RafaLint: December 19th

Photo by Beth Wilson

Photo by Beth Wilson

I know a lot of people were upset that Rafa wasn’t named SI Sportsman of the Year* and/or didn’t win the ITF award yesterday. Some of those same people are happy as heck about the L’Equipe one today. I guess I’m odd. I see all awards as stupid popularity, political or flavor-of-the-moment contests that often have little to do with actual quality. (I mean, if Peter O’Toole can die without ever winning an Oscar for one of his performances, awards are pretty damn useless. *goes back to watching Becket on a non-stop loop*) They are usually organized as promotional tools for some organization/publication/product/etc – nothing more. The only “awards” that matter to me are the titles the players win, so please excuse me for not getting too worked up about any of them.

Articles:

Videos/Audio:

Photos:

Rafa does social media:

Social media related to Rafa:

*Also, if anyone thinks a tennis player, much less a non-American tennis player, ever stood a chance of being named SI Sportsman of the year, you don’t really understand the state of tennis in the US sports media. To me, it seems that sports and the media that covers it in the US is more about how much pizza, pick-up trucks and beer can be sold. Tennis fans aren’t thought of as big purchasers of those items.

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20 Responses

  1. I can’t believe how that BBC commentator could say that Marion Bartoli wasn’t a looker. She is pretty even without make-up. And when is made-up, she looks like Teri Hatcher’s sister.

    • Keith says:

      That was a terrible rude comment that reflected more on the person who made it than Marion. I was amazed at the sexist outburst. So backward. They need to boot out the old duffers at the beeb.

  2. Nils says:

    Miri,
    I agree with you on the awards thing. I too do not care much for them especially if they are given by magazines or some channels.
    I am however very happy for the fact that it made Rafa dress up and gave me another opportunity to drool on his gorgeous self :P (Yes, I’m that shallow :P )

    On an entirely different note:You love Castle??OMG! Am a huuge fan. I love Beckett too! :D

  3. dk says:

    I heard that Novak won the ITF award. Does anyone know why Rafa did not?

    • Aero says:

      From what I read, I believe Djokovic won it based upon his consistency throughout the year by winning 1 slam, reaching the finals of 2 slams and the semi of the other……….however, considering Rafa’s incredible return, 2 slams and reclaiming the #1 spot while missing the Aussie Open should have been enough to merit the award too! One would think Rafa should have won it but I don’t think he’s loosing any sleep over it!

      • robert says:

        ITF claims this was based upon consistency in the ITF events (4 slams and the Davis Cup/Federation Cup). They point out Djokovic gained more points from these events than Rafa in 2013.

        Yet, they chose Wozniacki as their 2010 ITF World Champion, although she gained less points from the ITF events that year than Serena (1960 vs. 4900). Serena won 2 slams that year, Wozniacki none. But, they claimed that year that they chose Wozniacki because she “has become the fourth-youngest woman to earn the YE No. 1 ranking; this all comes despite not holding a major title.”

        So,consistency i.e more points from their ITF events was not the criterium that time – being #1 was.

        And this year they stick to more points?

        By changing their own criteria at will, they themselves made their award irrelevant and ridiculous. And its title is inappropriate and ridiculous, too. “ITF World Champion”?! Why not “ITF More Points Holder”?

        And if they insist on ITF events so much – any fool can see it’s better to win 2 slams than 1.

  4. Aero says:

    Agreed Miri with that article concerning SI Sportsman of the Year. Bleacher report has an interesting article concerning this very subject too, entitled “What Will it Take for a Tennis Star to Win SI’s Sportsman of the Year?”.

    After stating that Federer, Borg, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf never won it…………it hits the nail on the head with this point (summed up in the last sentence):

    “In 1988 Steffi Graf, who has more Grand Slams (22) than any woman in the Open era, completed a Golden Slam. She won all four Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal. However, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser received the honor that year. Ironically it was Sports Illustrated that coined the phrase “Golden Slam,” based on Graf’s achievement that year.

    Graf had three strikes against her. She was a tennis player, a woman and not an American.

    • Jody says:

      In another year, Graf may have won that SI award. But in 1988, she had the misfortune to come up against Orel Hershiser and his achievements, some of which may never be equaled. Hershiser won the World Series, the Cy Young, the Babe Ruth, MVP of the League, MVP of the Championship Series, MVP of the World Series, TSN Pitcher of the Year and a Gold Glove. He pitched a shut out in both the NLCS series and the World Series and in the 5th game of the WS, pitched a 2 hitter to clinch the series. He also broke Don Drysdale’s record for consecutive innings pitched without a hit. Those awards and accomplishments to and for one player in one year may stand for all time.

      So while it is true that tennis players are always going to be at a disadvantage for the SI award and that Graf was deserving, in this particular case, it was not an injustice that Hershiser received it, just bad timing for Graf. And of course it didn’t hurt that Hershiser’s sport was baseball, “America’s Favorite Pastime.”

      • Aero says:

        I think the point the writer of the above excerpt makes is valid though. I mean speaking of records, a calender slam (all 4 slams) and Olympic gold in the same year is something never achieved by a male or female tennis player! There’s no higher achievement for a professional tennis player than that. I mean if Graf or Federer never won the SI award, both considered the greatest female and male player ever to have played the game, what hope is there for anyone else!………….Fortunately SI is only one of many and honestly I couldn’t care less. Its all apples and oranges I guess, since you can’t really compare one sport to another. I think it all boils down to media hype and popularity.

  5. Jody says:

    That’s very good news about the balls that are being used at the Australian Open. Now here’s hoping that it will also be hot.

    • johnf says:

      Woodbridge’s comments are VERY good news for rafa. From his comments the interaction(s) between the new surface and these livelier balls is going to help anyone who has skills spinning the balls – and raf is a maestro there.
      YES!!

  6. atennisfan says:

    miri, I love Peter O’Toole. He doesn’t need an Oscar for a single performance. He’s one of the all time greats. But he always wanted one, that’s why his oscarless death makes me a little sad. I will watch Becket, Lawrence of Arabia and the part of Troy again, where Priamos implores Achilles to release his dead son Hector’s body (the rest of the movie is rubbish).
    As to Rafa, the ITF’s decision is silly, but who cares? And guess, what Djoker would rather be? ITF World Champion or US Open Champion? The answer is easy…
    The L’Equipe award shows, that Rafa is appreciated in France after all these years. That is worth quite a bit.

  7. Sharon/London says:

    Obviously Rafa winning practically everything in 2013 isn’t enough according to the ITF! What more has the guy got to do? The season was all about Rafa no one else (except Andy winning Wimby).
    Miri is right, it’s all about winning the important titles , Rafa won plenty but I feel he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves & that really niggles me.

  8. Sharon/London says:

    Great news about the new balls @ AO. Need it to be very hot,conditions Rafa loves. Cannot wait.

  9. Fiona says:

    Rafa doesn’t need the silly awards from the ITF. He has the tournaments he has won and I’m sure that he’d much rather have them, though it must be a bit annoying for him, that what he did wasn’t acknowledged. Cannot wait for 2014 tennis season to start and we can get back to the sport!

  10. LizzieBee says:

    I agree with you, Miri, re awards generally speaking. But the ITF is one of the sport’s governing bodies, so that winds me up. I guess it’s partly to do with the continuing tension (too strong a word but) with there being both the ITF and ATP handling the sport. Almost a political thing, even though I’d have thought it’d be better for the sport if they could really work together and respect each other’s events. But hey.

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