Monthly Archives: March 2008

Motherhood, Rules of Engagement, and Fighting

Join us for the men’s Miami final! We’ll be blogging live on Sunday, April 6th, at 10am (PST)/1pm (EST)/6pm (CET). Join in and we’ll post your comments live.

Lindsay Davenport happily sent Ana Ivanovic home, Andy Roddick has big news, and a fight between Guillermo Canas and Fernando Gonzalez was interrupted by rudeness.


The sensuous art of belly dancing performed by Heather Shoopman (Photo by Nina Rota)


Lindsay Davenport returned to the WTA tour last fall after giving birth to baby Jagger and cleaned up on the minor circuit of Tier III and Tier IV tournaments – she won four of the five lower level events she entered. The Australian Open and Indian Wells didn’t go so well though, so when she faced off against Ana Ivanovic in Miami yesterday, I predicted a straight set loss, but here she was up 3-0 in the first set and it would only get worse.

Ivanovic faded as the match went on and lost the match in straight sets by the somewhat shocking score of 6-4, 6-2. Let’s give Davenport some credit. There are lots of players who hit the ball hard but Davenport was coached by Robert Lansdorp – as was Maria Sharapova – and he doesn’t go for this wraparound your neck topspin crap. He trains you to hit through the ball and that means Davenport’s balls go deep.

When someone asked Ivanovic if Davenport hits the ball as heavy as today’s players, she said:

It’s different. Because these days there are so many girls that are hitting really powerful, and they try to dominate the game. But with her it was different. She was playing also very deep, which other girls usually don’t play as deep. So after the serve I felt straightaway under pressure. It was hard for me to direct the ball and control the court.

Ivanovic was caught again and again trying to pick up hard shots off the baseline but, like a few players these past few weeks, she was a step slow. Since we’ve been doing theories lately, let’s call it the Middle East theory of exhaustion or, maybe, the Williams Sister’s theory of relaxation. While WTA and ATP players were recovering from Dubai, the Williams Sisters took off for Bangalore in India then took off two weeks during Indian Wells for reasons that have been well chronicled in our pages.

Most of the top players who played Dubai and Indian Wells are floundering in Miami. Andy Roddick won Dubai and he’s still alive here (see below) but he lost his first match in Indian Wells. David Nalbandian reached the semifinals in Indian Wells and lost his first match in Miami. Roger Federer passed through to the fourth round today after Robin Soderling retired and Federer reached the semifinals at Indian Wells but he lost his first match at Dubai. Soderling, by the way, retired due to heat exhaustion so the conditions aren’t helping players either.

Novak Djokovic won the title in Indian Wells as did Ivanovic and they’re both gone. So far nobody seems to resent Serena and Venus their two week vacation but then, these days, players never say anything remotely controversial, especially when it comes to other players.

I had one more thing to say about Davenport. I’ve been reading a book called Body, Mind and Sport by John Douillard. Douillard states that he can get you into the zone on a regular basis by teaching you to train at a lower heart rate thus keeping you relaxed, which is a prerequisite for getting into the zone. I haven’t put many of the principles in the book into practice yet though I have started breathing through my nose while I play tennis – try it, it does keep your heart rate down – but I did wonder about Davenport while I was reading it.

If you’re having fun, you are by definition relaxed and Davenport is having fun because she’s getting a free pass. No one expected her to come back and she has no hard goals except, maybe, as she said after the match, to not look like a fool. She looked like she was in the zone at times during her match with Ivanovic. How can you get this feeling when you’re Ivanovic or Djokovic or some other top tennis player? Do you have to learn exotic yogic practices to remain relaxed in stressful competitive situations or have a baby?

There are techniques that help you relax under stress and I imagine some of the top players have either stumbled upon them or paid to learn them from a sports psychologist. Davenport is getting them from a somewhat unusual situation and I’m jealous because I probably play with more angst than she does at the moment and, under the circumstances, that’s pretty dumb. She did lose to Dinara Safina today so we’ll see if happiness brings her a Tier I title at some point in the future.

Rules of Engagement

The only interesting news about Andy Roddick – besides poor serving in his win over Ivo Minar today in Miami – is the announcement of his engagement to model Brooklyn Decker. His tennis match wasn’t anywhere near as momentous as that little bit of information.

