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Monte-Carlo: Red Planet

Posted by gauloises1 on April 19, 2010

So, the 2010 ATP red clay season is well and truly underway. How do we know?

He’s baaack.

After coming valiantly and in some cases agonisingly close over the past ten months, Rafa is gnawing on silverware again. I know it’s seemed like forever for his fans, but re-entering the winners’ circle by becoming the first man in the Open era to win the same title six times in a row is not too shabby.

He dropped just 14 games throughout the tournament and handed out three breadsticks and three bagels, including one of each in the final, and never for a second looked like losing. It’s hard to write about, because superlatives seem both excessive and insincere, but it really was a breathtakingly dominant performance from first to last. I think what I’m trying to say is … did you know that Nadal guy is actually quite good at tennis? He is.

So far, so laudable. But what was genuinely moving was the fact that after celebrating match point, he walked over to his chair, sat down, hid his face in a towel, and melted into tears. It was such a sweet moment, but unlike so many after the past months, untinged by bitterness. Nice to see.

It’s easy to forget, given his thorough destruction in the final, that it was a seminal tournament for Fernando Verdasco, who twice came back from a set down against Berdych and Montanes respectively before handing out a straight sets beatdown against an (admittedly somewhat listless) Novak Djokovic. He was mastered completely in the final, but I can’t think of many – maybe any – who wouldn’t have been, and never stopped fighting despite physically struggling – the fact that he won the point of the match by dint of sheer effort when 06 14 down is evidence of that.

And both cheered up to provide a sufficiently bromantic trophy ceremony:

This was fully Rafa’s moment though, and it’s about time – if only because Jewell might stop having double-bagelled nightmares and AmyLu will hopefully be around a bit more now …

Everybody wins!

5 Responses to “Monte-Carlo: Red Planet”

  1. Bismarck said

    aw. good stuff.

  2. ack said

    Beautiful writeup for a great win. We sure waited a long time for this one. Let’s hope there’s another trophy for him around the corner now that he’s rediscovered the winning formula.

    Vamos, Rafa!

  3. AmyLu said

    I promise I will do my best to be around more (and really I love your blog so much that the state of Rafa’s tennis will never prevent me from being here, promise!) — I’ve just been swamped work-wise as I had to travel for a conference last week and travel again this week to another one. I was only able to catch Rafa twice in Monte Carlo — his first match and the final, but I’m overjoyed to finally be able to celebrate a tournament win. It felt like an eon since he last won — and the tears had me very choked up.

    Nightmares notwithstanding, Jewell had much more faith than I did in Rafa — I was very unsure whether he’d be able to right things this year on clay. I’m very happy she was right, and I was wrong!

    • jewell - Make tea, not war. said

      I was worried, too – as Gauly can attest, my having bored her for four hours every week about how worried I was – (and I still am about some aspects) but he’d been close & had chances even on worst surfaces – so there seemed enough reason to be optimistic rather than entirely despairing. I am ridiculously happy for him – you could see how much it meant.

      I know it wasn’t the world’s toughest draw for Rafa. I did think that he played very well in the final, which was the only match I saw. The second set could’ve been closer perhaps – Verdasco certainly had chances. I did think that he fought hard through the whole match, too (apart from one discouraged-looking game, perhaps.)

      Love the write-up & the lovely pictures. 🙂 Could look at those forever.

  4. Westney said

    I agree with Ack, fantastic write-up. Job well done!

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