Tennis just hasn’t quite been the same for the last six months for me. I have had the men’s game to keep me on my toes admittedly. That means I have been able to dedicate my usual time to cheer on Evo, there has also been a breakthrough season for Cam Norrie and a resurgent Andy Murray to keep me interested. Emma Raducanu was a fantastic story but the media hype and pressure surrounding her now is at fever pitch and I don’t see that helping her anytime soon. Personally, I did have a single appearance at SW19 this year but that kind of sums it up. Just the single appearance when normally it would be sprinkled with more visits to Wimbledon on top of Surbiton, Edgbaston and possibly even another trip to the Billie Jean Tennis Center to name a few. The virus obviously playing a crucial role here. Truth is, I am craving to see Serena back on court though and am missing her badly. Wimbledon seems to have been so long ago now. People will tell me I better get used to this scenario pretty soon and they have a point.
I think watching King Richard last night has made me realise why deep-down I am still chomping at the bit for success more than ever. For the record, if you haven’t seen it yet it is a fitting tribute to not only Richard but also Oracene, obviously the two players that we have been totally blessed to have had in tennis and the family as a whole. It shows the struggles they have had and which we knew about and also seen with Tiger Woods in golf and something similar with Lewis Hamilton now in F1. These are three examples of sporting families that have had these barriers and it is only a snippet of what is really going on in the world in certain sports and indeed the world as a whole. Very, very sad. It will sound crazy to some but it makes me realise more than ever that I am determined to do everything for my son, who is of mixed race, whether that be every tennis or football match he wants to play or whatever it is that float his boats. The colour of someone’s skin should not come into play and the Williams story makes me love how much they shoved it up people every time I think about it. I feel the same about Woods and Hamilton too these days. It gives me as a fan that extra incentive to drive me on more than ever with Rena. These are the people who are fighting for the generations like that of my son’s to all be seen on a level playing field in life.
With Serena already confirming she will not be playing the Australian Open and I do not expect her to play at Roland Garros, realistically we only have Wimbledon and New York. Clearly, the best two chances she has. I had pinned my hopes on Wimbledon for number 24 this year and as we all know it was devastating. She had prepared for it all year and to see it evaporate in six games in the opening round against Aliaksandra Sasnovich with an ankle injury was too much to take. My eyes started to fill up a little as she waved to the crowd on her way off Centre. I thought we could be done period as I stood up in my house with my 18-month-year-old son and my girlfriend and applauded her off-court. It would be about as cruel as it could get to see her leave the tennis stage in such circumstances.
As each year goes by I think all of us in Rena’s Army know the chances get lower in our quest for number 24. That is the natural conclusion to come to. We haven’t quite given up yet though. If only to shove it up the media who never seemed to mention 24 until she had beaten Graf’s record. There are always agenda’s in the media as all of us should know by now. If we can get a fit Serena on the grass anything will be possible though. That will be the one for me, it really is a thing of beauty seeing her on those courts. My, it would be sweet! We go again.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).