Sunday, 12 August 2012

Yet more about Olympic tennis

Hopefully, you listened to my advice regarding the Rogers Cup semi-finals: then took my thoughts, flushed them down the shunky pan and bet the farm on Gasquet and Djokovic to reach the final. I'm currently writing this blog from my new home under a disused railway bridge. I'm fighting a tramp with my spare hand.
Old Blower Gasquet didn't choke and played very well. Good on him. I'm sick of reading about his limitless talent; time for him to step up and win something. As for Action Man barneted Djoko, a very fine performance from him. It all seems to be clicking into gear at the right time following a poor Olympic performance. The Rogers final should be a belter. John Hovis will play it safe and vouch for the Serb taking out Gasquet in straight sets. Quick! To the bookies!
Back the point of this post. It has been another day of back slapping and self-congratulation in Britland. As John Hovis perused the Sunday papers, he read (yet again) that Andy Murray had single-handedly raised Olympic tennis to an equal footing with the slams. Bunkum.
I'm not going to retread what I've said before. I lied. To recap, Olympic tennis is a sideshow. A good way of keeping tennis in the shop window. It's the fifteenth tournament of the year in terms of ranking points. It trails in a long way behind the four slams and Davis Cup in terms of tennis prestige. Olympic tennis is a vanity distraction from the main tour for the highest ranked players. The lesser lights have to switch surfaces within a day or two of arriving part way through the Olympic tournament having earned their corn in the bread and butter tournaments somewhere around the globe. Hardly ideal preparation for the 'fifth slam'.
Photo by Carine o6 via Flickr with thanks.
Olympic tennis does not match the rigour of the slams either in duration or challenge. Players do not have the time to prepare as they would for a slam. This year particularly, players were primed to peak at Wimbledon, not to peak and peak again three weeks later hence the tired, emotional and flat players on view at the Olympics. Andy Murray had a wave of bizarre jingoistic emotion and revenge pushing him along. His US Open campaign may well suffer badly because of it which would a shame; the US Open is his best chance of a slam.
Olympic sports should be those in which winning a gold medal is the pinnacle of your sport. This clearly is not the case in tennis. Short of removing tennis from the list, John Hovis suggests a team tennis format, involving both men and women playing in a knockout format. This would give the big names an opportunity to participate, helping viewing figures. It would be enjoyable to watch and a genuine break from the rigours of both tours. John Hovis believes this would keep the interest in tennis high while allowing players to engage in a vibrant tournament once every four years. The nonsense of professional tennis players competing for individual medals would be banished. If only everyone listened to J Hovis. The world would be in flames. Flames of joy.

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