I have to say, unless you were a real Rafanatic today’s Roland Garros final was underwhelming at best, scary at worst – thank goodness the protesters with torches were tackled quickly. David Ferrer couldn’t put on much of a show for the fans, folding rather meekly to Rafael Nadal who won: 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
It was Rafa’s emotional reaction to winning his eighth Roland Garros title – the most held by any man of any Major – that held me rapt. It was beautiful to see the joy spread across his face as he collapsed on the court, the way he cradled the Coupe in his arms like a favorite Teddy Bear, how he held back tears as his national anthem played. A teenaged champion here way back in 2005, it was touching to witness how much he’s changed and accomplished since then, while still holding onto that boyish sense of astonishment at, well, being so good at something so fun.
I’m pretty sure Rafa’s reaction would have been intense no matter how the last two weeks had gone – it’s been the past year that’s been the real trial for him – but he did find himself in tricky and sometimes even treacherous territory at Roland Garros this year and probably had to battle some doubts. He showed vulnerability in the first and second rounds and was points away from losing the semis to his chief rival on Friday. So no matter how ho hum the final, Rafa’s given tennis fans a remarkable two weeks. Gracias, Rafa!
And congrats to the Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina who beat the Italian powerhouses Errani/Vinci 7-5, 6-2 in the doubles final
One minor complaint about the conclusion – I love Usain Bolt but think that having him hand out the trophy was slightly distracting. Can we just keep the focus on tennis? What did you guys think of that choice?
Now onto the grass!
Anyone else craving some green on their television screens? Not to mention the handsome mugs of Haas and Federer, who will be teaming up for doubles in Halle next week. Both finalists last year in the singles, they are seeded to meet this year in the semis. Rafa’s announced his withdrawal from the tournament – doctor’s orders.