Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Aussie Wimbledon Tilt

If you, like many Australians stayed up to watch Lleyton Hewitt win his first round match at Wimbledon against Robin Haase you probably have come to the conclusion that his tilt will be a short lived one.

Hewitt faces Spaniard Albert Montanes in the second round, in a match that Hewitt should win. Of course, with Hewitt nothing is easy, and a five set match is almost a certainty. Montanes is ranked 68th in the world and has no grasscourt form to speak of.

In the third round, Aussie Lleyton has a likely date with Roger Federer and an exit here looks certain.
We keep getting excited about the Hewitt Wimbledon tilt in this country. And that seems a little strange. The last time that Hewitt was a true force on the Men's tour was 2002. We seem to forget that, as he still looks and acts the same as he did then. Problematically, he does not play the same as he did then.

Realists were more optimistic about the tilt of Australian hero the Gooch. However, the Gooch never looked like making it past the first round.

The last time Australia had a player to be excited about at Wimbledon was the marvellous winter of 2001, when June not only made staying up to watch Rafter a must, but the Australian cricket team were destroying England in the Ashes series. An Australian team which actually had some characters in it!

Have a look at this squad. Sure it's not quite as interesting as some of the squads from the 90s but:
[S Waugh, M Waugh, Martyn, Hayden, Slater, Gilchrist, Ponting, Bevan, Katich, Seccombe, Warne, Noffke, Miller, Lee, McGrath, Gillespie, Fleming, Bracken]
So some of the credibility of that team is lost with the Professors most loathed Australian cricketer ever: Michael Bevan. Bevan's reputation as the greatest one day batsman seemed to be built on his ability to guide Australia through tricky situations late in one-day internationals. What most did not see, was that Bevan typically put them there in the first place. Channel 9 misses "lets make a game of it" Bevan.

Michael Bevan, needing 20 runs from 40 balls says "lets make a game of it!"

But there are a lot of interesting characters in that squad, with the Waughs, Warne and Miller. Ponting is even more interesting, as we still had not conveniently forgotten about his pants down indiscretions. He was the slightly messed up batting prodigy, rather than the worst and least questioned captain in recent memory.

Anyway, this post was about Tennis. Australian tennis is dead. Roger Federer will win Wimbledon for the 10,009th time. I will not miss a lot of sleep watching it. Maybe someone will write an article about how Lleyton is the fittest he has ever been, has learnt to volley or something. Maybe I will believe it and lose some sleep to watch him get reamed in straight sets by Federer.


Captain Carnage said...

Not so fast! If you don't watch a lot of tennis, you shouldn't be assuming that Federer will win Wimbledon just because he's won the last five. Every dog has his day...In fact, I'm all over Nadal. You obviously didn't watch last year's Wimbledon final. Federer beat Nadal in five sets. Five sets means it was pretty close. You obviously didn't watch the French Open final either where Nadal crushed Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0. Sure that was on clay but that is one almighty hammering and must have put another massive dent in Federer's confidence. So Nadal is the one to beat for mine. I also think that Djokovic has the ability to beat Federer at Wimbledon. So there's two guys other than Federer in with a real shot. The rest of the field, no chance. The Aussie tilt is just not the same now we've lost our wily old character in Wayne "Wayno" Arthurs. A man with limited ability who always seemed to find a way into the fourth round.

Professor Chaos said...

I am not on Federer either.
My main point is that Hewitt will get drilled by him.
I am on Djokovic.

Captain Carnage said...

Hmmm it sure sounded like you were predicting a 6th Federer Wimbledon crown...Hewitt will get drilled no doubt. Was anyone questioning that?! Surely Wayno had another couple of Wimbo's in him...that endless slice backhand just baffled all comers!

Captain Carnage said...

I also take exception to your "Australian tennis is dead" when considering that an Aussie was the youngest ever Australian Open junior champion at 15 this year...

Professor Chaos said...

If I could get $4 about Federer to win Wimbledon i would smash him. He is tight at $2 but I expect him to win Wimbledon this year. Djokovic is a solid $5 chance. Rafa is skinny at $3.

Professor Chaos said...

Junior Tennis results??? I follow far too much sport as it is to care about junior tennis. As soon as I write a post about women's golf I will research some junior tennis.

Captain Carnage said...

Then don't make silly comments about Australian tennis being dead. It stands to reason if a junior is good enough at 15 to beat 17 year olds that in a couple of years he'll convert that form to the pro tour. It's not like I spend my time researching Bernard Tomic, I just occasionally read the paper and Inside Sport. Where do you think Hewitt and Rafter got match experience, against their big brothers down the local courts? After Cash and before Rafter we had the same lull as we are having now and the doomsdayers like yourself bemoaned the demise of Aussie tennis only for Rafter and Hewitt to become World No. 1's and for us to win the Davis Cup twice in making the final four times in a five year span.

As for Rafa being skinny at $3, those in the know hit him before the Queens final where he went on to beat Djokovic...

Professor Chaos said...

I will be shocked if Rafa wins this. If I was framing the market I would switch Djokovic and Rafa.

I don't see a rosy future for Australian tennis. The development culture in Tennis amongst the Russians and Eastern Europeans is not mimicked here.

I am calling it. Dead!

JB said...

The 'come on kid' Hewitt, isn't for most Australians, but to call Aust tennis dead?
Not to mention your apparent ease of changing your tune from "I'm not on Federer" to "I expect him to win".
I wonder if Rafas knees will hold out for the entire tournament, note that he picked up his injury in the fifth set at last years finals when he was looking the goods only to buckle and go down.

The french open is like a good tour, what happens on clay stays on clay. But I do make note of you point regarding some psychological resonance from the match, but I don't think that is what will undo Federar.

I think, like all great long time tennis champs, Federers' day in the sun is up. That is probably the best thing about Tennis. The continuing high level of competition. Being number one for so long gives people a target and his number is up.

Not to say that this wimbeldon will be his last as champ, only that the pendulum is slowly swinging against Federer.

Captain Carnage said...

Well said JB.

Now Professor, you old bookie you. How do you figure Djokovic should be ahead of Nadal in the market? Has he won on grass? No. Has he made the last two Wimbledon Final's? No. Has he got the wood on Nadal? No, head to head favours Nadal 9-3 (2-0 on grass). On top of all this, Nadal beat him in the final at Queens in straight sets. You'll be bankrupt in no time with your bookmaking nous!

On your call, only time will tell. But I'm don't think anyone who actually follows tennis agrees with you.

Professor Chaos said...

JB: What did you say Captain??? Whatever it was I agree with it wholeheartedly.

JB said...

Hey prof, don't worry if tennis is beyond your grasp, like you said there is always womens golf.