What Am I Talking About?
Round three of Roland Garros offers plenty of big names and Blockbuster matchups; we’ve got Djokovic vs Bautista Agut, Goffin vs Monfils, Verdasco vs Dimitrov and the two younger guys Pouille vs Khachanov. But I won’t be watching those(except Monfils vs Goffin, who can resist La Monf on the Terre Battue) The matches I’m most excited for are Zopp vs Marterer and Carreno Busta vs Cecchinato. Let me explain.
Tennis, best-of-five-set clay court tennis specifically, is about two players doing physical, mental, and emotional battle against each other. The life of most pro players, myself included, is not the lavish life of the Top 100 players you see at Indian Wells and Monte Carlo. Most of us spend years in the minor leagues, loving it and working hard, but without much financial or ranking payoff. We dream of playing the Grand Slams. And tomorrow, we tennis fans get to watch the 30 year-old Estonian Jurgen Zopp face off against 22 year-old Maximilian Marterer, the left-handed German. These guys will leave everything they have on the court tomorrow. If you want to see someone within 3 sets of their dream, watch this match. These are the types of matches that lovers of sport, and competition, should watch; the emotions shown on court tomorrow are what should be highlighted in our game.
Then there is the one-handed Italian, Marco Cecchinato of Italy, taking on the newest Spanish dirt baller, Pablo Carreno Busta. I promise you will not be disappointed with what they put on display. Cecchinato, 25 years of age, plays the game with a combination of lightheartedness and focused intensity that is hard to find in another player. His epic 10-8 fifth set win in the first round over Marius Copil was one that should have garnered more attention. On the other side of the net is Pablo Carreno Busta, who is as stereotypically Spanish as they come. A fierce competitor, albeit mild mannered, Pablo is who you’d want your kids to compete like. It’s going to be awesome watching how Cecchinato attempts to break through the tireless defenses of world #11, Carreno Busta.
Of course I recommend you watch all these third round matchups, but I understand people have jobs and other things to do. But if you can only watch one or two, track down any live feed that is showing either of the two I mentioned. They will feature emotion, players with a lot on the line, and a sense of drama that some of the other matches may not offer. The Zopp vs Marterer match may not be the two best players, but it will be the most entertaining if you love competition. And really, no matter what level we play the game at, that’s why we all watch and play tennis, because we love to compete and see what we can come up with when it matters most.