It's here! The Championships: Wimbledon has arrived.
So far it has proven to be quite a year in Men's tennis. At the same time, many things remain the same. We see Federer resurgent, but who called him out anyway? Perhaps it's all the science and stats that I do, but I firmly believe in and understand waves. So what that Fed had an off year in 2007? For anyone else, it would be a career high. Give the guy a break. He has other things on his plate, and he's allowed to have a life... and have moments of failure and/or doubt. We don't see Nadal, which is a bummer. Outside of the friendliest rivalry around, it's just fun to know he's around. He brings dynamism, excitement, and decency to the game. It shows that Federer is not alone in being a decent and well-mannered person. I look forward to seeing Nadal, but I look forward to seeing him healthy; so, I wish him well and hope that his recovery is a full one. (Note to Rafa: Call Darren Cahill. He knows a thing or two about knee injuries and managing pain and your sport. If nothing else, he'll understand exactly what you're going through.) Nevertheless, things remain the same. Everyone still talks about Roger and Rafa.
A nice and refreshing change is to see Murray finally get it all together and live up to his own talent and expectations. He seems to be enjoying himself now, and he has definitely matured. There are still moments of impatience, but he still manages to focus at the right times. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Novak Djokovic does after suffering disappointment in both Australia - where he was the defending champion - and France - where he just didn't bring the A game. I know that people have issues with Djoko (I have had them), but he is talented and he does give good game most of the time. Seeing Andy Roddick with more motivation (of that's possible) and more determination (what?) is nice to see. I have never been a critic of Andy's. In fact, I don't get the critics where he's concerned. He's nowhere near as bad in behavior and manners as Connors (the worst) and Mac (more strategic and - many times - for principle). [i discuss Americans here. Ilie Nastase takes the cake in poor sportsmanship and bad manners in my book. Feel free to offer other names. This is also about Men's Tennis; so, no Serena haters allowed to comment.] Regardless, Andy apologizes. He realizes when he errs, and he admits it, and he doesn't fight the fight in the media. It's one-on-one. Remember the misunderstanding with Djoko last year at the US Open? In terms of decency, I applaud someone who skips a tournament to protest prejudice and injustice and in support of a colleague - especially when the colleague is in another, separate league and you have no stake in the argument except for the moral one. Very cool.
James Blake has just lost in his opening match. Again, no surprise. I like Blake, but the guy underwhelms me on the court. Where is the brilliance we saw with Andre Agassi a few years ago? Grrr..... James, find that center!
Even before the tournament started we saw how things change and don't: Nadal announced that he would not, could not play due to recurring problems with the knees. Murray had practiced with Rafa before matches to help him out and to hang out with a bud. Roger - as usual - decided to reserve his comments for Rafa's ears only. Yes, he made a statement, but he didn't offer anything more. He knew what Rafa was going through, and this very private man didn't care to involve the press in the personal stuff. Djokovic stuck around after the news conference and stayed with the Nadal camp until they left the grounds (around 10pm). He didn't have to do it, but then again - he did. Decency compelled him to be with his friend. Cool. Very cool.
Now, let's see what happens on the grass!