Open draw? No thanks…

behind the baseline

I’m a tennis fanatic. A no holds barred, will sacrifice sleep and spout random facts, on court and off court fanatic. There I’ve said it.

But whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that this year’s Australian Open is fascinating.

Six time champ Djokovic knocked out in Round 2, then Sir Muzz ousted in the fourth – cue much chatter about an ‘open draw’ the likes of which haven’t been seen since a certain Roger Federer arrived on the scene…

But, let’s be honest, who wants an open draw? When it comes down to it, I want a Roger v Rafa final – just like the good old days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the rise of Raonic, Monfils and Thiem just as much as the next person. I can’t wait to see the #NextGen fellas challenging for slam titles. I’m delighted that Djokovic’s stranglehold has been broken… if only for now.

But want to know what’s even better? The fiery return of Roger Federer, after months out with injury. The flashes of magic from Rafael Nadal, who finally has confidence in his game again. The thought that maybe, just maybe, there’s life in these ‘old dogs’ yet.

Forget crowning a new grand slam champ on Sunday, I want Roger or Rafa holding the trophy aloft, on the brink of tears, after a stunning five set classic.

Sure, it probably won’t be a battle as breathtakingly tight as their Wimbledon final of 2007 – but hey, a decade on, I won’t hold that against them.

For months, if not years, there’s been talk of how these two giants of the tennis scene are done for. Roger hasn’t won a slam since he turned 30. Rafa is blighted by injury… blah, blah, blah.

“Yeah, they’ll go down in history as the greats of the game, but look, they’re hardly great now…”

“They should’ve retired by now, they’re so far past their peak it’s laughable…”

Fast forward to the Aussie Open and the dream final could be on the cards. It’s not even that much wishful thinking.

Past it, eh? Sure.

Maybe it won’t happen this time. Maybe Stan the Man will do what he does at slams and bring the magic in the all-Swiss semi-final. Maybe Dimitrov will be victorious and I’ll have to settle for Baby Fed v Nadal.

Orrrrr maybe it will. Maybe the clocks will be turned back and Federer will score title number 18. Maybe Nadal’s little rituals will all align and he’ll get his fifteenth slam.

I really don’t mind which of them wins. By the time it gets to the speeches, I’ll be crying regardless.

One thing’s for certain though, my version of the final would be box office… and the perfect underdog ending for Roger and Rafa: The Movie. 


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