Friday, January 30, 2009

Five Hours and Fourteen Minutes: A tale of two warriors

Fernando Verdasco is a warrior. Yes that description is usually saved for gridiron stars, boxers or wrestlers, but one thing you can see blatantly in his eyes is a fire that burns relentlessly. He won’t give in; he won’t even budge an inch. You can try and trick him, out wit him, tire him out, and go ahead. He will welcome your challenge like it’s one of his model girlfriends. Say what you want about him being an underachiever who has all the talent but hasn’t put it all together, hell he’d agree with you. But don’t dare question his heart.

FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE here are just a few of he ex's

Argentine Tennis Star Gisela Dulko

Dafne Fernandez Spanish model

Priscila De Gustin Spanish Model

Serbian Tennis star Ana Ivanovic

Ok ok you happy? Now on with the story...

Ahh to be young, rich and famous. To have become the best athlete in the world at his sport in a mere 22 years could not have been easy. Rafael Nadal was regarded as the most conditioned Professional Tennis player in the world and he would need every ounce of blood, sweat and tears he could muster. Of course he didn’t know this going into the match on a warm summer evening on January 30th (Australian Summer). But he would soon find himself in an epic back and forth war of attrition and find something inside himself that he may not have even known was there.

From the first set Verdasco let the number one player in the world know that he will not roll over and die just because he is supposed to. 7-6 is how it went with Verdasco taking down Nadal with the tie breaker 7-4 to take the one set lead. Nadal fired back holding his own 6-4 and evening things up at a game a piece. Nadal then broke Verdasco’s spirit in the third beating him on the tie breaker and taking the third set 7 to 6

This is when things got interesting. Down two sets to one against the number one player in the world everyone was getting ready for the final. Excited for Sunday and the heated rivalry that was Nadal vs. Federer in the Australian Open championship match. Little did they know that this match was the one to keep there eyes on. Facing defeat Verdasco battled Nadal in the best played set anyone has seen in a while, each competitor bending but not breaking and holding their serve, bringing them to an eventual 6-6 stalemate. The remedy was a tie breaker, first player to 7 points. Nadal being one of the most fit players in the world showed no signs of fatigue, while everyone was waiting for the warm Melbourne evening and the 4 competitive sets to break Verdasco down.

An apple, banana, energy bar and a whole lot of water was on the menu at the breaks. Verdasco munched down at least 3 apples, he would need all the energy that he could find to take down the best. Sauntering on to the court for the tie breaking set Verdasco has an unmistakable swagger. He glared across the pale green surface at his fellow countryman with a message, “I am not losing this point, I’m taking it and there is nothing you can do about it”. He did just that dominating the tie breaker 7 to 1 and displaying a barrage of fist pumps and screams only Tiger could match.

Maybe it was one fist pump to many…

2 sets a piece for the two young Spaniards set up the fifth and final set. The shot making in the 4th set had been nothing short of amazing. Nadal seemed to turn into Stretch Armstrong gliding across the court, reaching out and returning balls he had no business being near. Verdasco’s forehand was ridiculous. Hopping off his back leg, rifling forehand winners down the line like he was Frank Thomas crushing batting practice into the upper deck. In all Verdasco would hit an unprecedented 95 winners, but it wasn’t the shots he made that would decide this battle, it was the shots he would miss.

Down 4-5 in the 5th set Verdasco would falter. The gas tank was on E and at this point he was behind the car pushing it. Nadal forced Verdasco into making some mistakes with the top spin return that Verdasco could just no longer get on top of. Driving more than a few balls into the net in the final set. Falling to 40-0, Verdasco gave his last push striking back winning two points in a row, bringing the match to 40-30. The legs gave out, the shoulders locked, his lungs gasped for air and Verdasco failed to get his serve over the net. Nothing was left and he had double faulted to give Nadal the victory. Such an ironic end to the perfect battle had to be crushing.

Rafael Nadal will face his rival Roger Federer Sunday for the Australian Open championship. Fernando Verdasco can only watch from the stands or on his TV.

However five hours and fourteen minutes after the match had begun Fernando Verdasco did not lose. Rather he and Nadal both won, not a moral victory, those aren’t real. They won the hearts of every single person who watched the match and created an unforgettable memory for all in attendance.

Five hours and fourteen minutes of war, showed these two men what they had deep inside. Absolute, complete, utter and total Relentlessness

No comments:

Post a Comment