The US Open this year was a great tournament, running pretty much true to form until the last Friday, September 11. It began to rain, allowing no full matches on Friday, just a few on Saturday, more on Sunday. So that the women’s doubles final – winners Serena and Venus – were held early afternoon on Monday, and Roger Federer fell to Juan Martin Del Potro around 7 p m.
Everything was out of kilter. Kim Clijsters was winning her semi-final match against Serena when Serena imploded – deliberately destroying her racket and drawing a warning – and then exploded – physically threatening a small Asian woman line judge. Causing her to lose a point – which was match point! And then not really apologizing til 3 days later. If then.
And then came the men’s final. The unflappable Roger very calmly said s…, among other statements (no other swearing) to the umpire, while arguing about the amount of time needed to challenge. Roger played very well, but there was very little magic after the first 2 sets. Those sets were great – it looked like a runaway win for The Fed. And then the balance swung the other way.
Del Potro, one of the ‘tree’ players (so tall the ball comes from totally different angles), learned and grew over the summer, and became a better player than he had been. And probably the best of all the ‘trees’, most of whom are stiff and slow and non-creative. They have a serve and that’s about it.
Del Potro isn’t good enough, and won’t be, to win against Roger often. But when Roger’s serve deserted him, and so did the way his brain, eye and hand work together, Del Potro took it. I wasn’t even able to watch the awards ceremony. Simply fled from friend Diane’s to drive home. By the time I got there, there were reports of the trophy ceremony being a travesty. Del Potro’s lack of English caused the tournament and the network to shorten the presentation. A sad last act to a tournament that had lost its way.