Few rivalries in sport can rival the one of Federer-Nadal. Swiss vs. Spaniard. Single-handed backhand utilizing the right arm against a two-fisted lefty. GQ’s “Most Stylish Man of 2016” vs. the underwear model of Tommy Hilfiger. Wimbledon grass maestro vs. French Open clay-courter.
But as contrasting as their playing styles are, you cannot find two future Hall of Famers (with a combined 31 majors) who are more humble, genuine and courteous — the perfect role models off and on the court in this era of trash-talking Trump and Duterte. (Or Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.)
Who will win tonight? Ha-ha. It’s like asking me if I prefer biking or running, or tennis over a steak dinner. Crazy comparison, I know, but that’s the offering in tonight’s menu.
Tennis is like boxing. It’s mano-a-mano. But what makes a five-hour marathon played inside that rectangle even more challenging is this: you’re alone. Split in between by a 3-foot-tall net while swatting that bouncing yellow ball, there’s nothing else that will separate Roger and Rafa.
Nobody expected this. Not even these two legends who’ll trade 19-shot blows, slice drop volleys, and pump fists while respectfully staring the other. Tonight, blood in the form of sweat will flood Rod Laver Arena. Passing shots will wow the Aussies as 205-kph aces will fly; Roger fans will paint their faces red while Rafa’s followers will hoist bandera Española.
In this era of boring backhands by Murray and Djokovic, an endless pingpong of counterpunches, who’d have expected the 17th and 9th seeds to meet? Destiny.
For Roger, expect him to cry if he wins No. 18; nobody is more gifted than RF (even his baby-making skills are incomparable: he has two sets of twins, girls then boys, with wife Mirka).
For Rafa, tired after a five-hour slugfest with Dimitrov and unfairly given only 39 hours of rest compared to Fed’s three days, it’s all about his heart. No one gives 1,001 percent, screams louder, punishes his body more than the Mallorcan. Roger fans hate Rafa but they honor his doggedness and grit. But as ferocious and Spanish bullfighter-like as he is, Rafa is polite and gracious.
In defeat or in triumph, he and Roger exhibit this outstanding humility — not just as athletes but as human beings. Consider ourselves blessed. This is it. I’m doubtful if this boxing slugfest — their 35th fight — will ever happen again. Go, Roger! Vamos!
Dr. Fritz Strolz was born in Switzerland and graduated in ETH Zurich — the same university where Albert Einstein studied. When we visited two summers ago, Uncle Fritz drove his trusted Alfa Romeo and toured us. We inspected the artifacts inside the IOC Museum in Lausanne and climbed Mt. Rigi, gazing at the Swiss Alps. Dr. Strolz also brought us to the Tennis Club Old Boys — historic because a young kid learned to hit forehands there. That child was Roger Federer.
With Dr. Fritz Strolz at the IOC Museum
Dr. Strolz and his beautiful wife Pearle are in Australia this week and he sent me this message two days ago: “We are headed to the Rod Laver Arena to watch the Maestro against Stanimal! The Swiss fans have the torture of choice. We are in a dilemma. To whom do the hearts fly? Roger, the biggest player in the tennis circus, who inspired the world with his comeback? Or Stan, the tireless fighter, who also gave us a lot of great sport hours?”
The Strolz couple had good seats. They sat in Row 20 with each ticket priced at Aus$296 (P11,250). “The tournament is world-class,” he said. “Great stadiums, excellent infrastructure, helpful and friendly staff.” That day — Jan. 26 — was special not only for Switzerland but also because it was Australia Day.
“For us, it was a crazy game,” Dr. Strolz said. “There were all ingredients for a tennis fire. Stan or Roger, Roger or Stan? The answer kept waiting long. As Roger fans, we trembled. Stan had advantages in the 5th set before he gave Roger the decisive break. Roger was supported loudly during the whole game.”
The Federer vs. Wawrinka battle was a seesaw fight. Roger won the first two sets. Stan took the next two and gained the momentum. In the decider, Stan had two break points that could have sealed the match. He missed those and lost an error-prone service game to hand his doubles partner (Jasmin and I watched them win the Olympic gold in Beijing) and Davis Cup teammate the victory.
Among the 18,644 tennis fans who watched were plenty of Swiss. “There were spectators who painted their faces with the Swiss flag,” Dr. Strolz said. “All RF fan articles were sold out.”
Why, I asked the man who lives in the same city (Basel), is Roger so loved and respected?
“It is certainly his record,” Dr. Strolz said. “On the other side, his style: elegant, stylish and light-footed. In addition, his restraint and humility, on and off the court. He always sports good behavior.”
Roger Federer has not lifted a Grand Slam trophy since Wimbledon 2012. Aged 35 in a sport where you start playing at five, the almost-never-injured Roger succumbed to knee injury (and surgery) last year. He was out for six months. This, despite a previous record where he appeared in 65 consecutive majors.
This 2017, the 17-major titlist is the lowly 17th seed. Can he or his compatriot Rafael Nadal — both a combined age of 65 — triumph in Melbourne? Do the old dogs still have the dog-fight to clash in the finals? I hope. I wish.
Rafa beat Sasha Zverez last Saturday in five sets. Same with Roger. Against Kei Nishikori, RF finished with 24 aces and 83 winners.
“The last shot, when it didn’t come back, it was an enormous joy,” Roger said, after an exhausting 3 hours and 24 minutes. “I think I’m playing better and better. I felt great in the fifth (set). Great energy.”
How about those Zverev brothers? The younger German (Sascha, only 19) pushed Nadal to nearly fall down in Down Under. The older one (Misha, 29) will play Federer in today’s quarterfinals.
Tennis fan or not, if you have cable TV, watch the Oz Open finale this week. Or, with internet connection, go to YouTube and choose from a myriad of 15-minute summarized contests.
NICK TORRES. A former Class A netter whom I exchanged volleys with at the defunct Cebu Tennis Club, Mr. Torres sent me this message last Sunday:
“When I saw Aleksandr (for the first time) beat RF last month, I was so impressed by his maturity and demeanor that I told my friends that he was a sure bet for top 10. I only saw his elder bro today. I was saddened that Mischa didn’t come into his full potential earlier. Unbelievable how he dismantled one of the best returners and defensive specialists of the game with the almost-extinct serve and volley game. Best of all, if you appreciate humility, grace, and magnanimity in victory, ya gotta see his match with Murray.”
Then, yesterday morning, this SMS from him: “Now that he has the best chance in a very long time to win another slam, my love for RF got the better of me. I’m rooting for him again. Zverev or no Zverev! A 17th seed winning a Slam? Only one man could do that. The G.O.A.T.!”
What a weekend for international sports! Brazil hosted four sets of World Cup quarterfinal games. Germany and Brazil are through. Early this morning, it’s possible that the Dutch and Argentinians advanced. What a final four. Neymar? That’s sad. I watched the replay of the knee kick to his back by Juan Zuniga and it looked intentional. Who flies on air with a knee bent straight to someone’s back? Neymar’s the best player and he was surely a marked man. Now, he’s out. Same with Thiago Silva. Too bad for the hosts. This might become a Germany-Argentina final next Sunday.
UFC 175: two main fights are scheduled and Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey, the reigning champs, are expected to be triumphant.
It’s the Wimbledon final! Last night, Eugenie Bouchard battled Petra Kvitova. I’m biased. And so, if you’ve been following the green grass games, are you: I hope the Canadian 20-year-old won the final point. Isn’t she pretty? Very.
Tonight is the gentlemen’s final as two familiar foes meet. Like Chinggay Utzurrum and Michelle So, I hope Roger wins. And doesn’t he always win when Rafael Nadal loses early in the tournament? If you recall the French Open in 2009, Rafa lost early and Roger zoomed to claim the trophy. At Wimbledon, the two were slated to meet in the semis but Rafa was slain by the giant slayer Nick Kyrgios.
Roger will win because Wimbledon is his property. He’s won at the All-England Club seven times. If he wins tonight — the final is at 9 p.m., Phil. time — he will have amassed 18 major titles, tying him with Jack Nicklaus. Speaking of the American golf legend, he sat beside Rod Laver last Friday to watch the tennis festivities.
Federer has been playing superb tennis the past two weeks. And, in the only time the two met on grass, the Swiss beat the Serb — in the semis two years ago on Centre Court.
“Against Federer,” said Novak Djokovic, “the key will be to try not to allow him to dictate too much because he likes to be very aggressive.”
Roger’s reply? The same thing: “It’s really important for me to stay aggressive against him… Novak can hurt you down the line or cross-court on both sides. His forehand, his serve, his movement clearly is what stands out the most at the moment. He’s really been able to improve that and make it rock solid.”
What I like about Roger is that he’s attacking the net more. A gifted volleyer, this had often been the complaint against him in the past. Why doesn’t he move forward to finish the points up close? Thanks to his coach — one of history’s best volleyers, Stefan Edberg — the Swiss Maestro has been attacking. This will be a scintillating finale.
ENGLAND is busy this weekend because apart from tennis, it also hosts cycling and motor-racing. The Tour de France will have its first race not in France but in Yorkshire. The three-week-long Le Tour will include 21 stages and 2,277 miles of pedaling before the July 27 finish in Paris. Among the nearly 200 estimated riders, one man is expected to win. He’s a Brit and he’s the defending champ: Chris Froome.
Tennis and Formula One racing fans might probably be switching channels tonight as Silverstone hosts the Santander British Grand Prix. It’s the Golden Anniversary of Grand Prix racing in Silverstone. Watch for an Englishman with the initials LH to win the 50th edition.
If you follow the ATP Tour of men’s tennis, then you’ll know that this week is important. The venue is England. The players number only eight. It’s the season-ending finale called the ATP World Tour Finals. Many refer to this as the “fifth Grand Slam of tennis” that’s played indoors. It’s being held at the 02 Arena in London — one of the world’s busiest where concerts rock audiences and sporting events thrill spectators.
By-invitation-only, the world’s top eight are joining. Minus hometown boy Andy Murray, who’s recovering from back surgery, the likes of Wawrinka, Gasquet, Ferrer and Berdych join the popular names of Del Potro, Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.
Instead of a knock-out format like in all others (you lose one and you’re out), this week it’s round-robin play. Two groups of four are divided; the top two of each bracket advance to the semifinals.
One million six hundred thousand dollars awaits the undefeated champion. And, for the non-winners, even if you lose every single match, you’re still richer, just by showing up, by $120,000. Not bad.
The sub-plot of this mega-event is the battle for the title, “2013 World Tennis Champion.” Will it be Rafa or Novak? Last night at 10 p.m. (Phil. time), Rafa played Stan Wawrinka. If the Spaniard won, he would have clinched the year-end No. 1 spot. If he lost, Novak still has a chance.
For Roger Federer fans, it’s not game-over yet for the 32-year-old Dubai resident. Though he’s amassed nearly $80 million in prize money and owns most of tennis’ records (17 slams and 302 weeks as No. 1), he’s only been victorious in one tournament this entire 2013 (Halle, on grass, in June). This is embarrassing for The Great One who’s garnered 77 total tournament career wins. Can he win one more Grand Slam title? I’m unsure. His best prospect is Wimbledon, where he’s won seven, but basing on his result this year (he crashed out in the second round), it doesn’t look good for RF.
What’s working for Federer is his good health. Unlike the injury-plagued (and five years younger) Nadal, the Swiss has hardly ever been injured. He stretches. He doesn’t grunt and grind and exert as much physically as Rafa. And as long as the cute twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, don’t pester their dad too much, Roger is expected to play for three or more Novembers.
With Nadal, what a comeback year. Out for seven months under rehabilitation, his rejuvenated and second-hand/good-as-new body wins 10 tournaments this 2013, including the French Open (which he forever owns) and the U.S. Open. Can he add the only missing piece in his storied life story, the ATP World Tour Finals, which he’s never won before?
“Last year was a big miss for me,” Nadal said. “Even if I was not able to play my best a lot of times here, I really have great feelings every time I have the chance to play in this stadium.”
Will he emerge as champion this Sunday? We’ll see. But the way Djokovic has been playing of late — winning Beijing, Shanghai and Paris; 18 undefeated matches so far — I’m rooting for (though I’ve never been a huge fan of) the Serb.
On the topic of indoor tennis, I like it. If you watched the Paris Indoors last week, you’ll see the difference. Lights are dimmed. Loud music pumps the hearts of the fans. Smoke machines fumigate harmless excitement. Laser lights dance as the players prance. Unlike the sunny/sweaty drip of the outdoors, indoor tennis is cool, concert-like, captivating.
To us here in Cebu, the best thing is called HD TV. That’s High Definition. If you’re subsribed to it (mine’s on SkyCable; channel 702), then I need not explain further. As the saying goes, “It’s best seen, not explained.” If you love sports and can spend a little bit more on home entertainment, go HD.
