Monday, January 22, 2018

A Great Response To A Dumb Question

Let's look at this Tennys Sandgren issue that has dominated Twitter over the last 24 hours for what it is: a witch hunt.

After reaching his first career quarterfinal at a major, Sandgren was asked in his press conference whether or not he was linked to the alt-right based on who he follows on Twitter.

It appears that Sandgren was advised not to answer the question, and in hindsight, that probably would have been the right decision. Instead Sandgren went ahead and answered the question brilliantly, saying "you can ask me who I am, and I'm perfectly fine answering those kinds of questions."

So who is Tennys Sandgren? He's a Christian. He also clarified that alt-right values are consistent with his Christian values.

Yet even though he explicitly denounced the alt-right and offered no support to the movement, people are still trying form conspiracy theories that tie Sandgren to the alt-right. The answer that Sandgren gave on the spot doesn't leave any possibility for him to be linked to the alt-right in any way.

Let's back up to the question that started all this. It's a serious accusation to accuse someone of being alt-right. If you're going to accuse a player of this right after a career milestone, you better have some serious evidence. Instead, the only evidence offered was that Sandgren follows certain people on Twitter.

The same people who are actively trying to destroy Sandgren's reputation right now are the same ones who claim to believe in tolerance. Yet when a conservative, pro-life, Christian reaches the quarterfinals of a major, the response has been anything but tolerant.

There are some who disagree with Sandgren's worldview, but have gone on Twitter to point out that he is deserving of tolerance. The response they were met with was personal attacks. Anyone who even supports Sandgren as a tennis player is being considered a sympathizer to white supremacists.

Tennis Twitter in many ways has turned into an echo chamber for leftist ideology, and when someone from outside their ideology breaks into that echo chamber, a witch hunt ensues. The voices of reason get blocked and muted, while the witch hunters continue to believe themselves to be virtuous. All they really are is intolerant.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Navratilova's Consistency: Round 2

As with many of my more opinionated posts, a follow-up post can be useful for instructing those with dissenting opinions how best to characterize my views.

Martina Navratilova swooped in on Twitter today to clear the air that she isn't actually a socialist. To which I could respond "scroll through her Twitter feed and you be the judge," but I'll resist the temptation to do that. I'll take her word for it. She's not a socialist, but instead a progressive feminist that supports unions, which is totally different from a socialist apparently.

Some Twitter folks think that I would be surprised to learn that socialists support unions. It turns out, that this fact was the reason I wrote the post in the first place. Interestingly, Navratilova claims she's not a socialist, but does support unions.

So why would a progressive who supports unions oppose Novak Djokovic starting a player's union for the ATP? This is the question I wanted to answer in my last post, and while many people have called me many lovely names, nobody else has offered an alternate response to the question.

One Twitter user semi-accurately described my view as this "inequality is a good thing as long as someone benefits from it." She then sarcastically added "Capitalism at its finest."

This proves my point. Progressives (I won't say socialists since that's not what Navratilova is) hold that equality is an absolute moral good. Djokovic is fighting for the benefit of some, which has the side effect of inequality. Therefore, Navratilova and all who hold equality as an absolute moral good, must oppose Djokovic's efforts.

Thus, my conclusion that Navratilova's opposition to Djokovic is perfectly consistent with her progressive (not socialist) worldview.

The other point I wanted to make in my original post is that opposing Djokovic is also opposing an increase in WTA prize money. As Jonathan Liew correctly pointed out "ITF rules on pay equity dictate that any increase in men's prize money must be reflected on the women's side."

Therefore, in the name of equality, Navratilova is also opposing women receiving increased prize money at joint events. This is the problem with holding equality as an absolute moral good. If you disagree, what is your explanation for a progressive feminist who supports unions, opposing Djokovic's efforts?

