Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wimbledon 2013: The Middle Sunday

Bernard Tomic is tennis's resident bad boy.  The 20-year-old is currently the top-ranked Australian man on the ATP tour and he's into the second week of Wimbledon for the second time in his career.  At his best, he looks like the sort of player who could challenge for Major titles for years to come, especially on faster surfaces.  At his worst...  well, his worst is pretty bad.  He has walked off the court in protest in one match and been accused of tanking in others.  He's had legal troubles away from the court, too.
Photo via Bernard Tomic

Tomic's biggest problem is his father, the proverbial nightmare tennis parent.  In May, John Tomic attacked his son's hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, outside of a hotel in Madrid, leaving Drouet with a broken nose, a cut above the eye requiring stitches and a bruised neck.  As a result, the elder Tomic was banned from the grounds at the French Open and also Wimbledon.  The father-son relationship is so toxic that Bernard once approached a chair umpire and asked that his father be tossed from the stands (not granted).

I've never been a fan of the bad boys in tennis or any sport but it's hard not to feel some compassion for Bernard Tomic.  He's hardly the first athlete to have daddy issues but few have had to endure them in the glaring view of the public as he has.  He's an adult now and responsible from his actions.  One hopes for his sake and that of the sport that a heavy dose of maturity will see him through to brighter days.

Tomic has had a good Wimbledon so far.  He's taken out two seeds: Richard Gasquet (9th seed, France) and Sam Querrey (21st, USA).  He faces former finalist Tomas Berdych (7th seed, Czech Republic) in his next match. 

Yes, I am going to gloss right over the big story of the past week: the early round demises of both Roger Federer (3rd, Switzerland) and Rafael Nadal (5th, Spain), winners of nine of the past ten Wimbledons between them.  Actually, I will say this much: no one should be surprised that neither (especially Fed) is the player he once was.  There are also still chapters yet to be written for both.


  1. Problem with sport (in general) today is the fact you have too much 'celebrity' status, those whom believe they are 'celebrities', and overly large pay scales - for the UK I will cite footballers as a prime example.

    Add to the mix the support system, the PR management, the hangers-on and all the 'yes men/women', who enable such behaviour without apparent consequence, and what you are left with are people in a privileged position who feel they answer to no-one and can do anything they like without conscience, which in turn leads to the younger, up-coming talent being influenced by, and modelling themselves upon arrogant, rude, vile and sometimes violent sports people, film stars, musicians, etc, etc.

    I found it quite amazing to read a recent report of Rees Witherspoon and her hubby being pulled over by Police for drunk driving. Both were hammered, and she had the balls to ask the Police Officer if he knew her name and who she was? I mean, come on, all an actor is essentially, is a person paid money to pretend and play at make-believe. Kids do it for fun and don't get up their own arse, thinking they are privileged and have a God-given right to do, act and say whatever they like.

    I've often thought, come an apocalypse, where society collapses and all technology goes to shit, those left with the truly valuable skills, like carpentry, brick laying, engineering, plumbing, and the such, skills that keep us functioning and alive, will be worth their weight in gold. As for the so-called celebs and media whores?

    "Oh excuse me, Miss Kardashian, what can you do to help humanity get back on it's feet?"

    Miss K: "What happened to the Internet? Where are the cameras? Why can't I tweet? Why isn't anyone paying attention to me!?"

    Sound of a gun being cocked.

    1. You're absolutely right, of course. Our culture of entitlement is pretty appalling, even from people who aren't so famous. Celebrities are capable of exhibiting the best of who we are. Andre Agassi is far from perfect but his legacy shall be one of extraordinary generosity. While I'm sure someday the other shoe will drop, Federer certainly comes off as a very decent guy.

      But far more often, it seems, they exhibit the worst of who we are. Tennis players aren't even as bad as they used to be (McEnroe, Connors). One need look no further than Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong for prime examples in the current age.

  2. I'm not a tennis (or any sports) fan but I used to live near Wimbledon so this time of the year brings back lots of good memories :)

    1. I understand. That is, in fact, very similar to the way my wife feels about her old neighborhood in Chicago. It was near Wrigley Field, home to baseball's Cubs. She is not a sports fan, either. But she loves the Cubs because she loved the place.