He is a graceful ice skater wearing tennis shoes and wielding a racket. He glides. He floats. He’s effortless and exquisite — hovering and dancing on court.
Twice, I had the chance to watch Roger Federer play. The first, in Kuala Lumpur, was an exhibition contest against Pete Sampras. That weekend in KL with our Cebu contingent (Chinggay Utzurrum, Michelle So, my brother Charlie and his wife Mitzi, Rene Ven Polinar, Dr. Ronnie Medalle and his wife Steph) was extra memorable because I joined a by-invitation-only gathering with Roger and Pete. (In the quick photo-op, I shook hands and had a photo with Pete — it should have been with the Swiss!)
Then, in Beijing four years ago, Jasmin and I watched several of Roger’s forehands. One was at ringside when he dismissed of Dmitry Tursunov as LeBron James sat in attendance. Another was his Olympic gold medal doubles win.
My observations of the 17-Grand Slam winner? RF makes tennis look so easy. And tennis isn’t child’s play. There’s topspin, underspin, sidespin and the American twist. There’s a delicate drop volley, a flying overhead smash, an inside-out forehand.
Roger is so gifted that, if God were to create just one magical netter, he’d be the 31-year-old Basel-born father of twins who just won Cincinnati trophy No. 5.
Of all the success stories surrounding Roger, you know what I find most phenomenal? That he’s hardly gotten injured.
Tennis is an injury-prone game. It’s not physical like football or basketball and there’s no wrestling like the UFC. But, you’re all alone in tennis. You sprint miles, zigzag, swing, jump, slide. Your wrist can snap, knee can twist, ankle can roll. (Dr. Tony San Juan operated on my shoulder over a year ago.)
Roger, who has amassed 76 career titles and won 862 of his 1055 matches (an 81 % winning clip), has almost never gotten injured. Can you believe that?
In contrast, Rafael Nadal is suffering the opposite. Five years younger, Nadal’s succumbed to multiple injuries.
His current trauma — Hoffa’s Syndrome or the Fat Pad Impingement — is a knee-related injury that can be extremely painful. Because of this, Nadal did not defend his Olympic gold and he’ll skip the US Open, which begins this Monday. Painful? Yes, figuratively and literally.
Why this sad Rafa predicament while Roger doesn’t miss a single day at the office? I also watched Nadal in person twice and, while sitting on my chair, I was exhausted watching his type of physical, brutal and merciless play.
“Rog is uncomplicated and smooth while Raf is laborious and excruciating,” I wrote in an article last Sept. 2009. “The former results to less injuries; the latter, well, eight weeks off the Tour… With Rafa, you can see the muscles flexing; he’d jump, scramble, sprint, flick his wrist like it would snap. He’s too physical—and too likely to get injured. Roger is a ballerina on rubber shoes. He doesn’t run, he skates. Glides. He hovers. Waltzing around the tennis rectangle, he skims. Sails. He tiptoes. The result? His body’s not battered.”
Longevity? We know the winner.
CONGRATS. The past weekend was a triumphant one for us. It was my brother Charlie’s birthday. My mom, Allen, climbed three bridges (or was it four because you traverse up Cansaga Bridge twice?) in the 7th University Run and finished the grueling 25K with her trademark smile.
Plus… the day that I awaited finally arrived: my 13-year-old daughter Jana beat me in tennis. The score? She won the first set, 7-6. In the second, she led 5-1 before I won the next five games to win 7-5. In the third set, she raced to another 5-1 lead before I clawed back to 5-4. Then, with a handful of match points, she served a “down-the-T” ace to beat her dad, 6-4.
Yesterday was the most satisfying loss I’ve ever had.
In tennis, the past nine Grand Slam men’s singles champions were either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal. Not today. Not in Wimbledon. Not when, at 9 P.M. tonight (Phil. time) and over Star Sports, we have the chance to witness a historic and different ending.
Roger or Andy? Simple question, right? Yes. But the answers are complex. As a tennis observer the past 26 years, it’s obvious that Roger has the edge. He’s smiled and carried that golden trophy six times on Centre Court. (The last non-Rafa/Novak major final? The 2010 Australian Open between Roger and Andy—and we know who won that in straight sets.)
And so, while my head proclaims a Swiss winner, my hope is otherwise. Go, Great Britain! It’s been 76 loooooooong years since a British male player won at home. Fred Perry—whose name is a major clothing brand—was that last Briton. Can Andy break the spell? Do a Harry Potter-like wizardry act using the racquet as his sword to slay the giant? Or, since my daughter Jana thinks Andy looks like the Spiderman lead actor, Andrew Garfield, maybe he can weave his magic web to entrap RF? I hope so.
