Guille got an honorable (I guess) mention from the Three Stooges (Mac, Robinson and Carillo) during the match. They mentioned that the only 2 matches where Rafa was pushed to 5 sets was vs. Rog at Rome '06 and vs. Guille at Rome '05. Mac went on to say that "Coria is out of the game right now, trying to recover from that loss. He was up 3-0 in the 5th!" In a way I agree, but the way he meant it was very surface. It's never that simple with Guille. Well, hopefully he'll be there next year to give us something decent to watch.
I saw the same moment, and I thought about that...I mean, he was just kidding at a certain level, intentionally generalizing for effect. BUT i think there was a cummulative thing that did happen, and I think I know which were the Big Three because I saw all of these matches I am going to mention, and I felt like I had been physically bruised from within after they were over:
1. 2004 french final - could write that off as a real tragedy of circumstance at a certain level, because you can always get cramps, and that does happen, and it was crippling. But then came the...
2. 2005 rome final - here is another one that he won, basically, and the crowd roused the opponent, and he paniced and got a little tentative and let the player back in. It was the 2nd "king of clay" encounters he lost -- the one at the french where he was on the winning streak and was just a king of clay, and then rafa being the challenger to that claim, and having outplayed him but then let it go... which shook him up a bit & double faults began to appear, and so he got the good draw to reach the final at the french again and then fell to davydenko in 4 sets hurt him...until finally...
3. 2005 US Open QF - and this time, I was in the stands....all that fighting to get to his first hardcourt GS semi, and he doublefaults BOTH POINTS at deuce to lose to a guy he....just was so so so much better than. I left the stands and felt like someone had put a torch to my skeletal frame. It was such a painful way to lose.
So it wasnt losing the three matches but how they were lost (You will remember 'Willie'--who used to be in this forum all the time--basically bailed on Guille after this match...and he said exactly that, it was "how he lost the match"...)
Coria is such a steely fighter. If there is doubt that creeps in to the center, that when you finally get to the finish line, you choke... you dont even lose but beat yourself... I think it can really shake your will and create a fear of your own ... i dont know, of your own flaws...or perceived flaws. In any case, I would bet those 3 are the ones he needs to come to terms with. I've come to terms with them.
in fact, as i write this, 'grease' is on....and olivia newton-john is singing "hopelessly devoted to you"
HEAR THAT GUILLE??? and we will ride off into the sunset with that hot black car, waving to the crowd with a happy ending...