I think that was poor form.
“Maybe we’ll get another moment sometime, we’ll have another Grand Slam at Australia. Maybe they’ll do us right in Australia since the U.S. couldn’t do me right.”
Barty’s and Vandeweghe’s match took place before the men’s final. Lasting more than two-and-a-half hours, there was a chance that it could result in the delay of Novak Djokovic’s clash with Juan Martin del Potro. Officials feared this happening and instead opted to conduct a brief trophy ceremony. Taking away from the two winners the opportunity to speak to the crowd.
“To be honest, I don’t think they would have worried if they were 10 or 15 minutes delayed,” Barty said.
“I think it would have been nice for us to be able to thank our teams and all the people that make it a possibility, and to thank the crowd as well.
“They were a little bit confused as to why we weren’t given the opportunity.”
In fact Barty was told that the pair needed to leave the court soon because ‘the men needed to start.’ One would question it the same would happen if it was the Bryan brothers or a high-profile male doubles final taking place instead.
So why was there no uproar? Williams claimed that she was being penalised by the umpire for being a woman and a massive debate has taken over tennis. Meanwhile the two women’s doubles champions were literally told that they needed to cut short their celebrations to accommodate the men’s final.
I would have to question the double standards of the USTA, who runs the US Open. Their chairman, Katrina Adams, told ESPN ‘there’s no equality. I think there has to be some consistency across the board. These are conversations that will be imposed in the next weeks.” Adams’ calls for consistency is welcome, but a bit hypocritical. How can the USTA urge equality when the women’s doubles champions are being told to leave the court because the men want to start?
In reality action only gets taken on these subjects depending on the calibre of the player involved. Williams is one of the most successful female tennis players in the history of the sport. Meanwhile, Barty and Vandeweghe are nowhere near as on the same level. Not to say that either of them are bad players.
Double standards in the world of tennis is evident. Not just in relation to sexism, but in relation to how players are treated. Williams was a questionable victim of sexism, but two of her fellow players were. Yet there is no debate.
This is the real problem in tennis. Not how Ramos conducted himself in accordance to the rule book.
Shock French Open Date Change Triggers Player Backlash
The change to the grand slam calendar hasn’t gone down too well.
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has come under fire for a lack of communication after making an unexpected announcement regarding the next grand slam tournament.
On Tuesday a statement was released confirming that the French Open has been delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Which has brought the entire tennis season to a halt. Astonishingly they now intend to hold the tournament between September 20 – October 4, which is just seven days after the conclusion of the US Open. The announcement has caught many off guard with neither the ATP, WTA or ITF yet to publish an official response.
“In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organising the tournament, the French Tennis Federation has made the decision to hold the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros from 20th September to 4th October 2020.” The FFT said in a statement.
“Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on 18th May, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned.”
Whilst it was always highly likely that the date for Roland Garros would be changed due to the ongoing crisis, the way in how it was done has once again highlighted serious communication issues in the sports. Many players have taken to social media to express their frustration that they were not consulted about the decision until it was made public.
“Strong Move by French Open/FFT to move to end of Sept. I thought the powers that be in tennis were supposed to be all about working together these days?” Former world No.1 doubles player Jamie Murray wrote on Twitter.
Jonny O’Mara, who is a top 60 doubles player, also took a swipe at the situation on social media by saying ‘Glad I’m on twitter to see tournament schedules and updates. Been searching my junk mail for days.’ Diego Schwartzman wrote ‘once again we found out on Twitter.’
One of the strongest critics is Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, who is a member of the ATP Player Council. In a post that has since been deleted, Pospisil described the move as ‘madness’ before seemingly calling for a union to be formed. A highly debated topic in recent time among players and those governing them.
“This is madness. Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the US Open. No communication with the players or the ATP.. we have ZERO say in this sport. It’s time. #UniteThePlayers.” He wrote.
In another tweet, the 29-year-old stressed that his criticism only related to the communication provided by the FFT and there was no other motive.
This is such a difficult time. Everyone is being impacted by this catastrophe. Enhancing communication & working together to find solutions should be the priority. Not going Rogue & making selfish/arrogant decisions to further impact the tour in a negative way. #RolandGarros
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 17, 2020
On the women’s tour, there has also been a reaction from top players. Although instead of words, they have chosen to communicate their opinions via memes.
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) March 17, 2020
— Belinda Bencic (@BelindaBencic) March 17, 2020
Everything is fine. pic.twitter.com/VenGwYSqLw
— Madison Keys (@Madison_Keys) March 17, 2020
It is understood that at least one player had been contacted about the announcement before it was made official. Journalist Eric Salliot has reported that French Open tournament director Guy Forget spoke with Rafael Nadal. Nadal, who is the reigning US and French Open champion, is yet to comment in public.
« Réaction de surprise de la part de l’ATP. Il fallait prendre cette décision au nom de l’intérêt supérieur du tournoi. On ne pouvait pas balayer la saison de terre battue. Ce sera l’été indien. Guy Forget a appelé @RafaelNadal » Signé @bgiudicelli_pr #RolandGarros
— Eric Salliot (@ericsalliot) March 17, 2020
It is understood that the ATP and WTA will likely release a statement tomorrow. Meanwhile, on the same day The All England Tennis Club has confirmed that they are hoping to hold Wimbledon on the set dates (29th June-12th July). Meaning there will possibly be three grand slams on three different surfaces within three months. A situation that may trigger a revolt from players in the coming weeks.
Why Rafael Nadal Doesn’t Want Novak Djokovic To Win Another Grand Slam
The world No.2 also sheds some light on the WhatsApp group the Big Three have.
This week Rafael Nadal has a chance to once again return to the top of the rankings if he has a little bit of luck on his side.
The 19-time grand slam champion returns to action at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Mexico. A tournament he has won on two previous occasions. Nadal is required to win the event once again if he wishes to rise back to world No.1 on Monday. Even if he does that, the Spaniard also has to hope that his rival doesn’t reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships. Djokovic started his campaign on Monday with a straight sets win over Malek Jaziri.
“I always have good memories. I come here (to Acapulco) because I love the tournament, the organization, and the public makes me feel at home.” Nadal told reporters on Monday.
“The love of the people is exceptional and that encourages me to be here another year and makes me very happy. I have the illusion of enjoying Acapulco, it is an important week for me personally, after Australia, this is a test to see how I feel. I hope to be prepared.”
Nadal and Djokovic are members of the prestigious Big Three, who have won the past 13 majors between them. Also in the group is Roger Federer. In their head-to-head Nadal trails 26-29 to the Serbian and has lost three out of their four most recent meetings on the tour. Both men have praised each other on numerous occasions throughout their careers, but do they also secretly want the other to fall?
In Nadal’s case the answer is yes. Reflecting on the recent Australian Open final, the 33-year-old admitted that he wanted Dominic Thiem to win. Thiem had a two-set lead over Djokovic, but lost in a thriller.
“In this world we sometimes live with a bit of hypocrisy.” Nadal explained.
“I have a very good relationship with Dominic, as I also have with Djokovic, but if you ask me if I prefer Djokovic to have more Grand Slams that me, my answer is no.’
“It is a purely professional issue, I do not hide to say that, as if you ask Novak about whether he prefers me to win or Dominic in Roland Garros, Dominic will probably be the answer.’
“This is the reality of the competition, it is not going against anyone or any strange reason. If Djokovic wins, I congratulate him and I go to the next tournament, but if you ask who I wanted to win (the Australian Open), I prefer Dominic. “
At present Nadal is second on the all-time list for most grand slam titles won at 19. One behind record holder Federer and two ahead of Djokovic.
One example of the good working relationship between the Big Three is a Whatsapp group they have. Which was recently revealed to the public by Djokovic, who said he has ‘tremendous respect’ for his two other rivals.
Naturally tennis fans are wondering what is said on that chat and if there are any revelations made. However, it appears that the group isn’t as unique as first through with Nadal shedding further light on it.
“We are not just the three of us in a group. Yes, we are in groups with more people, groups with all of us in the Players Council to be informed of all the news that is happening and that is transmitted there, some other group that we are all three … but not alone.” The Spaniard said.
“We do not have frequent communication, that is, daily, between us, but when there are things that we need to know about each other, congratulations, concerns … no longer in the group, but on a personal level, we usually have no problem writing to us privately. The group is more for professional work issues than for personal issues.”
Nadal will start his Mexican campaign against Pablo Andujar in the first round. He will be hoping to fair better in the tournament than 12 months ago, when he was knocked out in the second round by Nick Kyrgios. Who went on to win the title. Despite the disappointment, the top seed said he doesn’t have a ‘feeling of revenge.’
“I’ve never had a feeling of revenge before a tournament, I don’t think that feeling helps you win more games, but quite the opposite. Revenge makes you not think clearly. Wth serenity, and when it comes to competing, the important thing is to have a cool enough head to give my best level. “ He concluded.
The last tournament Nadal won on the tour was the US Open in September.
Roger Federer Pulls Out Of French Open Following Surgery
The unexpected announcement means the former world No.1 will be out of action for at least almost four months.
20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer will miss the entire clay-court season after confirming that he has undergone surgery on his right knee.
The world No.3 underwent arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday in his native Switzerland following consultation with doctors. A minimally invasive procedure that involves the examination and treatment of the joint. Federer said his right knee was ‘bothering him for a little while’ and that doctors are ‘very confident of a full recovery.’ The 38-year-old also missed six months of the 2016 season due to a knee injury.
In a statement, Federer confirmed that he will not be playing another tournament until the grass season. Ruling him out of the upcoming North American hard-court swing, as well as the French Open. The only clay court tournament he was due to play in 2020.
“My right knee has been bothering me for a little while.” Federer said on social media.
“I hope it would go away, but after an examination, and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday (Wednesday).”
“After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery.”
“As a result, I will unfortunately have to miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogotá (exhibition), Miami and the French Open. I am grateful for everyone’s support. I can’t wait to be back playing again soon.”
Concerns about Federer’s current form started during his run at the Australian Open where he lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic. In Melbourne, the Swiss player experienced issues with his right leg. He described played down the issue as ‘pain and problems’ following his quarter-final win over Tennys Sandgren, which he took a medical time-out during.
“Of course, you want to be 100% to be able to train again, then get ready for hopefully Dubai. Right now it’s only guessing. I’m very happy that I don’t feel any worse than when I started (the match). That’s for me super encouraging.” He told reporters on January 30th,
Nevertheless, Federer has recently been in action. Almost two weeks ago, he took on Rafael Nadal in an exhibition match in South Africa and won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The clash was in aid of the Roger Federer Foundation, which supports early childhood education in six southern African countries, including South Africa. An estimated $3.5 million was raised, according to the associated press.
Should everything goes to plan, Federer’s next tournament will now be the Halle Open, which he has a lifetime contract to play at unless injured or ill. The tournament starts on June 15th.
It is only the second time in his career, Federer has undergone the knife whilst playing on the tour. The first was back in 2016 when he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Cancelling Wimbledon Was Inevitable And So Was The Heartbreak That Followed
Wimbledon Announces Cancellation As Coronavirus Continues To Affect Tennis Calendar
Jannik Sinner: “My dream is to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon and win the US Open”
Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova is ready to play in November if the season is extended
Tour Suspension A ‘Dire And Bleak’ Situation For Players, Warns Johanna Konta
REPORT: Miami Open To Be Cancelled With Possibility Of Entire Tour Suspension Amid Coronavirus Threat
Maria Sharapova’s Tennis Legacy
Coronavirus: I Think That The Time For Jokes Is Over
Rafael Nadal And Novak Djokovic Takes Fight For World No.1 Spot To Indian Wells
Elena Rybakina Is Really Special
(VIDEO) EXCLUSIVE: Jon Wertheim On The Current Status Of Tennis And What Could Happen Next
(VIDEO) Australian Open Day 14: Novak Djokovic Proves He Is Invincible
(VIDEO) Australian Open Day 13: Sofia Kenin Fulfils Childhood Dream In A final Nobody Predicted
(VIDEO) Australian Open Day 12: Dominic Thiem Sets Up Djokovic Showdown
(VIDEO) Australian Open Day Seven: Roger Federer Fights Back Once Again
Hot Topics3 days ago
Wimbledon Cancelled And Roland Garros Punished For Its Decision
Latest news2 days ago
Tennis Australia Chief Cast Doubts Over Tennis Resuming In 2020
ATP3 days ago
Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’
Hot Topics2 days ago
WTA Sheds Light On Plans For Resumption Of Tour
Hot Topics1 day ago
Amelie Mauresmo Fears 2020 Season Is Over, But Becker Disagrees
Latest news2 days ago
Carlos Alcaraz is following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal
Latest news2 days ago
Andrey Rublev: “It was hard to accept the news about the Olympic Games but we can’t do anything about that”
Latest news1 day ago
Matteo Berrettini: “It was a shock when the Rome Masters was cancelled”