I will say a few things about Minar. He’s an annoying opponent somewhat like WTA player Anastasia Myskina used to be. Myskina is not likely to come back soon, by the way, unless she pulls a Lindsay Davenport (excuse me, Mrs. Leach, as it says on her tennis sneakers). Wow, there’s marriage in the air today which reminds me: I went to a book publishing party at a fabulous house in Brentwood yesterday afternoon which featured one of the more sensuous belly dancers I’ve ever laid eyes on: Heather Shoopman. She performed at the party to honor the release of my friend Sarah Forth’s new book, Eve’s Bible. That fabulous house was jammed with arts and crafts objects from all over the world – everything from outsized Day of the Dead masks to tiny balancing figurines made from gourds.

The man and woman who own the house are now splitting up and as I walked around the house, I couldn’t help thinking how difficult it’ll be to split up such a trove of objects between two people who’ve lived together for years. All I’m saying is that Roddick should seriously consider a prenuptial agreement just in case he has to divide things up, you know, some time in the future. Oh, and he really should get a companion for his fiancée who was in the stands today. She looked rather like she didn’t know what to do with herself.

Where was I? Oh yes, Myskina won’t be coming back anytime soon unless she pulls a Lindsay Davenport because she’s pregnant. When she was on the WTA tour, she’d drive you crazy because she never gave you any rhythm to work with. Minar is similar. He’s not a small guy – he’s 6ft (182cm), 187lbs. (85Kg) – but he plays like he’s a small guy. He doesn’t hit the ball hard, he just moves it around a lot to make up for lack of force and it gave him the edge on the baseline against Roddick and got him to the first set tiebreaker. Once he was there, though, he couldn’t do much.

Having said that, Minar only lost the match by one break and he was able to get back on serve in the second set after losing his serve early. He hung around and hung around until he pissed Roddick off enough to send a ball into orbit but he just didn’t have much in the way of offensive weapons. By the way, we won’t get to see that Roddick – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga matchup because Tsonga went out tamely to Julien Benneteau. We may have to settle for Roger Federer – Roddick XVII in the semis.


It was wild and crazy last night during the match between Guillermo Canas and Fernando Gonzalez. Gonzalez’ Chilean fans were carrying on like this was a soccer match complete with flag waving and chants. The chair umpire quieted the crowd bilingually and he did it often. Not only that, but the linespeople kept making errors so the players weren’t too happy either.

Gonzalez was playing intelligent tactical tennis. He knew Canas would rather stick a fork in his eye than come to the net so Gonzalez kept feeding him short balls until Canas had to come to the net then passed him. When Canas didn’t move forward, the soft balls got him out of position and left him vulnerable to Gonzalez’ power shots.

I was planning to look at how much Guillermo Canas’ career has suffered from his drug suspension by comparing his pre and post-suspension career because it looked like he was headed for a loss – Gonzalez was about the close out the first set against him, but a bit of rude fan behavior intervened.

Gonzalez failed to cash in four set points and Canas crawled back to 6-6 in the tiebreaker. Gonzalez was then serving when someone yelled out in the middle of his service motion to intentionally disturb him. I suppose it’s like those camera shutter going off in the middle of Tiger Woods’ backswing. Gonzalez stopped his serve and spectators booed and pointed to the perpetrator. After restarting his serve, Gonzalez hit a forehand wide on the next point and, one point later, Canas had set point and the first set.

After the tiebreaker ended, the chair umpire called the ATP supervisor so they could find the guy who yelled and throw him out of the stadium. The perpetrator was too smart, though, he’d vacated his seat. On the one hand, the idiot who yelled out interrupted a tense, dramatic match and crossed the line from spectator to intruder. On the other hand, and this goes for golf too, tennis is sometimes just too precious. Baseball pitchers probably hear things they’d be embarrassed to repeat in the middle of their windup and NBA fans take pride in their ability to distract an opposing player at the free throw line.

For me the rules are the same as they are in a personal relationship. You can yell and scream and generally emote as much as you like, doesn’t bother me. If you’re mean or abusive, though, you’re out the door. I’d love to hear chanting and screaming throughout a tennis match because I’d be thrilled that tennis was generating so much emotion. But if someone is verbally abusive or interferes physically in any way, they’re out the door. That goes for much of the student cheering section at college basketball games in the U.S. these days, those students should be out the door too.

