Words: Philip Cummins
Wimbledon can, at the worst of times, look like a sports day for straw-hatted, striped-blazer wearing, private school-educated toffs, drinking Pimms and talking about house prices. The arena of tennis itself, however, is unique for many reasons. Silence is hard to find in any football stadium in the world and, increasingly in the Aviva and in Croke Park, it has sadly become part of the game now for fans to boo opponents as they take free kicks and penalties.
In tennis, silence is golden. You can everything: the sound of trainers roughing the grass; the ball pounding the surface. This can lead some to believe it to be a boring game, though it’s anything but boring. There have been rallies in Wimbledon that have gone down in legend; rows with umpires that have been lampooned ever since; injuries happening before the audience’s eyes that have ended careers.
1. The Annual ‘Rally of the Tournament
Every year, there’s always at least three rallies throughout the tournament that will make your head spin, most of which happen in the high-octane, finals stages. Last year’s semi- finals were as tense and action- packed as any I can remember. Here’s Roger Federer vs Lleyton Hewitt with a particularly memorable rally.
2. Rows with The Umpires
If you think that John McEnroe was the only player to throw a fit with an umpire, think again. Even with the cutting edge line technology to judge whether or not a ball in or out, umpires continually come for some flack on the courts. Here’s Rafa Nadal thowing one at the chair-umpire at last year’s tournament.
3. The Sound and Sight of Painful Injuries
No-one takes glee in seeing a sporting professional injured, though injuries do make for compelling viewing all the same. In football, rugby and GAA, the screams are inaudible from the chanting on the terraces: we only ever see the player twisting and writhing in pain, before being carried off on a stretcher. In tennis, where silence is part of the game, screams from injured players are audible all around the world. Here’s one example from yesterday’s 1st game between Victoria Azarenka and Joao Koehler.
4. Roger Federer’s William Tell Trick
See all-time great Roger Federer do his William Tell trick. Don’t try this at home...
5. Ladies Tennis
Do I really have to explain this one??