“The roof is going to blow off this thing if Murray wins on Sunday,” said doubles great Mark Woodforde. London, readying to host the Olympics in 19 days, will celebrate with July 4-like fireworks if Andy wins. He’ll be venerated—like Queen Elizabeth II was during the Diamond Jubilee. (Royalty, in fact, will be in attendance as Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has confirmed her attendance; the Queen herself might watch!)
Murray wants to emulate one person today. “LeBron James would be a good example,” said Murray. “He came very close to winning quite a lot of times. Him winning this year I’m sure was massive… I would say for me I guess it’s a similar situation. I’ve been close a lot of times and not quite made it.”
Three times, Murray has reached a Grand Slam final. Thrice, he’s lost. Will this be fourth-time-lucky? Ivan Lendl hopes so. Murray’s coach (and an 8-time major winner) has never won Wimbledon. Can you imagine the scream of the stoic Lendl if his student wins? “It’s a great challenge, one where I’m probably not expected to win the match, but one that, you know, if I play well, I’m capable of winning,” Murray said. “But, yeah, if you look at his record here over the past 10 years or so, it’s incredible. So the pressure that I would be feeling if it was against somebody else, I guess it would be different. But there will be less on me on Sunday, you know, because of who he is.”
FEDERER. “He,” of course, is the greatest ever: Roger F. Here’s an interesting fact: head-to-head, Andy leads Roger, 8-7. This should give the Scot extra confidence.
But for Roger, here’s added motivation: If he wins, he’ll pocket Major Title No. 17, plus, he’ll step up two notches in the ATP ladder and become world No. 1—tying Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks (at the top spot) and seven Wimby victories.
Sampras? He’s picking his buddy, saying, “I’ve always felt Roger’s the sort of guy that, if I’m going to see my records broken, I’d hope that it’s someone like him. I like his game. I like what he’s about. Just a very classy player. And we’re friends. Maybe makes it a little bit easier that it’s someone I genuinely like and consider a friend.”
(Interesting note: Who will British Honorary Consul Moya Jackson cheer for tonight? A lifelong Roger fan, will she switch sides to clap for UK to win?)
Back to the semifinals when Roger beat Novak, what a masterful performance. If you’re a Roger fan, you must be grinning and liking his chances. He was immaculate. His aces. His forehand was lethal.
To me, the two key points tonight are these: If Roger’s offensive weapons are precise and on-target, he’ll win. That’s how he won six W. titles. Andy? He can’t be a counter-puncher forever. He has to attack. You can’t just wait for Roger to dictate the game.
As I told today’s birthday celebrant Macky Michael, this Andy-Roger final is the dream Wimbledon finale. Watch it tonight at 9!
I’ve never been to Monte Carlo. But my wife Jasmin and her whole Mendez family did, back in 1993. Says Jasmin: “Monaco is one of the most picturesque locations in the world. You’re standing up on a hill, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, gazing at multi-million dollar yachts and Lamborghinis. It’s Europe’s rich-and-famous playground.”
One man who calls Monte Carlo his playground stands 6-foot-1, weighs 188 lbs. and is tennis’ version of The Gladiator: Rafael Nadal.
Isn’t he the world’s happiest person today? He is. After losing to Novak Djokovic the last seven times, all finals, he won last Sunday on the red clay of Monte Carlo, 6-3, 6-1. Vamos, Rafa!
“Nobody beats Rafa eight times in a row!” as if he was to scream to the world. Now, Frank Malilong, the lefty lawyer, can exhale a huge sigh of relief. His idol won. Same with Manny Sainz, Bob Lozada, Noy and Amale Jopson, Fabby Borromeo, Ernie Delco and millions of other Rafa-natics!
“Monte Carlo is the most beautiful Masters 1000 tournament for me,” Nadal said. “To start the clay-court season winning here is an amazing feeling. To beat Novak in a final after losing a few is an important result for me. It was important to break this series and to do it here – it’s perfect.”
Rafa’s eighth victory in one event is not only amazing—it’s outrageous. It’s not fantastic; it’s irrational. Monte Carlo is a Masters 1000 tournament—one of Earth’s biggest in tennis. Starting 2005, he’s won every single match.
“To have eight victories, you must be lucky, you have to have no injuries, perfect conditions for eight years in a row. That’s the first thing,” said Nadal. “And you have to be playing almost perfect to win eight titles in a row, especially in a Masters. The best in the world always play – you have to win against the best.”
In all these eight years—take a deep breath on this ludicrous statistic—Nadal has lost only six sets. He lost zero sets this 2012. And won $603,000 to increase his career total to $48 million. No, our ‘Man… Pac is still richer, but $48M translates to over P2 billion pesos. Wow. And this excludes Nike’s dollar payments.
On the significance of last weekend, Peter Bodo, my favorite tennis scribe, wrote this: “This is also a record 20th Masters title for Nadal, and perhaps most significantly if not most glamorously, his first tournament win of any kind in 10 months—since he won the French Open in early June last year…
“This overwhelming win may has enabled Nadal to hit that reset button for which he’s been groping for so long now, going all the way back nearly a full year to Madrid, where Djokovic pulled a nasty surprise on the then-No. 1. He pummeled him on clay, a feat that by then many had consigned to the realm of the impossible.”
More? Here’s one more: April is Rafa’s lucky month. On this month, he’s won 72 straight matches on clay. King of Clay? Yes. But, also: King of April.
Still, the King of Tennis isn’t him. It’s still the Serbian 6-foot-2 (Novak) who leads the world rankings with 13,270 points. Rafa only has 9,715 while R. Federer trails with 8,880. At No. 4, A. Murray lurks with 7,860.
I’ve had the chance, twice, to watch Mr. Nadal in person. The first was in 2007 when, together with Dr. Ronald Anthony Medalle and his beauteous wife Stephanie, I sat with Jasmin inside the Malawati Stadium in Kualu Lumpur, Malaysia. Rafa played an exhibition match against Richard Gasquet. That was a most memorable trip (two days after, it was Sampras-Federer) that included a bus ride from KL to Singapore.
Jasmin and I again saw Rafa during the Olympics. We witnessed him fall to the Beijing floor after championship point to claim an Olympic gold medal.
Why is this fierce, Gladiator-like warrior so likable? Because he’s both: humble and soft-spoken with the killer instincts of a Navy Seal. As buotan as he is during interviews and off-court, he has the complete opposite, I-will-do-everything-to-beat-you attitude when he’s inside that tennis rectangle. I can’t wait for May 17, the French Open.
The last time Mr. Federer met Mr. Nadal in Melbourne was in 2009. “God, it’s killing me,” Federer said after losing 9-7 in the fifth set Final, tears of pain rolling down his chiseled cheeks.
Tonight, R & R square off again. Few rivalries, of any game or form of entertainment, have rivaled the one between the Spaniard and the Swiss. Tonight, I think Roger will win. Much as the record speaks otherwise (it’s 17-9, in favor of Nadal), the Federer Express has been in full-throttle, steamrolling past del Potro (4, 3 and 2) and everybody else who faces him across the Australian net.
The Melbourne courts are fast, speedier than the red-clay favored by Nadal. This quick-bounce court will be an ace for Roger’s 133-mph pinpoint serves.
But this is the intriguing part of the R & R combat. Mentally, it seems as if Rafa owns Roger. Rafa’s forehand to Roger’s backhand—that’s one of the worst one-two punches that overwhelms Roger. Also, if Roger loses, that means Rafa has won twice as many matches, head-to-head (18 vs. 9). How can RF lay claim to the “I’m The Greatest” sovereignty title when Rafa clobbers him?
Still, that’s all history. Tonight will be historic. Roger in 4.
But, wait. Lest we think that tonight’s the finale, it’s only half of it. The main Gladiator-like ending is still this Sunday. Looming at the opposite end?
Djokovic or Murray. Among these Fantastic Four characters, Roger has won 16 majors, Rafa owns 10 and Novak has four, including three from 2011. Andy The Scot? He has none. Luoya sad uy. That’s why I’m cheering for him. (He beat Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori, who was supposed to come to Cebu in last year’s Davis Cup tie.) And, though a boring and lifeless counterpuncher, I hope by week’s end Murray will dye his hair red and wear a tattoo, “The 2012 Wizard of Oz.”
Among the women, who doesn’t like Maria Sharapova? I know Michael Jerome Limpag LOVES her. Here’s looking ahead to a Kim Clijsters vs. Maria final on Saturday.