The Federer Prism Isn't Even Fair To Federer

As a fan of Novak Djokovic, the media's habit of looking at everything through what I call the Federer Prism gets really annoying. I wrote about this a lot when Djokovic completed the non-calendar grand slam, a feat that is missing on Federer's GOAT resume. However, the media compared Djokovic's achievement to Roger Federer finishing the career grand slam in 2009. That is because the media can only understand events through the Federer prism.

The latest manifestation of this is to talk about how every player will be reaching their peak when they turn 36. The assumption is that the trajectory of Federer's career is the blue print that every other player either is or should be using to plan the rest of their own careers.

This shows a complete lack of appreciation for what Federer accomplished in 2017. Nobody has ever done anything like what Federer did last year, and to assume that suddenly every other player is going to do the same is absurd.

The best way to recognize and appreciate what Federer did last year is to stop talking about other players trying to do the same thing. It will be decades before anything remotely similar happens again. Give Federer his due and stop analyzing other players through the Federer Prism.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Navratilova Is Only Being Consistent

On Friday, Independent posted a sarcastically-toned column on Novak Djokovic's push to start a player's union for the ATP. The post said that Judy Murray and Martina Navratilova were both against the idea, and right on cue, both women retweeted the article to endorse the message.

Navratilova is an outspoken feminist, socialist, progressive, and leftist. Use whatever term you like. So it should come as no surprise that she would be against a player's union for the ATP, because it is perfectly consistent with her worldview.

What Djokovic is trying to do (among other things) is get a percentage increase in the prize money for all players on the ATP. Pure evil, right?

Let's say Djokovic gets his way, and there is a five percent increase in prize money at all ATP events. That means there would also be a five percent increase in prize money for the WTA in all joint events, but not the events that only feature the WTA. That means that if Djokovic gets his way, everybody wins.

So how could a retired tennis player like Navratilova possibly oppose something that will benefit all tennis players?

I'll let her speak for herself. "Certainly, giving more money to the men than the women is not a solution. That's the wrong thing to do, and I wish Novak would see that."

Look at what Martina is saying here. She is acknowledging that women would gain money from a player's union forming for the ATP, but is complaining that the players on the ATP would gain even more. The women would benefit from what Djokovic is doing, but since the men would benefit even more, it certainly can't be a solution.

Here's a bright idea. The WTA should form its own player's union and ask for more prize money. Why doesn't Navratilova support that idea? The answer is obvious. The WTA cannot increase the players' wages without the help of the popularity of the ATP.

The issue for Navratilova with what Djokovic is trying to accomplish is that it would help male tennis players more than it would help female tennis players. In other words, if Djokovic succeeds, it would be a win for the dreaded male privilege.

Like any good socialist, Navratilova's worldview is built on a foundation of jealousy. Privilege and inequality of any kind are the only true evils in Navratilova's worldview. Just scroll through her Twitter feed some time and see how much she talks about White Privilege and income inequality. She is motivated by jealousy.

Let's take the example of a mother of three happy children. The three kids are sitting on the couch, and they are happy. The mother goes into the kitchen and gets a bowl of ice cream and hands it to one of the kids. As you can imagine, the other two kids are now angry. Why? Nothing changed for them. They had no ice cream and continue to have no ice cream. They're angry because it is unfair that one kid received ice cream, while they didn't. They are jealous.

Let's say, the mother goes back into the kitchen a gets a larger bowl of ice cream and hands it to a different kid. Now, the one who was thrilled a second ago to have any ice cream at all is angry that he didn't get more ice cream. He was happier when nobody had any ice cream at all. His jealousy has ruined his happiness over having ice cream in the first place.

This is what's happening with the potential of a player's union. Any logical person can see that more prize money for the players is a good thing. All Navratilova sees is an increase in income inequality between the genders. She's decided that it's better for there to be no increase in prize money for anyone at all, than for the ATP to receive a bigger prize money increase than the WTA.

