Russians, Melting in the Hot Miami Sunshine

Yeah, kinda sucks to be Russian. We feel you, Vera.

Those clever Russians had a little brainstorm for the major WTA Tour event in Miami, Florida, USA:  What if, they thought, we put our #1 and #3 female players on the same doubles team. Has to be a good result, right?

Wrong.

When #1 Vera Zvonareva (world #3) and #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova (world #15) stepped on the court for their second match of the Sony Ericsson tournament, they were blown off the court with the greatest of ease by a Spanish team composed of players ranked a lowly #33 and #77.

Ouch. Back to the drawing board, Russians.  Or maybe set fire to the drawing board and consider ping pong, or curling?

Then came the singles, where things got even uglier.

Once again, as we reported happened at the last significant WTA event, the last Russian standing in Miami was no Russian at all.  Maria Sharapova made it all the way to the finals, and she’s about as “Russian” as apple pie. She has lived most of her life in America and learned her game there, from American teachers.   Her coach, Michael Joyce, is also an American, and her boyfriend isn’t Russian either.

But when you’re a hapless Russian, American help can get you only just so far.

In the finals, Sharapova did not hold her serve once in the first set, tossing in four double faults and nearly two dozen unforced errors against world #8 Victoria Azarenka. She was brutally crushed 1-6.  She then double-faulted on break point in her first service game of the next set, and though up 40-0 in her following service game, she somehow found a way to be broken for the sixth consecutive time in the match there as well. Shockingly, not until the twelfth game of the match did Sharapova finally manage to hold serve for the first time. On her next service game she double-faulted on break point again, thus allowing her opponent to serve for the match at 5-3 in the second set. By that time she had recorded a truly shocking, humiliating total of more than forty unforced errors.  Azarenka then choked while serving for the match to hand Sharapova a break and 4-5, the only possible hope for Sharapova to climb back in the match. Despite this amazing good fortune, Sharapova then lost her own serve, the set and the match immediately thereafter, and fled the court like a bolt of ashamed lightening.

Shamapova fell apart like a cheap Russian suit, in other words, generating yet another brutally unwatchable match (on American broadcast network TV no less) that only served to further alienate fans who were forced to listen to her grating, intolerable, chalk-on-a-blackboard squeals and screams throughout the match.

But Sharapova the American was a superstar compared to the lowly, ragtag clan of “real” Russians who vied for the singles crown.

Russia started the tournament with Zvonareva, Kuznetsova and Sharapova in the top 16 seeds  and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Nadia Petrova, Alisa Kleybanova and Maria Kirilenko in the bottom 16 — more than one-fifth of the total seeds in the tournament.  But other than Sharapova, only Zvonareva made it as far as the quarter finals, and there she was blown off the court in easy straight sets by a much lower-seeded and ranked Polish opponent. As is their wont, the other Russian players fell like dominoes to second-rate foreign opponents who exposed the Russians at every opportunity as being the pretenders they are.  They melted under the hot sun of Miami just as they had done under the scorching desert sun a week earlier in Indian Wells, California.

And thus ended Russia’s debacle in the two major American hard court events, Miami and Indian Wells.  They showed they are simply not capable of competing, much less of surprising anyone with greatness, and showed that their presence in the game is a millstone around its neck, seriously impairing its ability to generate fan interest, revenue, and compelling tennis.

13 responses to “Russians, Melting in the Hot Miami Sunshine

  1. There is no question as to Sharapova’s chances of reaching top
    seed in women’s tennis . That ship has sailed south . I really could not care less . What annoys me to no end however is that insane ,vulgar , constant
    squeling and grunting . I know that it must annoy others . Not to mention
    the unfortunate opponents that must endure this noisy onslought on their nerves . I find it extremely hard to believe that the sanctioning body ,
    has not found it necessary to stop it . But then they always favor the
    russians , just as they do in the Olympics .

  2. Maksym,

    Cannot agree more wholeheartedly on “that insane ,vulgar , constant
    squealing and grunting”. Hence, and although I love watching professional tennis, I just turn off or switch to another channel on the TV, to escape this unnecessary commotion by the Russian female “bears”, as they flounder on the tennis court.

    I am waiting and would dearly love to see the first non Russian tennis player to play against any “insane ,vulgar , constant squealing and grunting” Russian female to enter the tennis game with a large pair of “Mickey Mouse” noise suppressors on her head, to protect her ears. Hint, hint! can you imagine the headlines this would make world wide in the papers or TV news networks.

    I’ll bet the world tennis authorities would have to get off their big fat arses and do something about banning it on the court.

    Come to think of it, all pigs (that is the four legged type) constantly run around “squealing and grunting”. Does this remind you of anything?

  3. Let us all join LR and congratulate Vika Azarenka of Belarus for winning and Maria Sharapova of Russia for finishing second. Same to the great Novak Djokovic of Serbia for winning the men’s division in Miami, USA. When you are great, you don’t need the home court advantage. I am sure LR is very happy once again.

