And just like that, Rafa was on his knees, head to the ground on his treasured clay, on his favourite court. He was crying, his box was crying and I’m pretty sure millions of fans were too. The delayed final went in Rafa’s way and though the weather and court conditions favoured his game over Novak’s there is no doubt Rafa played his heart out on Monday. I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was finally over.
Photo credit Christophe Ena
Sunday was a tense day. I couldn’t think about anything but the final, but wanted badly to distract myself. Needless to say, nothing worked. Then it started and Rafa went up two sets to love. OK. Cool. Then the rain came and a delay later, Novak had won 8 games in a row and in doing so had taken the third set 6-2 and a lead in the fourth set. Rafa hadn’t dropped a set the entire tournament and it wasn’t looking good. But then the rain came again and the match had been pushed to Monday. This delay definitely helped Rafa get back on track.
Here are the last few points of the match.
Like players, fans are also extremely superstitious. We sit in certain spots, wear special shirts, watch in a particular place. I found myself trying to remember where I was sitting at the beginning of the final on Sunday when Rafa was playing his best. On the second day of the final I didn’t pee until Nadal won. Crazy behaviour? Most definitely. Is the way we cross our legs or control over our bladders really going to make someone win a grand slam tournament? NO. But I think it helps calm the nerves. Rafa has a routine, Maria Sharapova, winner of the women’s tournament this year has a routine, most athletes, professional or otherwise, have them. And their fans follow suit. Isner’s is the funniest.
It was a special, special day and when Djokovic double faulted at championship point, hands in the air, fists pumping, with unshed tears blurring my vision, I ran to the bathroom. As always, Nadal was as humble in his victory as he has been in his defeats. He knew he was playing the current world number 1 and didn’t forget it either before or after the match.
Was it unfortunate that Novak lost the match on a double fault? Yes. But I’m a little bit of a sucker for destiny and like all of the greatest tennis players who have achieved a career grand slam, I am sure it will one day happen for Nole. But for now, a happy Nadal is the only person to ever lift this trophy 7 times. Here’s to many more amazing wins. Vamos!