Wimbly Parting Thoughts: Don’t fuck it up.
STAY THERE WOGIE! DOOTSIE IS COMIN’ FOR YA.
Hope you all enjoyed Poojay’s guest posts. She’ll the interim caretaker of Picket Fence until I land back in Australia on 22nd July. But one last post before I leave, since I’ve neglected my poor little blog these past few weeks because of exams and – as you may have heard – the ‘leadership spill’ in Australia (clickey for definition).
Within the space of one day, Australia went from being dissatisfied with its mandarin-speaking Prime Minister to dumping him and instating our first ever female-atheist-red-head-welsh-born-unionist-former-socialist-unmarried-childless-hairdresser-dating prime minister. ‘Cause that’s how we roll.
But back to actual tennis, some observations of the week:
1. “The Match”.
70-68 in the fifth set. Broken records. Broken scoreboard. And in the end, someone left with a broken heart.
Was it a high quality match for a tennis purist? Not even close. For long periods of the fifth set, there was an oxymoronic blend of repetitive numbness and intensity at the same time. But when that fifth set score line started hitting the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and eventually 70 – the so-called “quality of tennis” becomes irrelevant, because without spirit, will, without competitiveness, without heart, tennis is a series of failed attempts to defy gravity.
Can’t say I wasn’t happy to see Isner come through. Like Roger Federer last year, he benefited from something as trivial and crucial as serving first in the final set. When a contest is this close, ultimately, it comes down to that flip of a coin 3 days ago.
Heads or tails, Mr Nicholas Mahut? Serve or receive, Johnny Isner?
No need to be sad that they’re both out of the tournament. The sweetest prize of all isn’t the money, the trophy, or even their place in history, but finding out the depth of human resilience.
2. From a practice session a few days ago.
At some point during his evolution as a human being, Roger Federer missed the crucial stage where you learn that Santa Claus is not the Toothfairy’s daddy, and blowing on your thumb does not make it stop hurting.
3. Week 1.
Andy Murray is the only player in the top four who hasn’t been taken to five sets yet. It’s still early days, but is there hope and glory around the corner for Betty Windsor Land?
The ATP has gone strangely ‘WTA’ as the WTA morphed itself into a bubbling cauldron of hotness this tournament. Consider the men’s top 4: Federer – struggling to find form post-Aus Open, Mandy – broken by Roger in more ways than one in Melbourne, Nole – hasn’t made a final since Dubai; Rafa? Fabulous clay season, 17 months and counting in terms of winning a title off clay.
I’m not saying that those four don’t collectively have the best shot at winning the tournament, certainly Rafa and Roger go in as the favourites, even despite their early five-setters. But performance-wise, this is the worst stretch we’ve seen at the top of the men’s game.
Contrast that to the WTA. I watched Serena’s opening round match against the Banshee. There was authority, conviction, ruthless execution in every shot, every serve. It was awe-inspiring to behold. Consider Maria Sharapova, form-wise 80% there, her game wavering between A+ and non-performance. Clijsters has looked dangerously close to hitting her “Kimpossible” zone in the few grass court matches I’ve seen from her lately. Henin served up a dream against Nadia Petrova in her straight-sets win yesterday.
It’s 2005 reloaded, with a host of brand new minions trailing slightly behind. I may have to switch my tennis tour allegiances.
But alas, someone on the ATP World Tour has his hand on my heart-strings. He does.
I’ll pop in with a Wimbledon report, but the rest is up to Poojay. No revolts while I’m gone yo!