Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wimbledon Review

It's time for the Wimbledon review and since I couldn't be bothered writing a preview, because the expected finalists were known before the event and this came true, but more on the final later. This was quite an enjoyable Wimbledon event, any time that Andy Roddick loses early, then it's a good event. His victor Janko Tipsarevic is the man who plays well against the big players, but struggles against the players he should beat, and he ended up losing in the 4th round to Rainer Schüttler who saved his singles career with this result in making the semi finals. The likable and hard working German had suffered from glandular fever and he came back too soon, which put him further behind than he would have been initially, but I'm happy he did well here at the veteran stage and after the 1st set against Nadal, while outgunned, he played a tactically sound match.

The enigmatic volcano Marat Safin making the semi finals of Wimbledon, if someone said this before the start of Wimbledon, then it would be a trip to the special place where they like to keep people away from the general population. The big man played very well and he is thankful that the surface has been slowed significantly for him to win this many matches in a row on grass. He made Djokovic look fairly pedestrian and followed it up some excellent wins. The match against Seppi was of a high standard, though it should have been suspended or at least, the players given high visibility wear, it's very hard to play tennis when you can't see the ball. Marat also handled Wawrinka and LaLo who has always been a very tough opponent for him, he must get freaked out by LaLo's serve or the sexy backhand.

Good results for Andy Murray, Cilic once again made a 4th round of a Slam, but losing to Clement easily, is never a good thing. Martin Vassallo Argüello winning a match on grass is something that should be marked down in the calendar and it doesn't matter that he was donkey punched by Kiefer in the next round. Ernests Gulbis took out the serving tree Isner and gave Nadal, plenty to think about. Just hope he can continue to develop and progress and start giving the big players something to think about.

Onto the final now. It's better to get this out of the system now. It's interesting how the slowing down of the grass courts has impacted on tennis. I could probably do a separate article on this, but would require more work, so it will just be a summary. What was happening in the 80s and 90s, it was serve and volley tennis, this was the case when Edberg, Cash and Becker were playing, but as they were leaving the game this evolved into what became the hideous serve tennis. Just hitting bombs to the corners on bowling greens and blind monkeys could make those volleys, it was the equivalent of watching a football match and going straight to penalties. Understandably they slowed down the courts to create more rallies, but grass rewarded specific skills, encouraging the serve/volley, but as technology advanced it became, biff, bang, wallop, boom tennis and this was problematic for the fans. At the same time the glaring hypocrisy is that the clay courts have been sped up and they are using a lighter ball, yes but nothing is said about this at all. The overall homogensiation of the game in relation to surfaces is a greater factor, but if you want me to go into it further, then I will try and write something more on it.

The final, well it had plenty of drama and was good to watch, more so the last 2 sets, the first 3 sets weren't of the highest quality. Nadal was just solid and Federer a mix between good, tactically inept and woeful esepcially with his backhand. Federer's serve had been the best thing about his tournament so far and he wasn't serving that well, he lead 4-2 in the 2nd set and had numerous chances to break, but of course the relentless Nadal took his few chances and then wins the 2nd set 6-4.

Pretty much most people watched this match and as an overall match to say it was the best ever final is hyperbole at its best. Yes, it had drama, but that was it, plus the 4th set had 2 classic shots, not sure how this makes an all time classic match. As for the result, it was well deserved for Nadal, in the way, that his mental strength and his excellent break point conversion, were the keys to this match. Federer dumping backhands into the net on break points on second serves, which weren't that menacing, the fact he wanted to hit topspin backhands and approach the net, when it goes straight into Nadal's strike zone.

Time for Federer to learn something from this defeat and push forward and Nadal to be a factor at hardcourt Slams.


Denys said...

Definitely some big upsets at the big Wimbledon, with Schuettler and Safin making the semis. I highly doubt even their mothers would believe that they would have made it through that far.

I agree that the final had drama, but far from the greatest ever final, this is just paper talk as usual.

Marc said...

Nadal finally won Wimbledon, it was disappointing that Federer lost on this occasion, now he has to come back from this negative experience and see if he can surpass Sampras

A. said...

Well, it seems that Nadal was reading :p