Folks, I haven’t had a computer all day (this from my phone), so I’m unable to really write, but what is there really to say at this point?
This should be a competitive match, imho, for really two reasons:
1. Dimitrov did push Rafa to the edge. This point concerns Rafa’s form. He has not been the Rafa of old but for the last couple of matches. Since the Zverev match, we’ve begun to entertain the idea that his unbeatableness might be back, and headed for the final (the collective awe and anticipation was intensified as we saw Roger making the same kind of run). I have been critical of Rafa for a few years. His ball is too short, he’s slower, his serve is unthreatening, etc. Many an ATP athlete were beating him. The intimidation hasn’t been there, not to mention that the Don of the tour was a Nadal antidote.
So this UNBEATABLENESS is relatively recent, which leads to #2.
2. Everyone and I mean everyone is looking at 2009 as a comparison. Even Nadal playing a brutal 5 set SF fits the model. But there’s a difference between then and now.
Nadal was #1 in the world then. Sure Roger was #2; but that Nadal – 22 years-old, #1 in the world, had beaten Roger at WB six months earlier – is a quite different player compared to this year’s final. You might say, “well, Roger is #17, so there’s that.” True, but he’s been off since 2016 WB where he made the SF. He sat out the ’16 FO but did make the ’16 AO SF. And he made the ’15 finals, as we know, at WB and USO.
No matter what has happened in these last few years (Nadal completely MIA, Roger fairly competitive) the players still have to bring it tonight.
But the point is that this ’17 final has a quite different build-up and historical context from the ’09 final.
Hence I think this will be a tighter match than people think.
Oh, I just thought of a third point that might suggest that this match isn’t quite what we have in mind (A predictable Nadal victory): this tournament has been a circus! #1 and #2 dismissed early, Mischa Zverev, Dimitrov (for those unaware), and a Fedal final!
I have stayed-up countless nights and/or awakened early and eagerly many many mornings to watch Nadal beat Federer. I understand the popular opinion on this match better than you can imagine. Fed has suffered I am sure.
None the less, as a rabid fan of the sport, I remain hopeful that we get something very competitive, balanced, classic and breathtaking. These men deserve that. We fans deserve that.
Maybe I’ll have a chance to comment on the Nadal v Dimitrov SF since it was classic and so positive for the Bulgarian. I’m glad my call on his form has been verified. He almost upset the Spaniard. That tells us a bit I think, not of my eye for talent/form 😉 but of the topic of this post: Nadal is beatable. I reiterate that only because we sometimes forget this fact when he’s running around a court deep in the draw at a major, best-of-five.
Good luck to both champions.
Enjoy the match, everyone. Talk to you on the other side!