It was a fantastic match. Gonzalez hit an amazing between the legs netcord winner and Canas played his usual relentless defense, but Gonzalez’ spirit never quite recovered from losing the first set. He did go up a break in the second set but he’d returned to his impatient self and was hitting out more than working his strategy. Canas managed to break Gonzalez twice late in the set to win the match, 7-6(6), 7-5

What do you think, shall we make tennis full volume or keep the polite silence?

Chaos Theory

Have Roger Federer’s difficulties thrown the tour into chaos?

Early in the 20th Century, Henri Poincare discovered that a small perturbation – a small change in a system – can lead to chaos which is characterized by random behavior. A few people on this site wondered if Roger Federer’s difficulties have caused a ripple effect on the ATP tour leading to unpredictable events. I wondered if players are feeling additional pressure because now they are expected to excel whereas before they had a built in excuse: if they didn’t win a tournament, who could blame them because Federer always won.

Two weeks ago, Andy Roddick won the tournament in Dubai and beat the number 2 and 3 ranked players in the process then lost his first match in Indian Wells. Mardy Fish got to the final in Indian Wells and lost his first match in Miami. Novak Djokovic won the title in Indian Wells and he lost his first match in Miami too. We just finished the round of 64 at Miami and already David Ferrer, Andy Murray, Tommy Robredo, and Richard Gasquet are gone.

Djokovic’s loss is a big deal because he won the title in Miami last year and he had a chance to catch up with Rafael Nadal at the end of the clay court season if he did well at Miami and earned a lot of points on clay, but now he’ll lose valuable points. Nadal himself has to win all of the clay court tournaments he enters except Hamburg where he needs to reach the final else he’ll lose points. Federer is not as dead as we may have thought.

Federer started his Miami journey with a match against Gael Monfils. Monfils got an absolute sitter right on top of the net in the first set. He smashed it hard but the ball bounced right near Federer who stuck out his racket and bunted the ball over Monfils’ head right onto the baseline. Monfils couldn’t get the ball back.

Monfils is like a bounding Bambi. At one point he attempted a jump backhand while running from one side of the court to the other and another point had him doing a cartwheel in an attempt to reverse direction. You’ll also see him sliding and flailing and falling. When was the last time you saw, oh let’s say, David Nalbandian, lying flat on his stomach on the court as Monfils was today? He’s a bounding, boisterous youngster with a youngster’s typical lack of direction.

He should be peaking with his good friend Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and here he is ranked in the 60’s when he was, at one time, in the low 20’s. He changes coaches more often than Andy Murray. In the last two years he moved from Thierry Champion to Pier Gauthier to Tarik Benhabiles then back to Champion – there may have been a few more I don’t know about – and his ranking has gone back and forth between the 70’s and the 30’s. He didn’t play badly but he lost in straight sets to Federer by the score of 6-3, 6-4.

When I was in Indian Wells last week, the organizers of the tournament explained that they switched from ESPN to Fox Sports because ESPN would only give them eight hours of live coverage and four hours tape delayed total – the men’s semifinals would have been broadcast at 3am. That’s looking pretty good at the moment. Fox Sports substituted hockey for tennis today and the Tennis Channel broadcast the Federer match then switched to an interview with Mats Wilander instead of giving us two full hours of tennis.

The announcers, Doug Adler and Robbie Koenig, also couldn’t pronounce Monfils’ name. The correct pronunciation is “Monfees” but they preferred “Monfee” which would incorrect even if the name did not have an irregular pronunciation. It shouldn’t be so hard you know, every other word in English is irregular. The announcers did help out in one way. One of them had a conversation with Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, who lamented the fact that everyone thinks Federer is losing it. According to Godsick, Federer is not losing it, he’s just a step slow because he’s been ill.

When Federer lost to Mardy Fish in Indian Wells, the measurement was probably closer to two or three steps but his point is well taken. For all the mental aspects of Federer’s game we could talk about, his most important asset is his movement. His smooth moves get him into position to run around his backhand and give him time to choose which shot he wants to use.

Why don’t other players have as many shots as Federer does? Andy Murray has the variety but not the power and most players have the typical threesome: power forehand, power backhand, and backhand slice. (I’m ignoring Fabrice Santoro because no matter how diverse his game, he has yet to make it to a Masters Series final let alone win one of those things and I’m talking about baseline shots here.) Players may change the speed of their shots and the arc and move the ball around, and Nadal, for sure, flattens his ball out for hard court and grass, but few players change the spin on their ball throughout a match as Federer does and few players use such a variety of slices.

Fish put it this way after beating Federer last week:

He just puts so much topspin on it and he can flatten it out and he can spin it. Nadal has a spinny forehand like that, as well. He always spins it and it’s always heavy. Roger can flatten it out. You have no clue where he’s hitting it. He can pull it up the line on you as quick as he can hit it inside out.

Are players lazy? Are they keeping their game simple to insure proper execution under stressful conditions such as a third set tiebreaker in a Masters Series final? I’m gonna say that movement is part of the issue here. If you want to play with a variety of shots and spins, you need early preparation and that means superior movement. There’s lot of quick players on tour but it’s not just an issue of speed.

David Ferrer is quick but that doesn’t make him a good mover. A good mover is balletic and nimble and that does not describe Ferrer. It doesn’t describe many players. Instead of working at gym, players could be working at the barre if there weren’t such a stigma attached to ballet because agile feet will save you a lot of time. Monfils is quick and he’s rubbery, but he doesn’t get to balls in any way that could be described as graceful. Pete Sampras was graceful and Tsonga fits the description too and that’s one reason they’re such a joy to watch.

Who’s the most graceful player you’ve ever seen in the tennis world?

The drawback with lots of spins and shots is the simplicity factor I mentioned above. When your game goes off, it’s harder to get back and Federer is having trouble re-establishing his rhythm. He looked pretty good against Monfils today and he spent much more time at the net than usual. The way this tournament is shaking out, the chaos he seems to have kicked off may end up clearing the draw and going some distance to restoring the order we’ve become accustomed to. I’m not happy about that, I’m enjoying the chaos.

Dead Tennis Balls

Here’s a list of 50 great things you never knew you could do with a tennis ball. Can anyone add anything to the list besides unlocking your car when you’ve left your keys inside? Keep it clean, this is a G-rated blog.

I still didn’t get to rankings bonus points but I will because I think the ATP is going to reinstate them and they will affect the rankings as we know them today. Cheers, and if there’s anyone on site in Miami, check in.

Quick Hit: The Djoker T-Shirt


For everyone out there who thinks I don’t appreciate Novak Djokovic‘s game, check out my brand new Stickit Wear Djoker t-shirt featuring Nolo’s signature backhand. Stickit Wear screwed up my order and they sent me a few extra t-shirts in penance. If you’d like an identical t-shirt in size men’s small, all you have to do is email me a picture of yourself in your favorite sports t-shirt and I’ll send it on to you. My email is First come, first served, so to speak.

I will, of course, post the image on our website.

Miami Picks and Preview

My co-writer Nate just looked at the possible usurper to Roger Federer’s crown and found it hard to crown anyone but Novak Djokovic. A usurper is one who illegally seizes the crown of another and there’s nothing illegal in this case, it just seems that way because some of us might prefer the passionate Rafael Nadal or the promising Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to the sturdy but unspectacular Djokovic.

Djokovic will take one step closer to the kingdom if he sweeps the Indian Wells-Miami twofecta. That used to be Federer’s bailiwick – Federer swept these two tournaments in 2005 and 2006. Can Djokovic do it? Fatigue has been an issue for him and he seldom does well at consecutive Masters Series events with the exception of these two events last year: he reached the final at Indian Wells and took the title at Miami. However, he faced exactly one top ten player in each tournament and it was the same guy – Nadal.

I saw Nadal fend of three sets of howitzers from both Tsonga and James Blake at Indian Wells last week and I marveled at it until I saw him play Djokovic in the next match. Nadal’s racket was so slow by that point that he couldn’t handle Djokovic’s topspin shots and Djokovic is not known for topspin. Nadal had picked off two very troublesome players for Djokovic and paid for it.

This week, the rest of the field could well hand Djokovic the same gift by picking off those troublesome players before they get to him.

Federer’s Quarter

What about Federer? By the time he got to Mardy Fish last week he had nothing. All respect to Fish but Federer was out to lunch. It was probably a combination of two things: mononucleosis and discombobulation from the effects of mono. He reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and Indian Wells then suffered straight set losses presumably because he ran out of energy. Meanwhile, illness throws off your rhythm and feel. Sometimes he looks good and sometimes he doesn’t. I, for one, do not expect ever to see the Federer I saw before, at least not on a consistent basis.

Even if he fully recovers from mono, his psychological advantage is dissipating by the week and the rhythm in his game is way out of kilter. He may recover his rhythm and, if someone else besides Djokovic doesn’t come along in the next few years, the two of them will share some non-French Open slam wins, but I’m going to have to look elsewhere to see someone reach down and shift into a second and third gear in the middle of the second set and I miss that already.

The matchup everyone wants to see is Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. As much as I’d love to see Tsonga win a tournament one of these days, he’d have to get past Andy Roddick to do it and Miami is a lot faster than Indian Wells and that’s a good thing for Andy. It’s a good thing for Jo-Willy too but I haven’t seen enough consistency from him yet to put him in the quarterfinals.

Federer could face Robin Soderling in the third round and the pesty Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round but he looks pretty good in the early rounds and, of course, he’d love to meet up with Roddick and get his twelfth straight win over him.

Davydenko’s Quarter

Davydenko has never made it past the fourth round in Miami. Trust the little bugger to throw everything into chaos by getting out of this quarter but it’s doubtful because Mario Ancic, Andy Murray, Mardy Fish and David Ferrer are here too.

Ancic just recovered from mono himself and we could have some fun if Federer met up with him in the semis – mono a mono as Pat Davis puts it – and I can’t wait for Ancic to get to full strength because he tore up the tour in 2006. He plays well on all surfaces. He has an exceptional record indoors and a good record outdoors with a similar winning percentage on both clay and hard court. He’s not quite there yet, though, and Murray beat him indoors in Marseilles this year.

I don’t think Fish can continue the magic and as for David Ferrer, what is up with him? Anyone have a clue? Hyung-Taik Lee took him out in Indian Wells last week. If Murray gets past Ancic, he should be in the semis.

Nadal’s Quarter

Nadal could have faced Tommy Haas in the third round but Haas pulled out. He’s probably still suffering from the sinus infection that scratched him from his quarterfinal match with Federer last week. Poor guy, Haas is jinxed. My sympathy is tempered, though. He’s had three shoulder surgeries yet he hasn’t changed his service motion which is an over the top motion that strains the shoulder. If you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, Einstein has a word for you: insanity.

James Blake and David Nalbandian lurk in the upper part of this quarter. Nalbandian might have to get past Radek Stapanek but I’m assuming Nalbandian won’t lose the second set to him 6-0 before waking up as he did in Indian Wells. Stepanek wins with smoke and mirrors and a bit of gamesmanship thrown in and Nalbandian should not be fooled twice.

I’m gonna take Blake over Nalbandian because Blake beat him on the indoor slick courts at the year end championships two years ago. While Miami is hardly slick, Blake looked pretty good on the rather slow courts in Indian Wells last week. That sets up another Nadal-Blake showdown.

With Haas out, Nadal should be well rested and should be able to shoot Blake down again because Blake seems to become satisfied when he reaches a quarterfinal. He doesn’t scratch and crawl to win matches and he doesn’t scratch and crawl to win tournaments. He does as well as he can and leaves it at that. Nadal does whatever it takes until he just can’t move any more.

Djokovic’s Quarter

Neither Tomas Berdych or Richard Gasquet has ever won more than two matches here. Evidently this is not their favorite tournament. Gasquet could win a few more matches this time but I don’t see him beating Djokovic.


There you have it. Everyone picks off the tough players, Murray beats Federer in one semifinal, Djokovic beats Nadal in the other and, yes, Djokovic sweeps. Get used to it.

Extra points if you can pick out the player outside the top twenty who gets to the quarterfinals because, for sure, there will be at least one. Who will it be?

Tilting at Windmills in the Tennis World

Conflict of interest abounds in the incestuous world of professional tennis.

After the Israeli doubles team of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram won the Australian Open in January, the ATP asked them to play the tournament in Dubai. The Arab emirates of Qatar and Dubai are a big deal in professional tennis. Both the ATP and the WTA have a tournament in each country and the WTA will move its year-end championships to Qatar for the next three years.

Shahar Peer was the first Israeli to play in the area when she played the WTA Doha event in February – Doha is Qatar’s largest city. Everything went swimmingly but she did take a bodyguard with her just in case. Qatar is one of the most liberal countries in the area but Dubai is a different story.

Israeli citizens cannot get visas to go to Dubai and, as I understand it, a passport with an Israeli stamp (meaning that the holder has visited Israel) will also keep you from getting a visa. I have a friend in Italy who had an Israeli stamp in her passport. In order to travel to Dubai, she had to get a new passport.

