I don't think any tennishead worth his or her salt will complain about the quality of the tennis played during it's nine day run at the Olympics.Well you could but when it got time to put up or shut up the level of play went way up.
Juan Martin del Potro gets a special mention because if not for him the men's Gold Medal match could've turned out completely different. Del Potro, who cried until 3a after his 3-6, 6-7 (5), 17-19 loss to Roger Federer nevertheless kept Federer on court 4h26m. I mentioned the 24h needed for lactic acid to flush out of a persons system in my post on the men's final. I didn't mention that Federer, who turns 31 on August 8, might not recover so quickly. It would look silly if I went into that and he thrashed Andy Murray in three sets wouldn't it snd I'd have to write a mea culpa Olympics review.
Instead the Andy Murray that was rumored to exist showed up on Centre Court on a bright and sunny Sunday in August. That Andy Murray proceeded to demolish a tired Federer in three straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Now I look like the definition of a respectable tennis blogger don't I? Well at least in this instance I do. I showed restraint. That should be worth something in the Book of Restraint.
Murray owes Delpo a dinner. Or something. At the very least.
Murray was so psyched after his singles win that he rushed out to his Mixed Doubles final with about an hour of rest. He was paired with Laura "I AM NOT A SLUT" Robson, a top British prospect. The pair played brilliant tennis the first set. They found all the angles and had Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus back on their heels.
But it was inevitable that Murray would hit a wall and Robson's level of play drop. It did and the pair from Belarus won the Gold with Great Britain taking the silver. Mirnyi and Azarenka were the top seeds and they showed tremendous poise weathering the British onslaught and winning 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.
The women's Doubles Gold Medal Final was played Saturday but the medal ceremony was held Sunday after the Bronze medal match winner was determined.
The Russian pair of Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko(shown here with Maria's boyfriend Alexander Ovechkin) won the bronze over American pair Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond. Olympic fandom and rooting usually breaks down along nationalistic lines with a few very notable exceptions - Usain Bolt for example. It was amusing to say the least that so many people on my Twitter timeline were saying that "I'm American and I hate to do this but I don't want Huber to win a medal". The sentiment ran so deep that when an apparently injured Huber required medical treatment most questioned that she was even injured.
The men's Doubles Final was won by the usual suspects - Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States. They're aging warriors too and while it's easier to play top level doubles over thirty I wonder how long they'll keep it up. The US has not one team on the horizon to take their place.
The women's singles final got a separate post yesterday so there's not much more to add is there?
The lights at the AELTC have gone dark. The club, considered the Mecca of tennis, rose to the occasion and showed how to stage back to back tournaments on a natural surface. Sure the new sod was worn out rather quickly. Yes there was a lot of slipping in the early rounds. And yes, real tennis fans sat courtside cheering for and against their national or fan interest as well as cheering their favorites on. I'm guessing only wannabe american commentators were upset by this. It didn't seem to bother the Duck and Duchess of Cambridge who had no hesitation in releasing their inner fanboy and girl.
And yes, despite all the shit that's being thrown at NBC, and rightly so, they did tennis the huge favor of giving it it's own broadcast channel, a channel that is part of basic cable. There is no predicting the length of a tennis match and trying to sandwich it in would've brought more scorn on the network with the hashtag #nbcfail. There was wall to wall coverage that ended when the tennis day was over. For this alone NBC gets props from this fan. Since this is a blog about tennis it's not the place to talk about whether this should be done for other sports like swimming and track and field but it deserves a mention.
In the end it was a great nine days. It's on to Rio for 2016.