Friday, June 18, 2010

The Playing Field

Well, my boy James Ward didn't get too much further - his run stopped in the quarters - but it was still a champion effort for him. Well done Jimbo.

What runs like Ward's are making me aware of is the level of upsettage that is going on in men's tennis at the moment. Sure, at the Slams it's basically the Hispano-Suisse domination machine rolling onwards like a mighty boulder, but in these 250 tournaments we are seeing a very high level of crazy shenanigans going on.

Look at the tournaments this week. The final in Eastbourne is between the #5 seed and the #8 seed. Not a bad result, but not exactly what you'd expect. In s'Hertogenbosch, we have the #7 seed and an unseeded player - and no player seeded higher than #7 made it to the semis. The same thing happened at Queen's, and, to a degree, at Halle. And even at Roland Garros - Nadal and Soderling were pretty decent semi finalists, but Melzer and Berdych? I don't think anyone had any money on that.

What does this prove? I'm not quite sure. Maybe the playing field is evening out a bit. Maybe there isn't quite such a divide between the top ten/twenty and the dudes below. Or maybe I'm just making this up. Who knows. But it's going to be an interesting phenomenon to watch - particularly, I think, in the smaller tournaments - for a little while...

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