Daily Dispatch: USTA Reverses Townsend Decision
World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka advanced to the US Open final over Maria Sharapova in one of the most hotly contested matches at the tournament so far. Their three set match featured intense ball striking and some nerves on both sides.
To no one’s surprise, Serena Williams had an easy time in dispatching Sara Errani, holding her to just three games in the match. Like last year, Williams will enter the final as the strong favorite to win the title.
Williams holds a 9-1 head-to-head advantage over Azarenka, her only loss coming in the 2009 Miami final. In fact, Williams has beaten Azarenka in straight sets in eight of those wins. Further demonstrating her dominance in the match-up, Williams has won 18 out of the 21 sets the two have ever played.
Since we’re on the topic, Tomas Berdych has won 10 out of 17 sets played against Andy Murray.
The furor over the USTA’s decision to bench and cut off funding for World No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend reached its peak today. After losing her quarterfinal match, Townsend had some illuminating comments on the situation:
“Pretty much all the other federations, if they had a No. 1 junior in the world, they would kind of break their backs to bring them to whatever they needed to go to,” Townsend said of the USTA’s directive. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m the fastest person or the most agile, because I’m not,” she added. “There’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s personal opinion.”
“It was definitely shocking, I have to say,” Townsend said of their recommendation. “I was actually very upset. I cried. I was actually devastated.”
“It’s not by a miracle that I got to No. 1,” Townsend said. “I worked hard just like everyone else and I feel like an opportunity was taken from me.”
Aside from these disturbing comments, the same USA Today piece from Doug Robson revealed some details about the advice the USTA handed out.
According to Townsend, the USTA severely cut back her hitting regimen and relegated her to the gym instead. Before that, Townsend had practiced tennis twice a day. The USTA cut her training down to 45 minutes of hitting, just three times per week.
Townsend’s mother revealed Taylor has iron deficiency, a condition that can worsen with diet restriction. So while Patrick McEnroe continues to claim the decision was made for the benefit of Townsend’s health, by telling her to lose weight, the USTA is actually inviting health problems by making a 16 year old with iron deficiency feel she must lose weight.
By the time evening rolled around, McEnroe reversed the USTA’s decision not to pay for Townsend’s expenses incurred by playing at the US Open junior tournament. But his mild apology emphasized that he was sorry that Townsend’s family was hurt by the USTA’s actions. He did not go so far as to say that the original decision had been incorrect.
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