Thursday, June 01, 2006

Musings on the women's double draw

As promised, here are my thoughts after reading the women's doubles draw. I always find women's doubles fascinating and whenever I go to a tournament I watch as much as I can but alas even with the return of Martina Navratilova and the fact that many of the top players (in contrast to the men) play doubles too it gets next to no television coverage. Of course the French is in the midst of a rain delay and showing the matches they didn't show live yesterday. If the rain keeps up and they run out of taped singles matches maybe we will see some doubles. But I doubt it. They'll probably re-run every Federer and/or Nadal match first.
The first thing I noticed was that not as many of the top women are playing doubles this year. Mauresmo and Sharapova (1 and 4) have never been big doubles players anyway. Clijsters used to be a regular playing most often with Ai Sugiyama who is playing now with Hantuchova. I wonder if winning a Grand Slam has changed her priorities a little bit. Also Nadia Petrova, who succumbed to injury and got knocked out early after being picked by most as a favorite, always plays doubles and has had a lot of success with Meghann Shaughnessy. But Shaughnessy is playing with Navratilova's partner from last year Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
But most surprising to me is that Hingis isn't playing doubles. She was a staple in women's doubles. And she's good at it. Of course she is playing mixed so I guess three events is a bit much.
All this partner switching is very lesbionic. Navratilova is like the older lesbian (ok she really is an older lesbian but I am analogizing here) who keeps partnering with younger and younger women as a sort of mother-figure/tutor. Then she either sends them on to make their way in the world or they leave her looking for someone younger, flashier. Then there's the slightly younger veteran lesbian like Lisa Raymond who sees she still has something to offer the younger women (after having had a long-term relationship in her 20s--Renae Stubbs) and she may stick with them (or them her) for a little while if she likes what they've got. But she will always move on. And then of course there's the long-term monogamous couple who have been together forever and are clearly better as a couple than individually: Suarez and Ruano-Pascal.
I could go on and on but I don't really want this to turn into the WTA version of the L-Word--though I would definitely watch that show!
Other things of note: (Gabriela) Navratilova has to play (Martina) Navratilova (with their respective partners) in the first round. Ruano-Pascal/Suarez are seeded 8th! How did that happen? And has crafty lefty Patty Schnyder gotten so crazy that no one of repute will play with her? She is teamed with someone I had never heard of: Liga Dekmeijere who is only entered in doubles.
And has anyone seen that Mauresmo is playing mixed with Fabrice Santoro. I bet that will be a huge draw for the French crowd but be stuck on some outer court if the French run their slam like the Americans do.
Well the rain delay is over. Let's see what ESPN has to offer us now...

1 comment:

Diane said...

I never figured out why Petrova and Shaugnessy split up. That was a good team.

Ruano Pascual (a woman who is strikingly beautiful, by the way) was standing behind me in the airport line in Charleston, and she told me that if Suarez didn't return from her injury break, she wanted to stick with Shaugnessy. (Shaughnessy had already said she preferred Ruano Pascual on her side of the net, for a change). Of course, Suarez is back, but I think she may retire soon. She tried to retire a few years ago, but Ruano Pascual talked her out of it.

Clijsters isn't playing doubles, I'm sure, because she is extremely concerned about her physical condition. She says she never feels quite right anymore.

I think Raymond and Stosur are going to be around for a while. They are a great team.

I'm sorry Mauresmo and Santoro lost. I wish I could have seen them; they must have looked beautiful out there.