New Balls, Please

"Climbing the Comeback Mountain with the Tower of Tandil."

  • Recent Posts

  • Unhealthily Obsessed With

    agnieszka radwanska alize cornet amelie mauresmo ana ivanovic andy murray andy roddick aravane rezai ATP ATP week ahead australian open beijing belgrade british tennis bstaad caroline wozniacki cincinnati daniela hantuchova david ferrer david nalbandian davis cup dinara safina doha dubai elena dementieva ernests gulbis estoril fed cup feliciano lopez fernando gonzalez fernando verdasco flavia pennetta francesca schiavone french open gael monfils gilles simon image is everything indian wells jelena jankovic jo-wilfried tsonga john isner juan carlos ferrero juan martin del potro juan monaco julien benneteau justine henin kim clijsters kuala lumpur li na lleyton hewitt los angeles madrid marat safin marcos baghdatis maria kirilenko maria sharapova marin cilic marion bartoli melanie oudin miami mikhail youzhny montreal munich nikolay davydenko novak djokovic paris masters philipp kohlschreiber queens radek stepanek rafael nadal richard gasquet robin soderling roger federer rome sabine lisicki samantha stosur sam querrey serena williams shahar peer shanghai sorana cirstea stuttgart svetlana kuznetsova sydney the withdrawal method thomaz bellucci titlists tokyo tomas berdych tommy robredo us open venus williams vera zvonareva victoria azarenka video wimbledon WTA wta week ahead WTFs yanina wickmayer
  • Categories

Wimbledon Day 13: No Muss, Some Fuss

Posted by gauloises1 on July 5, 2010

Rafael Nadal d. Tomas Berdych, 63 75 64

[insert superlative]

You know, my sister – irritatingly – had the poor taste to be born on a Wimbledon semifinals day way back when, and compounds her error by insisting on some form of ‘celebration’ of her birthday every year which almost always prevents me from watching the men’s final. I ask you. Anyway, I was explaining to someone at work today that I hadn’t had time to watch it back yet. “Don’t bother,” he advised. “Watch the highlights.” And this is a tennis-mad sports journo talking.

I disregarded that advice, obviously, but having watched the whole thing, I don’t have that much to say about the actual match; clinical rather than exhilarating from Rafa, just too many errors from Berdych (although no doubt Rafa would have raised his level had Berdych raised his). It didn’t need to be that big a performance from Rafa, though, and I’m not casting aspersions on Berdych here; he had already in a sense had his big performances of the tournament, first by overcoming some determined challenges from underdogs Petzchner and Haase (and I do attribute that to the level of play they showed, rather than Rafa being sub-par), and secondly in his dominance of Soderling and Murray. Nothing left to do on the Sunday but get the job done, and that’s what he did, emphatically.

A word, of course, for Tomas Berdych, who I think has caught a bit of undeserved flak for his performance yesterday; he was hardly bad, just a little overpowered by the occasion (and there was that dude at the other end of the court). First finals are hard; people talk about ‘nothing to lose’, but as Francesca Schiavone astutely pointed out before the French Open final, whenever you’re playing for something, there’s always something to lose. Besides, I imagine you’re not thinking about your ‘first’ final in that situation as much as you are thinking ‘this might be my only final’.

He’s had, of course, a fantastic tournament, doing that thing that’s always a thrill when a talented player finds whatever recipe it is that works in order to do what people have always suspected he could. And I was encouraged by the way he talked quite soberly, both in his on-court interview and his press conference, about knuckling down and kicking on and building on what he’s achieved. I really hope he can. I want to see more of the kind of tennis he’s played to light a fire under these championships.

And that smile …

Rafa, though. I think it speaks volumes for how finely-balanced the state of affairs is at the top of the men’s game when it feels this noteworthy for the no. 1 player (albeit not the no. 1 seed) to win Wimbledon. When you consider where and how Rafa was twelve months ago, to have come back stronger and – I don’t think there can be any doubt – looking more dominant than ever before is really remarkable. I mean … what can you say? You know it all, anyway. And honestly, how many people in history have celebrated their eighth Grand Slam with a roly-poly on Centre Court that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the field at lunchtime? That’s Rafa. Can’t wait to see what he does if and when he wins the US Open.

I do want to say how pleased I am for the lovely Rafa fans I know – Jewell and AmyLu in particular, neither of whom I know really believed this would happen this year.


So … who’s taking bets on a career Slam now, then?

6 Responses to “Wimbledon Day 13: No Muss, Some Fuss”

  1. gauloises1 said

    I’m going to be pathetic and comment on my own post to point out that it could very easily have been titled ‘No Muzz, Some Fuss’, I’ve just noticed …

  2. AmyLu said

    Thanks much for this lovely post! And, yes, I most certainly did not believe this win would happen this year. I still can’t really explain what happened at Wimbledon. All I know is I feel like I received a most unexpected gift, and one that I will always treasure.

    I completely agree that the final was not exactly scintillating tennis. I do think, though, that Berdych should be given much credit for his play over the course of the tournament — and not be overly criticized for yesterday. I was struck by the fact that even though Berdych seemed to be battling uphill for almost the entire match, he never seemed to check out mentally, like he’s done in the past. I think he’s made huge strides in the last two grand slams, and I really hope it continues. I think it’s a joy to watch him play when he’s playing well, and how can anyone not love his smile? So I want to see more of those after wins, please!

    • Cubbie_ said

      Amy- I agree with you. This does seem like an unexpected gift. At the start of this year I would never have thought that Rafa would get the Channel Slam again. He did not play his best in the final- but in the quarters and semis he I thought showed some great stuff.

      This was an unxpected treat. I am very happy.

  3. Chris Ross said

    I really enjoyed reading your article keep up the good work! I thought that this year’s wimbledon was very exciting and was happy to see Rafael Nadal take home his second title. But you have wonder if his injuries are going to catch up to him. I’m worried for how his career is going to pan out because of the injury problems considering it could be an unbelievable career rather than just very good. Also, you think you could check out my blog? I really want to know what your opinion is on my thoughts.

  4. irefusetotellyou said

    +2 on everything you said

    I really would like Berd to win a major, though, obviously. If Delpoid can’t be back for the USO (deep breaths all around), maybe it’s this other tall hard-hitting young dude’s turn.

  5. harini said

    Great post Gaul. Agree with everything you said. I didn’t think Rafa would win Wimbledon – rather, I didn’t put it on my Rafa wishlist for 2010. But as Amy said, it was unexpected and quite welcome 🙂

    It would be great if Rafa can win the USO this year. That’s basically the only thing I’ve wanted from him this season. But if he doesn’t, the other stuff makes up for it 🙂

    Good on Tomas for making the final and I hope he makes another Slam final soon and wins one while he’s at it. And sigh, that smile. Beyond adorable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: