On the 11th November, Superbreak Sales Advisor Dinah Burke was lucky enough to witness the monumental ATP tennis finals at The O2 Arena in London. She gives us the nail biting play by play of what happened on the day…
The O2 is ideally suited to gladiatorial-type contests such as we witnessed in the men’s singles and doubles finals. The crowd encircling the court in steep embankments, the intensely focussed lighting and the expressive sound system could almost have transported one back to a savage duel in a Roman amphitheatre.
The context surrounding both matches was compelling. In the doubles, the world number 1 pairing of USA twins, Bob and Mike Bryan,(…they of the chest-barging victory antics…) were up against a relatively new Spanish pairing of Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero. The powerful Verdasco was trying to build a new career as a doubles player, having had a successful singles career blighted by inconsistency. The singles contest was even more dramatically- framed. Novak Djokovic (world number 2) was clearly pained that Rafael Nadal had snatched his prized number 1 ranking from him recently. Nadal must be a strong candidate for the greatest sporting comeback of all time. Last February his stellar tennis career seemed to be over, following a series of repetitive knee injuries; his return this year has been triumphant. The crowd was remarkably partisan, given that there was no British participant; the balance of noise and flags was marginally in favour of Nadal.
There were incidental pleasures to be enjoyed. Watching the ”ball kids” in action – willing, swift, alert to any of the demands placed on them and clearly well-trained – made one feel confident about the talents and enthusiasms of the younger generation. The almost instantaneous replays on the TV monitors of action shots and the displays of match statistics – a welcome new development – served to amplify what we were seeing with our own eyes; namely that Djokovic was becoming increasingly dominant over the plucky Nadal.
The matches ran their exciting courses. In the doubles, the Spanish pair overcame the Americans in a tight match. It was slightly disappointing that this match was watched by a less than capacity crowd. Top – class doubles resembles chess played at high speed: tactics, strategy and positioning are as important as athleticism and power play. Generally speaking, whichever couple gets to the net first tends to win the point. Marrero, in particular, endeared himself to the crowd in his victory speech by sometimes asking the more urbane Verdasco to translate into English for him and then breaking down in tears when he dedicated his victory to his recently deceased grandfather.
Djokovic increasingly outhit Nadal in a supreme display. His returns of serve and cross-court forehands were masterful. Of equal interest to the splendid shot-making on show were the bizarre rituals adopted by both players; including Djokovic bouncing the ball up to 13 times prior to serving if it was a crucial point and Nadal drying himself manically after every point played. Hitting the ball must have come as a blessed relief to both of them.
We enjoyed another consummately professional display by the O2 organisers. Access to the arena was easy and flexible, particularly given its ‘difficult’ location; staff were unfailingly courteous; the bars and eateries were plentiful and varied. This was an outstanding event.
What did you think of Dinah’s review of the ATP Tennis finals 2013? Leave a comment in the box and let us know!