Mendoza: Not so nice Grand Slam Final battles-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
THERE was an obvious lack of thrills, and even spills, in the last Australian Open.
The men’s and women’s finals of the year’s first Grand Slam over the weekend weren’t exactly spectacles as they weren’t punctuated by great shots usually seen in the past.
Dull were the title-clinching victories of Viktoria Azarenka of Belarus over Li Na of China on Saturday, and Novak Djokovic of Serbia over Andy Murray of Great Britain on Sunday.
In tennis, I always pine for shots that go for the jugular. In this sport, especially in a Finals match, you almost yearn for action in the tradition of an Ali-Frazier “Thrilla in Manila” type in 1975, or a Fischer-Spassky chess classic in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1972.
In the last Australian Open, where were the lung-busting pursuits of perfection that usually attended each shot that seemed impossible to execute?
The beauty of tennis is in the capture of an almost irretrievable return--consistently.
The likes of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and
Guillermo Vilas, the acknowledged poet of tennis, had displayed that exceptional trait.
Even John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase, the “nasty” Romanian, were stern exponents of this.
I missed the days when tennis Grand Slams were won on pure merit.
If I say pure merit, I mean points that are won on sheer artistry.
Meaning, one wins a match on talent, on creativity, on resourcefulness.
One winning because a foe was being handicapped by an injury or something, is nothing but hollow victory.
That was the case in Azarenka’s win over Li. That was also the case in Djokovic’s triumph over Murray.
In both matches, injuries had been the order of the day.
Azarenka also complained of body aches and received medical attention for this more than once.
But did she feign pain, as what her obvious non-admirers claimed?
Murray suffered from blisters, a result obviously of his five-set victory over Federer in the semifinals.
After squeezing out a 7-6 win in the first set against Djokovic, Murray was next led to the slaughterhouse. Whoa!
It ain’t no way to play a Grand Slam.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2013.