    • It’s odd that Russians think losing is good. What a sad, confused little country.

      It’s also odd that Russians see Sharapova, who is Russian in name only, as one of their own. She isn’t.

      Also odd Russians would try to take credit for a Belorussian, when their relations with that country are toxic.

      Is Russian tennis really so far gone that Russians need to try to take credit for the accomplishments of other countries instead? If so, that’s the most damning criticism anyone could make.

      • There are 7 billion people living in 200 countries around the world. Only 142 million of them are Russians and only 10 million are Belorussians.

        If for Russia to take second place in the entire world and to have 2 out of 4 semi-finalists is a “shame”, what does it say about the other 198 countries? Or are you saying that the entire world is terrible at tennis? Very logical.

        • But you don’t read or think about the text of the article. Sharapova IS NOT REALLY RUSSIAN, she is a player MADE IN AMERICA.

          What’s more, she EMBARRASSED herself with a truly appalling performance against a player who is FAR from being the world’s most dangerous.

          If you were a little less ignorant, you’d know that Sharapova’s progress through the draw was basically dumb luck. She did not rack up a series of impressive victories against top players.

          Like a typical Russian idiot, instead of recognizing a fault and seeking to reform and improve, you prefer a world of illusion and denial that only makes the performance level drop further, until we reach national collapse. That’s really sad.

          • You live in a truly unique world, LR. A wonderful world where the the burden of human logic is lifted and one’s imagination can soar free of the dead weight of the common sense. I applaud you.

  4. Bohdan ,
    Great idea about the ” ear muffs ” . I don’t watch Sharapova any
    more , unless she plays someone I like , but when I do , I turn
    down the sound so I don’t have to listen to that annoying squealing .
    It really sucks . BTW , I ‘m glad the Bielorussian won !

    • @Maksym: I am glad too. As long as the Russian-speakers win, it doesn’t mater if they live in Belarus, Russia or Ukraine. When Serbs win, it’s also nice.

  5. Wow, how lowly of you to politicize a tennis event so you could bash Russia. You clearly have no journalistic integrity.

    FYI, Sharapova’s family is from Belarus and “Belorussian” Azarenka can’t speak Belorussian. Lol.

    The Russians have certainly have greater contributions in women’s tennis that the rest of Europe combined (bar Belgium). You are a useless analyst as the upcoming American players. Shame.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    How typical. You can’t argue that Russians are good, you only that some countries are even worse than Russia. It’s that kind of thinking that has led Russia to fall outside the top 125 nations of the world when ranked for life expectancy.

    And in your illiterate haze you fail to see the point: We’re not saying Russians are the worst, we’re saying they’re NOT GOOD and their reputation is vastly inflated. Russia has ONLY ONE PLAYER in the top ten now, and she’s A SECOND-RATE PRETENDER who has never once seriously challenged for a grand slam title.

    Your “comment” is TOTALLY DEVOID of ANY substantive comment about Russian achievement on the tennis court, full instead of hysterical emotional babbling that is at least as bad as what you claim to be criticizing. We feel your pain, because any attempt to look at the actual facts of Russia’s performance on the court leads to bleak humiliation.

    Just as in economics, Russia is nothing but illusion on the tennis court. It’s our job to puncture those illusions and leave Russia naked before the eyes of the world. We’re great at doing it, and are one of the most highly influential sources of information about Russia on this planet, by far the dominant English-language Russia blog. Your statements are unhinged, divorced from reality, and hilarious.

    Your remark about Azarenka, by the way, is bizarre. First, you fail to source your claim, violating the rules of this blog. Second, if you are suggesting she is “really” Russian, why does she reject Russian citizenship, you ape? If you think a little more, you might embarrass yourself a little less.

    • Ikea

      Grow up chum, it was the Russians that first politicized tennis in the first place!

      And you have the temerity, audacity to overlook this point.

      Why hide behind an alias, what ashamed of using your real name? Never mind that is usual for communist stooges.

      • How exactly did they politicize the sport? You have a lot of explaining to do for someone like me who has been extensively following tennis for two decades now.

        It’s my nickname btw and I am NOT from Russia nor am I a communist. I am not a very political person but I follow tennis news around the world and happened to stumble on this “article” which clearly knows nothing about the sport. This is such an insult to the tennis world.

        • It’s not inaccurate to say that Russians politicize all sports, just as they did in Soviet times. Check out the Twitter account of Dima Medvedev, it’s full of attempts take credit for Russia’s sporting victories, which the government claims prove it is doing a good job just as the USSR used to do (but the USSR was far more successful).

          Glorification of Russian athletes for political purposes also fans the flames of Russian nationalism, another major policy of the Kremlin.

          But all this causes Russia to refuse to acknowledge what is in reality the almost total failure of Russia’s sports program, and its routine humiliation against foreigners. It’s genuinely psychotic that Russia’s rulers think they can take credit for Russia’s sport successes but need take no blame for its failures.

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