The scene was thus set for Erlich and Ram to do Dubai. Their manager, Norman Canter, flew to Dubai two days before the tournament started. Erlich and Ram were all set to fly to Dubai the next day. Canter met with the tournament director and the assistant tournament director but Erlich and Ram never took the flight to Dubai. What happened? In Canter’s words:

From that point on, I’m not making any comments. You can talk to the boys [Erlich and Ram], you can talk to the ATP, you can talk to Allah, to can talk to God, you can talk to Moses, you can talk to Jesus, and you’re not gonna get a lot of answers. And hopefully, some day, the human rights issue, which is what it’s about, will be rectified. It’s 5700 years, I don’t have any hope.

I don’t know what happened 5700 years ago. Tennis journalist Joel Drucker suggested that it might have been the year Joseph was refused entry to the Cairo Open thus demonstrating that a sense of humor is necessary in the face of centuries of conflict.

No one’s saying but it looks like the organizers of the Dubai tournament couldn’t get visas for the players. Erlich and Ram refuse to talk about the incident. Canter did say that he hadn’t planned to go to Indian Wells last week but he traveled there to take up the Dubai issue with the ATP.

Norman Canter is an interesting guy. He made his first million in his twenties designing packaging for Revlon Cosmetics. He moved on to safety equipment, then the oil business and, after that, energy conservation. He says he introduced the first fluorescent light bulb to the U.S. in 1985.

In 1994 Canter got involved in tennis management so that he and his partner, Richard DeVries, could, as he put it, “give people an opportunity to live their dream.” He also views himself as someone who is “trying to right the wrongs that are in tennis and fighting a losing battle.” In his view, tennis is an extremely corrupt sport.

What’s he talking about? Let’s start with Donald Young. A few days ago I mentioned that Young lost 11 straight ATP matches at one point. At the time, he was a client of IMG, the huge sports management company that represents players and owns tennis academies, tennis media, and tennis tournaments. Four of Young’s 11 losses came as a wild card entry in the tournaments at Miami and Indian Wells. IMG owns the Miami tournament and used to own half of the Indian Wells tournament.

If the same company represents the players and owns the events, who does it work for: the player or the event? Young suffered a confidence crisis in his budding career as his management kept feeding him to the lions and he kept losing. IMG certainly didn’t represent Young very well in that case.

IMG shouldn’t have trouble getting wild cards for any of its clients because it also works for the ATP. One of its subsidiaries markets the broadcast rights to the Masters Series events. IMG not only represents players and owns events, it also works directly for the tour.

The ATP has a similar conflict of interest. It used to be the players union but now it represents both the players and the ATP tournaments. You can see where the ATP’s interests lie when they sell a tournament to Dubai even though Israeli players can’t play in it. Clearly the ATP was representing tournaments, not its players. The ATP deserves credit for pushing political change in Dubai, but it’s doubtful that political change was the guiding principle when the ATP accepted Dubai’s bid to buy a tournament.

Here’s a scary thought. IMG owns the Miami tournament and Canter said he heard that the tournament in Miami was up for sale. My stomach flipped when I heard that. What if a foreign country buys it? Could we lose our third largest event after the U.S. Open and Indian Wells? I haven’t been able to verify Canter’s information and even if a foreign country does buy Miami, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll move the tournament.

Doha owns part of the Masters Series event in Hamburg and it still resides in Germany. That part ownership, though, could be causing some problems for the ATP because Doha has some very deep pockets built up from its oil economy. The Hamburg tournament is currently suing the ATP to avoid losing it Masters Series designation and according to Canter, the ATP has spent $8 million dollars in legal fees on the case so far.

The tournament in Monte Carlo is also being demoted and the organizers of the tournament also sued the ATP. Monte Carlo accepted a settlement that keeps its Masters Series designation but drops it from the list of required tournaments. Would Monte Carlo have settled the case if it had Doha’s deep pockets backing it up?

Canter’s management company, Renaissance Tennis Management, currently represents Erlich and Ram, Benjamin Becker, junior player Lera Solovieva, and a few other players trying to make their way up the tennis rankings. It’s a small, independent management company at this point and Canter probably feels like he’s tilting at windmills given the nature of the tennis world, but IMG also started small so there is hope.

And if Canter’s management company does grow into a large organization, maybe Canter will have the opportunity to right some of those wrongs.