Friday, 12 March 2010

Indian Wells: Early “Casualties” And Henman “Just Says No”

Since when did wearing rugby kit on court become acceptable?

image (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Since Bethanie Mattek-Sands said it did, that’s when!

Would you have it any other way?

Those socks look large enough to contain shin pads, which of course they might very well do.

UK coverage of IW begins in anger from Saturday, headlined of course with “Hit for Haiti”.

First and second round action has already been underway since Wednesday.

Does Cornet even register as a casualty these days? She’s certainly no upset.

The gross post-Flushing comparisons with Henin may have grated my sensibilities even more viciously than the misplaced triumphalism of the time, or the glare from that fluoro-tinted Believe campaign, but Melanie Oudin’s surely too good to be going out to Roberta Vinci in the first round, no?

Henman “Just Says No” to Davis Cup Captaincy

Just like the warning contained in the US-imported 80s anti-drugs campaign, I can confirm that the experience might very well “screw him up”.

"Maybe in three years or in 13 years, sometime in the future, I might be interested in being the Davis Cup captain," Henman said. "But it doesn't feel like the right time. I'm enjoying my family and my golf - and not having any structure in my life.

"For 28 of the first 33 years of my life tennis was what I did. I wouldn't change that and I'm sure at some stage I'm going to get more involved and give back to British tennis.

"But at the moment I would not want the commitment or the responsibility of being Davis Cup captain."

-- The Times

Domestic bliss punctuated with the occasional round of golf, the odd skiing trip and an annual appearance on the BBC commentating on Wimbledon.

Who in their right mind would want to mess with that?

Meanwhile, Andy Murray gave his first reaction to LithuaniaGate:

He did not respond directly to whether Greg Rusedski — who was sounded out by the LTA the week before the trip to Lithuania about the prospect of replacing Lloyd — should be the choice. It is commonly believed, though Murray has never said as much, that he and Rusedski are not the closest of allies.

“If John does lose his job, I would like the players to have a say — and this is not just about me,” Murray said last night. “It’s not down to me alone. If there are 12 players in a room and eight of them say they would be happy with Greg being captain, then he should be the captain.

“It is about getting the right man, the one who can best motivate the players. They should have a strong say, but, of course, in the end it is down to the LTA to decide.”

-- The Times

Not a bad idea in principle – even if it does sound too much like saying “You can have any Captain you want, just so long as it’s not Greg Rusedski”.

As the collective voice of Tennis sense and reason has echoed over this past week, a different set of hands at the top would be like applying a fresh strip of band-aid.

Having said that, I’m actually in favour of John Lloyd stepping down, not least because “no one beats my DC Team 69 times in a row” doesn’t sound like something he’ll want scrawled on his epitaph.

Besides, a new face might create at least some disassociation with Lithuania in the minds of the players, and Greg Rusedski seems as good a choice as any, given that most players not named Murray appear to respect him.

The Times as Head of the LTA

Not wanting to be accused of resting on their laurels whilst besmirching the reputation of the LTA, The Times have put together a seven point plan to rescue British Tennis.

The National Tennis Centre a White Elephant? Well I never.

I quite like the description of the facility as “…a £40 million cradle of elitism, too opulent and cosy and not fit for purpose”, and Andy Murray being “asked if he would vacate a court last week to make way for a mini-tennis tournament.”

Mini-Tennis, we are told meanwhile, is “a scourge on the game”.

They don’t play Mini-Tennis in Bollettieri or Casal-Sánchez after all?

No they don’t.

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