Not gonna lie to you: I was rooting for Fed to win yesterday. Mainly because of his utterly pants IW/Miami record. I thought it time he put that behind him.
“Alas” indeed, though I think it only reasonable to point out that this has been by far his best IW in over 4 years, when Canas exposed (quite publicly) for the first time, the type of doubt and frustration that has characterised almost every poor performance of his since then.
That’s not to say Nole isn’t wholly deserving of the win or, indeed, the #2 ranking. In principle, I actually prefer Rafole finals over Fedal ones. In principle.
That’s mostly been down to Madrid 2009 when the two pulled off the best (and longest) three setter ever played. Trouble is, we’ve not had anything even remotely comparable ever since.
It’s been the same story with Fedal finals with nothing really living up to Wimby 2008 or (my personal favourite) Rome 2006.
Maybe we’ll never see anything like that ever again – maybe Rafa and Nole’s conditioned maturity and Fed’s twilight make that all but impossible.
What I suspect we’re all after is simply a good match, which doesn’t necessarily depend on both playing 100% all of the time, or on particular styles of play.
My own view is that the role of “matchups” (Fed v Rafa or Rafa v Nole) doesn’t contribute nearly as much into bringing that about as self-satisfied (and utterly irritating) fans of either camp would like us to believe it does.
Entirely natural to prefer one over the other. So take your pick, but don’t foist it on others who share equally valid preferences for the other, or both, OR NEITHER.
It’s entirely possible for Fed and Rafa to give us one last preternatural blast before Fed calls it quits, just as it is that Rafa and Nole put on a show that makes our ears bleed later today.
Apples and Oranges. And “Oranges are not the only Fruit”.