Kristi and I watched the men's French Open tennis finals today. The match was between Djokovic, the number one men's player in the world at the moment, and Nadal, the number 2 player. However, Nadal has dominated the French Open, played on clay courts, for the last 7 years. In fact, if Nadal wins, it will be his 7th French Open championship, more than anyone else. Djokovic, on the other hand, has the chance to win a consecutive Grand Slam, something only a couple of players have ever done.
At the beginning, Nadal seemed peppier and ready to run out of the gate, so to speak. Djokovic looked flat, tired, not really into the match. And although he did show signs of decent tennis a few times, all in all, he was very unimpressive in losing the first two sets. A rain delay of about 45 minutes didn't seem to affect the match that much at first. But after a few games, including Nadal's finishing of taking the 2nd set, and a lackluster beginning of the second set, in the rain, by both players, Djokovic woke up, in a major way.
He dominated the next 8 games, taking the third set and breaking Nadal at the beginning of the 4th set. There is no doubt that the momentum of the match had changed completely. And while there was a long way to go and momentum shifts can swing back and forth in such a match, it seemed that Djokovic had started to believe that he could come back and win the match. Nadal, on the other hand, was grumbling about the persistent rain, something he hadn't done earlier in the match. He was rattled.
But there seemed to be consensus between the TV announcers, including McEnroe, and apparently the players and officials that the court had become too altered by persistent light to moderate rain to continue, and the match was again postponed. This time, it has been put off until tomorrow morning. How that will affect the match is anyone's guess at this point. The game was postposted after Nadal has finally won a game in the 4th set, breaking an 8 game run by Djokovic, in what seemed to be about as humane a place to stop it as could be at that time.
Based on what happened this morning, conventional wisdom would say that Nadal now has the advantage. Djokovic has shown that he is a slow starter, and takes a while to really get warmed up. But when he does, he's virtually unbeatable. But Nadal is good from the beginning, which gives him an edge early to build up a lead. Tomorrow morning will be a beginning, but Nadal's task is significantly cut down, as he did 2/3s of it this morning - winning two of the three sets he needs to win. All he needs is to eek out one set out of two.
But, will Djokovic be able to get himself fired up from the beginning - put himself back in the place that he was, and continue with his comeback? It seems his task is going to be more difficult. But tennis is so tricky I would not want to venture a guess on what is going to happen. Unfortunately, I will be at work and won't be able to see it live. Lucky for those that do.