With Wimbledon and the Olympics just round the corner, you could be forgiven if you thought that the French Open paled in significance – a slight misstep from the more looming, more attractive presence of the Lawn Tennis Associations yearly tournament and one that comes round every four years.
However, Roland Garros served up an interesting tournament, one in which history was made and personal achievements came to the fore as both Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova triumphed. Each player confirming to themselves while dispelling whispers of past glories that they are still able to compete and win.
…delivered a performance…
Starting off with Sharapova, she faced the unheralded Italian Sara Errani and after a few years battling insistent shoulder problems and poor serve, she delivered a performance that seemed to indicate that she was getting back to her best (6-3, 6-2). In winning she complete the Grand Slam set, eight years after her first at Wimbledon. Errani had better luck in the women’s doubles where she won 4–6, 6–4, 6–2 with her partner Roberta Vinci against Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova.
Moving on to the men’s side, Novak Djokovic was trying to do what no person had done in recent history by holding all four championships at the same time. The last time such a feat was accomplished was back in 1969 with Rod Laver, only creating a sense of how large and significant an achievement would be in this current era.
…could not withstand Nadal…
The man who stood in his way? Rafa Nadal, a supreme player on clay with a point to prove after Djokovic had relegated him to shadows last year with his imposing displays. Despite a slight wobble where Nadal hid in his rather petulant mode, losing eight games in a row, he recovered to finish off Djokovic who simply could not withstand Nadal’s tenacity and power game. Mistakes led to Djokovic’s downfall, perhaps not helped when play was stopped on Sunday due to rain and low light at a time when he was figuring much more in the match.
It was not to be for Djokovic, securing his seventh French Open in eight years, an extremely impressive feat that sent him into the record books. It’s hard not to see a great rivalry emerging between Nadal and Djokovic who surely will be meeting again very soon.
Image courtesy of Newspaper Li