tennis

Blake urges seeding rethink after Serena Williams handed tough draw

5 Comments
By Steve Brenner

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It's up to the WTA to debate, but this idea from Blake strikes me as sexist, or unfair at least, to be frank.

It's not as if she left because of injury and lost her passion for the game.

it makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave and help her get the benefit of an easier draw and a better path.

Why treat injuries and maternity leave differently? If anything the injury effected players have less choice about their situation. 

Players like Federer and del Potro, both Grand Slam winners, didn't get any seed protection due to their unfortunate injury problems, but came back nonetheless.

If the WTA wants to make special exceptions for players who take maternity leave, that's their prerogative, but that does have the effect of penalising other players who worked hard to achieve their results, but then not get as high a seeding as they would have otherwise, because of special treatment. And if it were to be a special rule for players taking maternity leave, how about paternity leave for the male players?

Players coming back from time off, for whatever reason (unfortunate or otherwise), should be treated fairly, not in isolation, but the same as for all other players. No special rules for superstars. If the superstars have still got it, they will before long reaccumulate ranking points and thus may start to get the chance of an easier draw, once again. 

That's all theoretical though. In practice, there are frequently former highly ranked players coming back from injury facing top opponents in early rounds. If the players on the comeback can't win enough of those tough match-ups, then it suggests that they may no longer be deserving of a high ranking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

fxgai, I agree with your point about the seeding system entirely.

The only thing that I'll disagree with is that Blake's opinion is sexist. Rather, I'm willing to bet that his views are skewed by the fact that we're talking about Serena here, and Blake is a big Serena fan. Blake and Serena have a long history together - they were doubles partners occasionally (Hopman Cup), and Blake has stated that Serena ought to be thought of in the same elite athlete level as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, etc.: https://www.si.com/tennis/video/2017/06/28/serena-williams-john-mcenroe-reaction-james-blake

This was just Blake being biased and supporting someone he likes and respects.

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I think Blake has a point but he should have raised this months ago when Serena first came back to the WTA tour.

Saying it just now, and mentioning Naomi Osaka in the same context, sounds more like fear that Naomi Osaka will knock out Serena.....

Of course if Serena knocks out Naomi instead, I have a feeling Blake will just be silent ....

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Serena should just go out and beat Naomi Osaka and this would not be much of a story.

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Blake, the former U.S. player and new tournament director of the Miami Open

That's why he's saying it now, so that his tournament won't lose attendance/viewers

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