2010 Recap


Despite the vast amount of commentary floating around cyberspace right now, pro-tennis continues to be played (and has been played), even though I haven’t written about it. Yes it’s shocking, but the hard facts are the world still turns, even without eloquent prose to describe it.

OK, so first, I need to pay respect to Rafa. The last time I wrote was during the 2nd week of the US Open, and I failed to comment on the absolutely incredible accomplishment that Rafa achieved by winning that tournament (def Djokovic) thus etching his name in the history of tennis as the youngest player ever to win all four grand slams.  He’s just 24.  Oh yeah, and for winning the French Open (for the 5th time!) and Wimbledon (for the 2nd time!)  Not a bad year.  And he doesn’t appear to be slowing down.  If anything, he appears to be getting better.  (See his new 130+mph serve, for example)

What must a guy like Andy Roddick be feeling right now?  How must it feel to be the top ranked American for the better part of the past 10 years, to have been ranked in the top-10 for the past 8 years straight, and to have one – one – grand slam title to his credit.  Put yourself in his shoes for a minute.  It’s 2003 and you’ve just won the US Open, the fulfillment of a life-long goal.  You’re all fired up, ready to head to Australia in 2004, and then…

2004
Australian: Federer
French: Gastón Gaudio
Wimbledon: Federer
US Open: Federer

2005
Australian: Safin
French: Nadal
Wimbledon: Federer
US Open: Federer

2006
Australian: Federer
French: Nadal
Wimbledon: Federer
US Open: Federer

2007
Australian: Federer
French: Nadal
Wimbledon: Federer
US Open: Federer

2008
Australian: Djokovic
French: Nadal
Wimbledon: Nadal
US Open: Federer

2009
Australian: Nadal
French: Federer
Wimbledon: Federer
US Open: Del Potro

2010
Australian: Federer
French: Nadal
Wimbledon: Nadal
US Open: Nadal

Seven years and 28 grand slam tournaments later, and only 4 guys not named Federer or Nadal have brought home the “W”, and you’re not one of the 4.  It’s your time in the sun, but…unfortunately, you just happened to come of age at the precise moment in time the two greatest players who have ever played the game decided to leave their mark on tennis immortality.  Sorry dude; right place, wrong time.

And speaking of Roger and Rafa, anybody watch the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals?  Who wants to stand up and proclaim that Roger is waning?  Did you see his new & improved backhand?!  It looks like he’s been practicing backhands with a 10lb medicine ball or something…he was ripping winners right and left against everybody, to include Rafa.  Rafa showed up for the final and his gameplan was straight out of the “How to Beat Roger Federer 101” playbook, which interestingly is only two sentences:

#1 Be Nadal
#2 Hit ball with very much topspin to Roger backhand, no?

Well Roger had the answers this time, and just punished Nadal with that backhand.  How did Roger clinch that first set?  Exactly: a backhand winner crosscourt to break Rafa’s serve.  He looked scary good.

All you guys not currently ranked #1 or #2 in the world, how excited are you for 2011?

[sigh]  I don’t know about you, but I feel damned lucky to live at this particular moment in time where I’m able to watch the best of the best and the best ever compete against each other.  I love what Roger said about his rivalry with Rafa:

“Also, I think having had me and Rafa both make the career Grand Slam already at a young age I think is great for the game. We’re obviously playing not only for ourselves and beating the other guys, but also for history. I think there’s a lot at stake always in all our matches we play. I think it’s wonderful.”

I agree.

And while I’m thinking about it, how ‘bout that Jack Sock!  Winning the US Open Juniors title; not bad for a high school kid.  Don’t know if you guys saw it or not, but Jack was doing a bit of journaling/blogging during the tournament, and I found it to be pretty interesting.  Take, for example, his comments about warming up with Djokovic:

“Another cool part of the day was that Novak Djokovic and I warmed up again. Today was a little different. It felt more serious. There wasn’t as much talking and he didn’t miss a ball in the warm-up until we were 20 minutes into it. His ball is so clean and his movement is scary. If you watched him play today you saw what I mean. I was at his match against Federer — unbelievable. Both of the guys are ripping the ball, down match points. I guess that’s what makes them the best in the world. I can’t imagine the final Sunday.”

And while I’m rambling, hat’s off to the KC Explorers very own Jarka Groth on winning her first WTA title!  I watched that match on Tennis Channel.  The tournament appeared to be played in a giant green bowl, somwhere in the mountains in Mongolia.  Every time the camera would pan out…there were no people in the seats!  Very weird. (Near as I can tell, it was actually played at the Tianhe Sports Center, for whatever that’s worth)  Anyway, congratulations Jarka!

That’s all for tonight.

Next stop, Melbourne in Jan 17-30, 2011

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One Response to 2010 Recap

  1. Pingback: Aussie-Observations: Day 1 | The Tencap Tennis Blog

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