May 25, 2011 1 Comment
First, to the fact: In case you still don’t know, Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Varvara Lepchenko in three sets today, became the first American whose surname is not Williams to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 2006 and will also overtake the older Sis’ to become the #2 American in next week’s rankings.
Second, to the article itself. Fair-and-square: at a first glance, I didn’t like Bethanie. Ok, that was at a second look – in the first, she became nothing but merely irrelevant for me. Just like many, I thought she dragged more attention thanks to her clothes than to her game – a capital sin for someone like me, though I always recognized her as a great doubles specialist.
But, hell, regret doesn’t kill, right? Never did, never will. And I can’t tell for sure when did it happen, but it did. Maybe was during the clay season. It somehow ticked inside my brains, and I was like “Hey, Beth is cool, looking from here”. Maybe that’s due her improving results, mainly on clay – which doesn’t happen to be her best surface – or maybe that’s her smile on the WTA website profile pic. Don’t know, it happens sometimes, the same way it happened when I first looked at Dulgheru’s photo and thought “Aww I want to pinch your cheeks”.
It happened, and that’s what really matters. I grew admiration for her, and started having fun with her on and off court behavior (that visit to Moulin Rouge is just so what you expect from her), plus also cheering for her success.
So yes, I decided to write this few words to congratulate her – because I’m truly happy, for Beth and for American tennis itself. Of course, Serena and Venus are still the leading horses of the Yankee tennis (both men & women), but Mattek-Sands, just like Mardy, shows there is still life where everybody says there is only grief. The unsuspected heroes, having their breakthrough when everybody less expect. Sure, let’s not fool ourselves and think they can echo the glory of the past, but why not, believe?
After accepting there will be life after the Williamses, believe Fish and Mattek-Sands, relatively modest players for the standards we are used to have, could lead the charge of the New Era of the American Tennis (NEAT), leading the transition, guiding younger players and showing them how it is indeed possible to triumph even when the odds are against you. Why not?
That being said, I end this one wishing not but the best for Mattek-Sands in her 3rd Round match against Jankovic – keep carrying the flag, girl.
And keep rocking.