Tuesday, September 1, 2009

US Open Day 2: Double the Fun

Curtain Call
Player: Monique Adamczak
Nation: Australia
Age: 26
Current Ranking: #164
Tour Page: http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Player/Info/0,,12781~291,00.html
Today's Match: loss to Alize Cornet (France) in 3 sets, 7-5 in the third

Adamczak is another qualifier making her first career appearance in the US Open. She fought tough in her first round match. Bravo!

The men's doubles tournament began today with the women's and mixed doubles beginning tomorrow. I'm a big fan of doubles and wish that it would get more air time. With four people on the court, it's almost like an entirely different sport, at least from the spectator perspective. The ball seems to fly around a lot faster and at really funny angles, sort of like a human pinball machine. There is a lot more play at the net than in singles, which is always fun, particularly when all four are up there exchanging volleys. It always takes me a minute to get used to the change in sidelines but it's good to stretch the brain a bit. One wonderful argument I've heard for expanded doubles coverage is the fact that most recreational players play doubles rather than singles.

The Tennis Channel has made an effort to include doubles in its coverage of tournaments and if you are fortunate enough to have DirecTV, the Mix Channel shows more doubles as the week moves along. Unfortunately, doubles will essentially disappear from the TV in the second week, just when the top teams start to face off against each other.

To a point, I can understand the problem from a marketing perspective. Not all doubles partners are steady dates, as it were, so establishing a rooting interest is complicated. Partners are also rarely from the same country which may also make it difficult for fans to gain a foothold. On the other hand, the relationships between partners are occasionally soap opera-worthy as they were a couple years ago when longtime pals Daniel Nestor and Mark Knowles announced their split and then won the French Open together. Davis Cup, for all its myriad flaws, does pretty well by doubles, integrating it as a meaningful part of the whole. It is a little sad that it's so difficult to catch a glimpse at the Slams.

What the heck, my picks to win:

Men - Mahesh Bhupati (India) and Mark Knowles (Bahamas)
Women - Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) and Virginia Ruano Pascual (Spain)
Mixed - Lisa Raymond (USA) and Marcin Matkowski (Poland)

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