2018 Wimbledon: the Double Edged Sword

Not a lot of writing these days because I’m not that interested in writing.

The Wimbledon tennis has been fairly predictable and we have the big double-edged sword of the ATP tour riddling the warm air of this July fortnight.

One edge speaks to the brilliant golden age of tennis that magically continues, the Federer, Nadal and Djokovic legends hording the best championship form of anyone, continuing to make tennis such a (marketable) conversation-piece for the broader culture, tennis fan and general sports fan alike. This first edge makes tennis so compelling, for the quality and the history. Yay.

The second edge underscores the dearth of real championship talent, seemingly, on tour; the bags and bags of youthful talent somehow squander a service game here, a set there and more.

To the point: Seeing Fedal continue to rise and run at each other at a major, with Djokovic playing that historical spoiler, appears delicious and even intoxicating on one hand, though this recipe (older legends vs spoiled and timid youngsters) underscores the weakness of the tour and sport on the other.

It’s not just the ATP. The WTA for years has been, really, awful.

Serena is recovering from baby delivery in her thirties, looking solid in the final eight; the top ten women were gone after a round or two. Sad.

Not the sport of women’s tennis I grew-up with.

A similar trend exists on the ATP (though this is up for some debate). This echoes the constant tug I had when I started writing about tennis on this blog consistently. I wanted to puncture the present-ism plague of this era; sure we’re suffocating in the golden era, but the 21st century has been flawed in the way that more athletes (on either tour) have not risen to compete at the highest levels consistently, or at all.

So far in this tournament, what’s surprising? That Coric and Cilic took early exits? That Edmund and Khachanov have no class compared to a surging Djokovic? That Kyrgios took another giant dump? Sascha can’t fathom Bo5? Grigor is closer to retirement than Papa Fed?

As we look ahead at these last eight on the men’s side:

Del Potro hasn’t yet put-away Simon, will need an extra day to do so and has had difficulty even getting to a 2-1 set lead. Gilles Simon? The Juan Martin v Rafa QF is looking less and less interesting.

Djokovic v Nishikori will be one-sided, especially if Kei’s injury hampers his game even more than the surging Serb will.

Federer v Anderson should be all Federer.

Isner v Raonic is a toss-up though I like Isner there.

Three players are truly challenging for this title: a near 37 year-old, a clay specialist who can out work and out wit most, and another legend returning from a drastic 2 year collapse in form and confidence.

My gut says Djokovic is in the driver’s seat in this tournament, though he continues to show little dips in form, which hasn’t hurt him since he’s competing against players on such a lower level than he. He also has to, most likely, play Nadal en route.

The Djokovic v Nadal SF should be brilliant (I thought the Argentine could actually emerge from the bottom, but this trouble with Simon is a concern). I think Djokovic prevails here.

Federer has his serve going pretty well and has the most grass skill but we’ve seen a lot of head-scratching tennis from him over the past year to go along with this great wins.

If he serves in that vaunted 70%+ FS range with the signature Ljubičić inspired business-end of the game/set/match, Roger pocket’s #9.

But both Rafa and Djoker, 5 years younger than the Maestro, appear coming along (through the riffraff of ATP draw mediocrity) confident and hungry. Fortunately for Federer, they have to settle things between them before getting a swipe at the Elderer.

And to think Juan Martin may take with him to North American hard courts only a fantasy of repaying Rafa for that Roland Garros embarrassment . . . Sad.

2 thoughts on “2018 Wimbledon: the Double Edged Sword

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