What's the timer setting on when we should queue up the silly talk about how this is all about "rape culture" or something and wait, that ship already sailed a year ago?? What will Laura Bates say when she discovers this blog has been ranking female tennis stars based on their single most interesting characteristic for almost a decade now? -ed
The Daily Mail, God bless 'em, has provided some photos from Genie's win (and a rapidly deleted comment? A guy who wants those legs wrapped around his face. Here here!). But while feminists bemoan the sexism in the sport, Genie Bouchard is desirable and therefore watching her is desirable. Roberta Vinci? Not so much. (though she cleans up enough to be decent looking on standard definition television).
Meanwhile, and I don't mean to single out the Australian Open for this since all tennis championships have the same issue, is there anything on God's green earth harder to navigate than their website? No, go check it out and ask yourself the first question any casual fan would wonder: who has progressed in the tournament?
The "Scores & Stats" tab would seem the logical place to start. Here you can check out live scores, which is great. You can look at completed matches. Again, quite handy, good to have: on Day 2 Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchová defeated China's Saisai Zheng in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) on Court 8. It would be nice to know the pre-tournament rankings for each player, by the way. This shouldn't be too hard to add in. I can click a link and see the match stats as well. I can swing over to the "IBM Slamtracker" which pops up a slow-running Flash animation (is there any other kind?) that gives me detailed information about the matches in progress. It even gives me the Twitter hashtags commonly used by fans of the individual players. The "social leaderboard" tracks Twitter to show me the most popular players at that individual moment and why do I care and why isn't this on the "Social" tab? You are perhaps dimly aware that we don't actually decide the winner of tennis matches based on how many #geniearmy hashtags are posted? Finally we have the "results archive" which shows us the rounds from previous years and...hey, look! This is exactly what I want to know for this year: who at any individual round was still in. Okay, but it doesn't seem available. The "Stats" side of the "Scores and Stats" tab gives us a nice page showing stats leaders, etc. etc. As always, "photos and videos" are available, and Eugenie Bouchard is almost always showing a video or two.
The "Schedule" tab, then! There's a "Schedule of Play" section, that understandably enough shows what upcoming matches are going on today (unacceptably in the age of globalization, there's nowhere you can program it to give you the start times in your local timezone). You can see practice schedules too (here I would wager you don't care unless you're physically attending, no timezone adjusting should be required). There's even the schedule for the entertainment, so if you are wondering who's playing the Heineken Live Stage on January 28th (answer: Gossling, from 6-7pm) you're covered. There's also a TV schedule and...well, it's Australian-specific: advising you when you can watch various events in Perth or Adelaide or Melbourne. There is an international broadcasting page which shows you where your broadcast partner is in Australia, Asian Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and finally Americas. I'm no expert in the subject, but while technically true (TSN is owned by ESPN), the Americas page should have the TSN logo alongside the ESPN logo. Technically. I quibble. I continue to quibble when I note that, in the country-by-country listing, the entry for Canada not only is not TSN, but in fact is ESPN Deportes, the Hispanic version of ESPN that is intended for the domestic (ie. United States) market but also spills over into Mexico. How does the Australian Open get this so horribly, horribly wrong? I can imagine ESPN Deportes does indeed cover markets like Dominican Republic, Grenada, El Salvador, and Paraguay (though Wikipedia says ESPN International covers Central and Latin America). It certainly doesn't cover Canada, so big disaster to finish off the "Schedule" tab.
Fortunately, our nightmare is finally over. What do you want to know? Look kids, it's the "Draws" tab. After three hunt and pecks, we finally see what every casual tennis fan wants to know. Andreja Klepac and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik advanced to Round 2 after defeating Queen of the Butterfaces Jelena Jankovic and Arantxa Parra Santonja in a three set classic featuring two tiebreakers rounds. No links to it on the main page, but we've finally come across what we were looking for. It took a couple no-go tries, and navigating a field of cluttered ads and links to videos and "hot stories", but there it is. There's what almost everybody will want to know.
Now let's reward ourselves with more tennis photos.