Robin and a golden Chilean hero
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
Hey up. We're just back from watching the tennis. The women's doubles final was very uneventful, with the Chinese pair sweeping aside the awful Spanish in no time. The watching Queen of Spain hid her disappointment very well (presumably you get taught that sort of thing at royalty school).
And then to the men's final, which was just brilliant. Chilean Nicolas Massu (or 'Nico' to his fans - of which I'm now firmly one) helped win his country's first ever gold medal on Saturday in the men's doubles. And now, 24 hours later, he was aiming for their second in the singles against American Mardy Fish.
Massu started off as he'd obviously finished the doubles, firing into a 5-0 lead in 33 minutes. But then tiredness seemed to set in and Fish took control. Massu managed to win the first set 6-3, but then lost the next two 6-3 and 6-2. Massu is the kind of player who can't do anything but attack - he fights fire with fire and plays every shot like it's a winner, but he looked tired and Fish had found his groove. Even so, Massu's passion, fight and determination were infecting the crowd.
And then, around the time a line judge reversed a decision (in Fish's favour) Massu somehow started to turn things back his way. It was still boiling hot in the centre court, but he found some extra energy from somewhere and managed to win the fourth set 6-3 and then broke early in the fifth and final set.
By now, it was incredibly tense - I had butterflies - and the vast majority of the crowd was willing Massu on to what had seemed an unfeasible victory after 3 sets (when he'd even seen a doctor for his bad leg).
Amazingly, he got there. As the timer for the match clicked onto 4 hours, Fish hit a powerful Massu second serve out and the Chilean dropped to his knees in a mixture of exhaustion and euphoria as the whole stadium erupted. Massu had (very deservedly) won his and Chile's second gold medal. His doubles partner got the bronze medal in the singles too. Chile must be going crazy!
Great, great game - and credit to Fish for his part in it; he pushed Massu right up until the last point and the lengthy embrace he gave the Chilean at the end showed enormous grace on his part.
Right, I'd best stop gushing. We only made it back from our (ace) night out in Athens at 5am this morning and I had to get up at 8am to go to the Orthodox Church (enjoyable experience - far less formal than I thought, for example communion involved the congregation going to the front and just helping themselves to a piece of bread from a basket). Now, after three hours sleep and the excitement of the tennis, I'm shattered. You guys' feedback will have to wait until after the water polo first thing tomorrow.
Oh, and I'll also be announcing the third Athens 2004 Blog competition. I reckon you're gonna like it...!