I have found myself spectacularly uninvolved in the world of tennis this week. I know it should have been the first week that I really cared post-Australian Open, what with the return of my main man Roger, but no. I found this week terribly, terribly dull.
This is not to say that I am not a bit cross with the selfsame Roger Federer for his performance in the Dubai final. Djokovic is playing so well at the moment that even if he had played better I don't know if he would have been able to win, but missing overheads? Dude, seriously? Ferd the turd was out in this match in full force.
So let's not talk about him. Or I will shout. LIKE THIS. Instead, let's talk about Nicolas Almagro, who keeps, like, winning stuff. Like, lots of stuff.
He is in his third straight final, going for his third straight title. I know these are Mickey Mouse clay tournaments, but that is still pretty impressive. Almagro is a fearsome claycourter at the best of times (he is, after all, the Prince of Clay) but this is a good run for him. This is a run I don't think Rafa would be ashamed to have to his name, if Rafa were the kind of dude that played these tournaments.
And now Almagro is going up against another Spanish dude in the in-form David Ferrer. And you've got to think... if you've just played about 2394729387 matches on the trot, David Ferrer is the last dude you want to face. (Ask Rafa.) Because here is the thing - three finals in a row is a great result, but is it the best idea for your body?
As far as I recall, Almagro is not the most injury prone dude. He's no Tsonga, that's for sure. But clay is a demanding surface and even when you're winning pretty comfortably, as he has generally been doing, it's got to take a toll on your body. Again, let's look at Rafa, the clay machine. I think we can all agree that Rafa's fitness is superhuman, that he is lightyears ahead of the field on clay, and that there is quite a high possibility that he is a cyborg. And yet he didn't win those three Masters 1000s on clay until he stopped playing Barcelona.
If Almagro gets good draws - ie. doesn't come up against that selfsame Rafa, or Federer, or Djokovic - he is perfectly capable of going very deep in the important clay tournaments to come. On clay, he is top ten in the world, no doubt. But if he guns it too hard now, when no one's around, then he's going to burn out. And no one will remember these tournament wins here... because, as always, Roland Garros will eclipse everything.
(On Roland Garros - there is a slight possibility I might actually attend for a day or two this year! How cool is that?!)
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago