Sunday, May 19, 2013

Processing the Rome men's final

Well, I can't say I really have a lot of heart to write a blog post right now but it is the end of a big Masters 1000 so I will try to muster up the energy and find something to say.  The above picture shows the way the match went and the way it feels trying to process it.

Anyone who watched the final between Nadal and Federer know that it was a blow-out match, a 6-1 6-3 win for Nadal.  Whether Rafa really took it to Roger or Roger handed it to Rafa is up for debate - I would say more the latter.  To me it seems that Rafa is simply in Roger's head in a big way and as soon as things start to go a bit wrong he starts doubting himself and can't make his shots.  Of course, as he mentioned in his interview, the ball flies more in the daytime and bounces more, so given the fact that he had all evening matches, that certainly didn't help his cause.  But no excuses here - it was simply a very bad day at the office and almost nothing he was doing was working, creating over twice the amount of errors as winners.

If you haven't listened to his interview, here it is:

It was interesting the way he talked about Nadal's build-up of playing the 250s and 500s on clay, plus his usual series of Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, which has turned out the same as most years, with Nadal winning most of them.  He has played seven clay tournaments to Roger's two.  How can he compete with that?

While I am still very disappointed, not so much that he didn't win but that he didn't seem to have any answers whatsoever and pretty much gave it to him, it also makes sense that given the difference between the two in their preparation for this tournament, and given that Rafa is definitely in Roger's head, especially on clay, should we have expected a different outcome?  I had hoped, with his confident talk after his semifinal win, that maybe Roger would be coming into the final with a solid game plan that could somehow find a way this time, but it simply wasn't to be.  

The positives we can take out of it are that he made it to the final, going higher in this tournament than he did last year, and also that Nadal will now be seeded #4 for Roland Garros, meaning the soonest the two could meet would be the semis.  Maybe Roger can put this loss to good use as he heads to Paris and starts his preparations.  The draw comes out Friday with hopefully some good luck coming his way.

No comments: