Wimbledon’s two weeks brings out the best and worst of tennis commentary.
Last week Australian legend Dawn Fraser demanded Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic go back to where their parents came from, Wimbledon officials got upset about the supporters group the Fanatics in the most British of ways, and now the number 49 player in the world on the ATP Tour has an issue about homosexual players on the WTA Tour.
What’s going on?
I figure Wimbledon might bring out the hidden tennis aficionados (myself probably one) who don’t usually watch sport or watch tennis and who suddenly have a huge deal to say about it and care very much about all the ins and outs of the sport.
Obviously that’s not true about me. Wimbledon is the holy grail of tennis. It is the official home of the sport and every great moment of the sports history is usually associated with the pristine grass of Wimbledon’s centre court.
It is good for the sport that a yearly spectacle spurns on the interest of not only lovers of the game but those who occasionally switch it on.
Let’s get to the bottom of this. Tennis is administered superbly by both the ATP and WTA. Similarly the ITF holds sway over the grand slam calendar with the individual tournament organisers and the slams are the best sporting events in the world.
We have all spoken at length about Nick Kyrgios. I made some comments myself last week about his style of play. I do believe he is misunderstood, and I believe him when he says he doesn’t really care about what people think of him. He wants to be his own man, his own player.
What has either Kyrgios or Tomic’s heritage got to do with their ability or with their attribute to the sport?
Dawn will probably want to hide under the pool cover for a while before speaking up again, particularly about a sport (with respect) she probably knows very little about.
In saying that, the country we live in allows people to have differing views about things, and that is a good thing. I don’t agree with the way Bernard Tomic has gone about his issue with Tennis Australia and Pat Rafter, but a book has many pages.
Whatever it is, it doesn’t look good for him or for the them. We have to be honest about it also and note that we will never know that actual inside story as to what has happened between Tomic and Tennis Australia. Both clearly feel they have been wronged in some way. It will only be the image of the game and Tomic’s career that will be punished. A bad result for both protagonists.
What of Sergiy Stakhovsky? World number 49. Beat Roger Federer in the second round of Wimbledon in 2013. That’s pretty much it. It is tough to be a top 100 and top 50 player, but there are 99 other men that are currently doing that.
Once again I note the importance of allowing multiple points of view on many subjects but who really cares what this guy has to say about whether some WTA players are lesbian or not?
It must be some kind of joke. It’s funny for its foolishness. Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic command interest and respect because they have let their racquets do the talking before opening their mouths. Easy to say, but its true.
There are others that do not fit into this mould I admit, but those days have largely moved on. There is also a reason that ‘The Great One’ – Federer – probably won’t come out in support of Stakhovsky’s position or get stuck into the comments.
I don’t know Federer’s position on it so I’m taking a stab in the dark, but I know he has come out in support of Nick Kyrgios. He has trained with him like a grand master with a young protégé.
The Fed Express likes Kyrgios, he identified him from a way off and decided to try and help his game and his attitude. The Fed knows all too well what it takes to throw off the wrongs of youth and to deal with fame, fortune and all it brings to a young person.
Tennis generally is in a good spot. Maybe it is the efforts of the over exuberant non-watchers that blows tennis into the mainstream media during Wimbledon time.
We live in a commercial world where everyone wants a piece of the action. We can see that from our two examples. Sergiy got knocked out early at Wimbledon and will probably play on the challenger tour for a bit of this year and Dawn Fraser pulled her head above the parapet because the Olympics are coming up.
It would be best for Dawn and Sergiy to have a few sessions at ‘Camp Federer’ (probably in Dubai, his training base) to hone the skills required in this dog eat dog world.
First lesson would be to take it easy and relax, followed by watching what you say.