Friday, July 08, 2005

History Was Made When We Weren’t Looking

This question is directed at all tennis aficionados. Who is the greatest doubles tennis player of all time, who also announced his retirement from the professional game after a mixed doubles final during this Wimbledon?

I’ll give you some statistics about the player:
Professional since: 1988
Number of Career Doubles Titles: 83
Number of Grand Slam Doubles Titles: 22
Number of Wimbledon Doubles Titles: 9

Who is this guy? And why are we, as tennis watchers (myself included), besotted with Agassi, Sampras, Federer, Kuerten (as we rightly should be), not filled with the sense of awe at what Todd Woodbridge has done in a truly outstanding career?

Part of it has to do with the fact that doubles are nowhere close to as high profile as the singles game. But I do not accept that in the case of people who are close to Indian tennis. We’ve followed, supported and cheered Paes and Bhupathi to the top, and the top then consisted of Woodbridge and Woodforde, so I can’t see how we failed to notice. And yet we did. I mean, we all know that Woodforde and Woodbridge were an awesome doubles pair, but did we know just how awesome? Looking at that record up there, I suspect not.

Woodbridge deserves to be considered as an all-time great. As great as the men I mentioned above. In fact, going by pure record, greater that all of those men mentioned above except Agassi, because of his fantastic tournament record (he’s won all four grand slams, just like Agassi) and his sheer longevity (he’s lasted as long as Agassi). And, to add some spice, Woodbridge has also been in twice-victorious Australian Davis Cup Teams and a gold medalist at the Atlanta Olympics as well.

And when I look at the news, he gets less mention than Roger Federer, who played the perfect game to win Wimbledon again. Media persons are obsessed with the moment, and the moment has been harsh to Todd Woodbridge. He deserves more recognition than he’s got, more plaudits and, most of all, remembrance as the greatest men’s doubles player of all time.

Here’s to a great, in the hope that he does not get forgotten in all the record-breaking activity that Federer promises to be involved in over the coming years!


Blogger Roshan said...

yeah, and i heard that the ATP is contemplating changes that make specialist doubles players, only top 100 singles players will be allowed to enter doubles in the grand slams. it was an article referring to the closing door on paes and bhupathi, but wld have applied to a woodbridge too.

heard anything abt that, or is it just a rumour? be a tragedy if it happens, eh?

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