Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Hamburgers and French Fries...

Alright enough.

Even I know when to call a halt.

So enough on the 'American Beauty' of single handed backhands.

Enough with the fanciful and giddy kung-fu tennis fusions.

And Enough with the Andy Murray film scripts that sound like they've been written by an intern. During their lunch break.

We're returning to tennis we are.

But biding time is fun. Know that I intend to do a lot more of it. Especially when the most interesting thing to report on tour is that Gilles Simon continues to have only a slightly worse time of it than the German Open itself. That's the new no-frills deMASTERised ATP 500 name for Hamburg btw.

A tournament that's had it's new director Michael Stich mucking in at doubles this week in an effort at staving off declining interest. A tournament Simon (the #1 seed) was unceremoniously ejected from by a qualifier, a wildcard no-name somebody called Daniel Brands. So sorry Danny. Congratulations, until yesterday I hadn't heard of you. Now you're a label in my tag cloud. A label that's currently too feint to be detected. But Go Germany, nevertheless.

And that wasn't the end of it. Wawrinka, of Wimbledon single-handed shootouts under-the-roof fame:
comprehensively duffed-up, I think is the phrase. Tommy Robredo, clay-court extraordinaire, supposedly out of a funk: Now he's out of the event too. And Melzer out to Uruguayan qualifier Cuevas. Remember folks, it's the depth in men's tennis is what it is.

There's still a watchable enough cast with Davydenko, Sod, Ferrer and Kohlschreiber holding fort, I suppose. But it won't stop me feeling that the event's effectively been crippled, an event that was already having trouble these last few years, with it's placement immediately prior to Roland Garros. A situation that meant the marquee names either didn't show up at all, or came hobbling in after taking part in some of those
other historic battles of Rome.

Well it's been pinioned alright, and moving it to mid July, that no-mans-land of the tennis calendar seems too much like adding insult to injury.

It also goes without saying, but I'm going to anyway (even at the risk of sounding smug), that I was largely unimpressed with Simon's rise to the top. And now, as they say, those factory-fed chickens are coming home to roost. They're set to arrive over the next few months as the points he accrued over that marvelous run of last year drop off.

But Gilles is an easy target. His top ten position is after all reflective of a 52-week rankings system. It seems to be swipe-Simon season, but I'm not much more impressed with Tsonga either. Great start to the year with those titles in
Jo'burg and Marseille and that quarter final appearance in Oz, but now beginning to settle into what looks like a Nalbandian-like hangover, recovery from which is only possible late into the indoor season. If that.

I haven't much time for French tennis these days. It's easy on the eye, but not on the nerves. Monfils' short-lived stay in the top ten has rightfully come to an end. One wonders if Gasquet can rebound from Dopesville. Not by the sounds of it. Not if 'Pamela' has anything to do with it.

But it's like that across the board. If anything I see Simon as a lower case Dinara, castigated for the failings of a necessarily imperfect system, that rewards every win you've had in the last year. Wins, the totality of which is against only a slice of the field anyway. Not that reflective of very much at the best of times.

The unglamorous reality is that apart from a handful of guys and girls at the very top, most every player has an inconsistent shoddy looking performance sheet. Full of potholes and pockmarks. And bunkers, to bring in those recent golfing metaphors I lovingly introduced. It's the point at which I think the rankings system really comes into its own. Seemingly custom built to mediate between a field of wildly fluctuating neurotics.

Nice to know it's good at something.

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