WIMBLEDON 2016 WRAP-UP
Well, thank God that’s over! The last few days of this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament have been really hard on me. No lie—I’ve barely slept since the night before Roger Federer’s Semi-Final match.
I’m beginning to think tennis may feature way too much of a gladiator mentality for me. It’s a giant crowd cheering for one person to basically annihilate another. It’s getting hard to take. I’m too much of an Empath to be able to enjoy the sport much longer, (even though, at times, I’m one of those cheer-ers.)
But anyway, since I took the following notes each day, as the action unfolded, here are my thoughts on the second week of Wimbledon. (When I mention the commentators and analysts, they’re all the ones on ESPN.)
[Note: I’m sorry so much of this is about the Williams sisters, but they both did get to the Semis, so they played a lot this last week, which means I had many commenting opportunities.]
MONDAY CONTINUED (because I began it last week, in my Wimbledon Updates column, which, if you’re interested, you can read here: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/tennis-wimbledon-2016-updates)
—Okay, now I’m going to vomit. Pam Shriver just said that the reason that Serena Williams lost in the US Open semis last year was that she had played her sister Venus in the round before, and that “took a lot, emotionally, out of Serena.” That is so rude to lovely Roberta Vinci, who beat the pants off Serena in that match, fair and square. I wonder if Pam’s ever going to get her nose out of the Williams sisters’ butts. It’s up there pretty solidly right now.
—These women are delusional. Pam Shriver: “Crowds around the world have really embraced Venus.” Mary Jo: “She’s become the sentimental favorite. Everybody’s rooting for here, everybody’s behind her.” What??? The crowds at Wimbledon have barely even been applauding her! I’ve hardly ever heard such little cheering, unless it’s for her sister, who the commentators make believe people root for, as well.
—But, all that being said, I do give Venus tons of credit for still playing…at thirty-six! And doing well, too. And she did give a lovely post-match interview, which I really believe she meant this time. She basically said the crowd roots for everyone, and that she’s honored to be able do do “this job.” So, good for her! (But this is funny—she said she loves her job because she gets to “play outside and get a lot of sun.” She added, “Who could beat that?” I can! I hate to be outside in the sun, especially in heat! More proof of the “different strokes” theory.)
—It’s hard to watch a match when you like both players, as in the Makarova-Vesnina and Cibulkova-Radwanska ones.
—Here’s another instance of great sportsmanship, which you know I love. Elena Vesnina beat her good friend and doubles partner, Ekaterina Makarova, in an uber-long Round of 16 match, yet Ekaterina really embraced Elena after it. (Elena won the last ten points! That is sooo hard to do, especially in the later rounds, where there’s much parity among the sixteen players who are left.) And then they played a doubles match together a couple of hours later! Wow.
—I never realized before what a weird body Bernard Tomic has. He looks like Spongebob Squarepants.
—I like new analyst Jason Goodall’s good speech, and enjoy what he has to say. Well, what I can hear of it anyone. They need to amp up his mike because I can barely ever make-out what he’s saying!
–I have just seen the ultimate in sportsmanship. And, of course, I’m all choked-up over it. That special moment, which I will always remember, came courtesy of two Frenchmen, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, were playing each other in the quarterfinals. Richard hurt his back in the very first set, and had to retire from the match. Instead of Jo-Willy celebrating his own victory, he walked right over to Richard’s seat, to talk to him some more. Then he didn’t even go on the court to take a bow. He just acknowledged the politely-applauding crowd from the side. Then, as Richard was struggling with this big tennis bag, my natural instinct was to hope Jo would carry the bag for him. They didn’t show the guys walking off the court, (instead going to replays, to see where Richard had injured himself,) so I thought that was that. But when they showed the guys off the court, walking towards the locker room, I noticed Jo carrying Richard’s bag as well as his own. I loved that, so much. ESPN didn’t catch the kind gesture, so I’m glad I can share it with you.
—I never thought I’d be rooting for Tomas Berdych, but he got screwed every which what way. He was playing his Round of 16 match very late. There was virtually no light left, and he begged to stop, to continue the next day, when they could see. [Note: Wimbledon does not have lights on any court but Centre, when the roof is closed.] Then, when they finally stopped it, he asked to let the match continue on the lit Centre Court, where no one else was playing for the rest of the night. That way, he/his opponent would not have to be the only men who would have to play three days in a row, in this crucial second week. But the officials said not to that idea, as well. Very unfair of them. (I’m glad to report that he did finally win the match the next day, as he deserved to.)
—You’d think that, with all her millions, Serena could get her poor unfortunate eyebrows fixed by now.
—I can’t believe my ears—Venus just said she has to take a “deep bref!”
—I can’t believe how nice Venus seems now. She’s been saying the loveliest things during her interviews, making it about all the players, and not just herself. Kudos to her. If it gets to the sisters in the Final, (bite my tongue,) I’ll be rooting for her, (even though I’m sure she would throw it, so her sister could make history. She’s like the best big sister in the world.) She’s like a completely different person than she’s always been. It’s like she’s on mega doses of St. John’s Wort!
—I am very impressed that Venus Williams made it back to the semis…at thirty-six! Wow. That’s some accomplishment! I know I’m not the only one who has counted her out for years now.
—But then she had to ruin it by saying, “You have this infinity inside of you that feels like you can go forever.” What the heck is an “infinity inside of you?!”
—Pam Shriver and Patrick McEnroe are delusional. They kept saying how emotional Venus was when she won her quarterfinal. All she did was smile! And not even a lot.
—I finally have to say something about Venus’ ’do. Why would she want to pile all that fake hair on top of her head? Why would she want that extra weight? Especially when it’s so unattractive.
—You could not tell who was the winner of of the Dominika Cibulkova-Elena Vesnina match was; they were both so happy and smiley at the end. (I’m not kidding. I turned-off the sound, and asked Mr. X to come in and tell me who the winner was. And he said, of course, it was the little one! [Dominika.] And it was not!) My hat goes off to Dominika for being so upbeat after she got trounced, despite being the favorite in that one.
—What a lovely girl Elena Vesnina is! And she speaks English better than many of the Americans there! She expressed herself so beautifully in her post-match interview.
—My tweets finally worked! For perhaps the first time ever, ESPN studio host Chris McKendry did not add an “l” to the end of “draw!” Hallelujah!
—Why do they always invoke the “Big 4,” (Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy murray,) when Stan Wawrinka has won as many Majors as Andy?!
—Roger Federer has the shiniest hair ever for a guy. (His wife has the same. And beautiful hands, too. Their kids must be cute.)
—I love that Roger said that he felt bad for Marin Cilic in his post-match interview. I’ve actually never heard any player say that before. And he said that Marin is one of the nicest guys on the tour, which I also loved hearing.
—That Federer-Cilic match was so emotionally draining that, for the first time ever, I had to take a couple of hours break from watching tennis to re-group…with myself! Thank goodness that match went the right way!
—I always wish I knew which guys Roger would rather play, so I know for whom to root!
—This is a tad strange—it sounded to me like the crowd was rooting more for Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga than for their own national hero, Andy Murray. And I could swear Jo got a louder ovation after the match.
—It just dawned on me how pleasant this tourney is without Rafa in it, and without Novak in the second week. It somehow feels a lot calmer to me. (Yes, of course I know it’s partly because I’m a Roger Federer lover, so I don’t like those other two hanging around in the latter stages. But it’s really more than that. I can’t exactly put my finger on it right now, though.)
—It’s the first tourney that they never once mentioned that the Williams sisters could meet in the Final, and now it’s actually a possibility. They usually say it about ten times a day, at least.
