Friday, August 5, 2016

Throwing in the Towel

The 2016 Tennis season is now in the history books.  It was a hot one. Now tennis fans have to wait for The Australian Open in January for things to warm up again. Looking back, how did 2016 go?

For starters, the season was far too long for mortal bodies to survive without injury. Federer and Nadal, both sidelined by hurt, are prominent examples of the wounded in action.

The United States of America, long dominant in the Men's game, is strictly an “also ran” these days. Power lies elsewhere with Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the lead and a pack of contenders led by Andy Murray of Scotland nipping at his heels. 

The women's game is flowering with dozens of hard-hitting newly minted stars from here and abroad, including our own Madison Keys.  I disagree with those who say that women can't attract galleries and provide exciting play. Serena Williams is still the queen of the court. Long may she reign.

Loss of temper dominates the game of the new breed with very talented but immature stars like Nick Kyrgios yelling obscenities on court directed at one and all. Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, John “The Brat” McEnroe and other legends of yesterday seem like choir boys in comparison. Why don't they understand that you can be admired for your talent AND be well-liked at the same time?

As part of the general demise of good sportsmanship, racket-smashing has opened up new frontiers for equipment manufacturers.  John Isner, formerly a poster boy for mothers wishing for an idealized son, recorded one best-be-forgotten rant. 

The habits of players whispering into a couple of tennis balls prior to hitting their serves had me imaging they were munching on yellow colored marshmallows like the treats we have at Easter time.

But the biggest of all nonsense is the almost universal habit of going for a towel wipe down after every shot. Guys, it's time to throw in that towel and just play the game. 

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