Nietzsche and Tennis

Thursday, January 26, 2006

MARCOS BAGHDATIS has just prevailed over David Nalbandian in 5 stupendous thunderous sets. Legend! 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The boy has ripped through Roddick, Ljubicic, and Nalbandian to get there, probably the hardest ride to pick to get into the finals!

Jim Courier:What does it feel like to win this game?
Marcos Baghdatis:"I don't know what to say, it's just amazing."

How did you come back from two sets down?
"I don't really know. I'm playing amazing tennis. I just stopped thinking... I'm in my own world, I think."

Can you believe in this?
"It's a dream for me to play the Australian Open. To win it. I believe it. My coach believe it. The guys up there believe it. My parents believe it. I work for it and I believe it."

What is it like to be in the final for the first time?
"Everything is first time here."

What do you think is going on in Cyprus?
"I don't know but I think everybody is going craz-eee!"

In other news, Amelie and Justine are through to the final. Amelie, a little bit sadly because Clijsters twisted her ankle and had to retire. Still, she was a break up in the third set. Justine chewed and gutted her way to a tough win over Sharapova. Justine proves once again that will is power.

I've often thought it, and following this tournament closely has really shown it to me, but tennis is a game where anyone in the top 20 is usually a threat. What separates the top 20 from the top 4 is something very simple: making the right shot at the right time, all the time. Federer is a classic example of this. His opponent might hold momentum at various points in the game, but, when the big points present themselves, Federer takes them. Last night, when Federer was in trouble against Davydenko in the tie-break, Federer took the one and only set point offered, after Davydenko squandered three. Baghdatis has this same incredible talent. So far, he's shown that at the end of tight matches, he doesn't need anything more than 3 match points to take it. Eye of the tiger.

I think that talent and hard work, relentless practise, only serve to make create a direct link between the mind and the body. So, when a champion plays his game, he/she must think, but somehow push the thinking backwards so that it passes uninterrupted, between mind and body.

To be a winner is not just to be good. It's is an exercise of a will so powerful it lets not a sliver of the shadow of doubt creep in. It's the will to power, it's the will of the self that affirms itself. Yes, tennis is a terribly Nietzschean sport.