“Grass is for the cows.”
– Ivan Lendl on skipping Wimbledon in 1982 to instead take a vacation.
The delightful four-week grasscourt season is upon us, and already men’s tennis has been turned on its head at the Queen’s Club, in it’s latest sponsor incarnation known as the AEGON Championships. This is in England, and I’m an American, so I have no idea what an AEGON is.
Whoever decided to play tennis on a lawn must have been smoking it. The bumpy, sometimes dewey, wet and slippery grass makes for bad bounces and low, skidding shots, and turns tennis into a coin flip sometimes as players have to adjust their games radically coming off the clay. And if you’re a player who can expertly flatten out his groundstrokes, you’re ready to make some upsets happen.
Andy Murray is more than competent on grass and has been touted as an eventual Wimbledon champion. On Wednesday the top seed at Queen’s was beaten in his first match by unseeded Nicolas Mahut, best know for playing a match at Wimbledon against John Isner that lasted for three months, or something like that.
Andy Roddick, who has reached multiple Wimbledon finals, was beaten in his opening round by Edouard Roger-Vasselin, a French player even the French haven’t heard of.
No. 11 seed Marcos Baghdatis was beaten by Lukas Rosol. Not a lot of Lukas Rosol posters on the bedroom walls of young tennis fans. Even in his native Czech Republic.
Ivo Karlovic, who should never, ever, ever lose to anyone outside the Top 20 on grass, was beaten in the second round by Yen-Hsun Lu.
Of course Roddick has no confidence after a terrible season filled with injuries, and Mahut is a tough draw on grass, and Karlovic can’t return serve to save his life, and…but you get the point. The grass will have your ass if you’re planning on making some bank wagering on tennis online over the next four weeks.
Save that cash and instead buy a new big screen HD TV and settle-in for two weeks of Wimbledon on ESPN. Novak, Rafa and Roger have a whole slew of Rosols and Roger-Vasselins and Mahuts in waiting.
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