Monday, 5 October 2009

Janitor Man


(SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Been something of a mixed season for both these gents.

After returning from that foot injury earlier this year, and with this now being his third title of the year, Niki has just about completed reprising his former role of cleaning up in the absence of Rafa and Roger. Very much the janitor of the top ten, just like the good ol’days. Though I miss Davydork already. Brighten up man.

Fernando’s year has been straddling that fine line between disappointment and cautious optimism. More Verdant than Verdasco you might say, and not at all similar to the unassailable figure that opened up his account back in Melbourne with arguably the finest Slam Semi we’ve seen this year, and acquiring virginal top ten standing in the process. Unfamiliar territory, though the future looked so very bright.

If he’d continued in that vein, he would probably have been around #5 in the world by now. That he’s managed to lengthen (and strengthen) his stay there is no less commendable though, and in stark contrast to the way Gael more or less, peek-a-booed his way in and back out once again

You might think that with his hobbling body showing unmistakable signs of end-of-season breakdown, that now would be a good time to pull the plug on a year that hasn’t been half bad.

Except there’s this small matter of the year end championships to consider.

Of the remaining three places up for grabs, one almost certainly belongs to A-Rod who’s nearly 1400 points ahead of Jo-Will, his nearest competition. But aside from that, with two Masters and four 500 events to go, little can really be said; and though Jo-Willy, Niki-Dorko and Nando are within kissing distance of one another, the remaining two positions might well end up being taken by Soderling or this man.


Gilles picked up the title in Bangkok yesterday, and with it brought an end to a drought lasting over a year. I’d be chuffed too.

I’d say woohoo or something equally sanguine, except I don’t deal in French wares any more. And the fact that Troicki bounced out Jo-Will 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the semis to make his runners-up appearance here only strengthens my resolve against the dark and somewhat charismatic forces of Style over Substance.

I don’t take too kindly to being hung out to dry over and over again; and dealing with the seemingly implacable disconnect between talent and form, that seems to grow even larger in the presence of charisma. You’ve Marat and Sveta to thank for that.

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