“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Megan Rapinoe, Arthur Ashe
I’m completely uninterested in hearing “unfair” used to describe “outsize” or “disproportionate” coverage here of people who are undercovered elsewhere by the same sport media types who habitually overuse the word “unfair”.
There’s an entire essay in who uses that word and when but I don’t do that as well as Megan Rapinoe so we’re going to focus instead on not caring what they think.
I want there to be space here to discuss Andy Murray and Juan Martín del Potro even though neither would ordinarily fit in any category dubbed “marginalized” because in a world of elite athletes with only X amount of column space and so much airtime, you can be wiped from the collective spectator’s present memory if injury reduces you to that state.
So happy to see Sir Muzz playing his way back to fitness with his Queens doubles title and his entry here with the Queen in mixed doubles. I haven’t heard a “the Scot” from the Brits to describe him since he came back from his hip surgery, as the British press used to change descriptors for him when he lost.
I wanted Murrena to go ALL THE WAY but we can still enjoy their performance here.
I miss Juan Martín even more after that spectacular Wimbledon QF he played with Rafa last year
as he’s recuperating from another injury … which tells me less about his fortitude than it does about the fact that the sport, as sophisticated as it wants to present itself to be, has yet to adapt sufficiently to bodies the sport still appears to perceive as “outsize” (in order to get anywhere close to equal representation, you have to query the frame).
I want there to be space for both Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff because when Coco Gauff was winning in juniors in Roland Garros the sports media couldn’t be bothered to cover her even in France (because I ran around looking for coverage and couldn’t find it anywhere, not even in L’Équipe, who is supposed to be better at covering juniors … and even though Naomi Osaka made the cover of Time as the sport’s new golden girl once she’d defeated Serena, she just vanishes from media mentions after winning back-to-back Slams because she washed out in early rounds, when the self-same media can’t stop yapping about Simona Halep who has just the one? And she beat Grand Slam winners both times to get them?
Naomi Osaka goes into the US Open hardcourt season as defending champion of the series’ crown jewel Slam on the women’s side. We can talk about that AND we can also give Coco all the coverage.
Only one WOC other than Serena and Venus gets ink at a time? Not here.
Happy to see Queen Vee pair up with Big Foe for mixed doubles. If the USTA can’t be bothered to give him the support he needs in order to be the first American champion at the American Slam since A-Rod in 2003 – since he’s better than Isner even as they refuse to admit it or to stop hyping Sandberg, both of whom have the same issue as they’ve indicated in different ways they don’t deserve to win on grass if they’re in thrall to a man who shows such contempt for honor and tradition that he threatens ICE raids on Wimbledon Championship Sunday – then they deserve to continue to be embarrassed.
Maybe Rafa will win not one, but two more Slams this year.
AND WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE DOUBLE BORG.
I have been tired. Both Professor Morrison and Professor Crunk talk about the time and space that racism and the people who perpetuate it steal from your life.
And I have been dispirited. When I finally got a piece of my sense of humor back after Rafa fell out of Monte Carlo, which he has won 11 times (and lost to a dude who was wearing my country’s flag the last time I saw him), and Barcelona (which he has also won 11 times, and may be the only athlete to lose a match on court named after himself), peeps joked that they really weren’t trying to talk to me about the sport right then because creeping fascism, and also RAFA LOST.
Clearly, however, there are enough psychic consolations wrapped up in having an entire main arena named after you that he pulled it together well enough to whomp everybody at Roland Garros
Because the rhetoric is “be so good they can’t ignore you” so often it’s a more frequent cliché in sports than “just do it”.
But I don’t think I’ll ever forget the American agent who in 2006 doubted Rafa would “be the best ambassador for the sport because his English is limited”. Or the endless “just a clay court” blah blah when even the Rolex ads concede the demands of the surface “test the sport’s best” (yes, we know) and nobody in our lifetimes is going to win the same Grand Slam TWELVE TIMES.
But as #WeBeenKnew and as the Varsity Blues scandal showed the part of the world that was trying its best to act like it wasn’t happening, you can be the literal best in the world and those who refuse to relinquish either the hierarchy itself or their place at the top of it will still do their best to rig the game, the field, the draw, the stats, the spoils
And Rafa came into the tournament fresh off a GS win and ranked #2, so if life were as fair as sport likes to tout itself to be, based on DA MERITOCRACYYYYY, Roger would’ve been seeded #3 and been on the opposite side of the draw playing Novak at this point, and Rafa wouldn’t have to fight his way past both of them in order to have the title.
But Wimbledon “makes its own rules”, and Roger is seeded #2. So here we are.
Even as Rafa is the first of the Big Three to qualify for the Year End Finals in London (and the sponsors seem to know who fans want to see).
He could lose his semi, or win it and get walloped by Novak again in the final.
Serena could lose to Simona and Margaret Court giving her the evil eye.
Claudia Rankine, MacArthur Genius Grantee, on Serena Williams
So we’re just going to pack in as much joy as we can.
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