She couldn’t win a single match.
In Saturday’s French Open third round, China’s Wang Xinyu had to believe she had at least a chance of beating top-seeded and reigning women’s singles champion Yiga Siwiatek. After all, Mr. Wang is no slouch. The 21-year-old power hitter, who reached a career-high No. 59 in the world rankings in April, can put up a good fight against even the best players.
But she lost and it was ugly. 6-0, 6-0, in tennis parlance, the dreaded Double Bagel. The match did not last longer than the warm-up.
I say there is glory in such imperfection.
Long live the weak. Weary people, struggling people, stragglers. Athletes who suffer tragic losses in public.
Long live those who lose in sports.
We’ve seen a lot of it over the past week or so, and more will be coming soon.
Of course, this doesn’t just happen on the slippery clay of the French Open.
The NBA and NHL playoffs have finally reached the finals. Fast-growing college softball mixes with the NCAA Division I championship. The Oklahoma Sooners are looking to beat Stanford University in overtime in Monday’s semifinals to win their third straight title and add to their Division 1 winning streak of 51. Let us sympathize with the great procession of Sooners victims.
Most of the stories will focus on the winners of these championships. It is a matter of course. The world’s best athletes stretch and bend the boundaries of human potential. The best of the best seem to be able to even control time. No wonder we watch their performances with a sense of presence and awe. In our world they have become like gods.
That’s fine and understandable, but name me a tennis player who goes all out to win a Grand Slam match. Name the basketball star who threw the decisive free throw, or the hockey goaltender who slipped and threw the winning shot.
Give me the nerve to wither under pressure. I came here for a different reflex than before.
why? Well, winners always get their due. But as we all know, it’s human to make mistakes. He is perfectly and beautifully so. And those who have lost in various ways occupy a friendlier corner of big-time sports.
Even the most conditioned, best-tuned, and hard-fought athlete can tire, cramp, succumb to pressure, struggle to get enough air, or suffer a terrible defeat. It’s reassuring to know that you have sex. In the act of failure, they become like the rest of us Schmoe, even if only temporarily.
So we can take solace in seeing the Boston Bruins, who set a regular season record of 65 wins, quickly lose to the Florida Panthers in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The high expectations of the Stanley Cup became a burden. Who can empathize? I know I can do it.
Speaking of Boston, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum fought back from a 3-0 hole in the NBA playoffs to tie with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Then, in Game 7, on the verge of a historic comeback, they collectively planted the stinky bombs and put on the worst and weakest performance of their careers.
Have you ever tried to do something great but failed in public and made a big mistake? I went back to the play when I was about to die. It wasn’t hard to sympathize with Brown and Tatum’s shot after shot. All the millions agreed and Miami won by 19 points.
The red dirt of Roland Garros, where there are no sure steps, no hope of any bounce, and where each match can be a grueling marathon, is the most transparent window into the sport’s shocking truths. provide.
Players appear on court dressed like Parisian runway models, with pale skin and crisp outfits. And when the match kicks in, reality sets in.
In other Grand Slam tennis tournaments, points often run out quickly. On clay at Roland Garros, points can also be stretched, like John Coltrane’s solo. They go on and on, the pressure builds and the tempo builds to a crescendo.
In the most long-running and competitive matches, we often see mental as well as physical suffering befall players. Uncertainty creeps in and wears with it. Muscles become weak and tremble. Crisp clothing such as shoes, socks, shirts, wristbands, headbands, and hats cake with sweat and clay clumps.
Wang wasn’t on the court long enough to suffer like this against Siwiatek. But France’s Gael Monfils was. The 36-year-old weathered veteran played in perhaps his last Grand Slam in front of a home crowd, winning the first round despite facing a 4-0 downfall in the fifth set. Along the way, he suffered a storm of lung pain and leg cramps. He got through the match well, but was too tired and sore to take the court two days later in the second round.
The march of time waits for no one.
A few days later, a much younger player, Yannick Sinner (Italy) – 21, a fast-growing No. 8 seed – took on 79th-ranked journeyman Daniel Altmaier on Court Suzanne Lundlen. played against.
The sinner should have won without too much trouble.
He came forward early on but struggled. 1 hour passed. Altmaier caught up. Another hour passed. The match was in a stalemate. 3 hours turned into 4 hours. Sinner held two match points, both of which he coughed up. They entered the fifth set. Sinner fell behind, but caught up. He faced four of his match points, but won them all.
And then… and 5 hours and 26 minutes later, Sinner saw a screaming service ace fly past his outstretched racket. game. setting. match. Final score: 6-7(0), 7-6(7), 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5. The upset was the fifth longest match in French Open history.
Sinner walked off the court in a messy brawl, his face showing the self-doubt typical of losers. In other words, he was beautiful and human.