In true fangirl fashion, I haven't been watching much tennis lately. But this weekend, I've watched a couple of matches and I have to say that I've made some alarming observations. Tennis has changed so much since Rafa walked off that court at Wimbledon!!
Here's why ...
- Overnight, ALL court surfaces have been speeded up. Well, they must have been, mustn't they? Because I haven't seen one single forum headline or heard one single commentary box comment about how S.L.O.W. the courts are playing. Now I'm not being a silly Wooffs here because I'm well aware that we are in the throes of the hardcourt season which play must faster. But I am slightly confused because I thought that since 2005, all hardcourts played S.L.O.W. Well, that seemed to be the very popular perception because their slowness was all that was ever spoken about. Seeing as no mention is made of it now can only lead to me deducing that they've all been replaced and now play fast. Well done.
- Time between points. Aaah ... that old chestnut. If there is one subject which compels the keyboard jockeys to fits of apoplexy and gets Marcus Buckland (studio host on the UK's Sky tennis channel) absolutely frothing at the mouth, it's that heinous crime of taking too long between points. We've had calls for on-court clocks, a magic little timer used to appear in the corner of our TV screens here in the UK, but now ... all that's gone. I'm kind of bemused as to what on earth they find to talk about in the studio now, but there you go. But fantastic news. ALL players are now playing within the prescribed time limits because not one single mention is being made about the length of time they are taking between points. Hurrah!! But funny that. Because whilst watching the Shanghai Masters this morning, Murray - to me - was visibly taking a long time. So much so that I even took my stopwatch to him. Hhhmmm ... persistent rule breaking. I don't really need to mention *bounce* *bounce* *bounce*, do I? But that particular rule must have gone away now because no-one was making a reference to it. Or it just doesn't matter any more. Not sure which is, but those discussions are now so O.V.A.H.
- Gamesmanship. A.K.A. - cheating. You know the things I'm talking about. Having a degenerative foot problem and calling a Medical Time Out when you've had a set point, but then have felt a crack in your foot so you need to stop. Or the strapping on your foot being just too tight that it's impeding your movement, so you call for the trainer to cut it - whilst at the chair in the CHANGE OF ENDS - only that act causes your opponent to lose the first set of a French Open final, you cheating cur. You get what I'm talking about? Good. But I'm now delighted to see that stalling play when one or two raindrops keep falling on your head when you're a set and were several break points down is now seen as deserving action when you've 17 Grand Slams. Not blatant cheating to try and upset your opponent and put him off his rhythm. No, of course not! Mind you, I have ever such a slight bit of sympathy with Rog and the raindrops. They make a right frizz of my luscious hair too.
- On court antics. Let's see ... and what examples can I pick here? I know! Placement of water bottles and jumping up and down at the net. Hideous on-court behaviour. Greater in its degree of crimes than wandering around the court like an immature, petulant teenager, screeching and shouting your head off every time things don't quite go your way and using a range of swear words that would make your Grandmother blush. Or what about taking your racquet and absolutely smashing the hell out of it in a proper fit of pique and childishness? *giggle* *giggle* go the commentators. Everyone's allowed to let off a bit of steam every now and then. Why, even Murray did it earlier in the week. *chortle*
If we think hard, we should be actually liking this new world tennis order. Tennis is being played on speedier surfaces, within all of the rules and in the true spirit of sport by very well behaved young men. Excellent!
Shame it could all go back to the black, dark days come January ...