Friday, January 2, 2015

11 takeaways from Day 1 of 2015

It's finally here - the 2015 tennis season officially* started on Thursday - well, Friday, in Brisbane, but Thursday in the real world - and boy did we learn a LOT. Here are 11 things all true tennis fans should know about pro tennis in 2015. Warning: lots of statistics ahead!

1. Will Americans lose a match this year? So far they're an amazing 3-0 with Julia Boserup, Madison Brengle, and Irina Falconi scoring big wins in their opening matches. Projecting out through the end of the year (assuming 300 tennis days in 2015), Americans could easily go 900-0 in 2015. How huge would that be? Consider that 10 countries, including Russia, Australia, the Netherlands, and Slovakia, have already lost at least one match this year and thus already after one day have proven themselves incapable of meeting that mark.

2. WTA 16, ATP 0. Yes, you read that right: the WTA has played INFINITY times as many matches as the ATP so far in 2015. I can't say for sure whether this trend will continue throughout the year but suffice it to say - if the ATP doesn't play any matches at all, it may be time to start questioning whether they really are deserving of more prize money than the WTA.

3. The Curse of Sam Stosur. It can't be a coincidence that on the same day that Sam Stosur joins Twitter, her follows go winless.** Should players consider blocking her from now on? It's a question worth asking.

4. Wildcards must go. All four WCs granted by tournament organizers went to players who lost. Put another way, no wildcard player has won a match in 2015. Can there be any clearer evidence that the entire wildcard system must be done away with? This blogger says no.

4. WHAT was that player THINKING with that KIT?? Simply awful. Another Stella McCartney miss. OR SHOULD I SAY MESS?!

5. Zero retirements. Yes, that's right. Assuming this isn't just an anomaly, and there's no reason to think it is, 2015 will mark the first year in which NO players retired from a match. I'm not just talking Open Era history - I'm talking EVER. Which brings us to:

6. The offseason is too damn long. The lack of retirements in 2015 shows that we quite possibly have entered a new age in which players are, more than ever, indestructible freaks of nature whose ability to play high-level tennis every day for 15 years straight can't be doubted. This, combined with my utter boredom for the last six weeks or so, provides near-incontrovertible proof that a 50 (or even 51) week calendar should be instituted ASAP.

7. Rodionovas. Amirite?

8. Czech mate. After a fantastic 2014, including a major championship, Fed Cup title, and a slew of new, exciting faces on the scene, many thought 2015 would bring even greater glory for Czech tennis. And yet so far, they have been completely absent from tennis. Not one point played. It's a stunning development that will raise a lot of questions should it continue.

9. Kimiko Date-Krum ... forty-four? More like forty-SOAR! Halfway through her career ... the Japanese wunderkind sailed through her first round qualies match 63 63. I predict she continues playing at this high level, well into her 70s.

10. Are commentators a thing of the past? It's tough to say for sure but you will notice that all the matches so far in 2015 have been entirely without commentary. For some, this is a blessing! For others, a curse - especially since this phenomenon may be connected to the fact that no 2015 match has been televised/streamed.

Which leads me to my question of the week: Do you prefer matches with commentators - and that are streamed - or matches with no commentary, and no stream?

And while you're at it - what are your big takeaways from Day 1 of Tennis 2015? Has the season lived up to your expectations so far? What has been your biggest thrill, most massive disappointment - and most hilarious moment! - of 2015?

Let me know in comments!!

*I'm not counting the Hong Kong $10K event going on all week, even though it marked the return to tour of Vera Zvonareva (towel over her head during changeovers and everything), who won two matches there before withdrawing from the tournament for unknown reasons.

**Players Stosur follows are 0-1 following Storm Sanders' loss to Anastasia Rodionova.

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