Enough happened over the last week+ of Olympic Tennis that I could spend the next week writing all about it. So I debated this morning whether I should touch on just two or three topics in this space in a more complete manner, or touch on a number of subjects. I chose to do the latter, because, well, it’s more fun that way!
- Serena Williams is as dominant now as she was in her prime. This is kind of hard to fathom, given the litany of off the court issues she has dealt with the last few years, but her ability to decimate the field when she is playing well has to lift her career up there with the all time greats. Perhaps this is a bit of an indictment on the top WTA Players in today’s game that she can still dominate, but just imagine the damage the 2002-2004 edition of Serena would be able to inflict today?
- While I am incredibly happy for Andy Murray, am I the only one out there who thinks his stunning defeat of Roger Federer for the Gold Medal (stunning in the manner, not necessarily the win) will only serve to increase pressure at future Grand Slams? By going through both Djokovic and Federer this weekend, Murray has proven he can beat the best on ALMOST the biggest stage, but when the US Open starts in a few weeks (or if has yet to win one before Wimbledon next year), the prevailing question will be – can he beat the best on THE biggest stage.
- There are five tennis events. Team USA won Gold in three of them (Men’s Doubles, Women’s Singles & Doubles), and Bronze in another (Mixed Doubles). I am not here to proclaim that tennis in the United States is as good as it was on the days when the likes of McEnroe, Sampras, Evert or Agassi patrolled the court; but at present, it is doing just fine. People love to point to our lack of power at the top of Men’s Tennis as a barometer all the time, and as I pointed out on facebook this morning, we are as well represented at Grand Slams as top European countries like France & Spain (USA has 10 players in the top 100, Spain 11, and France 9).
- As wonderful as Gold Medal moments are to watch, I found myself to be most emotional when Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Novak Djokovic for the Bronze Medal. While the big Argentine did not set out to finish in 3rd place, it still must have felt amazing to win after losing such an mentally & physically draining match against Roger Federer less than 48 hours beforehand. Since returning from major injury, Del Potro has been looking to regain the form that had him winning the 2009 US Open – I think he has served notice that he is once again a MAJOR threat.
- Novak Djokovic is struggling. I guess after such a dominant 2011 it is no surprise that Djokovic would come down a level. However, I don’t think anyone would argue that he has come down more than just one level. Bottom line is that the chances of him every dominating the sport like he did for the first nine months last year are almost nil, and I think if he accepts that he can work on getting a bit of his swagger back.
- Finally, let’s give a shout out to Team USA Doubles! Bob & Mike Bryan had accomplished pretty much everything a doubles team could accomplish – short of winning Olympic Gold. With their dominating performance at the Olympic Games they have now achieved a Golden Slam (all four Grand Slam Titles & Olympic Gold), and moreover showed they aren’t going away anytime soon. And regarding the Williams Sisters, does anyone else get the feeling that if the two of them had focused on just doubles like the Bryans, they could very well be undefeated?
- Overall it was a terrific showcase for tennis. While the pink/purple motif at the All England Lawn & Tennis Club was a bit tough to get used to, I thought the organizers did a tremendous job of blending the history of the grounds with the modern Olympic spin and turned it into an amazing event.