—Before the Ladies Semi-Finals begin, let me say that, despite all my negative thoughts on the Williams sisters, both now and over the years, I am very impressed with their on-court accomplishments. To be still playing pro tennis, especially in their mid-30s, is an amazing feat. So, I do always give them props for that. (But why do I feel they were missing in action for some of their twenties? Is that correct?) Venus had fallen to #137 just four years ago! So, for someone that old to fight her way back to #9 is pretty amazing. Most female players her age want to retire from the sport and start families, and then go into either coaching or broadcasting careers, so it’s pretty interesting that she wants to stay in it so badly. (The other two oldest females in Wimbledon history, at thirty-nine and forty respectively, are Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. And we know that they had no interest in children.) Even twenty-three-year-old American Sloan Stephens said that she can’t even imagine still playing in ten years!
—Sam Querry speaks so well, not only voice- and diction-wise, but with what he has to say. There’s no pretense with him. He’s just open and honest and intelligent. I can’t wait for him to become a broadcaster in a few years! He must do that!
—Well that’s interesting! Creepy Hannah Storm just told Angelique Kerber, “Let’s hope that it’s a great day of celebration for your country,” meaning for Angie to win her Semi-Final against Venus Williams!! I think Hannah must have just mis-spoken, but still… Oh wow.
—I just realized—I think Serena looked good in this tourney! That dress looked really cute on her, and I think this is the least heavy she’s ever been.
—On the other hand, her eyebrows are perhaps crazier than ever.
—I’ve never seen a more pleasant semi-final loser, (who was decimated in the match, by the way,) as Elena Vesnina. I’ve become a fan.
—Chris Fowler just said that Angelique Kerber is twenty, and has been to thirty-three Majors. Since there are four a year, how is that possible? She was playing women’s pro tours since she was twelve?! I don’t think so. [I checked, and she’s twenty-eight, not twenty. Big error on his part.]
—I like him otherwise, (especially since he answered one of my tweets a couple of years, saying that he knew he had said something wrong,) but Chris Fowler is such a bad commentator when the Williams play.
—Just when I was beginning to like Venus, she snubbed the fans as she walked off the court after her semi-final loss.
—My glamour-obsessed mind couldn’t listen to Angelique after her win; I just keep thinking what perfect eyes she has for make-up!
—The ESPN idiots make like, if someone beats the Williams, it’s because the sisters were tired, but if they win, they’re “amazing” and the best things in the world! I hate listening to them sometimes.
—Ironically, the only person who mentioned that Elena Vesnina, Serena’s semis opponent, is exhausted from her many doubles, in all three disciplines, is Serena’s coach!!!
—But then he ruined it by saying that Serena lost to Angelique Kerber in this year’s Australian Open Final because she “didn’t have the right mind-set,” and then said he can’t go into it, implying that something was wrong with Serena then, and that’s why Angelique won it then. Sore loser. (Quite the opposite of Angie, who was gracious when she lost to Serena two days later, in the Final here.)
—John McEnroe just said that he hopes Roger loses his semi! That’s because John coaches the other guy. But he has no right to be discussing this when he’s so biased. He said Federer is great, “but isn’t it time for someone else?” How is this allowed in sports?! (No matter about which top guy he’s speaking. This is not because I love Roger.) No one should be allowed to be both a coach and a television commentator! It’s just not right. And confusing to the casual viewer.
I couldn’t write today. With Roger’s devastating loss in the Semis yesterday, as far as I’m concerned, this day was Black Friday. Seriously, I could not rise above it, especially if the injury he suffered during the match affects the rest of his year, especially the upcoming Olympics, which are just 3 weeks away!
But it was only the women’s Semis today, and although, of course, I watched, I didn’t have much to say about them anyway.
–Billie Jean King said something I really live by, and acknowledge all the time in my own life: “I don’t think people realize you never, ever know how you’re going to touch another person’s life, or how they’re going to touch your life.” I always think of what small thing someone did or said got me to where I am. And, more often, I hope that I helped people in some small way, as well.
