Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Man You Cannot Ignore

I don't think there is anyone in the world who picked Nadal to make the final of the US Open, much less to win. Everyone was all like, 'no, he doesn't play well here, he hates this surface, Andy Murray ra ra ra'.

I'm rooting for Federer. We know this. And my life would be easier if all this were true. But the fact of the matter is that Rafa, you are awesome, and I am so glad you have proved your doubters wrong.

The man who can't play in the US Open has got to the semis without dropping a set - and before today, he hadn't got his serve broken at all in the tournament, which is absolutely phenomenal. He has also added a whole lot more oomph to that serve and is playing like a demon out of hell. He is totally capable of winning the whole thing. Like, scarily capable. But while I am scared, I cannot help but applaud.

I know that his big obstacle was supposed to be Andy Murray, who would smash him like a guitar in the quarters. Instead, he faces Mikhail Youzhny, who put him out of the US Open a few years ago but seems unlikely to repeat the feat. But this does not mean that any feat Rafa has achieved has any kind of asterisk over it - not at all. Rafa may have a relatively cupcake-y draw, but that isn't his fault and he can't be held accountable for it.

A Fedal final would be the ultimate frazzle test for a Federer fan. But it also has the potential to be one of the greatest matches ever.

Not that I'm counting chickens or anything - Roger has to get by Djokovic, and Youzhny, well, he did put Rafa out that one time. But no matter what happens, Rafa has so much to be proud of this tournament. We talk about Fed-haters a lot - I don't know if there are Nadal-haters so much as Nadal-ignorers. And Rafa has shown us time and time again that he is not a man who can be ignored.

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