Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the Midst of Greatness



A couple of weeks ago, ESPN sportswriter Bill Simmons wrote a piece basically saying that the sport of tennis is dead (http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3446552). He argued that the sport is no longer fun to watch, that there are no players who can compete with the greats of yesterday and that the rules and scoring of the sport were beyond arcane. To him, it is more exciting to watch an episode of "A shot at love with Tila Tequila (who is ugly as shit btw)" than it is to watch a tennis match.

Well as a fan of tennis and a witness to today's men's final at Wimbledon, I can happily say that Bill Simmons is a complete idiot.

I've seen a lot of great sports moments in my life time. I remember Tiger's first win at the Masters, all the great Michael Jordan moments, Michael Johnson at the 1996 Olympics and last year's Super Bowl. I can now add today's match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to the list. What I saw was two of the greatest tennis players of all time playing an epic 5 set match to the best of their abilities. There was action, there was drama, there was everything you could ever ask for in a sporting event. At times it seemed as if both players were so evenly matched that the match would continue on forever. There were no breaks of serve for over 40 games of tennis despite outrageous shotmaking from both players. Even when Roger Federer faced break and match points, he somehow found a way to continue on and force a final 5th set. And as the light faded at Wimbledon and Nadal finally broke Federer's serve and held on for the win, I knew I had witnessed greatness. In the awards ceremony, it was obvious how physically and emotionally spent both competitors were from the match. It was completely inarguable that both men had given all they could to try and win the match.

As the hours have passed since Nadal finally won the match, I've been thinking about how much tennis has going for it, and how stupid America is for ignoring such an exciting sport. Just in the past 2 days we've seen Americans Venus and Serena Williams vie for the women's title, and then today we saw possibly the greatest player of all time defeated by possibly the greatest clay court player of all time on his best surface. We've seen other incredible matches this year already, including Lleyton Hewitt against Marcos Baghdatis that lasted until 5am in the morning in Australia. The quality of play has also risen to a height not seen in a long time. For many years, losers who could simply serve hard had the rule of the game, which eliminated rallies from the game and basically made it a contest to see who could serve it hardest. Now we have players with vastly different styles in Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal forging the greatest rivalry in the sport since McEnroe and Borg in the 80's. There are also many great young players coming into the game, such as Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils, who have the talent to challenge the top two titans of men's tennis.

Women's tennis has also become much more exciting in recent years. We have amazing competitors in Venus and Serena Williams, brilliant young players rising through the ranks, and wide-open grand slam fields that promise tons of excitement and unpredictability at every tournament. It also doesn't hurt that so many of the women's tennis players are banging hot. I personally think Maria Sharapova isn't all that and a bag of chips, but i'm not booing those legs at all. As my boy El Drunko used to say, "She could wrap those things around me twice." Other babes in the women's ranks include Nicole Vaidisova, Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Ashley Harkleroad, who is gonna get naked in Playboy next month which makes her even more awesome. So even if you think women's tennis blows, you should still watch just for aesthetic quality alone. First of all, if you turn off hot babes playing sports that is wild homo. And at GDB, we are No Homo. Tennis also has no fat chicks.

At the completion of the match, we could hear John McEnroe exalting Nadal and Federer for their performances as well as basically pleading with America to pay more attention to such an exciting sports. Unfortunately, a lot of America has some sport of phobia towards more international sports. We shun soccer despite its worldwide popularity and excitement (See Euro 2008), and we shun tennis because it is somehow boring and predictable and is being dominated by Non-Americans. Well if today's match was boring and predictable, then sign me up for that. And if people are scared to root for foreign athletes then its time to grow the fuck up and realize that the sporting universe does not revolve around America. I feel bad for Joe Sports Fan who decided to watch a meaningless July baseball game, or a golf tournament without Tiger Woods and missed today's classic battle. For everyone who missed today's match because they feel tennis is past its prime, you took a biiiiiiiiig L today.

And Bill Simmons. If you can still say tennis is boring and antiquated after today's events, then you need to hang up your title as a sports guy, because you obviously missed the entire point of competition and sport when it being explained to you. But since you were probably busy jerking off instead to busted Asian whores on "A Shot at Love" anyway, we should probably take your opinion with guarded caution as it is.

5 comments:

harkleroad.net said...

Excellent Piece you wrote. I'm going to send it on to all my stupid Golf friends. I like Women's tennis more than mens and not because they look good. It's a better game but today's men's match was a classic and anyone who didn't realize what was going on mono-e-mono is an idiot. These two guys made Tiger winning anything look insignificant. Tiger doesn't have anyone out there trying to stop him, just the course.

Young Knuckleballer said...

Agreed harkleroad. Tennis and golf get lopped together a lot and over the past decade it appeared that golf had the upper hand. Well this year, everything has changed...or should I say, American's realized that tennis is much more competitive. Golf has been Tiger's sport for awhile now and although the epic battle against Rocco Mediate was great entertainment, it isn't representative of most PGA tournaments. It's always Tiger and everyone else. Now that Woods is out for the rest of the year, the rest of the season is basically meaningless. Tennis on the other hand has a plethora of outstanding competitors that make every major exciting. Nadal/Federer today is what it's all about. Clearly we are all captives of the present, but it's tough to believe that this wouldn't rank near the top of the list of best tennis matches of all time. The Women's side, although not the epic battle on the men's half, was filled with drama. How can you not love watching the Williams sisters lay it all out on the line. I love watching Women's tennis because they are smoking on multiple levels. Basically what I'm trying to say is that tennis is more relevent at this point in time.

dr. burns said...

I have only one thing to add: Federer should have a way hotter girlfriend than he does. I know that's a shitty thing to say, but we all know Dr. Burns loves to hate.

Young Cicero said...

Burns the first commentator on my latest GDB article would roast you for saying that.

True though.

Young Por 'que said...

Bill Simmons asked for a mulligan about the article he wrote. He said it was arguably the worst column he has ever written in his podcast.