Quarterfinal play starts Tuesday June 2 at Roland Garros. It's kind of like a horse race when they make the turn into the stretch. Or distance runners when they hear the bell for the final lap. Bottom of the ninth inning bases loaded two out and you're at bat. It's that kind of pressure.
Tennis bloggers and fans are all putting in their two cents about everything that has happened the previous nine days. There is one subject that keeps coming up though. It's mentioned in passing and then the fan/blogger goes on to something else. And yes I'm leaving out the so called "journalists" that report on tennis. With very few exceptions they write what they're told to by the PR agencies so what they put out isn't journalism in the strictest sense. It's more like a gossip columnist given a press release by a person's agent and the columnist turning around and printing it as if he or she or a minion did some legwork.
There were several posts on Tennis Twitter mentioning the fact that the ATP going forward will feature seven of the top eight while the WTA will feature 2 of its top eight. Cyber ink is flowing about this. Fans of mens tennis will say its dominant players are dominant and that the ATP is superior. Fans of womens tennis will say that there is so much depth in their tour that on any given day anyone can win.
I think it's a philosophical question, one that can only be answered by each individual fan, blogger, or journalist.
Why do you watch sports? Do you watch a swim meet where Michael Phelps is participating because you know he's going to win or because maybe someone will overcome him? When Usain Bolt runs do you watch because you want to see a great athlete at work or because you want to see if he can find new and innovative ways to leave his fellow competitors in the dust?
I don't propose an answer because I don't have one. We all like to watch great athletes like Ronaldo, Messi and Iker. I will still argue that the greatest basketball team ever was led by Michael Jordan. But they didn't win them all. I liked the Detroit Bad Boys too. But they didn't win everything.
Maybe as we move toward the Finals in Paris we can think about why we watch sports, about why a team or an individual garners our undying support and respect, becomes part of our personal mythology. Will you enjoy your tennis less this week by asking yourself this question? I doubt it. But instead of battling about what player, Federation, or tour is best, focus on what you expect from sports competition. After that you can decide which tour, The ATP or the wTA, suits you. And enjoy the competition without having to explain anything to anyone.