Tuesday, June 10, 2008

French Open Wrap-Up

OK I can finally write about it. I’ve suppressed the sniffles, wiped the tears, and hung up my clay hopes for yet another year.

And yes really, I had been hopeful. After all, he had hired Higueras and all signs pointed to a serious desire to win the French. And I probably should be consoled by the fact that he made it to the finals against Nadal. This once again confirms that he is the second best on clay. But sadly, second best isn’t good enough. It’s not where he wants to be, I am sure.

Actually I did not even watch the match. After he lost a set to Gael Monfils [photo on left], I had relinquished all hope. Gael Monfils???? Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Gael and I am thrilled that he made it to the semis of Roland Garros. But against the Number 1 player in the world [Number 2 on clay], Gael had no business winning too many games, much less a set. But he did. And he almost forced Federer to a fifth set. And I knew then that there was no way Federer had a chance in hell of winning Roland Garros. And he didn’t.

I played tennis while the match was on. I was actually playing well, if I do say so myself. I still tend to make too many damn double-faults but I have figured out that it’s all in the toss. I am working on fixing it. I’m getting there.

From time to time I would dash into the clubhouse, once on the pretext of going to the bathroom, the other to purchase an energy drink. I discovered that he had lost the first set, and then the second.

A diehard hopeful – an old man wearing high socks – announced that Federer was going to come back from here. He stated confidently that he had it on good grounds that Nadal had developed arthritis in both knees which is why he wore them bandaged. He insisted that Nadal could not keep up this level of play.

I sucked my teeth and left, thinking that there is a far cry between hope and delusion. No chance in hell, I thought. No way can Federer come back from this. But secretly I continued to hope.

Back on the court, I asked my opponent to pray. She looked at me as if I had lost my mind. “What, to win the lottery?” she asked, amused. “That too”, I replied. And then I looked up to the sky and shouted, “Please Jah. All he needs is one. He doesn’t ever need to win it again. Nadal has many many more chances. This is Federer’s last chance. Have a heart. Please…I begging.”

My friend giggled. She thought I was being silly. And in truth I was dramatizing my prayer as if I didn’t really mean it. But I meant every word. I even thought of adding, “Please break one of Nadal’s legs”, but that seemed to be going too far. One never knows with these prayer things. Next thing you know I would be flat on my face on the tennis court, hobbled. Don’t mess with the Big Guy, not even in jest. After all, he just might not let me win the damn lottery after all. Just to show me who is boss.

I never found out the final score until much later that night. It wasn’t until after nightfall that I discovered that Federer had swallowed a bagel in the third set. And that it was the worst ever loss by a Number 1 player in a Grand Slam final and in the past 20 years. Jah help him, I prayed silently again. His depression must be profound. Not even sex with fatty Mirka can pull him out of this one.

A friend wrote the next day to tell me that he was suicidal. I’m sure he was joking. But I understood his sadness. It’s tough watching your fave lose yet another match to an opponent for whom he simply has no answers. It should help that no-one else does either. But it doesn’t. Truth is, I am dreading Wimbledon. What if Nadal crushes him there too? The sad thing is that it is very possible. Shudder…

Despite the tragic ending, this was actually a very exciting French Open. Congrats to Nadal for making history. Four French Opens in a row. It is a stunning achievement.

I am also happy for Dinara Safina [photo on right] for her breakthrough. Marat Safin had accurately predicted that the world know would one day know him as Dinara’s brother. Sure she had run out of energy by the finals and was clearly not going to do one of her back-from-the-brink-of-disaster comebacks. But Ana Ivanovic [photo below left] was also not going to let the opportunity to cement her Number 1 status fall by the wayside. I felt proud of them both.

I believe that Ivanovic is a more deserving Number 1 than the one-dimensional Maria Sharapova. And besides, I am honestly sick of Maria's screeching. I know that the French crowd was more than a bit unfair in their support of Dinara in the match against Sharapova, but in this I kinda sided with them. Sharapova infuriates. And she’s no Number 1.

And once again Martina Navratilova succeeded in annoying me while commentating on a match in which Svetlana Kuzetnova was playing. If I did not know better [and the truth is that I don’t], I would swear that Navratilova was in love with this young woman. In fact at times she seemed desperately so. I know that they have been doubles partners but that does not explain Navratilova’s horribly biased commentary. Even while Dinara was beating her opponent senseless, all Navratilova could talk about was how talented Kutzetnova was. It was a pathetic display of favoritism. I hope the Tennis Channel fires her.


van said...

It was definitely an interesting tournament to say the least. I never thought that men's final would end up like it did!

I didn't hear Martina commenting on the Safina-Kuznetsova match, but if it went down like that, then something should definitely be said or done. Kuznetsova's good, but she was getting killed out there!

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