The men’s, ATP, tour, at least in the slams, is stuck in a time warp and cannot seem to escape the tyranny of the big three. The results of the slams are predictable and a foregone conclusion in men’s tennis. When will we ever get to see Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic loose a slam final to someone outside of the top 25? A betting person has only three to pick from and, with any luck, one or two of them could be injured or mentally washed out at the given point in time.
The revelations of the last one hundred and twenty-four slams.
Only eleven of the last sixty-two slams, since Federer’s first Wimbledon conquest in 2003, have been won by players without Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic as their last name. A strike rate of 82% for the big three and less than 18% for the rest of the field – with an immensely talented cast of players including Marat Safin, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, David Nalbandian, Dominic Thiem, and Juan Martin Del Potro – is quite disconcerting and dubious. The 62 slams, since Wimbledon 2003, have been shared by ten players, whereas, the 62 prior to the Wimbledon 2003, were shared by twenty-five players. Sampras, Edberg, Becker, Safin, Lendl, Wilander and the other greats, of the pre-Federer era, were as good, if not better. They, however, came nowhere close to the domination enjoyed by the Big three now. Ten compared with twenty-five! Are we at 138mph the only ones who see something amiss with the picture? Or, are the numbers lying?
Are the big three from Krypton?
Are we to believe that the Big three, nowadays, are super-humans from, the planet, Krypton? Were the players with Lendl’s fitness, resolve, and forehand, Agassi and Edberg’s talent, Sampras’ unique skills, and Becker’s energy not fit, talented, or good enough to truly dominate? There may or may not be something amiss, but it will only help to find out.
Put the Big three under the microscope.
Beginning immediately, the big three must come under the microscope with 24/7 surveillance, and daily blood, sweat, and urine checks. Whatever they ingest, including the brand of water, must be pre-approved by the powers that may be, and their blood and urine examined daily for anything other than those pre-approved items. If the big three are super-humans then, for the benefit of posterity, a genuine and unbiased study of their diet, supplement, and fitness regimen is warranted.
Our proposal should rile only the most fanatical of fans who suspect something, less than 100% kosher, with their hero.
Implement a “List of Approved Items,” and do away with the “List of Banned Items.”
The ITF and WADA may do well to take this a step further and publish a “list of acceptable and approved substances,” raw-materials, food-items, and worldwide-brands, of medicines, pesticides, and supplements, and do away with the “list of banned substances.” The ATP can increase its income by teaming up with manufacturers and suppliers to offer approved items at competitive prices. It would nip the reason for the doubt in its, proverbial, bud. The players must be made to comply with the strict norms if they want the opportunity to make those gazillions of dollars.
Stop the TUEs.
And, for god’s sake, do away with the Therapeutic Use Exemptions – TUEs. If a player is that sick, then he should stop playing until he gets better and rid his system and bloodstream of the banned/unapproved substance. And, if the condition is chronic then tough luck. It may sound a little harsh, but there is no other way to plug this gaping hole. Tennis as entertainment needs to be fair to those who entertain and are being entertained. To us, it appears quite simple. Either a player is taking an banned/unapproved substance or he is not; and, if he is then he should not be allowed to play on the tour.
The impact of the slowing down of the court-surfaces and string technology.
The slowing down of the hard and grass, resulting in homogeneity of the playing surfaces, coupled with insane advancements in string technology favor the retrievers and punish aggressive or highly aggressive serve-and-volley style, and are also responsible for such unfettered domination by the big three. It is about time that the slams stopped their obvious bias in favor of the retrievers and grinders who have already benefited enough from the advancements in string technology. It’s about time the ATP and ITF evened the playing field a little.
Don’t the highly aggressive and the big serving players deserve a fighting chance to win the big ones?