Friday, 5 June 2009

Something other than wine - a wonderful afternoon's tennis. Go Federer!

Life isn't just about wine - honestly! And so I have just enjoyed a somewhat leisurely Friday afternoon and early evening watching two thrilling men's semi-finals in the French Open Tennis. And fuelled by nothing stronger than a few cups of tea, I might add. ;-)) Firstly, a cracking match between Sweden's Robin Soderling and Fernando Gonzalez of Chile ended in Soderling winning a close 5-set match, 6-4 in the final set. Then, Roger Federer simply wore-down Juan Martin del Potro in another fantastic 5-setter, again winning 6-4 in the final set.

To be honest, Roger Federer may not be quite the player he once was, but he is (in my humble opinion) the greatest tennis player of all time - or, as multiple Moto GP world champion Valentino Rossi is known in his sport, the "GOAT". Federer's extra stamina and his sheer will to win was simply marvellous to see. In some ways, it was reminiscent of the Borg v McEnroe 1980 Wimbledon final, where Borg got absolutely pasted to begin with before slowly but surely clawing his way into the match. The difference was that Borg eventually mastered McEnroe's game, whereas Federer simply hung-in and waited for del Potro to tire. Ali v Foreman, in the "Rumble In The Jungle" is a similar analogy.

What is really great to see is that the men's game is as healthy now as it has ever been, at least in terms of competition at the top. Nadal got beat fair and square and so did Murray, in losing to Gonzalez. Del Potro beat some excellent players on the way, and Soderling beat some even better ones. That is a good half dozen players that will make for some really exciting tennis Grand Slam tournaments over the next few years, and I honesstly can't see any one of them dominating in the way that Federer and (latterly) Nadal have done in recent years - which can only be good for the sport.

For now, though, I'd love to see The Fed win that elusive French Open to complete his set and to cement his position as the undisputed "GOAT" in tennis. At least then he can either quit whilst he is ahead, or try and add another couple of Slams before retiring. And I think he will win it...... but not without having to perhaps play another epic match against Soderling. In the end, though, I think his experience will get him through.

Wimbledon should be even better. What odds on a Murray victory, I wonder?

Now. back to the wine....................

Leon Stolarski

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