Sunday, October 30, 2011

So, post-point screaming is the new rage

Somebody needs to remember to tell Serena. They need to tell her that just like that the rules of tennis seem to have changed. When she screamed after hitting a winning point against Stosur at the US Open this year, she was punished for interference. When Kvitova screams after hitting one of her sweetly lethal forehands, the commentators find it charming.

Chris Evert called post-point screaming the “new thing in tennis”. She said this so calmly, as if she was announcing something obvious, like Wozniacki remaining #1 for the second year in a row despite only winning a bunch of small-fry tournaments. Several moments later Chris just as calmly recanted and said “maybe” it was becoming a little annoying.

At the time that I first wrote about the Serena drama, my main point was that the rules of tennis need to be applied consistently across the board. That remains my main point. There should be no subjectivity in the application of the rules. And if it is against the rules to scream after the point is over, then Kvitova long with Azarenka, Sharapova, and the rest of the banshees should be punished consistently.

Now it is fair to counter-argue that the circumstances under which Serena let out her blood-curdling shriek were very different from Kvitova’s delightful yelp. With the Serena situation, Stosur’s racket may have made contact with the ball. She didn’t have a chance in heck of returning it, but she did reach the ball. As a result, Serena shrieking at that point was interpreted as interference.

I’ve only seen Kvitova yelping after her opponent has clearly given up on the point. In other words, one can make the case that her yelping cannot in any way be interpreted as interference.

But these are subjective statements and when it comes to applying the rules of tennis, there should be no room for subjectivity. If it is not OK to scream after a point is over, then each time any player does it, she should be deducted a penalty point. Thus far, only Serena has faced this punishment. In fact, it’s becoming disheartening the way rules seem to be invented for her, particularly when she plays in her own country.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the tennis establishment quite simply resents Serena Williams. I believe that she is despised for having interests outside of tennis. People are deeply frustrated with her because attending a fake-wedding for one of those filthy Kartrashians meant more to her than completing a tennis match. I believe that her lack of whole-hearted commitment to tennis makes her suspect and resented.

There is no questioning the dedication of Petra Kvitova. After winning Wimbledon, it took her some weeks to adjust to the many changes that would necessarily have been introduced to her life. Her 2011 summer was not great, but I knew that it was just a matter of time until that natural talent started shining again. I am most impressed by the fact that she has kept her entourage small and has not changed her coach. Never mess with a winning combination.

Kvitova does with ease what players like Azarenka struggle mightily to do. Her strokes are fluent. She hits through the ball. It’s funny that I say that as if it is something so impressive when in fact it’s something that you would expect all tennis players to be able to do. But in reality, few players have the natural technique of a Kvitova. Her body just flows smoothly into her shots. There is physics behind that eastern grip. Her tennis is just beautiful to watch. Sure she has moments of stumble. But she self-corrects with such ease that watching her always makes me smile.

And yes, I too find her post-point yelping to be charming and inoffensive. But I would unhesitatingly deduct her points if the rules allowed me to do so. Of course given how much Azarenka was also screaming, they might have spent the entire matching just trading breaks and losing points to each other. The eventual winner – six hours later – would have been the one who less hoarse.


Oliver Crax, North Hollywood said...

I'll take the AFTER POINT IS OVER yelp any day from Kvitova. She's got game. Perhaps as much as we've ever seen. To be sure, there is no shot in the tennis library that she cannot execute and she can play from anywhere on the court, the rarest of skills on both distaff and male sides. Go Petra!! The media resistance to what is obvious is palpable. Why? Oh, easy: she's not a hottie, she's not an American, she's simply unexpected, although it was evident three years ago to all who really understand strokes.

tennischick said...

Distaff here. Thanks for the comment. I hope she remains healthy enough to completely dominate women's tennis. She is entirely deserving.

Oliver Crax, North Hollywood said...

You rock, Chica!!
I hope that Petra buries everyone and everything. She's a sweetie who has begun to show mature mettle. The Kuz match was tough. Tarpischev having Sveta disappear for almost fifteen minutes, instigating the crowd in the meantime as Petra stood at the baseline waiting, waiting, waiting. Once the 3rd set go underway, Kvitova's expression told all: first confusion, then annoyance, then anger, then resolution and confidence. An, "All right. I'm down 0-3. Now it's my turn to show you whom you are FUCKING with!" Then the demolition re-started. Six straight games. Done. Gotta love her. Growing up suddenly, the hard way.

Oliver Crax said...

To Tarpischev's credit, he gave Petra more props than the whole American in-crowd of writers. He said, "She was phenomenal." He should know, he tried a few tricks with his player and the crowd that would have sunk many relative newbies. Go Petra!

Ash Messenger, Los Angeles said...

I agree. Kvitova should be applauded, not turned inside out in the attempt to find a way to knock her down a notch. Methinks that he doubters will have to wait for some time to indulge their invidious selves. The facts have been speaking louder in Petra's favor; louder this week than last... and so on.

Sam Wilson said...

This article is a load of rubbish, to be frank. Primarily because the entire point of the article is incorrect! Serena did not shout 'come on' after the point had ended in her match against Stosur; she screamed before Stosur had hit the ball. Whilst it was obvious that Serena had hit a shot that Stosur was never going to return, Serena's shout was before the point had ended, and unfortunate as it was, the umpire rightly called hindrance.

As for the rules being applied across the board, I remember Henin losing a point against Wozniacki once for shouting 'Allez' before Wozniacki returned the ball. As far as I'm concerned, these rules are applied very fairly.

Kvitova's shriek, Serena and Sharapova's 'come on's... people are just being ridiculous and trying to find something to pick at. These players are giving their absolute best and encouraging themselves to fight for everything during matches. People need to stop being so uptight about everything, and admire the tennis that these women play.