French Open: Federer and Djokovic battle to semis
Djokovic looked to have been on course for an easy ride to the semi-finals after his first three matches, which were won comfortably in three sets, but had to come back from two sets down against Andreas Seppi in the fourth round, and then survive four match points against the home favourite Tsonga in the quarter-finals.
Usually, Djokovic is one of my favourite players at a grand slam, and one who I always want to get to the final and beat Nadal. But when I saw that he was two sets down to Seppi, and saving match points to Tsonga, it just struck me.
“I wouldn’t really be that bothered if he went out, in fact, I’d quite like him to.”
I don’t know if it’s the classic “underdog spirit” that us plucky Brits have, but personally it’s getting a little bit boring watching the major tennis competitions.
Don’t get me wrong, the tennis gets more spectacular year on year, but it’s the fact that you know it’s going to be a final between either Nadal, Djokovic or Federer with Andy Murray usually being left in the locker rooms with bloody knuckles and more ankle strappings than you could shake a racquet at!
But there is something different about the top three that nobody else on the tour really has, and that’s the ability to stare defeat in the face and say: “No. I’m actually going to win this game.” And what do you know! A couple of breaks and some mighty fist-pumps later, and you’ve got a comeback like we saw today when Djokovic refused to lie down and be beaten, not only by Tsonga, but by the whole French crowd who were there willing him to just mishit the ball into the net, or by a step too slow to the ball.
Federer has had a bit of a tougher time this year on the clay than usual. Yes OK, he’s 31 and not as quick as he used to be, and some say he’s lost the passion for the game, but it’s clear that he hasn’t. Being two sets down, would somebody who doesn’t love the game any more come back to win the last three sets 6-2 6-0 6-3? I don’t think so. And anybody who says that it’s “just for the money”, have a think. He’ll earn more money from his clothing range, advertising and sponsorship deals in a year than he will if he won all the grand slams. He just loves playing tennis.
Big Rog’ has always been my favourite player. I know you have to support your home players, and I do when they’re playing, but if there’s any body else out there who I want to win other than Andy Murray, it’s the Swiss king. His finesse, style and all-round sportsmanship is a perfect model for any player to base themselves on, whether they are 5 or 55.
He’s been at the top for what seems like a decade, broken records, won titles and beaten everyone who’s stood before him, and now he’s ‘older’, he’s still giving them all a good run for their money, even though he’s dropped to third in the world.
I’m really looking forward to their semi-final meeting now, especially after they’ve both spent a lot of time on the court and might be feeling a little heavy in the legs. World No.1 against the Grand Master, I really can’t call it. Like I said before, I’d prefer Federer to win, but if I’m being patriotic, I think Murray would have the better chance of beating Djokovic in the final – should he overcome the dogged defence of David Ferrer and the brute strength of Nadal, who should come out on top against Almagro.