January in Melbourne means it's time for the tennis. And as usual the players have been arriving in Melbourne over the last week to much fanfare and speculation over their fitness. I am not sure if Serena Williams' over sized backside arrived on the same plane as Serena, but it is most definitely here!. In fact her full behind has dominated both the front and the back of the local papers during the week, with the former number 1's sporting prowess taking a back seat to heated debate about the proportions of her lycra-clad bum...
The balloon like rear end made the front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph: "Serena is back – and she's bigger, if not better, than ever." And the Herald Sun wheeled out leading sports medico Dr Peter Larkins, who used a piece of paper across the waist to split the photo of her body in two. "If you look at the upper half, gee she looks in good shape," Larkins said. "If you put a sheet of paper over the top half and look at the bottom, you'd think that person couldn't be an athlete."
Given the number of top players that are not missing from the 2006 Aus Open (eg Rafael Nadal, defending champion Marat Safin, and the perennial favourite Andre Agassi) coupled with those that are hobbling about under injury clouds (Maria Sharapova, Kim Clisjters and Roger Federer) I guess we should be happy that Serena and her rear end are actually here and ready to play some tennis.
It's the same every year, a number of players pull out because of some sort of injury. I don't know how this is allowed to happen- this is a Grand Slam event after all. It would seem to be a case of too much tennis, too many tournaments. The folks that put tennis calendar does not appear to place much importance on making sure that it's top players get to the starting line for its signature events.
So you end up having Grand Slams, in particular next week's Open, that remind us that tennis's overlong calendar of events is putting too much strain on its biggest draw cards. It's not the players fault- they'll enter as many events as they can to maximise their earnings potential.
The tennis authorities need to scale back the number of events they schedule each year. Surely we as fans would we rather watch the very best less often?