- November 13, 2009
It’s the semis in Paris, my favorite time of year. I missed being there; it’s one of my all time favorite venues as a player and as a coach. My son Zach got his first hair cut there in the players lounge when he was 11 months old. If you ever get a chance to go to an indoor event, this is the one. Tomorrow’s line up has Nadal playing the Joker and Gael Force Monfils against the dark horse Radek Stepanek.
I’ll get to Stepanek in a minute, but Nadal has had to work incredibly hard to earn his place this week. In two consecutive matches: his countrymen Almagro and T-Rob each served for the match against him. Setting the stage for him to play his best match of the week in beating the talented Frenchmen Jo- Willy Tsonga, ending Tsonga’s chances to make the year end championship.
Okay for Stepanek, the guy is having a career year at age 31 this month. I love stories like this where a guy has battled through a lot of injuries to play his best tennis of his career. He has also led his country in Davis Cup to the finals to play Spain next month. He’s got a very sneaky eclectic game. Moves tremendously for his age and is fit as a fiddle. I also think he has some of the best volleys in the game.
Djokovic is playing better than anybody this week. I think he’ll handle a tired Nadal in two tight sets and I’m going with the veteran Steps over the French hope Monfils in a three set thriller. I like Joker winning the tournament, as he seems to be playing as good as I’ve seen him indoors.
On a final note: I recently finished the final copy of AA’s Open. I urge you all to read this book, it’s incredibly well written, and aptly titled. I really enjoyed my trip down memory lane. You’ll have a hard time putting it down.