There are many traditions at Wimbledon: the white clothing, the no advertising and the strawberries and cream to name but a few. But there is one tradition that needs to be eliminated: Middle Sunday, the seventh day of the tournament. MS is unique among all of tennis’ majors. It is the only day over the two week tournament that no play is held. The grounds come to a halt. This may seem like a remotely good idea to catch up on the fever created during the previous week, to sit back, rest and reflect on the week that was, but it inevitably is a ridiculous idea. Even with the retractable Centre Court roof, rain can disrupt the schedule and create turmoil for not only the players, but for the organizers as well.
When I first started to pay attention to Wimbledon, I thought the practice of Middle Sunday was put in place for religious reasons. Then I started to believe that it was put in place to actually give everyone in the tournament a day of rest. Then I started to believe that the small town’s council in which Wimbledon resides forces the organizers to stop play for a day to allow them a day of rest of all the hustle and bustle. Then I started to believe that in order to maintain the prestigious grass courts, the organizers wanted to stop play for a day in order to heal the grass and stop the beating of it by the players.
The problem is that these are all insinuations. I have yet to hear or read anything concrete or official from Wimbledon itself as to why there is a Middle Sunday. It’s as if Wimbledon the entity is a secret order of Masons or Stonecutters that hold every little secret close to their chests; as if revealing them would cause the walls of Centre Court to come crashing down. Below is a great article on Middle Sunday – the closest explanation of the most mysterious day in all of tennis:
By having a Middle Sunday, especially in a tournament in an area that is prone to bad weather, Wimbledon shoots themselves, the players and the fans in the foot. The retractable roof was supposed to solve the rain delays and the backlog of postponed matches. It hasn’t. This year, by not playing on Middle Sunday, third round matches that should have been completed on Saturday had to completed on Monday (Manic Monday as it is known) because all 16 round of 16 men’s and women’s matches are supposed to be played. Under normal circumstances, the women’s quarterfinals follow on Tuesday with the semifinals on Thursday and the final on Saturday. The men’s quarterfinals are held on Wednesday, the semifinals on Friday and the final on Sunday.
With no play on Middle Sunday, half of the women’s quarterfinals played on Tuesday with the other half on Wednesday, meaning the women who played Wednesday have no day of rest going into their semifinals. The same is true for the men. Half of the men’s draw played Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with no day of rest going into their quarterfinals. How is that fair? It isn’t.
Also, Wimbledon is losing a ton of money by not playing on Middle Sunday. The television, ad and patron revenue must be of no concern to them. I have an idea: if it really is the town council that is in control of Middle Sunday, give them a share of the profits from Middle Sunday to shut them… errrr, keep them happy. Fans want to see live tennis – not a pre-recorded package of matches that have already been played.
The argument of not further damaging the courts doesn’t hold much water either. Have the organizers seen the condition of the courts recently? They are basically dirt at the baseline – which is where most of the action is played from anyway. You can’t grow grass from a patch of dirt in the middle of a tournament, so your actions of trying to save what’s left is something reminiscent of a sketch from Fawlty Towers.
The players need to band together to get rid of Middle Sunday. It is for their best interests and the interests of Wimbledon.
You have to be from a northern country to truly appreciate the game of curling. Those in warmer climes knock the game by calling it shuffleboard on ice. On the surface, they have a point, but the game is much more than knocking granite around on a sheet of ice. Curling is popular where it is because of the personalities that rule the game and because of the strategy involved. I can’t think of one world-renowned shuffleboard player.
I have never thrown a curling rock. I have always wanted to – it looks like a lot of fun. What I know about the game is what I’ve seen on TV. My father liked to watch curling, so I guess that is where I got it from. For me, the connection to the game is more memory-related and it brings me back to the days when I was young and we used to watch curling on Saturday afternoons on CBC.
When I first started to get interested in the game back then, there was a young hot shot curler by the name of Colleen Jones who represented Nova Scotia. Back then, Nova Scotia was the furthest thing from a hotbed of curling as you could get. So when Colleen got to the final of the national championship, then won it a couple years later, it really cemented my interest in the game – mostly because no one from Nova Scotia had ever done what she had done. When she won it again 17 years later, it was her never-give-up, keep-working, never-say-die attitude that endeared me to her. It’s that kind of ethic that drives me.
Now, 31 years removed from her first national title, she’s back again at the national championship. It’s an incredible achievement – competing against curlers who weren’t even born when she won that title. During her dominance in the sport ten years ago, the advent of online forums and the ability for people to leave comments created a nasty underbelly to the fan aspect of the sport that continues to thrive today – no matter who is at the top of the game. Large personalities like Jones are always targets for so-called fans to level insults at them. I’ve never understood the psychology of that and why people do it. I’m sure someone has written about that. I’d sure like to read their report.
Other than that other winter sport that Canadians do fairly well at, curling is one of those unique sports that people usually don’t pay any attention to until this time of the year – a condensed, high stakes affair of national and world titles on the line within a couple months (and an Olympic title every 4 years). I don’t follow the game like I used to, but I’m sure I’ll peek at the finals when they’re on – especially if a team from Nova Scotia is in the mix.
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