I didn’t cheat! I watched this match on my DVR from start to finish – no fast forward, no breaks and (most impressive) no peeking at the results! This was my own hard-fought mental battle, and for once I was victorious.
Getting it out of the way: it was nice to see Rafa chalk up his first tournament win of the year. He friggin’ deserves it after putting in the hard yards on the hard courts. And winning the doubles, too!!? That’s just sick. It will be interesting to see if he can sustain this level through Hamburg.
Oh, but it was torture watching Roger lose all those breaks of serve (was it 3 or 4?)! After minimal hand wringing, I’m going the Pollyanna route and declaring this match a positive development for Roger’s Roland Garros campaign.
Even Roger’s win at Estoril wasn’t proof enough that his slump was over – but this week’s run in Monte Carlo should shut everyone up (including me.) He’s played two Sundays in a row, battled through some tough opponents this week (Monfils, Nalbandian and the Djoker), and gave Rafa a run for his money in today’s final. (Why, oh why, couldn’t it have gone 3 sets?) Alas, this return to order means that the Spaniard still reigns supreme on clay.
Fed is a positive person and will use this match accordingly. It’s frustrating, but you can’t break a player multiple times in a match and not learn something from it. Last year it was both a mental and strategic battle against Rafa, now I think it’s “just” mental. Unfortunately, there’s no Brain Age type training program for this problem, but I think having Jose Higueras around will help.
Monte Carlo has been a joy on two fronts: soaking in the rich atmosphere of the European clay court season and witnessing Roger’s return to form!