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Wimbledon Day 11: Not Nearly Enough.

Posted by gauloises1 on July 3, 2010

Tomas Berdych d. Novak Djokovic, 63 76(9) 63

I’m sorry, who are you?

No, really. Because this is not the Tomas Berdych that we’ve all come to know and … know. If his victory over Federer in the last round was all expressiveness and joy, this was cool, calm and collected. No less impressive for that, but surprising. Huge respect to him for what he’s done in this tournament. Sometimes, it’s your moment and that’s luck or destiny or whatever. More often, you are called upon to seize your moment. And Tomas was not found wanting in that department today. I badly want to add a comment about how he will be minced in the final against Rafa … but who knows? Plenty of people said that about Delpo against Roger at the US Open, and we all saw how that played out. It would be disrespecting Tomas and the exceptional tennis he’s displayed in this tournament to not give some mental room to the same possibility. Not that I believe it for a second, but stranger things have happened. Radek Stepanek, for one.

Anyway. In keeping with today’s theme, I have to admit my attention was absorbed more by the loser in this semi-final than the winner.

Once again, it wasn’t the loss so much as the manner of the loss that absorbed my attention. Perhaps I was too ready to be sold a bill of goods, but I was taking some real positives from the way that Nole performed in this tournament. After the first round when he was taken to five by Olivier Rochus, I felt like he not only knuckled down but rediscovered something of his old fire. It felt like he had conviction. Today, not so much. He was unlucky at crucial moments – the perfect lob called out in the second set tiebreaker will live long in infamy – but those moments were met with an ironic eye-roll and shrug to his box. It feels like, somehow, the Nole that we’ve seen for the past year – the one who’s almost embarrassed to be seen to be competing – was in full force and the old/new Nole had disappeared. His shots, once again, had no penetration. His game was toothless; it lacked bite. It hurt to watch. He was graciousness itself in his presser, but I’d rather a little less grace and a little more … win.

Ultimately, what Berdych had to do today was hold his nerve. He did, quite superbly. What Nole had to do … well, that would first have necessitated Nole getting on the court rather than being lost in transit. I still believe, though. I really do. I know he’s better than this.

As for Tomas … well, he’s been a revelation in these championships. And he’s earned a Wimbledon final – a Wimbledon final! Tomas Berdych! – in which I wouldn’t mind a few more revelations from his end of the court. Still, whatever he does or doesn’t do will not diminish his accomplishments. It’s a good position to be in. Poj’d me.

3 Responses to “Wimbledon Day 11: Not Nearly Enough.”

  1. Aleksa said

    Love this post. Absolutely love it.
    I really do. I know he’s better than this.

  2. tali said

    Oh Nole! Why are you doing this to me! I just want old Novak with jokes and big ego back! Whats wrong there? Feels like Fed was almost right when he said Djokovic cant play tennis anymore…

  3. lauren said

    This match exemplifies why I find tennis so fascinating. Despite all the high-tech fitness regimes, specialist diets, years of training and teams of support personnel, matches still turn out to be about that tiny wisp of air called belief. Nole couldn’t find his mojo and Tomas forgot to be frail. It’s unexpected, maybe unrepeatable, but it makes the saga more compelling.

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