Thursday, January 24, 2008

Black History

Wow. Just wow. MadProfessah beat me to it because I couldn't stay up last night to watch it live, but I just finished the tape and I'm simply stunned.

First of all, for those who love to criticize Rafael Nadal for his hardcourt performances at Slams, there was simply nothing that he could do. Or anybody else for that matter.

I've never seen such power, precision, speed, finesse, agility, grace, technique, creativity, genius, variety, and composure in a single tennis player.


Performance of the tournament.

A star is born.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga


oddman said...

Thanks for the kind words, Craig, I needed to hear that there was nothing Rafa (or anybody) could do. I taped it too, but have been very reluctant to watch it, lol. Still nursing my wounds over my boy's loss. Too good, this young man from France! Please keep it up for the final. Allez!

MMT said...

Have to beg to differ here. Although Tsonga can definitely belt it (especially on the forehand side) his strokes are not universally bludgeoned, like Safin, for example. There were some loopers, slices, and angled shots he could have tried to approach on more regularly.

Rafa's problem was two-fold, (1) although his net play has improved, he is not yet in the habit of creating his own opportunities to approach the net, particularly on this surface and (2) I'm sure he didn't believe Tsonga could play at that level for 3 straight sets, so he was hoping for a moment when his level dropped and he could assert his normal game, rather than reverting to a plan B.

A sensible approach, but unfortunately for Rafa, Tsonga's level never dropped.

The biggest difference between him and the last two unexpected finalists is that he has a complete game. A huge serve, attacks well from the back, good approach shots, and good volleys.

I think he'd match up better against Federer than Djokovic, but either one of them better be on their game if he performs at this level.

paula said...

Just stunning tennis! I jsut finished watching it. Tsonga hit so many winners- I agree that no one, not just Rafa, expected him to keep up that level for all three sets. But boy did he.

His expression when he won and was walking up to the net was pricless. Like he stunned himself. And how he didn't celebrate until after he shook Nadal's hand? Such dignity -such manners.

I love Rafa and so I'm sad to see him lose but Tsonga has a real place in my heart now. I've always enjoyed watching him but I am so amazed at how he handled himself. I can't wait for the final.

oddman said...

OK, watched it. What can I say? Tsonga played fantastic tennis, no question. Rafa played very well too, I thought he didn't serve well in this match, but that does not negate what Tsonga was able to do in the end. Rafa was more aggressive, quick, got a lot of balls back, and showed he does belong on a hardcourt (not that I doubted that), but man oh man. And I thought his conduct throughout the match, actually both men, was fantastic too. Very respectful of each other, great handshake and then celebration, and what a wonderful smile Tsonga has. My wounds suddenly aren't hurting so much.