8th July 2019

Week commencing 08.07.19

Summer is definitely here and the weather can be quite unrelenting. The grass in my garden is testimony to the almost brutal sunshine, even Wimbledon seems to be less verdant this year. I have been (sub consciously perhaps) comparing tennis players to opponents facing each other on a mat (sometimes also green) in a dojo. There is the same self centred approach, the conditioning, the rituals, the sense of ‘alone ness’ when you stare across and think ‘ok, buddy, its just you and me and we have to work this out on our own, together’. Plus they also wear white!

When Nadal played Kyriakos earlier in the week, Kyriakos, who is known for his volatile temperament hit the ball directly at Nadal and failed to apologise, it was interesting to see Nadal give a momentary snarl or glare at his would be conqueror. In Karate it would be comparable to either a loss of control, or a deliberate strike to an out of bounds area. The dynamic between the two of them clicked up a gear, you could almost sense Nadal’s internal voice speaking - ‘Ok cool it, don't react, yet. I’m going to crush this bozo but it has to be my way, by the book, but no mercy’ or something like that, probably in Spanish. 

And crush him he did. A relentless application of quality strikes and sweeps saw him home and dry and somehow its what everybody wanted because hey, Nadals a good guy! However, against Federer a few days later, it was a completely different story. 

Two good guys together, nothing personal, just a battle of two master technicians. But what was truly extraordinary was how Nadal’s efforts are written all over his face and body, he exudes the cost of it all. The sweat, the grimacing, the twitching, this is the price of his brilliance. Yet across from him, matching him blow for blow, strike for strike and sweep for sweep is this ice machine. No sweat, no shouts, just a relentless accumulation of slightly more points than his opponent. Roger Federer, the Sensei Oenida of Tennis. It is a known fact that elite athletes are interested in cross fertilisation of ideas and techniques, in training at least. I’m sure I read somewhere that Andy Murray would hang out at the same kick boxing gym as Dizzee Rascal. In the future we will have computer games where we pit people from the ‘wrong’ sporting disciplines against each other, maybe we already do!

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