Blogs > Pilot Pen 2009

The latest on the 2009 Pilot Pen tournament with tennis writer Jim Fuller and other New Haven Register contributors.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a day

The real winner at the Connecticut Tennis Center on Friday was Mother Nature.

The persistent rain prevented any of the matches from being held on the outdoor courts so the women's semifinals and all three doubles matches were moved indoors to the Culman-Heyman Tennis Center.

First to the news:
Caroline Wozniacki defeated Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-1 to advance to her second straight Pilot Pen women's final. She will meet Elena Vesnina, who defeated Amelie Mauresmo 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

In doubles, the top-seeded women's team of Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeated Lisa Raymond and Jill Craybas 6-3, 6-3 to advance to Saturday's final against Iveta Benesova and Lucie Hradecka.

The defending men's doubles champions (Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa) lost to Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 7-5. Knowle and Melzer will play Bruno Soares and Kevin Ullyett (winners over Martin Damm and Robert Lindstedt).

Despite making a couple of valiant efforts to dry the court, which is no easy task considering the amount of rain which fell through the day and night on a dreary Friday, the two men's singles semifinals were not played.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Sam Querrey will face Jose Acasuso on Stadium Court. At 11 a.m. on Grandstand Court, Igor Andreev will play Fernando Verdasco. That is weather permitting of course.

The 1 p.m. women's singles final followed by the men's doubles final will wrap up the day session. The evening session will commence at 7 p.m. with the men's singles final followed by the women's doubles final.

Since Friday's two sessions were canceled, tournament officials are allowing those tickets to be exchanged for either day or night session tickets on Saturday. The box office will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and tickets can be exchanged there. If you don't exchange your tickets, you won't be granted admission so hold onto your tickets and head to the box office.

I know tournament officials will be criticized for playing indoors where it was tough to see the matches and the maximum capicity is around 1,000 but with the U.S. Open starting Monday for some of the women's singles semifinalists and no end in sight to the rain, the tournament was left with little choice but to move the matches indoors.

Now they can only hope that they are able to get in all of Saturday's matches.

Now changing gears, I try to avoid making my assignments all about me. I rarely mention any issues I have getting the access I (as well as my co-workers) need to inform the public. I believe the average reader simply does not care about sure issues but too much went down today to simply not address it.

After a couple of days of trying to arrange the details, Wozniacki was finally able to accept Yale football coach Tom Williams' invitation to address to the Yale squad at practice. I did not make it over there, but by all accounts things went off wonderfully. Williams stopped practice and the bubbly Wozniacki seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself. Several media members went over to Yale for what is a positive, feel-good story. However, when a member of the WTA communications staff informed the media that Wozniacki would not be allowed to speak to them until after her match (which ended about eight hours later) it was sadly a case of the WTA display a lack of common sense and a lack of respect for the job journalists do to allow her to spend a minute or two to answer questions about her visit to football practice.

My WTA rant No. 2. Earlier in the week, fellow Register reporter Chris Hunn requested to speak to the doubles team of Raymond and Craybas for a story he is working on regarding the state of American tennis. The WTA failed to follow through on his interview request even though he followed proper channels and I heard them apologize to him. So how did they make it up to him, by prohibiting him from asking the questions he needed to in his story in Friday's press conference with Raymond and Craybas. I could not believe my ears when an announcement was made that Lisa Raymond would call Chris on his cell phone. Bear in mind that Raymond was heading in for a press conference at the time. What in the world are these people thinking? I know the Pilot Pen pales in comparison in their eyes to the upcoming U.S. Open but to people in New Haven, it is a big deal and we cover it as such. The WTA folks have never seemed to understand that and probably never will.

There are other things that happened that put me in a sour disposition but I will end with just one of them. Hearing a tournament official chirp about the "New Haven Register keeps putting in that qualifying (tickets) are free" in ear shot of many in the media center really got under my skin. Yes, the paper did incorrectly put that info in the paper in the past but why this official needed to make a snide remark about our paper that devotes pages upon pages of stories, photos and assorted information on the sixth day of main draw was not only insulting but mystifying.

As days go, this is one I will remember - but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

My only request is to Mother Nature, please let the weather wackiness be a thing of the past. I could use a nice, normal day and night of tennis to report on during the final day of the 2009 Pilot Pen.


Anonymous John McEnroe said...


As usual, great job on covering the tournament!Unfortunately, no one cares about tennis anymore and your efforts would be better served covering something that people in the New Haven area care about. The players on both the men's and women's side lack charisma, personality and pride. Sounds like the WTA wants to keep it that way. You deserve better than snide remarks from phony tournament officials.

August 29, 2009 at 9:16 AM 

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