Archive | September 2010

Why Are American Male Tennis Writers Racist & Sexist Against Serena Williams?

A familiar narrative emerges every year on high profile sports blogs and the usual target is tennis champion Serena Williams. Usually, after the US Open,

the American tennis establishment repeats publishing a series of articles blasting Serena Williams committment to women’s tennis. The theme is the same,

and the result is the same. Serena ignores the racists and misogynists and continues to dominate the game.

The fact remains, Serena Williams is the best female tennis player of her generation.

Serena has thirteen grand slam victories under her belt.

So why is Serena Williams the most disrespected American female tennis champion in American tennis history?

The answer is obvious, Serena Williams is not a white woman. If Serena Williams was a white female tennis champion she would make more money.

According to  Forbes Magazine,  the white, Russian, blonde, Maria Sharapova raked in $24 million dollars in endorsements last year.

Sharapova is not American, but she’s  young, white, pretty,  and blonde. Serena has a 6-2 edge against Sharapova in their head to head series.

The tennis public knows Serena Williams is a superior tennis champion but the discourse is race still matters.

Serena Williams has  thirteen grand slam titles and Sharapova only has three. Serena is currently number six on the all time grand slam female champions list. Serena popularized tennis across the world due to her talent, determination, and hard work.

Serena violates the American tennis industry’s ideologies about American tennis. Although the USTA claims not be racist, the truth is, the USTA is only

interested in developing new white American tennis champions. African-American youth are discouraged to play tennis.

The American tennis establishment has an insatiable obsession with pretty, young, blonde, white girls. In the 1970s, Tracy Austin and Chris Evert obtained a lot of media attention for wearing short skirts, being blonde, and their tennis talent.  Yes, Austin and Evert became  tennis champions but their thin, white female bodies also conformed to white American beauty standards.

The formula for American broadcasters and advertisers is female athlete + whiteness + thin+ talent = respectability.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport emerged as tennis champions. The bias, favoritism, the American media have for Davenport and Capriati over Serena Williams is abhorrent. The dilemma for the USA media is, Davenport and Capriati both retired from the WTA Tour.

No new white American girls have emerged so the USA press have to endure watching Serena rack up numerous grand slam titles.

The American tennis establishment doesn’t want black American female tennis champions  to dominate tennis.

The dilemma for the American tennis establishment is, Serena just doesn’t have the right look to be the face of American tennis.

The marketing machine of the USTA and the American sports media want to sell sex to white American heterosexual men.

Female athletes can’t be respected unless the male tennis commentator or writer can obtain an erection. If a female athlete is talented and attractive

this is perfect formula for heterosexual male sports fans.

Since many  heterosexual are sexist and racist the predilection is for a white, blonde, girl, to sell sex for white American male sports consumers.

A female athlete cannot just be an athlete she has to become a model.  Heterosexual American male tennis fans want to masturbate and watch tennis women’s tennis simultaneously.  The attitude of American advertisers is, female athletes should be pretty and white or this will not hold the interest of sexist heterosexual men!

Serena is not white, thin, blonde, and because she’s a black woman who is intelligent, hardworking, they feel  have a right to  demonize her.

Black women encounter multiple oppressions such as racism and sexism in this white supremacist world.

The Mythical Norm, which is the white, heterosexual male believes they are at the apex of society.

Since Serena Williams is a black female tennis champion, the attitude of white American male tennis writers is they are entitled to attack her.

The incredible misogyny and racism that is fired at Serena Williams constantly reiterated on sports websites such as MSNBC.COM, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Tennis, ESPN.COM, Fox Sports, is disturbing and also deleterious. Once again, the jackass Peter Bodo at ESPN.com is complaining about Serena Williams and her so-called lack of committment to women’s tennis.

Why doesn’t Bodo and the rest of the racist and sexist American male tennis writers admit the truth?

Tennis fans across the world know male tennis writers hate women and do not respect women’s sports.

The reason the American male tennis writers hate Serena is because she is so talented and she knows it!

Serena only competed in six WTA tour events this year and she won the Australian Open and Wimbledon!

The WTA tour is a joke, the USA press are desperate, they want a young, blonde, white “it” girl to emerge.  This is the reason the American media made a big deal about Melanie Oudin reaching the US Open quarterfinals last year.

However, Oudin was unable to handle the media pressure and her ranking has slipped. I believe Oudin is talented, but she needs to improve her serve and fitness. Since Oudin is only a teenager, I feel I will wait a few more years to see if she will emerge and become a champion or end up being a journeywoman.

At this year’s US Open, did anyone notice the American media’s obsession with the Danish player Caroline Wozniacki?  The constant commercials, the tennis commentators praising Wozniacki’s game over and over like a broken record was annoying!

Yes, Wozniacki is only twenty years old, she won 10 WTA Tour titles, and reached last year’s US Open final. I agree that Wozniacki is  a very talented tennis player.

However, I am not convinced Wozniacki has the game to really dominate women’s tennis. Wozniacki has an inflated WTA ranking because her father pushes her to compete in over 20 WTA events a year. I am just not convinced she is mentally tough enough and her game is effective to dominate women’s tennis. I was stunned when Vera Zvonareva of Russia destroyed Wozniacki 6-4 6-3 in the US Open semifinals. Wozniacki was so nervous and tight she capitulated and made a million errors.

The USA Media do not respect female athletes for a variety of reasons. First, in the USA a female athlete is supposed to conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty to be palatable to white heterosexual men. The discourse is, since Maria Sharapova is white, thin, tall, and blonde she’s supposed to be the face of the WTA tour. The quandary is, Sharapova’s confidence has slipped she’s not winning any big events anymore. Sharapova’s serve now her Achilles heel. The next obvious question is, why are the American media upset at Serena Williams?

The American media hate Serena for a plethora of reasons. The USA press is racist and sexist against black women this is a fact. If you read blogs such as Chris Chase’s pathetic articles at Yahoo Tennis, Peter Bodo’s pieces on ESPN.Com, Matt Cronin’s articles at Fox Sports, the themes are the same.

My opinion is, there is a mixture of envy, anger, misogyny, and racism and this fuels the fire. Richard and Oracene Williams deserve credit for teaching Serena that tennis is not her life. Would the tennis writers prefer  Serena end up snorting cocaine like Martina Hingis or attempt suicide like Jennifer Capriati?  I personally believe, the resentment the USA press have for Serena is because she is so well-adjusted. Serena can handle the bigots and the misogynists because her parents raised her well.

A lot of the female tennis players live in a plastic bubble, they are surrounded by enablers that tell them tennis must be their life. However, a tennis player can only compete at the highest level until their early to mid 30s. Remember thirty years old is still very young in life terms. Some tennis players have no plan B they don’t know what to do with themselves outside of tennis and that is very sad.

Does anyone honestly think the American tennis establishment would care about Serena Williams if she was ranked 100 or 200 in the world? Of course not!

Serena angers the American tennis media because she gives hardly competes yet destroys the competition! Serena knows she can enter any grand slam besides the French Open and win the event!

The only rivals Serena Williams has at the moment are the Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. However, Henin and Clijsters are also veterans and they are also limiting their tennis schedule. So why are the press fixated on Serena yet don’t admonish Clijsters and Henin?

The answer is obvious, since Henin and Clijsters are white they get a free pass for not supporting the WTA Tour consistently. Meanwhile, the racist and sexist attitude of the American tennis establishment is Serena should be “grateful” to be competing on the WTA Tour. The American press view Serena as an arrogant young black woman because she has high self-esteem and confidence. Serena is simply too mentally strong to allow racist and sexist male tennis writers to stop her from living her life on her own terms. Serena should be commended for living a balanced life not criticized for it.

Ottawa Citizen Article: Did Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Make A Mistake By Letting Michaelle Jean Go?

Egan: Complacency regaining its stranglehold

By Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen September 29, 2010
Kelly Egan

Kelly Egan

Photograph by: The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Ottawa, officially, may be embarking on an era of sleepy competence.

This should give our arched eyebrows a rest. We never did take to Swaggerville, did we?

On Friday, we’re trading Michaëlle Jean for David Johnson. In a little more than three weeks, we may be replacing Larry O’Brien with Jim Watson.

In other words, we’re achieving the impossible: taking Dullsville and turning it down a notch or two. (Remember, this is a city where too many lawn chairs at Bluesfest can incite a riot.)

To broaden things for a moment, here’s the official portrait of the biggest big-whigs who may soon represent us at all levels: Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty, David Johnston, Jim Watson.

Wow. How’s that for sex appeal? Throw in Fred MacMurray and a couple of cardigans you’ve a got a sit-com. Give us a sec to wiggle the rabbit ears. (We are forgetting, of course, about NCC boss Marie Lemay, whose sparkle will be welcomed more than ever.)

Well, perhaps it’s time to compare and contrast, as they say — what we have, what we may be getting.

Larry O’Brien lives in a high-end condo, drives a Mercedes or two — or pretty much anything he wants — and, in his spare time, likes howling around in fast cars on a race track.

Jim Watson has a pedometer — you know, those little gizmos that keep track of how far you walk.

I guess he has a car of some kind and probably doesn’t live in a trailer, but you can already picture his house: modest, well-kept, low maintenance, has a spare room where he stores his abundance of caution, has airbags in his pajamas, etc., because you can’t be too careful.

O’Brien got married while in office.

Watson? No wedding bells that we know of, but life is full of surprises.

O’Brien has a dog named Remi, a cockapoo that has made several public appearances. Cute little guy.

Watson? No pets, apparently, but was once called a “scaredy cat” by Remi’s owner.

Quite aside from transit and Lansdowne and taxes, we already know that, day-to-day, Watson would bring a different tone to city hall. The confrontational style would be gone, as would the hurling of insults.

All well and good. You do wonder, though, whether the citizenry will just go to sleep. No spectacle? No spectators.

Well, enough of this municipal nonsense. What about the new people along Sussex Drive?

You feel slightly sorry for David Johnston, who is following the most atypical governor general the country has ever had.

Jean is young, a Haitian refugee, gorgeous, always beautifully dressed and unafraid to shed tears at the appropriate moment. Style, she proved, actually matters.

Johnston, while hugely accomplished, is none of those things. And if he attempts to eat the heart of a defenceless mammal, he’ll be seen as a copy cat.

People need a Diana. Without Jean, it is to wonder who in the public eye — in this town, anyway — is worth watching?

Johnston, in fact, may return the office of GG, in tone, to what Canadians are more accustomed to, before the last two incumbents.

That is, more patrician, more regal — but Canadian-friendly regal — an office held by someone near the end of their public-service careers. And there isn’t a single thing wrong with that.

We will, no doubt, grow to like him. People at the University of Waterloo are certainly enthusiastic about his abilities and his personal warmth. They love the guy.

Jean, it seems, was not a constitutional expert. She was a journalist. And, let’s face it, journalists who know the constitution inside-out are both rare and strange.

Johnston is a legal scholar. He knows this stuff cold. So, when Harper calls and wants to prorogue Parliament and install his cat as PM, the GG knows right away that violates Section 7, Part 2 of the Long Form Census.

Johnston, too, is probably not a dual citizen of France, like his predecessor was, nor will he have to endure whispers about Quebec separatist sympathies.

Well, we shall see.

Change is brewing, we know. You only hope this wave of competence doesn’t tranquilize the whole joint.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Egan+Complacency+regaining+stranglehold/3597662/story.html#ixzz10vAofMoa

Toronto Star Article: Is A University Education Useless & Just A Waste Of Time?

Generation why me?

They grew up being told if they studied diligently and worked hard, they could have it all: a good job, a comfortable home, a family.

