Tuesday, June 14, 2005


The clay court battles are put to a halt with the All England Lawn Tennis Championships round the corner where thankfully we are going to see tennis of the serve and volley variety. Of course, there are very few genuine grass court players in the game today. In the men there is Federer who can put the French Open disappointments behind him and renew the hold on the famous trophy for another year. Pete Sampras was the last of the grass court greats. Tim Henman was a good prospect for a championship as his game suited the grass. Unfortunately, in his prime he had to cross swords i.e., racquets with Pistol Pete. Very few can forget the loss of the Brit to Goran Ivanisevic that ultimately gave the Croat the chance to make peace by having the trophy. This year he does not seem to have any chance especially after the poor show at Stella Artois. Don't count out the Roddicks and the Hewitts. It is sad but true that Agassi is finally showing signs of an aged body.

Among the ladies, we can look forward to a new winner this time round with the Americans coming back stronger after the French Open. However, there are no such clear front runners with the Williams sisters on the downhill.

What prompted me to write is the past finals of the Championships being shown on ESPNSTARSPORTS. Great finals involving the likes of Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Boris Becker made me go into the past. It was not until 1987 that I could watch the finals live. So the telecasts before the start of this year's tournament are a feast. The style of play is entirely different from most of the players of today. The charging to the net after the serve and the volleys seemed out of this world. We are more accustomed to baseline rallies with hard hit shots interspersed by a few drop shots. Of course, Wimbledon will not mourn the absence of top clay courters. They always have this knack of suffering injuries just on the eve of Wimbledon. If my memory serves me right, then it is precisely to accommodate such players that the number of seeds in the grand slams was increased to thirty two from the previous sixteen.
All in all, a nice couple of weeks in the offing.

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