I don't think I'm going to write a neutral post about Nole only because I've done it before and nothing's changed - if you want to know what I (neutrally) think of him and his season (fine then, and fanatically too) - go here and just add in his hard court results.
Well what can I say? Do I feel like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat has ripped out my heart through my stomach? Yes. Do I want to hurl my laptop, TV and myself out the window? Yes. But am I unbelievably proud of Rafael Nadal? Hell to the yeah! He had NO serve and probably a total of two cheap points the entire match. He was up early twice, only to get broken back straight away. He was facing a monster-alien with the "luckiest" returns in the business that served for the championships. I can't imagine how much that 24 hour game in the 2nd set took a toll mentally. But he fighted. Boy he fighted. I've never seen anyone fight that hard on a tennis court - he had no right to win that 3rd set, break point down, but every right thereafter.
And yes I do believe if Rafa brought his best from the start, it could've gone either way. But many times he wasn't allowed to do that both as a result of his opponent and the disappearance of some crucial aspects of his game (dude, where was the forehand down the line? And seriously enough with the short balls; thankyouplease). Regardless, he's not totally unhappy with the match:
"I am happy with a lot of things, much happier than the previous matches against him. ...I go back home knowing that I am on the way. You know, I like to fight, I want to enjoy about this battle against him. Six straight loses, for sure that’s painful. But I’m going to work every day until that changes. So I have a goal, easy goal for me now. It’s going to be tough to change the situation, but the goal is easy to see. To have a goal always you know how to work every day."
And he's definitely on the way. I now see this as a work in progress. No one has been better than Nole this year, and to expect Rafa to snap out of a 0-5 final scoreline just like that would be unfair. He knows what he needs to do and that's a huge step up from being totally lost at Wimbledon.
Things are definitely looking up - this will not last forever. And if the thing that Nole has sold his soul to makes it so that some way it does (kidding guys), being the sort of champion that he is, Rafa has nothing to left to prove.
So just can say, BRAVA to our man and bring on 2012! Oh wait, it's Davis Cup this weekend (vamos España) then Shanghai, then Paris then the World Tour Finals. Tennis never ends.