Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why I’m glad that Oudin lost

No I’m not really. In fact I’m not happy about this loss at all. In fact it was quite frustrating to watch the way Oudin pissed the match away against her slightly pot-bellied opponent. But it was far more frustrating having to listen to Mary Jo Fernandez et al carry on as if Oudin was the fricking Second Coming. They were so far up Oudin’s ass they seemed at times to forgot that there were other Americans also playing tennis.

Not that there weren’t other non-Americans also playing scintillating tennis in Australia, but I’ve long ago given up any hope of American commentators paying any attention to non-American players. Of course the big guns will always be the exception to this rule and for that I am happy. I know that I will always get to see Federer and Nadal, and now Henin and Clijsters. No complaints here - these are all players whom I love to watch. But when Vania King comes back from 1-5 in the third set to win the match against a seeded player, I would have expected that to be a bigger story than Melanie Oudin.

But no. We were treated to every moment of Oudin’s painfully stupid loss. It wasn’t only shown, it then had to be analyzed, discussed, rehashed, and practically mourned. And then one of the commentators noted in closing that the American women were not faring so well.

Actually, there are a few American women who are fairing just fine. Their names are Venus and Serena. And Vania King, who played a much tougher opponent (Dominika Cibulkova, seeded 23), and came back from 1-5 in the third to win. She closed out the third set 7-5, which means that Cibulkova did not win another game. Now that is a star story. That is the story I would have expected to headline the commentary. That is the post-match interview I would have expected to see. I would have expected Vania to be given pride of place in the commentators’ box (not Terrell Owens, steups).

But I saw nothing of Vania. I don’t know how she won that match. But I heard excuse after excuse being made for Oudin. She is so young. Her coach is busy making notes so she will learn from this experience. Her mother seems so relaxed so maybe everything will be OK. She can still come back from here, she’s done it before. Remember her run at the US Open? Remember the seeds she beat? Remember how good she was, how talented? How she believed?

Yes, I do. Because I was there, also rooting for her. And since Oudin is ranked 48, I would have expected her to have no difficulty dispatching the slightly pot-bellied Alla Kudryavtseva, ranked 88. In fact, Oudin had no less than four match points in the second set, all of which she squandered. And it’s not as if the slightly pot-bellied one was doing anything special. In fact she was playing mostly crap, although she did improve her game in the third set. And yes Oudin did come back from 1-4 in the third. But she lost. Coming back isn’t good enough. You have to do like Vania King and translate the come-back into a win.

Meantime, on Court 6, Shenay Perry, currently ranked 107, was taking on the former #1, Ana Ivanovic. And they were playing on Margaret Court Arena, a show court. Did I hear any love coming from the commentators for Shenay? Not a drop. Throughout the Oudin match they plied us with suggestions of what Oudin could do to win the match. They were practically willing her to win. But Shenay was treated as a lost cause. And the truth is, if you watched the match, Shenay definitely had her chances. Ivanovic played so poorly I would be shocked if she gets past Gisela Dulko in the next round.

And did you know that Jill Craybas also flew to Australia? Yes she did. But I swear she was invisible. She lost to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic who will next be facing Serena Williams. I hope that the commentators remember that Serena is also American, and deserving of some love. And I hope that they will once and for all stop talking about the damn incident at the US Open. Yes Serena was wrong. Yes, so was the lines-woman. One woman got punished. The other still has her job. Moving right along. There’s life after New York. And Oudin.


Karen said...

Girl, the more things change the more they remain the same. I wrote in my little blog that these commentators need to let the USO incident go. It is over. The fans dont care and the peer group of which Serena is a part, really does not give a shit. I am so over the ESPN commentary right now I cannot think. MartinaN is just as bad. As to Oudin, unlike you, I try my best never to watch any of her matches. Right now I am watching on an internet stream a live match between Cilic/Tomic. Meanwhile ESPN is showing a replay of Roddick's match. The WS are clearly not Americans. Did you see the crowd at the MCA for their doubles match. Granted they were playing Australians, but to have a show court turn out for your doubles match is impressive.

tennischick said...

i'm watching the replay of the WS doubles on the Tennis Channel right now. great match; packed crowd. last year at the USO i tried to get into to the Louis Armstrong stadium to see one of their matches - not a seat was available. even if the commentators love to hate them, clearly the fans know good tennis when they see it.

