Terrific Tsonga: Forever Flying, Forever Trying
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga might have lost yesterday to Novak Djokovic, the hottest player on the tennis planet this year, but he bowed out in a fashion that was so endearing. His display was so full of guts and passion. He was diving, flying, running, scampering and hitting the ball with a hell lot of power. The serves were as expected, huge. The 135 mph plus bombs have been a major factor in his semifinal run this year that included a legendary scalp, Roger Federer.
Tsonga had a chance to serve out the first set at 5-4 after he consolidated the break that he got in the very first game of the match. But, a slight momentum shift following a warning from the umpire saying that he is taking a lot of time between points broke his momentum, resulting in Tsonga dropping that game and the set too in the ensuing tie-breaker.
Human minds work in bizarre ways and Tsonga might have had a major downfall mentally, following that game at 5-4 in the first set. The second set was over in no time as Nole won it 6-2. There was an early break for Nole in the 3rd set too and I was busy updating my FB status that “Nole has reached the Wimbledon final and that he has a decent chance” blah blah blah. From that very moment, Tsonga turned it around in remarkable fashion and I was made to look like a fool in my drawing room in emphatic fashion:)
Boris Becker was giving some lame commentary and he was definitely not a natural behind the mike. He was able to express himself wonderfully only on a tennis court and particularly on these hallowed lawns where he was a teenage legend and a 3 time winner in all. Tsonga was giving some wonderful memories to the audience at the center court with his own version of Boris Becker’s flying volleys and stunning reflexes at the net. He was incredible to say the least. The energy levels that he showed in running around and retrieving each and every shot and his abilities at volleying and that too after diving almost the entire stretch of the court, made a lot of jaws drop in awe.
At the other end Nole was getting more and more solid with his groundstrokes and his serves were also starting to find their mark. The fact that he had lost only once in 2011 in about 50 matches was showing in his incredible confidence. But, even Nole was getting frustrated by Tsonga’s consistent running and retrieving. He literally screamed in agony at one point in the 3rd set. He also displayed his own version of the ‘diving and lunging’ routine at the net in what was arguably the point of the match when both the players were on the court lying down full stretch. The 3rd set tie-break was a classic and Tsonga won it 11-9 after saving some match points along the way.
People were now really warming up to the possibility of another stunning comeback by Jo. Memories of his win over Federer just a couple of days back when he used his big serve, big forehand, athleticism troika to devastating effect, came flooding to mind. But Nole was no 29 yr old veteran warhorse and he was ready with his answers in absolutely convincing fashion. He broke early and consolidated the break till the end with minimum fuss.
Nole’s reactions after the match victory were over the top. He was the new World No.1 and he had reached his first Wimbledon final. His entire family was there to egg him on and their reactions were equally boisterous. They were doing a victory dance already. Nole was expressing all his dreams coming true, in typically lavish style.
But, the man on the losing side had displayed a lavish brand of tennis that was a real sight to behold. He had brought the joy back to court. You could always expect the unexpected from him and his tennis style was tailor made for grass. He also did the serve and volley routine quite regularly and that must have pleased the likes of Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Patrick Rafter. The huge serves that landed in on a consistent basis must have pleased Goran Ivanisevic no end. And among the fans, the already popular Tsonga has really scorched the popularity charts this fortnight in spite of his upset of Roger, the crowd’s perennial darling.If ever there was a gentle giant that flies, dives, runs, scorches, behaves and pleases in equal measure, it’s got to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga …