At the start of the bronze medal match I was worried because neither player was playing with any intensity. sure the level of play was fairly high, but they both looked like they were playing an exhibition. It wasn't until a few games into the second set that the intensity picked up and both players started to play as though they wanted that bronze medal.
That has to be a really tough thing to accept as an athlete. You lose your chance at a gold, the pinnacle of achievement, and then you have to turn around and play a match in order to "win" the bronze. You have to convince yourself that you actually want the bronze medal, which for elite athletes, especially tennis players, is particularly ridiculous because the way tennis tournaments are, there is no third place. Third place is a stat, it's not something you strive for.
So kudos to Nole for recovering from yesterday's loss to Rafa and beating James Blake for the bronze. The second half of the second set was very high quality. Great rallies, great movement from both, and great intensity. And in the end, Nole's celebration was fantastic. I was actually worried that he'd tone it down with Blake across the net and it being a bronze medal. But I actually think that would have been wrong. He needed to show everyone, including himself, that this bronze medal meant the world to him. And he did.
Congrats, Nole! Well deserved. It's great to see you with a smile again.