Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Empty Euphoria


I’ve been finding it difficult to get into anything like the hoopla some have been in over Muzz’s back-to-back titles in Bangkok and Tokyo, the latter of which saw him bagel Rafa in the final.

This is of course, completely at odds with the Long-Suffering Fan’s Code of Conduct, the lengthiest chapter of which is entitled “Taking the Win”. It’s about loyalty, about finding positives in any victory, finding reasons to cheer any title, however Mickey Mouse. That sort of thing.

In other words, IT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO. Particularly when your guy/gal struggles with what we like to call  “the big moments”.  When they eventually do get through those moments, they’re that much sweeter. That’s the theory.

It’s not that I haven’t being trying. You couldn’t fail to be impressed by the bagel, for example – a set Rafa only managed to win an absurd 4 points in.

Trouble is, it all has an uncomfortably distinctive whiff of late 2008, when Muzz could do no wrong (except, ya know, win the final of the USO). Since then, he’s notched up a total of 8 Masters title, reached a further two Slam finals and continued his wins over three of the best players the sports produced.

This year he reached the semis of all four Slams.

It’s a little difficult to get euphoric over him winning an ATP 500 after that – is this really what it has come to?



I won’t lie: there were times when it felt downright awkward that it should be Aga and Petko – rather than, say, Caro, Vika or even Marion – fighting for 1000 ranking points and $775K in prize money in the finals of one of the ‘big four’ events outside of the Slams. There were also times when (in the absence of Serena, Pova and Kim) I couldn’t think of anyone better. 

Aga and Petko are two of the tours steadier players – trust me, there’s times when that word’s not a knock. They’re not giant-killers by any stretch; what they are is exactly the kind of player ready and willing (perhaps more than anyone) to fill the void wherever and whenever it occurs.

Aga’s been hovering at the periphery of the top 10 for a few years now. Petko’s rise in the last year has (not unlike Aga’s) been as steady (again, not a knock) as it has been enduring.  Petko’s tears, therefore, at not converting on the easiest shot she might ever have at winning a Premier Mandatory, are understandable.

Yet, it was Aga (rather than Petko) with two Premiers and a Premier-5 already under her belt. And it was Aga  (rather than Petko) on something of a ‘streak’ with back-to-back non-Slam titles coming into this.

In other words, it was Aga (rather than Petko) that could be said to have anything like ‘pedigree’. The right woman won.

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