Sports Goggles

Archive for September 2012

Tennis: The Sport of Kings Is Dead, Long Live…

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Most casual observers of tennis believe the sport is in a great state with great players at the top of the men’s game and more women than ever with chances to win grand slam events. However, what is not known and is rarely said, is that the game has little resemblance to what was meant to be.

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Rafa: proof that mediocre is the new “great.”

For two weeks 256 men and women entertained millions of people around the world as they played the sport of kings… and queens.

Unfortunately, though, those in attendance for the 14 days and the millions of enthralled viewers that span the globe were, for the 11th year, cheated. What was, before 2001, the most important sporting event in the world outside of the World Cup, is but a shell of its former self.

Thus, we saw the Wimbledon fortnight. And by Friday of the first week of tennis, the tournament was in shambles.

By Thursday Rafael Nadal was gone. Friday Roger Federer found himself down two sets to none and had to play deep into an English evening to survive a third round match. By Friday a slew of seeded women found themselves either focusing on doubles or on a plane to elsewhere – gone from Wimbledon’s Ladies Singles Draw. Also on Friday we saw Radek Stepanek, the last of the late 1990s- early 2000s tennis player fruitlessly attempt to serve and volley his way by world’s #1 Novak Djokovic.

The players who vanquished these kings and queens of the courts weren’t players rising through the ranks with a bullet. They had names like Julian Benneteau, a lanky, underachieving French dirtballing journeyman, for whom clay courts are his best friend. They had names like Lukas Rosol, the #100 player in the world, who wound his way through three qualifying matches before he blew Nadal off center court while barely breaking a sweat. They were women of little-defined tennis pasts and even less-defined tennis presents.

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