July 4th, 2009

Waiting For The Finals

The phone rang the moment after Andy Roddick celebrated his Wimbledon semi-finals win by falling on his knees and showing us his cute butt.  It was Ruth. "I'm so cross!" she said.

A lot of British people will have been feeling that way.  We've been sold Murray as our first finalist in over 70 years and- like Henman before him- he's fallen at the penultimate fence. I'm afraid he looked a bit lost out there. Roddick had a game plan- which featured the un-Roddicklike strategy of coming to the net and volleying- and Murray didn't have whatever it takes to switch his game to match him.  Murray's a fine player, with some elegant moves- his cross court passes are a thing of beauty and wonder- but is he a great champion? Not this year he ain't.

Roddick was terrific. That serve of his is a killer. Can he take Federer? On this form, perhaps.

The women's side of the tournament has been disappointing. All those cute little East European girls who are supposedly the best in the world got swept off court  by the river in spate that is the Williams sisters. There's got to be something screwy about a ratings system that gives the number one slot to a player who has never won a major. The Williamses should be at one and two- and the only reason they're not is that they don't bother to show up for all the itsy-bitsy little tournaments.  And why should they?  They've got lives outside tennis- and nothing left to prove. I don't know which of them will win this afternoon. My head says Serena and my heart says Venus. We'll see.

Williams v Williams

It wasn't a great match. Williams v Williams never is. There were very few exciting passages of play- and once Venus's game started to sag in the second set there was little doubt about the outcome.

Afterwards the BBC commentators were saying how much better it would be if the women's final ran to 5 sets. I agree. Five sets might have allowed Venus to pick up form- as she seemed to be doing towards the end of the match- and give her sister a run for her money and the spectators something to cheer about.  I can't conceive of an argument against this that isn't sexist, insulting and/or plain wrong. The women get the same prize money as the men; let them do the same amount of work.