Thursday, November 26, 2009

Roger Federer vs Andy Murray - Barclays ATP 2009 at London's O2. What a difference a match makes...

Barclays ATP Finals
Get your tickets here
The crowd is excited for they have braved the drizzle and howling winds blowing across London to witness the clash between two tennis greats - World number 1 and World number 4.

Some have booked their tickets way in advance without knowing the match line-up while many have gotten theirs on the resale market often at a high premium.

But they have all come to O2 to back one of their own.

"Let us all put our hands together to welcome the World number 4 and British number 1 (with a unashamedly deliberate drawl)... Andy Murray!"

The horde goes wild, clapping their hands sore and yelling their voices hoarse, "Andy, Andy, Andy!".

 
A two page interview of Andy Murray featured in Wall Street Journal before the match reflects a confident player

If a match can be won merely by the amount of support a player has, Roger Federer would have gone back home a defeated man without serving a ball, it's as simple as that.

Andy Murray walks out of the dressing room with the camera fixated on him. His trademark sullen look hardens when he emerges into the arena.

The crowd catches sight of their champion and goes ballistic. He looks up and for the briefest of moment manages a half a smile before striding purposefully towards his seat knowing fully what is expected of him.

Roger Federer is out next. You can sense the immense respect the spectators have got for this legend, arguably the best tennis player of all time. Even hardcore Andy Murray fans cheered for him begrudgingly. He smiled to the crowd and raised his racket for a moment in acknowledgement while walking calmly to his seat.

The umpire tosses the coin and it's in Federer's favour. He surprises everyone and chooses to receive for the first game. After a couple of minutes warming up, both players take their positions. Murray throws the ball up and smacks it towards Federer who manages to return it without too much trouble. The first point goes to Federer only after a prolonged rally. The spectators know that the trouble that they went through getting their tickets will not come to naught.

 
The crows went wild at London's O2

As the game progresses, it become quite clear who the better player is. Murray depends greatly on his agility and the power of his serves. He manages to score a number of aces at the appropriate times and took the first set 3-6. Federer, on the other hand, exudes confidence through the fluidity of his movements. He hardly moves across the court as there is rarely a need to. He takes the second set with 6-3.

Something just snaps in Murray in the last set. His serves land in the net more often than across the court. He is frustrated and hits his head with his racket. The Murray supporters, having sense the end is near, is noticeably subdued as the Federer supporters smell blood. Federer goes in for the kill and finishes Murray off in the final set with 6-1.

 
A dejected Andy Murray after the match - Evening Standard

On hindsight, I wonder whether Murray knows what hit him. Granted that Federer doesn't have Murray's power but he makes it up with the maturity in his play. We know what happens when a player leans on physical strength and Nadal is a point in case. That night, Murray's sullenness failed to wipe the smug off Federer's face.

Get your tickets for Barclays ATP Finals here!

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5 comments:

Emm said...

This is a fantastic post and a great review! You made tennis sound almost exciting!!! (I'm more of a cricket girl!)

I get the feeling that many tennis players are toppled by their emotions or there over- or under-confidence.

C K said...

@Emm,
Alas, none of the top seeded players entered the finals. I didn't even watch it on tv because of that. The top four players must have tired themselves out from the tight schedule that they have been playing.

Hey, you got to explain cricket to me. I sat through fully 15min of it not know what's going on. Pardon my ignorance, but does it work like baseball? 'Cause it sure looks like it. Then again... maybe not.

Emm said...

It is definitely nothing like baseball because it took me a while to get the hang of the baseball match I watched in Queens. One day we shall have to meet up and watch a cricket match together and I'll explain it to you - it just won't do to try do so in a blog comment! Better yet, my husband can explain as he used to play junior provincial cricket.

C K said...

@Emm,
Thanks for the offer, might just take that up!

Emm said...

Excellent!