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Jelena Jankovic blasts Sony Open scheduling after loss

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Jelena Jankovic lost to Maria Sharapova in straight sets after a short rest at the Sony Open. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova crushed Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 in the Sony Open semifinals on Thursday in a match that highlighted the controversial scheduling that put Jankovic back on court a mere 15 hours after her 2½-hour quarterfinal win over Roberta Vinci.

Jankovic finished her quarterfinal match at 9:41 p.m. on Wednesday night and was scheduled to play Sharapova in the first match Thursday at 1 p.m. She was no competition for Sharapova, who blasted her off the court in a little more than an hour. Jankovic gave full credit to Sharapova’s form but admitted the quick turnaround did her in.

“I think Maria was the fresher one,” Jankovic said. “She finished early in the afternoon, so she had a lot more time to prepare and get ready for today. I just didn’t feel good. I wasn’t playing my tennis. She took advantage of that.”

Jankovic said she went to sleep at 1 a.m. after Wednesday’s victory. “Woke up early, had to play. So the schedule was tough,” she said.

Organizers were put in a difficult position given that ESPN requested the semifinal between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, who both played their quarterfinals two days earlier, as the prime-time match. Jankovic said it was unfair that Williams and Radwanska received 48 hours to recover while she had 15 hours.

“The girls who play tonight at 7, they had a day off yesterday,” Jankovic said. “So it was kind of crazy. I had a couple of hours of sleep, and then I had to be back on the court. I played four matches, only had one day off.  Last night, couple hours of sleep. So it wasn’t easy, but what can I do?

“I wish it was a little different. I wish I had a little more time to recover and be in better shape for today. It would give me a much better chance to play better, but it was the way it was. Like I said, Maria was playing very well. But like I said, the opponent plays as well as you let her. I didn’t do what I wanted to do and complicate things on the court.”

  • Published On Mar 28, 2013
  • 15 comments
    Peterdetruse
    Peterdetruse

    ESPN and the Sony officials should be ashamed of themselves.  And no person with integrity should be making statements that it didn't matter, or that Jelena always complains.  This was unequal treatment and differed no less than if they painted the lines so that Jelena's court was always smaller.  It doesn't take many more such nakedly poor decisions to have the legitimacy of women's tennis descend to the level of professional wrestling with scripted outcomes.  I'm tired of ESPN and the Tennis Channel's incessant bias and scripting of matches, the constant and sometimes ridiculous biased commentary about players to fit the scripted outcome.  The most telling proof of this:  I watched that match and there was not one word said about the fact that Jelena had played the night before.  The real loser in this semifinal was the legitimacy of women's tennis.

    B9000
    B9000

    Jelena Jankovic showed she has game this season --- albeit winning a decidedly minor WTA event ---but getting to meet Maria Sharapova in a Semi-final at Miami is pretty impressive considering JJ's lackluster year prior.  Odds are she wouldn't beat Maria, but a 15 hour turnaround is kind of ridiculous in any sport. She has a right to voice her displeasure. Also, in her own way (in the "I, I, Me, Me" tradition of Tennis players, she definitely gave Maria her due.

     

    Good things may still come for Jankovic.  

    IdaAnnaTaylor
    IdaAnnaTaylor

    No way should a TV broadcaster call the shots on the schedule!  That is complete BS.  It's happened before and it will happen again.  JJ is absolutely correct in complaining!  More players should because this has been going on too long.

    hardy
    hardy

    This happens.  Serena played her semi-final at the 2011 US Open past midnight and lost in the finals to Stosur early the following morning.  It happens.  Tennis is about money.  That said, you have to roll with the punches.  Most players don't complain about what they can't change.  Jankovic has always made excuses after a loss.  This is nothing new for her.  Ai Sugiyamo (spelling?) once played 5 matches in two days (singles and doubles) and won all of them.  Jankovic has lost her confidence and is not the player she once was.  She barely made it past Vinci.  Sharapova always beats up on Jankovic, and two more days off would not have made a difference.

    spystud
    spystud

    She's absolutely right.  At worst they should have flipped this match with Gasquet/Berdych.  No one, TV or otherwise, was exactly clamoring for that one.  Even ESPN probably would have agreed to that to get Maria on at 7 EST.

    Terry L
    Terry L

     @hardy

     I agree, couldn't have said it better myself.

    spystud
    spystud

    "Serena played her semi-final at the 2011 US Open past midnight and lost in the finals to Stosur early the following morning."

     

    Did you just make those times up?  Serena was scheduled at 7 pm EST for her semi, may have started slightly later than that, but highly doubt she finished after midnight since she crushed Caroline 2 & 4.  The final the next day was scheduled at 4:30, so that's not exactly early morning. 

     

    And moving a Grand Slam Final in the media capital of the world is slightly different than changing the Thursday schedule of an admittedly down Miami tourney.

    bongturk
    bongturk

     @spystud Jankovic could have had two weeks off, it wouldn't have made any difference. She did get royally screwed though if Serena and Aga had more than a day off. Fairness bows to dollars once again. I bet ESPN was pleased with that Serena steamroller match, really riviting television.

    R2ThaEdgy
    R2ThaEdgy

    @spystud She didn't START her match until after 10pm. articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/10/sports/la-sp-us-open-women-20110911 10th paragraph. :) The match was 86 minutes, so she hit her last ball just past 11:30 pm.

    Terry L
    Terry L

     @bongturk  @spystud

     They allhad a day off after their 2nd round. But the greedy corporate networks have recked havoc on these players.  I've noticed that a lot of them are burned out.  Berych didn't have any energy left after playing in Indian Wells and then Miami, like Del Potro, he ran out of steam but tried.  Had he been schedule to have an early match equal to his opponent, he too may have faired better.  Jankovic has a point but she only complains when she loses and not for the entire players involved..  I must admit, I was totally shocked that Maria had an early match while Serena v. Aga was at 9:00, it could at least have been at 7:00, than goodness Serena put a quick end to it and had a day to rest. 

    spystud
    spystud

    I agree completely about the outcome.  I'm not even remotely a JJ fan, but her point is still very valid. 

    SpeakLifeToo
    SpeakLifeToo

     @IdaAnnaTaylor  @R2ThaEdgy No, ma'am,  Stosur played her semi-final on Friday.  Serena vs Woz was played the next day, Sat in the evening due to rain and Serena got finish with press around 1230 am to 1 am. Heaven knows what time she got to bed; and the Women's Final was Sun at 4. I don't think it was fair, but Serena didn't say anything about it. Anyone watching the match noticed that Serena had no energy; otherwise Stosur would never have won the match.

    SpeakLifeToo
    SpeakLifeToo

     @R2ThaEdgy  @spystud And Serena also had to do press afterwards. As I recall, Serena didn't finish press until after mid-night close to 1am.

    hardy
    hardy

     @IdaAnnaTaylor  @R2ThaEdgy

     The point I was making is that Serena did not complain about having to play til almost midnight.  I said nothing about her not losing fair and square.  I was making a point about Jankovic always complaining.  It is her MO.

    IdaAnnaTaylor
    IdaAnnaTaylor

     @R2ThaEdgy  If I remember correctly, Stosur also played at night and I think she went three sets (much tougher match).  Serena lost fair and square.