Five Parting Thoughts on Wimbledon 2010
This is why I'll remember the 2010 Wimbledon Championships:
1) The grass is always greener on the other side and nobody knows it better than Rafael Nadal . The Spaniard continues his stubborn march towards tennis's highest ranks and he's doing it on a surface other than clay. For all of Nadal's brilliance over the past few months (he's now won the 'summer double' twice!), let me make two things clear.
Firstly, it's chillingly eerie to observe how much his game has evolved since his return from injury. It's become harder for his opponents to blast him off court simply because he doesn't let them.
Secondly, Nadal is nowhere in GOAT discussion right now. He needs to win a couple more down under, a few at Flushing Meadows, and perhaps another couple at Wimbledon.
It's no secret that Nadal takes pride in making his opponent play that extra shot. The problem is that defense is no longer his best form of attack. Somehow , his reach seems to have improved and his forehands seem to have more topspin on them along with the acutest of angles.
His true test will not come on the North American circuit as the ATP blazes through Montreal and Cincinnati.
Like all other seasons, Flushing Meadows will invariably have the biggest say in determining the freshest memories of your average tennis fan.
Two years ago, it turned Federer's year around and rest assured, it might do it again. As of right now, Rafael Nadal is the best player on the world. Period.
2) Serena Williams is...well, Serena Williams. Love her or hate her or hate her or love her, it's beginning to feel as if she wins when she really wants to win.
Having crossed Billie Jean King's total of 12 GS titles, it doesn't seem entirely too unrealistic to believe that she could catch Martina now.
If I'm Serena, I need to focus on New York, where her disgraceful behavior last fall must have lost her more than a few fans.
With the temporary emergence of a new European brigade, it's as if the women's field has never been deeper...barring Serena Williams.
3) What if you had told John Isner that he would get thrashed in the second round and yet not only make David Letterman but also throw the ceremonial pitch at the Yankees stadium? He would have thought you were balmy, but that's exactly what happened.
Nicolas Mahut must have wanted that half-day of his life back. It's all very well to make that cliched claim that tennis was the winner, but Mahut must have felt horrible after losing that marathon.
Rest assured, if you watched it then you watched something extraordinarily special: something that will never happen again. Never!
The energy the Frenchman showed well into the latter end of the fifth set was astonishing and one couldn't help but feel sorry for him. The fact that he served one down for 68 games is testament to his refusal to lose. Mahut was a winner too.
4) For all the talk about the depth in the men's field, let's not forget that in the past 27 Grand Slams, only four times has there been a winner not named Federer or Nadal!
Looking ahead to Flushing Meadows, Del Potro will most certainly not be fit enough to defend his title, but the hard bouncy court and the raucous atmosphere tends to throw up enough surprises.
Look for the big hitters to take center stage although as always, we'll be focusing on Roger and Rafa.
I'm one of those subscribers to the unpopular theory that Federer plays his best tennis not at Wimbledon but at the US Open where his familiarity with the bounce and comfort with the atmosphere has led to his six consecutive finals and a time-and-again dismantling of top-class opponents.
For so many stars, the US Open is a chance to make their move: Djokovic, Murray, Davydenko, Soderling, Tsonga, and now Berdych.
We'll get to know in a couple of months. My advice is to hold on to that "will-win-a-slam-one-day" title. It's still extremely hard to win a Grand Slam in Men's tennis.
5) And perhaps it's best to end on a light note and leave you with some of the quirkiest statements made at SW19 this summer.
Buoyed by the occasion of Her Majesty visiting for the first time in 33 years, Federer promptly claimed that she had told him to hit more backhands down the line.
Roddick went a step further and stated that she had loved his American Pie movies!
Other witty, puzzling, and daring one-liners and tweets included:
"I can catch a chicken. I can show you. Yeah, serious. I can catch a chicken" - Yen-Hsun Lu , the Roddick vanquisher proving that he doesn't just play tennis for a living.
"Her curtsy is unreal. If she ever demonstrates it for you, it's going to blow your socks off." - Venus Williams, revealing how sister Serena really trains before Wimbledon.
"His toes were just torched. They looked like deli meat. They're disgusting. I don't know if it was from playing that long or doing whatever." - Andy Roddick jokingly refuses to give John Isner credit for his longevity.
"I am playing Wimbledon. It is not a joke. I love this tournament. I have a lot of respect for this tournament. It was always my dream to play here. Today was a big match. So I have my things to do." - Champion Rafael Nadal on why he didn't meet the Queen. Bite that trophy, Rafa!
And last but not the least, Nicolas Mahut gets the honour for the last quote from SW19.
Reporter: "How would you describe the match that you had and your thoughts on why it took so long?"
Mahut: "Do you have time?"
Thanks for reading. The whole tournament has been a thrilling five-setter amidst beautiful sunny weather. Till Flushing Meadows then!
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