Monday, 10 January 2011

Sod ups the ante, Delpo’s return to Oz.



» Soderling wins Brisbane; up to world #4


Having not seen a single ball of live Aussie tennis, I’m going largely on 2nd hand reports when I say that Sod is in scintillating, intimidating form.





This time last year, nursing an elbow injury, he went out in the first rounds of both Chennai and, more worryingly, Oz itself: were we to include the two exhos he took part in prior to that, that would still make a profoundly dispiriting 2 out of 7 matches won (though one of them was a win over Federer :P).


It’s not Bercy, but ravaging your way through a 32-man draw with wins over Radek and ARod, all without dropping a single set, should, in theory, mean “good things” ahead of Melbourne.


Especially when you consider that it bumps him up ahead of Murray at #4 in the rankings. Amongst other things this means he’ll be seeded #4 in Melbourne and (as he only has a paltry 10 pts to defend there) have a very real shot at the #3 spot (Djoko reached the quarters and defends 360 pts).


He also won’t have to face either one of Rafa or Fed prior to the semis – a pleasure now handed down to Muzz at #5. Handy that.


Other weekend winners include Fed (avenging last years loss to Davy) in Doha, Stan in Chennai (any chance we can get through a single week free of domestic innuendo?), Kvitova over Petko (no dance) and Greta Arn in Auckland (you have no soul if you’re unhappy about this).


» Delpo + Nalbie will underwhelm rather than “upset” at AO


Look. I hate to be the spoilsport.


And it’s great to have Delpo back – lord knows he’s served his time.



del potro


It’s always an especially cruel form of pleasure to watch an under-ranked former Slam-winner/world-number-one working their way back to the big-time, blitzing through the early rounds taking down whatever big names are unfortunate enough to be drawn up against them (see Henin, Justine).


For all of that, I don’t think Delpo will be “upsetting” anyone just now. At least not in Oz.


[dodges rotten tomato]


Boo all you want. I’m happy to play the pantomime arch-villain.


Just know that I believe rather than desire this. I want him back as much as anyone out there, but  it normally takes longer than just the one event he’s playing in Sydney to get even a fraction of form back.


I know Justine reached the final of her first event back, but a) she wasn’t injured and was presumably playing more than Delpo’s been able to prior to her return, and b) she has a more compact, less injury-prone frame – comebacks for lumbering giants are always to be approached more gingerly and one step at a time (see Sharapova, Maria).


Ditto Nalbie, who always tends to blossom post Wimbledon. At the beginning of the year he normally invents new ways of disappointing us.


You’re right, I’m coming across as an arrant prick right now. But someone needs to say these things.


Needless to say I’m happy to be proved wrong about either, or both of the above.

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