Pls. post or email me the internet link so that I can see some of the other matches. thanks in advance! :-)

tennischick said...

never mind i found it: http://atdhe.net/index.html

evgapo said...

Commentators pay attention to Oudin because she is white, blond, pretty and also young so there is a big potential that may be used . In other words ‘Oudin’ may be the next trade mark to match ‘Sharapova’. The question is why Odin and not King or anybody else?
Well, let say that the above words passed by the censor. But if we have to be honest the racist society of North America and Europe is ready to accept and pay for brands not worse than Sharapova, Oudin, and the rest of the bunch of pretty looking blond girls with Slav or Arian genes (to the same extent this applies to men). This same problem put players with different genes in a non competitive position when speaking about endorsements, contracts, sponsors. This is our world – it is not fair but it has been that way since the roman empire or even earlier – blond slaves from Pontica (the land where today is Ukraine, Russia, Belorussia) or northern Europe were always precious.
Most of the people I personally know in France are ‘ashamed’ that Monfils represents France. In soccer – let it pass, most of their players come from Africa anyway. But the tennis is invented and reserved for nobles. What the hell is Monfils or Serena doing there? Serena got really ‘small' penalty compare to what the plan (or may be the plot) was.

King can only be commercialized into a brand in a marginal market (if you check the list of her last tournaments – there is her margin - in the far east).

I don’t agree that the pot-bellied Alla Kudryavtseva was an easy opponent or that she plays bad - the fact she is ranked 88 doesn’t correspond to her tennis abilities. If Oudin didn’t get to quarters in US Open but, let’s say, to first or second round only, she wouldn’t be in top 100 even. So I believe we will witness her defeats from players far below her ranking and of course wins over top 10 players. She is talented!
So about Oudin, - just take it for granted. She is on the ‘production field’ of turning into the next American brand. Don’t complain – she is talented. And you will have to listen about her long time in the future. The reason - one of her sponsors is BackOffice Associates® - the leading provider of SAP®. And SAP is the largest software enterprise in Europe and the fourth largest in the world with Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, founded by five former IBM engineers in Mannheim . These guys in Germany are well known r… (ops, leave this insulting word but say just ‘they prefer the company of tall, blond people’). Do you expect them to support Serena or Monfils? You will see, soon Oudin will change the way she speaks, even the accent – the brand must be appreciated by north Americans as well (the guys from Boston I mean) , they don’t like people from the south even if they are blond…

Last thing about Oudin – she is feminine! Unlike Schiavone or Mauresmo (who possess the marginal market in the Greek island of Lesbos) or others from this range, Oudin will always force men to buy anything labeled with her face.
Have you checked in your local Mall if they started selling sneakers in bright colors with a sign ‘believe…in SAP’ ? Buy some for me – my daughter will like them and as for me - I prefer to switch from Hanna Montana to Oudin.
Well, I love tennis. For me, to keep my love I try to forget about brand management and prefer reading your writings strictly focused on the court. Go ahead!

tennischick said...

hey Chico:
i could not have said it better, or more graciously. i completely agree with you, including your views on Oudin's talent. and while i agree that i may have been a tad harsh in my assessment of the slightly pot-bellied Alla (hereinafter to be referred to as SPBA), i still believe that Oudin should have beaten her quite handily. after all, she earned her ranking by beating players far far better than the SPBA.

on the one hand, one can argue that Serena may have been spared a harsher punishment (i.e., having also to forfeit several tournaments) because she is the #1 player in the world. on the other hand, her fine was higher than most fines ever levied against any players in any sport. as far as i am concerned, that was punishment enuf.

now you've inspired me to write a whole new column. thanks! :-)

thanks also for all of the other comments. i love it!

Ben said...

Interesting assessment of Oudin's match. Also, props to including commentary on Vania King's impressive comeback! You're right about the media completely ignoring her. It's sad.

I see Oudin making big waves like she did at the US Open in the coming months. It's just a matter off getting past the pressure and increased expectations. She also must add some real weapons to her game to become a real contender (more juice on the serve, more power to her groundstrokes, etc.). The counter punching can only go so far in the WTA of the 21st century.