Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rivalries And Other Animals

One more day till real tennis! The off-season is looming up before us like a great cavernous maw of boredom, so I'm determined to enjoy this year ending championships as much as I can. And I don't think it can be an unenjoyable tournament, with all the talent on show!

We've got two great singles matches to kick us off tomorrow - Group A is playing, and we're going to start off with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, followed by Fernando Verdasco and the mighty mighty Roger Federer. Both matches have the potential to be great - because, hello, this isn't the WTA here, and all four of these guys have the potential to win the whole thing. (Well, I'd probably put a bit of question mark over Verdasco, but I don't know if anyone would call that forehand 'weak'.)

I'll be very interested to see the match between Murray and del Potro in particular - not that Federer/Verdasco won't also be interesting (and I'll probably be more nervous about it, given my extreme pro-Roger tendencies), but the Murray/del Potro rivalry is one that I think is going to be intriguing for a number of years. In the long run, I think Murray and del Potro are going to be each others' biggest rivals. They're not quite Roger and Rafa, but their games match up quite interestingly...

They don't like each other. We know this. I don't think Andy and Juan M are ever going to have a bromance like Fedal. Juan is a big hitter. Muzz is more of a defensive counterpuncher. Muzz is the one that everyone's been talking about as the Next Big Thing, the favourite at the Slams... but Juan has consistently outperformed him, and beat him to the first crown. Juan is big and strong. Muzz is smaller and wiry. They're such totally different players that it's really difficult to pick one over the other.

Murray has a 4-1 head-to-head lead over del Potro, which definitely is in his favour psychologically - and I think the dislike between them is probably something that will spur Murray on, given the fact that he's a pretty sour sort of guy. But the last time they played was Montreal - aka before the US Open. How is the Murray/del Potro dynamic going to change in the aftermath of Juan's grand slam triumph? Knowing that he has that one up over Muzz will, I think, make Juan very, very happy...

3 comments:

Jess said...

Need some gossip here. Why they don't like each other? I find it's hard to dislike the big, sad face monkey. He's adorable.

Jodi said...

There was an altercation at a match in Rome last year where JMDP insulted Muzz's mother, and Muzz obviously didn't take too kindly to that. I think they've kind of made an uneasy peace now, but I don't think they'll ever be bestest best buds.

Jess said...

Thanks. I've looked it up based on your tips as well -- juicy