It's jealousy and it's the byproduct of a socialist worldview that holds equality as an absolute moral good.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Zverev makes generational statement in Rome

With his title in Rome, Sascha broke a new record by being 3,126 days younger than the next youngest player with a Masters Series 1000 title.

ROME, Italy -- As the average peak age of tennis players gets older, it becomes increasingly impressive when a young player makes a run at a big tournament, defeats a top-10 player or, in the case of 20-year old Alexander Zverev, win a Masters Series 1000 title. However, the German hasn't quite got the attention he deserves.

Sometimes when someone does something so unprecedented, the achievement fails to get the deserved recognition, because there is nothing to compare it to. When Novak Djokovic won four majors in a row on three different surfaces, the achievement was overlooked. There was nothing to compare with what Djokovic had done. Some tried to compare it to things Roger Federer had done, but Federer never won four in a row. Others wanted to compare it to Rod Laver's grand slams, but that was on only two different surfaces

Zverev's incredible run to the title in Rome has been compared to other players from outside the Big Four winning Masters Series 1000 titles, but none of those players were 20-years old at the time. The next youngest players to win a Masters Series 1000 title in the era of the Big Four aren't even close to Zverev.

23-year old Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Paris (2008)
24-year old Tommy Robredo: Hamburg (2006)
25-year old David Nalbandian: Madrid & Paris (2007)
26-year old Robin Soderling: Paris (2010)
27-year old Marin Cilic: Cincinnati (2016)

A lot has changed in tennis in the nine years since Tsonga won the title in Paris. The most impressive stat to come out of Sunday's final was that Sascha, born in 1997, was the first player born in the 1990's to even win a set in a Masters Series final. That is an entire generation of players that got skipped.

This graph gives a visual representation of the distribution of Masters Series 1000 titles by birth year with the red bar all alone on the right belonging to Zverev.


The next youngest player to have won a 1000 title is Cilic, who is more than 8.5 years older than Zverev. That means nobody born in the eight and a half years between Cilic and Zverev has been able to do with Zverev just did.

Below is a list of all the players who at the time of their first title were the youngest to have won a Masters Series 1000.

Stefan Edberg (1-19-1966) - won the first Masters Series 1000 tournament
Andre Agassi (4-29-1970)
Michael Chang (2-22-1972)
Andriy Medvedev (8-31-1974)
Roberto Carretero (8-30-1975)
Marcelo Rios (11-11-1975)
Carlos Moya (8-27-1976)
Mark Philippoussis (11-7-1976)
Marat Safin (1-27-1980)
Lleyton Hewitt (2-24-1981)
Roger Federer (9-8-1981)
Guillermo Coria (1-18-1982)
Andy Roddick (8-30-1982)
Rafael Nadal (6-3-1986)
Novak Djokovic (5-22-1987)
Marin Cilic (9-28-1988)
Alexander Zverev (4-20-1997)

This means that with his title in Rome, Sascha broke a new record by being 3,126 days younger than the next youngest player with a Masters Series 1000 title. It is actually twice as big of a gap as any two other players on the above timeline. 

The second largest gap was the time between the birthdays of Edberg and Agassi. However, both of these players won their first Masters Series titles in the first year of the event. If Masters Series 1000's had been played before during the 1980s, certainly someone born between those two dates (like a Boris Becker or Thomas Muster) would have already won a title.

Here's how many days younger each player is than the next youngest player to have won a 1000 at the time of their first title.

Zverev 3,126
Agassi 1,561
Nadal 1,373
Safin 1,176
Medvedev 921
Chang 664
Cilic 495
Hewitt 394
Carretero 364
Djokovic 353
Moya 290
Roddick 224
Federer 196
Coria 132
Rios 73
Philippoussis 72

This stat gives an indication of just how hard it was to break through at the time of their breakthrough. In other words, Coria, Rios, Philippoussis and Federer broke through at a time when there was a vacancy at the top of the game. Since this is Big Four era, it's no surprise that it has never been harder to do what Zverev just did this week in Rome.