Well, no sooner did Andy Murray hoist the trophy at Wimbledon then the media, blogosphere and twitterati went into overdrive. You would’ve thought that Mercury had decided to change places with Jupiter, or something.
Was dandy Andy the real new No. 1, despite what the ATP computer said? Andy’s über passive-aggressive coach (and longtime Greenwich resident) Ivan Lendl wasn’t stating such. He was merely suggesting.
Perhaps more important, was the Roger-Rafa bromance that played out in so many Slam finals finally over? ESPN’s Greg Garber summed up what many apparently are thinking: “We have seen the future, and the future is…Novak Djokovic versus Andy Murray.”
As usual, the public’s kneejerk reaction belies the truth. To answer the first question, the rankings are based on not only accumulating points but defending points accrued by winning or at least going deeper into the Slams and the Masters 1000 tournaments. So while Andy may one day be No. 1, he isn’t now, because he’s some 3,000 points behind and, anyway, he didn’t play the French Open, where Nole lost to Rafa in a scintillating semifinal match that was the real final. The New York Times called it “a masterpiece.” For more on this, check out Brian Phillips’ running commentary, “Nadal vs. Djokovic: Metal Gods on Fire,” on Grantland, one of the best-written sports websites.
This brings me to the second question: While Fedal, as Roger-Rafa have been known, may be over as far as a Slam final duo are concerned, I think we’re going to see more, interesting combinations of the so-called Big Four earlier on, such as Fedal in the quarterfinals or Rafanole in another semifinal or Novandy in the finals. Who knows? Throw DelPo (Juan Del Potro) and a few others into the mix and you have a horse race.
Let’s face it: None of these guys are going anywhere at the moment, Roger’s age (32 this summer) and Rafa’s knees notwithstanding. Losing is part of winning. And as Tom Coughlin pointed out after his New York Giants defeated the not-quite-perfect New England Patriots in the Super Duper Bowl – Does that ever get tired? – anyone can be beaten.
That’s hardly the end of the world.
“It’s sport,” Rafa said after bowing out in Wimbledon’s first round last month, “not tragedy.”
And it could make for an intriguing US Open.
– Georgette Gouveia
Read more about the US Open in August WAG’s “S’wellness” issue.