Saturday, June 4, 2011

Good News

So, I've been away for a few days, but I am by no means unaware of what's going on. ROGER FEDERER YOU LITTLE BEAUTY!


So I can be all, like, calm and sane and stuff, let's start by discussing the women's final before I get into full Federsqueeage.

Li Na. Francesca Schiavone. There was no way this final was not going to be a good news story, unless a bolt of lightning struck the court and obliterated Philippe Chatrier stadium or something like that. Thankfully, that didn't happen, and we were treated to a match which, while not The Greatest Match Ever Played or anything like that, was well fought in a good spirit by two women who thoroughly deserved to be there.

I was pulling for Frankie to pull the double, but only slightly, because seriously, how can you not love Li Na? Despite her Australian Open run, I don't think anyone was picking her to even be a factor in this tournament - largely because she pretty much played like poo for several months there between the two Slams. But she seems to have picked up a Serena-style peaking technique, and she freaking BROUGHT IT in the final. I don't think I've ever appreciated just how BIG her forehand can be when she lets it. She can rip it and rip it hard, and I think that was what really made the difference. Frankie made a few too many errors, but a lot of them were forced.

The fact that Li Na is now Asia's first female Grand Slam champion... the importance of that for the sport cannot be overstated. This could lead to an utter explosion of popularity of the sport - effects that might be felt twenty or thirty years from now. This is massive. But let's not forget the effect for Li Na the individual either as well. Because this is - a first Slam is always - HUGE.

And speaking of huge...


Seriously, I had a bit of a feeling that I did not dare articulate for fear of jinxing it. Roger Federer is THE MAN this tournament, and the fact that it took a man on a forty-odd match win streak to take a set off him says something about his level of play. When we've been hearing about Roger at all this year, it's been about how he's on the way out, on the way down, how everyone must age and fall eventually.

Well, reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Rafa is still obviously the favourite going in to the final. I mean, at Roland Garros, Rafa is going to be the favourite against anyone, whether they be a journeyman or Bjorn Borg at the top of his game. But if Roger's going to get him on the Paris clay, he'd be hardpressed to get a better opportunity. And at the end of the day, Roger is the best player ever. He is capable of beating anyone, anywhere if he plays GodFed tennis. He can do it. Whether or not he will is another matter, but it's not a question of ability.

It says something about Djokovic's streak that it took the best player ever playing godlike tennis to break it. I'm not a Djokofan and probably never will be, but it would take a crazy person to not acknowledge that what Creme Brole has achieved this year is completely outstanding. Streaks have to be broken to truly appreciate them, to put them in perspective and enable them to exist comparatively - and comparatively, this has to be one of the best streaks in the history of tennis. Well done, Novak. There is a lot of good tennis ahead of you.

But the day now belongs to the Hispano-Suisse domination machine - the two men to whom the recent era of tennis truly belongs, two men who will be forever linked in history and in record books. Rafa. Roger. Like the women's final, this is all good news. No matter who wins, it's all good. And no matter who wins, tennis is guaranteed to be a huge victor on Stade Philippe Chatrier.

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