27 January 2008

Not What I Signed Up For

The Australian Open final was a terrific, exciting match. And it wasn't the match I wanted to see.

Why? I know that, nine times out of ten, neither Novak Djokovic nor Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would make this final.

Grand Slam finals are supposed to be showcases for the best players in tennis. To use a basketball analogy: it's okay to have a few Cinderellas in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament, but nobody really wants them in the championship game.

Do you remember the 2006 NCAA tournament, when the final four featured two great teams - Florida and UCLA - and two utter surprises, LSU and George Mason?

It was terrific theatre watching the Tigers and the Patriots make it to as far as they did - but ultimately, it would have made for a disappointing game if they had met in the final.

People (or, if not people, myself) want to see quality triumph over quantity. They (or, if not they, I) want to see the two best players in the world - unquestionably Federer and Nadal - beat the field and battle it out for supremacy.

Unfortunately, that's not what happened in the Australian Open. And while the final was a great match, I can't help but be a little disappointed.

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