The biggest thing to come out of today's showdown in Shanghai is not that Rafa Nadal lost a match. People will probably jump up and down and be all RAFA'S DECLINE about it, but at the end of the day, this was no biggie for the Rafinator and I don't think it indicates too much about him and his form.
No, the biggest thing to come out of today was that Jurgen Melzer won a match. He won a match against an excellent player and he did it with panache.
You know what this match reminded me of? It reminded me of that match last year where Benneteau played an absolute screamer of a match against Federer, and there just wasn't much Roger could do about it. In the best of three sets arena, there is always going to be a guy that comes out not just red, but white hot - ablaze, an inferno of a man, and even if you are the best player in the world, you just can't do much about it.
That was Jurgen Melzer today.
I don't think Melzer can keep that standard up, purely because no one can keep that standard up. But this has been the year of his tennis career. He made the semis of a Slam - I sure never picked that one! - has had some excellent victories, and now he's played his ultimate game to beat the best player in the world right now. He's really made good on his talent and potential this year. And if he continues playing at a not-quite-this-good level, he could even win this tournament.
Spare a moment for Jurgen Melzer. This match is going to get talked about from a Rafa-centric perspective, the way any match is talked about when a big player loses. But remember - Rafa didn't lose this match. Jurgen won it. And what sweet, sweet victory it was.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago