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LaRosa's Sweet Spot: July 21, 2010

7/21/2010 3:00:00 PM

LaRosa's Sweet Spot Archive |

Welcome back to Point Counterpoint with James LaRosa and James LaRosa. Today's topic, Ana Ivanovic being denied a Wild Card into next month's Rogers Cup and instead being forced to play qualies. Let's begin.

James: Are you %$@# kidding me? 

James: Here we go. As usual, the emotional reaction. Cute little Ana. Cute little fistpumping Ana, more adorable than a box of kittens. How could they be such meanies!

James: Is that what you think the hubbub is about? People are outraged for her because she's a Precious Moments girl in a tennis skirt?

James: Please, what hubbub. The only ones who care are diehard Ivanovic fans. And they're clearly as delusional as she is about her place in today's game.

Should she be a qualifier?

James: It's not just diehards – and incidentally their opinion counts too. Tennis fans and journalists alike are all pretty awed by this.

James: They're awed that it's come to this.

James: They're awed because she's a Grand Slam champion. She's a Rogers Cup champion. And she's a former No 1. She deserves better than this.

James: She deserves to be in qualies. That's what the number beside her name means. That ranking thing? It's not just a suggestion.  It's her place in the pecking order. And she earned that, it wasn't picked out of a hat. But you know, whatever, Wild Cards for life then.

James: I'm not saying Wild Cards for life.  But, while she's been struggling for awhile, she only recently dropped below the main draw cut off, at a tournament she won and has nearly been the face of for years. And this is the first time she's needed to ask Montreal for help.  Do they owe her a WC? No, no one's owed anything. Would giving her one have been the right thing to do? Absolutely.  They dropped the ball.  Even if she wasn't a former RC champion, she's a major champion and a former No 1. And this wasn't back in 90's, this was in '08. There's a grace period for someone with her resume. It's called respect. No matter how much you want to minimize her contribution to the sport by harping on how adorable she is.  If you have respect for tennis, you've got to have respect for what she's accomplished.

James: Canada's got like half a tournament they can help home grown players out with.  Why should they be penalized because Ana can't get it together? Not to mention home grown fans. They'd way rather root for one of their own.  That means more butts in seats and more revenue for the event.  Tournament Director Eugene Lapierre was just being honest when he said Canadian players have more value than Ana Ivanovic in Canada. Believe it or not.

James: You know what? I don't.  How do you like that? According to alexa.com, Ana has the second most popular website amongst female tennis players on the planet, second only to Sharapova.  I'm no rocket scientist but that seems valuable to me.  So does the fact that she's one of the most visible women in all of sports.

James: And she's playing like garbage. Look, you're so strung out you're missing the positives here. Qualies may be the best thing for her. It could be exactly what she needs to put her back on the rails.

James: Funny, Lapierre said the same thing. "If I were her coach, I'd force her to play qualies." You're both so helpful!

James: You want to keep babying her then? Lining her up for the big girls to knock her down?  She's got no confidence, and losing every week clearly isn't helping.  And frankly I think we're all sick of watching it.

James: Aha, there it is. This was punitive. She's frustrating the crap out of everyone, and if she won't stop it, we will. There's no science to a Wild Card decision, it really just boils down to a judgment call. And in this case Rogers Cup made a very public show of No Faith in a former champ, effectively sending her to her room and telling her not to come out until she's presentable. "A qualifying player will never be so well-treated." This is what Lapierre said! Yeah I'm sure she'll appreciate that bouquet of flowers as it's slapped across her face.  He also said Ana's "a player who has done a lot for our tournament – almost saved it one year."  Seems to me Rogers Cup could've returned the favor when Ivanovic was in her moment of need.  But I guess there's no value in that.

James: When you put it like that, it does seem kind of cold.  Maybe they should've given her the WC just this once. Would've been the charitable thing to do.

James: Well, I mean, tennis isn't a charity, it's a business. And, you're right, this could be a blessing in disguise.  Ana should show up, do her business and show everyone she's a true athlete, not stroking out on some rarefied air.

James: Ana should show up, rip all the signs down with her face on them and start a big ole bonfire in the parking lot.

James: That's a little extreme—

James: And fistpump in everyone's faces. WOLVERINE!

James: And we're out of time.  Next week's hot button issue: Serena's injury, the worst thing to happen to women's tennis or the biggest hoax this side of the moon landing? Thanks for joining us.

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The Ivanovic debate rages on Twitter.  Follow both of me at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.