Australian servebot Sam Groth defeated rising American star Jack Sock in their first round match-up at Wimbledon. It was a good win for Groth, who is having a breakout season, but you would be hard pressed to find a lower standard of tennis being played anywhere around the world at a Grand Slam.
The match exhibited two growing problems in men’s tennis right now.
Sock could be heard muttering between points that this guy (Groth) can’t hit two shots in a row. And he’s right. Credit to Groth who holds the record for the fastest ever serve for serving well as he always does. That particular talent has taken him to a very respectable ranking of 69.
However I find it hard to fathom that there are only 68 men in the world capable of playing an all round tennis game to a higher standard.
I’m sorry to pick on Sam as he is a solid guy who goes about his business and works hard. But the growing dominance of the middle tier of the ATP rankings by these one dimensional servebots is bad for tennis. Watching players breeze through service game after service game is boring and predictable, especially when two such players oppose each other.
Groth’s lack of an all round game was evident as he failed to convert numerous break point opportunities due to an inability to execute simple shots at critical times. But luckily for Groth his opponent played a disgraceful match and handed two breaks over with double faults and a third fatal break with a series of unforced errors.
For anyone else who watched the match, yes I am ignoring Sock’s finger problems which led to numerous medical timeouts.
Sock is a supposed future star and is having a good season after coming back from injury. However, he walked onto court with a sense of entitlement and acted out when things did not go his way.
While it was not the most overtly outrageous behaviour seen on a tennis court or even at this year’s tournament, it was among the worst I have seen from a professional sportsman.
The antics of Nick Kyrgios have been well highlighted but his behaviour is born of a fierce determination to win at all costs – much like Lleyton Hewitt.