Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wimbledon 2009, Week 1: The Men

I wish I could comment on all the excellent matches that went down during the first week of Wimbledon. There are so many to choose from. So many impressive moments when players just rose to the challenge of performing in this most special Slam. But before I get to the impressive ones, let’s get one loser out of the way, shall we?

What the hell happened to James Blake? How does someone go from making it to the finals of Queen’s to being thrown out of Wimbledon in the first round? In straight sets? It almost seems like there are two James Blake. One seems to be a famewhore with flashy shots designed to make the J-Block ooh and aah. The other is a complete loser who mopes around on the court and acts like he doesn’t give a damn. Unfortunately for fans who paid their hard-earned money, the second one seems to have showed up in Wimbledon.

Welcome back Lleyton Hewitt. You disappeared for far too long. It’s nice to see you back, apparently healthy and clearly in excellent form. Taking out Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets was no easy task. You were mean, heartless, and vicious, just the way you need to be when you’re fighting your way back to the top. Now just be careful of the words you choose in the heat of the moment and I’m your fan forever.

I must say that I have so far been quite impressed with Andy Roddick. Normally by now he would have done something stupid that would have annoyed me to no end. So far he hasn’t. Instead he has been playing wonderful, intelligent tennis. If he makes it past Berdych, I can’t wait to see what he produces against the resurgent Hewitt.

How to describe Andy Murray’s performance thus far? Watching him in the match against Kendrick, I saw a player who seemed very beatable. But in the match against Gulbis (whom he dismissed in less that 1.5 hours, posting a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 score line), I wondered how he could possibly not win Wimbledon. I expect him to dispatch Wawrinka quite easily. Wawrinka is a talented player, but despite his win over Rafa in a recent exhibition match, he is no where near to Murray when it comes to match fitness. My only negative about the excited coverage of Murray’s run is the constant cutaways to his girlfriend. Really, I could do without the close-ups of her smug-looking face.

Tommy Haas vs. Marin Cilic was an incredibly exciting match. It was age vs. youth, experience vs. greenness, patience vs. impulsivity. I loved every minute of it. And while I am thrilled for Tommy Haas that he came back the next day and won it, the truth is that both men struggled to close out this match. That Cilic has a lot of promise. But Haas held the day.

Speaking of Old Balls, are you as impressed as I have been with Juan Carlos Ferrero? Like Santoro and Safin, this is expected to be his last year on the tour. He seems to be giving it his all. And as a former #1 player, he knows what it takes to win. I felt badly for Fernando Gonzalez, especially as he crumpled up like a wet blanket. I hope he doesn’t lose heart.

Finally, is it my imagination or has the advertising world suddenly rediscovered Roger Federer? First up, I received an email from Nike inviting me to become a part of a new interactive site dedicated to Roger. I must admit that I was flattered to be included in the list of bloggers selected for this honor. But it’s more than this. It’s Roger’s appearance in a whole new set of print and TV ads, pushing products from NetJets to Rolex watches. Roger seems to be all over my TV. It’s like advertisers have discovered that he is marketable again. It’s incredible what winning a 14th/Career Slam will do for you. It’s going to be a mess if the Dandy in Gold (see image below) manages to win # 15.

The Championships - Wimbledon 2009 Day One


Anonymous said...

Lleyton Hewitt can crawl back under whatever hate filled rock from which he came. I'm still mad taht James Blake didn't win that match against him where loser Lleyton accused the line judge of cheating for James because he is black! I try to root for James but he has exhausted the limits of his abilities.

Looking forward to an exciting second week!


tennischick said...

Agree about Hewitt. I hope he has grown some since then and has come to a better understanding of why his language was racist.

Agree on Blake. I've written before that I think he is a tremendous overachiever.

I was wrong about Wawrinka. He had every chance to win that match against Murray.