Monday, July 4, 2011

Wimby 2011: Rafa in The Finals

(Rafa came in second at Wimby this year, but he will always be first in our hearts.)

Well, that's too bad. Our Hero, Rafael Nadal lost the Wimby Final yesterday to Our Mortal Foe, Novak Djokovic. Novak won 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.Despite going four sets and the usually slow pace of both players, the match just flew by. Rafa was down 2-0 before you even knew it. Probably before Rafa even knew it either.

I'm no Djokovic fan, but ultimately it's hard to begrudge him this win. He was just better than Rafa in this match. Clearly this tournament has always meant so much to him and he was thrilled to have his dream come true. It's not like Rafa hasn't won it twice before. Novak was already guaranteed to take over the No. 1 ranking from Rafa today, and this achievement really reinforces why he deserves it. He's only lost once in 7 months on the tour! He's beaten Rafa in 5 straight finals this year! That's just crazy. Gotta tip your hat... even if the dude is Our Mortal Foe.

Rafa just never really played his top-level tennis this match. He might have peaked a little too early with his win over Murray in the semis. Novak had more of an off-and-on two weeks at Wimby and had plenty left in the tank for the final. Despite a drop in his level of play during the third set, Novak played hard and won all the other crucial moments of the match. It was an uphill battle for Rafa the whole time, even though he really was playing quite well. Ah, well. What can you do?

Nadal needs to regain his confidence against Novak. He now has the chance to take several weeks off and rest and train and come back strong to attack the US Open Summer Series. I know he'll be back better than ever and hopefully I'll get to see him again at the US Open! Vamos!

Nadal has also turned into quite the philosopher. Here are some key quotes from his post-match press conference:

“Seriously, I lose because I am playing against the best player of the world, and I am the second. And when you play against these players and they are playing unbelievable, the normal thing is: lose.

“My experience says this level [of Djokovic’s] is not forever. Even for me when I was last year winning three Grand Slams, my level of last year is not forever. Probably the level of Novak of today is not forever. I gonna be here fighting all the time, waiting for my moment. I don’t have to wait a lot, because I already won three tournaments this year and one Grand Slam. But waiting for my moment to beat him another time.

“I understand the sport like this. When one player is better than you, at this moment the only thing you can do is work, try to find solutions, and try to wait a little bit for your time.

“Last five times wasn’t my time. I gonna wait and I gonna try a sixth. And if the sixth doesn’t happen, to the seventh. It’s going to be like this. That’s the spirit of the sport.”

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