I suppose nearly every Wimbledon for the past 15 years or so has had the same basic competitive scenario, the same outlook, the same favorites.
But this year just seems weird, different, as if everyone’s a little more nervous than usual. This has a lot to do with the Big 3, the oligarchy, the Lords, if you will; and the rest of the field, the peasantry, which for years now has stretched-out before our eyes like some vast serfdom of multi-generational fear and failure. And suffering. If this sounds vague (or a touch pessimistic), it is, but insight is often rendered through such nuance and subtly (and frustration), making manifest and more tangible some of these abstract (and difficult) perceptions.
My blog’s epigraph (sorta): “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein
First, let’s pick-up where I left-off in my last post, on one of the many points I brought-up, but this particular one I bring-up time and time again: why men’s tennis is no longer worth a shit. This idea has been discussed and reiterated on this blog several times, for which I apologize if this terribly negative statement has seemed at all redundant or too disheartening (this is discussed in, as you probably know, many many posts). But, folks, some things need to be repeated, reiterated, underscored, brought continuously to light, magnified, complicated, turned-into an ebook (I know — you’ll believe it when you see it).
I remind you all of this because A) this reality (this top heavy tour) is both annoying and more so disturbing, given how much I love this sport and the history of this sport (that has never had this problem, this massive gluttony of three particular players).
Not to be limited to only this first reason for reiteration, I present to you B) what I would like to call the teaching moment in the form of that ghastly hooliganism of fanboys and fangirls who suck the tails of these legends’ monstrous forms, who don’t understand what is right, what is healthy, what a natural equilibrium means for a sport much bigger than these three giants. Most of these fanatics would seemingly prefer the sport to end, in virtual ruin, in the wake of their hero’s staggeringly all-important funeral. I kid you not. This is part of the problem, part of what makes the peasantry lack belief, for these kings (and their unattractive fans) literally enjoy the smell of their own farts, if you catch my drift.
This celebrity toxicity lifts the Big 3 at the clear expense of the rest of their sport’s humanity, the other athletes, which continues to define this era’s competitive nature.
Take a look at the ever-mainstream Tennis.com’s own 2019 Wimbledon preview, the focus here on ten other players, outside of the Big 3, who can perchance make a run at the 2019 title.
They are: Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Medvedev, Coric, Cilic, Raonic, Auger-Aliassime, Berrenttini and Kyrgios.
This is depressing, ridiculous, disconcerting. . . you get my point.
This year has a lot more nervous energy, as you can see. Maybe more than ever before. Look at that list! A litmus test. If you are not made nervous, at least a little unnerved, by such a preposterous list of challengers, then you’re either a fanboy/ fangirl, or you couldn’t care less — so you’re here just because you like my blog. 🙂
Berrenttini? What! He won Stuttgart two weeks ago, next reached the Halle SF and now, low and behold, he’s a Wimbledon harkdorse? I’m dyslexic because of this rubbish.
Coric could win Wimbledon? Are you serious? Zverev? Are you just writing these articles for shits and giggles?
I have to admit: where such a list of unproven talent almost became relevant in a major was that 2017 U.S. Open. Nadal won that title without facing a guy in the top-20. I suppose had he lost to Del Potro in that SF we would have seen the Argentine host a second trophy, but that draw, other than the Spaniard, literally blew-up, opened-up.
Remember, the other SF of that 2017 NYC circus was Anderson and Carreno Busta.
Cilic might have had a chance at Wimbledon in 2017, perhaps hitting Federer off the court had the Croat the game for such a result, but that ended with a case of Plantar Fasciitis and an in-form Federer mopping-up on the beleaguered draw. Cilic actually won Queen’s last year, which could’ve prompted such a suggestion then, but Marin met his maker in the 2nd round at SW19 last year.
We’re at a point now where there is literally no one to challenge the Big 3. As I said in my last post, which was especially tough on Federer, I don’t even think he can mount a legitimate run. Many would say the same about Nadal on the grass. But I think Nadal can compete here this year.
I have to also re-think my Federer position because of the very argument I just made in this post.
Clearly I’m unsettled.
And this is just my own consternation, my own obsession with a healthier competitive balance.
But the players (and their fans) are nervous, too.
I’ll explain that in Part II.