Monday, January 31, 2005

Welcome to the jungle

Here's announcing the arrival of an initially skeptical blogger to the online world. He's found that the blogging world does have the space for his kind of thoughts to take flight, so let's welcome the unknown aviator.

Learn more about the ways of the skies at: http://theunknownaviator.blogspot.com

The Affable Bully

Yesterday, one of Australia's favourite sons was bullied at the Rod Laver Arena. He did'nt play badly. Lleyton Hewitt was simply muscled out of the Australian Open by that Russian giant, Marat Safin. Safin deserved to win (as do all players who beat Roger Federer on a non-clay surface), and though there was the initial starting problem in the final, his sheer strength and mercurial game overpowered Hewitt. Hewitt needed to make Safin go the distance if he wanted to win, but a 5-setter demands a certain parity of play between the two opponents, something that was clearly absent once Safin found his radar and started rocketing tennis balls with pinpoint accuracy.

I've been fortunate to see a lot of tennis in my lifetime. I've seen impossible volleys from Becker and Edberg, impossible running backhand passes from Pete Sampras, impossible serves from Goran Ivanisevic, impossibly acute angles from John McEnroe, impossible stamina from Hewitt and Chang, impossible career comebacks from Agassi, and near impossible-to-achieve class from Roger Federer.

But I have not seen impossible force like I've seen from Safin this tournament. It's been a privilege to watch him play, and even more pleasing to see the amiable Marat Safin. For, apart from his powerplay, what really stood out was his good nature. (I figure it's hard to be bad natured when you're playing like he is...)

A tournament to remember, for many reasons. Safin was a part of a lot of those reasons, and the Australian Open 2005 should go down in the history books as his tournament.

Men's tennis just got interesting again. I suspect a certain Mr Federer would have something to say about that.