What a first week it’s been in Paris, eh? We had Saturday’s mini-marathon between John Isner and Tommy Haas, Americans Jamie Hampton and Bethanie Mattek-Sands taking out seeds Kvitova and Li, and Rafael Nadal making things interesting by losing sets in his first two matches. And then there’s Tommy Robredo, a guy that until recently I forgot even played tennis, coming from two sets down for the third match in a row today, this time against poor Nico Almagro, who is suffering one Mathieu like loss after another.
Oh yeah and this happened:
Sigh. I’m not going to lie, I was freaking out. Yes, I knew in the back of my mind that Roger’s Major quarterfinal streak had to be broken some time. But it just couldn’t happen in Paris this time, when the Draw Gods had finally given Roger some love! Even this round of 16 against Gilles Simon looked serendipitous, him having just spanked the skinny Frenchman in Rome. So after Roger took a fall in the second set and proceeded to turn into Zombie Fed, drooling and dragging all over the court, I have to admit I wasn’t thinking 2009, and those miracle 5 set come backs he made against Haas and Del Potro on his way to the title. I was just thinking teeth-gnashing, brain slurping, apocalyptic DOOM. But hey, do you remember 2009, and how Roger played those amazing five set matches on his way to winning the title? Like he knew victory was his after Rafa dropped out and he just needed to play through the nerves? It’s the grace of the Draw Gods!.
Roger gets Tsonga in the next round, a guy who’s proven to be streak-breaking dangerous in the past. But if Fed makes it past the hot Frenchman, it’s either Ferrer or Robredo in the semis (he’s never lost a match to either of those two.)
Just a few more things to be happy about: GO one-handed back hands! (on both the ATP and WTA side!), GO Serena vs. Kuznetsova! FORZA Francesca!!! (please beat Azarenka!), GO American women (Go Sloane! Go Jamie! Go Bethanie! Go Serena!)
And one very sad thing: The news of the death of Jelena Gencic, Novak Djokovic’s childhood tennis coach and mentor, a woman he described as like a mother to him, yesterday in Serbia. Novak was told after he took out Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday, and reportedly broke into tears and canceled his post match press conferences.
Novak’s coach, Marian Vajda, thinks Novak will use this sadness to fuel his run to his first Roland Garros title, telling the NYTimes:
“I think in one way this could give him confidence. All the knowledge he got from her, it will be anther boost to him during the tournament to honor her, because she told him to bring the trophy to her.”
Wow, I certainly hope Novak is both able to grieve and be inspired to play his best. Read more about this amazing woman (Monica Seles was another protegé) and her influence on Novak as a young boy in this beautiful article in the New York Times.
So what do you think have been the major stories of the first week in Paris?