2009 zFrench Open Assessment Thread
Let's start with the ATP guys ......
Rafael Nadal - Ok he was the odds favorite so much so that it wasn't if Rafa would get to the Finals, most including myself talked about who would meet him there to take the Runner's Up Trophy. Well it was sheer joy to see Robin Soderling put forth such focused determination backed by an obvious regime of hard work to take Rafa out of this year's running. Yes we love records being broken but I can't help from feeling so impressed by Soderling's play that it was really ok. We all know Rafa will be there again and he place as probably the best that's ever played this game is still very much secure. Thank God our sport has a little acceptance of an occasional loss that doesn't reflect on your overall performance. In other words, it's ok to lose once in awhile as long as it's not often.
Roger Federer - I write this before the Championship Match tomorrow because I probably stand alone in stating I'm not so certain Roger will pull this off. Of course we all want to see it and most of us are hoping for it but Robin Soderling is not the same Player Roger has beaten 5 times before. He's a whole different player with one very huge distinction under his belt, he took out Rafa Nadal on Rafa's best surface and did it in grand fashion. It don't get better than that .. or does it? Well we'll see tomorrow but just think here's a guy who just might not only win this year's French Title but do it by beating the #1 & #2 Player's in the World who happen to be the arguably best two players on the Planet regardless of the surface. I say, he can do it but I'm pulling for Roger of course.
Robin Soderling - I was watching his matches against both Nadal, Davydenko & Gonzales to see what his weaknesses were. Well I'm pretty good at spotting them and guess what kids, I couldn't find any. I mean this guy is playing amazing tennis. I mean the type of tennis ost only get to dream about. For me I'm thinking the only chance Federer has is if Soderling is playing beyond his capabilities and comes back down to Earth tomorrow and gets overwhelmed by the occasion. At some point, the thought of beating Roger Federer in the Championship Match should all come crashing down on his head and it will be interesting to see how he handles that reality. His Coaches are probably telling him, if you go out there and swing from the hip and let it rip, good things will happen. For Soderling, all he has to do is think, I have nothing to worry about. I'm not suppose to win so all the pressure is on Roger. All I got to do is play like I played against Nadal and it's mine.
Can he do it? I think he can .. and I personally think he will.
btw - a little fact that we over-looked. American Kevin Kim took Soderling to 2 Tiebreakers in the 1st two sets of the 1st Rd which was better than anyone else did so far.
Roger went 5 Sets against Tommy Haas & Juan Del Potro so will he have enough gas in the Tank should it go another 5 Sets?