Novak Djokovic could’ve helped deliver a child while teaching an impoverished youth how to read and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Partisan crowds at tournaments is nothing new, but Wimbledon was always considered the ‘classy’ major. The French are boorish, the Aussies obnoxious and the Americans, well, you get where I’m going with this.
The folks at Wimbledon were above such behavior, or at least that was the general sentiment. The Olympics began to change that notion, where Roger Federer became visibly irritated by the blatantly pro-Murray crowd.
Could you blame them? Like fans of any miserable franchise, the British were constantly reminded of Fred Perry and their almost eight decade long title drought at the All England Club.
To make matters worse was the hilarious prospect–at least for the rest of us–of Scotland declaring their independence next year. Murray finally winning the title in 2015, only to not be officially British, is the stuff spite obsessed sports fans dream of. Read the rest of this entry »
In terms of what we see today, the 1994 Men’s final at Wimbledon was the beginning of the end. Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic led a serve and volley masterclass on centre court. Points ended in seconds. Spectators risked missing three games with a trip to the restroom. Their first serves were bombs. Their second serves were only slightly less powerful. Sampras prevailed 7-6, 7-6. 6-0 and won his fifth grand slam.
The media wasn’t happy. This wasn’t tennis they shouted, citing the lack of rallies that made the French Open a grueling litmus test. Calls for slower courts were implemented throughout the 90s, and as the big servers faded into their elder years, the baseliners took over. The serve and volley at Wimbledon was no longer the only way to win. The likes of Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian were making finals while Tim Henman valiantly advanced towards inevitable defeat.
And then Roger came. The serve and volley was in again, as Federer captured his first Wimbledon trophy employing a style that hearkened back to Sampras while also executing his own brand of sublime ground strokes, ones that have become common place amongst the top players today. Today, it’s the all rounders dominating the game. There will be no Richard Kraijeck at this year’s tournament. In one sense, that’s progress. But the image of Mahut and Isner on the verge of passing out on court lingers.
Playing tennis on grass will never look normal to me. I was obsessed with Wimbledon from the moment Andre Agassi and Todd Martin went five sets in 94. The breakfast at Wimbledon theme, the monocle clad elites in the royal box. It was the sporting version of a fairytale.
There were no grass courts where I grew up. Instead, we used a freshly cut soccer field to try and emulate our idols. It didn’t work so well. To this day I’m not sure how tennis on grass works at all.
For the weekend warriors out their without the means to scam their way into the posher country clubs, we’re left waiting for Wimbledon. The grass court season is depressingly short. In turn the next two weeks are a respite from clay and concrete. Church Road is the place to be in late June.
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