Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grass Seeds: 10 thoughts on the Men's Quarters

The Nadal camp breathed a sigh of relief when Rafael Nadal's left foot didn't give him any problems today against Mardy Fish.


Speaking of Rafa... If that was a guy with a foot problem out there on Court 1 against Mardy Fish today, then he's the best player with a bad foot of all-time. That would make him, in my humble opinion, the official GPWABFOAT. Not quite as sweet as being the GOAT, but I'm pretty confident that Rafa doesn't care either way. Babolat may go to the trouble of customizing Rafa's racquet bag with commemoration of his 10 previous Grand Slam titles, but in spite of all his achievements, Rafa appears only to think of one thing: what to do about smashing that yellow Slazenger that is fast approaching him. And you know what? He always seems to have the most splendid ideas about that. If only we all could be that decisive and that focused at our jobs. That's 19 consecutive Wimbedon wins for Nadal, and while he seemed a tad perturbed by his own inconsistency at times today, this is an athlete who is clearly relishing the chance to defend his Wimbledon title.

Andy Murray was understated in his post-match celebration after defeating Feliciano Lopez in the men's quarter-finals on Wednesday. He was calm, almost stoic. Could this be the look of a man who knows that every ounce of his energy now needs to be saved for the monumental task of unseating Rafael Nadal at the Wimbledon throne? Whatever the reason, Murray appears to be a player who expects to win at Wimbledon; those expectations will be put to the test on Friday, when he meets the man who bounced him from the draw in 2010.

Let's not forget the women. There are two delicious semi-finals slated for tomorrow: Kvitova-Azarenka and Sharapova-Lisicki. It seems that dudes like me (curmudgeonly tennis writers) have to defend the WTA every few weeks, so here goes again: The women have more than carried their weight during the fortnight, with Venus Williams-Date Krumm, Lisicki-Li, and Serena Williams-Bartoli being three of the most compelling matches of the entire tournament thus far, men or women. Add to that the Williams Sisters exciting return, Lisicki's rise from wildcard to phenom, the untapped potential in the already imposing 21-year-old Petra Kvitova, and you're way ahead of the power curve.

Toss in the Juxtaposition of the allure and tenacity of Maria Sharapova, and now you've got enough footage to make a blockbuster movie with several sequels.

I love Wimbledon's Centre Court roof, but I was overjoyed to see it was sunny today at Wimbledon, because it allowed me to enjoy one of my favorite tennis aesthetics: Telling time by the gentle encroachment of shadows on Centre Court. When they drift diagonally across the grass, you know the last match is almost over and you begin to wish that time would stop. It is Simply divine.

The Bryan brothers gutted out an epic victory today, 16-14 in the 5th set vs. Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley. With Mardy Fish bowing out vs. Nadal in the quarters, can we please turn our collective eyes to the beauty and spontanaiety of the doubles game in America? Note to the networks: some live shots of the upcoming Bryan Brothers vs. defending champs Petzschner-Melzer might be a fine way to show the tennis freaks of the world that you care about us. If you can do it without a tape delay, all the better.

Betting houses currently have Rafa as the clear favorite to take the men's title. $100 will only net you $125 for a Rafa bet. That same $100 will net you $220 for Djokovic, $350 for Murray, and $650 for Tsonga.

Sabine Lisicki is the heavy underdog of the four women's semifinalists. Why do I feel that she's going to win it all?

See you soon, Bernard? So, is the youngest male Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 25 years going to drift back into relative obscurity like Alexandr Dolgopolov did after his first Slam quarter-final appearance? I certainly hope not.

Tsonga is 5-2 vs. Djokovic head-to-head. We've all heard about how great Djokovic's return is in 2011, but will he have an answer for the nastiness of Tsonga's service offerings?

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