When he was covering Wimbledon earlier this year, Grantland’s Brian Phillips remarked on how amazing it is to watch high-level tennis players up close – and not just the Djokovic/Federer/Murray/Nadal Big Four. Here’s what he said about watching a first-round match between Jarkko Nieminen and Feliciano Lopez: “The combination of Black Sabbath ferocity and Mozartian deftness with which these relatively unheralded and unknown players move on the court — well, it boggles.”
That line’s worth remembering as you watch what happens below. It’s from a match yesterday between Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki. Casual tennis fans might have never even heard of either of these guys. Fans who fall somewhere between casual and die-hard (I’d put myself in this category) might know the names, but wouldn’t be able to recognize them by face. These guys are pretty far removed from the top of the sport – but don’t let that make you think they aren’t unbelievably good at tennis. Want proof? Dimitrov’s got it:
To successfully return that ball, period, means you must be pretty solid at tennis, because these guys hit the ball hard. To successfully return the ball from that position means you are pretty much a tennis magician. And to get a winner out of it? The video above calls is the best shot of 2012. We’re not arguing. And if you really want to be blown away, imagine how good those top-echelon players, all of whom would destroy either Dimitrov or Troicki more often than not, are. Tennis is hard, people.