Wimbledon's Break From Traditions For Olympic Tourney Was A Sight To Behold
The Olympic tennis competition concluded yesterday, and there was "something that's different" at the All England Club during the event, and to say people "can't put your finger on it isn't fair, because actually you can," according to NBC's Jimmy Roberts. Change "comes slowly" to Wimbledon, and while it is "only temporary, the London Games have shaken things up in ways both amusing and occasionally spectacular.” Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, who lost the Gold Medal singles match yesterday to Great Britain's Andy Murray, said the crowd at the Olympic matches feels "very different" compared to matches during the Wimbledon championships. Federer: "The fans are much more younger I would say as well. I love it.” Roberts noted when players "can scrap the traditional white-only clothing and channel their inner Crayola, when Royals do the wave and a rock band plays on Henman Hill, clearly then something is a little different.” Players introductions were “straight out of baseball, music and all." NBC’s Ted Robinson prior to the start of the Murray-Federer match said one of the differences during Olympic play at the All England Club “that really jumps out at you having been at Wimbledon all these years: music." Robinson: "You never hear music at Centre Court, and the players have just been introduced with rock music.” NBC’s John McEnroe said the Olympics at various venues “really keep the crowd going, and I like to see that.” McEnroe: “Particularly here at Wimbledon, because we’re trying to do something different. What a perfect opportunity to do that, to add some more spice to a event here at the All England Club” (NBC, 8/5). Murray said of the atmosphere, “Different to pretty much anything I’ve been in before. I obviously played in big matches. Night matches U.S. Open we always said was the best atmosphere, but it’s not even close to what it was today” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4).
TENNIS TRANSFORMATION: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote Wimbledon “had to be ‘corporatized’ and lobotomized” to host the Olympic tournament. The pinkish-purple associated with the London Games' logo “is everywhere, clashing badly with the original tones.” Players were “allowed to wear any colors they like, breaking from the all-white attire requested at Wimbledon.” Bickley: “It's an assault on the senses.” There also is “tape on the cash register, hiding the manufacturer's name.” There are “Coca-Cola displays on every counter,” and the Rolex brand “has been covered up.” Fans cannot buy “coveted club merchandise, only official London 2012 souvenirs” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/4). In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote, “This was Bizarro Wimbledon, a satanic All-England Club usurped by the Olympics” (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 8/6). But SI.com’s Jon Wertheim wrote the All England Club "should be toasted for its hospitality." Playing the tennis at Wimbledon was an "obvious choice once London was awarded the Games, but what exactly did the club have to gain from this?" Wertheim: "Unclear. It's not as though the AELTC needs the exposure. Its courts get used for an additional four weeks, depriving members of play. Same for the locker rooms. The Wimbledon touches and corporate partnerships get diluted. Still, the members were sports and the tennis benefited as a result” (SI.com, 8/5).
A WIN-WIN: SI.com’s Wertheim wrote, “Tennis truly thrived in the Olympics. But let's be clear: The Olympics benefited from tennis as well.” The athletes “were terrific, hanging out at the Olympic Village, taking in other events when possible and betraying no entitlement. A total win-win” (SI.com, 8/5).