Sunday’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” Today’s play started only fifteen minutes behind schedule at 12:45, as courts had somewhat dried off after heavy morning showers, and ended roughly twenty minutes before rain returned. In fact, Rafael Nadal, the last player to walk into the interview room this week, entered in dry weather, and exited facing a jog through muddy waters to get back to the locker room. The sun must have wanted an unobstructed view for today’s finals.Sunday’s Predestination
In what was either a weird coincidence or prophetic talent on the part of the organizers, the trophy table that was placed on court during both matches in order to speed up the presentation ceremony was located behind the eventual winners in both of today’s finals.
Sunday’s Two Plus Two
All of today’s winners can say that they are undefeated on clay this year, as, like Nadal, Doubles Champions Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic also won the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters last week. Today, Nestor and Zimonjic beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 6-3, 7-6(9). While earlier in the week, it was Nenad Zimonjic that was the stronghold of the team, today it was Nestor’s turn to shine. The Canadian was strong from everywhere on the court, but particularly at net, delivering strong volleys and skillfully placed drop-shots to hold off Bhupathi and Knowles.
This is the second Barcelona title for Zimonjic and the third for Nestor. The Serb won here in 2005 with Leander Paes, and Nestor in 2004 and 2006 with… Mark Knowles.
Saturday’s Cruel Intentions
Doubles players often complain that doubles’ popularity is decreased by tournaments scheduling doubles matches after singles matches, when much of the audience leaves.
Successfully, the stands were packed as this high-quality match between the two top teams started. However, the players made the mistake of competing for over an hour. Predictably, Court 1 emptied out as soon as Nadal’s match was called, and the doubles semifinal, which Nestor and Zimonjic won behind the Serb’s strong serve and net play, had to finish with an audience of around a dozen. Tomorrow’s doubles final is also scheduled before the singles match – three and a half hours earlier, to be precise.
Rafael Nadal didn’t look very satisfied or completely healthy on his unexpected day off. While practicing today, notably during the match between his potential semifinal opponents Nikolay Davydenko and Radek Stepanek, Rafa was frustrated by the amount of mistakes he was making. Moreover, Nadal was out of breath after several rallies and had to sit down for a break. Still, the Spaniard’s practice lasted well over an hour.
Perhaps Nadal’s troubles were caused by thoughts of having to leave the practice courts and make his way back to the players’ lounge. The process is almost as long and physically tiring as practice must be, since fans by the dozens are waiting to surround the World’s No. 1 on every step he takes in public. Watching Nadal walk out of practice was not unlike watching a pack of wolves attack a baby lamb. Adoring wolves, of course.