A decent column Steve [on Doha], but your cynicism towards Clijsters play and attitude in the final is a little disheartening/disconcerting. It’s just the way Kim is.—Northern Boy
I didn’t mean to be cynical about Clijsters, just critical. I like her and I like her game. And I agree, it’s just the way she is. But when she rushes as quickly as she can through points and continues to lose them, it bothers me. One part of me wants her to learn to slow down because it would help her; she’s as gifted as any player of the last 10 years, but doesn’t has as much to show for it as she should. I also understand that she’s a mother and won’t be playing forever, but I don’t need to hear about her upcoming retirement two years from now.
I'm sorry Steve, but this piece [about Doha] just doesn’t feel right. I mean, you spend most of it extolling how amazing Caroline is, and sort of criticizing the “elite athletes,” who don't play as much, but still come out and win the big titles.—lilscot
As with the last question, I wasn’t bashing the top players for being able to come out and win big titles at will. I was just stating it as a fact that’s been true on the WTA side for a long time. It doesn’t help the tour, because there’s not much incentive for the elite to play all the time.
As for Wozniacki, my enthusiasm for her is partly the enthusiasm of the convert. I feel like I’ve found things that I like in her game that weren’t obvious to me at first.
RE: “Who TF CARES who wins Doha”—Mark
Ahem... I DO, i honestly care. I probly care MORE becoz S, V & J aren’t playing because there's an opening here for someone.—Jodiecate
Does it make you less of a fan of tennis if you don’t care at all about certain events? Is it an insult to other fans to bash the WTA Championships? I admire Jodiecate for getting enthusiastic about the event, and I got into it once it began. But I think we can allow for various degrees of fandom as well. We could enjoy Doha for what it was worth, respect the players who did get there, while also being honest that it was hardly an ideal draw.
Steve and Kamakshi,
One question, the Rochus story broke on Sunday. The two of posted this piece on Wednesday. However, in none of your writings do I see any evidence that either of you called the ITF or ATP to get an official response to the Rochus allegations. Nor do I see any evidence of either of you asking players to comment on the allegation. Why is this the case? I would think that picking up the phone or emailing insiders would be one of the first things a journalist would do.—Hank Naib
I did have an email exchange with Stuart Miller, who runs the ITF’s anti-doping program. It was similar to times when I’ve talked to him in the past; he didn’t divulge a whole lot, but here are a few things he did say. I don’t offer them either as a defense or an attack. I'll keep talking to him and others whenever possible.
—The ITF will be seeking an explanation from Rochus about his comments
—Regarding in-match stimulants, Miller says players can be tested immediately after a match with no warning, and drugs taken during the match can be detected.
—They continue to try to improve their HGH testing. In the past, Miller has said that cost is an impediment to doing more blood testing out of competition. The ITF’s anti-doping budget last year was $1.5 million, which makes it impossible to test everyone, everywhere, in every way they would like, but that they are always trying to expand the program and get more money for it.
—As for making up missed out of competition tests, he said, “It depends on the particular circumstances, such as the player’s whereabouts. If it makes sense to make a further attempt, then we would do so.”
I will say only this: if it is proved that several of the top players have been or are doping, I will stop watching (and by implication, supporting) the professional game. Then the only posts you'll get from me here on this forum are about the amateur game or the "game of old" -- before it became so corrupted.—Slice N Dice
It's a painful thought, and I'm not sure what I would do, from a fan or an appreciator's perspective, if it was discovered that doping was rampant on tour. Would it be possible to write about the players again? How do, say, Boston sportswriters feel about Manny Ramirez or Big Papi now, and how do they feel about what they wrote about them in the past? Ditto for writers who praised Roger Clemens for his "heart" and "guts." All the more reason to do what's possible to make sure the tour is clean. I'd hate to have write about USTA league players for the rest of my life.
Why are your predictions always so terrible, writer? Anytime you pick 2-3 guys they lose in like the second round.—J
Wait, did I even make any predictions this week? But I do like that moniker: “Writer." Thanks.
Steve stated in his last “Reading the Reader’s” post that he had foregone the use of “whom” in favor of “who” in an article the previous week because he was trying to create a more informal atmosphere, and while he had considered using "whom" he thought it would have been too formal. It’s very possible he had the same reasoning here.—Just Horsen
It’s also very possible that I forgot the rule.