Sunday, September 16, 2012

Taylor Townsend situation looks bad USTA…like really, really bad!

Patrick McEnroe and the USTA 
look bad in their handling of the 
Taylor Townsend situation.

Okay Eye On Sports tennis fans, I’m just going to come out and say it.

No matter how they try to spin it, the USTA’s decision not to support World No. 1 junior tennis player Taylor Townsend in her efforts to play in the main draw at this year’s U.S. Open, looks bad…and I mean, really, really bad!

What USTA player development head Patrick McEnroe says are “fitness” issues, surrounding the 16-year-old Townsend, looks like one of the all-time foolish decisions made in sports – and now – he and the USTA will have to deal with the fallout and ensuing avalanche of racial queries that are sure to come – whether right or wrong, true or false.

Now, before I bring race into the equation, let me just say that McEnroe’s decision to not support the world’s No. 1 junior looks absolutely ludicrous, particularly since she’s always had the exact same body type that she does now and it hasn’t prevented her from winning a whopping three junior grand slam titles alone this season, including Wimbledon approximately eight weeks ago.

Junior world No. 1 Taylor Townsend.
"It has nothing to do with weight, nothing to do with body type," McEnroe insisted. "It has to do with overall fitness, overall what her game is."

What the hell is McEnroe talking about with that “overall, what her game is” nonsense?
Apparently, her overall game is good enough to make her the No. 1 junior player in the world, so what he’s saying makes no sense whatsoever.

''We're trying to make decisions that we think are in the best interest of the player. Do you think we're sitting around going, 'How can we screw this up?'" McEnroe said.

No I don’t think McEnroe and the USTA are trying to “screw it up” but boy, did they ever! McEnroe’s decision is akin to Switzerland telling world No. 1 Roger Federer, “hey we think you’re a little too pudgy Roger, we want you to sit out at the next big Davis Cup event”.

Now, again, maybe it’s me, but I just can’t fathom anyone telling the world’s No. 1 player (and one that is currently winning like crazy) that they’re not going to be supported because “we think you’re out of shape”.

Now, add into the equation that Townsend is African-American and one can easily come to the conclusion that race played a role in the decision, whether right or wrong.

For the USTA to come out and tell Townsend, that she needs to be more fit, when she’s been winning grand slam titles this year, sounds ludicrous. Now, were she routinely losing to lesser players, then okay, an upgrade in fitness may be in order. But for the USTA to pull this stunt when Townsend just won a grand slam title at Wimbledon eight weeks ago, it sounds and looks really fishy.

The USTA comes out looking, not only racist in some people’s opinion, but small-minded and anything but progressive. Several former and current WTA superstars have already voiced their support of Townsend and their derision of the USTA for making such a foolish gaffe.

"You cannot punish someone for their body type," grand slam winner and former USTA product Lindsay Davenport told the Wall Street Journal while 18-time major winner Martina Navratilova has been reported to be "livid" that the USTA was making weight, but not attitude, a consideration for financial support.

"I was not svelte at 15, and I was not fit at 15. If they had told me I could not play, I mean, that could have ruined my career," Davenport said.

"I would have been cut from the USTA program," Navratilova said.

"If that happened, that's obviously a tragedy, because everyone deserves to play," Serena Williams said Monday, a day after winning the U.S. Open.

"She's so sweet and she works so hard," she added. "For a female, particularly, in the United States, in particular, and African-American, to have to deal with that is unnecessary….Women athletes come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and everything. I think you can see that more than anywhere on the tennis tour."

Well, maybe Serena Williams and everyone else can see that the sport of tennis is made up of all kinds of players of all ages, colors and body types, now all someone needs to do is tell that to Patrick McEnroe and the USTA!

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