I understand the relatively high (I’m being pretty generous here) tennis IQ of the clay court fans (probably fairly European, South American — wherever clay courts find the most usage and popularity); I acknowledge that the passion for this kind of tennis can certainly provide the basis for an extended knowledge and appreciation for the sport. But this interest in the sport bleeds into fanaticism, as well, which can certainly bias the point-of-view, defeat rationale, turn this tennis fan into fanboy hooligan for his or her, in this case, clay super star.
Objectively speaking, clay court tennis is very peculiar.
It’s no coincidence that it’s greatest player is quite the peculiar person, as well. Even the second greatest clay courter (Borg) is a bit of a nut (but I do concede that greatness or genius can breed such eccentricity or misfit-ness. 😉
Today’s rain-out of Roland Garros is a disaster. Maybe Fedal benefit, but if you’re sitting there excited about your player’s enhanced chances because of this butchered scheduling, you’ve lost your mind, probably smoke, eat meat intensely, live generally a life of waste and are essentially a sick and tormented individual.
James Blake gave a very succinctly logical clarification today about who will be most affected by this rain-out: Thiem and Khachanov. They will likely play a very physical and potentially long match (tomorrow: Thursday) that will render the winner pretty useless the following day in a SF (Friday) against Novak.
Sure Novak and Sascha could play five, as well. You know the math. This is trouble for the men playing in tomorrow’s QF matches. Period.
Get a fucking roof!
The mere optics of yesterday’s play, where Federer vs Wawrinka, clearly a classic duel between two all-time greats, former champions, a much more even match, obviously, gets a date on Suzanne-Lenglen while Nadal playing Nishikori get Philippe-Chatrier? I don’t really give a shit, to be honest, but this just shows again how fucked-up this tournament is or has become. Hearing an announcer, even as classy as Carillo, comment on Nadal’s continued mastery as he just dumped an over-rated, under-achieving Kei Nishikori who’s played a bunch of five-setters and doesn’t even carry much of torch to begin with is circus-like, fake-news, just good old fashion bullshit.
Get the fuck out of here.
This Nadal and French Open renaissance doesn’t somehow eclipse a history of inferior tennis, supported by a history of inferior tennis players who have dominated this surface and this major.
Obviously, I’ve said this before. More than a few times. Sorry if this is an echo chamber of sorts, but the current rain-out along with the draw (highlighted by Nadal’s “brilliant” QF win yesterday while the Swiss boys battled it out on Lenglen) is simply a cause for more criticism.
To reiterate: looking at the past champions of Roland Garros, that long history of clay mastery brings you nose-to-nose with, for the most part, an inferior quality of tennis.
Borg, Lendl, Wilander and Rafa complicate this view, for sure.
But this is still just a tiny knot in this otherwise frank and informed position to take on clay (more on court position tomorrow when we have a bit more urgency in the actual tennis discourse).
Speaking of which, how will the wet, cooler conditions affect play tomorrow as the rain will still be in and among this tennis production that is 2019 Roland Garros? We feel pretty certain that the speed of the court should slow, but at the same time the ball might skid, instead of taking the higher bounce we’re used to seeing on clay. Footing could be more of a mess, as well.
I could see Thiem’s professionalism and Roland Garros quality carry him to a tough 3 or 4 set win, not some kind of five-set ruination. We’ll see.
But this idea that he might be (along with the Russian) most affected by this is a real shame. He’s vying for that first major, his natural selection or ascension to the top of the clay court world. Let’s hope tomorrow is not just a unmitigated train wreck on a surface and at a major that already has a lack of real tennis quality and greatness.
How can one not feel that the powers-that-be simply want Rafa to continue is dominance of this sand-lot or sandbox version of the glorious game.
A rain-out on the mud courts makes what is already a somewhat raffish major even less palatable for a consequential tennis tournament. No thanks. One can’t hide the blemishes of this second major.
Godspeed tomorrow’s quarter-finalists.
Stay-tuned . . .