It’s that unfortunate time of the year where the average person goes from caring very little about tennis to not even giving two shits about it. The break between the Aussie Open and the French is criminally long, especially when viewed in the greater picture that yields Wimbledon usually occurring less than a month after Roland Garros- would be better for fans and players to space out the tournaments.
In any case, I’ve been up now for 24 hours straight hours. And I hate myself. I hate that I put everything behind Fed yet again, even that I knew his best days were/are behind him. Hate that I believed that after he forced that 5th set that he could pull it out and even convinced myself he might get a whiff of beating Novak.
Victoria Azarenka v. Li Na- There has been more controversy around Azarenka making the finals than any female in recent memory. The general consensus is that Azarenka ‘cheated tennis’ and that given enough time, the entire sport will collapse in on itself under the weight of its own importance.
I must admit that when the first stories about Azarenka/Stephens came out just a couple days ago , I was furious. Not only had Azarenka seemingly called a timeout based solely on nerves, but she had, at least at the time, sold it under the auspices of being a standard injury/break that any professional might expect to see. She’s since stepped back from the statements and done all that she can to make it less about head games than physical issues, but very few in the tennis world are buying it.
In any other sport, she’d be seen as a great coach or given points for gamesmanship. In other words, who the fuck cares? I thought Sharapova was going to tap dance to another trophy. Li Na was amazing. She rises to the challenge again and takes the finals, 6-4,6-3.
Novak Djokvaic v. Andy Murray- I’ve heard a lot of people try to compare the semifinal matches and extrapolate out a winner. Invariably, we end up with Murray being unable to stop the Djokavic juggernaut. But they do so with the suspect reasons in mind. Djokavic wins this match in 4, but it has nothing to do with why Murray took 5 sets to get by Federer nor why it only took Djokavic 3 sets to send Ferrer packing. Ferrer is a fantastic #5 player on the tour- given that the expectation is that he can always beat anyone seeded lower than #5, but don’t expect him to compete with anyone above that rank.
I’m absolutely not buying in to the Murray propaganda. Despite Murray playing out of his mind the last week, he can’t stop Novak from three-peating. Prost!
Update (9:30am) I will confess that I barely remember writing any of this post last night. Knowing that all of our devout readers were eagerly awaiting HFTE’s predictions of the finals and that the women were about to go on in less than an hour at the time of publishing, I forsook trying to talk game to some cute Puerto Rican chick to get this out in time. What can I say- Sarge is a slave driver.
And in the process of trying to get back to my place last night, mother nature reared its ugly, ugly head and I wiped out on a set of brick steps. To boot, I wasn’t able to catch myself as in sticking to my Steve Austin costume, I was carrying a couple tallboys of Natty Light. God I hate winter.
Anyway, men’s scores- Novak wins it 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Murray’s ascent is really making the tour more fun to watch, for sure, but he’s just not to the level quite yet where we should mention him in the same breath as Novak. He’s risen to #3 in the world – and will be #2 or better by the end of the year – but he’s still raw, still angry and still not polished enough to beak Novak. The better he gets, though, the more he can keep Novak from running away with the entire ATP. He’s coming off his first win over Federer in a major ever and what a win it was. Not an instant classic like last year’s monster between Novak/Nadal, but still worth getting up at 3AM. Hope to see you all on the Internetz then.