Thursday, March 19, 2009

Popcorn tennis

Sometimes, men’s tennis is so good, I wonder if there’s a script. But then it would be wrestling and that would make me sad.
If there were a script, Rafa Nadal would be the guy who always looks down and out … then claws his way to victory, defying the odds, probably with a Peter Cetera song shrieking on in the background about the glory of love.
Nadal’s latest magic trick was performed in the wee hours of Thursday morning at Indian Wells, fighting off five match points, then utterly dominating David Nalbandian 6-0 in the third set. A lot of people might see a result like this, and add them with the previous titanic battles he’s been through, and wonder if he’s really good enough to be No. 1, because he doesn’t wipe the floor with opponents (like some former world No. 1, ahemRogerFedererahem). Um, yeah! And on top of that, I like him more with each improbable victory. He da man! That’s it!

And then there’s Dinara Safina, who could have become world No. 1 with an appearance in this final. You did notice the past tense usage, right? Yeah, quarterfinal loss to Victoria Azarenka, who would have probably beaten Serena Williams in Australia if the match hadn’t taken place in an oven. However, Safina is slowly showing the ability to deal with pressure situations with a steady hand. Very slowly. How slowly? She might be mentally ready for a Slam final by this time next year.

Last, but certainly the most entertaining news this week is Roger Federer and his girlfriend Mirka expecting a baby. Let’s just kill the noise about fatherhood taking the edge off the Fed. Look, Tiger Woods has two kids, and he’s still the best player in the world! (He also finished ninth in his last tournament …) But we need to get to the heart of the matter here. There are some serious concerns to address:
1. Roger. Are you going to marry your girlfriend?
2. Whatever happened to traditional child names, like Susan, and Thomas and Randall? Why do people have to name their kids after car parts, fruits and aging rock stars?


yogahz said...

What is it with the women's serving games lately. I mean All. Of. Them. It didn't used to be a problem on the tour. But maybe they're trying to do more with a serve now than a decade or so ago.

Anyway, Oh Dinara. I don't think being the top seed helped - too many expectations. She needs to win her first big tournament as an underdog. Then maybe she'll keep the confidence she should have.

Oh - Apple.

TopSpin said...

Rafa is indeed da man! He served his way out of trouble at 3-5 down in the 2nd set, and that was truly a revelation. Nalbandian didn't 'give' that game away the way he did his own service game at 5-4 up.

You know what? I beginning to believe more an more that Dinara, Jelena, Ana, Elena and even Vera are more or less at the same level right now.

Ana managed to 'wing it' at RG last year at Dinara's expense. Dinara was unable to 'wing it' this year in Australia. That doesn't mean either of them are better or worse than the other.

And you're right, if Roger names his child something like Apple, Fluffy or 'Rebound Ace' I'll switch camps and become a Rafanatic in protest!

Naf said...

I don't know, yogahz. But the few women who can win points on their serves -- the Williams sisters, Sharapova -- are at a different level. I'd love to see Dinara break through, especially with her game, but I just don't see it this year, although she has made strides this year for sure.
Hi, TopSpin! You know what? I think you're right about that bunch. I think that's why women's tennis is struggling right now, because those women would play a compelling match against each other, but not so much against the Williamses (for now). I just get so irritated with the women's game right now.

Tennis said...

Rafa is definitely the player to beat! I felt sad for David Nalbandian who probably exerted all of his energy to close out the match in two sets.