Was Cañas just careless? Why did Djokovic smash Murray?
This is the first time I can ever remember not being excited by a pair of semifinals at a Masters Series Tournament. Maybe it was the plume of orange smoke that filled the sky above my house early this afternoon. A 5 acre brush fire spread to 150 acres quicker than lunch less than a mile from my house. If the wind had blown south instead of north and the fire had reached the Hollywood sign, my house would have been a thing of the past. I gathered my last will and testament and my passport and prepared to evacuate. Luckily, more than 200 firefighters managed to bring the fire under control. I’m going to the nearest firehouse tomorrow to personally thank them.
But it wasn’t just that. I have to admit that I feel uneasy about Guillermo Cañas. I want to know: did he intentionally take a masking agent to cover up the use of a performance enhancing drug or was he just careless? When baseball player Rafael Palmeiro pointed his finger at members of congress and said “I have never used steroids, period,” I didn’t know whether to believe him or not. When he later tested positive the steroid stanolozol, I felt better because then I knew
Cañas has been on fire – ugh, maybe I should use a different term. At Indian Wells he beat Roger Federer. After beating Federer again in Miami, he beat Tommy Robredo then beat Ivan Ljubicic today to get to the final.
Cañas’ guilt shouldn’t matter, he served his suspension and he’s now playing exceptional tennis, but the legal case still isn’t finished. First Cañas appealed his original suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which reduced his suspension and reinstated tournament results, then he appealed the CAS decision to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. Either Cañas is determined to prove that he was treated unfairly or he’s protesting so much that I’m suspicious all over again.
But it’s not just that I’m uneasy either. It’s that I’m just plain wrong. I expected Andy Murray to be the first youngster to make it to the top ten, instead it’s Novak Djokovic. It wasn’t even close. Djokovic took about an hour to beat Murray, 6-1, 6-0, and move into the final against Cañas. As my friend James would say, “wow wow wow.” That score is shocking.
Djokovic is also playing exceptionally well. He got to the final at Indian Wells and beat Rafael Nadal in Miami. But he powers his way to victory instead of reading his opponent. When Djokovic was serving for the match against Nadal, he still insisted on hitting his approach to Nadal’s forehand making it easy for Nadal to pass him. One point in that game, though, showed why Djokovic is ahead of the pack.
Facing a break point, Djokovic hit a hard serve and Nadal popped up the return. Djokovic came in and hit the ball as hard as he could but Nadal got to it. Djokovic hit an overhead and Nadal got to that too. Djokovic came in and hit another hard shot and to the crowd’s delight – they were squealing in disbelief by now – Nadal chased it down. One more overhead, one more lob and then it was over, Djokovic finally put the ball out of reach.
He looked up at the sky then bent over on the court. He had survived the onslaught and defeated it. Welcome to the top ten young man. Power and nerve will serve you well.
I’ve decided to treat my uneasiness and disappointment with a short trip to Las Vegas. I’m off tomorrow see the legendary Prince perform at his nightclub at the Rio. Lets see if the sexy little guy can put my mind at ease.