Ashleigh Barty has credited the “unconditional love” from her parents for her Hollywood-style rise to world No.1 tennis player.
Another Wimbledon tournament has come and gone, and I have compiled a list of my five unpopular takeaways from this year’s competition.
Novak Djokovic will be the GOAT
With 16 Grand Slam titles already to his name, he is now only two behind Rafael Nadal and four behind Roger Federer. Djokovic is a year younger than Nadal, with a game – and body – that seems to suit the hard courts and grass more than the Spaniard.
He also has five years on Federer. Assuming Djokovic plays for another four or five years, it’s not inconceivable to suggest he may end up as the greatest Grand Slam winner of all time.
Add to that a winning record against Federer and Nadal, and there might be no argument at all about who is the greatest tennis player of all time.
Kyrgios is great for tennis.
No matter which way you lean regarding Nick Kyrgios, it seems he is becoming more and more watchable each year.
From his meltdown at Queens to his Wimbledon second round exit, there was enough highlights and low lights to cover most players’ entire careers.
His two matches at Wimbledon against fellow compatriot Jordan Thompson and Rafael Nadal showcased some of the most exciting and mesmerising tennis you’d want to see. He has all the shots in the book, plus some that you won’t see in any book!
Apart from his showmanship on the court, his press conferences and interviews can be anything from downright rude to hilariously entertaining. In a world of straight up athletes, Kyrgios is exactly what the tennis world needs.
Tomic deserves his money – or at least some of it
Whether you love him, hate him or don’t care about him, Wimbledon has set a very dangerous precedent to fine Bernard Tomic’s whole purse.
Tomic earned £GBP45,000 ($AUD79,575) for his first round loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The three set match took only 58 minutes – which is the second shortest men’s singles match since 2002.
On the surface that seems like a reasonable reason to fine him, but if you look a little deeper I think Wimbledon may have made the wrong decision.
Tomic lost 6-2 6-1 6-4 to a previous top ten player, who is no slouch on grass. Tomic does tend to give away points and games, and even sets very quickly sometimes. But he also plays very fast, and doesn’t waste a lot of time between points.
He didn’t lose 6-0 6-0 6-0, and in fact won the same percentage of points as Tsonga would do in his next match against Nadal.
So while we all know he probably doesn’t try as hard as he should, it becomes a very slippery slope when tournaments start taking prize money off players for “perceived lack of effort”.
We should cut the next gen some slack
At every tournament – and every Grand Slam that rolls around – the talk begins of the next generation players taking the mantle off the ‘Big Three’.
At the end of these tournaments, the wash-up is always of why the young players are no good, and how they’ll never break through as long as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are still playing.
Well, here’s the thing – the ‘Big Three’ are arguably the three best players the game has ever seen. They have won 54 Grand Slam titles collectively.
To put that into some sort of perspective Pete Sampras, Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and John McEnroe won 56 between them.
Should we really be all that surprised that the new generation isn’t winning majors? To do so they would have to beat one, two or even all three to take the trophy – which is currently no easy feat.
Judging by the standard of this year’s Wimbledon final, the old veterans aren’t exactly limping into retirement. So should we be complaining about the lack of talent coming through, or celebrating the greatest era of tennis we’ve ever seen?
I think the latter.
Doubles tennis deserves more recognition
Doubles tennis. Every social player plays it – probably a lot more often than singles. So why does doubles get pushed to the back courts of tournaments, and barely even shown on the T.V.?
We just had one of the most exciting men’s doubles finals you’d ever want to see, with Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah winning a five set marathon that showcased the best of what doubles has to offer.
Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties are so often hinging on the doubles rubber, creating an exciting and tense atmosphere in the stadiums. In doubles the points are fast, the skills are phenomenal and there are rarely any long and drawn out baseline rallies.
What a sight it was to see two of the greatest players of this era join forces on the mixed doubles court. Andy Murray and Serena Williams drew thousands of spectators to their matches.
Imagine if more of the top players were willing to pair up and play doubles. More matches would be shown on the big courts, and more money would be dedicated to doubles – meaning more top players would take part and the cycle would continue.
It will probably never happen, but quality doubles can be every bit as exciting as a quality singles match.