Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sometimes you play the Olympics. Sometimes the Olympics play you.

It's a good thing it rained in Rio yesterday -- it put the brakes on the seemingly neverending beatdown on the top players in the world. OK, Novak Djokovic's loss was a big deal, but he lost to a sleeping giant. Serena Williams losing to Elina Svitolina? Say what now? Five double faults in one game?! Pardon? A basic inability to return serve down the stretch?!!! A colossal upset for sure, but unlike the folks over at ESPN Tennis, I don't think we're talking about a sea change in women's tennis, unless we really think that Svitolina or Monica Puig (who beat the living crap out of Garbine Muguruza, by the way) are going to win the U.S. Open and bundle Williams into retirement. I mean, come on. Really.
One unexpected benefit to this rash of upsets is a repopulation of the mixed doubles draw. Venus Williams is back in, with Rajeev Ram, Nadal is pairing up with Muguruza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands has got Jack Sock. Heck, if you don't have to play a third set, but a tiebreaker, why not, right?
But anyway, who the heck knows what's going to happen in this tournament now. Nobody would have believed that Rafael Nadal has more of a chance to win the Olympic gold (in singles and doubles) than Djokovic at the beginning of this tournament, or that Madison Keys has a better shot now than Serena, but here we are. And no complaints, because we have some great matchups in the works: Nadal is playing Gilles Simon, Juan Martin del Potro is playing Daniel Taro, who took out Sock in the first round of singles, and Andy Murray against Fabio Fognini, Svitolina v. Petra Kvitova, and Angelique Kerber v. Johanna Konta, just to name a few highlights. And no, I would not even pretend to know how this all shakes out.

No comments: