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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If any of you know Martina...

Sometimes even smart people can sound very dumb.  Last night during the Tennis Channel's coverage of the Australian Open, Martina Navratilova was bemoaning "oh why do they do it this way" that the winners of the women's quarters being played one day would have to come back out on one day's rest for a next match while some of the men got an extra day of rest, implying some sinister sexism at work.  Well, there might be be lots of sexism in the world, but can you let Martina know that this isn't it.  A Grand Slam tennis tourney lasts 14 days.   The women play their final in Day 13.  The men on Day 14.  And the start of play is broken for both over Day 1 and Day 2.  So if you start on day 2, you play on day 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, so of course at the end the women in that part of the draw will have to not get 2 days rest, and a man who started on day 1 would get an extra day off.  If you played both finals on Day 14, that would be disrespectful of the women.  If you played only women on the odd days and men on the even days, I think that would defeat the whole idea of everyone playing together.  The only viable approach to solving this problem that could work would be to alternate the days for the mens and women's finals each year, which would involve overcoming only tradition.  However, since the men play best of 5 and the women best of 3 it doesn't seem unreasonable that some men might benefit from an extra day of rest and some women suffer from one day less, and during the rest of the year at the non-Grand Slam tournaments everyone plays best of 3 on consecutive days (quarters Fri, semis Sat, finals Sun) so the unusual thing about the Grand Slam is the luxury of all those extra days, not the one time if the tournament runs on schedule that you have "only" one day of rest.  So if any of you out there have an e-mail for Martina, feel free to send her a link to this post.

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