Saturday, July 3, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

There was always a certain inevitability about Serena winning this tournament. Once it got to the quarters - especially once it got to the semis and Venus was out - it was always going to happen.

There's a reason Serena is so good, and it's not because she has a first serve that is better than anyone else's on the tour, and it's not because she knows what shot to make when. It's because she's got tunnel vision when it comes to winning. Sometimes that tunnel vision can articulate itself in unpleasant ways - the US Open last year comes to mind - but on the whole, it is the driving force behind her success.

I've heard it compared to Nadal's state of mind, and while I think there are similarities, I think they are not the same thing. Rafa has an intense concentration - more intense than any other player I've ever seen. It's a kind of point by point concentration which is quite unique - he has a fierce will to win every point he plays. Serena also has a great deal of concentration, but it's not quite Rafa-esque - what is behind her is her overwhelming will to win. Not the will to win the point, like Rafa, but a more abstract will to win the set, the match... and, I would extrapolate, at life.

This is also, I would contend, one of the key differences between Serena and Venus. Serena has some more weapons than Venus does, sure, but that singular focus? That's all Serena, amigo.

I wasn't expecting a lot of Vera in this final but I was, I confess, a little disappointed. She played great to keep Serena to 3-all in the first set, but once Serena got the break, it was pretty much all over Red Rover for Vera. She's definitely come a long way mentally but she has a while left to go, I think. Nonetheless, a very successful two weeks for her, and I think she can come away very proud.

But surprise, surprise... Serena triumphed. Congratulations, Rere. You deserved this one big time.