No Indication: Wimbledon warm-ups
June 16, 2009 · Print This Article
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Ah, finally that feeling of predictability it back. Gone are the days where the winners of the lead-up tournaments going into the French and U.S. Open mean anything, it’s Wimbledon time.
Before everyone gets excited and runs after me with their wooden racket’s (it is Wimbledon time after-all, let’s try and uphold some type of tradition), allow me to elaborate on my premise.
If the past is any indication towards the future (and it usually is), then it would be safe to say that although the perennial four lead-up tournaments going into the years third major are relevant, they are by no means useful in determining the outcome of the Lord of Lawn come the second Sunday at SW19.
I know many of you will be thinking that Roger Federer has won Halle event what, five-times, and owns five Wimbledon crowns. You are right. But if my math is correct, and it certainly isn’t the greatest by any stretch, the year in which Federer didn’t play a warm-up, which was 2007, he was still able to win The Championships.
I’m also well aware that Rafael Nadal won at Queen’s Club last year, which was later followed by his first ever victory at the Big W.
Even the great Boris Becker won Queen’s Club back in 1987 and went on to win his first Wimbledon title – the famed double-duo. But was the former really a factor in the latter?
Anyone remember that blonde haired Swede who was pretty good on the grass? Those contained and stoic efforts by the great Bjorn Borg saw him capture five historic titles in London – never playing a warm-up.
Unlike the summer hard-court season; tournaments which asphalt favorites can be derived and extracted from based on results – the grass, in its most plain and exposed form lends its Wimbledon Champions to the best athletes the sport has to offer.
Looking down the list of Wimbledon Champions, there are no Gaston Gaudio’s, no Tomas Johansson’s and let’s certainly not forget any Andreas Gomez’s.
Putting aside the winners of Wimbledon, going one step further, even the finalists of the event have always been quality.
There are no Rainer Schuettler’s, Arnaud Clement’s or Alberto Berasategui’s hovering around the final weekend in London, who stand proudly in the sea of English heritage, sunk in the magnitude of flashing light-bulbs while shaking the Duke of Kent’s hand.
I am in no-way shape-or-form discounting the efforts of the before mentioned winners and finalists of the Australian and French Open. Those tourneys are tough to win, and anyone who can capture a title let alone sniff a second place prize check deserves an immense amount of credit.
But in saying that, it is important to stay within the context of Wimbledon and what is special about the tournament. Although the surprise winners and finalists of the first two majors of the year must be given their deserved due for their efforts and accomplishments, it is seldom that any caliber of player – other than the very best-of-the-best, will win or reach the finals of Wimbledon.
The grass is not about grinding, and sliding, or burning blisters through sneakers, it is simply about the unity of the most divine and elegant combatant’s the game has to offer, showcasing their harmonious games in the cathedral of tennis.
Wimbledon is about the legends of the sport. Only the great seem to prosper.
The Laver’s, the Borg’s, the McEnroe’s, the Sampras’ and of course the Federer’s of the world, are not only the greatest Champions the game has every seen, but also the greatest athletes to have ever graced the game.
There is a reason why Ivo Karloivc has never won a Wimbledon title. Dr. Ivo maybe able to squeak out a couple of Nottingham titles (which he has won in 2007, 2008), but when push comes to shove, even with 40-plus aces a match, Karlovic has never made it past the fourth around at Wimbledon. Ivo simply is not a good enough athlete to take home the Big W.
By the way Mr. ace-machine, I know you didn’t defend your Nottingham title this year, but the event has moved to Eastbourne, for future reference. Putting aside the greatness of Wimbledon and its Champions for a moment, that photo of Karlovic and Clement, winner and finalist of the Nottingham event in 2007 is priceless.
Furthermore, I’m not trying to burst anyones bubble, and persuade them from not catching any of the four tune-up events leading into Wimbledon. (Wait a minute, isn’t there that Newport event that is held right after Wimbledon? But that’s not considered a warm-up is it? Why is it even… another article all together).
There is certainly great tennis to be played throughout those world-class events leading up to Wimbledon- many great names to catch along the way. But next time you are sitting court-side, or at the comfort of your favorite recliner mesmerized by the events that are unfolding at Queen’s Club, Halle, Eastbourne, and lets not forget ’s-Hertogenbosch, remember one considerable fact at your viewing pleasure of course.
Although Marc Gicquel is currently lighting up your tennis-crazed eyes at the Ordina Open, there is no need to wonder why the Frenchmen isn’t able to sustain his level and result when he steps foot on the grounds of SW19. There is a reason why he is absent on the second Sunday of Wimbledon. The Gicquel name, just like the many other players who participate in Wimbledon warm-ups, is simply not accompanied by the ability of sheer greatness which in a nut-shell is what is required to win the most cherished title the game has to offer.