February is traditionally a dead month for tennis – an intermission between the Australian Open and the ‘Sunshine Double’ of Indian Wells and Miami.
But the remaining week or so has been enlivened no longer simply by way of Petra Kvitova’s brilliance in Qatar but additionally by means of some true old style aggro.
There are those who say that such behavior undermines the gentlemanly spirit of the game, but as lengthy, because it doesn’t overstep the road, a piece of the needle is something to be enjoyed.
The spat between fellow Americans Donald Young and lengthy-time agent provocateur Ryan Harrison at the New York Open teetered on the brink of what is ideal. But we ought to be cautious of condemning Harrison too fast given that witness statements and an ATP investigation concluded there was definitely no evidence of him the usage of racial language – as Young alleged. In an especially-charged person sport like tennis, occasional set-to is inevitable.
Admittedly, this isn’t always the primary time that Harrison has been involved in an incident like this, and as one nameless former participant stated remaining week: “He is the not unusual denominator.”
But the tennis community must be careful of wishing away any on-court docket conflict. Not anybody can behave as immaculately as Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, and with Radek Stepanek retired there may be room for a touch of in-your-face idiocy. After all, Harrison is infrequently endangering the safety of his combatants; he is just being a chunk of a twerp.
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark returns the ball to Monica Niculescu of Romania (unseen) even as competing within the spherical of sixteen all through the Qatar Open tennis opposition in Doha on February 15, 2018
There are a few facts to his declare on Sports Illustrated’s Beyond the Baseline podcast that: “If this becomes every other recreation, people might view this as just competition being competitors. With tennis, being the gents’ game that it is, it’s no longer regarded because the form of sport it really is imagined to get that manner.”
On the WTA Tour meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki determined herself at loggerheads with Monica Niculescu in Doha last Thursday over that age-vintage source of tennis controversy: grunting.
Wozniacki complained to the umpire that Niculescu became grunting intentionally to try to put her off. This isn’t always the first time that Niculescu has been accused of gamesmanship, however, her caustic response to Wozniacki’s claims become: “she gives herself an excessive amount of significance.” Ouch.
The concept that tennis ought to do with a piece more needle has been around for some years. In 2015 Boris Becker claimed that main gamers had been offering sanitized variations of themselves. In his book Boris Becker’s Wimbledon, the German wrote that: “Roger [Federer] is one of the maximum-paid athletes of all time because he’s favored by way of everyone. But reflect consideration on this – you cannot possibly be preferred through every person. He makes top cash out of his photograph but might he make much less if we noticed a bit greater of his real feelings?”
Becker of route performed in a different era, whilst he and Ivan Lendl could try to intimidate every other and not using a worry of an on-courtroom microphone choosing them up.
We must now not look back on the one’s days with rose-tinted spectacles, however, we ought to also not be too tough on players for showing occasional flashes of alpha-male/woman territorialism. Sport is supposed to be emotional in the end.