2022 Some Comments
- BTW, I think Emma R is performing to form. True, it was a great effort to go through qualifying and seven matches at the US Open, but she had a dream run: the top player she met there was Belinda Bencic, a good solid player whose results put her firmly in the second league – last eight or at best last four in Slams. Djokovic looks unstoppable, sorry to say, and the loss of Sasha Zverev (injured) and the charismatic Matteo Berrettini (Covid) has taken some of the shine off the men’s draw. If the ferocity of John Isner’s serving that downed Murray continues, who can touch him, apart from ND? Too soon perhaps for a certain sensational young Spaniard, of whom the subs like to write “there’s no escaping from Alcaraz”.
2. Yesterday’s unsavoury contest was not typical, and I don’t share your pessimism about the future of the game. NIck Kyrgios is a one-off and the ‘drama’ was partly due to the unruly behaviour of the crowd, who clearly revelled in the brattish goings-on. The crowds, often younger than before, have recently become more excitable, more raucous and less polite, but can also be generous and sympathetic. The emergence of new British names has been encouraging, albeit at a moderate level. Earlier today the Anglo-Finnish combination of Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaari came close to beating the Croatian pair Nicola Maktic and Mate Pavic, who are being compared with previous great pairs like Newcombe and Roach, the Bryan twins and Mahut-Herbert. The fact that Heather Watson was the last British lady standing does not augur well, and Emma Raducanu has not yet been able to come close to her epic achievement in the USA Open. I don’t see Cameron Norrie progressing much further up the rankings, Dan Evans has shown his limitations and it could be that Jack Draper is our best long-term prospect. I still think that Kyle Edmund (he made a comeback yesterday in mixed doubles) could be our best if only he could stay fit. On the world stage, the veterans Djokovic and Nadal are still the ones to beat. Zverev and Tsitsipas have now had quite a few years to win a slam, Thiem (who has) has fitness problems, and Medvedev is proving inconsistent, so the precocious Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, at this moment engaged in a struggle with another young blood Jannick Sinner, would be my choice for future glory. The ladies? Ons Jabeur of course! But I was sorry to see the last of Jelena Ostapenko: she was always cheerful and looked colourful even in Wimbledon whites.