Published On Sat May 02 2009

 

ImageAngelika and Lucasz Witkowski are still shell-shocked after losing their well-paying jobs within a month of each other. They are now selling their Orangeville home and have put off plans to start a family.TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

VOICES

Avijoy Elahi, 24

Grew up in Toronto and graduated from York University in 2008 with a degree in administrative studies. Currently, he’s selling insurance.

It was extremely hard to get into something that was within my own field of study. …

Even though (my current job is) a sales position and it is commission based, I took the job because I needed the experience.

I’ve been trying to look for another job, but because of the economy … it’s very difficult to get my foot in the door.”

Gord Harris, 25

Graduated from high school and is on a five-year electrician apprenticeship through the Joint Apprenticeship Council.

“I would be miles in debt right now if I had decided to go to university for something I wasn’t really sure of. So I’m glad I got into the trades and started making money instead of spending it. I’m looking at a lot of my friends now, walking out of university with a four-year program under their belts… and they can’t find work.

Divesh Gupta, 24

Grew up in India, where he studied at the University of Mumbai before moving to Toronto to do a post-graduate diploma in strategic relationship marketing at George Brown College. He is still in Toronto, handing out 25-30 resumés a week and living hand to mouth.

I’ve heard many call centres are hiring, but I’m not going there because I think I never came to Canada for a call centre position.”

Dylan White, 22

Just finished his undergraduate degree in ecology from the University of Guelph.

“I’m hoping to get a job as a junior consultant for an ecology firm. But I may also just take next year to play music while I’m living with my parents, and take the slacker lifestyle to the extreme while I have the chance.

Nicole Baute
Iain Marlow STAFF REPORTERS

In retrospect, their life seemed almost quaint. Lucasz and Angelika Witkowski met in high school, fell in love, got married, bought a house in Orangeville and got a dog they named Nala.

Angelika, 26, was full time on the door line at Chrysler, where her parents still work. Lucasz, 27, made moulds as a machine operator, a skill he learned from his father, who still works in the trade.

They were planning to have children. Then, in March 2008, Angelika was laid off. Lucasz lost his job a month later. That set off a chain of events that still has not ended.

“We were ready to start (a family). Fate said `nope,’” Angelika said. “We were doing everything we were supposed to and it just kind of crashed down.”

It crashed down for Huda Assaqqaf, 24, too.

Assaqqaf believed university would bring a stable career. Armed with a food and nutrition degree from Ryerson, she embarked on a job search in 2007 that has yielded nothing but frustration and contract jobs, none of them in her field.

She now works part-time for Access Apartments, co-ordinating personal support workers for people with physical disabilities. “For an office job, it’s not very bad.”

“It’s just that I’m not using my education or my core skills.”

This is not what was promised.

Generation Y grew up being told that if they were willing to work and study hard they could have it all: well-paying, fulfilling jobs that provided all the comforts.

But as they reached adulthood, secure jobs began vanishing, replaced by part-time, non-union work with little security, no benefits and odd hours. Then the financial crisis hit. Now, young adults are being forced to radically remake their life plans. They are staying in school longer to keep up with an “educational arms race” and accepting that life will be contract-to-contract, perhaps in different cities, and almost assuredly without benefits.

They are living in a purgatory of arrested adolescence, of delayed adulthood. They are unable to do what twenty-somethings have done for generations: settle into careers and start families.

“We’re calling it a crisis now in youth unemployment,” says Nancy Schaefer, president of YES Youth Employment Services.

People aged 15 to 24 had an unemployment rate of 14.8 per cent in March, the highest in 11 years and roughly double the rate of older workers.

“People have bought the message: get a degree, do everything right and you’ll be able to get a good job,” says Schaefer. “Then, through no fault of their own … the jobs aren’t there.”

Rosemary Romeo, 26, walked into YES with a master’s degree in social work and a resumé that included working with the homeless and people living with HIV, disabilities and addictions.

She sends out 10 applications a week, all with customized cover letters.

“A lot of the time it’s six-month contracts, eight-month contracts; I never get anything full-time permanent,” Romeo says.

She has only had three interviews since graduating with her master’s a year ago – one was for a six-week contract teaching English to Aboriginal students in a college carpentry program.

Romeo still lives with her parents.

So does Assaqqaf, a thin, cheerful girl in a grey blazer.

With her $16-an-hour job, she helps pay rent for the two-bedroom apartment she shares with her mother, whose English is poor and who cannot work, her father, who is on disability, and her two younger brothers, one of whom is autistic. She also buys groceries.

Assaqqaf’s mother does not understand why her bright, articulate daughter does not have a better job.

Three months into her job search, Assaqqaf says, “My mom especially, she started getting very frustrated, very agitated. `Why am I staying at home?’ `Why am I not getting the job that she always dreamt I would be getting?’

“In her mind she thinks that people who graduate and have a degree will work automatically and they’ll have a 9-to-5 job and a stable salary and everything. … She was really getting frustrated. `Where’s the $40,000 a year you told me you’ll be earning after you graduate?’”

“`Well, Ma, there’s not enough jobs out there,’ Assaqqaf recalls saying. “`And, you know, I am frustrated more than you are, but I’m not showing it.’”

Assaqqaf applied to a master’s program at Ryerson University. When the rejection letter came, her feelings were mixed: she was already $14,000 in debt and did not want that to grow.

David Livingstone, head of the University of Toronto’s Centre for the Study of Education and Work, questions the instinct to return to school when job prospects are bleak, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“Invest more in education and you’ll get more reward. That’s been the mantra for the last couple generations since the Second World War.”

But people are increasingly overqualified and underemployed. Moreover, the gap between the educated and the less-educated is growing. “What we have created is an educational arms race,” he says.

Increasingly, diplomas and degrees are used simply to screen the choices in a flooded labour pool. And as young people climb up the ivory tower, the pile of indebtedness at the bottom grows. The average debt for a Canadian undergraduate is between $25,000 and $28,000.

Katherine Giroux-Bougard, the Canadian Federation of Students’ national chairperson, says that even before the recession, graduates crippled by debt were putting off buying houses and starting families.

Ito Peng, a University of Toronto sociology professor, calls it “delayed adulthood.”

“It means people are not as willing or able to actually think about making long-term commitments.”

Lucasz has been living in his cousin-in-law’s home office in Sarnia and babysits the couple’s 2-year-old to offset rent he cannot afford. He has enrolled in a construction carpentry program at Lambton College. If gas prices aren’t too high, he will drive to see his wife in Orangeville.

Angelika has also gone back to school, to Humber College, for tourism and hospitality administration. After a full-time, $70,000-a-year union job, she is now an unpaid intern at a conference centre, helping out with events such as the “All About Pets” conference, which featured pet psychiatrists and animal massage therapists. Their modest, $279,000 house is up for sale.

“I don’t believe in guarantees anymore,” says Angelika.

“It’s definitely a different era of how people are employed,” Lucasz adds. “In our generation, it’s more likely that you’ll have three, four, or five jobs in your career. They may not be totally different trades, but working for different companies – as opposed to our parents, who to this day are still in the same place.”

Recessions, of course, buffeted the Witkowskis’ parents as well. But this one is different.

Laurel MacDowell, a historian at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, says the recessions of the early 1980s and ’90s helped create globalization – and the current woes. “This has been a 30-year process.”

Lucasz’s employer in Orangeville made moulds for a company almost next door. “We could literally take it across the street,” he said. Shortly before he was laid off, the other company found it cheaper to import moulds from Taiwan.

In the 1980s, most people who lost their jobs got them back, MacDowell says. But the recession of the ’90s was the first where workers’ jobs disappeared for good, outsourced overseas.

“We are still in the process of shakeup,” says Peng. “We are not so clear exactly on what specific skills we should be looking for and what we should be prepared for. And I’m not sure industry knows, either.”

Peng is no stranger to lost generations. She finished her PhD in 1995 and taught in Japan, arriving in the middle of Japan’s “lost decade,” when a generation who had seen their fathers badly hurt by that country’s bubble collapse began to leave school.

“Young people came out into the world just at the wrong moment, more than disappointed, disoriented by this uncertainty.”

The social and economic consequences here may not be as extreme, but will be substantial: a declining birth rate, disengaged young adults, declining voter turnout and bright kids heading overseas. Anxiety, cynicism and frustration.

“The promise has been: if you get a good education, you’re going to be okay,” says Livingstone. “You’re going to get all the good things in terms of a house, a car and a family, and that you can be reasonably confident that you will lead a secure life. And all of those things are at risk now, in some ways similar to the ways that they were at risk in the Great Depression.”

As bleak as the horizon seems, previous generations adapted and this one will, too. They will move further afield. They will start work early and finish late and then, perhaps, move on. They will have several jobs and fewer children.

Braek Urquhart, 24, grew up in Cobourg and graduated from Trent University in 2007 with a liberal arts degree and $13,000 in debt. After seven jobs in four provinces and a stint couch surfing in Toronto, he joined thousands of other young Canadians who decided to teach English in South Korea.

“You can’t get sh– with an undergrad,” he said by phone from Incheon. “In Canada, it’s impossible to save money. It’s impossible to pay off your debt quickly. It’s impossible to have a steady job. … This seems like a very effective way of paying off debt while getting work experience.”

Urquhart has adapted. He puts $1,000 a month toward his debt, which he figures he can pay off in a year, and is considering law school. His girlfriend will join him soon.

“I have only been here for a month, but I see myself being here maybe a second year, to bank some more cash before I go on to what’s next.”

The newly married Witkowskis had banked on living a life like their parents. The plan now is to sell the house and move to Sarnia. They will be renting: an eighth-floor apartment in a building of seniors.

“I don’t want to buy a house again,” Angelika says. “I have been so traumatized by this whole ordeal that I’m happy renting until I actually have a family and need to settle somewhere for a while. Renting gives you more flexibility if you need to leave.”

Yahoo Tennis Article: Six Key Tips For Roger Federer To Consistently Beat Rafael Nadal!

The six things Roger Federer needs to improve to beat Nadal

By Patrick Mouratoglou

Since he’s back on the tour, finally free from any physical issues, Rafael Nadal has won nearly everything that matters this year. Forced to pull out at the Australian Open, when he was playing great, he has now won the three following Grand Slams, which is outstanding. His record this season is evidence of his domination of the tennis world. Like it or not, Federer, Djokovic, Murray or Berdych now have to search a real “anti-Nadal” gameplan if they really want to get a chance of winning some Grand Slams in the years to come. If we take into consideration the way he dictates the game and the way he’s constantly improving, his reign will only be able to be stopped by injuries or by finding someone who can really play at his level.

It’s obvious now that when Rafa is in his best shape, he can’t be defeated. For some, the strategy against him means improving again and again and tweaking every aspect of their games to become way better players. Roger Federer, on the other hand, has already all the weapons to disturb the Spaniard. The question is now: how can he use them effectively?

It’s obvious again that the King Federer of the pre-Nadal period is struggling. Sure he has won a Grand Slam this season, played the quarters in two other ones and the semifinal of the fourth one. But his level is going down and though it’s tough to know why (the communication from the Swiss and his people is notoriously clouded) it could be that he’s still suffering from his back. That would explain a lot of his recent losses and why a trainer is now following him all the time. Maybe he’s paying the hard way emotionally for his triumphs last year at the French Open and Wimbledon and for the birth of his twin girls. Whatever it is, Roger obviously isn’t the same player. It’s clear to everyone — from people inside the game to people watching on television. Despite all of this, he remains the main rival of the Spaniard, mostly because his game owns enough abilities to mess with Rafa’s plans. Here is the strategy that, in my opinion, he should set up against Nadal.

He must believe in his ability to win

What strikes me the most in the Nadal-Federer battles is the lack of belief of the Swiss. In most of their matches, Roger seems to have the key to win but he’s not as efficient as he is against any other player. In 2009, when Rafa won the Australian Open final, Federer looked overall better in terms of level of play. But he was too hesitant and waiting too much instead of dictating the game and later was advised to find a famous coach in order to find new tactical solutions against Nadal. I admit I had been shocked by this position because I really find the Swiss to be precise in his mental game. So why can’t he overcome Nadal?

First, he often lacks lucidity because he’s suffering from a slight inferiority complex that hampers him in key moments. He’s also not entering the court in front of Nadal with a really clear mind on what he’s going to do this time. He seems to try to beat Nadal playing the Spaniard’s game, without thinking of a whole strategy. He lets Nadal dictate things. The least we can say is that it’s not working very well.

Getting Nadal out of his comfort zone

The next reason why Federer is lacking focus against Nadal comes from the fact that it’s Rafa who is making him play in his game style. After six to eight shots rallies, Roger’s focus starts to go down. He’s becoming hesitant or too impatient to end the point. He’s struggling because the forehand of Rafa comes on his own backhand with heavy topspin and high rebound is preventing him from speeding up the pace.

Against Rafa, Roger isn’t allowed to doubt. He has to throw caution to the wind, accept unforced errors and to possibly get passed at the net. But above all, he must dictate the rhythm. He must put the Mallorcan under pressure and shorten the points. Until now it’s Rafa who is neutralizing Roger by sticking him on his backhand and forcing him to play high balls and and be uncomfortable.

Improving serve

It seems obivious, but it’s still crucial. Roger’s first serve is really great because it has everything needed at this level: accuracy, speed, and effects. He can slice on the deuce side and use the kick on the advantage side in order to get a player out of the court and get openings as soon as the second shot. Against Nadal, strategy demands constant aggressiveness and turning the first serve percentage up is the main key. Get it in, take the initiative on the point and go for brokeon the second shot.

Attacking the second serves

Keeping up with this aim of depriving Nadal from time, Roger must, as Sampras was doing, be aggressive on the second serves. Rafa hates to be rushed when he prepares his shots. He needs time to play deep balls and to find his timing. So Roger must take the ball early and go in full force on Rafa’s forehand. Sometimes he should follow his shots to the net; sometimes he should wait a bit to get a short ball. In any cases, Rafa’s second serve is a big opportunity for Roger to dictate the point, to put the opponent under pressure and force him to play too short. Roger should really use it. Sure he’ll be more prone to mistakes but will also get more winners this way. He has to put Nadal out of his comfort zone to prevent him from playing stuck on the baseline, what he likes the most.

Don’t be scared of the net

One of the main Nadal’s strength is to push his opponent to hit him the same shot again and again. His defensive skills are amazing so it’s hard to get him out of the way. His topspin often makes opponents play far from the baseline, preventing them from taking the ball early. When it comes to rallies, Rafa is the best in the world. And it’s enough of a reason for trying to shorten the points at the net. Roger isn’t a serve and volley player, not the type who comes at the net because he feels comfortable and strong there. But he remains really good in the net game, so it has to be a tool when facing the Spaniard. It’s the last step he has to make when he has taken the lead in a point. He’ll often get passed but will get many points too and, even more important, he’ll deprive Nadal from his best abilities: the point will be over before Nadal would have been able to bring back all those unreachable balls. Points will be shortened too. It’s a little, but enough to disturb the Rafa machine.

Fitness, fitness, fitness

When one is facing Rafael Nadal, he has to be in his best possible shape and this for several reasons: The player your’e facing is always going to be fitter. Nadal is the most in-shape player out there. That’s what often happens on clay. Rafa’s opponents seem to be fine for a time and then they’re in a burn out. Mistakes come quickly and the games fly away.

To be continued …

Newsweek Article: The Complex Relationship Black Gays & Lesbians Have With The Black Christian Church.

The Black Church, Homophobia, and Pastor Eddie Long

Even in a city with a large gay black population, the allegations against Pastor Eddie Long bring up bigger issues about the church and homophobia.

(Page 1 of 2)

Gene Blythe / APPastor Eddie Long in November, 2006

It’s a story with everything: sex, secrets, religion, money, and an empire hanging in the balance. So it’s no surprise that the allegations against Atlanta Bishop Eddie Long have quickly sparked a media frenzy. (Three lawsuits filed in DeKalb County allege that the pastor used his “spiritual authority” to coerce male church members “into engaging in sexual acts and relationships for his own personal sexual gratification.”)

It doesn’t hurt that the allegations of improper conduct focus on the pastor of a 25,000-member megachurch who is one of the most outspoken homophobes in the black church. He galvanized his followers in 2004 to support an amendment to Georgia’s state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

As I am a member of Atlanta’s large black gay community, this story is also a personal one. It raises the question, why is the black church so hostile to gay men and women? Will we ever be accepted as we are?

Atlanta boasts, at least anecdotally, the nation’s largest black gay population. (The city is roughly 55 percent black, and according to The Advocate, the gayest city in America, so it’s not unreasonable to extrapolate.) This past Labor Day weekend, as is tradition, black gay men and women from around the country descended on the city to celebrate gay pride. But even here, there are spaces within the black community where we don’t feel welcome, and the church is chief among them. Gay men and lesbians have always been present in the black church, actively engaged at that. The prevalence of gay men in black church choirs and bands, for example, is accepted but not widely discussed. The unspoken agreement is that gay men get to act as Seraphim, so long as they are willing to shout in agreement as they are being flagellated from the pulpit. It’s an indignity some gay men subject themselves to each and every Sunday. Why should they have to live this way?

My hope is that these questions will be asked during the media frenzy around these lawsuits against Long.

According to the lawsuit, at least one of Long’s accusers was employed by the church as a “Spiritual Son.” He began spending time with the pastor between 2004 and 2005. During this time when the alleged abuse took place, Long would encourage the teen to call him “Daddy,” states the suit. Long’s accusers never allegedly worked for him in any official capacity, and if sexual activity did take place, it’s acknowledged that the young men were past the legal age of consent in Georgia when it happened. But the legality of Long’s actions seems not to be the issue. If Long’s accuser were a woman, even if her allegations were found to be true, I think he could weather the storm—everyone loves a story of a man’s redemption after a moment of relaxed vigilance allows Satan to find a toehold. Long’s predicament is bringing back to the surface the endless debate over whether or not homosexuality is fundamentally moral or acceptable, a debate that preachers like Long have prolonged with their bigoted teachings.

I fear though, that this will become yet another sex scandal, and that people will get so bogged down on the specifics of Long’s case that the larger implications will be ignored. We watched the same thing play out last summer when Henry Louis Gates was arrested for breaking into his own Cambridge, Mass., home. America mired in the details—did Gates’s neighbor say he was black while calling 911? Did Gates really drop a “yo mama” insult on an officer?—such that the more interesting and more valuable dialogue over why incidents like this one take place to begin with fell by the wayside.

If Long did indeed use his influence, charisma, and biblical chicanery to bed impressionable young men whose spiritual development he was responsible for, that is truly reprehensible. But this is a conversation bigger than this case, this church, or this man. It’s about the black community on the whole and whether or not gay men and lesbians are going to be considered full citizens in it. I recently visited Tabernacle Baptist, a small church here in Atlanta. Dennis Meredith, the pastor there since 1994, went from railing against gays and lesbians to preaching acceptance of them after his son Micah came out to him. Since making that choice, Meredith has watched his congregation wax and wane, as parishioners choose to leave for other churches out of protest, and they’re replaced by gays and lesbians looking for safe haven after being shunned by churches like Long’s. It’s devastating that Meredith has had to choose between rejecting gays and lesbians and accepting membership attrition. There’s simply no excuse, no justification for black gay men and lesbians to be treated the way they’re treated in our houses of worship. As tempting as it is to get swept away by the tabloidy drama of the case against Eddie Long, it’s not the man that deserves all the scrutiny. It’s his message.

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