Let’s start by saying the Nadal vs Djokovic match was really one of the most compelling tennis matches we’ve ever seen. For a number of reasons, but the genius begins with the tennis, how these two battle, break serve, somehow save their serve, come-up with the clutch dig, the lob, the sheer strength and elegance, the power, of these two greats.
What happens on and around the ATP tour is different from what we saw yesterday. Djokodal is nasty, classy, but most importantly a different sport practically from what you see in just about every other men’s professional tennis competition.
I almost felt sorry for Nadal as this match unfolded. The third set was the tipping-point, but we could trace this point-of-no-return for the Spaniard back to the first set when Novak was able to get his fight into that match trailing 0-5. The second set developed from that and the third set should have been a more routine 6-4 to the Serb, but that got a lot more complicated, as we know.
But I think this is it for Nadal. Getting 21 will be tough for him though we seemed to have said that before.
Someone pointed-out that luckily for Nadal (this was said prior to yesterday’s SF) there were two French Opens contested (in ’20 and ’21) to only one Wimbledon; the fact that the French pushed like an oafish nincompoop to stage that 2020 version last fall, which affected the U.S. Open (like they moved this current French closer to Wimbledon) says all you need to know about this tournament: if you don’t see the vulgarity of Roland Garros, what the fuck is wrong with you.
That French vs. Wimbledon scheduling discrepancy speaks to the Big 3, meaning that this completely favored Nadal over Djokovic and to a lesser extent Federer. Nadal, in effect, had a great opportunity to claim an additional FO title before the next Wimbledon.
This is a part of that deep context of yesterday’s SF. The tennis alone made this simply one of the better matches all-time, but the historical significance, especially as this concerns the Big 3, elevates the circumstances.
Nadal looked tired at the end, his tennis yesterday rife with error and indecision. He still fought like an animal and a lot of that result is the consequence of Novak’s brilliance, but Nadal, a year from now, 36 years old . . . tough to say he’s done, especially when he still beats the crap out of everyone he faces on that surface, but I think we all saw what I’m alluding to here.
I’ll get more into all of that later, post tomorrow’s Final.
The other Semi-final was terrible. Zverev seems like he can’t get out of his own way. The first few sets that went to Tsitsipas were poorly played from both, but Zverev was unbelievably bad. The DFs, the errors — his FH abandoned him.
No need to go more into this match. The worst part of this all is that Zverev was probably a good game or two away from winning that in the fifth.
Luckily for us the Greek advanced to the Final.
You have to love the end of that previous post: “The Djokovic vs Tsitsipas Final should be a doozy.”
We have what we thought we’d get and certainly what we wanted.
The obvious pick here is Novak to clobber Stefanos given just the levels played in the SFs. That probably does play into tomorrow’s result, but the Serb’s fortitude (which I suggested in my preview would have a huge effect) has maybe an even greater impact. This is one of the major differences of the Big 3. They have loftier goals and tend to get the big job done in a very professional manner (having taken care of all of the little jobs along the way).
I can’t see Novak missing-out on the opportunity to consolidate his win over Nadal and win his 19th major, which would signify the unprecedented double slam. All of that, all of Nole’s legendary experience and the inexperience of Tsitsipas lean Djokovic as a massive favorite.
The case I make for Tsitsipas concerns two wildcards: the Greek played Novak in an epic battle at the 2020 French semi-final, probably undermining much of Novak’s chances in the final. Despite the loss, Stefanos waged an impressive comeback there, down 0-2 but pushing the match to five. In those 3rd and 4th sets, the Greek’s offense left Novak pretty much defenseless, which is saying a lot. Tough to maintain that kind of level; Novak put him down 6-1 in the 5th.
But damage done. And the Greek can play clay (see his 2021 Monte Carlo crown).
I don’t like how Stefanos played yesterday, but he has some big match class. He can play with the big boys.
The other element to this is how fucking wild this sport can be. If Novak wins tomorrow, his legacy blooms like an atomic bomb.
Weeks at #1, double slam, golden masters, his H2H with Fedal especially as this pertains to WB (Federer) and RG (Nadal). Unreal.
And often life and sport don’t give us these kinds of slam-dunk conclusions. Tsitsipas winning tomorrow would be such a pretzel of logic and history — insanity would ensue.
These kinds of things happen.
Having said all of that: Novak should make relatively quick work of the youngster.
Enjoy the match and talk to you after.