These final few days of Roland Garros will seem like a fairytale for two female players who have waited a lifetime for the opportunity ahead of them.
Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone have battled the odds and their own doubts to reach their first Grand Slam final and overcome the hopes and dreams of Jelena Jankovic and Elena Dementieva respectively who would also have been debuting. Now it’s time to get ready to face each other in a bid to add another name to the list of the many women who have hoisted one of the four majors aloft throughout history.
There has been much talk this week of who “deserves” it. It is one of the most overused phrases in sport and, in fact, is utter nonsense.
The highlight of knock-out competition is the shocks and surprises isn’t it? If tennis was played out in a league format like many other sports than Federer and the Williams sisters would dominate every year wouldn’t they? They consistently perform better than a lot of other players on the tour and would surely drop less matches than their competitors.
However, playing as we do, one slip up and it’s goodnight. So it comes down to not who you’ve beaten, but who is next. This talk of Stosur “deserving” it because she has beaten Henin and Serena and also that of Jankovic because of the career she has held is utter nonsense.
You have to go out there in the right frame of mind for every single opponent and be ready to defeat players of every style and calibre. The player who “deserves” to win the Slam is the one that beats everybody in front of them. Whether that be Federer, Nadal and Djokovic or the drunkard nextdoor and a three-legged dog.
The back stories are fantastic. From the problems of a destroyed childhood home to a Grand Slam final it has been a long and incredible journey for Stosur while Schiavone is the toast of Italy as she becomes the first female from her country to grace such an occasion.
While Dementieva’s retirement will not be the way she would have liked it to happen she’s not going to be one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
The challenge for whichever one comes out on top this weekend is now taking this in to the grass-court season and continuing with the drive to beat all and sundry before them and prove that they really “deserve” to be thought of as a champion.
It doesn’t matter who they’ve beaten to get here, it’s what they do now that matters. This is the chance of a lifetime for both these women and I can’t wait to see who “deservedly” becomes the Champion by controlling the situation better than their opponent and beating their winners in the Paris clay.