I expect sports people to know the culture of the country where they play. Perhaps that’s too optimistic given that they play in so many countries but tennis players tend to come to Australia for about a month every year so I expect them to have an understanding of conditions here. The hot weather at the Australian Open this year caused the usual problem of: when will the officials shut the roof? There has been an extreme heat policy since 1998 but many factors are taken into consideration—temperature, humidity, wind etc. and they won’t shut it just on the forecast. Forecasts in Melbourne are unreliable. Therefore no one really knows when they are going to shut it, but players ought to know they will shut it if conditions are deemed to be “extreme”. Every time it happens though there are complaints. Dementieva complained they didn’t shut it soon enough, Kuznetsova complained they didn’t leave it open long enough (for her to beat Williams, which she probably would have). There’s no point complaining, the officials can’t control the weather. It’s supposed to be an outside competition and they will keep it that way as long as possible.

Federer complains every year he wants the Open held later so he can have a longer break between seasons. While this is a valid reason he doesn’t understand why we cannot move it. It is held the last two weeks of our summer school holidays. We want our kids to go the tennis and be inspired to be great tennis players (like Federer!). Furthermore there would not be the crowds if it was held later. We only have a small population, even though we are sports mad, we do have to work. More people are on holidays during school holidays than any other time. Of course, if Federer wanted to play in front of half the crowds, for half the money… The US Open finishes in September so why doesn’t he talk about finishing the year earlier without moving any of the Grand Slams?

Anyway it makes me think how often I don’t allow for other people’s situations and the circumstances they find themselves in. I think I’m more thoughtful then I use to be but maybe not as much as I could be. People’s backgrounds play an enormous part in why they react the way they do and in order to be compassionate it is helpful to take the time to get to know more about them. Perhaps that’s why God is so compassionate—he knows all about us!