Sunday, August 12, 2012

LONDON 2012: Five things I learned from tennis at the Olympics

1. The 4 hour 26 minute semi-final between Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro seemed to have had opposite effects on them. Federer, who came out victorious 19-17 in the decider, was emotionally spent and couldn’t give Andy Murray a run for his money while del Potro, who said he cried till 3:00am after his loss, pulled himself together and beat Novak Djokovic for the bronze medal. I couldn’t be happier for the tall and friendly Tower of Tandil, who is ever so close to recovering his brutal pre-wrist-surgery form that saw him win the 2009 US Open.

2. I think it’s time we really believe Andy Murray when he says he feels no pressure when playing at Wimbledon and that the crowd actually helps him. For those who didn’t find his very consistent Wimbledon results as proof enough (3 semis and a final in his last 4 appearances), his gold medal showing at the All England Club should suffice. What a tremendous week for the Scot, who was finally officially declared 99% British by the very accurate AndyMurrayometer. It took the rare feat of winning the gold and silver (in mixed doubles) at a home Olympics but I believe the Brits have fully embraced Andy Murray. As Boris Becker suggested, should we expect to call him "Sir Andy Murray" soon?

3. Malek Jaziri and Ons Jabeur’s Olympic debuts were historic for Tunisia and more importantly showcased the kind of talent they both have. Jaziri became the first Tunisian to win a match at the Olympics, while the feisty 17-year-old Jabeur pushed two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Sabine Lisicki to three sets, 7-5 in the third. One thing that would’ve made their bow at the Games sweeter would have been a mixed doubles entry for them but sadly they didn’t make it into the ridiculously tiny draw.

4. Serena Williams made a mockery of the entire women’s field when she dropped only 17 games in six matches en route to her first gold in Olympic singles. She beat the last three women who occupied the No1 spot in the WTA 6-0, 6-3 (against Caroline Wozniacki), 6-1, 6-2 (against Victoria Azarenka) and 6-1, 6-0 (against Maria Sharapova in the final). It’s like the WTA got Punk’d and I was half-expecting Ashton Kutcher to appear from the Royal Box. Of course she got the gold in doubles too with her sister Venus so that the Williams family now have eight Olympic gold medals in their vault. I say vault because no cabinet can hold the trophies and medals won by those two phenoms.

5. Roger Federer finally got his medal in singles. The Swiss said it best himself. “For me, it's been a great month. I won Wimbledon, became world number one again, and I got silver. Don't feel too bad for me.” It would’ve been weird had Federer finished his career without a medal in Olympic singles especially after competing in four of them. But the silver he won will stop us from going there and I’m glad it’s one more thing the 31-year-old can check off his list, right under the entry: become the greatest of all time.

Completely random, but did you know that:

- Morocco’s Karim Alami (pictured) made it to the quarterfinals of the Sydney 2000 Olympics before losing to Roger Federer 7-6, 6-1.
- In Athens 2004, there were three Arabs in the men’s singles draw – Morocco’s Hicham Arazi and Younes El Aynaoui as well as Algeria’s Lamine Ouahab.
- After all the drama from the Indian tennis federation and all the fighting over the doubles pairings, the Indians left the tennis in London empty-handed.
- GB's Heather Watson was upset she didn't get picked to play with Andy Murray in mixed doubles even though she is a higher-ranked doubles player than Laura Robson and had won a doubles title recently. It appears the choice wasn't that bad after all since Murray/Robson won a silver medal. You think Watson would've made it gold? I'm sure she's wondered about that herself.


Aditi said...

Nice article! very much agree!

Reem said...

Thanks Aditi :)

Hostpph said...

I really like that Tunisia won in its appearance in the Olympics I hope that they can come to more iterations.