I did not get to see much tennis yesterday due to being in transit for most of the day - there was a whole incident with a cancelled flight that left me hanging around Melbourne Airport for six hours and then having to wait for a train for another two hours (quite apart from the two hours I spent on said train)... suffice to say it was a long day, and if I'd known it would be that painful, I would have somehow contrived to stay in Melbourne another day. As a result for this twelve-odd hour transit drama, the only tennis I got to see was the second two sets of Nadal and Tomic.
And much it pains me to say it, because we all know I can't stand the kid, I was impressed by Bernard Tomic.
I was not only hoping for a triple bagel, I was vaguely expecting it. I was convinced that there was nothing in Tomic's game that could hurt Nadal - that Nadal would eat up those dinky little tap shots Tomic is so obsessed with, that Tomic didn't hit flat enough to even begin to mess with Nadal, nor did he have anywhere near enough power, that Nadal would exploit Tomic's movement and drag him around.
But it didn't happen. Nadal won - and won comfortably in the end - but Tomic genuinely did play an excellent match.
There were signs in this match of the player Tomic could be. Jim Courier was very insightful earlier this week when he said Tomic was very mentally developed for a player of his age but not physically, and I definitely think that's true. Tomic hasn't grown into his height yet - though it certainly did help him neutralise (to some degree) the high bounce on the Nadal lasso forehand. And because he is so gangly his movement - particularly up and down to the net - isn't the best that it can be. Because he is so tall, maybe it never will be world-beating.
But his tennis brain is outstanding. Simply outstanding. I read somewhere else that he has a high tennis IQ but a low social IQ, and I think that's definitely true. If he behaves in the locker room like he does to the public, he's not going to be that popular. And that could really affect him in the long term.
It pains me to say it. It really does. But Bernard Tomic really did impress me last night.
Speaking of things that are impressive, you know what would be impressive? More Nicolas Mahut in a dress. Some of Venus's dresses, in particular. Melinda Samson (aka @GrandSlamGal) and I were discussing this on Twitter, and basically we concluded that they should have their own reality show. You can read her post on Mahut, Styled By Venus here.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago