Monthly Archives: August 2006

2006 U.S. Open: Baghdatis, Agassi, Becker & the Bahamas

Baghdatis had the momentum, he had the shots, he had the defense, he just didn’t have the gas.

Damn I wish I’d been in Andre Agassi’s bedroom in whatever luxurious New York hotel room he woke up in this morning. Not because I lust for his body, I don’t, he’s not my type at all, but I would like to know if he woke up with the same shooting pain he had after his match with Andrei Pavel that led him to get a second cortisone shot in two months for a bulging disk. I can make a good guess because he was limping after last night’s five-set marathon with Marco Baghdatis, a titanic match that was so good it will overtake the Agassi-Blake semifinal for the favorite rainy-day filler.

Both players were dressed in Spider-Man shirts and shorts courtesy of Adidas as Agassi got out to a two sets to none lead while Baghdatis seemed to sleep-walk through the match. Baghdatis finally got a break in the third set to win it but Agassi was up 4-0 in the fourth before Baggy started breaking him down. One break, two breaks – after a missed overhead during the second break to the crowd’s delight, Baghdatis squatted down, crossed himself and flashed the biggest smile in the world, the show was on and he was taking in every bit of it – then a third break and it was time for another five set match for the 36-year-old body and its owner, Agassi, who was losing momentum quickly.

But there was more if you were paying attention, Baghdatis had started to rub his quads and in the fifth set, the cramps arrived in full force. You could say Baghdatis was as heroic as Agassi who took a needle for the match, here he was hitting shot for shot with Agassi despite barely being able to stand up, but it’s closer to say that Baghdatis’ conditioning finally let him down when it counted the most. It’s o.k to be lax about conditioning in circuit events, they’re three setters, Baghdatis has always counted on adrenaline to carry him through the five setters at slams, but now he has to get serious. Baghdatis had the momentum, he had the shots, he had the defense, he just didn’t have the gas. It wasn’t just Agassi who limped off the court, Baghdatis joined him in pain.

Wow, but what a show it was. The younger version of Agassi against the old guy on his last legs hitting the ball every bit as well as his young self. Which brings us to Agassi’s next match with one B. Becker as in Benjamin Becker. Tennis diary readers know Benni well and one reader in particular, Bruno, wondered why I picked Filippo Volandri over Becker in the first round especially considering that Volandri lost in the first round of every hard court tournament he entered in 2005. Bruno was right, I was wrong, but I don’t think either of us expected Becker to defeat Sebastien Grosjean and even if we did, not by 6-1, 6-2 in the last two sets.

When I spoke with Becker in Los Angeles he said his goal was to get into the top 100 by the end of the year. I assume another goal was to win a second round match in a circuit tournament. A third goal might have been to reach the second round at a slam. Done, done, and done. Time for a new list.

What’s the big attraction? Residents of the Bahamas pay no income tax.

Becker’s prize? A Saturday prime time match-up on television with Mr. Agassi. Becker has a chance because Agassi might have run out of effective medical options. After the match last night Agassi said:

…we’re making some adjustments now, some anti-inflammatory options. Believe me, I’ll exhaust all possibilities short of taking too many risks for long term. I do want to make sure I give myself the best look here, but I don’t want to compromise the rest of my life.

A second cortisone shot in two weeks falls into the category of risk for the long term, cortisone is a steroid that has serious side effects and Agassi has already taken more shots than one body should. After the Pavel match, when someone asked him if he could last through the tournament Agassi said, “It would be the first time in a year if I manage to pull that off.” He’s talking about the U.S. Open last year where he reached the final against Roger Federer.

Either way Becker has lifted himself well into the top 100 with more publicity than he ever hoped for and possibly more than he might like. It’s easier to sneak up on the field than have a coming out party in front of 23,000 rowdy and sometimes obnoxious New York fans, especially against their current hero.

Becker’s coaches, however, must love the publicity. Jean-Luc Fontanot and Tarik Benhabiles (Roddick’s first coach) manage a stable of players and they have big plans. Along with Norman Canter, Becker’s agent, they are building a tennis complex in the Bahamas that will be a training center for ATP and WTA players. The complex is called Tennis World Institute on Grand Bahama Island and you can see here that it has everything you might need including five clay courts, fifteen hard courts, a stadium, a lap pool, a jogging path, a fun pool – of course – and something called a port-cochere. I am too uncouth to know exactly what that might be but Wikipedia tells me that it’s literally a “carriage porch,” a structure that provides cover so that you can alight from your car without having to deal with that stiff tropical breeze floating off the Caribbean.

When I spoke with Fontanot at the Los Angeles tournament, he said the group was in discussion with (un-named) tour pros who are interested in training at the facility. What’s the big attraction? Residents of the Bahamas pay no income tax. Floridians pay no state income tax and that’s nice but no income tax at all is that much better and you’re just a puddle jumper away from West Palm Beach.

If you’re considering relocating to the Bahamas, I hope you like tropical storms. Ernesto passed over the Bahamas and is on its way to New York. The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, how happy I am to say that, doesn’t have a port-cochere, its stadium is roofless, but whether the Agassi-Becker match goes on as scheduled tomorrow or gets moved back by Ernesto, I just can’t wait.

See also:
Benjamin Becker’s Journey to the ATP
Becker and the NCAA
Los Angeles Says Goodbye to Andre

2006 U.S. Open: Maria the global fashion icon

Tennis bounced back with a vengeance today at the U.S. Open after a day of rain. Nothing over the top has happened yet, it’s too early, but there have been a few interesting events.

Sharapova could be the one to drag U.S. tennis fans into a global state of mind…

A rowdy New York crowd yelling at Andrei Pavel and throwing f-bombs at each other while pushing Agassi to victory.

Another cortisone shot for Agassi.

Serena Williams in a bronze and chocolate outfit with a wandering gold pattern. The bling was on her dress. “Yayes baby.”

Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors chatting on the way to their prospective practice courts – is this 1986 or 2006?

6′ 4″ Gael Monfils skating all over the court tracking down popshots from 5′ 8″ Michael Russell.

29 aces, and a loss, by Jose Acasuso.

A drop shot off an overhead from Juan Monaco. Then a backhand volley lob from Monaco followed by a (failed) between the legs response from James Blake. Also from Blake, another 5-2 lead squandered, a tweaked quad muscle from a scissors kick celebration, and six match points before, finally, a first round victory.

A Kristian Pless shot aimed at Andy Roddick’s head followed by trash talking from Roddick and a smile from the court side Connors because that’s his kind of tennis.

Maria Sharapova in a black evening/tennis dress with a spangled collar. It looked like appropriate attire for a cocktail party on the star fleet vessel Enterprise. Even so, much sleeker than the baby doll look and more befitting of a nineteen-year-old fashion icon.

U.S. Tennis players are sinking while tennis has become a global sport but Sharapova could be the one to drag U.S. tennis fans into a global state of mind, a state of mind where they might appreciate a champion tennis player regardless of country of origin.

Sharapova is the perfect choice. She’s lived in the U.S. since she was seven years old and she’s a fashion icon. When we think of fashion, we don’t care what country it comes from. I bet you don’t even know where Adidas is based (Germany).

And Sharapova has a U.S. boyfriend who happens to be the most popular U.S. player – Andy Roddick. He’s not David Beckham and soccer is far and away more popular than tennis in most of the world, but Maria and Andy could approach the popularity of Becks and his wife Posh Spice and that would translate into fantastic media coverage. Maria and Andy might not appreciate the paparazzi popping out of the bushes every time they turn around but they must have known what they were getting themselves into when they started dating.

Look at the featured matches tonight at the Open – Maria followed by Andy. Of course it could be a deal with the devil, most any relationship breaks up under the pressure of extreme media attention, look at Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, they should have gotten a percentage of People Magazine’s profits they were on the cover so often. But if Sharapova keeps improving and knocks out a few more slams and Roddick returns to the top four or five, it might be just as valuable as an Agassi-Blake semifinal.

See also Wimbledon 2006: America Out Of Fashion.

My Squeaker With Andre (And Andrei)

Day Two at the US Open is nearly as full of puddles and wetness as Day One yesterday, so all the boys and girls are going to be lined up like planes on the runway, waiting to get going with their matches. Today, Tuesday, none of the scheduled matches were completed. Argh. Bone-picking time. Let’s sift through the detritus of half-baked matches, nearly baked matches, and see what we can come up with.

One big shocker occurred yesterday on the men’s side, with the ouster of Number 3 Ivan Ljubicic, at the hands of the Beautiful One, Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. Having bet my last time on Ivan this Fantasy season, I was disappointed to see the Croat go out. He has made me some nice phony money this year. But “Fi-lo” has a game as beautiful to look at as he is, with that sinewy, curling lefty service motion and more comfortability at the net than nearly anyone from Spain has a right to be. My co-writer made noises about how Ljubicic was not all that certain a bet on hard courts; I should have heeded her advice. One man down, seven to go. You would have thought the powers that be at USA Network could have slipped us a bit of coverage on this match during all the rain delays. But no. We got to see the handshake at the net and that was it. The Number Three player in the world and he still gets little, if any, respect.

My other picks for the Open are Federer, Tursunov, Haas, Murray, Roddick, Robredo and Nadal. None of them have played yet. Federer was not scheduled until Wednesday anyway. Now he will probably get backed up into Thursday. As mellow a guy as Roger Federer is, waiting around for four days to start your first match must be a real pain in the butt. He may have to go shopping for more shirts. Or take up poker, if he hasn’t yet.

Wimbledon had a lot of really hot weather this year. The Open will probably get the rain we should have seen more of in London. Go figure. Global warming does not exist, as we all know.

Andre Agassi does exist, and he proved it again last night in stunning fashion, against a player – Andrei Pavel – who apparently did not hear the word that he was supposed to be cannon fodder for Andre on this night. Earlier I had made the comment to one of our Fantasy players that Pavel could be the sort of trouble that Andre Agassi would not like to face in the early rounds of a tournament. I saw him play a few years ago, and he looked very solid. Very workmanlike. Then he dropped off the radar a bit, but he re-emerged last night and gave Andre nearly more than he had bargained for. In spite of the fact Andre kind of owns him a bit, given his 5-1 record over the Romanian.

Pavel was as steady as a rock, not just in the first set, but through the third set, which also ran to a tiebreaker. Three straight tiebreaks concluded the first three sets. Only in the fourth did Pavel finally go away, allowing Andre to close the match out at 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2.

If you had to pick a backhand to teach to a new player, you could hold up Pavel as a really good example. His backhand is an especially fine weapon. Not a big backswing, not a long follow-through, but just a short, compact stroke with a fair amount of pace. Pavel probably unloaded on at least six backhand winners up the line throughout the match. “Well, we know Pavel can hit the backhand,” says McEnroe in the booth, as yet another deft shot made its way up the line for a winner.

Pavel handled the forehand well too, and he served with relentless precision. Most surprising on this night was that the guy just would not go away. Andre fans kept waiting, but it did not happen, at least not through the first three sets. Andre was breathing rather heavily and he seemed to want the pace of the match to proceed very quickly, signs that are never good to see with Agassi on court.

Doesn’t he want to savor the moment here, I wondered. I felt worried for Agassi. Pavel was out-steadying the master.

The third set tiebreaker proved to be the crucial point in the match. Pavel got down quickly 0-2, then got one point back when Andre drilled a forehand long. Pavel pulled out a nifty drop shot, one of many he used effectively in the match, then hit a quick lob over Andre’s head when he came into net. Andre couldn’t handle the lob, and it was 2 all now in the tiebreak. Pavel then netted an easy forehand, then knocked a backhand long, and Agassi tormented him with a chip backhand that Pavel could not handle. 5-2 Andre in the lead.

Andre would tempt fate with the Backhand God at several points in the match, but Pavel was more than ready in this tiebreak. On a second serve, Andre went to Pavel’s backhand, and was rewarded by seeing a chipped cross-court shot flit by him for a winner, 5-3. But Pavel then overhit his next shot and now was down with three set points against him. Pavel tried to tighten things up, knocking another wonderful back hand shot up the line that Andre hit wide. One Set Point saved for Pavel. Then Pavel hit out another great drop shot, this time off the forehand from the baseline. It just clears the net, and although Andre is there he nets the shot. Set Point #2 erased for Pavel. Andre tempts fate yet again on a second serve, and Pavel says “I’m ready” with a great backhand cross-court winner. As McEnroe observed nervously, Pavel was practically running into the shot in his eagerness to cream it. He did. 6-6 in the tiebreak now.

Is the match going to turn on these few points here, or what?

Andre wisely decides he should pick on Pavel’s forehand instead, since this is the stroke that seems to be breaking down as fatigue sets in. On a second serve to the forehand, Pavel overhits his shot, 7-6. Pavel sets up to serve, but Andre clinches a second round birth with a great inside-out forehand cross-court winner. The set is his in yet another tiebreak. A broken spirit now, Pavel goes rather meekly, 6-2 in the fourth.

Whew. Now Agassi gets Marcos Baghdatis in the next round, and I don’t think he can escape going down to the Cypriot. In a way, I would rather see Agassi lose to someone like Baghdatis, rather than someone like Pavel. Marcos plays a lot like Andre, he should be the one to beat the guy and carry on the tradition of spectacular ground-stroking tennis. With his buoyant personality too, he is a direct descendant of Andre Agassi. Of course we’d all love to see Agassi move as far as he can here, but this is said with my heart rather than my head.

A few other people won some matches too yesterday, including Roddick, Robredo and Baghdatis. Three former women champions, Kuznetsova, Henin-Hardenne, and Davenport also made their way into the winner’s circle. Happily, their bodies and recent injuries seem manageable right now.

Serena Williams has not taken court yet, we caught glimpses of her fleetingly in practice sessions. She looks a bit slimmed down since playing last month in California, but still. Girl, I think you need to lose more weight, you have that bubble butt and it won’t be going away. But wouldn’t your knee enjoy life so much more if you took off about ten pounds for starters?

Just a thought from a scrawny little thing who could do with those ten pounds. Pass it on over, baby.

Billie Jean we love you

You know how some times you work too hard and you lose your inspiration, your creative well runs dry? It could be too much time figuring out how to install a wireless router so you can use your laptop in the dining room or too many hours looking up the head-to-head records of obscure players in the US Open draw who’ve never played each other any way or too many phone calls to customer support to find out why they never received the receipt that shows you really did pay your property taxes even if it was a few months late. When your inspiration is low and nothing comes out when you sit down to write, it’s time to go out on the town.

McEnroe said it: “…she is the single most important person in the history of women’s sports.”

I started out Saturday night at a parking lot party for the Carmada (as in armada) Project. It was a caravan of driving art modules in a cold storage facility in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to a Saab that looked like an orange orb with stage smoke spilling out of its windows and a pickup truck with a cactus garden in its bed, there was a woman sitting on a fifty foot long path of sewed together quilts making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sunday night I went to Sunset Junction in Silver Lake. It’s not your usual street fair, most street fairs consist of food booths selling food you could easily buy without going to a street fair, but Sunset Junction focuses on music. As soon as I stepped into the gate I stood in a crowd listening to Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men whose name suggests what they are, a blues band. Alvin is the singer and the lead guitarist and he’s just knock-down good at what he’s been doing for many years, the singing and the playing and the stories just flow from this guy.

After that I wandered to the other end of the fair and hooked up with my friends known to me as the “girl gang” to see Nona Hendrix. You can see a picture of her here. I love you Nona! She used to wear space age costumes and lounge around the stage with Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles. She had the whole street jumping and we were all trying to move our hips like her sexy backup singers. I always feel out of place at the Junction because I’m too squeamish to get a tattoo and there was a woman next to me with seven or eight inch dark red nails curled around her fingers. Not my thing but I loved the crowd and the show and, best of all, I was re-inspired. My little writing notebook was starting to fill up again.

But the best was yet to come. Monday night was opening night at the U.S. Open and I had a front row seat to a huge television variety show featuring every tennis player who ever mattered to me including Jimmy Connors, God love him, with a handshake and kiss for everyone. Connors and John McEnroe were kidding with each other and Chris Evert, Venus Williams, and Martina Navratilova were in the house. Most of all, so was my choice as the number tennis player of all time, Billie Jean King.

Yes, it has finally happened, the USTA National Tennis Center is now officially called the Billie Jean National Tennis Center and every one was there to celebrate. I’m not sure why Billie Jean didn’t ask Elton John instead of Diana Ross, who sang God Bless America, to come to the ceremony. I remember Billie Jean spending some time waggling her bum as a backup singer with Elton’s band. On the other hand, I can’t quite see Elton John singing God Bless America. It’s not quite like Jimmy Hendryx singing the Star Spangled Banner but it’s close.

I had a wonderful time and I’m telling you, I was in tears as Billie Jean walked out onto the court. I stood up and gave her a standing ovation in my little office here in Los Angeles. McEnroe said it: “…she is the single most important person in the history of women’s sports.”

I never burned my bra but that’s because I never needed to wear one. But, even though my boyfriend at the time had season tickets in the front row along the third base line at Fenway Park, I missed the sixth game of the 1975 World Series – the one where Carlton Fisk hit a twelfth inning home run for the Red Sox to send the series with the Cincinnati Reds to a seventh game – so I could go to a meeting of the Massachusetts Feminist Federal Credit Union. That should demonstrate my feminist credentials. Billie Jean was one of our leaders. She took tons of crap as a public symbol of the feminist movement for beating the male chauvinist piggy Bobby Riggs and breaking away from the tennis establishment to create a separate women’s tennis tour.

But we weren’t just there to see Billie Jean King. It was also the first match in Andre Agassi’s last run at the US Open. What else can be said, sports is entertainment and no one was more entertaining than Andre Agassi. Agassi played Andrei Pavel after the ceremony.

It is also Martina Navratilova’s last run at the U.S. Open.

And, possibly, Lindsay Davenport’s last run. That’s sad because Lindsay just dropped out of the top ten which must be the first time since Billie Jean King and Gladys Heldman started the women’s tour in 1970 that no U.S. woman is in the top ten. But then, really, it just means that Billie Jean’s influence has spread out so far that women everywhere play the game. In the U.S. Open draw there are nine women from Russia, two from China, one from Taiwan, one from Serbia-Montenegro, one from Austria, nine from France… anyway, you get the picture.

As the ceremony ended and a plaque for Billie Jean was unveiled by the mayor of New York, Aretha Franklin was there in voice only singing “all I’m asking is for a little respect when you come home, yeah baby, when you get home. R-E-S-P-E-C-T… ” Billie Jean did a high-five circuit of the stadium and it was time for some tennis.

As Andre walked out to start his match, a fan held up a sign that said “Andre’s House.” True, tonight it is, but it is now, and will always be, Billie Jean’s house too.

See also:
Billie Jean Gets What She Deserves
Los Angeles Says Goodbye to Andre.

The ATP: eight days a week

This weekend all of the ATP players are in New York for the US Open. After the players gave Andre Agassi a two minute ovation and ATP president Etienne de Villiers gave Agassi a 1970 bottle of Chateau Petrus, de Villiers announced big changes for the 2007 ATP season. More marketing, more prize money, a round robin format, fewer five set matches and an eight day work week – two good ideas and a few band aids for the deeper problem.

More marketing, more prize money, a round robin format, fewer five set matches and an eight day work week – two good ideas and a few band aids for the deeper problem.

First the good ideas:

1. Marketing.

Here is a quote from de Villiers:

We plan to transform men’s professional tennis into an integrated entertainment business based on what makes sense to fans, players, tournaments and media. We are going to actively create more stars, enhance the entertainment element of tournaments and place a much greater emphasis on marketing and promotion.

I’m down with that. Been to an NBA game lately? Even an WNBA game? There’s hardly a minute that goes by without cheerleaders cavorting or fans competing for face time on the jumbotron or a live band blaring from the upper reaches of the arena. I’m not advocating fuchsia tennis outfits at Wimbledon or dancers dressed in skimpy Ralph Lauren dresses doing cartwheels on the grass during changeovers, but it would be nice to see a looser, more hip atmosphere and a lot more kids running around the tournament grounds.

The Tennis Channel already does this at their tennis tournament. This year in Las Vegas – the epitome of “integrated entertainment” – you could have sent your kids to Kids Day, taken tennis lessons, played table tennis, table hockey or paddle ball, and watched the Wilson World Stringing Championships as well as watch a simple tennis match.

