In order to end the 2022 season on a good note, I want to continue with the end-of-year rewards exercise to honor those who deserve it as they should. After awarding quirky Oscars, I would now like to get closer to the court to talk about these matches played in 2022 that make us love and want to watch tennis. I don’t rank. I leave it up to you to do so if you feel like it. My order will simply be chronological.
Rafael Nadal / Daniil Medvedev – Australian Open 2022 Final: The incredible comeback!
You saw me coming… At the start of the year, the match that took up all the space in tennis news and continues to do so 12 months later is none other than the incredible Nadal-Medvedev in the final of the Australian Open. There was everything in this game. An enticing poster of which we had a great taste in the final of the US Open 2019. After such a duel, moreover, we did not see very well how these two were going to be able to match such a performance. Well, they didn’t just match, but actually sublimated their rivalry.
there is an expression in manacorian
Daniil had gone from challenger to favorite, as Rafa had posted a photo of him on crutches a few months earlier. And it was the one who “had to” win who got off to a flying start. The percussion was so rhythmic that the Russian led 2 sets to nothing against a Rafa who seemed to be heading for an inevitable defeat. But, but, there is an expression in manacorian which says the following (in vo): “Rafa Nadal es Rafa Nadal! “. The desire to win, combined with the refusal of defeat, allowed the Spaniard to achieve one of the most beautiful comebacks in the history of tennis and to win his 21st Grand Slam title by being the sole holder of this record.
Gael Monfils / Carlos Alcaraz – Round of 16 of the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) 2022: A superhero showdown!
The second match that marked me in 2022 was played at the BNP Paribas Open, in the “tennis paradise”, in Indian Wells. In fact, it wasn’t the whole match that was that big. On the other hand, the first set was a pure delight between Gaël Monfils and Carlos Alcaraz, in an eighth final which was played on the delicious “Stadium 2”, overlooked by the glass terraces of the restaurants adjacent to a bend in the court.
Thanks to my duties as a “private detective” and in agreement with the organization of the tournament, that day I was accompanied to the artists’ entrance which is via the technical shed, located behind the court at the end is of the complex. Players are dropped off in turn using larger and darker 4x4s than each other. For the record, I was in a golf cart…
A showdown of super heroes.
This pre-game makes us appreciate the sequel even more, especially when it is so rich in emotions. Both Carlitos and Gaël were at the top level from the first exchange. A showdown of superheroes, in Avengers mode after a fundamental preparation concocted by the Hulk, immediately settled behind the two back lines. Hallucinating exchanges as they were powerful, precise and above all long.
I remember sitting next to a journalist friend from L’Equipe. We looked at each other at the end of each point, equally incredulous at the quality of the show that was offered to us. We quickly understood that Carlos Alcaraz was going to do huge things in 2022 if he managed to play like this throughout the year. By the way, he didn’t come out too badly. After 10, 12, 15 baseline shots, each more powerful than the other, the future world number 1 left Gaël Monfils on his heels thanks to a deadly drop shot. In the 2nd set, it was a bit too much for the Frenchman, who had nevertheless released the world number 1 at the time the day before, in the person of Daniil Medvedev. But what fun, I can assure you, to witness such a thing.
Gilles Simon / Pablo Carreno Busta – 1st round Roland-Garros 2022: Until the end of the night!
The next match that made me want more was the “late night” opposition, on the Simonne-Mathieu court, between the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and the Frenchman Gilles Simon, who was potentially playing the last match of his career at Roland-Garros. It was his 17th “Roland”, his 38th match in Paris, and therefore his possible last, played late in the night from Tuesday May 24 to Wednesday 25. The French played with the threat of knowing that if he lost, it would be the end of the slides on the courts of the Porte d’Auteuil, in front of supporters who came from all over France and around the world to watch the show.
An audience in total fusion on every point of the Frenchman.
To everyone’s surprise, the one who goes without ABS towards his forties, led two sets to nothing against the 18th in the world at the time. Remember that before that, in 2022, Gilles Simon had won only one small “table” match in a 250 or more category tournament, against a Lucas Pouille (155th that day), not quite in top form in Montpellier. And yet, Gillou led two sets to nothing! Then, overtaken by a mixture of stage fright/fatigue/emotion/beautiful age, he let the better ranked of the two players equalize in two sets everywhere. Better, the Spaniard will then lead 4-2 thanks to a break obtained at the very beginning of the 5th set. Carreno Busta did not know it yet, but he would not win a game and would take a 4-0 from Gilles Simon, only to lose after a 3h57 battle with, throughout, a public in fusion total on each point of the Frenchman.
Simon will play his final match at Roland four days later – after yet another win against Steve Johnson – against his pal Marin Cilic.
Next on Friday…
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My 2022 tennis Oscars, the rest … | We Are Tennis