Think You Can Predict the Grass Tennis Season? You’re Smokin’ It
by Jeremy Davis | June 13th, 2012, 5:34 pm
  • 15 Comments

“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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15 Comments for Think You Can Predict the Grass Tennis Season? You’re Smokin’ It

Gregoire Gentil Says:

I’m French and I have heard of Roger-Vasselin ! He is “a son of” his father who reached the semi of Roland-Garros 83, after beating Connors in quarter and being beaten by Noah 6/0-6/3-6/0. Here is an interview of Edouard: http://www.tennisplay.fr/news/souvenirs/35/mes-souvenirs-tennis-edouard-roger-vasselin {French]


enzo Says:

” “Grass is for the cows.”
– Ivan Lendl on skipping Wimbledon in 1982 to instead take a vacation. ”

I’d forgotten this one… Dear Lendl!

Hope he hasn’t contaminated Murray too deeply, though, with Wimbledon 2012 and the 2012 Summer Olympics around the corner.


skeezer Says:

Jeremy,

your writing skills have hit new lows.


The Great Davy Says:

I can predict this grass seasons. I will tank first round of Wimbledon and process to enjoy the lovely hotel bath.


King Federer Says:

this is why roger’s domination of grass is a much tougher task. matches can change so fast and so quick, unlike clay where things move slower than a snail!

grass court tennis is real tennis. and Federer is the King of the court for the last 10 years. the greatest ever on grass!

and let’s also remember he doesn’t insist the grass needs to be green and throw tantrums if they change the conditions like you-know-who! [in sync with the monster/ogre rep you-know-who carries!

Allez fed!


Kimberly Says:

Skeezer, lol at your 11:20 post and agree


Adam Says:

worst post ever. You try being 6′ 10″ and play on a court where the ball bounce knee hight. Roddick sucks these days, since he hasn’t been a for sure win for a while now, you cant compare him to his earlier days. Baghdatis is unpredictable on any surface and rasol isnt bad. And well, murrays a bit of a surprise but this is far from the first time we’ve seen him get bounced out in the first round of a tournament and he has been far from his best this year as well. There have been many players who have dominated on grass. federer borg and sampras must be pretty damn good coin flippers.


madmax Says:

I can’t believe that Murray is playing like this. Where are the Murray fans to offer some insight into what they think is happening with Andy? I really thought Lendl would bring a new dimension to his game. What is going on with Andy (and that is a serious question, not meant to criticise him in any way). Jane, if you want to answer this, I know you are a fan of Margot’s and as she doesn’t seem to be around under that name, perhaps you could offer your views? grendel too?

I do suspect that Murray will turn the corner, but I keep saying that and he keeps proving me wrong.


jane Says:

madmax, I am confused about Andy. He started the year really well with Lendl: title Brisbane; excellent semis versus Nole at AO; finals Dubai; finals Miami – the only blip with the loss the G-Lo at IW. But his clay season wasn’t too great this year and now this slip at Queens (he reached the semis of Rome and FO last year and lost earlier this year; he won Queens last year and lost first round this year). But he did say he has a back injury (take it or leave it) and that could be a factor. I haven’t decided yet on Lendl, will wait until the end of the year to see. Sometimes coaches have immediate effects and a player starts to play well and win soon (Roddick was like that initially with both Stefanki and Connors) but sometimes (as I think Dave said on the other thread) it takes a while for results to show. I am just waiting it out with Murray. Let’s see how he does at Wimbledon and the Olympics. Sometimes players just have upsets, for whatever reasons.


madmax Says:

Jane,

Hi.

Yeah, I hear you.

I guess I just wish that he would get his act together. We have been talking for so long about Andy Murray in UK that now it seems it is just all talk.

I would like to see him win a slam some time soon, even though he isn’t my favourite player, he is always thought of highly, and for more than good reason, I, for one, absolutely believed that Lendl would turn everything around.

Too many high expectations I think. Unfair of me.

But he said before he went into Queens that he felt fit and ready so I don’t understand what went wrong. He spent more time adjusting on grass than the other players who were still playing RG. I just think the Murray of 2008 at the USO is so far removed from the Murray we have now, but then I might be being way too harsh here.

I read the link you posted from Haas. Couldn’t believe Haas was so forthright in his views.

If the players are saying that about Andy in the locker room, then I think they are being unfair as there are more worthy players of that title.

What are they are saying about the others who are also as vocal about their injuries and then go on to act like “a cat on the court!”

Haas made Andy out to be some kind of liar, that is,of course if Haas did say those exact words (can’t believe he would as I have never read anything like that before).

I hope he gets back on track. I really do.


jane Says:

madmax, you probably see more of and hear more about Murray since you’re in the UK, so maybe the expectations feel higher there. I didn’t post the link on Haas’ criticisms; I believe it was grendel. I don’t like to attack people over injuries/health issues. I like to give players the benefit of the doubt in this regard. Their bodies are their livelihood in so many ways, and maybe some of them worry as a result; I see this as understandable. However, I did post a link on Murray on the other thread, only it was more about his on court demeanour and how he seems to play looser when he is cast as the “villain” (as in the Gasquet match at Roland Garros) and less expectations are placed upon him. There seems to be a shred of truth to that anyhow. Fingers crossed for Andy; I want him to win a slam soon too!


RZ Says:

Something to keep in mind about Haas and his comments is that pretty much no one has been as injured during their careers as Haas. So he is probably more easily offended by what he considers to be exaggerated injuries than others.


the mind reels Says:

@skeezer: yes, I agree.

@Jeremy: grammatical nits aside, this post was kind of lame. Sorry — I know that’s not super nice to say. Yes, easy for me to criticize — I’m just a reader, not a blogger here — but still.

“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.”

Remember the part about where our modern game of tennis originated from lawn tennis? The coin-flip of a game you describe with wildly unpredictably bounces, etc. was actually and continues to be all pretty normal for the surface…

“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.”

First of all, Karlovic is ranked #56 in the world, so at least mathematically speaking, there are 55 players better than him. Also, he and Lu have nearly the same ranking (Lu comes in at #57), so why wouldn’t you give him a chance, all else being equal? Lu beat him the way many guys do — grabbing 2 of 3 tiebreakers in the match.


The Great Davy Says:

Next you will see Murray throw matches. Then he will be prosecuted for throwing the matches. See how he feels.


grendel Says:

@RZ 3:08 – that’s a good point.

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