With the holidays in full swing, it’s time to send out my wish list for what I like to see changed or improved for both the WTA and ATP tours in 2010.
Don’t Believe the Hype.
At the beginning of the year, way, way too much hype and expectation was heaped upon the shoulders of both Andy Murray, because of his U.S. Open Finalist run, and Dinara Safina because she somehow found herself at No. 1 by just being consistent in 2008. Murray responded to the buzz by having a decent year, but nothing to suggest he could challenge for No. 1. Safina meanwhile started her “misery tour” losing badly to Serena in Australia, choking her way through the French Open final and then collapsing in the third round in New York.
I’m not blaming either player for being unable to live up to the hype, but my wish for next year is that both tours and the media learn that overhyping new players in the hopes it will translate into actual results doesn’t work.
Speed Up The Challenge System.
The challenge system has helped the game a great deal. But what hurts the game is how players abuse the system. The following scenario occurs at least once a match. A call is made, a player, instead of immediately challenging the call, will ask the umpire, “What do you think?” The umpire might stand by the call or say it’s worth a look. Then the player will think some more and then finally challenge.
Players should have five seconds to challenge or cede the point. That’s it. Allowing players to get into conversations with the umpire or going up to have a look at the “mark” (especially on a hard court) is a waste of everybody’s time.
“Private Life, Drama Baby Keep Me Out” – The Pretenders
Usually the end of the season is normally a quiet time. That wasn’t the case this year which started with the Serena Williams meltdown, Andre Agassi’s meth use admission, the Stockholm Open sex scandal, and the doping ban (now lifted) of Belgian players Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse. Add in that we’re still waiting to hear if Richard Gasquet will suffer anymore fines or bans due to his “cocaine kiss” and we can all agree that we hope 2010 keeps the focus on-court and not off-court.
Player Wish List.
And now a few wishes for individual players:
Dinara Safina: Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope that you focus more on winning a Slam this year than trying to be No.1 again.
Jelena Jankovic/Elena Dementieva: Figure out a way to finally win a Slam soon or else you both run the risk of being the biggest “bridemaids” of your generation.
Venus Williams: My wish is that you stay healthy. You are one of the best ambassadors for the game and we’d love to see you make another Grand Slam run.
Sam Querrey/John Isner/James Blake: My wish is that one of you make some kind of breatkthrough this year at a Grand Slam. And no, not make it to the quarters. I mean taking out Federer or Nadal en route to the semifinals or better. It’s the only way you will make it to the elite and, more important for U.S. Tennis fans, onto their radar screens.
Andy Roddick. My wish is probably the same one Andy has – another Grand Slam trophy under his Xmas tree.