Saturday, February 21, 2009

Noble intentions (right?)

I didn't know he had that boycotting spirit in him!

Andy Roddick dropped out of next week's Dubai tournament, where he's the defending champ. Last year, he knocked off Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on his way to taking the title. Roddick said he's skipping the event because of the Shahar Peer incident, which you have to say is quite honorable.

I read something, though, with the tournament organizers saying that because he's playing in Memphis this weekend, it would be impossible for him to make it to his first-round match on time. Then they said he has a hernia, which Roddick shot down after winning the title. That sounds like a face-saving, sour-grapes kind of statement to me.


I don't think Roddick would be willing to sacrifice big ranking points and big bucks for something like traveling woes. That's part of being a pro: getting on the go when you have to. So I just wanted to acknowledge that in this day and age, it's nice to see a professional athlete taking a stand for something.

And I can't help it, but I've had this thought creeping in the back of my head for a few days: If Andy Ram hadn't gotten his visa, do you think the tournament would've still gone on? For some reason, I just perceive the guys on the ATP as being more unified than their female counterparts. I'm assuming the whole Shahar Peer incident was kind of last minute, but I bet if the organizers would've pulled that on Ram, you would've seen a massive boycott. I'm just sayin'.


TopSpin said...

Roddick's actions don't surprise me - he's always been about sportsmanship and fair play on court - that he would choose to take a principled stand on the issue seems in keeping with this personae.

I'm not completely sure about all of this though. It's not that I don't think that the powers that be in Dubai were completely wrong in denying Peer her chance to play at the event; but the way this has been reported by large parts of the media would make you think that nothing was wrong in the region.

I think I agree with what I read on another blog somewhere: if Dubai wanted to take a principled stand on an issue they felt strongly about, they should have made it known in advance and then accepted the consequences even if that meant it's removal from the ATP/WTA calendar. They didn't do that of course, denying the visa at the last minute and further muddying the waters by claiming that it was security considerations that prompted their decision.

Sorry for the length of the comment! Hopefully you understand my point...

freakyfrites said...

Hey Top Spin - great comment! I never really thought about the statement that Dubai was trying to make and how they went about making it. Thanks.

Van - I've been pretty down on the WTA lately but in its defense, I think that the extra time to plan and negotiate (and measure the public's reaction) helped the ATP, big time. Wasn't Andy Ram left out last year and everything was kind of hushed up? I think that's the story. . .and I'm totally with you on Andy Roddick - the guy made a real statement. Even if scheduling, Davis Cup and other issues were part of his overall decision, he chose to publically focus on the Peer visa debacle and deserves props for it!
Go Andy!