Ten Things to take away from the Grand Slams of 2009

Sep 15, 2009

1) Tennis talk can be used in every day life. When you want to demonstrate that the impossible has been achieved, the new phrase “Pulling a Soderling” will now do nicely. This was born from Robin Soderling’s extraordinary defeat of Rafael Nadal early on in the French Open.

You get that deal that no-one in the office thought you could clinch, and announce it to them all with a cry of ‘I pulled a Soderling!’

England win the Ashes in the cricket “Gerry, England won! Those guys pulled a Soderling!” (no, I have no idea who Gerry is)

“Robin Soderling pulls a Soderling to get through to the semi-finals!”

oh, wait….

2) Watching tennis is bloody tiring. One minute they’re in Australia, the next they’re in France, then they’re in England, then they were in America. In between that, they’re visiting a whole host of other countries. We can’t keep up with all these time zones, I have no idea how the players cope. The French Open and Wimbledon aren’t so bad for us Europeans, but I went a bit doo-lally trying to keep awake to watch matches in the first and last grand slams. I need my sleep, and trying to concentrate on a tiny ball zipping from one side of a court to the other whilst sleep-deprived is not good for one’s mind….

3) Fairytales do happen. Both Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin del Potro proved this true in this year’s US Open. Their victories have been inspirational to many, testimony that anything is possible. Similarly with Robin Soderling’s amazing achievements at the French Open, going completely unnoticed until he knocked out the King of Clay and gave Roger Federer a run for his money in the finals.

4) European tennis players are repeat fashion offenders. Nadal’s fluorescent pink and lemon ensemble at the French Open. Novak Djokovic’s tangerine shirt at the US Open. Just a couple examples. There are rumours flying that both of these guys have girlfriends; so why on earth do they go to tournaments dressed like that?

5) Wimbledon is impossible for any potential British champion to win. It’s true. Maybe next year it will be different, but once again – as Tim Henman has done repeatedly – the Brit Andy Murray was put up as one of the favourites, hoarded die-hard fans, heralded a saviour, and then was knocked out before the finals. Sigh. England already has its fingers crossed for next year. Again.

6) Don’t annoy Serena Williams. Serena Williams famously blew up at a line judge for a foot fault call in her semi-final match against Kim Clijsters. It was match point and from the ensuing penalty point, she lost the match. She also got a $10, 500 fine for her troubles, and has had to apologise to save her reputation and image. And that’s probably not the end of it…

7) Having children does not mean the end of your career. Kim Clijsters, women’s champion at the US Open, and Roger Federer, all round guy to be beaten, have both proved that just because you become a parent does not mean your career heads down the drain. After his two baby girls were born, Federer went on to the finals of the US Open. He didn’t lift the trophy, but then again he had a 6ft 6in Argentine at the other end of the court….

And Kim Clijsters proved once again, as Evonne Goolagong Crawley did in 1980, that motherhood doesn’t mean that the end of your career has come. Married and a new mother, Clijsters achieved arguably her best career moment as an unseeded wildcard entry to the US Open.

8 ) Tennis fans can’t always behave themselves. From the clashes between fans after Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Amer Delic (Bosnia) at the Australian Open, to someone attempting to stick something to Federer’s person during the French Open final, to Nadal getting a more than surprising snog at the US Open, tennis fans certainly do not have a squeaky clean image. Of course it’s only one or two fans/nutcases that end up ruining things for others. Unless it’s a streaker, in which case it’s funny to watch them being chased around the court (most of the time it’s at Wimbledon, funnily enough) before they get body slammed to the floor. Ouch.

9) Making up nicknames for tennis players = fun times. Come on, who doesn’t have a little nickname for their favourite player? Pundits and journalists and commentators have nicknames and acronyms for players coming out of their ears. These are some of the ones that have kept cropping up over the year:

JMDP, The Leaning Tower of Potro, Fedex, Rog, The Djoker, Djoko, Gonzo, Muzza.

10) Even the champion of champions is not afraid to shed a tear at a lost opportunity. Roger Federer let go of his usual veneer of reserve to make a tearful post-match interview on court in Australia, as Rafael Nadal the trophy he had been hoping beyond hope to claim for his own. Some argued that it signalled the end to Roger Federer’s career, and were swiftly proved wrong as the Swiss won the next two Grand Slams. Still, what with the tears back then and the profanity-filled outburst at the umpire in his US Open finals match, maybe it does say something about the guy and where his career is heading…

 

If you have any more, feel free to add them. I think this year’s four grand slams have contributed a lot to the world of tennis and what we think of the games, the players, and the tournaments themselves.

 

- SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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