WOW! What a ride! A whole fortnight of excellent tennis, both from the men’s and women’s sides, culminating in a 5 hour 53 minute men’s final, was nothing short of spectacular. I have so many reactions from the final, which ended up being a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 win for Serbian Novak Djokovic over Rafael Nadal. Here are only five of my reactions to what was the longest Grand Slam final ever.
1. Congrats, Novak. You’re definitely the number 1 player in the world. If that sounds obvious, it’s not. Many people (including me) thought that Novak wouldn’t win the Aussie Open, and that he wouldn’t win 3 Grand Slams like last year. He proved us very wrong. I’m now thinking that he can go all the way, and win the “Grand Slam”, meaning he’ll win all four Slams in a calendar year (Rod Laver, the Australian great, was talking about this in an interview that ESPN had with him and Roger Federer the day before Federer’s loss to Nadal in the semifinals. Laver said that each Grand Slam tournament was just a “Slam”, and the “Grand Slam” was winning all four Slams. I find this interesting because nowadays there is a lot of crossover between the two. It’s confusing). I’m going to have a post out in the next day or so about this. Still, you have to give credit to Nadal as well, but Djokovic is undoubtedly the best player in the world, man or woman.
2. You’ve gotta give it up to Rafa. He battled for nearly six hours, trading blows with Djokovic, doing whatever he needed to do to stay in the point- and the match. He was this close to winning it all, and I’m surprised honestly that he didn’t break down Federer style in the trophy ceremony. Federer has to be feeling some sort of indirect revenge, because he didn’t beat Nadal, but Nadal lost in one of those heart-wrenching finals against a equally great player. How many times has Federer been robbed in Grand Slams by Nadal? Finally, Rafa gets a taste of his own medicine. Of course, I’m not trying to rub it in to Nadal, I’m just saying what I assume Fed’s thinking. On the other hand, I respect Rafa a whole lot more now. There haven’t been many times when Rafa’s lost in a final, period. But the fact that he stayed calm, composed, acted like he wasn’t bitter (when I’m positive he was, at least a little bit. It’s perfectly normal.), and most of all, he was classy. Classy is a word I’ve usually associated with Federer. But I learned on Sunday that Rafa’s just as classy, especially in defeat. Kudos to him. Big time kudos.
3. I was amazed by the accuracy of both Nadal and Djokovic. All of the rallies were going on forever (in a good way, of course). It was amazing to see. While Djokovic and Nadal are #1 and #2 in the world, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such accuracy with groundstrokes- ever. These guys, especially Djokovic, were pounded the lines, and Nadal was playing amazing defense, even better than usual. Finally, someone would hit a winner, but it was incredible to see. I’m guessing that the intensity and pressure of the match made their games that much stronger. Two champions raised their respective games, but as we all know, only one can win. Unfortunately for Nadal, it was Djokovic who came out victorious. However, both came out winners. And no, I’m not trying to sound like a Little League coach who’s talking to his players after a loss. Both of them definitely won. In their own way.
4. Djokovic’s confidence level has got to be sky-high at this point. He’s now won 4 out of the last five Grand Slam events, now has 5 Grand Slam titles (half of Nadal’s and a little less than 1/3 of Federer’s), and is still only 24 years old. He’s a French Open title away from a career Slam, and he’s got a great chance this year. His loss to Federer in the semifinal was a fluke, because Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal several times on clay last year, and there’s no reason he can’t do it again.
Rafa’s confidence, on the other hand, can’t be so great right now. He’s finally found the enemy he can’t (or at least not yet) beat. Federer’s roadblock is Nadal, and we’re now assured that Nadal’s roadblock is Djokovic. While there certainly are positives, such as the fact that he almost beat Novak in the final, athletes don’t think that way. “Almost” isn’t good enough. Nadal’s confidence should be just a shade lower than before the final, but it’s lower because he’s thinking about the Djoker. I don’t want to get too far into my ideas about how he’s thinking, because only Rafa knows what he’s thinking, but I’m almost positive that Novak’s in his head. After, all, he’s lost all seven of his past seven encounters with Djokovic.
5. On a final note, is there anyone who can beat these guys? Only on a bad day. While I’m not declaring Federer’s career finished, if there wasn’t a Novak Djokovic or a Rafael Nadal, Federer would still be #1 in the world and have at least 20 Grand Slam titles by now. But the truth of the matter is, Novak and Rafa exist. I feel really bad for Andy Murray, though. He played as best as he possibly could at this stage with a new coach, and new attitude. His confidence might have grown from his close loss to Djokovic, but it makes you start to wonder if he’ll ever get to win with these two guys in front of him. I, for one, am starting to doubt. I hope I’m wrong, though. I’m sure that the whole of the United Kingdom, especially Scotland, Murray’s home country, are hoping the same thing.
That’s it for now, prepare for the same type of post on the Women’s Final, and then a whole lot more coverage for more than a week about the Australian Open. Here’s a schedule that might or might not be completely accurate, things might be switched around or moved back a few days. The post titles will be changed, these are just what they’re about.
Tomorrow: Women’s Final reactions
Friday: Djokovic is THE #1
Saturday: Nothing Nadal can do against Novak
Sunday: Fed’s time is up?
Monday: Murray still waiting
Tuesday: Victoria Azarenka poised for stardom
Wednesday: Maria’s strong play improves morale
Thursday: Kimmy’s still got it
Friday: When will it be, Caroline Wozniacki?
Saturday: Other reactions (doubles matches, juniors, etc.)
Sunday: Final reactions from tournaments