European Tennis and (a little) American Mountain Running

Let’s start with the grass, then move-on to the harder stuff.  I stated the obvious in a previous post that Roger and Andy, though each a little tight out-of-the-gate at their respective Wimbledon warm-up tournaments, were finding good form. They both came away victorious, Roger actually claiming his eighth Halle, Germany title (Gerry Weber Open).  The Swiss continues to pile-up the career wins, gliding into the sunset with his balletic tennis that still dazzles to the day.  His athletic prowess transcends the tennis court, so I encourage anyone interested in the human race, what its capable of athletically (beauty), to sit and watch the Fed Express for a set or two.

Who did Roger beat in the final?  Andreas Seppi, of course.  I mentioned Seppi is in good form and I actually gave him a slight shot to beat Federer last Sunday.  Although he did beat Roger in the 2015 Australian Open in four sets, I think the Italian will have trouble surprising people like he did Roger in Melbourne back in January.  Of course, Halle is best of three and we’ve already pointed-out that Rog is still world class in that particular format.  None the less, great tournament for the Italian, who’s got a nice athletic grit to his game.  I’m a fan.

Andy Murray took care of business at the Queens Club Championships, beating the lanky South African Kevin Anderson in the final in straight sets.  Anderson had a solid run, taking care of Wawrinka in two tough tie-breakers (Stan perhaps still a bit tipsy from his Rolland Garros celebration) before taking care of the tough Spaniard Garcia-Lopez and the veteran Frenchman Simon in the semi-final.  Murray looks ready to make another deep run at the much anticipated Wimbledon Championships fortnight that begins in less than a week!

As far as a quick bit of prediction for Wimbledon, let’s just say that the usual suspects will probably keep us entertained. This is definitely a major that Roger can still win.  He has seven Wimbledon championships, equaling Pete Sampras, and was runner-up a year ago to Djokovic, so figuring he has a decent shot is not out of the question.  With Nadal struggling (fading), the Murray/Federer/Djokovic threesome looks to be obvious favorites, with Djokovic almost certainly in the best position to win and secure his second major of the year, his third Wimbledon and ninth career major.

However, was the 2015 French a microcosm of Djokovic’s career?  He comes-out hot, wins with ease (5 of his 8 majors are Australian Opens, the first major of the year) and seems to fade.  He has yet to master the clay (tough for most players), has 2 at Wimbledon and a single US Open.  That’s a bit of a pattern.  His spring was amazing, winning in Melbourne, Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo and Rome.  Dominant tennis.  The loss at the French I have already put in perspective.  Let’s see if he can turn this pattern around and FINISH strong, winning on surfaces that suit him just fine.

As for any possible dark horses, I don’t see Stan having a similar run in him.  I could see Nick Kyrgios making things tough for a lot of players although he has apparently just split with his coach Todd Larkham. Not sure how that will affect him, but his big serve and sensational though erratic game can be a huge threat out there.  With Tsonga hurt and Dimitrov is some kind of slump, the grass will be ruled, in my estimation, from the top.  I don’t see the likes of a Berdych or Nishikori (guys in the top five or ten) being able to challenge the big three on the famed lawns of Wimbledon.

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A quick shout-out to Joe Gray for his American record at Mount Washington.  That sub 1 hour club is a who’s who of American mountain running, which seems to make MWRR a true mountain running crucible.  Gray, Blake, Canaday, Gates, and, of course, Carpenter.  Wow.  IMHO, there’s at least one version of your American MUT Rushmore (mine, at least, which doesn’t include the zombies of the 100 miler variety – ha).  What a fantastic venue and history.  Having said that, Jono Wyatt’s 56:41 seems just ridiculous.  What a shame Carpenter and Wyatt weren’t able to tangle.  Granted, Carpenter has him by about seven years, but truly, needless to say, legends in our midst.  And looks like Gray is establishing his own similar kind of mountain dominance for the ages.

I suppose I might fancy some predictions for Western States, but I’ll save that for the next couple of days.  I’ll most likely update the NBA off-season with respect to the Bron Bron Phenomenon, as well.  The writing is on the wall, folks.  Don’t be surprised.

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Lastly, I certainly hope Dustin Johnson keeps it together after that epic collapse.  I think he’ll be fine.  Just keep your nose clean, buddy.  St. Andrews is right around the corner.

Cheers!

5 thoughts on “European Tennis and (a little) American Mountain Running

  1. You have to ask the question: Is Joe clean?

    I feel like a jack ass for asking such a question because I have met and talked with man and he seems … I don’t know… ethical? But like I can trust him.

    Someone asked me recently, “do you think Carpenter was clean?” And of course I do. But sadly in this age where there is such a fallout of our heroes we are somewhat obliged in the sport to ask this of all the top level (and maybe beyond) athletes, regardless of what our internal meter sez about them.

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    • Wow. Way to make an entrance. I guess I don’t really care since it’s A) such a slimy issue and the discussion is all conjecture and B) we’ll probably never know. And I guess C) maybe it doesn’t really matter. I know no one reads this blog, but aren’t you worried just a little that if Carpenter were to find-out you even mentioned his name in that context that you’ll get taken into the Manitou Springs woods and shot? Nice knowing ya, GZ.

      I’m more skeptical (if I even think about it) of some of the newbies on the scene. Joe has been pretty stellar for a while, no? College stand-out and making all kinds of noise on the mountain for several years.

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  2. loving the combo of tennis, mountain running, and golf. I was glued to the screen watching the final round of the US open (and all the earlier rounds) last week. That course was sick!!! it was liking watching them play on a giant mini golf course. I almost spilled my beer when DJ missed the put on 18, but it’s hard not to like Spieth (for me).

    as far as doping… I’m still a Lance fan… don’t know what that says about me.

    keep these posts coming dude. highly entertaining.. but you and I may be some of the only people that really love all the “espn” sports (baseball, football, basketball, golf tennis, etc) and still have a great appreciation for mountain & ultrarunning.

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    • Ha. I’ll keep them coming because they’re fun to write, while sipping on a couple of beers.

      Yeah, the drug issue has jumped the shark. What if we found out that Bolt was juiced? Shocked!!! Not. All of these T&F folks taking thyroid and asthma medication. . . whatever. There’s a bunch of science tools in labs right now out thinking some corrupt governing body. Yawn.

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  3. Pingback: Wimbledon at the Quarters and Mountain Running | Matt's Blog

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