Everyone has been hating on Miami to the point that the mere mention of the tournament draws a sarcastic remark.
It's easy for those of us sitting on our sofa's or in bed watching men and women play an individual sport for which many of them are not paid well to say this tournament is garbage. But for every player out there there's a story and they deserve more than our dismissive attitude.
Even those at the top of the sport, the names that, when the sport is mentioned, even a casual fan can name, are sometimes mentioned with a shrug. Their greatness is taken for granted and it's only when one of the lowly ones gives one of the greats a run for their money that the hard core fan takes notice.
Serena Williams is known world wide. She is the Queen of her Sport, considered it's top player whether she is at the top of the rankings or not. When she takes the court against one of the players no one but the hard core knows about it's assumed she's going to blow them off the court with her power. Not much thought is given to how she thinks on court, how she strategizes, how she plays the person across the net from her. But all of that was on display in her match against Dominika Cibulkova. For me it was the best women's match of the tournament so far. I've already talked about this match but I'm mentioning it here for a reason I'll get to in a moment.
Tommy Haas will be 35 on April 3. He's been on the tour since 1996. That's a little deceptive though because for much of that time Haas was injured. He made several attempts to come back but it seemed that as soon as he did something else would go wrong. He's been playing rather well for awhile now and has notched some big wins against some big players but it seemed that people sat up and took notice this week because this tournament feels so much like the morning after the party is over.
Haas was the man who had to play Novak Djokovic on a cool windy night in Miami. Fifty degrees in Miami is coat weather from what I saw the other night. When the match was over I think I heard Djokovic asking if anyone got the license plate of the truck that ran him over. Djokovic came in a 14-1 favorite. Some folks made some money I guess. I still don't think Djokovic knows what hit him.
Why a separate post for these specific matches? If you have a friend or a relative who doesn't get why you're into this so called "effete" sport show them these two matches. I guarantee you they'll want to hang with you during Qualifying Week at the US Open, or go with you to whatever the major tournament is in your neck of the woods.
We've still got semi finals and finals to be played. There could be more great tennis coming our way. I just want to make sure everyone finds video of these matches and watches them. Both matches represent tennis at it's best.