Fortnightly Review

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 /by

TpWe’ve seen the best from Wimbledon. Here’s the rest. There’s a lot to remember from this one. I’d pretty much forgotten Gilles Simon was even there—sorry to remind you. That’s how the majors work, each story is erased by the one that comes along the next afternoon, until the first few days feel like they happened in another century. Hopefully that’s how Bernie Tomic and John Isner feel about their performances by now. 

Usual caveats: I can’t cover everyone or everything, and players don’t get failing grades just for losing tennis matches. 

***** 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
He lost his semi with Andy Murray, but he made their fourth set the best of the tournament. I don’t know whether he’s getting closer to a breakthrough or not, but he doesn’t need to win to be worth watching. Maybe that’s part of his problem. Good show from Jo. A- 

Angelique Kerber
We know about winning ugly, but Kerber may have been the first player to win a match sarcastically. That’s how she treated the third set of her Sturm and Drang quarterfinal with countrywoman Sabine Lisicki, after she’d blown match points in the second. Yet Kerber won anyway. A- 

Victoria Azarenka
She got her season back in gear by making the semis, and did what she could against Serena in a very good two-setter. A- 

Yaroslava Shvedova
A golden set, an athletic game, an exciting challenge to Serena, a laugh at mom doing the Wave. Here’s hoping we see a much more of her. A- 

The Grass
Hopefully now that Roger Federer is the Wimbledon champion again, we’ll hear a little less in general about how the grass is too slow and the sport’s surfaces are all the same. This year the turf was torn as usual, even in the spots where the ball kids kneel, and it led to more tumbles than we saw in Madrid. Otherwise, though, it brought out players’ creative and proactive sides; net-rushing was up across the board among the men. This version of the grass may not inspire much pure serve and volley, but it’s certainly different from clay, and it gives the sport a logical and manageable amount of variety. We had two worthy champions in Paris, Nadal and Sharapova, and two different but equally worthy champions at Wimbledon. Playing styles of all types—from Serena’s power, to Aga’s finesse, to Tsonga’s acrobatics, to Ferrer’s grit, etc.—had a chance to thrive. A- 

David Ferrer
Speaking of Ferru, he and Murray also gave us one of the tournament’s best matches. Their three-tiebreaker quarterfinal made the sedulous look entertaining. As always, he was exemplary in victory and defeat. B+ 

Petra Kvitova
You can copy most of Azarenka’s write-up and put it here, except that Kvitova faced Serena in the quarters. Petra and Vika, two young Slam winners, each made good efforts, and then got reality checks. B+ 

Mardy Fish
Fishy came back strong after his heart problem, and he was playing some of the most aggressive and interesting tennis I’ve ever seen him play against Tsonga, until the rains came. B+ 

Tamira Paszek
Judging from her horrid 2011 record, Paszek’s quarterfinal run was the surprise of the women’s side. Suddenly, when a match was close, she couldn’t miss. She’s engaging, too. Now don’t disappear on us. B+ 

Brian Baker
Is he for real? He got a little realer over the fortnight, anyway. Like Ferrer, exemplary in victory and defeat. B+ 

The Roof
It had a bigger effect than ever. On the one hand, it was the reason the tournament finished on time, with surprisingly little chaos—it's amazing what a single roof can do. On the other hand, it turned this Wimbledon into something it was never meant to be, a largely indoor tournament. Balancing those two things will never be easy. B+

Lukas Rosol
His fifth-set freak show against Nadal was unlike anything I’d ever seen. This Czech with the triple-digit ranking created the template for how to face up to the Top 3. I don’t get the feeling anyone is going to follow it.

Marcos Baghdatis
He and Murray played a nice, slicey, dicey, third-rounder. Upped a notch for contagious enthusiasm. B 

Novak Djokovic
A startlingly poor performance from a world No. 1 against Federer in the semis. He never gave himself a chance. Now he’s back at No. 2; hopefully he’s not back at 2009 as well. B- 

Julien Benneteau
It was fun to watch his flashy backhand against Federer, until he missed it when it mattered. He gathered himself for the fourth set, but he shouldn’t have let that fall in the third throw him so far off. B- 

Ernests Gulbis
A great first-round win over Berdych, and even better quotes afterward. He said he didn’t choke, “for once.” Apparently things returned to normal in his second match. C+ 

Maria Sharapova
She learned one of the perils of winning the French: It’s tougher to get ready for grass. She never looked ready. C+ 

Rafael Nadal
For the first time since 2005, and like his fellow French champ Sharapova, he couldn’t make the transition from clay to grass. Most consequential roof closing in history? C 

Ana Ivanovic
I said she was due for a big win. I wasn’t right.

Kim Clijsters
I don’t know whether to criticize her for showing no fight at all in her final Wimbledon match, or sympathize with her mortifying defeat. Either way, it was sad to see her walk away, head down, as quickly as possible. C 

Milos Raonic
He said himself that he didn't play his match with Sam Querrey with grit. We know he can serve. Now the focus may shift to the other side of the net. Can he return? C- 

Gilles Simon
I’m for equal pay at the Slams, though whether it makes sense at the other combined events, where the tours provide the prize money, is an issue for another day. If Simon believes that, behind the scenes, the men want this addressed, then he owes it to them to bring it up, or at least have a conversation with them about it. But not in public, not so aggressively, and not in your first interview as a member of the player council. D+ 

John Isner
“I’m my own worst enemy out there. It’s all mental for me, and it’s pretty poor on my part.” Upped a notch for desolate honesty. D+ 

Bernard Tomic
“I have sort of lacked off a little bit, and look what it’s costing me.” Also upped a notch for honesty. And for not being able to remember his age. D+

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