Evening, TWibe. Is everyone getting into the holiday spirit? If not, today’s post should help!
But first, I’d like to invite you to our annual TW Virtual Holiday Party, which will be held on Friday, 12/30, at 6 PM EST/TW time (in lieu of that week’s Deuce Club). Pete and I will both be there. We hope you can join us!
Now, today’s topic . . . it’s tennis wish list time! Let’s continue our longstanding (does three years count as longstanding?) DC tradition of putting together a list of what we’d like to happen in the world of tennis in the new year. As they did last year, Gauloises—our tennis wish list pioneer—and Jewell have teamed up to present both their evaluations of last year's lists and their wishes for 2012. The write-ups are everything you’d expect from these two—entertaining, witty, even poignant! Enjoy . . .
Gauloises Reviews Her 2011 Tennis Wish List
I wished for:
- Breakthroughs. Yes and no. Dimitrov played one of the memorable matches of the year vs. Tsonga at Wimbledon; Tomic made a quarter-final at the same tournament; Raonic absolutely lit up the first half of the year before being sidelined by injury. Ryan Harrison did some things, somewhere. Even my least favourite Lithuanian, Berankis, had some great wins in Australia (before being also sidelined by injury). On the other hand, the top levels of the men’s game became more congested and exclusive than ever.
- First-time Slam winners. Wow, did the WTA step up on this front, and it was one of the most fun years in women’s tennis. A joy to watch. I salute you, Li Na, Petra Kvitova, and Sam Stosur.
- Delpo. Well, he came back, he’s healthy, and he’s in the top 20. Considering where he started the year (he was ranked no. 485 after the Australian Open, in case you’re keeping track), that’s a huge achievement. And I will repeat it to myself every time someone questions his mental strength or mentions the Davis Cup final. (Please don’t mention the Davis Cup final. I’m not over it, as Jewell will tell you after our lunch today.)
Jewell Reviews Her 2011 Tennis Wish List
- A “Rafa Slam.” Let’s just move on quickly, shall we? That said, he had a pretty good year, winning the FO and reaching his fifth Wimbledon and second USO finals, and clinching the Davis Cup for Spain. *ducks Gauloises* It’s hard to complain too much about that.
- Slam wins for Murray and Jankovic. I’ve sort of given up on Jankovic. Still, you never know, she might surprise us all at the 2012 FO. Stranger things have happened in tennis. I didn’t quite get my Murray wish but he did get closer, gaining some real consistency and not having any stupid slam losses.
- “I don’t do down.” Less negativity all around is what I wished for. I have no idea if it came true or not but one thing is certain—I’m not doing down in 2012, either. Positivity FTW!
Jewell and Gauloises’ 2012 Tennis Wish List (or, what we want Tennis Santa to bring us for being good girls)
- Murray to win a Slam
- JMDP to make the World Tour Finals (thus implying he has avoided major injury, psychological collapse, or sudden, total existence failure)
- Rafa to win the Channel Slam (Note from Gauloises: Jewell paid for lunch)
- Kvitova to become world number 1
- Any of the first-time Slam champions of 2011 to repeat the feat in 2012
- Raonic, Tomic and/or Harrison to build on their breakthroughs this year
- Argentina to win Davis Cup (Note from Gauloises: snide comments will get you put on the naughty list)
- Azarenka to win a Slam, damnit. Venus to win a Slam. If she can’t, Serena. Marion Bartoli to win a Slam. (Note from Gauloises: vive la madness!) Sharapova to win a Slam. (Note from Jewell: because she’s had a hard time of it and her year’s been a bit underrated, IMO)
- The WTA in general to get more respect. Sub-wish: no more “grunting” talk.
- Everybody to stay more or less healthy-ish for the whole year. We know this is a wild fantasy. Sub-wish: an end to allegations of faking. People get injured, OK? And the only person who knows the extent and nature of that injury is the person who experiences it. Are you them? No? Then be quiet. [JR: *three snaps in a z formation*]
- Some small measure of success for Great Britain’s Davis and especially Fed Cup teams (we believe in you, Judy!). If this coincides with Laura Robson or Heather Watson having a fantastic year/making the fourth round (say) at a Slam, then so much the better.
- We wish to be able to watch the Olympics—doubles and mixed doubles included. Are you listening, BBC?
- Kuznetsova to sort herself out (Note from Gauloises: edited from Jewell’s original wish, which was for Kuzzy to “retire, if she can’t stop ruining all our lives by being good for about one day a year”)
- Should this be the year that any of the following or anybody we haven’t thought of finishes their careers, we wish for them to be able to do it in a relatively dignified, injury-free moment that may or may not include a modicum of glory somewhere: Roddick, Hewitt, Nalbandian, Ferrero, Ljubicic, Gonzalez (Note from Gauloises: I heard he already supposedly retired, but I refuse to believe it), Clijsters, Venus Williams
- Any or all of the following to become incorporated into either the BBC or Sky commentary teams: Marat Safin, Jonas Bjorkman, Amelie Mauresmo, Martina Hingis (Note from Jewell: preferably replacing Henman. Sorry, Tim.)
- The tennis powers-that-be to speed up at least some courts somewhere, or failing that, just stop slowing them down (Note from Gauloises: NP, whatever you’re about to say on this issue, I don’t want to hear it)
- Lisicki to manage to stay relatively healthy and intact for a whole year (she’s the new Mario Ancic, don’t you know)
- An end to the tennis punditry/journalism/commentary industry’s double standard when it comes to male versus female coaches (Note from Gauloises: tennis is male-dominated enough already)
- Some measure of consistency—and enforcement—in umpire decisions across all matches and areas of player behavior, including time-keeping, noise-making, hindrance, etc.
- This one definitely isn’t going to happen, but we would like to impose a “cliché quota” upon all tennis commentators. For instance, you may refer to “warrior spirit” or “the raging bull” only once per set during a Nadal match; Ferrer can be “dogged,” but only once every nine games; if you are calling a Vika match, you can say “temperament” a maximum of twice throughout the duration, and so on and so forth.
[Photo credit: Christina Riley. One of only a select few in the universe to have not just one, but an entire collection of Lahyani photos.]
Brilliant! Many thanks to Gauloises and Jewell for kicking things off. Now it’s your turn, TWibe—tell us what’s on your 2012 tennis wish list. If you’re especially diligent, do as G & J did and analyse your wish list from last year, too. How did you fare?
Have a terrific weekend, everyone!