Once upon a time, there were three genius tennis players: Novak, Rafael and Roger. These maestros were so incredible that between them they won virtually every tennis tournament. Some said they were the best, ever – which (think Laver, McEnroe, Borg, Sampras) is saying something.
The next best tennis player was a tetchy guy called Andy, but he hardly won any major tournaments, due to the fact he was nowhere near as good as the Big Three. Every year, Andy bust a gut at multiple tennis tournaments around the world, and every year he had to watch one of the Big Three carrying away the silverware. There were exceptions, such as the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, but usually that was only because the Big Three didn’t bother to turn up.
Wise pundits concurred: Andy’s perennial lack of success on the big stage was because in tennis there is a huge gulf between the fourth best player in the world and the best player in the world. In fact, there is as big a chasm between Number 4 and Number 1, as there is between Number 10 and Number 4! No wonder Andy was always the Best Man, never the Groom.
Well, as sometimes happens, Conventional Wisdom was seriously questioned yesterday, when Rafael got taken apart by Number 100. Yes, that’s right. The world Number 100 ripped the World Number 2 to bits on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. It really was not supposed to happen. And until last night, no-one had even heard of Lukas Rosol. He was just another plodding journeyman being served up as practice fodder for the mighty Rafael. David to Goliath, if you will.
But, as every student of ancient Hebrew Scripture knows, Goliath doesn’t always win (see 1 Samuel 17 for details). Sometimes, the boy David rips up the script and shoves it down Big G’s throat.
It’s inspirational stuff. For every small firm operating out of hot, downbeat offices in the back end of nowhere, Lukas Rosol is a hero.
He did not blink. He stayed focused. He had a job to do and he did it. Conventional Wisdom also said he was supposed to choke at the big moment. But he did not. He wasn’t intimidated by the stature or past experience of the competition. Frankly, my dear, he did not give a stuff. He knew he was wildly under-rated and he just let his game do the talking.
In 2012, the rules of the game have all changed. You can be 18 years old and build a world-beating business from your bedroom. You can be a very small firm and yet deliver your unique IP to a huge client base, turn your industry on its head and start a revolution in your space.
These days, anything and everything are possible.
All you need is the willpower (and the unique IP).
“You have to say Lukas Rosol’s got two hopes of winning this match: slim and none, and slim’s got his bags packed and is about to leave town…”
BBC Commentator 18:00
“Nadal loosens his collar slightly with a love service game, but it’s still a bit hairy out there, as if he’s stuck in a lift with a raving lunatic…”
BBC Commentator 18:45
“While Nadal isn’t liking this at all, Rosol was spread out between games like a woman having her nails done. Too easy again for Rosol on serve, Nadal just hasn’t got an answer if the first delivery goes in.”
BBC Commentator 19:00
“Nadal, pinned to the back of the court by the depth of Rosol’s hitting, goes long with a backhand before the Czech shoots the two-time champion down with two straight aces. That’s the set – I think Nadal could be in trouble here, Rosol has the vacant look of a madman who knows not what he’s doing.”
BBC Commentator 19:25
“Nadal is clearly wound up out there – like a man who popped down to the Spar for some bread and milk, only to find himself caught up in an armed robbery. This wasn’t supposed to happen…”
BBC Commentator 19:30
“Rosol lost in the first round of qualifying the last five years, while Nadal has never lost a match at Wimbledon after winning the first set, a record that stretches back 28 encounters. Don’t write Rafa off yet – if he was an animal and you ran him over in your Range Rover, you’d have to go back and finish him off with a three wood from the boot.”
BBC Commentator 19:40
GAME, SET AND MATCH Nadal 7-6 4-6 4-6 6-2 4-6 Rosol
We could be about to see the biggest upset at Wimbledon since Peter Doohan beat defending champion Boris Becker in 1987. Strap yourselves in, here we go… ACE! FOREHAND WINNER, ROSOL! ACE! THREE MATCH-POINTS! ACE! BING-BADDA-BING, RAFA’S TOAST!
“You kept thinking that at some stage Rosol would realise who he was playing and maybe lose his nerve. But that never happened.”
BBC Commentator End of Match