Monday, August 11, 2014

No rain this time

Two years ago we'd come to Toronto for the Rogers Cup to watch some good tennis and been welcomed by seemingly never ending rain and a rain policy administered by Tennis Canada that made no sense at all.  However as the men were back in Toronto this year, so were we.

We'd bought tickets for the Tuesday (1st and 2nd round) and Thursday through Sunday (3rd round through to the finals) and would be joined by friends again, most of whom would be staying with us.

Don and Margot helped us enjoy some Canadian flavored tennis

Typically the early rounds have mixed results as the top guys play the lower ranked players.  There's not much difference in the respective abilities.  What sets the top guys aside is their mental toughness and ability to win the big points.

An instructive statistic from Roger Federer's heyday shows that in his best year when his win record for the year was 85-4, looking at points only Federer won just 52% of the total points played.

Statistics, statistics and damned lies.

The welter of statistics quoted these days (courtesy of computing) often masks the important things.  With such a narrow margin, it is always possible that a lower ranked guy can cause an upset and so it was that the Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hammered #1 seed Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-2.

Tsonga on Centre Court -- we saw a lot of him in the week and it was good to track someone's progress throughout an event from start to finish.  He played in the day as both the Canadian Raonic and Federer always played at night for the TV… and as neither Nadal or Djokovic were around

Tsonga actually had a great week considering how bad a record he has against the top guys.  In my opinion he underwhelms much like a lot of talented players lacking mental toughness.  However Tsonga has a monster serve that gets him out of a lot of trouble and so it was this week.  It wasn't that he played much better than Djokovic, he didn't, but Djokovic chose this tournament to not turn up and play.

However the rest of the week had some fantastic matches.

Dmitrov versus Robredo was terrific.  Neither have huge serves, both have beautiful ground strokes.  Nearly 3 hours of wonderful tennis.

Dmitrov/Robredo on the Grandstand

Tsonga versus Murray was wonderful drama even though the tennis quality was poor.  Murray in particular led the race to the bottom in the 3rd set when Tsonga was ready to fold.

Dmitrov versus Anderson was fantastic. The battle behind classic tennis strokes and a bludgeoning serve followed up with a crushing forehand.  Thank goodness Dmitrov won!  But at 5-5 in the 3rd set tie break, it was still difficult to predict!

The crew: Keith, Viv, Judy, Martin and Gill with Nick in front

Tsonga played wonderfully well against a tired looking Dmitrov.  Gone were the fears, the lack of confidence and his general mental fragility.  He never missed.  Not even his ground strokes.  And his serve, well at 145 mph in the corner time after time I felt sorry for Dmitrov.

The Bulgarian cheering section: "Grigor, Grigor, Grigor…"

And then the final against the great man, Roger Federer himself.  Our friend Gill had bought a Fed hat for the occasion but that didn't prove to be good enough as he really didn't show up on the day.  Tsonga was nervy of course, having a 4-11 record against Feds so wasn't really expecting to win, but he served very well and hung on in all right places winning a tight 2nd set tie break on Feds' 50th ground stroke error.

Well done Jo!

And no rain.

But the food concessions were awful.  Invite a bunch of food trucks in for goodness sake.

And the transport is dopey.  No shuttles during the day until 5 pm and when they do come there's 20 minutes in between.  And 500 people waiting and waiting and waiting…

But hey, it was still a great week!

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