A day after the Toronto Masters final, it still hasn’t sunk in that Tsonga won the event. The Frenchman became the first player ranked outside the top ten to win a Masters series since Ljubicic won in Indian Wells is 2010. Unlike Ljubicic though, Tsonga beat four top ten players in four days, a phenomenal achievement, particularly considering that the four were Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov and Federer in that order. It would have been easy after three of those wins to have a let down against Federer in the final, but it never transpired. Serving like a man inspired, Tsonga never really gave Federer any chances to come back into the match.
The event also continued the steady improvement in Federer’s form from a bad 2013. The Swiss reached just one Masters series final in 2013; this year, he has already reached the final in 3 of the 5 Masters series events he has played in. Coupled with the Wimbledon final appearance, these are good times for Federer. His fans though would be a tad worried whether he is developing a mental block in finals, having lost four of his last four Masters finals as well as the Wimbledon final.
This was Djokovic’s first tournament after he won Wimbledon and also the first since his marriage. Is this a sign of things to come? Or are we to write this off as a blip in his illustrious career? (Particularly when it comes to the Masters series, Djokovic’s versatility is staggering. He has already won all Masters series events other than the Cincinatti Masters). It might be too early to say. Cincinatti will be a better indicator as to where his game really is at. Motivation cannot be a problem at an event which he has never won!
As for the rest of the tour, the tournament raised many intriguing questions. Is Murray really back? What about the youngsters who we have been waiting for for a very long time now? What does it tell us that even when a player outside the top 5 won a Masters series, it wasn’t any of the youngsters, but a veteran? The toughest leap in tennis is the one from strong contender to champion. Impressive as the development of Dimitrov. Nishikori, Raonic and Thiem has been, it will remain incomplete without one of them making a breakthrough in the next few months. Perhaps a slam is too much to demand of them, but surely a Masters series title isn’t?
Overall, Toronto will go down as one of the memorable Masters series events in recent years. If this event is anything go by, we have an exciting few weeks ahead of us. Fans of Tsonga will dream and pray that he is finally close to realizing the immense potential that all of us saw in him even in his early days on the tour. The rest of the tour will hopefully play themselves into better form to give us a great grand slam at the US Open. To Cincinatti we move on now, for the second of the back-to-back Masters series. Here’s hoping it turns out to be as enjoyable as Toronto was.