My #1 is safely through, duh. And facing him in the final is, surprise surprise, my #2. Andy Roddick. Not Andy Murray, the young player whom everyone has been tipping to win a Grand Slam since he reached the US Open final last year (and lost to Roger in straight sets) but hasn't reached another final since.
I watched the whole of the third set and the first six games of the fourth, and I was honestly so shocked and amazed by how well Original Andy played, it was out of this world. I love Andy for reasons mostly unrelated to his tennis (though his cannon serve down the T is absolutely spectacular) and I'd quite readily admit that his tennis is rather boring. But oh my god, last night, he was AMAZING. He played the kind of all-court tennis he tried to execute against Roger in the 2007 Australian Open semi-final, except this time round, it actually worked. I'd never really pegged him as an aggressive player, but oh my god, his serve-volleys, his volleys, and the way he totally ate up Murray's second serves with some courageous and vicious return winners...
Wow. Andy's had a great season so far, but I only said that before because it was what everyone was saying. But watching him play that kind of accurate, attacking tennis against Andy Murray, who's won 6 of their past 8 matches (now it's 6 of 9), who was the favourite to reach the final, whom I thought was gonna win for sure, it made that statement real - he's had a great season. He's still having a great season.
I'm very happy for him. No one expected a Federer/Roddick final and it just BLOWS MY MIND that we're revisiting 2004 and 2005. And the 2003 semi-final.
OH MY GOD I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT TOMORROW'S FINAL!!!!!!!!
You know, I primarily want Roger to win and break the Sampras record and go down in history as the undisputed GOAT, but a tiny, weeny part of me wouldn't be THAT crushed if Andy won. He'd really deserve it for persevering, trying to fix whatever was broken, and never giving up on trying even when he didn't have the success that he wanted. This is why I adore Andy: he doesn't give up. He just doesn't give up. No matter how boring his tennis is capable of being, I really respect him for still playing amongst the top 10 after all these years. It shows strength of character and courage - and if there's one thing that's capable of winning my admiration, it's determination. Perseverance. Probably because I'm quite prone to giving up sometimes, but whatever it is, Andy's presence in the top 10, and now the Wimbledon final, has only made me love him even more.
I'm really super thrilled for him. I hope we get an exciting, tight match tomorrow!
Okay, I predict Roger winning in straight sets, but a girl can hope for something more exciting, no? And I'm only okay with a five-setter because I love his opponent!
On another, but related, note, I'd just like to bitch about all the Fed haters who kept banging on about how he's not that great, and that he was only able to be so dominant in his hey-days (which clearly aren't even close to being over) because he was playing within a weak era.
I'm sorry, but what unfolded at SW19 over the past week has completely shot that theory to shit. Roger's era, weak? Are you kidding me? If his era was weak, what the fuck is the current one? Defending champion and world #1 cannot even play to defend his title. World #4 lost to a 31-year-old in the quarter-final. World #3 lost to the world #6, a guy five years older than him, and part of the "weak era" which Roger dominated. World #5 lost to LLEYTON HEWITT, another old-timer who just came back from surgery, who is still trying to get his groove back.
Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. It's fitting, isn't it, that the two finalists have been on the tour twice as long as these young guns who supposedly herald a stronger generation. Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. Weak era? What utter bullshit.
Lastly, cute quote from Andy:
"I had to play my best tennis out there to win today," the sixth-seeded Roddick said to the BBC. "I can't say enough good things about Andy's game, but I can play some tennis sometimes. Not many people were giving me much of a chance at all. I knew if I could stay the course, I'd have a shot. That's all you can ask for."
I adore his sense of humour.
In other tennis news, I'm back from a lousy, barely-two hour session in the morning and am getting ready to play again at 3. Yay.
This morning was so bad though. 90% of the time I had NO IDEA what I was doing with my forehand. And I still find it extremely difficult to get myself into position in time when the ball is coming straight at me. Those, to me, are the hardest shots to return - immediately after high balls. I'd even rank it above the slice (unless the person slicing is Tong. Cannot compete with a squash player; his slice is something I've yet to experience from a pure tennis player). I'm so slow, and when I see the ball coming straight at me, the first thing I do is panic. That wastes about a second, a precious second, and I waste another second trying to decide whether to go left or right, and two wasted seconds later, my arm barely extends, and it extends nowhere near the optimal point, as I feebly try to hit it back.
It is TERRIBLE. I also HATE returning semi-high balls off the backhand side. It's so hard to keep a proper grip on the racquet when the ball is so high, and I always end up double-hitting, or mis-timing it and losing a lot of power in the process. The two-handed backhand has a lot of limitations, and if I weren't naturally unathletic, I might attempt to pick up the one-handed backhand. But it's too hard so I won't bother.
On a brighter note, my friend taught me the volley today. It was easy standing at the net and blocking the ball back, but during an actual rally, I just...didn't know what to do. It's really so not easy to find the right time to rush the net and hit a volley; no wonder so many players prefer hanging out at the baseline nowadays.
For me, though, the changing grip part makes it even more difficult (I use Eastern forehand grip. When volleying one has to switch to the Continental grip). My mind literally goes blank for a split second as I sense that a volleying opportunity was nigh. Then comes the part where I have to remember to change my grip, and by the time I get past the service line, the ball has already bounced.
Brilliant going, self. To be fair, I tried a grand total of three times. But all three times I dumped the ball into the net.
I do get incredibly annoyed with myself, though, when I make dumb errors, even though I'm just playing for fun. If a racquet didn't cost so much, I probably would've broken many, MANY racquets by now.
Oh well. Going to watch the part of the Roddick/Murray match I didn't catch last night, then go to Baoyue's for tennis!