Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Tennis Fantasy: Rochus

Current Overall Standing: 24th
My MVP for the Week: Olivier Rochus (Belgium) with $39,780, losing to John Isner (USA) in the final of the Campbells Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

Photo via Photo Gallery Actors

Rochus is one of my favorites, a true sportsman. The 5'5" Belgian turned 30 this year and is no doubt in the home stretch of a solid career. It's great to see him turn in such a strong result, his second year in a row in the final at Newport.

Just like that, the grass court season is over.

Follow Up: Djokovic, the New King

Mock asked a tennis question! I am so pleased:
Did I see him eat a blade of grass after winning? We thought that was pretty cool but have seen he received some not so nice comments....

What say you, Squid?
Tennis has, in a sense, been spoiled in the era of Federer/Nadal dominance. In addition to their astonishing athletic gifts, Roger and Rafa epitomize the gentleman athlete. Both exhibit near-pristine sportsmanship and rock-solid public images - welcome rarities in the world of celebrity. For Djokovic, it hasn't been quite so easy. He retired from key matches with injuries several times. He took too long between points, bouncing the ball endlessly before delivering his serve. He poked fun at his colleagues before he'd earned sufficient locker room cred. Plus there's his family entourage, a PR disaster waiting to happen - his parents spouting rhetoric of entitlement and Fed/Nadal bashing. So no, he is not a continuation of Roger/Rafa smooth.

But he's no jerk, either. He's not Lleyton Hewitt who managed to antagonize nearly everyone in the sport during his reign. One could argue that for all of their polish, Federer and Nadal are not the most colorful of characters. Djokovic brings a bit more personality to the top ranking. As I noted in my final Wimbledon post, he tweeted squirrel-taming photos throughout the tournament. Back when he first made the US Open final in 2008, he did on-court impressions of other top players. While the players themselves were not amused (Maria Sharapova the notable exception), I thought they were hilarious:

The Federer/Nadal era has passed before a lot of people were ready, probably myself included. But there's not denying that Djokovic has earned it. The jester wears the crown.

1 comment:

  1. Having grown up watching the tail end of McEnroe's career and then a lot of Becker, Agassi, Lendl, et al, I think I might be used to the less "gentlemanly" tennis players...