Sunday, July 03, 2011

Wimbledon Review :125 years of Wimbledon and the people making the schedule are the same age then the tournament

Some things change and other things don't this applies to Wimbledon. What didn't change was the moronic scheduling not the fact that Serena Williams was whining about being on court 2, suck it up princess. There is a baseline, a net and a set of lines you have to hit over and in between. The tournament finished on time, and the rain fucked up the doubles schedule. Yes, doubles is lower down the food chain, but there shouldn't be best of 5 doubles matches until the final. Phillip Petzschner summed it up perfectly "125 years of Wimbledon and the people making the schedule are the same age then the tournament! It’s a fucking joke". They hadn’t completed their first round match while others were in the third round.

There were the usual rumblings about how the grass played during the tournament, as has been stated many times they've changed the makeup of the grass using heavier balls which has changed the dynamics of Wimbledon. To the point where it's only Wimbledon in name, this has been reflected for years and only new people to the game or delusional would state otherwise.

Andy Murray once again came up short at Wimbledon which was unsurprising. Murray has an interesting relationship with the British press, they build him up for 2 weeks of Wimbledon where everyone becomes an instant expert on the sport. He has a very dry wit, but due to bad experiences with the press, apart from the usual he wins he's British, he loses he's Scottish. Not a surprise he made the semis and Nadal took him out. If he's going to win a Slam, then it will be either Aus Open or US Open.

Bernie Tomic

Bernard Tomic a young man who has divided quite a lot of people mainly cause of his attitude. Personally never had a problem with Tomic though can see why he would be annoying to others. This was his breakthrough event, the grass is perfect for his game. He can move on the surface, which is where he struggles badly on the clay. The funky forehand while not as funky as Florian Mayer's is more effective on this surface. Tomic has plenty of variety, mixes up it with some junk like Murray and Dolgopolov, this stuff works to bring the ballbashers out of rhythm, while Tomic will never be Usain Bolt and the serve needs to improve, he has a great understanding of how to play tennis, the stuff you can't teach. He was never beating Djokovic, but excellent showing against him.

Novak Djokovic became world number 1 when he defeated Tsonga in the semi finals. Whether people like him or not, yes he's cocky, can't perform fake humility well but he's been the man since the Masters at the end of 2010 to now and thoroughly deserves to be top of the tree. What has led to such improvement within this timeframe, there are a few factors. First of all, he has managed to almost get back his old service motion which was tinkered with by Todd Martin and contributed to stagnation at best and regression at worst. He changed his diet where gluten was eliminated, this has given him more energy, surprise surprise the time outs haven’t been a factor whereas before if he had dandruff he’d call for the trainer. Another important factor is the improved forehand, previously the forehand would break down or used as a rallying shot. He has improved the stroke to a level where he can hit it with more pace and penetration, while having a good safety margin.

For those who don’t understand yes the Grand Slams has 2000 points, but the Masters events which there are nine of them winning those events, players get 1000 for winning. Djokovic won the Aus Open and four of the Masters events plus the Masters Cup, therefore it’s logical he reached the top of the tree with the rolling 52 week rankings for when a player starts their career.

Rafael Nadal made the final which was a fine effort, considering he took faking to levels Sergio Busquets would have been proud of in the match against del Potro. Before the 1st set tiebreaker acting as if he tore ligaments in his foot, then after 9 minutes comes back on court, moves like there isn’t anything wrong with him. The timeout rules are a joke, have been since Shuzo Matsuoka went over with cramps at the US Open acting like he had been shot. The rules need to be changed, want to get treatment before a change of end then forfeit the game, naturally players will take advantage of loopholes. At the same time this was from the winner of the ATP Sportsmanship Award which has much credibility as a North Korean election, let’s see regularly going over time in between serves, constant delay of the game, faking injury timeouts (Petzschner at Wimbledon, Fed at Madrid). Yes, that’s the epitome of great sportsmanship.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic was too good for Nadal as he has been 4 times this year. With Djokovic’s improved fitness and forehand plus having the confidence of defeating him in all of their matches this season. The second set from Djokovic was brilliant, defending very well when he had to and attacking the short balls that Nadal was feeding. He had a lapse in the 3rd set, but was able to retain enough focus despite some nerves to break for *5-3 and served it out for a deserved title. The match wasn’t brilliant at all, but Djokovic was at a much higher level and deserved to win the crown.

First time since 2002 there was a non Fedal winner of Wimbledon. Any doubts that were lingering about Djokovic reaching the number 1 spot in the world were crushed today. As for how long he’ll stay there, who knows and it’s not really relevant it doesn’t matter whether it’s 3 hours or 3 years reaching number 1 in the world is a fine achievement.

Previously I’ve called Djokovic the poor man’s Ivan Lendl and still hold this particular viewpoint. Both aren’t pretty to watch, ruthlessly efficient, very good at what they do and making the most of their abilities. Lendl would have loved these grass courts, but players can only exist in their era, no amount of tennis nerdishness is going to change this.

The tournament itself wasn’t interesting, the distinctive nature of Wimbledon has pretty gone in the way the game is played on grass. It’s at a point now where the game has been saved from all serving machines brutalising the sport, now they can quicken the surface up and use lighter balls.


fast_clay said...

good gear ol' mate... kind of a lacklustre wimbledon yes... but, really happy tomic quallied, carved out his own draw and kicked off his career in wimbledon... should be a happy hunting ground for him by the looks as well...

and yeah... i dont hate nadal... nor any player that much... what i hate most is would be greats bending over in major finals time and time again for the established ones... once upon a time greats became great by taking what they believed was their birthright - rather than being mind tricked by a couple of guys who walked into a soft era...

hopefully we have seen the back of those dark days...

Denys said...

Tomic qualifying and making the quarter finals meant a whole lot more cause he earned his stripes instead of being an IMG pet project getting wildcards into events when he should have been playing qualies or challengers. Now, he can adjust his schedule and won't overplay.

Nadal well Djokovic has him covered at the moment, but things can change. It was an ordinary tournament but the right man won.

Rosie said...

Aaaaaaaaah you used the Bernardo pic with the fangirls! Haha! That will be Peta & I next year haha!
I'm beginning to appreciate Tomic, I don't like him much, but I still like him more than Novak! Novak's forehand DTL is becoming the shot of the year.

As for Murray, the British media need to be avoided around Wimbledon time! They are damn cruel.
Good article Nils! :) I enjoyed reading!

cobalt60 said...

Excellent article! Totally lackluster tournie for me as well. And although I take Nadal at face value :p I think the time out rule must change. Not sure what goes on behind the scenes but I am surprised more players don't bitch about it somehow. Unless they want the ability to use it as well. I am sure Nadal was hurting and I read a review somewhere that states he is a hypochondriac but honestly if I was on Delpo's team I would have complained.

Tomic, Tsonga and Kubot were the only real excitng outcomes this year for me. Love the underdog as you know :p

Rose said...

Thanks for the write-up. Not surprisingly this was not a lacklustre tournament for me - The King is Dead, Long Live the King, as someone once famously said:) Am probably still intoxicated on happiness, so will just say thanks again.

ravi said...

great article Nils. I dont follow Tennis at all but you made this interesting for :-) thanks!

Marc said...

Kubot and Lopez was a throwback to the old days of Wimbledon with some proper serve and volley. Kubot choking wasn't the best thing.

Agree with cobalt Tomic, Tsonga and Kubot were the highlights of the event.

Not sure what it says about the game when a guy who wins Wimbledon clearly on his weakest surface, while it's good he won as he at least was close to the baseline when rallying.

Merton said...

Thanks for the review Nils, this will not be a memorable Wimbledon for me either. Hopefully Tomic will confirm this form on the coming events. I am sure Del Potro is back, he will be a force at hard courts. Tsonga played out of his mind against Roger, no surprise he could not back it up. Disappointing for Murray that he could not break through here either but I agree his best chances are at hard courts. Nadal solid but far from his best and Djokovic the fully deserved winner.

I think that injury timeouts should carry a penalty if they occur between the change of ends. The reason is simple and I have written about that before, a timeout inflicts a cost on the opponent and he should be compensated for that. The ATP management only cares about revenues and publicity though, so a game penalty for any timeouts taken before the change of ends will never go through.

cobalt60 said...

Ooh I like your idea Merton for a penalty. With Delpo having the momentum just before the TB I will always wonder what if.

Sigurd Sigurdsson said...

Thanks for all the comments, it wasn't the most enjoyable of Slams for me, then again I've never really enjoyed Wimbledon or the US Open.

Forfeiting the game for a timeout, that would be a great solution, but as Merton said it wouldn't go through at all.

Martine said...

Great review!
I don't like Wimbledon too much, but I really enjoyed X-man and Tsonga this year.