I’ve said before that I’m not naturally a big fan of tennis and this remains true, but I’ve watched quite a lot of this Wimbledon competition and today there was one of the finest tennis games I’ve ever seen and that includes the final between Nadal and Federer a couple of years ago which seems to be considered the greatest Wimbledon final of my lifetime.
It wasn’t the match between Murray and Lopez which was a boringly straightforward win for the British player; he never looked particularly challenged by Lopez, satisfied to simply break his service once a set and rely on his serve to do the rest. Like most people I’m not a big fan of Murray as a person, he’s nowhere near as likable Henman, but he definitely seems to be a much more talented player than Tim, capable of the moments of flair and skill that set apart good players from potential champions.
No the great match was the one between Federer and Tsonga. Now Tsonga is 12th seed for this tournament, so hardly a poor player by any standard, but unless you are Rafael Nadal, when you play Federer you play him as the clear underdog. Tsonga looked done for when he lost the second set tie break, leaving him 2-0 down, a deficit no one had overturned at a Grand Slam against the Swiss supremo; somehow though he summoned up the confidence and determination to play the game of his life and fought back to win three sets to two. Tsonga is a quality player, powerful and skilful in equal measures and he fully deserved his win. It was a comeback to rival some of the classic football matches; Liverpool v AC Milan in the Champions League final being my all time favourite.
In the last set the crowd in Centre Court were treated to a very rare sight indeed, Roger Federer fully out of ideas and resigned to defeat. He is a player not used to losing but he took it with good grace, accepting that he had lost to a player who had shown real bravery and ability. I’d back Tsonga to give Djokovic a good game in the semi finals and I really think we could be seeing the Frenchman in the final, against Nadal would be my guess.
Sadly I think Murray is just far too British to actually be successful in the end, doomed to experience the same sporting disappointment that seems to befall any Brit who gets highly tipped for success.