Features, Shades of Gray

Navigating The Lob: Wimbledon Championship 2015 Round Up

0 Comments 13 July 2015


The championship match at Wimbledon yesterday was a great day for tennis, cheese dip & day drinking.

I sat down with a virgin box of Wheat Thins, fancy cheese spread and a few Long Trail Summer Ales. The morning was well on it’s way to success before the match even began.

According to match color man, John McEnroe, Roger Federer looked ‘beautiful’. Novak “The Joker” Djokovic had some solid deep knee bends in his arsenal. Things were prim and pressed.

Looking to show the world he still ‘had it’ the normally reserved Federer was seen chugging Jolt soda and mouthing the words to Funky Cold Medina pre match. The Joker, still stinging from his French Open final defeat was, as he is wont to do, screaming at a wall with his shirt off. The vibe was electric, the weather, frenetic. Even the ball kids were adding a few extra bunny steps while they shagged loose balls. Pip Pip, Cheerio!

The crowd had echoes of being pro Federer. Little doubt was left when seconds before start they chanted his name in unison and collectively mimed The Fed’s signature move of gracefully brushing his locks off his forehead after smashing a winner. McEnroe was flabbergasted. Chris Fowler, dumbstruck. Djokovik, irate.

Let’s get it on!

Federer was strong early. Exhibiting the strength and finesse he’s been known for throughout his career. The forehand was zipping, the backhand zagging…all the while the brushing of the hair was effortless (even dazzling!). The Joker, while significantly less handsome, seemed to take each Federer blow in stride and, in some cases, even up the ante. Fraught – the crowd had an early spat of indigestion. Luckily there was a 2:1 special at the strawberries and cream stand to settle early upset stomachs.

The Joker had a few awkward moments. A few missed drop shots. A stumble resulting in an ankle niggle. Some long forehands. A grass stain on his bum. How would he handle it? The view from 10,000 feet was that he was tighter than a pair of jeggings.

Federer broke The Joker in the first set’s 6th game and looked poised to inch ahead. The crowd collectively held it’s breath waiting for The Joker to either:

  1. Strike a ball girl
  2. Swallow his own face
  3. Enter Shembala mode
  4. Both A & B (but not C because it’s impossible)

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The Joker nibbled on his snack, got himself together and broke The Fed’s next serve and immediately went into a series of deep knee bends circumventing the court mocking the linesmen and anyone else that fancied to look. I had to see it to believe it.

Match color man, John McEnroe, initially began to criticize The Joker for this act of brashness claiming “The crowd at Wimbledon is classy, they hate this one-ups-manship”. Ever the opportunist, McEnroe saw a break in the tennis action and began to evaluate the deep knee bends based on some knowledge he’d picked up in the Northern Plains Amateur Gymnastics circuit back in ‘77. Overall, he claimed the bends were just ‘very average’.

Ultimately The Joker’s efforts paid off. Although he played the better tennis, The Fed succumbed to the psycho mind games of Djokovic and lost the set with a cheeky double fault after an uninspired tiebreak performance. No one saw it coming. Not even Djokovic who stood staring at Federer with his piercing blue eyes while The Fed applied product for the second set.

All but down and out, Federer lost the first game of the second set in love. Momentum seemed in The Joker’s favor. Any rally by Federer was met with further deep knee bends and occasional pelvic thrusts and spitting by The Joker. Federer continued to double fault, Djokovic continued to snack. The points were tit for tat, back and forth. Yet again another tiebreak.

Refusing to lay another egg Federer approached this tiebreak in an effort that can only be categorized as “Howard Trostsky-like”. Points were exchanged. Djokovic started to unravel with a costly mental error sending a wayward forehand 30 feet up in the air. Reading his lips I could tell he kept yelling ‘PATCHOULI OIL’ in the general direction of the front row. For what it’s worth, during The Joker’s unraveling, The Fed looked like he was waiting for an iced coffee on a sunny day. The difference was stark. But what did it all mean?!

The third set was much of the same. Each player battling, exchanging points and committed to hydration. Contrary to the experts on Channel 4, rain clouds were beginning to gather and the crowd gave a collective gasp. Typically reluctant to close the roof Wimbledon Director, Davis Guilmette, was the focus of attention as he weighed his options: call the match or risk a stain on his (and everyone else’s) khakis. What to do?

The rain fell. The balls flew.  Light rain turned heavier and Guilmette signaled for the field crew to commence the covering up by throwing his sterling white frisbee into the trashcan across court. Fed and The Joker retired to their separate quarters off-court to begin a game of Words With Friends (WWF) with each other to keep ‘the mood’ going.

Luckily the showers passed quickly and the players were back warming up within 15 minutes (allowing for only 3 minutes of warm up time and a juice box). The question was – who would benefit most from the break? Would Djokovic calm down and stop being so psycho?  Would Federer benefit from his tea and biscuits? Was Federer’s use of the word ‘avuncular’ to lead off the game of WWF leave any residue of resentment with The Joker?

We wouldn’t have to wait long to find out. Federer put up a noble fight but never managed to re-capture any momentum he had before the delay. Even though Federer was clearly the one artist on the court today, Djokovic was too powerful. The celebratory deep knee bends were too hot to handle and too cold to hold. Upon hitting the winner Djokovic took his ceremonial fistful of Wimbledon grass and threw it down his gullet. When asked how he felt winning his 3rd overall Wimbledon championship he replied “Avuncular”. Will wonders ever cease?

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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