Friday, February 15, 2013

Two different experiences for the 31-year-olds

I guess I will cover the happier news first.  It was an emotional day for Serena Williams as she regained the #1 ranking.  Her match against Petra Kvitova was a topsy turvy sort with Petra looking the most on-form I have seen her in a long time.  Serena seemed at a loss to know what to do at times, making more errors than we normally see from her.  After losing the first set Williams came back to win the 2nd but was immediately broken again in the third.  It was hard to figure out whether she was simply not feeling well from an obvious cold or if her emotions were just getting the best of her as at times she seemed close to tears after missing routine shots.  Though she had said after her last match basically that regaining the number 1 ranking wasn't too important to her, it became obvious toward the end of the match that it truly was, and when she managed to fight her way back from the brink of loss to take the match 7-5 in the third, her emotions betrayed the fact that it actually meant the world to her.  As she said, she has been through so much and to get back as the oldest ever female #1 at 31 years old is an incredible gift.  It was even hard to hold back the emotion as an observer.

Another 31-year-old had a very different experience on the same day.  

Suffering the 200th loss of his career, on the day that his opponent ironically earned his 200th win, Roger Federer obviously was having a bad day in the office.  For those who watch him play often it was quickly apparent that his game wasn't working for him against a very inspired player in Julien Benneteau.  I'm sure Benneteau was hoping to exact a bit of revenge after the loss suffered at Wimbledon after being up two sets to none.  He probably figured this was his chance, especially when he saw that Roger wasn't on his game.  I mean, double faulting four times isn't something we normally see.  Every time I would start thinking he was starting to pull things together it would quickly go sideways again.  It was a disappointing loss for those who have been waiting to see him play again, hoping for another tournament win.  Instead we will see him lose quite a few ranking points.  His fans got spoiled between the fall of 2011 and all of 2012, seeing  him win many titles, and it's difficult to get back to the reality that he is 31 and isn't winning everything again now.  

Apparently he is taking a trip to South Africa before the Dubai tournament to support his foundation, hoping to get to meet Nelson Mandela.  Hopefully he will be able to find enough practice time to get his game together in the next week-and-a-half to perform better in Dubai and especially Indian Wells, being that he has 1,500 points to defend between those two tournaments.

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