Wimbledon Final thoughts: the History Boy and the Anti Star.
1. Some things are worth waiting 77 years for. In case you’ve been living in a ditch free from the British press, Andy Murray finally ended his slow, teasing torture of the entire nation of Great Britain, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 to clinch the Wimbledon trophy.
In 2012, when Murray won the gold medal at the Olympics, I mused whether this would in fact provide the mental breakthrough he needed to win a grand slam, any grand slam. The Olympics had the unique status of being a major title but not a major. The winner is both the centre of attention and yet one of many to share that lime light. And in truth, it seemed to take a huge load off Murray’s shoulders.
Within a year, Murray has won the US Open (with a major wobble in the final) and Wimbledon (with a minor wobble in the final game), and as much as I’ve disliked him as a player, it has been somewhat gratifying to watch him take advantage of the fate and opportunity provided by the Olympics and use it to strengthen a once fragile psyche.
2. All hail Marion, who – in two weeks – had morphed from the Maid to the Matron of the French tennistical hierarchy. Those reading this blog from way back may remember that I have never been a fan of Bart. Her game is at best quirky, at worst weirdly ungraceful and blunt. Her personality carries the same bluntness as her game. Marion loves and hates with so much transparency, at times making no attempt at being diplomatic in press conferences when her opinion is asked.
In short, on a tour dominated by Big Babe tennis, Bartoli is the oddball.
But in the same way that Schiavone’s win at Roland Garros a few years ago re-energised my love for women’s tennis, Bartoli’s victory at Wimbledon was a victory for variety on the WTA tour. Look past the Serenas and Marias on tour and you’ll find an underbelly of interesting players with quirky personalities who do not get enough (or any) attention.
Perhaps the biggest take-away from this Wimbledon is the mere fact that for a week at least, the spotlight was on them for a change: Bartoli, Lisicki, Flipkens .. even the doubles champs Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai. When was the last time we saw both singles and doubles winners with double handed forehands at a grand slam?
Seems to me that the level of variety on the WTA tour could in fact be something to be celebrated, rather than bemoaned after all.
3. While we’re on the topic of the WTA, consider the following comment from BBC Radio 5’s John Inverdale:
Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight’?
In his defence, Inverdale tried on air to remedy his casual misogyny by digging a bigger hole for himself:
We poked fun, in a nice way, about how she looks … but Marion Bartoli is an incredible role model.
OIC. You poked fun in a nice way. That’s all okay then.
On a completely unrelated note, do you think Judy told Andy when he was little “you’re never going to be a hunk. You’ll never be a Deliciano, so you have to be crafty and defensive”?
4. Roger Federer.
Because we all know I’m incapable of writing a post without typing that name at least ONCE.
There was a flurry of panic on Twitter when Wogie McFudd announced that he’ll be playing not just one, but TWO clay court tournaments post Wimbledon.
This is apparently significant because 1) clay court tournaments post-Wombly is something done only by Nicolas Almagro; 2) Roger Federer is not an Almagro, despite his newfound ability to apparently lose to minions on any surface anywhere at any stage of a tournament; 3) HOLY SHIT. This must mean that this is Federer’s farewell tour. Roger Federer is GOING TO RE-RE-RET … oh I can’t even utter that word it’s so abhorrent.
I’m not entirely sure where the logic in this is: Federer has a bad loss and decides to do something out of the ordinary like – ohidunno – play more tennis, and therefore Federer must be retiring?
To me, it seems like Federer found himself in an unfamiliar position of needing both match play and points in the month of July and picked two family-friendly tournaments practically in his backyard to hopefully get some momentum back in his season.There is also the fact that 2013 is the first year when Federer has had complete control over his schedule in terms of how many tournaments he could play and when. If there was ever a time to experiment, it would be now.
If anything, it sounds like the man is motivated to rectify his (let’s face it) incredibly mediocre year. Good on him. I’m certainly not complaining about MOAR WOGIE.