Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Miami - the fifth Slam?

Caroline Wozniacki and Jarko NieminenCompetition between tournaments is huge especially at the top end. Miami, Indian Wells and the end of year tournaments have all been described as the fifth Slam, usually only by the tournaments themselves or the winner. Indian Wells now suffers from the lack of Williams sisters, though this year's men’s field was strong and the top seeds all made it through to the final stages, unlike the women who bombed out everywhere. Only a 96 person field though.

Miami is owned by a certain company which sponsors half of world tennis and seems to have no end of promotion. It also has the Williams sisters and is more likely to cop the fifth Slam notation than IW in recent years but like IW only has a 96 person field and the silly first round byes for 32 seeds. Exactly why we need 32 seeds for a 96 player tournament is uncertain but probably related to the fact that we theoretically get better matchups later on. Unfortunately it means the first round is a snoozer.

Andy Murray and Venus WilliamsThe end of year tournaments are so lightly regarded by the players that many skip them and it’s hard to attach too much important to them. The WTA in its infinite wisdom is running a second end-of-year tournament in Bali for those not good enough to make it to the big one. Exactly how it will work has not yet been explained.

Nice to see Andy Murray and Venus Williams stop traffic in Miami. Luckily no one was injured.

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