Looking back on my 2013 New Year's resolutions, I think I had a fairly respectable success rate (which is to say that I didn't go 0 for 10). As expected, the Cheez-Its rained down like manna from the Cheddar Gods, but I'm fairly certain I never said David Ferrer was underrated, nor did I ever try and draw broad conclusions about a player based off a match I never watched. So I will take the victories where I can and move forward to 2014 knowing that despite what my cynical inner voice tells me, New Year's resolutions can actually work. Optimism is the name of the game. So here's what I'm going for in 2014:
Pay more attention to college tennis. NCAA tennis has become a much more appealing option for the top teenagers, as they can hone their skills and physicality while getting loads of matches under their belts (and earning the college degree doesn't hurt, either), instead of toiling away on the ATP Challenger circuit and suffering first- and second- round losses week after week. It's possible that we're on the verge of seeing the NCAA return to being a feeder for the pro ranks, which would greatly elevate the relevance and importance of the collegiate game.
Revisit "The Queue." One of my proudest achievements back when I was simply a ticket-buying tennis fan was the fact that I successfully attended all 13 days of Wimbledon in 2011 despite arriving in London without a single ticket for the event. The feat was possible thanks to the generosity of friends as well as 10 days (and a few nights) spent in the famous Wimbledon Queue, which allows fans to line up, sometimes camping overnight, to buy a limited number of tickets allotted for that day's play. I've been a huge proponent of The Queue ever since and I'd love to go back just for one night to see if anything has changed.
Watch Elina Svitolina play at least one match. The 19-year old Ukrainian is ranked No. 45, which makes her the highest-ranked player that I've actually never laid eyes on. Time to fix that.
More tea, less coffee. For all the odd-hour viewing that's incumbent when covering an international sport like tennis, I should probably start laying off the coffee. And the Cheez-Its. But let's start with the coffee.
Since I put my resolutions out there for all the world to see, I also put out a call on Twitter to find out what other tennis fans were resolving to do in 2014. From the sounds of it, everyone just wants to keep calm and carry on:
"To stop feeling that I need to dislike Roger Federer simply because I'm a Rafael Nadal fan." -- @dswig92
"To stop bailing on matches I was watching because my favorite player is losing. I shall break this resolution early and often." -- @jontownend1
"Not to get extreme depression if Roger loses a match or two. Accept he is 32. Not to judge any tennis player pre-twitter account. Tomas Berdych (#birdman) is a prime example." -- @JamEYYoo.
"To watch Roger play at Wimbledon when I go (if he's not been knocked out!!)" -- @EilidhSmith1
"I resolve to no longer have actual expectations for my favorite headcases like Ernests Gulbis." -- @Ataraxis00
"Invest in a start-up that builds selective muters for avoiding grunts, shrieks, or the occasional commentator. ;-)" -- @CJSTanner
"Watch actual tennis instead of livescores because my heart/soul can't handle live tennis." -- @holdtolove
"Not to expect a player to win a match or a tournament just because they're the favorite. #Wimbledon2013 #NeverForget" @Well_its_evan.
"In the constant struggle of tennis vs. sleep, I'd like to let tennis win more in 2014... even if college conspires against me." -- @KylerNotTyler "I resolve to watch more matches that don't involve my favorite players." -- @aah1028