Thursday, 2 July 2009
Don't believe the truth.
Does the British press believe that tennis is a sport played for just two weeks in June each year on grass? Twice during the Wimbledon fortnight, I have become irritated by the bandwagon-jumping stories emanating from ‘Fleet Street’ (actually somewhere in Kensington, I think).
Firstly, the death of British tennis, brought upon by a bad first two days of Wimbledon for the Brits (excluding our superstar). In the last year, our top four women have cumulatively risen 123 places on the WTA rankings. Our men have remained around their 2008 marks. So why are the commentators so intent on gloom-mongering? With the exception of Keothavong’s defeat to Patricia Mayr, our player’s defeats have come against higher-ranked opponents. No surprise then.
The last couple of days have heralded the end of women’s tennis. Supposedly, only two players can play anymore, the rest are crap. Not like the days when we had Graf, Navratilova, Evert….
But just a moment. When Navratilova was at the top of her game, was the world number 41 as good as Sabine Lisicki? Doubt it. Graf and Navratilova were further ahead of the competition than Venus and Serena are today. The press guys obviously didn’t bother watching the French Open. Oh, that’s played in May.
I accept the women’s game is not at a high point, and world number one Safina hardly helped my argument today. But Sharapova’s shoulder injury, combined with the retirement of Henin and Clijsters, leaves us short of three major names at the top of the game. If Federer and Nadal retire imminently, would the men’s game look so strong? Oh well, if Murray wins tomorrow, tennis will no doubt be hailed as our national sport.