After the almost 5-hour semifinal match between Rafa Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov today, I have no words and I’m exhausted. The problem with watching a match like this is, deep down inside, you want both of them to win. Rafa because well, he’s Rafa. He’s a legend, he’s a fighter, he’s come back after multiple injuries, and frankly no one, and I mean no one fights harder for every single point than this guy. And then you’ve got Dimitrov who has been slowly plugging away, gaining skill and confidence. Once known as “Baby Fed” is no longer a baby anything. I enjoy watching him play because his emotions are a little more inward and you can almost hear the quiet dialogue he is having with himself to win the next point or to forgive himself for the point he just lost. And let’s face it, he has become a much more likeable player since he is no longer dating Maria Sharapova.
But in the end, it was Rafa who pulled it out. His dad knew. While the rest of his box were watching from the edge of their seats, Uncle Tony up on his feet with encouragement, Carlos Moya whispering some coaching nugget into Uncle Tony’s ear, Rafa’s dad was sitting there arms folded, smiles, side glances to his box like “Told ya so. He’s got this.” His dad knew.
One thing is for certain, I didn’t know. I had my doubts after the second set loss. And I’ll admit I had my doubts through the entire match. But isn’t that we watch tennis? Because the tides can shift at any minute. Because anything can cause a shift in momentum. A leg cramp, a bad call, a medical emergency in the crowd. Nothing is ever certain.
One thing is for certain, we have a classic Federer/Nadal match up on Sunday. Nobody, including the two players, could have predicted this. But there they are. Rivals, friends, the best and the best, battling it out for a more more chance to raise the trophy, to add to their already impressive grand slam totals, to continue their legend. I will be up with my human, early Sunday morning, getting my breakfast a little earlier (lucky me) while my human makes the coffee. Regardless of who wins, it is one for the history books. And that is what this sport needs, another great story for the books.