Sunday, January 29, 2012

Six Hour Showdown

The Longest Ever GS Final
The Longest Ever Grand Slam Final
The moment that summed up the match and made both players even more adorable was when Nadal and Djokovic said in their acceptance speeches, “Good morning everybody!”

At quarter to 2  in the morning, after 5 hours and 53 minutes of mind-boggling and ferocious tennis, two things emerged.

Firstly, the current men’s game is probably as high as it gets.
It seems almost impossible to even imagine what level could exist beyond what we are seeing presently. Two weeks ago, several of the top 10 players had a fair chance of making it in Melbourne. Tsonga came in behind a strong finish last year and a confident start to this season in Doha. Tomas Berdych came with confidence after what was his best year on tour since he went pro. David Ferrer came in hot after winning in Auckland. Andy Murray came in with significant change to his camp. With multiple grand-slams champion Ivan Lendl as his coach, many reckoned that Murray has now the advantage of experience too, on his side. With Nadal's knees creaking, Federer's back spasming and Djokovic's shoulder and ankles barely managing to maintain the functionality, many expected a fairly open field in Melbourne.
But here is where men’s tennis is currently so good. To be at the top, you have to earn it. And you have to earn it in so hard a manner, that once you are there, you will break your back, pop a tendon or crack a rib, if you must, to stay there. After the first week, only 1 of the top eight seeds did not make it. And by the semi-finals, the gap between the top four and the rest of the pack elongated a bit more. The final three matches served tennis fans across the world, 14 hours and 25 minutes of high quality, mind numbing and sensational tennis. That's how good it is.

The second thing to emerge from this match is that Novak Djokovic is now, truly and deservedly in place as the World No. 1 and the leader of the field in this extraordinary sport. Many said that he achieved it when he won at Wimbledon. However, they also said that his run of 2011 will never be repeated, not even by him. That is why, to achieve all that in 2011, and then to come back, and defend his title, and defend in such difficult circumstances in such a spectacular fashion, marks for me, the moment when Novak Djokovic earned his spot.

Djokovic collapses after hitting the winner.

Meanwhile, Uncle Toni and Rafa need to figure out what exactly is still missing. The two probably started to think about the Djoker puzzle after back to back losses in Indian Wells and Miami. Five more losses later, it still remains unsolvable. He has lost now, three Grand Slam finals in a row. He has come closer to the solution in each match, yet not managed to find it.

However, after the contesting the longest grand slam final ever, after being up in the fifth set, after being only a few points away from the match and yet losing the match, those sure were some great words, not to mention a formidable spirit, from the champion Rafa.

Lip-smacking tennis is on offer in 2012. Do not miss it for the world.

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