Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Friday, June 06, 2008

France goes beserk: Monsfils loses. Nadal is not human; Djokovic needs to replan. Federer makes space for a new trophy.

First, Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard and world number 2 in tennis played Novak Djokovic, the Serb and number 3. The Serb could not serve up anything hard enough for Nadal. On the other hand, Nadal served like a bomber; ran like a gazelle on Extacy; strong armed his forehand like an Exocet; whipped his two-handed backhand to ridiculous angles that defied maths and showed that he is really right handed; forced Djokovic to sometimes simply look on and clap; jumped into the commentary box to discuss his own match in between returns of service; umpired the match; started a Mexican wave as he began his service; appeared on a TV program in Madrid. All this while thumping his way to a three set win. Beautiful and near perfect tennis and I'm sorry for the opposing finalist, who we now know is Roger, who will be unable to dodge questions if he loses--again--to Nadal, even on clay. Nadal is not human; that is clear and he should be analyzed to check that he is not an androyd sent by some aliens to convert us all to mongo-tennis. He has the heart of a bull. He has the legs of a stallion. He has arms like The Hulk. He never tires. He jumps like Dick Fosbury. He is as aggressive with his racket as John McEnroe is with his mouth.

His fellow finalist will be his best bud, Roger Federer, the apparently ever-calm Swiss, who often misses out when playing Rafa. Rog overcame Gael Monfils and all of the French nation to win in four tantalizing sets. The Fed Express showed all his class and grace in the first set. But Monfils, the world number 1 junior in 2004, ever the plucky youth, cranked himself up, as if he was ready to do his Solja Boy routine, and pulled victory out of the face of defeat in the second set. Game on. The third set gave the impression that Rog was on his way to another early dinner with Myrka, but Gael had other ideas and cancelled the reservation by dragging out the third set. The fourth set saw Monfils build a rapport with the French people that meant that as he slipped and slid on the clay, someone would come out of the stands and pick him up, hold Roger in a bear hug while Gael was being cleaned up, keep the umpire and lines people occupied while keeping the ball in the air so that Gael could then run up and hit a screaming forehand winner. Well, Roger has shown lots of human frailities this year and missed so many volleys one had to wonder if he had bet on his own defeat. Then with two match points at up stepped Roger and fluffed the forehand winner. Argh! What the ....! So Monfils gets a lifeline. This time he sets up the Mexican wave, with all of France rising and waving its arms, even the commentators; I wondered what John McE was saying in his commentrary box. The umpire calmed the nation after several minutes. So at 5-6, Gael steps up to serve and Roger's phone goes off: "Honey, dinner is getting cold!" No nonsense. A bit of letting the crowd think that Gael could get out of gaol yet again. Boom. A few crisp volleys and superb drives and Roger showed that this was a VERY IMPORTANT MATCH. He jumped for joy, and skipped like it was his first final. Some people sho do not understand what motivates athletes keep asking about Fed's desire. Duh.... There is unfinished business. Sixteen consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals tells me the man is a great player. He just has not won the French Open, yet...

We know the tape on Nadal-Federer. We know the 411 on Nadal on clay. So, why do I think that Roger will win? Because it seems so imporbable given the way that each got to the finals, including the last matches. Rafael has not dropped a set and has shown that no one else need bother try to play him on clay; even compatriot Almagro, who had almost twice as many aces as anyone, looked like a dope-on-a-rope against Rafa in the quarters. Roger keeps looking vulnerable. Why? Too much caution to ensure he gets his date with destiny again? I'm not sure. It's a felling. Also, my tennis guru, Sydney tells me that he knows that this time Roger will do it. I know that Sydney is no fool. We will see on Sunday.

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