The 2012 Australian Tennis Open starts today and is set to offer the highest prize money in the history of Grand Slam tennis around the world. The total prize pool will be A$26 million, with the men’s and women’s champions taking home a record A$2.3 million (US$2.18 million) each. Does that sound excessive to you?
It may be because I am not a great tennis fan, but I cannot see why we need to give the players that much money. As it is a grand slam event, you don’t need to offer large amounts to entice players to come and play. The winner of any tennis grand slam event will probably boost their off-court earnings more than that anyway by being more marketable.
Some of you probably will not agree with my next comment (and that’s OK). Another thing that bugs me is that the event organizers have decided that both the men’s and women’s champions will earn the same amount (in 2007 Wimbledon decided to do the same), despite more interest in the men’s side of the tournament, with longer more entertaining games, and consequently better revenue-raising potential.
I’ll still be watching the men’s final, and afterwards, I hope they can give a little back of their millions to the grassroots of their sport.
If you have been focused on the Football World Cup, you may not have noticed that after three days of playing, the longest tennis match in history has just finished – what a marathon. The match was played between between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at the Wimbledon Championships, starting on June 22 and finishing on the 24th. The match eventually took 11 hours and 5 minutes, spread over three days. The match was won by Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68. The fifth set was the longest set in history as determined by both duration and number of games and the set itself would have broken the previous longest match record of 6 hours 33 minutes. The US Open is the only of the Grand Slams to use a tie breaker in the final set on the singles, the other tournaments use an advantage set, meaning they keep playing until there is a winner by two games clear. As you can see, this can mean a game can go on indefinitely. I hope the others don’t follow the US example and remove the advantage set, as we could miss out of such dramatic games as this.
Young Australian rising star tennis player Bernard Tomic had a few complaints after his second-round match at the Australian Open against Marin Cilic finished at 2.10am local time. The 17-year-old Tomic was given a wildcard into the tournament and played well against the vastly more experienced 14th seed Croatian, pushing him to five sets over the course of three hours and 48 minutes. However, Tomic let himself down and embarrassed many Australians with his comments after the match.
He said that if he got the daily schedule as requested, that “I think I should have won” … “I can’t see after 1.00am, 2.00am for a 17-year-old to go out and play – It’s difficult.” Welcome to the big world. There are other players who have been playing at these times and winning tournaments.
If he wants to be a top 10 player, which he says he does, he will have to learn to handle playing at any time, and he will need to learn to be more gracious in defeat. No excuses.
In the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, defending champion Serena Williams was fined $10,000 for her tirade directed at a line judge. She said: ‘If I could, I would … shove [this ball] down your throat’. There were a few expletives deleted from that quote.
Can you get a bigger contrast between the champion of men’s tennis, Roger Federer and her? Thankfully such bad sportsmanship has not gone unnoticed, with the big fine and her losing the final match point based on that outburst.
Williams was going to lose the semifinal to Kim Clijsters anyway, and the fine is only a smidgeon of what she earned playing the tournament. Let’s hope she gets punished in more ways, but somehow I think she will not be repentant.
Roger Federer is the current undisputed champion of tennis, and Tiger Woods is the undisputed champion of golf. Although they could never go head to head, comparing their stats and their impact on their respective sports and the world of sport, who do you think is the greatest? It is a debate that is difficult to win, but interesting to have nonetheless. Roger Federer has just won another grand slam title, making it 11 grand slam singles titles. Tiger Woods has equally dominated his sport, winning 13 Majors. Both have been labeled the greatest ever, but there can only be one! The greatest of the greatest?
In terms of fitness, Federer would win hands down, but that is not what this is about. They have both dominated their respective sport in recent years. There are good arguments on both sides about who may have the edge. My answer? I would give it to Woods, but only just. In the history of golf, it seems more difficult to win tournament after tournament as he has. They are still very close and I think that we will have to wait until they have each completed their careers before a clear winner may emerge.
It was recently announced that women tennis players at Wimbledon next year will get the same prize money as the men. Why does it have to be so? There is inequality in sport everywhere, but this is not sexist.
Athletes in most Olympic sports and many other international sports do not get anywhere near as much as tennis players, and most likely work just as hard, but it is just the way it is. It comes down to market demands, if people are paying to watch them play, to buy products etc, then there will be money in sponsorship and gate fees that can be passed on to the players in the form of payments and prize money.
If women tennis players want to get paid more, they should entertain us more, increase the quality of their play, make reasons for people to come and watch, and give us value for money. I am not saying that they are all like this, but I see are too many fat, lazy, bitchy, rich kids which are not good for the image of females in sport. If you looked at most of the high-profile women’s sports, they don’t need a pay rise – they are getting paid too much already.
Yesterday at the Australian Tennis Open we were witnesses to a Mexican Wave out on one of the smaller courts. An audience wave can come around pretty quickly in a small tennis stadium. They also had a double wave going, the wave going in alternate directions and seemingly passing through each other – I had not seen that before. I have also heard of crowds coming up with combinations, changing speed, and bouncing back in the direction it came.
A few stadiums are discussing the option of stopping audiences from making the wave, as it is considered dangerous. Although this wave at the tennis was just a ripple as far as waves go, I would have to agree that they can be dangerous when people start throwing objects and drinks as the wave passes, and it can be distracting if you are trying to watch a game being played.
If they can control it so that waves are only done during breaks in the games, and stop people from dangerous throwing of objects.
It may be easier said than done, as a log day at the cricket or tennis, after a few beers, people will think they can get away with whatever they want.
I planned a nice day today at the Australian Open, avoiding the forecast of very hot weather mid-week. However, today the weather has gone too far the other way, and drizzling rain set in for the day.
After some days where the heat policy was put into play, it was now the turn of the wet weather policy to have an effect. Luckily our day ground pass tickets allowed entry to the Vodafone Arena, with its roof closed to the rain.
We could see on the scoreboard that no play was taking place on the outside courts, so we settled in to watch a few games under shelter. There was a strong French theme providing the entertainment: Amelie Mauresmo, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet.
At the end of the day, the clouds cleared for a short time for us to explore the outer courts and set down to watch the Australian crowd favourite, Wayne Arthurs. The crowd was very excited about the prospect of watching one of the few Aussies left in the draw, however, a misdirected pain-killing injection prior to the match turned his leg numb, and he had to hobble off the court and withdraw only after a couple of games.
It was not the day we expected, but nevertheless very entertaining.
On the first day at the Australian Open, there was lots of action and excitement, but unfortunately, a lot of that took place off the court.
Melbourne is a very multicultural city, with many Australians having European ancestry, including Croats and Serbs. There has been a long history of animosity between Serbs and Croats back home in Croatia, but not here. I don’t know all the details, but some youths from these groups had an altercation in the crowd resulting in them being ejected. These guys have mostly grown up in Australia, so they must have learnt this hatred from their parents.
It is embarrassing that these images were broadcast around the world – they are painting a bad image of Australia for the world audience, one that is essentially untrue. They have obviously not embraced the spirit of Australia.
The Australian Open has a history of the Swedes being very vocal and colourful, and they have added a unique flavour to this ‘friendly’ tournament. There has never been a serious complaint about their behaviour.
The authorities are going to increase security at the tennis from now on, but the tennis supporters don’t want to see a stop to people dressing up, chanting and showing support for their country or parent’s country.