Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wimbledon 2007: A Postscript


by Savannah

It's over. The Grand Slam considered the most prestigious and hallowed of them all has crowned its 2007 King and Queen. Tonight Roger Federer will dance with Venus Williams at the post event ball along with all the men and women, boys and girls who are part of their court.

After all the controversy about schedules and the weather I’m sure the AELTC will congratulate itself for staging both the Women’s and Men’s finals on their appointed days. Already you hear the glossing over of the protests from both players and fans as the hype machine goes into overdrive to convince the critics of this year's event that their protests were just tempests in a teapot, that in the end the tradition was upheld and all is right with the world.

So what is this bad taste in my mouth? Why do I feel that the real winner of this year's Wimbledon Men’s final says he’s on his way to Stuttgart for a clay court event while, dare I say it, the preordained winner will dance and drink champagne tonight? I say preordained for a reason. Even the most faithful apologists for the random draw admit that Rafael Nadal came into this final despite all the pitfalls and snares laid in his way. Due to the weather, which of course is an act of the Deity and therefore unable to be changed, Rafa played a total of seven days straight. He had to start and stop several times before putting away his third round opponent. Was there rest in between? No. To his credit he walked onto Centre Court seemingly ready to take the championship that has so far eluded him. Last year he was obviously not ready despite making the Final. This year he was ready and match tough.

But not even an athlete of Rafa’s abilities can withstand back to back to back to back to back to back to back play. The human body needs to rest. With the build up of toxins in his body the mind may have been willing but the flesh had become weak. An old injury flared up, patellar tendonitis, and while in his post-match interview he says that he had his chances but failed, the bitter disappointment showed on his face. Would one day of rest, playing the Final on Monday, have made a difference? That’s a moot question now isn’t it?


I said in an earlier post that the winner of this Wimbledon will have an asterisk next to his name. I didn’t mean the one about five straight. I mean the one where an exception should be noted about the how of the win. So many have said that Roger is a great ambassador for the sport of tennis. He does wonderful charitable work in his mother’s native South Africa. I don’t begrudge him that part of his life. But then he made the following statement:

Q. What do you make of the level of criticism that the club has taken from some other players about scheduling, not playing Sunday?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, I hear a lot about it. I read it.

I don't think it's really the right way to go after the tournament. You know, I mean, it rains a lot here sometimes, so we do have that problem. But Wimbledon is doing so many great things next to it.

They've risen prize money. They're building a new roof over Centre Court. They built the millennium building in 2000. Then we're not upset when they do those things.

When it rains once, we have a scheduling problem, I don't think we should start going after the club right away. I disagree with the players, what they said.


Federer Post Match Interview

If he, like Richard Gasquet, his semifinal opponent, had played a five-set match and then been set to play at noon the next day I wonder if he would’ve been singing the same song.

My criticism is not only aimed at Roger Federer and the AELTC. The women had similar, if sometimes more subtle, problems on their side.

The last person many people wanted to see on Centre Court on Saturday was anyone with the surname of Williams. That there was a chance that both of those women could appear on that sacred grass was something to be prevented at all costs. Richard Williams had already predicted that his daughter Venus would win the Ladies Championship. Fool they called him behind his back.

Meanwhile Serena Williams seemed to be blazing her own path to Championship Saturday until she was felled by injury. Forget the images showing the muscle of her calf in a knot. That she managed to get up and not only finish but win her match against her Slovakian opponent put her on the front pages of sports sections around the country. But Daniela Hantuchova, her opponent, said during her presser after the match that in her eyes nothing was wrong in the third set, that Serena was moving fine in her opinion. The next time she’s scheduled to play Serena comes on court with a heavily bandaged calf, one tightly bandaged ankle, and a wrist taped almost motionless. Yet some, picking up on Hantuchova’s jealous words, said she was play acting. That she lost to Justine Henin by one break of serve in the third set made the haters more upset it seems. All of a sudden there were stage whispers about her not being injured at all. Richard said it was a slight tear and that his daughter should go home or at least not play but what does that old man know they implied. Yes they played the video of her falling over and over and I for one didn’t mind them doing so. The whispers had gotten so loud visual evidence had to be supplied to show that there were obviously other issues and agenda's behind their talk.

The woman across the net from Venus on Saturday, Marion Bartoli, deserves a little bit of a shout out. Her father, a doctor, has not trained her in the way France or any traditional tennis academies do. Mary Carillo jokingly recounted some of his training techniques making her peers laugh. But Maid Marion as she has been called for over a year on TAT delivered a beat down to Justine Henin and walked onto Centre Court carrying a bouquet along with Venus Williams. Neither woman is a media darling and while there had always been the outside chance that Venus would make it Marion, the “big girl” with the heart of a lioness was definitely never seen as a Wimbledon finalist. Venus survived the jinx court twice, low seeding, and back to back to back play in order to walk onto Centre Court with Marion. All of the Williams family was there to support Venus. Dr. Walter Bartoli sat alone, his wife at home too nervous to watch her daughter play.

When it was over the most touching event of the tournament took place. Richard Williams and Walter Bartoli exchanged high fives and talked for a few minutes after exchanging a hug. Then Dr. Bartoli broke down in tears finally letting all the pressure and emotion out. His consoler was Richard Williams. How ironic that these two men who have bucked the system in their respective countries should share that moment.

That is the lasting memory I take from this tournament. The sportsmanship shown between Marion and Venus during and after the awards presentation is what sport is all about. Of course Marion was disappointed. She’s an athlete and she plays to win not come in second. Rafa in his post Final press conference refused to be suckered into bitterness and rancor by the reporters. He said he will be fine.


And so will tennis. The Hard Road to New York as Kirkus founder
of Talk About Tennis has named it - The US Open Series as it is officially called has begun. There are serious questions for American tennis that need to be aired and discussed openly and that won't be solved by trying to stack the deck against the European players who dominate at this time. Does Andy Roddick have another slam in him or has his time passed? After Venus and Serena retire who will carry the torch for American women in the WTA?

Is it time to review the basic premise of American tennis - hit it hard and if that doesn't work hit it harder - and find a solution that allows for many different approaches that will allow our young up and comers a chance to compete on the international stage? Is it also time to stop undermining our best players because they don't fit a particular mold?

I said the issues need to be aired, not solved over the remaining months of this year. I'm an outsider, a fan of over twenty years, looking in at this sport I love. Do I have all the answers? Not by any means. As I said I'm on the outside looking in.

But when the behind the scenes machinations get so bad the victims of it start to publicly protest something is very rotten in Denmark as the Bard once wrote. Yes Wimbledon is over. But the issues raised over this fortnight will not be swept under the rug.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read this blog more or less regularly since the end of 06 season, but couldn't be bothered to comment till now. Now I can't help but ask you one question:

Paranoid much?

Savannah said...

As one wag commented just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no one's out to get you.

Karen said...

Hi Savannah. What is going on? As I said on Craig's blog yesterday on this topic, I believe we are headed into the realms of ESPN posters. I for one am very upset that Venus was put on Court 2. I for one am also very upset that in the montage to winners, there is barely a glimpse of Venus and Serena. I for one am very unhappy that in the 50th year of Althea Gibson's victory, the AELTC chose not to even make mention of her accomplishment. But guess what, it is a testorone (sp?) laden world and women, especially women of colour will always be sidelined. I am upset that when everyone was making their predictions of the women's championship, no one thought to put a 3 time champion in the mix. What does that say about our ability to see the talent that Venus Williams has. Everyone was so focused on Nadal/Federer that everyone forgot about the women and their achievements. I am sorry if I do not feel much sympathy for Rafa on his loss and as a Fed Kad I am none too happy with Mr. Federer as well. His comments during this tournament left a bad taste in my mouth and his antics on court reminded me of when he was younger and could not control his emotions. Rafa needs to cut down on his schedule. Yes the scheduling as a result of the rain could have made his life a lot easier, but if he does not cut down on his schdedule prior to Wimbledon then he is going to have serious problems in the future.

helen w said...

Karen, I sympathise with your concern that we do not want the lack of civility on other tennis boards to creep in here.

That being said, prejudice and bigotry exist, and I don't think it is out of line to point this out. To me there is absolutely no excuse for the AELTC not honouring the 50th anniversary of Althea Gibson's historic win. IMHO, Venus's win would have been an ideal opportunity to at least mention it.

Karen said...

Helen, I am in total agreement with you on this particular issue. As a matter of fact if I had not read it here I would not have realised that it was the 50th Anniversary of Althea Gibson's victory at Wimbledon. One of the things that really irks me about the English system is the way they stick to the caste system. I work in a law firm where everyone that I interact with is white. Most of them are also English. There is a certain sense of proprietary that is attached to them that someone who has not been exposed to this side of things would interpret it as being very prejudicial and racist (2 different things people). They are condescending without meaning to and as far as they are concerned there is a thing called the "stiff upper lip". As I was educated by English teachers during my formative years and as I am from a country that shook off the English earlier this century I guess I am still stuck in the old English way of looking at things. Seeing the bright side and if there is no bright side, keeping a "stiff upper lip". That being said, it does not take away from the fact that the AELTC neglected to honour Althea Gibson on this most historic of occassions, but they saw it fit to honour Raja for reaching a milestone (or is millstone) of 5 Wimbledons back to back. Another thing is that the AELTC is a testorone driven club. To understand the English one would definitely have to revisit their past and customs and everything and believe space does not really permit it. Everyone, I do believe that Rafa was treated unfairly, but regardless of being treated unfairly, there is also the issue of contributory negligence. I say this to everyone. I recall when Roger pulled out of Halle after his loss to Rafa at the FO, people made fun of him when he cited an injury. Roger knew that he needed time to put his tail between his legs and lick his wounds (sorry for the descriptive language). He took a mental break, regrouped and came back fresh. Rafa needs to do the same. Believe me, the hardest part is not being No. 1, it is in staying there.

helen w said...

Karen, thank you for your most thoughtful post.

Do you know what really, really galls me about the AELTC not honouring Gibson at all, but especially when Venus won? It is because Venus was instrumental in achieving another milestone -- equal pay. How did it not occur to the Committee to see the relevance???

Not to mention that they could have put Gibson's achievement front and center in their promotion of the whole tournament this year, given that it is the 50th anniversary of it.

Karen said...

Oh yes I am with you on that one. Not even a mention. I went to look back at their website to see whether anything had been said on their website about Althea Gibson, and nada. If someone sees something, please bring it to our attention as enquiring minds need to know.

oddman said...

Karen, most players went into Wimbledon with the knowledge that yes, it does rain, therefore there will be rain delays, but this was unheard of in 25 years. The organizers have thrice scheduled finals on Monday in that time. Players are accustomed to playing one day, resting the next. That is the usual way of slams. Does Rafa have ESP? Gee, you think if he knew he was going to have to be ready to play a possible five-setter every day for 8 days, he maybe would have pulled out? Not that he did do that, but mentally getting focused for it is also fatiguing. Not to mention his playing Queens gave him a chance to get accustomed to grass, where he is at a disadvantage. He wants to get better on grass, and there's so few opportunities to play on it.
Wimbledon dropped the ball.

My enjoyment of this year's Championships is fading like the wornout grass on the courts.

Savannah said...

The points you ladies are making are valid. Just two things I want to say. One is about the ESPN board. Both Craig and I are alumni of that board. I think I can speak for him when I say that neither his forum nor mine will be allowed to degenerate into the madness and chaos that board became.

We do believe in promoting discussion and in allowing for a diversity of views. I don't think bringing up race and/or ethnicity is bad manners especially when it's thrown in your face.

I am very aware of the British caste system. One of the first posts I made on my blog was about the TD of Queens paying Rafa a lage, undisclosed sum of money as an appearance fee and then complaining about it. In it I spoke a lot about both the British and American caste systems.

The second thing is that this discussion about Ms Gibson leads right back to the issues that are raised for people of color and conscience by the actions of the AELTC this fortnight. Craig has been doing articles on Ms Gibson while I have done articles on the late Mexican tennis great Ricardo "Pancho" Gonzalez. There are a few of us working this angle of tennis. It makes me laugh when I hear JMac et al rave about serve and volley and Rod Laver while never giving credit to the creator of the tactic who IIRC was married at one time to one of Andre Agassi's sisters.

Discussing race/class/culture doesn't have to descend into a name calling brawl. It never has here and I think it's safe to say you need not worry, it never will.

helen w said...

While we are on this subject, I want to offer a belated comment to your coverage of Althea Gibson (June 24 posting). It is stirring, life-affirming stuff.

The life-long bond between Gibson and her (British Jewish) doubles partner Angela Buxton (they won the Women's doubles at Wimbledon in 1956) is a testament to the fact that we humans can choose not to be life-long victims of caste, tribe, culture-of-origin, birthplace. These uncelebrated personal histories need to be writ large into our collective consciousness.

Craig Hickman said...

To ESPN's credit, despite the mess they allow on their forums, did a tribute to Althea Gibson during their Wimbledon telecast this year. If you want to see it, you'll have to buy ESPN insider and read Jemelle Hill's column about her which has the video embedded in the story. Bud Collins, Billie Jean King, David Dinkins and Angela Buxton all spoke in the brief tribute.

Apparently, the US Open is planning a tribute to Althea Gibson this year to mark the 50th Anniversary of her first win there.

As for "anonymous", are you allergic to the truth? Because the only paranoia I can sense in these parts is from those who are afraid of critical thinking. But that's how we get down over here. I welcome your readership, but baiting won't produce anything worth discussing. As I've said, we don't all have to agree, but state your case and ask your questions, as MadProfessah so eloquently does, and let's agree to disagree if it comes to that.

