Thursday, December 9, 2010

Looking Back - New York

So, over the next few days, I'm going to do a little series - a sort of year in tennis. More specifically, a year in Slams, and even more specifically, a year in Slams backwards. Why? Because I can. So today we're going to talk US Open.

This tournament belonged to Rafa. There is no doubting that. He didn't have the hardest draw in the world, but he played excellent tennis all the way to the final. And what an achievement for him - getting not only his third Slam of the year, but completing his career Slam. Having seen Federer do it the year before, I think we were highly sensible to this achievement. And for such a young man... wow.

The final was a bit anti-climactic. Even when it was a set apiece, one could sort of sense that Rafa was going to win. And there's no way it could measure up to That Semi - the one that broke the hearts of Federer fans around the world.

It was, strictly speaking, Novak Djokovic's turn. But the way he won that match - after Federer had held match points - was simply heartbreaking for those of us of the Federer disposition. Several people (as usual) thought it signalled the demise of Federer. In hindsight, we know now that it didn't. Federer went on to tag Djokovic two or three times before 2010 was over. But I think he'd swap a couple of those wins for that one.

But maybe we weren't quite ready for Federer and Nadal to face off again yet. The world needs time to prepare before those titans clash. And if there's one thing I want to prove with this little series, it's that the year finished on exactly the right note. Federer vs Nadal. At the end of the day, that is what the ATP is about.

But anyway. My favourite match of the US Open was Federer vs Soderling in the quarter finals. I thought it signalled good things to come in the rest of the tournament - clearly I was a bit wrong there! But it was a fantastic Slam-level - I don't want to say revenge match, but you know what I mean - time for Federer to get Soderling back for Roland Garros. He played very well there. And my favourite matches are always the ones where Federer does well. This is no secret.

But before I go, there was another key player in the tournament, and that was Andy Murray. He lost early. Again. After he made the final in Australia, even though he didn't win - actually, even before this, really - I think just about everyone thought it would be a matter of time until he had a Slam to his name. When he went out at the US Open? That's when I started doubting his ability to ever win a Slam.

But at the end of the day, this tournament was Rafa's. And it was very, very well deserved!

No comments: