Well Wimbledon fortnight is nearly over and what a fortnight it has been in terms of competition. (Other peoples words not mine but I do agree with them). As usual, work means that I don’t get to see as much as I would like to, but such is the way of things. One of the exciting things for me is to see Federer playing the way he is and doing well. A number of years ago he commented that he would love to win Wimbledon playing a serve and volley game rather than a baseline one. This is something he has done more of this year, shortening points to his advantage. The traditionalist in me would love to see Wimbledon won in a serve volley style (note, not just big serves, but the follow up volley being needed as well). This was the Wimbledon I was brought up on and would love to see once again, if only for a while.
As of writing (Thursday evening) there are still 3 Brits left in the main draw, though I suspect all three of them have gone unnoticed, even with one of them being Murray. Jamie Murray that is. One of the reasons is that they are all in the mixed doubles. Of course, by the time of posting, none of them may be left in, but that’s a different matter!
So, introduction to the post done (and I realise that is about Wimbledon rather than not Wimbledon), there is the matter tennis in general in the UK. Wimbledon fortnight does lead to crowded courts and I’ve observed first hand some of the novices that turn up thinking the game is easy and probably leave disillusioned. Courts are hard to come by, with them being fully booked outside of work hours. All this is good though. Anything that gets people outside and playing sport I’m in favour of and would always encourage those who are serious about wanting to take the sport up (as with any sport) to get some coaching to understand the basics as a minimum.
For those of us who play regularly and belong to clubs, we notice the uptake, but the tennis calendar for us continues almost as if Wimbledon isn’t happening. Practice or social sessions take place as normal (maybe with a few less people as some will choose to watch the tournament), and matches against other clubs certainly don’t stop. It’s often difficult enough to fit the fixtures in with the British weather as it is.
Playing against other clubs is always interesting as you can end up with a big mix in both ability and attitude. Without a doubt the best matches are against clubs where winning is the aim but not the be all and end all of it, and where you are hopefully well matched to get a good game. There are certain clubs I look forward to playing as from experience they have had the right attitude. Sadly there are clubs that don’t. I’m glad I belong to a club that is the former rather than the latter.
As someone who has been playing tennis for ¾ of their life, I was taught early on the way that tennis should be played in terms of spirit both on and off the court and in recent years I have encountered too many cases where that is clearly not the case for others, either that or they just decide they don’t care about it. For me, this is sad as it can ruin what is meant to be an enjoyable evening of tennis (regardless of the outcome). I have no problem with being competitive on court. In a competitive match you would be expected to target player weaknesses etc, it’s the nature of the game. What I fail to understand why people don’t leave that on court as contining off of the court just really isn’t want sport at this level should be about. After all, it’s not Wimbledon!