Some kinda wrap-up post to acknowledge that the Aussie Open wasn’t just a nightmare.
It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house. As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in.
“No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.
The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. “Climb in!” shouted a man in the boat.
“No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.
The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof.
“No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.
The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually the man on the roof was washed away and drowned.
Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. “Heavenly Father,” he said, “I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?”
God gave him a puzzled look, and replied “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”
- The highest seed and the defending semifinalist in Murray’s quarter – Sod and Tsonga – were both taken out in 5 sets by a guy who had never beaten a top 10 player before then.
- The highest seed in Murray’s half lost to a man who was not and had never been a slam contender.
- The highest seed in the other half, the man who stopped Andy Murray from winning a slam final on two previous occasions, lost to Novak Djokovic.
- The Australian Open final was played on the only 40C+ of this summer – a summer typified by rare cool weather. Murray’s opponent was a guy who was well-known to develop ear cramps, bird flu, SARS and the common cold when forced to play in hot weather.
All this is my very long-winded way of saying: dude, the Tennis Gods sent two cupcakes and a hair-dryingly hot final against a guy who hates hair dryers and WHAT MORE DID YOU EXPECT?
You blew it. You blew it straight out of your nana’s best haggis and you’re lying through your Starbucks Trente-sized teeth if you keep insisting that this one didn’t hurt.
I know, I know. You don’t kick a player when he’s down. Especially the esteemed members of the British media are doing all the kicking themselves. But alas, this energy-draining, buzz-kill vibe Andy Murray brought to the final, it just makes me angry.
Instead of watching a player rise and shine on a big stage, we’re always left watching Murray exhale like a deflated balloon in a grand slam final. Djoko played well enough, but without discrediting his performance, it is worthwhile to note that for the majority of the first set, Djoko was shanking gratuitously on key points, a sign of just how nervous he was. Through the latter half of the second and third sets, he could barely hold serve. In other words, Djoko peaked in his semifinal against Federer, but in the end, he was good enough to win the final in straight sets because mentally, physically and strategically, Murray no-showed.
Onto the vaginal side of things.
Without descending to the level of some WTA defenders out there (playing out their own inferiority complex in their defense of women’s tennis, but more on this another day), the Australian Open 2011 truly belonged to the ladies.
Whereas I expected the men’s final, between two players closer in ranking, age and experience, to be competitive, I expected the ladies’ final to be a blow out. Afterall, Kim was well known to be on the serving end of those, and Li Na, despite winning their last match in Sydney, wasn’t the kind of player you can count on to mentally show up for a match.
But show up she did, and for a set and a half, Li managed to become one of the few women in tennis capable of overpowering and outhitting Kim Clijsters from the baseline.
But Kim came through in the end, to my bitter disappointment. She turned the match around with 1 part variety (giving Li different spins in the second set), 1 part defence (thou shalt make your opponent miss one more shot) and 8 parts mental strength and experience. Just watch the way she served out the last game to win her first non-US Open slam. Not a lot of women, or men, have as much courage and steadiness.
It sucks to back the losing side, but sometimes you just say “too good”. Wotcha gonna do?
Last but not least …
“Doesn’t matter whether you are fat or skinny, handsome or ugly, I will always follow you, I will always love you.” – Li Na
I try so hard to write well, to speak eloquently; I use big words, I read pretentious novels. Then an amazing moment comes once in a while when I feel utterly humbled by a person who speaks only a little English, who isn’t Shakespeare or Tolstoy or Franzen, who doesn’t use big words or fancy long sentences.
Once in a while, I realise just how superfluous language is in the face of the honest sentiment underneath.
Thanks, Li Na. You couldn’t have said it any better.
PS. Family vacation and a little down time for me. Shall be back, ready to rock before Dubai. Take care, my darlings.