Monday, September 09, 2019

Weekend Tennis Roundup

I was confident Bianca Andreescu and Rafael Nadal would win their finals in Flushing Meadows. Yet somehow my correct predictions wound up turning everything I thought I knew about the state of the game upside down. 

All this time I've been thinking it was a bizarre fluke that the Big Three of men's tennis happened to be playing at the same time and that's why nobody new -- save for a few cameos by Stan and Andy -- has been able to beat them back. And that with Serena Williams -- arguably the best ever -- inching toward the end of her career, the women's game was devolving into a wasteland of talented players with major head cases. 

But now that the weekend is over, I'm beginning to wonder if it isn’t more like the men's game that is full of talented head cases from present to years past -- Zverev, Khachanov (lost to Pospisil!) Tsitsipas, Kyrgios, Chung, Coric, Shapovalov, Raonic, Dimitrov, Tsonga, Berdych, etc. Even the Italian stallion Berrettini ended his incredible run to the semifinals by folding like a card table when he got up 4-0 in the tiebreak against Nadal, terrified that he might actually win a set.

While at the same time the women's gane is very good hands, with Kerber having won three majors, Osaka winning back-to-back majors, Halep winning two majors on two surfaces and Andreescu looking like the sky's the limit. 

It started when I wrote this on Facebook: 
Can you imagine being Roger F**king Federer and realizing there’s an extremely good chance you’ll wind up THIRD on the all-time majors list.
There was a little pushback, mostly about whether Novak Djokovic has what it takes to win five more, to which I responded:
Obviously it’s speculative. But Roger has won three while older than Nadal and Djokovic -- WITH Nadal and Djokovic in the field. So with Roger aging out it’s not hard to see the remainders winning big for a few more years, especially now that we see how toothless the two succeeding generations have turned out to be (in majors, at least). If Medvedev surprises me today and, say, Tsitsipas wins in Melbourne, perhaps I’ll rethink this.

Nadal, of course, did win and close the gap between him and Federer to one. And while Medvedev dazzled us all with his creative game and epic comeback, then charmed us with his post-match speech, he still lost to a guy 10 years his senior -- even after having been the hottest player on tour all summer. Sure, we all agree he "has a great future ahead of him.” But Dominic Thiem allegedly does too in Paris, yet I have every reason to believe Nadal will again win there in 2020 and 2021, at which point who knows where Thiem will be.

Bottom line: Despite all the hype about so many male players in 2019, the four majors were evenly divided between two players; Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. (And 57 of the last 59 major finals featuring at least one of the Big Three.)

Meanwhile over on the WTA Tour, four different women won the four majors, And since Serena Williams returned from having a baby, she has lost in two Wimbledon finals and two U.S. Open finals to four different women. (She also lost to two other women at the Australian and French Opens.) Although she has at times struggled to find her form, Serena is certainly no less a great than any of the Big Three men. And like them, she is older and more beatable than in her heyday. Yet unlike any of the NextGen men, these up-and-coming women are figuring out how to get it done. (This was true before her pregnancy, when Sharapova, Stosur, Muguruza and Kerber beat her in major finals, even as she racked up a record 23.) All this is to say, are we sure the issue isn’t less about how good the Big Three are so much as how mentally weak the Big Three's competition is? Sure seems to me that if Medvedev were really the next big thing, he’d have broken Nadal when he had the chance and finished him off.

Elsewhere at the Open:

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah followed up their Wimbledon title with a win in New York over Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, 6-4, 7-5.

Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka defeated Victoria Azarenka and Ash Barty to win the women’s doubles, 7-5, 7-5.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie "Manspread" Murray became the first team in 37 years to defend a U.S. Open mixed doubles title on Saturday after taking down top seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Michael Venus in the final, 6-2, 6-3.

Argentinian hunk Gustavo Fernandez lost in the men's wheelchair semifinals, but he's still a WINNER in my book.

Around the net ...

Benoit Paire doesn't seem too broken up about losing in the second round in New York. 

Robert Farah looking hot on the subway ...

and on the practice court. 

Might have known Chrissie would know where to find the balls and the boys!

Jan-Michael Gambill with my girl Tracy and Charo (or is that Arantxa?)

Horsin' around ...

Frenchman Albano Olivetti really needs to get his ranking up so I can perv on him more often. See what I mean HERE.

Cameron Norrie with his big-dick countryman.

I'd make fun of Luca Pouille for wearing sneakers on his wedding day if he didn't look so damn handsome. Best wishes!

And lastly, see what dreamy Tommy Paul's ice cream reference is all about HERE!

(With wire services)


atanner said...

so true and debatable and baffling about the big 3, but they have absolutely dominated whether they are geniuses or the challengers lack teeth?????

And the women's also. I do think that if Serena hadn't evolved into Dementieva ie: I will play brilliantly until I reach final then be a bag of nerves, she might have won two slams this year and still be dominant.

But it's all ifs and speculative.

Kudos to Medvedev for getting to the final and playing like he belonged there, that's a big leap forward for the Next Gen.

demc7 said...

someone rebuked me for referring to Gambill as a closet case- this poster said he was out and hash tag shamed me....I've never heard him announce he was gay. Since he PUBLICLY denied being gay- he needs to announce and apologize.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@demc7: Do you remember where/when he denied being gay?

Anonymous said...

JMG doesnt owe you anything, yet you act like he does. Get over it already.

demc7 said...

well- he had a beard back in the 2000s ha dragged every where- that's a denial. There was a social media situation where he was seen with a male friend as often as his so called girlfriend at the time and his 'team' felt it necessary to 'deny any suspicion regarding his sexual orientation' by issuing a statement. This was back when he started modelling and they wanted to keep his contract in tact. Plus, we've all read sites that have talked about this years ago- I don't recall which or when, but for someone who knows pretty much everything about tennis, I'd be very surprised if you didn't know this! And- is there a way I can block Sean?

Anonymous said...

Definitely a way to block me....dont post nonsense. Simple

demc7 said...

well, don't be an enabler to people hurting our community! As John Waters says ALL celebs owe people- everything they have comes from us. Prize money, endorsements, etc.

Anonymous said...

And here we go. How has JMG hurt you? Seriously, what has he done to you? He didnt send you a letter, he didnt "like" you on Instagram/Twitter? You live under DJT tyranny and this is the hill you die on? Find a safe space and hold your teddy bear close, buckle up because its going its going to a rough ride.