The new Conway Tennis Center has been up and running for a few months now. It is getting rave reviews from players all over the state.
Tennis pro Wyatt Miller was hired to run the facility, and lots of good things are happening. New recreational leagues have been formed for players of all ages and skill levels.
They give lessons and you can get your old racket restrung. It’s a place that is going to serve Conway well for many years to come.
On the world stage, we are now in the middle of that little two-week event the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club hosts each year – Wimbledon.
“Breakfast at Wimbledon” has been a favorite in my house since I was a kid. For two consecutive weekends, Saturday and Sunday morning television is filled with traditional white outfits and green grass courts. Of course, by the end of the tourney, parts of Centre Court have turned brown from heavy use.
A few weeks ago, Roger Federer won his 98th career singles title. That is second all-time in the men’s game behind Jimmy Connors’ 109. Ivan Lendl is third with 94. Rafael Nadal is fourth with 79.
The following week, Federer lost in the finals of another small grass court tune-up. If he could have completed that 99th career win, I think I might have come up with a brilliant marketing idea.
When Fed won Wimbledon in 2009 to surpass Pete Sampras’ career record of 14 Grand Slams, the celebratory post-match commercial was built around the phrase “Love 15.” It was a play on words involving tennis’ odd scoring terminology.
If Federer had won that 99th, he could have hit the century mark at his favorite venue. I could picture the commercial after this final’s win: Wimbledon Won Hundred. I was going to check into a trademark, but win number 100 will have to wait till a little later.
Fans in all sports love to debate the GOAT – Greatest Of All Time. It makes for great sports bar discussions and fills talk radio airtime, but does it really matter?
Sports fans should just enjoy that we are still getting to watch two men who have played tennis at the highest levels for such an extended period of time.
I worry that when Federer and Nadal are finally done, men’s tennis is going to fall from a golden age into a dark time.
Since the open era began in 1968 through the January 2018 Australian Open, there were exactly 200 Grand Slam events. Federer with 20 had won an astounding 10% of them.
Throw in Nadal’s 16 and Novak Djokovic’s 12 during that period and those three account for almost a quarter of all majors ever won.
Then Nadal won his 17th in June 2018. In fact, Federer and Nadal have won the past six Grand Slams, three apiece.
So which one is the GOAT? I say who cares. Just enjoy them both while we still can.