A lot of things in tennis world in the past few days have made me cranky. Talk of GOAT, GMOAT, of rankings, serves and returns. Of brain cramps, cupcakes, muffins and bricks. Of bitterness, weak eras and asterisks.
Yes. A lot of things in tennis world make me cranky. That’s what this blog is for.
But in a way that is to be expected, for there is something brewing over in New York. You can’t ignore it. You can’t look away. You want it so badly and want to avoid it so badly at the same time. You know what I’m talking about: one match on either side could ruin it. And I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want the bitterness, I’m not playing the GOAT debate for the gazillionth time and I’m certainly not going to stand here and defend something that is self-evident about So-and-So’s achievements in this sport.
Instead, I give you something that deserves more limelight and won’t make any of us cranky or enraged.
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t get a little misty-eyed over it. India, Pakistan and this sport of tennis couldn’t have asked for two more eloquent and endearing representatives. This sentiment was echoed by Qureshi’s mother, who shed a proud tear over her son’s achievement.
‘He has shown how much he loves his country. To say all this at such a prestigious event when the whole world is watching requires a lot of commitment.’
‘I don’t know if our ambassadors are able to say all this so forcefully at any forum or not, but my son has conveyed the message to the entire world.’
It’s a pity that this statement of peace and unity on the eve of 9/11 won’t get higher reportage in the Western World than this horrible affair. It really is one of those feel good stories you can’t get cynical about, because at the end of the day, I choose to believe that most of us are Misters and Missus Congeniality.
In other matches … this happened.
I am going to put this in perspective:
- Between her shocking Wimbledon loss and the US Open, Venus Williams didn’t play a single match. She far exceeded my expectations by even making the semifinals, but then again, that’s what the Williams sisters do: making a mockery of your lowly expectations.
- Her slam results this year – 2 quarterfinals, a fourth round and a semifinal – really aren’t bad. Especially compared to the rest of the women’s top 10, all those “bright young things” and “future contenders” have all at some point crashed out in the first week.
- Sure, her tennis isn’t what it used to be when she first turned me into a tennis fan, but objectively – take away the history, the age difference, the expectations of glory – her game itself is still right up there on the WTA, a tour not known for its mental fortitude or consistency at the moment.
So if you’re Venus Williams, aged 30, ranked 4 in the world for singles and 1 in doubles, there are plenty of positives to take away from the US Open. That’s perspective for ya.
And yet, having said all that, being a fan has never been about perspective. I’m not even going to pretend that this loss wasn’t A STAB. IN. MY HEART. Not just because she lost, but because she lost it on her own racket.
And when will she get this good a chance to win a slam-not-named-Wimbledon again?