On court Kyrgios is at war chirping, bickering, verbally assaulting others and himself. Like a priest he self-flagellates as punishment, penance and performance.
What does the increasing number of uneven three set matches indicate?
Unlike boxing or gymnastics, tennis scores are not subjective. Still, I have noticed a marked change in score lines. For men, women, slam and non-slam tournaments straight set wins are decreasing. Without looking at the sport’s statistical database, it is clear to any observer, the changes in tennis scores tell a troubling story.
For some, the score line is unimportant. A win is a win. But when a win begins to change the game, if only statistically, one has to wonder. Why is the score line changing so significantly?
A 6-0, 6-0 match was once an anomaly, rare. The lopsided victory tells of a hot, in the zone player, an uneven match-up or worse an injured athlete. We all remember the Serena/Sharapova London 2012 routing 6-1, 6-0. Serena was in rare form, serving whole games of aces and simply outplaying the Russian. She elevated her game for the Olympic Gold. Today, nearly ten years later, she’s playing an awful lot of three set matches. But so are a lot of players. And the score lines are headscratchers. Today Samsonova defeated Bencic 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 to snatch the Berlin Grass Court Championship.
In her prime, Serena used the first two or three games to sus-out her opponent. That was enough for her to test their game plan, skills/weaknesses, and her plan of attack. This is no longer. Players are using entire sets to do this. What else explains the uneven sea-saw scores now prominent on both the women’s and men’s tour?
The tight, competitive match, even the long tie-break match is a thing of the past. The 6-4, 6-4 score is disappearing. But why? An improved field, Fitness. Equipment. Training. Statistics. Nutrition, Focus, Television… No one answer explains this phenomenon.
The next time you see an uneven three set match win, you will wonder a little more about the sport’s decision to partner with betting organization, Bally’s/Bet Works. Tennis Channel (Sinclair RSN) has given said organization a platform to revolutionize the US sports betting, gaming and media industries. This is very different than a sports drink, shoe or clothing sponsorship. We have grown accustomed to seeing these products in press conferences and as backdrops on the court and in the commentator studio. But seeing a betting company logo splashed across a sport blurs the line to the point of erasure.
This may be an unjustified leap, but it does not bode well for the sport nor the overlords (tournament organizers) who sanction this atrocity of ethics.
The True Meaning of 24 …
At seventeen grand slams Djokovic too is working to best Federer’s 20 and Nadal’s 19. His goalpost is clear and concrete. So Why does the erroneous 24 grand slam narrative persist for Serena Williams?
In My Feelings…
It is rare that television commercials serve us This Is Us or Queen Sugar feelings. Often we use the time to take a phone, fridge or potty break. We extol the virtues of the actors and writers or we slander them during the minutes of marketing … Continue reading In My Feelings…
Is The ATP Ready For A Player To Come Out?
Tennys Sandgren. Sergiy Stakhovsky. Margaret Court. They have hurled homophobic words and loaded language at the LGBTQ. The tennis world notoriously has not been a safe place for gay people. Sure there are a few out women on the singles and doubles court. But there are no out … Continue reading Is The ATP Ready For A Player To Come Out?
When Competition Becomes a Performance
Today Alexander Zverev GER  takes on Roger Federer SUI  and Caroline Wozniacki DEN  confronts the zoning Elina Svitolina UKR  at the Rogers Cup, the third stop on the US Open Series. Tennis fans have reveled in the tournament for the last seven days. Riding the highs of new player wins and excusing the veterans missing the mark. All of it is glorious. The competition has us stuck on the coach. We perch or recline with fixed glaze trying to sort out the field, those who have been rocketing of late, Svitlolina, to the previously injured and returning, Stephens. (more…)
Privilege Exemplified: Maria Sharapova’s Road to Redemption
The blond Russian with the piercing green stare and clenched fists of perseverance has reached the heights of her sport five times. This statuesque star is no Anna Kournikova, content with Barbie Doll marketing and interviews focused on her beauty. She is noted for her business savvy, though it … Continue reading Privilege Exemplified: Maria Sharapova’s Road to Redemption
Should Consistency be Tennis’ Holy Grail?
As a child I detested desserts. Cakes. Pies. Pastries. Even ice cream did not make my wish list. Yes, I was an odd child who could be bribed with wait for it …roasted sunflower seeds. A mature adult now, I have taken to baking. My repertoire includes: pound cake, carrot cake, pineapple upside down cake, banana nut bread, pumpkin pie and cheesecake. When I first began I was fastidious. Testing recipes, tweaking, perfecting until my creations achieved just the right denseness and sweetness. I dislike overly sweet concoctions. Sometimes the final products were beautiful and delectable treats perfect for gifting. Sometimes, they were simply lessons I had to learn.
My consistency was not particularly important when I began baking. The experience, the process was my goal. This is a lesson tennis has not embraced. It may never move beyond consistency as the hallmark of success. The obsession with consistency is really a need for perfection. This mars the sport. (more…)
Book Review: My Voice is a Great Graduation Present
There isn’t a hip hop head who does not know The Voice of New York. She is an undisputed hip hop radio icon. Angie Martinez is hip hop. As hip hop matures and new radio personalities emerge, Martinez remains atop the list. Second only to Charlamagne … Continue reading Book Review: My Voice is a Great Graduation Present
Clichés, Tropes and Narratives Oh My!
Unmuting tennis commentators can be as dangerous as reading trite tennis writers. Their goal is completion, match and deadline, not the museum of thought. Their prose can’t be mistaken for poetry. They traffic in dreaded clichés, tropes and narratives, delivering formaldehyde to our collective sport brain. We have … Continue reading Clichés, Tropes and Narratives Oh My!