Indian Wells Wrap: Got Flu? No Problem. (by PJ)
LJ’s last words on her Dubai wrap: “…I don’t really care how Fed does really…Rotterdam/Dubai have been so much fun, I’d think we’d be a bit spoilt if big things happen in the 1st US swing, but hey…tennis is weird that way.”
I like to say that I echoed her sentiments except that a (not at all) secret part of me that wants Federer to win every single tournament under the sun…and guess what?
The Old Man decided to spoil us, by winning the freaking tournament. And yes, tennis is weird and wonderful that way.
To say he didn’t begin the tournament well is an understatement. The tournament had been dubbed Indian Unwells for a virus that managed to drift around and attack everyone in attendance (official name: Coachella Valley-wide virus. Unofficial name: IW virus). 6 players, including Monfils, withdrew even before the tournament began. And throughout the week, players continued to be waylaid – Schiavone, Seppi, Kohlscrubber…to name a few.
Fed didn’t get the Indian Unwells virus though – he got the “round the world” virus, along with Mirka and the kids. He suffered from headache, flu, fever-like symptoms, sniffly nose…contemplated pulling out…until the Grandpa Pride of “if I can step on court, I’ll bloody well play” kicked into gear. And so stepped on court he did, and won the match he did, against American youngster Denis Kudla.
I’ll be honest; I didn’t expect him to beat Milos Raonic. Feverish and achey Gramps playing a young gun with nothing to lose and everything to prove? Geez, I was just hoping he wouldn’t lose embarrassingly. But whaddaya know, Fed dropped the first set via tiebreak, and used that to figure out the Raonic serve, and took care of him comfortably in the next two sets.
Then it was Thomaz Bellucci, whom I wasn’t worried about. I rated Bellucci less dangerous than Raonic and about 15.6 times more headcasey (I had the privilege of watching a live Bellucci implosion against Monfils in AO). Until Roger played some pretty unspectacular tennis to drop serve twice en-route to losing the first set. But as with the Raonic match, the next two sets were as straightforward as it gets.
And then it was Delpony in the quarterfinals. This was where PJ’s “Something’s Gotta Give” Theory kicked in. I mean, come on, something’s GOTTA give. He had beaten the guy three times in two months. And I was okay with it giving then. I don’t want it to give at a Slam. But nooo, Roger wasn’t in any mood to give anything, the selfish wanker. His first service game was difficult and controversial but once he secured that hold after 11 minutes and fighting off two breakpoints, poor Delpony had no chance.
Rafa was next. Rafa freakin’ Nadal, who basically lives in a rent-free mansion in Federer’s brain. Adding in the fact that the IW courts are like clay in disguise, PLUS crappy weather and crappy wind (remember how well Rafa adjusted to the wind in 2009 IW semi where he rolled over Muzzface?), I was prepared for a Miami11-like beatdown. And a Miami11-like beatdown kinda happened…except…SURPRISE…Grandpa was the one dishing out the straight-sets defeat. Amidst the whipping winds, Fed whipped Rafa across the court as if they were playing indoors. Rafa tried to stage a comeback as Fed was serving out the match, but Fed wasn’t about to fart a double-break advantage (THANK YOU FED), and ended the match with an ace amidst rain delay drama (right BEFORE match point).
So somehow, the gimpy senior citizen with a flu virus was into the finals of the tournament…I mean…WHATTT? I guess it helped being sick and having kinda next to no expectations on himself, the dude just took one match at a time (it is a good mantra, no?). But having fought and clawed his way to the final, Fed wasn’t about to lose to whoever that was across the net, and that turned out to be John Isner. Isner beat him in Switzerland on clay during Davis Cup. And now, on Isner’s home-turf, Fed turned the tables and beat him on the pseudo-clay.
While the old man boogied, the notable young ‘uns fell. Rafa fell to Fed. Djokovic fell to Isner (major upset, I might add). Muzzface fell to Other Other Lopez (Guillermo García López, that is. And MUZZ I thought we were over the post Slam slum thingie…evidently not). Tsonga fell to Nalbandian. My Crazy Ponytail Dolgo (who has since become Crazy Cornrows, much to my ABSOLUTE HORROR) fell to Rafa – lamely, I might add.
I don’t want to make any predictions about the rest of the year – because, 1) I suck 2) I’m a jinx – but I will say Fed has been such absolute joy and he has been so good to the mental health of Federer fans. ❤ And of course, Fed winning is always wonderful, beautiful and joyful. As far as I’m concerned anyway.
Oh, let’s have a mention for the ladies as well – Vika Azarenka continued her Djokovic 2011-emulating act, dismissing Shrieky Sharapova in straights in the final. She’s 23-0 for the season so far, and is easily like the best player in the world at the moment (a tag poor Woz never managed to achieve consensus on during her reign as #1). I’ll be honest – I’m not exactly a fan of Azarenka – but I have to admit I am impressed with how well she handled herself amidst the mocking and woo-ing of fans. Her mental strength has really improved in leaps and bounds. I doubt that I’ll ever really fully support her – but girl’s playing awesome at the moment, and looks like she will continue to play awesome.
Onward to Miami we go. And I’m adopting LJ’s attitude…we have been spoiled and I shall not be greedy. But IF the men’s seeds live up to their seeding, we’re getting Fed/Djoko and Rafa/Muzzface. Once upon a time – well, okay, more of sometime last year – I loudly proclaimed I was sick of these match-ups. This time around, I kinda can’t wait for it. Of course, I know what result I want, but as usual, I won’t say it.
With the laydees…SERENA IS BACK! And so is Venus! And a very special mention to Alisa Kleybanova – who is in remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has returned to competitive tennis. You are so awesome, Kleybs. So so awesome.