Karen, this is the second time in two days that you've evoked ESPN forums and I'm not exactly sure why. I look forward to your contributions here, so please keep coming. You remarks about what you saw from each player in the final are refreshing, especially since I know you're a big Fed fan.

No one has overstepped any bounds here and if they do, I'll simply delete the post with explanation if required or let it stand and ask that it not be repeated. Linkmage asked me why I deleted a post of his and he knew exactly why and he has since returned and made some good posts.

Thank you all for coming. I've had a record number of visitors each of the last four days (Savannah, the magic number has now been shattered thrice!) and I'm going to treat myself to a nice bottle of bubbly.

Till next time.

Wyatt said...

Craig, just found your site recently and it's a relief to hear a blogger speaking the truth about the farce perpetrated by the AELTC. Their actions pretty much guaranteed a victory for Federer. It's great there's one site where it's not taboo to acknowledge hard facts.

I thought that the USTA similary gifted Andy with his U.S. Open title. The fact that it took 5 sets for him to beat an exhausted Ferrero said a lot as well. That said, Federer was given an even bigger leg up than was Roddick. He must have been salivating at the prospect of a semifinal against a flaky Gasquet who finished his match at 8 pm and had to face him at noon the next day. Fed had a walkover and played exhausted, injured guys in the semis and finals. How about his nice, easy draw? Safin coming off of injury and having barely won two matches in a row for months. Ferrero who has been struggling mightily and couldn’t even give him a good match on clay at RG. Thank goodness Ferrero finally started to find some of his old form at Wimbledon so it was not just another blowout.

If it was pure luck that Fed’s opponents were injured, nothing much can be said about that besides bad luck. But when the injuries come about precisely because of the cruel demands of the AELTC that makes some players play back-to-back-back-back 3 out of 5 sets matches day after day while others like the #1 puts his feet up -- well, that's just criminal and I'm surprised there is no regulatory organization that oversees how these tournaments are run so there is at least some measure of integrity.

How is it that something like this passes without comment? The AELTC should be skewered by any honest journalist in the sport. The silence however, is deafening. This was no competition. It looked more like a racket with everything out in the open but no one says anything.

Is everybody paid off or what?
No jobs again in tennis if they should open their mouths?
What’s with all the strange love between Borg and Federer?
Borg said he hopes, really hopes that Roger equals his record. Seems kind of bizarre.
It’s hard to escape the feeling that the old boy network at the AELTC wanted badly for Federer to win. Then we have huge decisions made that favor him. Hmmm.

Even with the playing field totally tipped in Federer’s favor the close match against Gasquet who was on his last legs and the 5 set final against Nadal suggests that Fed badly needed this kind of intervention and advantage in order to eke out a win.

I've been flabbergasted by the dishonest, disingenuous excuses presented in Fed's behalf. Federer fans can't be content that their hero was given the title gift wrapped on a platter. They expect others to believe that Nadal having to play seven days in a row (not to mention all the previous days spent on high alert in the locker room -- something that surely consumes enormous mental energy) had no consequences whatsoever, not one iota. Then come the claims Fed was equally disadvantaged by all the rest he got…It's Nadal's fault he had to go five sets with Youzhny…he should have finished the match quicker. One wacko poster actually claims that Federer won because the other guys were not fit enough and it's Fed's fitness that separates him from the rest of the field!! The gall and the lying go beyond the pale.

Unfortunately it's all being swept under the rug and it will continue to be so. Most news report give blow by blow details of the match without any reference to injury or the reasons for Nadal's fatigue and injury. The ones who mention it gloss over it as if it's an inconsequential thing.

IMO if Roger had to play Nadal's draw AND schedule, he doesn't even make it to the final and he certainly doesn't go five sets, playing stellar tennis for four of those sets.

It's unconscionable for the AELTC to deliberately compel the players to compete in a schedule that was sure to cause exhaustion and injury.

Many people scoff at “conspiracy theories” but when Wimbledon, supposedly the temple of tennis runs the tournament like a mafia racket bringing in the title for the home boy there should be some notice and an outcry. At the least if the tournament is so bent on finishing on Sunday, they should put an asterisk by the winners’ name and describe the circumstances of his “victory.” The right thing to do was to extend the tournament for as long as it took with each player having the usual day of rest between matches. A couple matches in a row might have been acceptable but what we got was a programmed disaster.

Yes, this travesty leaves a nasty taste especially because Nadal was the better player and deserved the title while Roger did not. With everything tilted to favor Roger one wanted even more for Rafa to overcome the AELTC’s machinations. Rafa played lights-out tennis, gave it his all and came painfully close to overcoming every obstacle thrown in his path but alas, the boy is only human and it has been disturbing to witness robbery in broad daylight and evil triumphing over goodness.

oddman said...

wyatt, Wow! Great stuff.

This is just a small point, but there's also very little mention of the king of grass' behavior in the fourth set - or should I say change of behavior.
As Craig said, stunning.

ilovemylife said...

Craig,

"But not even an athlete of Rafa’s abilities can withstand back to back to back to back to back to back to back play. The human body needs to rest. With the build up of toxins in his body the mind may have been willing but the flesh had become weak. An old injury flared up, patellar tendonitis, and while in his post-match interview he says that he had his chances but failed, the bitter disappointment showed on his face. Would one day of rest, playing the Final on Monday, have made a difference?"

I so agree.

And from Wyatt:
"The right thing to do was to extend the tournament for as long as it took with each player having the usual day of rest between matches. A couple matches in a row might have been acceptable but what we got was a programmed disaster."

Again, I so agree.

I touched on this point myself in my own blog and I'm simply a fan of tennis who NOTICED.

From my blog post "TENNIS SCORES. LOVE, LOVE TENNIS. NADAL WON MY HEART":

"In all fairness, the test wasn’t all about the winner of Wimbledon... due to the rain. Federer glided through the week with barely any games when the others were grueling it out. Personally, my insignificant opinion is that Wimbledon did tennis a disservice by forcing players to play under unhealthy conditions. There should be a minimum of hours that a player has to play between matches. Novak Djokovic had to concede to Nadal Saturday which had a little to do with the rain delays jamming the matches too close together for the human body to recover between them."

http://ilovemylifebrothersandsisters.blogspot.com/

What are the "powers that be" at Wimbledon thinking! It is certainly not good for tennis to have injured players...simply due to the bad decision-making of Wimbledon powers. It borders on inhumane. We have some of the best talent in tennis today, being required, forced to play, when clearly the schedule discounts that these are human bodies, not human machines, providing us with tennis pleasure and money to the sponsors.

MadProfessah said...

I must STRONGLY disagree with Savannah's post and the characterization of Rafael Nadal as "the real winner." How many tournaments on grass has Nadal won?

I agree with anoter commenter who asked if a ful day of rest would have really made a difference to Sunday's result.

It is absolute madness to suggest that the all-england club (or ANY tournament organizer) should only schedule matches so that every player has a full day of rest, especially in a very rainy land with a site thatdoesn't have a roof. Are you kidding?

Paranoid doesn't even begin to cover it. If you're a Rafatard and can't see (or think) clearly because of that, you should just simply say so, butto suggest there should be an asterisk next to Federer's victory because of the scheduling is insane. Should there be an asterisk next to Rafa's name because Djokovic had to retire in the semi, or next to Federer because Haas had to retire in the quarters, or do you think the AELTC "paid undisclosed sums" to the German player to get him to give Federer an easier path to his record 5th title?

Puh---leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.

helen w said...

Let's write letters to the British media about it, as well as to the AELTA. We can share contact addresses and bombard them.

Albert said...

Sorry, but some of the comments here are laughably one sided. It's like Rafa didn't have any luck of his own - he beat Youzhny ONLY because of Mihail's back injury and who knows what would have happened in SF if Djokovic hadn't played 9 h in previous two days...

How about appreaciating a superb final provided by these two great players without looking for excuses or giving out asterix..

P.S. Federer would have easily reached final with Rafa's draw. He had one of similar difficulty last year and didn't drop a set.

Wyatt said...

Good idea, Helen, to write to the AELTA. It can only help if they know there are people who see what’s going on.
thanks oddman and ilovemylife.

madprofessah – If Wimbledon can’t provide fair playing conditions then maybe they shouldn’t be having a tournament. If they can’t do that then they should qualify wins with an asterisk if they were played under conditions grossly favoring certain players. Sometimes there are very minor inequities that can’t be avoided and are acceptable but inequities of this proportion are way out of line and a total travesty. Bogus. Sham. False. Laughable. Lamentable. Despicable.

I’m getting very tired of attempts to obfuscate this point with claims that Rafa was lucky because Djokovic was injured. Whose fault was that anyway? Wimbledon’s. Federer had a walkover and two injured opponents so let’s not even waste time measuring luck. Luck is a separate thing.

The point is that I expect any high class competition such as Wimbledon purports to be, to be conducted with integrity. A competition where conditions are utterly disadvantageous for some players cannot possibly be valid or fair. That’s just the bottom line. No two ways about it. It’s black and white, no gray area there. As another poster put it: “they’re treating the players like mules and doing all to give one half of the draw the advantage, while the other half was exhausted to death.” No point calling that a contest. The disadvantage of the players on the bottom half was INSURMOUNTABLE. We’ve seen now that it’s humanly impossible to play long grueling matches for so many days without rest and not get injured, not to mention incredibly exhausted. Any result arrived at under such discrepancies are nothing but a joke. A tournamet like this makes Wimbledon look like a Mickey Mouse operation or pro wrestling. Or an old boy network.
There is not a single other player on the tour strong enough to have done what Nadal did. He made us think it just could be possible for the fittest guy on the tour to overcome this huge handicap. He came tantalizingly close but his knee gave out. Others are now nursing their injured shoulders, backs, feet, ankles, legs. Whose fault is that? Shame on Wimbledon for the abuse of these great players. It’s a huge black eye for the All England Club and a shame for Federer that he did not truly earn this title which he now has.

helen w said...

On rare occasions in the past Wimbledon has delayed the men's final due to poor weather conditions over the period of the tournament. I have also read that the weather during this year's tourney was the worst on record. So (in my mind) the decision to play the final on Sunday is inexplicable, unjustifiable and unconscionable.

MadProfessor, surely there is a middle ground between guaranteeing every player a day's rest between each match and how the AELTC handled the scheduling this year. I don't believe that the AELTC was paying off Haas, or anything of the sort, but I do believe that the scheduling could well have affected the outcome, not only for the finalists but for others, and I also believe that it may well have caused overuse injuries for the athletes. And for what? The "glory" of finishing on Sunday, as per tradition? Financial considerations with regard to broadcast contracts? Why do you think they did it?

brooklyn1006 said...

Wyatt - loved reading your comments. I can't remember who christened Fed as FedGod (was it David Foster Wallace), but the media, and not just the players, seem to genuflect to him, too. Yeah, it's nauseating. lol!

Savannah said...

Great posts from Wyatt and ilovemylife.

I for one have never hidden the fact that I am a Rafatard. That is why when it comes to majors you see Craig does the ATP and I do the WTA.

That said I like the idea of sending little e-mails to the tune of "I know what you did" to the AELTC. They'll probably be sh**-canned but they should know that not everyone went for the okey-doke.

I think what the AELTC did this year goes beyond what happened in the US Open in 2003. At no point did Roddick have a five day rest period.

If the Final was played on Monday Rafa wins. He outplayed Roger throughout the match. If you consider hitting ace after ace after ace tennis then your man played a great match. When Roddick does it it's called mindless ball bashing.

As for Gasquet and Djokovic they were playing on fumes. Gasquet just managed to put up a bit more of a fight.

We're not making this stuff up guys. TARDism has nothing to do with the fraud perpetrated in broad daylight by the AELTC.

And yes the press silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

you have a bad taste in your mouth because you simply don't like Federer as per most of the people leaving comments.

Federer won and that is that say what you will about scheduling, etc. they both played continuously from thursday on. i also firmly believe Nadal would have lost to a healthy Youhzny and would have been taken the distance by a healthy Djokovic. so based on the comments you all should be thanking your lucky stars that Nadal made it to final.

Anonymous said...

oh, yes a followup to my previous comments. i think Federer was hurt by the extended layoff during the tournament as evidenced by his loss of a set to Ferrero who he beat in straights on clay. also, at least Richard put up some resistance to Fed while Djokovic after one set simply caved. Nadal was not tired and he was fully healthy - you RafaTards, RoddickTards are looking for any excuses to diminish what Fed has accomplished. good luck to that since the rest of the knowledgeable tennis world knows that Fed is currently the best player in the world.

Wyatt said...

Thanks a lot brooklyn1006 and Savannah.

I guess we'll never stop hearing that Rafa was not tired. You can lead a horse to water...

The ironic thing is that because Rafa is so strong and fit and that he was able to play such a fantastic match for so long after the punishing schedule he had been through makes it more tempting for naysayers to claim he was in perfect condition.

Rafa's knees must been affecting his serve as it was definitely not up to his usual standard and hurt him a lot. Because of his physical problems he needed the serve even more for some easy points.

anonymous, you'll just have to be content with Fed having the trophy and accept that facts are not going to disappear. It's known to all who don't have their heads buried in the sand that Rafa was put at a severe disadvantage and was outplaying Fed till exhaustion and injury caused too much of a deficit for him to keep his lead. Roger getting the trophy will have to be enough for you. The truth will not be buried.

Even though the All England Club orchestrated a win for Fed, the world got to see Rafa's scintillating tennis, and for years to come when that classic match is shown again it will be Rafa's play that shines.

One positive is that since Rafa was cheated out of his victory, next year if both Fed and Rafa are in the Wimbledon final again, there will be tremendous support for Rafa and not for Fed. I think there will be increased support for Rafa at the other majors as well. And like John McEnroe said, Rafa will now have tremendous respect from all the players on the stellar tennis he displayed at Wimbledon.

If Rafa keeps on improving at the rate he has been Federer is in big trouble.

Megan said...

Hi Savannah and Craig. As a lifelong tennis fan and recent player, I was thrilled when I discovered this blog a fews weeks ago and I loved the "Wimbledon Postscript."

As Karen said, it makes me crazy when the tennis powers that be write off Venus and Serena as if they exist on another planet.

Be prepared, I'm about to toot my own horn, but I was the only tennis person I know who predicted Venus would win it at the beginning of the tournament. No, really. I did.

I'm always struck by the reception blond and leggy Maria Sharapova received after winning one Wimbledon compared to the respect and acceptance Venus and Serena get after having won a total of fourteen Grand Slams between them. Sharapova at least earned some additional credentials by winning last year's US Open, but before that, she was well on her way to Anna Kournikova territory---albeit with a Wimbledon title.

Despite their immense popularity the tennis establishment still does not like it that two strong, independent and intelligent black women represent the sport and that's really too bad.

As far as the men, I have to disagree with Savannah about the scheduling. First let me say I'm a huge Rafa Nadal fan and would have loved to have seen him win last Sunday, but if the draw had come out differently, or the rain had ended an hour later or earlier on any one of those days, Rafa might not have had to play everyday.

They should not have extended the tournament one more day when there was sunny weather over the weekend and it was possible to play the finals as scheduled. Was it unfair? Yeah, it was, but those things---including bad decisions and sometimes biased decisions by officials---happen, and every player has to sooner or later figure out how to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I think scheduling issues like this year's and the 03 Open are freak accidents. Wimbledon is doing their part to cure that by constructing a roof.

However, when you know going in you have to finish by the second sunday why are you taking days off in the middle of the tournament?

Just another part of the tour that needs to be changed by won't. The others being racket limitations, the Australian moved to a decent time of the year, and the season coming to a close 2-3 weeks post-US Open.

But the players will never go on strike or speak their minds, so....

-Peyton

Stephen said...

Wow. I finally just realized how to post under a name. :P

Yes, Craig, I am that slow.

PeytonAllen said...

Okay. I think I have it all figured out now.

No longer Anonymous, World, here am I take me!

Ahem.

ilovemylife said...

On Rafa Nadal's blog, it is clear that he has a healthy perspective on Wimbledon 2007.

Not playing for a spell during a tournament might make a player less on top of his/her game. But the body injuries brought upon by fatigue and continual stress illicits more physical vulnerabilities than the matchless days.

Hawkeye seemed to bother Federer. He clearly asked Wimbledon during a match to turn it off. I don't know if anyone else asked to have Hawkeye shut off.

Have you seen the game with Federer on grass and Nadal on clay at the very same time? You can see it on Youtube. It may not prove anything, but it is interesting.

Fairness always is subject to human interpretation.

We don't have to agree. However, what is best for tennis is to have players we want to watch. And without injuries. The rivalry of Federer and Nadal is here. Federer moves like a hummingbird on the court. I personally cheer for Rafa Nadal because I enjoy not only his skill as a player, but the emotion he gives.

Craig Hickman said...

I'm a Duck(Roddick)Tard, and I make no apologies about it. For that reason, some say I cannot be objective about Andy at all. Not always, perhaps, but certainly not never.

For instance, I have no problems stating my observation that Roddick choked against Gasquet. Two sets to love and a break up, two games away from the match, and you play a braindead service game?

Choking is not a moral issue. It's a mental one. Doesn't make Andy a bad person. But if he didn't learn from every single one of his previours four matches that he had a mental lapse in the third set, up two sets to one, and he dropped serve with a loose game, and didn't guard against it in the quarterfinals against an opponent who had far more game than any other and had the ability to make him pay for it, then I say you choked. Big time.

Some say it's courageous. But I say attacking your opponent's strongest wing on your approach shots is inane.

I say waiting until the middle of the fifth set before stepping into the court and hitting a backhand winner up the line is mind boggling.

Again, mental, not moral.

Andy has made a Wimbledon title one of his dream goals. As such, the above scenario may be understandable, but not entirely acceptable.

Andy remains my favorite among the men. You can be a fan of somebody and not deny what's right in front of your eyes. Or maybe you can. But just because you don't (won't) see it, doesn't mean it's not there.

helen w said...

Craig, with regard to Andy, I just have to add that out of the blue Gasquet started playing lights-out tennis. 93 winners? That's unbelievable.

Craig Hickman said...

helen w, Gaquet played lights-out tennis, to be sure.

But he isn't allowed to if Roddick holds for 5-3. Of this I have no doubt.

Andy missed too many first serves and missed two easy forehands to drop serve.

The rest is history.

joe said...

I'm sorry, but this comment really cracked me up:

Wyatt said:
"If Rafa keeps on improving at the rate he has been Federer is in big trouble."

What qualifies as "big trouble?" Finishing your career with 'only' 13 Grand Slam titles? 14? 15? No matter what happens from here on out, Federer has put together a 4 year run that is unprecedented in tennis history. Even if Nadal completely takes over the tennis world starting with this year's U.S. Open, it will not change the fact that Federer raised the sport of tennis to a new level, and for that objective fans will always view him as a legend. Even if he never wins another tennis match, he will retire as one of the top-5 best players ever. So unless he gets caught with a dead hooker, I don't think he'll ever be in "big trouble."

Anonymous said...

Er, sorry for the delay in answering.

...As for "anonymous", are you allergic to the truth? etc.

What truth? What I saw in this entry was sore losership over Nadal's loss. Oh, and proofless accusations to the tennis establishment of a conspiracy for keeping author's favourite player/s from the spotlight they so richly deserve. Bah.

Maybe there's a plot to keep WS in obscurity due to their race - I'm not american, all the racial controvercy in tennis is not familiar to me. Could be. I don't care enough for the WTA to go find out on my own. But Nadal?

I'm one of the (rare) tennis fans who don't give much of a damn about either Nadal or Fed. I watched the final from an outside observer's point of view - and it was a good match. The best contemporary GS final I think. Yes, Fed's serve won him the title - but that's how it should be on grass courts. Yes, Nadal's injury affected the final set in a major way - but he has noone to blame for that but himself. If Fed was lucky in that final set, than Nadal was twice lucky - against Youzhny who injured himself while leading 2 sets to love (I have no doubt that uninjured Misha would finished Rafa off) and against Djoko who was left for dead in the semi-final. As for playing every day, well, he should've closed out Soderling when he had a chance, than there would be no play for three days running. If Novak is a fool for allowing Marcos to turn things around and playing himself into the ground over 5 sets then Rafa is a fool for allowing Robin to turn thing around and playing himself into the ground over 5 sets. If Fed is a beneficiary of a conspiracy for getting an injured opponent in the final, then Rafa also is a beneficiary of a conspiracy for getting him injured opponents in R16 and semis. You can't have it both ways.

That's the way the cookie crumbles. The only thing Fed got sheer luck with, is Haas withdrawal, not for withdrawal himself but for its timing. But unless you imply that the wim commitee bought Haas off or otherwise "persuaded" him to withdraw, I fail to see the assumption of a plot designed for keeping poor benighted Rafa off the Wimbledon throne as anything but inane and cringe-worthy.

- Tanya

Craig Hickman said...

Tanya,

Truth can be discerned without the smoking gun of facts. And facts can obscure the truth. Read the newspaper much? Watch the news? So many "facts" so little truth.

Dismissing what happened at Wimbledon this year as a conspiracy theory can be chalked up to nothing but blindness.

Theorize on this: Marion Bartoli was invited to the Championship Ball. The first singles runner-up to be given such an honor, unless I'm missing a chapter in history. If so, one of our intelligent readers will correct me. I'd imagine she was invited because of her stellar and improbable run to the finals, but surely she isn't the only one who made a stellar and improbable run to the finals this year. Or was she invited because it was the committee's feeling that she was the "real winner" who simply could't back up her amazing upsets of Jankovic and Henin in the finals? Is it because she openly wept over her loss even as she made Sue Barker stutter when she had to let her know that beating the world No. 1 in the rankings in the semifinals is far different that defeating the world's best player on grass in the Wimbledon final?

Where was Rafa's invitation? Extended and then revoked because he had the balls to proclaim that the committee doesn't care a peep about the players?

I doubt it was ever extended in the first place, despite his own proclamations during the middle of his four-day, third-round match that there was no way he could make the finals, much less win the event, but he was going to try his best anyway.

No play on middle sunday was the first disaster of this tournament. Rafa's third-round match was extended for more days than it needed to be, if only the committee had scheduled it first up on the heldover days, if only play wasn't cancelled before the weather cleared up with another 90 minutes or so of remaining light.

These are not theories. These are facts. Statements of truth.

I have no room for paranoia in my life. None at all. So cringe, Tanya, all you want. Doesn't change the truth.

I find it interesting, however, that this is the topic about which you couldn't help to comment after reading this blog more or less regularly since the end of the 06 season.

Interesting, indeed.

Craig Hickman said...

Anyway, thanks to all that have made this discussion won of the liveliest on the forum!