Farewell America and hello Europe, farewell purple hardcourts - welcome to the red stuff. It seems like just yesterday we were all worried about these two big hardcourt Masters titles - well, it was yesterday, but whatevs. Today, it is all about the clay.
Suddenly, my friends, we are in the lead up to Roland Garros - where, for the first time ever, Roger Federer will be returning as defending champion. Here we have a very interesting few months of tennis. Oh yes we do.
But today let's forget all that. I want to write a little bit about one particular player - a player that opened his clay account (and, indeed, his account for the year, as far as I can tell) with a loss in Casablanca. (So much for 'hello Europe' - we're actually still in America and in Africa this week. Oops). That player is Robin Haase.
A couple of years back, when Haase played Hewitt in the first round of Wimbledon and played him so, so tight (five sets) I seriously thought this Dutch kid was the real deal. He was about twenty at the time, I think, and he played tennis pretty damn spectacularly. He was to me about two, three years back what Ernests Gulbis is now - one of the faces of the future of tennis.
And then he pretty much fell off the face of the planet. And I have no idea what happened to him.
This is the case sometimes, I suppose - when a player with so much promise and talent just never makes it happen. We always hear about the ones that do - I mean, Roger Federer, hello - but there are so, so many that don't. Just take a tour through the winners of junior Slams. For every Federer, even every Monfils, you have a Todd Reid. Who is that? Good question. I only know because he's Australian - he won junior Wimbledon and then did nothing else of note ever, as far as I can tell.
Robin Haase is, I am sad to say, might just be a Todd Reid. He didn't lose badly today - he went down in straights in breakers to Marcel Granollers - but even just playing a match on the tour level is a big thing for him now. I thought he'd have a huge stack of titles by now.
For every fairy tale, there is the one that didn't quite happen. And Robin Haase is one of those stories.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago