Thursday, June 11, 2009

For some, the grass is always greener

Funny thing, but when I first started watching tennis, I hated the grass-court season!

I guess it was because in what seems like eons ago, you had to serve and volley on it, and as a kid with my favorite players being Mats Wilander and Andre Agassi and me trying to emulate them, the s-and-v game just really seemed dull. But as I grew a little older, I began to appreciate that style more and realize how impressive those old matches between Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg were.

And another thing about it, too, dipping into my personal playing past: The local tennis center used to have these courts with artificial turf that was covered with sand to simulate the conditions of playing on grass, and I actually used to do pretty good on them. Usually, the only time I was at the net was to shake hands, but I did OK because I could return good, my two-handed backhand was pretty flat and could stay low, and I let the surface help out my mediocre serve. (Ah, the glory days!) So I came to like anything that i could play decently on and my attitude about watching lawn tennis has changed.

It's definitely a different game, though, from the old days as I wrote about last year. But I think I'm moving past my old fuddy-duddy ways and finals like last year's at Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would change anyone's mind!

Anyway, the grass-court season has gotten well under way this week with the quarterfinals already set at this week's tournaments. I'm expecting good shows to be put on by Andys Roddick and Murray over the stretch, and on the women's side, watch out for Maria Sharapova. Funny how just last year, one wouldn't tag her as a "player to watch" since it would've been a given that she'd do all right. I think she can do some damage over the next few weeks.

It should be a good time this season, and I know some players are happy to be back on the lawns.

(Photo: AFP)


tennischick said...

i watched the Karlovic_Roddick game last night and it reminded me of everything i hated about tennis during the Sampras era. i'm getting over it because thankfully other players have stepped up and shown what tremendous versatility can be featured on grass. but that Roddick-Karlovic match was mind-numbingly boring.