One crazy fortnight in London
Updated: 2013-07-10 07:19
By Tym Glaser (China Daily)
OK, let's just see what I got right about Wimbledon this year.
For one, I figured No 1 seed Novak Djokovic would meet Andy Murray, the No 2, in the men's final and ... and ... and ... shucks, that's it.
What a colossal tournament of the unexpected!
Heck, I like surprises as much as the next guy, but I don't necessarily love it when they are dumped on me by the bucket-load.
Before a serve was sent down in anger at the verdant courts in SW19, I had penciled in aforementioned 'Djoker' and 'Muzza' to meet on the final Sunday. The former had a soft top half of the draw and the latter I expected to emerge from a slugfest with Rafa Nadal (who despite a Wimbledon title is at home on grass as much as I am running with the bulls in Pamplona) and declining legend Roger Federer.
The women's pick was much easier: Serena Williams by the length of the straight at Royal Ascot.
And then they started playing ...
Spanish toro Nadal, fresh off another French Open triumph, bid adios in the first round, losing to non-household name and world No 135 from Belgium, Steve Darcis. Ouch!
Then Roger the Artful Dodger, who has reached Grand Slam semis since infinity began, hit a second-round hurdle in the form of No 116 Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky and made his earliest exit from the green, green grass of his adopted home in more than a decade.
So much for that lopsided men's draw!
The gates burst open for local hero Murray and, despite a five-set comeback win against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the quarters, it all came that much easier for the Scot, who now apparently will surpass a knighthood and Prince Charles and simply be named king of England.
As brilliantly shocking as the dual demises of Fed and Raf were, they were mere firecrackers in comparison to the super nova of the loss suffered by women's No 1 seed Serena. Her defeat at the hands of handy German Sabine Lisicki in three sets in the fourth round was, to belt out another analogy, like the Titanic scraping an ice cube and still sinking.
That didn't just bust open the women's draw; coupled with No 2 seed Maria Sharapova's round two exit, it blew it up.
Hence, this year's Wimbledon champions: a Scot breaking a 77-year-old British drought and a relatively unheralded first-time Slam winner in Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.
Well, kids, let that be a lesson to ya: don't bet on sport.
Does this all mark a massive changing of the guard in tennis? I doubt it. Murray, Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are still clearly at the top of the men's game by some distance.
And Serena is No 1 in the women's game by miles.
All those two wacky weeks in London did was highlight the glorious uncertainty of sport and normal tennis order should be restored at the US Open, which starts on Aug 26.
Just don't bet on it!
Tym Glaser is a senior sport copy editor who would have lost London to a brick on this year's Wimbledon. He can be contacted at email@example.com
(China Daily 07/10/2013 page22)