First the good news: I’m no longer the frothy, fuming, sticky mess I was this morning.
If you want to know why, I suggest you take another look at Caro’s quarter of the draw.
You’ll never know my true fury at the way that section of the draw collapsed in on itself. All the while Domi and Sevastova falling over themselves to grant Caro business class passage to the QFs.
But my real frustration is this: we already knew Franny/Sveta were awesome – right down, I’d argue, to the cellular level.
Was it really necessary to sacrifice them both on the temple of Woz to (re)convince ourselves of that?
At 4 hrs and 44mins this is the longest match in women’s GS history.
Franny will be in no shape to face Woz – let there be no illusions about that. With all the best sports science in the world, she’d do well to recover to 65%. That may be enough if Woz has a horrendous day, but don’t count on it.
None of which is Caro’s fault of course, though it does take a very special class of fan to gracefully endure the walkovers her opponents have handed her.
Aside on Caro: The most common complaint I’ve heard since “the match of the year” ended was how lucky she’s been. A longer uncut version of that argument is used to poke fun at the credibility of her #1 ranking. I’ve no time for that.
That said, she has been lucky with this draw – impossibly so.
But I would also say the exact opposite: every time something like this happens it unfairly increases the toxic levels of glare on her Slamless credibility – it’s almost got to the point where she must be cursing her luck.
What Caro needs is not necessarily to win a Slam, not even to drastically change her passive style of play, but to be involved in a 4 hour cage fight like this.
Those snooty arguments about the #1 ranking and her passive game might never go away, but her credibility would sky rocket overnight.
You don’t need me to dissect it all or tell you how great it all was. There’s plenty of news sites and other blogs that have been doing that all day and I haven’t been especially quick off the mark with this post.
You also don’t need me to tell you it was the best ad for women’s tennis ever.
A month or so ago, in support of a very valid point initially raised by Bobby Chintapali and in a fit of irritation, I started off a #goodfortennis hashtag on twitter, its intent being to act as a humorous but otherwise deliberate foil to all those oversold media-luvverlies that are constantly foisted upon us with the desperate not-that-implicit suggestion that they are “good for tennis”.
Aside from the fact that no one seems to know what this means, what irks most people I talk to is not that Ivanovic, Wozniacki or Kim Clijsters are the ones most regularly touted as being “good for tennis” (they are) but that well-loved, well-respected, humble talents are regularly overlooked, presumably because they don’t accord to whatever ‘look’ the authorities and media are most keen to project of our sport.
24 hours ago we got another alarming demonstration of this as a two-time Slam champion and the current RG titleholder were shafted on to Hisense while Woz, Vika, Fed and Pova were placed on RLA.
As it turned out, all of those matches were blowouts.
Which makes me very happy.
The Sveta/Fran match, as we all know, turned out to be not just historic, but history itself – and a well-timed, sweaty bitchslap in the faces of all those who would, sadly, knowingly schedule exactly the same way all over again.
For Sveta its the best sign yet that all the hard work over the off season has indeed paid off. Her impossibly abundant talent was never in doubt. If she can sustain anything like this form over the rest of the year we’re in for a treat.
For Franny there seems to be no limits to what her talent and heart will let her achieve – I know I’ve spent the best part of this post suggesting otherwise but only a fool would write her off.
Wimby aside, this is her 2nd consecutive Slam QF.
I’ve lost count of the amount of journos that suggested RG was a hopelessly-lovable, goose-pimply, but nevertheless, one-off sporting moment. You all know who you are.