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Costanza
Aug 11th, 2008, 10:10 AM
http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080810.tebbutt11/GSStory/GlobeSportsOther/home

ITF drops the ball in Olympics tournament

After the high of a sensational Wimbledon final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, tennis appears headed for a downer at the Olympic Games.

It is hard to know where to begin with the way the International Tennis Federation, in supposed (but not always) collaboration with national Olympic associations, has bungled the tennis in Beijing.

Things reached the height of absurdity on Saturday when Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, ranked No.51, withdrew from singles and was replaced with Devin Mullings of the Bahamas. His ranking is – believe it or not – No.1025.

With many players in the top 100 dying to play, Mullings, who has not won a match on the tour this year, got a spot in the 64-man draw.

The reason is that, after Aug. 2 (eight days before the event), rules state (with each country allowed a maximum of four entries) that players withdrawing are replaced with someone on site, which in effect is only doubles competitors. Mullings is partnering with compatriot Mark Knowles.

Canadian Frédéric Niemeyer, No.277 in singles and in Beijing to play doubles with Daniel Nestor, got into the singles when Mario Ancic of Croatia withdrew. That meant Canada had two singles players because Frank Dancevic, No.114, also made it in when Denis Gremelmayr of Germany did not play.

Gremelmayr is a cause célèbre because his ranking qualified him as of the June 9 entry deadline, but he was not nominated by his national Olympic association, which chose Rainer Schuettler, lower-ranked at the time but subsequently a Wimbledon semi-finalist. Schuettler went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, and got a favourable decision, overruling the ITF's process and creating a major controversy.

There may be logistical and security reasons for not having standby players on site in case of withdrawals, but for credibility, especially with the Olympics awarding ATP ranking points for the first time, there should not be the farce of Mullings in the draw.

Maybe even worse are the doubles events where singles rankings (and/or doubles rankings) were used for seeding. For several years, players have been able to enter doubles using their singles rankings. The idea was to attract more singles players. However, seedings have always been done using the doubles rankings.

In Beijing, Novak Djokovic, No.3 in singles but No.223 in doubles, is seeded second because he is entered with fellow Serb Nenad Zimonjic (Nestor's tour partner), No.4 in doubles. They have played one match (in Davis Cup) together in 2008.

Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer of Spain have played a total of zero matches this year, but are seeded No.5 because of their singles rankings, 14th and fifth, respectively.

Meanwhile, Martin Damm and Pavel Vizner of the Czech Republic have played 33 matches and are eighth in the ATP 2008 team standings, yet not among the eight seeded teams.

“These singles guys get to play doubles at the Grand Slams, but they don't get seeded as they are at the Olympics,” said Indian doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi, representing the feelings of tour doubles players. “There's got to be some consistency.”

The tennis event started yesterday, but many matches were postponed because of rain. Niemeyer played and led Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-3, 2-4 when he had to retire with elbow pain. He is still expected to play doubles with Nestor.

Also, women's top seed Ana Ivanovic withdrew because of inflammation of her thumb. Last week, she wrote on her website about the air quality in Beijing: “I had practice at 10 a.m. this morning and they had to turn the lights on because it's so foggy you can't see across the court!”

American veteran Lindsay Davenport noted: “You can see from the beginning of the day until the end how the dirt kind of piles up on the hard court. All of a sudden, you're getting ball marks as the day goes on.”

Pollution, filthy courts, extreme heat and humidity, as well as dubious singles entry procedures and doubles seeding, this is one tournament that is decidedly not very Olympian.

Great article!

Nina.
Aug 11th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Very good article.
Good point about the double seeding, it's really absurd.

Lindsayfan32
Aug 11th, 2008, 10:29 AM
Very good article.
Good point about the double seeding, it's really absurd.

I totally agree with what you're saying about the doubles seeding Lindsay has never played with Huber and because Lindsay's singles ranking was at 23 and Huber doubles ranking was 1 their the no 5 seeds for the doubles that makes a lot of sense to me. They should do well with the draw they have and if Lindsay stays healthy but they don't deserve to be seeded.

Rix643
Aug 11th, 2008, 10:37 AM
Wow! Three sentences about women's tennis..... :rolleyes:

Daniel
Aug 11th, 2008, 10:46 AM
good article

Caz
Aug 11th, 2008, 01:32 PM
Great article. All very valid points. The doubles seeding based on singles rankings is stupid and the fact that someone ranked 1025 is playing in the mens draw is beyond ridiculous.

RND
Aug 11th, 2008, 01:45 PM
I've never been to Beijing but reading at the quotes I think it looks quite worth experiencing once. :p It's like something only happens in movies.So basically if there's no rain,at the end of the day it could just turn out to be a mini clay court. :haha:

Yeah and the doubles seedings are :weirdo: At least Chan/Chung are still among the top seeds.I feel bad for Damm/Vizner.

nicidle
Aug 11th, 2008, 01:50 PM
I've never been to Beijing but reading at the quotes I think it looks quite worth experiencing once. :p It's like something only happens in movies.So basically if there's no rain,at the end of the day it could just turn out to be a mini clay court. :haha:

Yeah and the doubles seedings are :weirdo: At least Chan/Chung are still among the top seeds.I feel bad for Damm/Vizner.

well maybe green clay coz it's quite fast i think..
but .. thats the things players need to adapt to..
even on real clay. the dirt gets into yr eyes i suppose..

:devil:

Renalicious
Aug 11th, 2008, 01:53 PM
Mullings :rocker2:

supergrunt
Aug 11th, 2008, 02:13 PM
Mullings :rocker2:

:D