Friday, August 30, 2013

Three Quick Notes from Day Five

As I write this, Lleyton Hewitt is trying to upset Juan Martin Del Potro and I feel like the match requires my presence. So I will make my three notes on Day 5 a little shorter than usual. Some thoughts:

(1) The Donald Young Circus Up Close:

The story of Donald Young is familiar to any tennis fan. For the casual viewer, it boils down to this. To much was given, much was expected and it just hasn't happened. Still I came into today rooting for the kid, in part because I liked his game, in part his attitude and in part his swagger in a sport that rarely has any. Today I watched him up close, from the second row of the Grandstand court to see his match against Florian Mayer and find out why he is so polarizing. After one set, the answer was clear. Young can still be exciting to watch, as he hits tremendous running shots, has a way of escaping difficult situations and plays with a lot of energy. But sitting so close to he and his family (who I must say, seem like lovely people) can also make one not a fan. After blowing a set point and losing the first set in a disappointing manner, Young cursed loudly and in the direction of his parents, saying words that I could never imagine coming out of my mouth in the same area code as my mother. He stayed down on himself for most of the match and the language that followed was pretty striking considering the setting. I like personalities in tennis but I don't like those that disrespect those around them and then scream (as Young did after the match), "he played OUT OF HIS ASS!" Young is another American that I want to support and up until today, I have cheered for at various points for years. But like a Hannah Montana fan that accidentally tuned in and saw Miley twerk, today gives me a different image of one I otherwise want to see succeed.

(2) Hawkeye Technology:

This is probably a topic for a longer post on another day, but for now this will suffice, I don't buy the challenge technology in tennis. Now let me be clear. I am not one of these conspiracy theory people who doesn't believe in technology and thinks the moon landing was just a television stunt. However, you won't convince me that the Hawkeye tennis challenge technology is accurate. At those speeds, angles and with a round ball (which makes pinpointing the exact spot difficult), I refuse to believe that they can get an accurate spot so quickly. In soccer, goal line technology has just been introduced to the Premier League and it takes 20 seconds to come up with an accurate rendering. In tennis, we are supposed to believe it happens in 3 seconds. I don't and I am not alone. Roger Federer apparently is not trusting of the technology and in all things tennis, I follow Roger. If it is so accurate, why have lines people at all? The reason, its accuracy, while certainly better than nothing at all, is anything but 100% correct.

(3) Andy Murray Causes Brits to Worry

There are no group of people more vested in a person's success than the British media and Andy Murray.  As the defending champ lost the third set today to Mayer, the British media immediately went into high panic mode. There were immediately cries of concern of "what is wrong with Andy?" and "will he flame out?"  He didn't, winning the next set 6-1 to take the match. Still the collective panic in the room and genuine worry was palpable. I am not against "fan" journalism, as readers of The Outer Courts can surely see through out writings, and I have no problem with their love of all things Murray. However it is shocking to see a group of reporters openly pulling for a player that they are also covering for mainstream, national news outlets. To paraphrase a famous comment of years gone by, if Andy Murray has an itch, I wonder how many British journalists would line up to scratch it.

That is it for now...time to go see if Lleyton can hold on after winning the first set. Del Potro wasn't the nicest to us in the elevator in Cincinnati and that usually means bad karma...a lesson for players going forward that will hopefully be heeded.

Oh and finally, the tennis chair umpires do not need microphones this big. Over compensating?