Friday, June 25, 2010

The Court Where Stuff Happens

Court 2 used to be the Wimbledon court with all the notoriety - the graveyard of champions where big names fell with such incredible regularity. But Court 2 doesn't have it any more. The most notorious court on the Wimbledon grounds now has to be Court 18.

I'm not sure if playing there is a blessing or a curse, but if you're playing on Court 18, chances are your match will be memorable. Maybe it will go for eleven hours and span three days. Or maybe it will be the forum for one of the foulest cases of bad sportsmanship I have ever witnessed.

I know there were people in the crowd who were doing something (not sure what) to upset Victor Hanescu. But come on, he's supposed to be a professional tennis player. Tune it out, dude. Get into your zone. There is no excuse for the way Hanescu behaved.

His opponent, Daniel Brands, had this to say:

"In the final set I recognised that he had some problems with his leg and he was getting angry, and angry with the crowd. The main reason was because [he was getting jeered] from some people in the crowd. I didn't hear [him swear]. I think he was deliberately foot faulting and serving some double faults on purpose.

"At the end he came and shook my hand at the net. I asked him what happened. He said he was injured and had to retire. I didn't see him after leaving the court. That was the first time that we played against each other. It doesn't happen really very often that the player gets angry. It's not polite to act lke he did but that's his decision that he made."

Brands is very diplomatic about the whole thing - primarily because I think he is as confused about the whole situation as everyone else is. I don't think anyone really knows what went on with Hanescu and the crowd, but I don't really think it matters. There is no excuse for the kind of stunt Hanescu pulled. There is no excuse for unsportsmanlike conduct and there is no excuse for tanking. It is extremely disrespectful, not just to the crowd who were on his case, but to his opponent.

I am sure Daniel Brands would have loved to have won this match under better circumstances. I am sure he'll take the win anyway, but I don't anyone would really want to win this way. I hope Hanescu gets smacked with a big, big fine. This behaviour is unacceptable.

Oh, and also on Court 18, Jarmila Groth won her match against Angelique Kerber. This might not seem so remarkable, but when you consider that Jarka has now made the round of sixteen at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon despite being ranked around #80, then it starts getting pretty remarkable! (What's even more remarkable is that the Australian media don't seem to have noticed yet...)

And John Isner's tournament is over. I don't think anyone expected him to beat de Bakker, and in a way, I'm glad he lost. It would be wrong if he progressed deep in the tournament and Mahut was left stranded holding nothing but a first round loser's check and a souvenir bowl. That match existed outside Wimbledon (and, some might argue, all sense of time and reality). It'll go down as one of the great ones. Victory was Pyrrhic for Isner, and really, that's the way it should be. That match wasn't about winning and losing - that one really was, to use the old adage, about playing the game.

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