Monday 2 July 2012

Wimblemund 2012: day 7

Serena Williams (US) bt. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-1, 2-6, 7-5
Sabine Lisicki (D) bt. Maria Sharapova (RU) 6-4, 6-3

It's the second Monday at Wimbledon. I have the TV on, switching between BBC1 and BBC2 to see the progress in two exciting ladies' singles matches, plus I have a live stream of Maria Sharapova's match with lovely Sabine Lisicki from the BBC website open in another tab as I type this. Although from the sound of it, it might actually be a porno.

In last night's exciting European Championship final between Spain and whoever the hell it was whose turn it was to get beaten up, Mark Lawrenson - a peculiarly alienated young man - said that he thought Spain had rather lost sight of the point of football, which is to win but to also score lots of goals and entertain the public.

I disagree. Professional sport is about winning. Nothing more and nothing less. Entertainment and unbridled scoring are always a nice bonus, but they mean nothing unless you win. I don't subscribe to the theory that losing is a disaster, merely that it is a bi-product of the inevitable fact that in any game or match in a sporting event, all the competitors will (or should) have only one objective in mind.

This is why I likes me some tennis. Tennis is all about the matchplay. Nicolas Mahut, the French player, holds the all-time record for the most points ever scored in a single match - 502 - but that occured in a match that he lost, the famous encounter with America's John Isner in the first round of Wimbledon 2010, which saw Isner prevail 70-68 in the fifth set.

I was reminded of this when watching Serena Williams' match today with Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazahkstan. In the previous round, Shvedova beat French Open finallist Sara Errani 6-0, 6-4, the former being only the second time ever in professional tennis that a player won a set without conceding a single point. When quizzed by the press afterwards about her Golden Set - the first in 29 years - Shvedova didn't even know she had achieved it. Indeed, last year she won the first 23 points of a match consecutively as well before double faulting on the 24th.  She didn't know she'd done that, either, apart from the double fault.

This is the way of tennis. Points don't matter, beyond the fact that accruing them is what gets you games and sets. Everything else - Golden Sets included - is just so much dressing or fodder for the McWhirter brothers. It's what makes tennis an interesting tactical game without compromising its excitement as a physical encounter.

Plus the balls are fuzzy, I like that too.

My only complaint about tennis at all, in fact, is that someone seems to have let Shvedova on the court today wearing black socks. Black socks? At Wimbledon? You might as well have a Hello Kitty vajazzle.

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