It’s a good idea and so is the newly announced multi-million dollar marketing fund which all tournaments will contribute to. The ATP should take NASCAR as an example. NASCAR has gone from a regional sport to a big time national sport by marketing its stars. Harlequin publishes bodice-rippers featuring hunky fictional NASCAR drivers with titles like In the Groove and kids can bounce in bounce houses while their parents mill around the infield. I know, it’s demeaning, marketing to women with the allure of idealized romance as if we don’t drive race cars ourselves, we do, okay then, how about romance novels featuring male and female tennis players? How about All the Right Strokes or I Married a Dirtballer or Mixed Doubles. That’s all I can come up with on short notice, feel free to suggest a few titles of your own. After all, earlier this year, Psychology Today reported that women who read romance novels have 74% more sex than women who don’t read romance novels.

2. Round-robin format.
The ATP will start using a round-robin format in selected tournaments instead of the current single round elimination. Players will be divided into groups and play one match against everyone in their group. Players with the best record will move on to single elimination rounds. The year-end Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai uses the this format.

It’s is a good idea because fans can see James Blake or Roger Federer more than once even if they lose their first match. It also solves a problem I have been complaining about for some time. Players can be on the tour for years and seldom play each other. Look at the draw for the U.S. Open starting this week: if Tomas Berdych and Dmitry Tursunov meet in the third round, that will be their first meeting even though Berdych has been on the tour for four years and Tursunov for five. If Marcos Baghdatis and Richard Gasquet meet in the quarterfinals, that will their first match. If Tommy Haas and Andy Murray meet in quarterfinals, that will be their first match.

…what’s the point of a round-robin if it means watching more matches with the same low-ranked players?

If top players are in the same tournament, they will play each other more often in a round-robin and more rivalries will develop. Short of Lleyton Hewitt versus Guillermo Coria, which is pretty dead at the moment with Coria’s mental difficulties and Hewitt’s injuries, and the Federer-Nadal battle, there aren’t any rivalries in tennis.

But that’s only if the top players show up and this brings up the deeper problem: there are too many tournaments on the calendar and many of them take place on different continents in the same week. The end result is that fans see few of the top players because they’re spread out all over the world and what’s the point of a round-robin if it means watching more matches with the same low-ranked players?

Which brings us to the band-aids.

3. Increase in prize money.
The minimum prize money will go up by 10% next year. This is meant to soothe the players because tournaments will now start on Sundays and end on Sundays. The first Sunday gives the tournaments more broadcast exposure and an extra day for matches and entertainment. But it also means that players now have an eight day work week instead of seven. Even if players don’t have a match on Sunday, somebody has to play in those pro-am tournaments. I can see how it helps marketing but how does it reduce withdrawals by already over scheduled tennis players?

4. Fewer best of five matches.
No more five hour Federer-Nadal matches on clay such as the final of the Masters Event in Rome this spring. Good thing because Federer and Nadal both dropped out of the next tournament due to exhaustion. But it’s a small thing compared to scheduling. Rome is followed immediately by another Masters Series event on clay, Hamburg. That’s two one-week Masters Series events in a row and it happens again during the US Open Series.

The term round-robin comes from 17th or 18th century France. When a group of peasants presented a petition to the king with an idea that displeased him, the king liked to behead the first two or three people on the list to discourage similar thoughts in the rest of the population. To get around this problem, peasants signed petitions with a circular design that looked like a ribbon – ruban is the French word for ribbon – thus equalizing responsibility for the offending idea. ATP players seem equally cowed. James Blake and Ivan Ljubicic, both members of the ATP Player Council, applauded de Villier’s announcement with nary a mention of the longer work week or the burdensome schedule.

They could be afraid they’d get their heads cut off but the smartest move for the players would be to create their own separate players’ union. They currently have three seats on the board of directors of the ATP but so do the tournament directors. [blockquote]De Villiers has conflicting responsibilities, he has to represent both the players and the tournaments – it can’t be done. His job is to make as much money as possible for the tournament directors while also taking care of the players. More money for tournament directors means more work for the players – they are opposing ideas.

The ATP needs to do something. In the U.S. they just lost ESPN coverage of the French Open to the Tennis Channel which is broadcast to 89% fewer households. ESPN dropped the French Open because it loses money broadcasting the slams.

More changes are promised and they will include changes to the schedule. If de Villiers has the nerve to remove tournaments from the schedule, I will applaud him. If he doesn’t, I’ll lay some of the blame on the players.

You can read about who controls the scheduling on the ATP and WTA tour here