The Finals Finale

Nov 30, 2009

Maybe I am just a tennis-starved Brit who has never quite seen anything as exciting as this come to her home soil, but I am already trawling to find the date for tickets to go on sale for the ATP World Tour Finals 2010.

The final big tennis event on the year came into London in a surprising amount of support. The BBC seemed constantly surprised that anyone turned up to the O2 when Andy Murray wasn’t playing, but I hope it proved to them the worth of following the tennis hysteria some countries can catch when tournaments sweep by.

The singles finals was broadcasted live by the BBC in England, which is an accolade in itself as Andy Murray hadn’t even made it to the semi-finals. With Juan Martin del Potro being the first so far in the competition to beat Robin Soderling, and Nikolay Davydenko having sent the world no. 1 out into the cold, it was a final match-up that no-one could have predicted (and if they did, then please point them out to me, I need to grovel at their feet). It was a little and large line-up, with Nikolay Davydenko standing 5ft 10in (1.78m) to Delpo’s 6ft 6in (1.98m). The Russian is quick, nimble, with a lot of power behind his shots he delivers at some devastating angles. The Argentinean is powerful, quick to read the game, with the arm span of a small Boeing jet.

At the end of his semi-finals win over Soderling, Juan Martin responded to a listing of his great achievements this year by gushing ‘Yes but I am still single, I don’t know what’s happened’. Cue a couple of thousands of fans uncontrollable screaming. Well, what else would a 21 year old want to add to his list of achievements? Don’t worry Delpo, I doubt you are destined for the single-life for very long.

In Davydenko’s post-match interview, the Russian was calmer about his entering the ATP World Tour Finals (well, he does already have a beautiful wife of three years, Irina), but no doubt was as excited as the Argentine. This was the second time he had made the finals, and he had a point to prove. Last year he was beaten by Novak Djokovic, and he wasn’t about to let the title slip from his fingers again.

The pair couldn’t have been a more exciting finals pair, and they delivered to the crowd of some 17, 500 people in the O2 arena. As many of you know will, however, it was a victory for the Russian 6-4 6-3. And where did it all go wrong for Delpo? Seemingly, with a foot fault call. With the temperament of a young guy feeling wronged, he marched over to the chair to make the umpire aware it was the same guy who had foot faulted him last time. A few moments later, and del Potro game was broken. There was a bit of racket-smashing and grimacing from then on, but fans waited with baited breath for him to get his game back on track, crank up to the next gear he so beautifully delivered to Roger Federer, and win the game. Unfortunately, that was never the case.

Of course, it wasn’t just Juan Martin del Potro’s mental block that got Nikolay the title. He seemed to be everywhere, covering the court with impossible foot work and punishingly-placed shots that stretched even the Argentine beyond his limit.

In the end, it wasn’t the battle that everyone was expecting. Still, a clash of two new and surprising Titans nonetheless. In a match where no-one had expected the two players, there was an element of surprise for even the most hardened tennis fans, never mind the casual observer.

The ATP World Tour Finals has proved its worth in its new setting of old London town. Walking out of the O2 you are greeted by the lights of the City across the river, the cut-throat economic hard drive to the country. You have to be the best to make it there, and if you make a name for yourself amongst all that competition then you are set. I, for one, couldn’t think of a better venue for a tournament like the ATP World Tour Finals.

- SophieG

 

Written by: SophieG

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