Friday, 28 January 2011

Oz: Destiny


1 day…..20 hrs…….32 mins…….43 seconds.


THAT……is when this Slam……..will end.




126 matches of professional tennis, most of which you won’t ever see, can’t ever prove were even played out, and for all you know probably only existed in a transient tangential Donnie-Darko type corrective universe.


One that will cease to exist the second after Li Na and Andy Murray fulfil their destiny.


I never did get round to blogging that Li/Caro match. It made for difficult viewing. It also made for incredibly inspiring viewing once Li came alive in the closing moments of that 2nd set.




Li’s groundies are dynamite. Technically perfect dynamite.  Caro still struggles to keep the ball in court on the rare occasion she tries to crack a winner. Tell me something new.


My own little theory for why she was in Murray’s box during his semi final today:


Muzz: “So, I saw you in my players’ box today [grins dorkishly] - it felt cool.”


*steamy music*


Caro: “Well….[breaths deeply]….I’m not normally the kind of girl that does this sort of thing…”


Muzz: “Go on….”


Caro: "[sighs]…even now I’m not comfortable asking you this [flutters eyelashes]…”


Muzz: “GO ON…”


*record scratching noise*


Caro[deadpan]:  “For a guy that isn’t [airquotes with fingers] ‘about the winners’, you win, like, a lot of matches – I need to know how that works…”


Muzz: …



Caro’ll never be “all about the winners” the way Li and other WTA big guns are – that’ll never be “her thing”.




But with a retirement bloodbath less than 20 months away (Venus, Serena, Roger, ARod, Kolya, Kim, amongst others – I’m doing ‘denial’ right now so I’m at ‘acceptance/hope’ in time for the 2012 Olympics) and with the players left to fill the void, you’ve got to think “her thing” will probably be enough to win a Slam….at some point.


I can see I’d better define what precisely“her thing” is: quite simply, being the best defender in the game (JJ used to be that once remember? That didn’t stop us from predicting a Slam for her).


And even though that’s (clearly) not quite what we expect or even desire from a world #1, it’s not half bad an asset. Besides, I’m kinda tired of the grinder storyline. She is what she is.


But back to Li.




Let there be no illusions about just how big this would be if she does manage to pull this off. Your expression tells me you already know that. Ok then.


And yeeaaahhh, alright – she’s probably not playing for “king and country” in much the same way as Muzz is claiming it to be more of a “personal glory” thing too. (Good luck selling that to the papers)


I have to say, I don’t completely believe either of them. Not that they haven’t likely successfully convinced themselves of what they’re saying.


I just don’t think you can, in Li’s case at least, completely blot out the hopes, desires and fears of 1.3 billion people that have never had a player even contest the finals of one of these gigs before.


We already know something of her love for them with the charity work she does – that has to leave some kinda carbon footprint on your psyche.


You can try and play it down, you can try and shake it off. You can’t pretend it’s not there.




Glass half empty:


If she plays as dissolute a match as she played against Caro in the semis, Kim mows her, or rather she mows herself down. In straights.


Glass half full:


Li’s been astonishingly accurate since the season began which, as we all know, is astonishingly out of character for her. Maybe this really does have a sense of “destiny” to it the way Fran did at RG last year – I have to say I didn’t really see it when people were suggesting it earlier on this week.


Maybe a more contained, less error-prone version of Li will only continue to exist for the span of time it takes to win this thing before collapsing in on itself the way Donnie’s tangential universe did – but only after allowing him to set things right for everyone (assuming at least some of you have seen the film?), in this case over 1.3 BILLION PEOPLE.


If the Caro semi-final was her one dud – then I’d say she’s got it out of her system.

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