The results in Washington this week are like stepping back five or more years. It's crazy. And it's also one of the greatest triumphs of talent I have ever seen.
I have talked before about how I think Tomas Berdych is crazy talented - which he is - but Xavier Malisse is, in my book, much more so, and really could have been something if he had managed to capitalise on it. Which he hasn't. Not really. He should have been solid top ten for several years and he never came close. But now, in his relative old age, he's having some success - at this tournament anyway.
Maybe it was the threat of his career ending with that whole drugs thing last year - the same thing that enveloped Yanina Wickmayer - because it really seems to have lit a fire under Malisse. He's never going to reach the top ten, but he's been moderately impressive this year by anyone's standards. And now he's beaten the top seed (Berdych) to progress to the semis in Washington. Good work, Xavier.
And then there's Marcos Baghdatis and Marin Cilic - very talented, both of them - but well, well, who is this I see? It surely couldn't be the man who has missed the last six Slams but still manages to keep it together for Davis Cup? Oh why yes, it is. David Nalbandian is playing as well as I've seen him for a long time and he played some lovely stuff in putting out Roddick-beater Simon. I really want to see him keep on this trajectory of improvement, because seriously, seeing Daveed play when he's playing well is something very special.
I'd be happy with any one of these four boys taking the title, but I really would like to see Malisse or Nalbandian do it. It's been a long time between drinks but they're finally back at the bar!
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago