Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Note to self: Don't overthink it, just enjoy the tennis



If you're seeing this post right now, then that's a good thing. It meant that I was able to get past the brain drain the French Open just put me through and I was actually able to write something!

Novak Djokovic won his fourth Major in a row and his first French title, and completed the career Slam. Garbine Muguruza announced her arrival among Grand Slam champs with her first big title, shocking Serena Williams for the W. Muguruza's countrymen, Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, won the men's doubles title and on the women's side, Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic took home the title. In mixed, veterans Leander Paes and Martina Hingis completed the career Slam (together and apart) in the discipline.

Big stuff, and a lot to be celebrated post-Paris. But with all that happening, among other things, my mind's been on spin cycle with questions, musings, wonderings, etc. These are some of the things I've been thinking about:

• I'm big on Novak Djokovic. I love his approach to the game and his desire to be the best out there. I'm going to say this, too, which I can't recall seeing anywhere else: I bet if he was American with his dominance and personality, there'd be a tennis boom in the States like you wouldn't believe.

But...

I'm still hesitant to put him up there in the GOAT conversation, and this isn't through any fault of his own. The way the surfaces play so uniformly now has just changed the complexion of the game. Djokovic's game is solid in every department, but I wonder, what would happen if he played Ivo Karlovic on the type of grass at Wimbledon that Boris Becker won his first title on?

It's a different ball game now. (Gosh, I feel so old after typing that last sentence. And typing "Gosh" made me feel even older!) Djokovic's accomplishments are amazing and there's more yet to come from him, but I guess I'm too much of an old fuddy-duddy to give him the GOAT title.

• Speaking of "old," I told my seven-year-old daughter that Serena lost and at first she couldn't believe it. After I convinced her, she said Serena's getting "old." I thought that was kind of funny. I'll never say Serena's "old" and I'll give her favorite status going into any Major for at least the next three years, if she's still playing. However, these last few Slam losses have been kind of weird. Well, maybe not the Muguruza one, but for sure the ones to Angelique Kerber and Roberta Vinci. I think Serena's not only capable of equaling then topping Steffi Graf, but also Margaret Court, as well. It should happen soon, though, before she gets too old!

• More legend stuff: Great run by Bob and Mike Bryan to the finals, as their past year and a half has had more ups and downs than they've ever experienced during their legendary careers.

• And (half a) legend stuff: What's up with Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza? It's crazy that they went from being so dominant and looking like an all-time team to early-round losses left and right, including at the French. Will a rough grass-court stretch be the end of them?

• The future of the sport is in great shape with so many young players making breakthroughs. Dominic Thiem, Shelby Rogers, Kiki Bertens...I could go on and on. It's an exciting time to be a tennis fan, which is something I should remember. Don't let the nuances weigh me down: I should just sit back and enjoy the ride.

That is, until the next tournament, when more questions will undoubtedly pop up.

(Photo: Espana Tennis)

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