I must say, as well as all its other benefits, it’s nice that moving the tournament back a week means that here in the States, we have a national holiday taking place when ESPN is still showing Wimbledon the entire day. Since it seems there will never again be a People’s Sunday, we need all the days off from work in which we can actually watch live that we can get.
Although at least they had the sense to use the roof today, and make sure everything was done in time for the big day of tennis Monday. Still, one did worry about if the gambit failed to get the match completed before curfew, and we instead had Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon coming out to play two games Monday instead(and when Monfils would’ve thrived on a People’s Sunday too, I bet). Quite frankly it was a relief when Simon didn’t have much trouble with the last set.
Today was definitely an odd one, in ways. Petra Kvitova going out even felt more of a shock than Rafa Nadal had Thursday; after he went down at the French, one almost feels like anything could happen to poor Rafa anyway. A bizarre episode involving medical timeouts begs the question as to whether it is proper to give someone who’s thrown you off with a medical timeout a taste of his own medicine, or, if that was not Andy Murray’s motivation, just how alarmed we should be about these back/shoulder issues. And James Ward losing, though it was a match that didn’t draw the attention or drama of Serena and Heather Watson yesterday, is kind of more heartbreaking than the latter. After all, Heather is still on the up, and did we really want her triumph to come at the expense of Serena’s possible calender slam, and a good all-Williams grass battle? But who knows if James Ward will ever again get anywhere near the chance he couldn’t grab today, and when the matchup he would’ve prevented would’ve been no great loss(seriously, why couldn’t Dustin Brown had followed up? I want more of that guy); hey, we might have even seen an all-British quarterfinal!(talk about the crowds going crazy…).
And now the question is, do we dare start believing in Madison Keys now? Or will she now get overhyped and then crash and burn, just like every other young North American woman who has shown promise recently?
Between watching them both play so far and Mandy’s crazy leg issues, I would say I think this is going to be another Fedole final, except that I suspect that if I did, one or both of them would then have a bad day and crash out, and given some recent history they both have, it definitely seems too early to predict that yet.
I would also say that if this Catherine Bellis person reached the round of 16 and then beat Eugunie Bouchard in it, I was going to laugh, except I don’t think she needs the hype she’d get hit with then, especially when her ability to deal with that kind of pressure is as yet a complete unknown. Though I suppose it would be nice for her to just reach the round of 16 anyway.
I will say I’m really sorry Serena and Kvitova are in the same half. I think that might just have made for a very competitive final, provided neither got shocked beforehand. Although perhaps Serena-Radwanska or Serena-Halep, could work, provided again Serena doesn’t get shocked, and Maria Sharapova doesn’t take out both the Pole and the Romanian.
Okay, I admit, I do kind of like Eugenie Bouchard. She’s easy enough to like, if you’re willing to forgive modern teenage music tastes, and don’t mind your female athletes hyper-prioritizing winning, and I’ve always found Maria Sharapova okay enough(they’re right to drawn the comparisons between the two of them). When this tournament began, I certainly didn’t think it likely I’d be cheering against her.
But ESPN’s hype. Crossed the line sometime between when she won her semi-final and things started going downhill for her today, and then kept going. I was actually out for much of the final for real life business that couldn’t wait, but when I followed on my phone the final score and time of the match felt like a comeuppance. The guard is slow indeed to change in tennis, and ESPN seems to make an idiot of itself every time the remote possibility emerges that a young blonde white player from North America might become the next big thing. Which Bouchard actually shows more probability of being than anyone else has in recent years, but that just makes the whole thing worse. But then I come home to ESPN showing her press conference, and, well, really? This day ought to have been about Petra Kvitova rising again from her post-win slump and returning to the pinnacle she’d once stood on, all while playing the tennis of her life. Had she been North American, I doubt ESPN could’ve gotten enough of that storyline. Instead, watching the ABC rerun later, I found myself almost counting how much the commentators were talking about Bouchard struggling, as opposed to Kvitova being brilliant. There was much more dwelling on the former than the latter.
At least tomorrow we’ve got the old guard Swiss and Serb, and the one of them ESPN usually favors is arguably the best tennis player in history anyway. It’ll probably be a more even match too. I hope.