Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 Australian Open: Men's Final Preview

(3) Novak Djokovic (SRB) versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
A show of hands. Who saw this final coming at the beginning of the event? That's what I thought. But here we are, and this match could be a classic.

Since MadProfessah seems to be taking a well-deserved day off, I'll put up my two cents about the men's final.

And since my jinx powers this week have been quite sharp, I'm going to bore you all and not analyze the matchup, not post a prediction.

All I'll say is this: Having dispatched of the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world in the semifinals in straight sets, both players are riding waves of confidence into this final. I read somewhere that Tsonga "owned" Djoke in the juniors. Will that translate into a mental advantage in their first ever professional meeting? In a Slam final, no less?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But Tsonga is as level-headed as a wise man.

Q. You try not to think about all the media and the different things that people want from you now that you've reached the final?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no, I don't think about it. It's normal. You have to write on me, and I know my life so I don't have to read it in the paper.

Q. What do you have to do to win tomorrow night?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Just play ‑‑ just do my best, and that's it. I will see what's happened on the court, but I will do my best. If I win, that's unbelievable. And if I lose, I did my best, so no problem.

Tsonga's Pre-Final Interview

Who do you think will win? Vote on the sidebar. Comment below.


oddman said...

Nice interview, gah but some of those press questions are dumb. He handled that real well. I'm liking Tsonga's chances even more now.
Mental advantage to Tsonga re: their junior days? - you bet! Lookit Rafa against any other Spaniard, he's the 'tot' on their team and he continually has to work real hard to beat his countrymen. No respect, heh heh.
For Nole, you can see he wants this REAL bad, he's not going to back down one inch. I think he feels entitled to win this slam, after all, he's the top seed left, and playing an unseeded guy, plus he believes he's the future number 1. He's got this antagonistic kind of mentality, me against the world, etc, did you see how he got mad at the crowd and took a dig at them with the headnodding? Did you read his presser? All 'me, me, I did this, I did that...', narcissistic too. The crowd will be rooting for Tsonga, that might just fire up Nole even more. All this is rather interesting.
I should be mad at Tsonga for taking out my guy, but strangely I'm not. This is so close to call, I'm going with Tsonga, but it will be a very hardfought battle.

paula said...

I think that Tsonga's performance against Rafa was even more domineering than Novak's against Federer, so I'm going with Tsonga to win the title. I just rewatched part of the Fed/Novak match and this is what struck me (and actually, my husband pointed it out to me, so my husband struck me- just kidding!): Every time Novak had a second serve to Fed's backhand, Fed would slice a return back. Over and over again, this nice little slice back to him. He didn't try to crack winners off of Novak's second serve. Also, as Martina or Justin Gimmelstob said (I forget which one), I've never seen Fed sweat like that. Never. And therefore, I think Federer really wasn't one hundred percent. Not to take away Novak's excellent aggressive game. But rewatching the match was interesting.

Of course, Tsonga could choke- and that would be understandable. he's super young and he's never been in this situation before. I hope he doesn't. Just as likely, Novak could falter, because he has the pressure of being the favorite, and that pressure could work against him.

Craig Hickman said...

Paula, I agree. Fed wasn't aggressive and he was sweating alot. Pressure? Perhaps. Illness? Perhaps. Both? Perhaps.

Whatever the case, he was lethargic.

Novak played well. But Raja didn't fight. I was reminded of Serena's performance against Jankovic.

My hope, of course, for the final is that they both don't choke and that tennis, not nerves, decides the outcome of the match.

edma1022 said...

I'm biased. But I'll still say I hope Jo-Tso beat the living crap out of that Joker.

I know that Fed is happier losing to Rafa than to Nole. And I was strangely expecting him to lose to the guy. I just didn't expect him doing it meekly.

Tsonga, on the other hand, looks totally refreshing. He may be the reason people like me will tune in on a slam final sans Roger.

Dan Scarlett said...

.."that atennis, not nerves, decides the outcome of this match"......thanks, Craig, for the perfect matter who we're rooting for, we can all drink to that!