Let me check my watch. Ah yes, it took Petey 14 hours to reignite the WTA bashing. Awesome.
At first I thought Pete just did a "Find and Replace All" on an old JJ article. But I guess something about Dina taking over *really* chops his hide. This is what he said about then #1 JJ in October:
Given the way the fall has gone these past few years, it's refreshing to see that Jankovic is still kicking butt and taking names after having spent so much of 2008 in the first-class transit lounges of this world. You can be a cynic about this and put it down to greed (for prize money as well as ranking points), but as someone on Wall Street once said, "greed is good." It certainly is in tennis.
So let's give Jankovic a ton of credit as a model WTA citizen who gets it when it comes to the idea behind a world tour and an 11-month game culminating in a year-end playoffs. And you know what? Judging by her scheduling, you could easily conclude that the WTA is dominated by a chorus of "No we can't" divas who just may be pampered, highly paid, borderline lazy beneficiaries of a sport that's become an entitlement program for elite stars. Jankovic simply embarrasses the rest of the tour with her work ethic and willingness to seize opportunities to play -- isn't that what pro tennis players have always wanted?
And how about this in January:
And this again back in October:
By contrast, the WTA pros have been less faithful to the game. Even the otherwise exemplary Justine Henin at times chose to play hide-and-seek in the commitment department. I don't want to second guess anyone's reasons for taking a break, or start pointing a finger, but the bottom line is that Jelena has shown an enormous - and singular - amount of desire, drive, physical fitness, mental and emotional stamina, and heart. As a result, she's doing something that few WTA women in recent years have: pushing through a long, exhausting, difficult period with the simple intention of finishing no. 1 for the year.
I wrote recently that I didn't like a system that enabled a player who hasn't won a major in any given year to bag the YE no. 1 ranking (I did, however, stipulate that the system should not be designed specifically to prevent that from happening, on the odd occasion). Nobody in his right mind would blame a player for "playing too much" and reaping what rewards he or she could in the process. The irony is that some of those very same people who trashed Jankovic for playing so frequently are the first to protest when someone appears not to play enough.
Now maybe Pete deserves a free pass because he's giving credit to JJ for finishing the year at #1 and capping on Dina because she's playing like crap right now but still got to #1 mid-season. But do we really forget that there was a 3 month stretch there where it was pretty well acknowledged that Dina was playing #1 level tennis? That while Dina was busy making the finals of RG, finals of Olympics, and winning Tier 1 tournaments, Serena was either crashing out early or simply refusing to play at all?
I'm not saying the criticisms of the system are unwarranted. I'm a Dina fan and I'm still hiding under a towel today. But I just don't think you get to defend JJ yet pile on Dina and the WTA for the exact same issues. At least have the integrity to just say (as I do) that you just like one more than the other and that colors how you feel about each situation. But without any acknowlegement of that truth, any differential analysis is completely disingenuous and weak.