|Who wulda thunk?! – Two players back from their
respective wilderness, Cilic’s triumph a true revelation
Owing to a very relaxing – and much needed – holiday in Sunny Spain, my US Open updates became no more. Thanks to a ‘quirky’ mobile contract when it comes to roaming and a lack of any other sort of technology during my little retreat I became pretty cut off from the proceedings in NYC.
The tournament which had already delivered so much, had some historic narratives yet to weave come the final furlongs. In Serena’s victory we had a wonderfully varied season on the women’s tour capped with the return of a great champion who had fallen way short for most of it.
Serena’s class, confidence and brutal game all came roaring back on home soil – that and the (hopefully long-term) return of Caroline Wozniacki to the business end of major and the summit of the rankings is good for the game.
Yet it cannot be denied that the bigger stories belonged to the men’s competition this year.
Marin Cilic, like Mario Ancic and his mentor and current coach Ivanisevic before him, has always been equipped with a devastating game dominated by a booming serve and sweet, crisp and powerful flat groundies off either side.
What Goran has injected is self belief and a greater physical presence.
Ivanisevic had plenty of time to hone such new tactics during his banned protégé’s time in the shadows last year, but the results have been – on the evidence in early September – truly memserizing.
Neither Tomasz Berdych or Roger Federer – both playing some of the best tennis of the summer – had no answer whatsoever.
Neither were allowed any time to get even a foothold into their respective contests. It was akin to the Rosol-Nadal factor, where constant, relentless hard-hitting from a man high on confidence (and unlike Rosol) to match his underlying and undeniable potential.
Poor Kei Nishikori, whose heroic efforts en route to an historic runners up trophy would suffer the exact same fate at the hands of the large, looming new champion of the men’s game.
Nishikori himself would have been equally worthy of this title which, if nothing else truly symbolises the beginning of the end of absolute dominance of The Big Four.
The Japanese, fresh from two consecutive four hour plus matches proceeded to dismantle the Serbinator himself.
A truly extraordinary climax to another classic major from this vintage 2014.
Yes, it was another crushing result for the romantics out there desperate to see the great Swiss lift one more Slam, and while we can take heart with Roger’s play this year, can he really prevail in 2015 once the surprise factor of his enchanting net-play would have evaporated?
And the question of the Flushing Meadows absentee remains; would we have had such a surprise final if one Rafa Nadal had been fit?
The rest of this season will hopefully provide some clues as to the long-term state of the men’s game.
Either way, hot-dog! What a doozy etc etc.