The Monday after a Grand Slam always brings me a huge letdown. It’s like for two weeks my schedule becomes pretty set around the match schedules, and then after two weeks of non-stop action, it’s suddenly, “now what?”
This year’s Australian Open was surprisingly exciting for me. Surprising, because even after Nadal was eliminated (shocker! #stillnotoverit), I still watched the rest of the matches and was rewarded with some really great ones.
The women’s final between Serena and Sharapova went just the way I hoped it would. A tough battle that was not easily won or given away, and in the end a championship for Serena. I’ve never really been a fan of Sharapova, and I admit a huge part of that is her extreme shouting. If I have to mute a match just to make it bearable to watch, it’s not going to make me a fan of the player. Though Maria did come to the Philippines for the IPTL. She hardly made any impact on the matches, but she was very gracious. She’s probably a nice lady, and she could very easily go another way with her beauty and everyone raving about it, but she doesn’t seem stuck up at all. I’m just not a fan.
Serena was simply amazing in the final. Her shots were deep and accurate, and poor Masha had no answer. And to think Serena had some sort of hacking cough the whole time. I have a cough, and I can barely get up out of bed.
The men’s final was compelling up until the middle of the third set. Andy Murray was fighting Novak every step of the way, and for a while there he looked like he could even take it to 5 sets. Novak hurt his thumb and then was having problems with his legs, so we seemed headed to a nail-biter. But for some inexplicable reason, Murray just seemed to switch off, losing the third set, then the fourth 6-0. 6-0!
I’m always surprised when any of the top players gets bageled. You would think that at this level, they’re past that. Apparently they’re human too huh?
I was always a bit neutral about Murray because he always seemed to be so exhausted every time he played. Even when he was winning, his face looked like he was in pain.
But he came to Manila for the IPTL, and though in the beginning he did look tired (jet lag, they said), he showed some amazing spirit and fire to win the match for the Mavericks. And he gave a very heartfelt farewell speech to boot. That sealed my love for him. (Also, he bageled Berdych in the semis, which thank you very much! #stillnotoverrafalosing. Berdych is probably a nice guy who likes puppies and rainbows, but he is on my LIST! So there.)
I tell you that IPTL weekend really rekindled my love for tennis. I lost interest for a while after Sampras retired, but I’m rediscovering the beauty of the game.
Before the final started, I wasn’t even sure who I was rooting for. I liked Djokovic a lot (another 6-0 set vs Wawrinka in the semis, what’s up with that?), and I like Murray, so who did I want to win?
Well, I found out after Murray lost the first set. I wanted him to win! Sure I felt sorry when Novak hurt himself, but I still was on Team Andy. He fought valiantly, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They both gave endearing speeches after the match, and I don’t hate Novak after winning. I watch sports the way I watch TV – with feelings.
You know how some players are not gracious winners? Well Novak was, and it’s easy to be happy for him. But poor Andy and his four Aussie Open finals and zero wins. He reminds me of Jana Novotna and Goran Ivanisevic, who had to lose the final at Wimbledon so many times before finally, finally winning one. So there may still be an Aussie Open in store for Andy someday. And he’s already won Wimbledon and the US Open, so he obviously has it in him. He can even win a career Grand Slam!
But Australian Open 2015 is done. Four months till the French Open. Now what do I do?