Nole and Andy are the same person, except Nole's an extrovert and Andy's an introvert. The theory ain't perfect but stay with me.
I thought about this a lot last night as I shoved popcorn and beer into my system as if were high. Which I might as well have been as someone in my section was puff-puff passing like it was 4/20. When I wasn't eating my feeling I was holding on to my seat for dear life, trying to make sense of the three-hour passion play that lay before me.
It made sense in the beginning. After an epic third game in the first, which saw the boys show off their incredible movement and shot-making ability, the NoleTron kicked into another gear and completely dismantled Andy. Andy didn't hold his serve once in the first set. WTG, ANDY! There's room in the WTA if you want to grow your hair out a bit! Strong is Beautiful!
So yeah, this made sense. Nole's incredible, he has another gear that can make Top 5 players look like Top 20 players, yada yada yada, ajde. But then Andy found his first serve in the second and Nole started to look...well...human. He looked tired, both physically and mentally, and for a while there he looked completely beatable. I was confused.
But then the third set started. Confuzzlement doesn't even begin to explain my mental state during this one. After breaking to go up 3-1, Nole would lose serve three straight times and next thing you know, Moose was serving for the match. He double faulted. Twice. To get broken back.
WHO ARE YOU, SAM STOSUR???
“I’m one of the best closers in tennis and I very rarely, especially against the best players, lose matches when serving. It is the first time it has happened to me and I’ll make sure it is the last."
It was on to the tiebreaker, where Nole was just solid and apart from that missed volley on the first point, there's not a whole lot more Andy could have done. 61 36 76(2). That's now 36 straight matches in 2011, 38 straight going back to Davis Cup, and 15 hours to recover for yet another final with a hungry and unforgiving Rafa.
"There's no secret that physically it's catching up with me definitely."
No secret at all. The biggest test comes today.
Oh, so getting back to my theory.
Obviously they're both kinda emo. We forget how emo Nole is because he's been on this streak and frankly, there's nothing for him to be emo about. Life is pretty good for the King of Serbia. As for Andy, it's been nothing but depressing emoness, right down to his petty refusal to cut his hair or match his clothes. It's all so "Hey guys. I don't even care anymore."
So watching them last night take turns carrying the "woe is me" torch was quite entertaining in and of itself. While Nole directed his frustration outwardly, looking to the heavens and throw up his hands as if to say "Why are you doing this to me?", looking at his box ruefully stating his annoyance that Andy kept hitting the lines, sarcastically applauding MoLay upon receiving a time violation, Andy's ire was directed at one person and one person only: himself. As the moments got tighter, it seemed like the differences between how these two handle pressure and negativity would be the difference in the match.
It seems to me that when you direct your negativity outward, blaming anyone and everyone else for your circumstances (a) it gives you an outlet, (b) it takes the pressure off of you, and (c) it allows you to relax because you know you can't control what other people do so you just focus on playing your game. On the otherhand, bottling the negativity and directing at yourself only puts more pressure on you to fix the situation. "I'm fucking up. I'm the problem. I need to stop being the problem." With no outlet for the negativity (other than some F-bombs and pulling at your collar) it's just a dark cloud that builds on itself until you reach a point where you're like "Fuck it. I suck. Whatever." You hit a wall because you can't get past yourself. It totally sucks. I know because that's exactly how my brain works.
I thought last night's match really reflected this. Nole gets tired, he tweaks his leg, he takes a massive fall in the third set, and yet, after an initial "woe is me" series of outbursts, he kinda looked like either he had given up, or he had refocused. I honestly couldn't tell until the tiebreak. As for Andy, all I could think throughout the match was "GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY." Bummed me out big times.
I'd elaborate more but I actually have to run off to the site right now. So thoughts? Totally off base here? Dead on? Clearly had too much ganja and Chinnoto?