This week the clay circus took us to Barcelona and Bucharest. There won’t be many references to Barcelona in this post mainly due to the fact that Rafael Nadal won it for the eighth time. Nadal winning a claycourt event is like wiping your backside after excreting. It’s just something you do and the excretion has more of a surprise factor.
Rosol vs. Nadal
In spite of this the above the man who won Bucharest Lukáš Rosol will always interlinked with Rafa Nadal whether he, his fans or people who can’t stand like it or not. For those who don’t follow the sport or lived in North Korea during Wimbledon last year Rosol defeated Nadal in 5 sets at Wimbledon. It was great to see a lower ranked player embrace the moment and show while Nadal is a great player. Rosol showed that Nadal just like him had 2 arms, 2 legs, a head and an arsehole. Yes, he wasn’t able to back up that win in the next round, even then it showed that there was potential there.
It’s interesting with all the increased technology today as it’s much easier than say the 90s to follow tennis where one needed a subscription to cable TV or go to the tournaments to find out what was happening. The dismissal;, lack of respect and basic research skills about tennis players is astonishing mostly within the mainstream tennis media. It was like Roisol just fell out of the sky, he didn’t exist before Wimbledon 2012 in any form.
As fans, there are different levels, yes there are some who don’t give a shit about the sport and its problems because they’re player fans. Then there are others who want to follow the up and coming players and different levels of the game who can get a bit defensive when the player they liked as an up and coming player gathers more bandwagon fans as he becomes more successful. Now, it’s easy to follow Challengers the next level down and regular ATP events, so for those who want to find out they can. The ATP are at fault as well for not promoting players outside the top 4 when there are interesting stories to tell and Rosol is one of these.
Since we live in the age of instant gratification where the majority of people don’t have patience and want the new sensation yesterday. This leads to such extreme reactions, a couple of good performances and the tendency to overhype runs wild. The flip side to this is when there are a few losses then they’re donkeys with no future. The classic no win situation in reality.
Prague maybe the capital of the Czech Republic, but Moravia is the true tennis region of the Czech Republic and Prostějov a small city near Olomouc which is the tennis capital. For such a small place players like Tomáš Berdych, Karel Nováček, Jiří Novák were trained there and reached the top 10.
Rosol is from Brno and has always had confidence in his own ability. In broscience terms his game is ballbashing, to others it’s very aggressive big hitting from both sides especially the forehand using the big serve to set up the points where he dominates from the baseline.
Humans develop at different speeds and this is no different within tennis. As I have noted many times that the ATP really need to fix the ridiculous lack of prizemoney at Challenger level which hasn’t increased since the 80s. Rosol while having the weapons spent most of his time in the Challengers as he hadn’t found the best way to use his big strokes and the Challenger world is very difficult to navigate from as it should be. In Rosol’s case he is fortunate that he has some big weapons which in theory makes the transition from Challenger level to ATP level smoother once the mental side is sorted.
All careers have particular turning points and the key is how they are managed after those points. Yes, while the Nadal win was massive for Rosol. There are a couple of other ones that are notable for different reasons. One was his divorce from former wife and Czech 400m hurdler Denisa Rosolová. The other was his loss at the Australian Open 2012 to Philipp Petzschner 6-0 6-*0 6-2, he was down 4-0 in the 3rd set as well. Obviously, I don’t know what was said at the time, but having a loss like that against a player of similar standard then there needs to be serious questions asked.
\Rosol joined the Davis Cup squad last year while he only played dead rubbers last season. The fact being around a winning squad and under captain Jaro Navratil they are a real unit. He also discovered how excellent the meat is in Argentina when he was there last year for the semi final.
Can without Berdych and Radek
With Tomáš Berdych, and Radek Štěpánek both injured missing the Davis Cup quarter final against Kazakhstan away from home. This was the moment where Rosol had his chance to play a live singles rubber to help the Czech Republic into the Davis Cup semis. He had an epic Davis Cup moment already playing doubles with Berdych winning a doubles match that lasted over 7 hours.
While leading the Czech Republic to the Davis Cup semi finals with his victories over Golubev and Korolev, this was to prove to be a bittersweet moment. Emil Rosol Lukas’s dad was watching back home suffered a stroke which proved to be fatal. His father was his main sponsor early in his career which is very important in an expensive sport as tennis. Sadly, they had a falling out a few years ago and they were never able to sort it out before his death.
Bizarre Bucharest well when Ion Tiriac and Ile Nastase are behind an event then it’s safe to call it bizarre. At the same time Bucharest was one of the reasons why the ATP pays the players themselves and not the tournaments. Not sure if it was forgetfulness but a few winners in the old days never received their money.
This was Rosol’s first tournament after his fathers death and funeral. First victim of the week was Gilles Muller who at best can be a considered a claycouirt clown so that was a good way to start the event.
His toughest match of the week was against the handsome South Tyrolean Andreas Seppi and arguably the best performance of the week. The first set Rosol was firing on all cylinders and took blew “Slow Start” Seppi out of the way 6-1. Seppi is very solid and hard to beat, he started making some more balls into the court and Rosol made a few errors losing the 2nd set. Rosol then stormed to a 3-0 lead in the 3rd set, Seppi wins the next 3 games to level. Rosol doesn’t panic and continues his aggressive play and wins the last 3 games to take the match 6-3.
Viktor Troicki was no match at all in the quarter finals. This was a match where Rosol played well when he needed to and ran out a very comfortable winner. Reaching his first semi final on the ATP where he played “Mr. Bucharest” Gilles Simon who has won this event a few times. In theory this could have been a difficult match as Simon plays well in Romania and he loves using the pace of the big hitters which Rosol definitely is. Simon started poorly he was serving rubbish and Rosol treated those serves with total disdain. Once he established dominance from the rallies taking advantage of short balls from Simon. There were some nervous moments while serving it out, but got through.
Rosol with the Bucharest trophy
Guillermo Garcia Lopez was the opponent in the final. He was in the final of the Rome Challenger last week and now in Bucharest. He played 10 matches in 2 weeks, so it was a big chance for Rosol which he was able to take. After losing his opening serve to love, he broke back straight away. Unlike during the week it was a bit windy yesterday and it took a bit of time to adjust. Rosol broke at 5-3 in the first and was able to serve it out.
Once he won the first set, Rosol was able to play aggressively and well deservedly won his first ever ATP title at the young age of 27. It was a fantastic week for him and in a continuing trend of the game becoming more physical. It will take players longer to have their breakthrough as the sport continues to become more speed endurance based.
Rosol in tears
There was one man who couldn’t see this triumph Emil Rosol who had so much to do with Lukáš’s career. His winners’ speech was very emotional and under the circumstances handled it very well. “There was one person I wanted to congratulate who was very close to me and bought me into tennis, he was family”. Then he broke down in tears a poignant moment where the biggest tennis influence wasn’t able to see this moment.
Final Highlights & Rosol speech 12.47
No player forgets their first ever ATP title Federer doesn’t forget the Milan Indoor, Nadal in Sopot, Djokovic in Amersfoort but very few will be as emotional as Rosol’s and wherever Emil was watching he’d be very proud of his son.