Thoughts Of The Week – feat. Nadal, Isner, del Potro
It has been so long since I’ve been on here that WordPress has completely changed. Nevermind, it isn’t like I was a whizz on it to begin with. I’ve been writing a lot for On The Go Tennis recently – mainly a column that investigates some crazy fans – and also Onya Magazine and Tennis View Magazine. All of it is cool, but I feel I should try and make some kind of frequent contribution to this blog. So here goes the first of hopefully many Thoughts of the Week where I detail a few things that have bugged me or inspired me in relation to tennis (and occasionally other sports). I’m bloody opinionated, so there’s bound to be something to write about…
Rafael Nadal hasn’t won a title since Roland Garros and it doesn’t matter
Without a doubt, Nadal’s had some big knocks over the past year and they’ve hurt his once unflappable mentality. He’s been runner-up at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open, and he’s lost to (gasp) Roger Federer on a surface other than indoor hard. So why isn’t anyone really that concerned Nadal hasn’t added any silverware (besides runner-up plates) to his cabinet recently? Because clay season is lurking around the corner, and if there is anywhere Nadal is going to find his confidence restored it is on the sluggish dirt. Djokovic has displayed some weakness recently, and you have to favour Nadal on clay every single time. It’s only time to start worrying about Nadal if the Coupe des Mousquetaires falls into someone else’s hands.
John Isner is over-rated
I understand why Americans collectively wet their pants when Isner fells a Federer or Djokovic, as he has done in 2012. I totally get that they’re desperate for a new champion and that tennis could do with the popularity boost thata top American player inevitably brings. But is Isner really going to be the one to kick off the next generation of USA Superstars? He has the serve, he has the mentality, but does he have that extra spark, that little something else that allows the top four to be on another level to the rest of the tour? Not in my opinion. He’ll cause some huge upsets with his big game, and top ten is a deserved achievement, but I don’t think his movement or groundstrokes can take him all the way to Grand Slam champion. I’ll be the first to write a post about how wrong I am if he ever does.
Is it just confidence Juan Martin del Potro is lacking?
I think it was Robbie Koenig, (but it could have been Sam Gore), that expressed his opinion that del Potro was lacking the confidence he needs to get himself back into the top five. It’s hard to disagree – it was David Ferrer who looked like the more mentally sound player in the big moments of their match in Miami, and fearless is hardly the way to describe del Potro in 2012. But even with confidence, does he really have the variety to win another Slam in this era? I’m going to optimistically say yes; del Potro shows a willingness to improve and he still has an absolute ripper of a forehand. He’s been coming to net recently with success – perhaps this will be key.
How do we judge the best sport in the world?
This week, a friend of mine declared via Twitter than AFL (Australian Rules Football)is the best sport in the world. I bit back with, ‘surely the rest of the world has to play it for it to even come close to the best.’ He replied that many American would consider NFL the best sport although no other country really plays it. I suggested football (as in soccer) is the world’s best sport because it’s the most popular. He diagreed.
How do you judge which is the best sport in the world? For starters, I believe it has to be an international sport to even be considered. A range of cultures and people must identify with the sport to make it ‘the best.’ Football is played all over the world – it’s cheap, it’s easy to pick up for fun, and it’s thrilling. From Africa to Asia, from South America to Europe, football is embraced. For me, this makes football the world’s sport.
Does tennis qualify for discussion? Absolutely; it attracts a diverse group of fans, (just see my On The Go posts for proof), and it is played worldwide. Is it as popular as football? I don’t think so.
I’m not sure there in any other criteria on which to judge ‘best sport’ – it’s far too subjective a topic, (and therefore a pretty pointless argument, really).
Of course, we’re all entitled to our favourite sports, and football certainly isn’t mine.