Wimbledon 2013: Tennis, Tweets and Tag TeamsPosted: July 7, 2013
This year’s Wimbledon was a bit of a weird one.
Like most Brits my interest in tennis is pretty much limited to two weeks every year. I’ll keep vaguely up to date through the sports pages the rest of the year, and am always keen to know what the Williams sisters are up to, but I only really watch Wimbledon.
This means that aside from the big names and the British players, I’m largely ignorant of the rest of the players. Which I kinda like, it means I can sit down and watch two randoms play each other completely without baggage and quickly adopt one player to root for, who I tend to then cheer on for the rest of their run in the championship.
2013 however was a bit of a mare for the casual fan with many of the names I recognized getting eliminated early on- Federer, Nadal, Sharapova and Serena Williams all went surprisingly early, along with Britain’s big hope in the women’s game Laura Robson.
That left the number of tennis players I actually recognized at a fairly low number. I had to pick new favourites.
One of my new favourites was Sabine Lisicki the German 23 year old who eliminated Serena Williams. I just loved how gleefully she celebrated her victory and found her enthusiasm and joy infectious and rather cute.
I can form sporting attachments pretty quickly, and find it almost impossible to remain completely neutral watching any sporting event. I cheered Lisicki on as she continued her campaign until yesterday’s women’s final where she faced Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.
Now, I was pulling for Lisicki pretty hard and so was against Bartoli, and this evolved into an irrational loathing as she proceeded to trounce the emotional German player. It turned out the thing I’d loved about Lisicki would be her undoing, the fact that she let her emotions spill out so easily on court. In beating Williams there was unrestrained joy, and afterwards her matches were filled with smiles, confidence and enjoyment. But with the big day occasion her nerves came through and Bartoli handled her a 6-1 thumping in the first set.
Bartoli did nothing to really irk me, but she was beating “my” player and her fist pump at every point grated on me, although I couldn’t help but be impressed by her intensity, skill and the way she kept her head.
Lisicki was trailing 5-1 in the second set and I feared it would make for an embarrassing scoreline when she finally got her head together. Her confidence seemed to rise at every point and she broke Bartoli’s streak as she edged back into it- 5-1 became 5-2, then 5-3 and after that 5-4.
3 games in a row and I dared dream we were about to witness one of the greatest comebacks of all time, but with Bartoli only needing a single game to win the whole thing Lisicki had left it too late, and Bartoli regained her composure to finish off the German.
Bartoli was a deserving winner, she’d played the better tennis and handled the pressure beautifully, and at 23, one hopes that Lisicki gets another run out on centre court in the future and that a championship is in her future.
Lisicki openly wept on the court and, not for the first time, I thought how unfair the Wimbledon traditions are. Both players must wait on the court for the presentation to take place and then give a live interview. For the winner, this is no bother, a chance to bask in the adulation of the crowd, take in the entire scene and enjoy the moment.
For the defeated player you have to sit there, trying to keep yourself in check as your opponent celebrates, all while the television cameras are still on you.
It’s a moment when all you’d want to do is be alone and quiet, so that you can let it all out and compose yourself. Lisicki’s emotions were evident and I felt for the girl as she sat there, the world watching her at the moment of her losing. Yes, there’s little shame in losing in a Grand Slam final, but it’s still a loss and you’re always going to be thinking of what might have been.
Bartoli was a gracious winner, and my annoyance towards her while the contest was on evaporated, it’s hard to stay mad when someone is enjoying themselves so much and seems so wonderfully happy. And I said, she’d put in a sensational performance.
Unfortunately not everyone was able to give Bartoli her moment in the sunshine and rather disappointingly I saw a screen capture of a bunch of horribly mean spirited tweets aimed at the lady. Insulting her for her looks, it was a disgusting outpouring of nastiness, sexism and needless cruelty.
The mind boggles at why you’d feel the need to send something so hurtful into the world, but many piled on, they’re loathsome tweets leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. Looks shouldn’t come into it, and it highlights a sexist way of viewing the women’s game. Aside from a few fleeting acknowledgments that Rafael Nadal is rather studly, the looks of other
Worse yet, John Inverdale, the irritatingly smug BBC presenter then stated that she “wasn’t a looker”. F**k off, Inverdale! I’ve always disliked Inverdale for his kind of stuck up style which he presents BBC’s rugby coverage and his condescending attitude towards some of the non-English teams, but this is a new level of douchery. Is he going to point out that Andy Murray isn’t exactly George Clooney today? No.
Ah, well, I suppose it might be the last time I have to suffer him on my TV screen.
Other Wimbledon thoughts:
- My hatred of Andy Murray seems to be waning. Not sure if it’s because he’s actually shown he has some personality in recent times or the Olympic win, but I definitely don’t have the same dislike towards him. Still think Djokovic will win today though.
- If I was a ball boy I’d dread the Royals talking to me, I just know I’d swear or something.
- Doubles tennis needs revamping, going by both surnames is just overly long, each team should adopt a team name, wrestling tag team style and wear matching clothes. You’ve got to look like a team. Bonus points to those who go all out and adopt a Legion of Doom motif.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.