We are now officially immersed in Australia’s annual tennis fortnight.
That is, of course, when all Aussie sports fans with access to a TV remote control – or online streaming – get to share their well-researched opinions about an elite level sport.
That is, in most instances, it is a sport the majority of us has played at a very recreational level. Sometimes our degree of involvement has even extended to replacing the double-pluggers with lace-up pumps.
Maybe you’ve gone as far as organised competition. Remember when participation in Saturday afternoon comps came complete with addendum of “taking a plate” for afternoon tea?
Regardless, the majority of us are a wild smash which sails endlessly over the baseline away from elite standard skills.
Yet, we are all oh-so comfortable sitting in judgement of every volley dumped into the net at Melbourne Park over the next fortnight.
It’s the fine line sports fans walk in the 21st century. Do you take to social media to register your utter dismay at the entitled millennials wielding racquets these days or do you prefer a Rod Laver-like silence?
As in life, though, sometimes it pays to be circumspect.
Emotions ran high when a seriously hobbled Andy Murray lost a first round five-setter. His hip injury – as hideous as the prospect of hip resurfacing is – has been well-documented. That is not always the case.
Caroline Wozniacki won her first Grand Slam at Melbourne in 2018. A quick glance of Monday’s scoresheet suggests she made it through to her Rd 2 match today with little effort.
Well, as little effort as it takes someone with rheumatoid arthritis to win in an international tournament.
It was about 12 months ago Wozniacki learned of the condition which is closely linked to immune system dysfunction. Her diagnosis may not be life-threatening but it has changed her life – as it would yours or mine.
In a different stratosphere to Wozniacki and Murray is Canadian Rebecca Marino. She is ranked 216 in the world. Eight years ago she was 38th.
But fatigue, depression and cyberbullying took a toll. Getting back on court in Melbourne on Monday was a huge personal victory for Marino.
She lost in straight sets but she has what we call “a back story”. Everyone does. It’s worth remembering.
Janine Graham is an ACM journalist