Peter Lampp: Time we kicked the overpaid, spoilt drawcard tennis players into touch
OPINION: Luring women's tennis superstars to Auckland might not be worth their bloated appearance incentives.
We saw that last week with the Williams sisters going kerplunk at Stanley Street.
We can only speculate how much was spent on them and on Caroline Wozniacki, let alone the helicopter tourist rides and business class air fares from the United States they were probably feted with.
Wozniacki at least reached the quarterfinals before she bombed out. To keep her happy, she had been gifted a $15,000 ring by sponsors.
Wonder if that was more expensive than the one she received from golfer Rory McIlroy before he jilted her?
Not in the same ballpark. That was reportedly worth $380,000, way below what Rory bestowed on the finger of his latest fiancee, Erica Stoll, at $900,000.
When Serena Williams came off court at Auckland, she bleated about the wind and how she couldn't wait to go somewhere where it was less windy. Don't we all.
Even so, she played no better than a B grader in Manawatu's light airs, botching basic ground strokes. She displayed the footwork of a Galapagos turtle against Madison Brengle, a player well known only to her parents.
Surely the world No 2 should have been able to counter the wind better than Brengle, who did no more than scramble the ball back over the net any old how.
Maybe Serena's mind was too much on her fiance, who had tagged along for the ride, because 88 unforced errors in three sets by the world No 2 was the pits. She looked as if, after her four-month layoff, she had not hit a ball.
Given the money it cost to bring her to New Zealand, she could have at least have given an interview when she arrived at the airport. Instead she flounced in flanked by sentries while delivering rubbish one-liners to microphonists desperate for any sort of quote from the great one.
Meanwhile, sis Venus withdrew with a sore arm, although there appeared to be little wrong with that wing when she was blazing forehand winners in the second set.
But remember, tournaments such as Auckland's will always be no more than warmups for the Aussie Open and players will bail out if they get so much as an itchy finger. They are simply using us.
Lucie Safarova was another higher-ranker to quit because of injury, as was youngster Naomi Osaka, who arrogantly answered "yes", "yes", when Sky's Stephen McIvor asked her two pre-match questions.
Tournament don Karl Budge would be better off just chasing the kids of the future who will at least be hungry to get past the first round. And yet in saying that, Croatian teen, Ana Konjuh, bottled it in the second set of the final, virtually giving up against tenacious American Lauren Davis, who could barely see over the net.
At least the four lesser names fought tooth and nail in the doubles final chasing the $9000 winners' cheque. In international tennis terms that is peanuts, but then peanuts are what the also-rans scrape up while the Serenas earn obscene sums.
Keep pursuing the big names and they will let you down. As for Serena, she can beggar off because she was as full of wind as was Auckland, barely doing any media interviews.
She was desperate to get to Melbourne, where, with luck, she will melt down if the 40-degree heatwaves arrive.
We saw this opportunism for years when tournaments kept inviting the golfing clown John Daly. He usually cut and run with his appearance money after two rounds of splashing balls into lakes and missing the cut.
TIGERS CHILLING OUT
It's all very well our Black Caps bullying the Bangladesh cricketers in our home conditions, which some may have mistaken for a summer.
The Bangladeshis are still emerging as a cricketing nation and won't have relished chilling here.
They are different kettles in their home conditions in one of the world's most densely populated countries, with a greater population (163 million) than Russia's (143 million). New Zealand has twice Bangladesh's land area.
At home, the Bangladesh Tigers cricketers recently beat England in a test match and, as Sri Lanka did, they will prosper. They have the people.
It cuts to the craw that the Rangitikei Golf Club has lost precious goods in a break-in at the clubhouse.
Rangitikei in recent years has turned itself around to be a thriving little country club based heavily on volunteer workers.
This makes the burglary all the more infuriating. Among the items stolen by the primates were meat prizes, first aid kits and, worst of all, the club's defibrillator.
A defibrillator is used to revive anyone who has a heart problem on the golf course. It is hard to see crooks having a use for it, at least until a constable knocks on their door. But someone just might spot it being sold on social media.