–Hannah Storm said they “sorely miss” Bud Collins “at Wimbledon this year,” because he passed away recently. But ESPN he hadn’t worked for them for years. And now, all of a sudden, she misses him this year?! How about for the past six or so?
–I was just thinking about why I dislike Serena so much. I definitely recognize her athletic accomplishments. We, as fans, cannot imagine what athletes go through on a daily basis to keep it up. We see them compete just a few times a year. So, I feel for her, and all of them, for that aspect of life.
And then it came to me—as a fan of fairness, I want the people who reach these pinnacles to also be visibly lovely people, as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters are. That’s why those two have always been so universally loved and cheered for. But now I see that, if we take fairness in life out of it, we can just stand back and admire the miraculous achievements of ones we’re not fans of, like Serena.
–As usual, though, Serena was rude enough to keep her Finals opponent, Angelique Kerber, waiting.
–Someone finally admitted (sort-of) that it’s not right to have Serena’s coach as one of their analysts. Chris Evert said, it’s “a little fine line there.” So, good for her!
–Cementing my already-negative view of her, Serena made Angie wait not once, not twice, but three times!!! That is the height of bad sportsmanship! And rudeness!!! Antics like that should not be allowed. They should cost some points for the very few players who behave like that.
–The Finals assemblage was soooo cheering for Angie. They cheered for Serena…when she took a tumble!
–What a lovely girl Angie is. And, good for her that she lost by only a couple of points in each set.
–Even though it was just two sets, this was a great Ladies Final.
–For days, the ESPN idiots announced that Duchess Catherine was giving the trophies out this year, and when she did not, they said nary a word about their error. As usual.
–Yes, Serena finally equaled Steffi Graf’s record of winning twenty-two Majors, which is amazing! So, they do have the same record now, but not one of them has mentioned that Steffi did it in a way shorter time!!! That’s so much more impressive!
–So, Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon. Good for him! Once Roger was out, I wanted Andy to beat Milos Raonic, the creepy guy who had beaten Roger. So, I’m glad that happened. And that the whole shebang is finally over.
–I had my only laughs in these two weeks when it was all over. Mr. X finally watched the end with me, and kept pointing-out that the players are shaking everyone’s hands…right after the sweaty players touched their noses, their mouths, their hair, etc., and how unsanitary it was. Then that’s all I kept noticing. I could not stop laughing. It was pretty disgusting, I must say.
–Is Milos Raonic an idiot?! The first thing he said in his interview during the trophy presentation, was, “This one’s gonna sting.” This one??? His first final? When he was outplayed in each set? This is gonna sting?! How about saying how grateful you are to even be there in the first place??? Ugh. I so dislike this guys.
At least he’s beaten the great Pete Sampras in a few categories now–Milos is the most boring, most uncharming player ever.
–Andy’s a pretty boring speaker himself. But at least he mentioned Milos’ team! (Milos had neglected to think of anyone other than himself.) Andy said of Milos’ coach, therapists, etc., “They’re always extremely nice. Very, very polite and well-mannered.” When the crowd laughed, he explained, “Yeah, that’s true, that’s not always the case.” And then he added, “So yeah, sorry about today.” (It’s a tad funny—the volatile former player, John McEnroe, is one of Milos’ coaches now. That’s probably the first time in his life that someone has lauded him for being well-behaved!)
But why did Andy have to be told to acknowledge the crowd??? He should have known better.
–I was at least glad to see that the combinations of my tweets, and perhaps John McEnroe’s recent influence, have made Milos stand-up straight a bit, and stop gelling his hair this time. So now maybe we need him to work on his pigeon toes next.
And, on that lovely note, I’m signing off on Wimbledon 2016. It was disappointing in the end, (because Roger Federer didn’t win, nor even make it to the Finals, and he perhaps hurt himself, and also because I wanted anyone but Serena Williams to win the Ladies Championship,) but a fun ride.
So, it will be back to real life beginning with my very next column. And you know what? I’m a bit relieved for it to be over now.