It's a bit rich Tracy Austin giving Bernard Tomic a serve. Tomic had complained that one of his matches went on past his bedtime.
Tomic is right. What crazy sort of a sports organisation would program matches to finish at 2 o'clock in the morning; or worse, 4am? It shows a complete disregard for the healthy and safety of players and officials.
There's a lot to be critical of when it comes to the Australian Open. Apart from the playing hours Tennis Australia has no regard for player welfare. Games still go ahead regardless of the temperature. In 2001, I watched Pat Rafter squelch around the court in sweat sodden shoes in a semi-final that was won, not on tennis ability but the ability to withstand blistering heat. On that occasion, television commentator, Pat Cash was not alone in intimating Rafter was some kind of wimp.
In January 2002 we saw the final of the women’s championship marred by the heat. The continued repeat of this appalling history of tennis in a furnace, is as Engels and Marx might have said, both tragedy and farce.
In 2009 Djokovic had to retire in 36% heat and give Roddick a free ride into the semi-finals.
Tennis Australia has a terrible record in dealing with heat-induced injuries even to the point of connecting players up to intravenous drips. This is taking sports medicine way to far.
Then there is the length of the matches. It would appear almost beyond human endurance to expect anyone to play a series of four or five three-hour matches one after each other and not suffer some ill effects. It is like expecting Steve Monaghetti to run four marathons in 10 days.
It is time there was a different scoring system that provided a better guide to selecting the better player in a respectable time frame. Five sets with table-tennis scoring would seem to be a reasonable model.
So, is Tomic right to be a bit cranky; you betcha, and as a former player Austin should have stuck up for him.
While I'm at it, the other thing Tennis Australia has to get rid of is the shouting when players hit the ball. I've just finished watching Henin play Wickmayer. Why fellow players and the umpire don't tell that woman to shut up is beyond me. It's a form of intimidation that goes beyond the limits of fair play. It drives me stir crazy.
What do you think of that Tracy?
On the track
Did 40 minuters on the stepper all over 130 bpm, then went to the gym.
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and don't play tennis when it's hot or during the middle of the night, or against anyone who yells 'whoopie' every time they hit the ball.