Before we begin any type of honest discussion about any tournament really, we need to admit an honest truth to ourselves: tennis fans love to complain. Whether it’s about alleged doping, draw-rigging, match-fixing scandals, organization of tournaments, or even just a player we don’t like winning, tennis fans love to complain. It’s almost become part of the sport now. Every fan has something they want to complain about. And when they don’t, they find something new to complain about.
American tennis, and along with it the US Open, has been an excellent scapegoat for fans to complain about in recent years. It doesn’t help that American tennis has had no player at the very top level of the game for the first time in history. It doesn’t help that America’s standard-bearer since 2005, Andy Roddick, has a very hit-or-miss personality to say the least. And what certainly hasn’t helped has been the management of the US Open.
The US Open, like the French Open, wants very much to be the premier Grand Slam event. It certainly has its unique and attractive qualities. Unfortunately, the US Open is fighting a very tough battle. No matter how much it wishes it weren’t true, the US Open (or the French Open) just cannot compete with Wimbledon in terms of history, tradition, and prestige. And no matter what quirks the US Open has, it will never match Wimbledon.
The tournament itself has three unique qualities that separate it from the other Slams. The first, and most obvious one, is that the US Open has a fifth-set tiebreaker. The pros and cons of having the breaker, as opposed to actually having someone actually break their opponent’s serve to be able to win in the fifth set, can be a pretty fair debate in and of itself. On the one hand, it seems like a much fairer way to decide what was obviously a pretty even match. On the other hand, extended fifth sets can be unfair to the winner, especially if they have a short turnaround before their next match (for an extreme example, see John Isner in Wimbledon 2010). Regardless, being different than all three other Slams is a good excuse for fans to complain. Tennis fans, especially non-American ones, like to see this as an example of American stubbornness and laziness in not wanting the match to be completely fought out.
To read the entire article, please click here
. As always, thoughts and opinions are welcome and requested.