Rafa turns into the weekend’s two-legged version of Paisley Park

TV View: It was all a bit magnificent – good luck to 2022 trying to top that final

Sadly, it's not entirely common for folk to have sympathy for those who scribble for a living, whatever their assigned beat, but if you didn't even have a modicum of compassion for this planet's tennis writers after that Australian Open final, then your heart is composed solely of stone. Because how do you find words when you've run out of them?

Not even Rafa Nadal himself could explain to Eurosport viewers how he came back from two sets down against Daniil Medvedev when it had looked a little like his day was done.

As it proved, Rafa was kind of the weekend’s two-legged version of Paisley Park.

He – Paisley Park, not Rafa – banjaxed his start at Cheltenham, initially looking like he had no intention of breaking in to a trot, never mind a gallop, finding himself 15 lengths behind his four rivals. "What do you do, do you try and get back involved," the ITV commentator asked Ruby Walsh. "No, no, you don't, you just give up and go back in to the parade ring – he's running around now in a race he can't possibly win."

And then Paisley Park won.

And that’s kind of how it was with Rafa.

Great role model

As Eurosport’s Alizé Lim asked, “How did he pull that off? How did he turn that around? How, how, JUST HOOOOOOOOOW?”

Much as they tried, Tim Henman and Mats Wilander couldn't explain, nor could Barbara Schett who was courtside in Melbourne. She did, though, salute Rafa for being such a great role model, "he never swears".

Then Rafa turned up for his Eurosport chat, Tim asking him how he felt when he was broken when serving for the match at 5-4.

Rafa: “I said ‘f**k’. . . ”

Barbara smiled, heroically.

The deliciously cranky Daniil did a bit of swearing himself, but if he felt aggrieved at the hostile crowd, which even booed Hawkeye for a call in his favour, that would have paled next to Rafa’s feelings if he saw that Kia ad played right throughout the final. The one in which Rafa spoke English while driving around cliff edges, the subtitles translating Rafa English in to, well, English. Cold.

Any way, it was all a bit magnificent, even Rod Laver himself, who was named after the stadium, was filming it on his phone. Good luck to 2022 in its efforts to top that final, although that moment Evonne Goolagong Cawley was introduced to the crowd to present the trophy to Ash Barty. ah lads, Kleenex central.

Soon after, Ash was teleported in to the Eurosport Cube, a weirdness to which some of us will never become accustomed, especially when Tim is talking to Ash but looking four feet above her eyes.

Ash offered Alizé a “teleported” hug, Alizé advised Ash to “get drunk”, while Barbara reminded us that Ash has a golf handicap of one and played professional cricket. Never have resources been so unevenly distributed.


Which would have been a regular complaint about the Dubs until they were slain last year.

Are they done? Ahead of their League opener against Armagh in Croke Park on Saturday, Colm O’Rourke wasn’t so sure. “It’s a bit like Dracula, once I see the stake in their heart 10 tears in a row . . .”.

Rian O’Neill inserted a stake close enough to that number of times – cripes, that lad is a good watch, his foot and the ball easy buddies.

A most excellent evening for Armagh, but an even better one for London, as Joanne Cantwell told Colm and Sean Cavanagh. They had beaten Carlow.

And as we know, unexpected sporting triumphs can make up for the worst of times.

“It’s a wonderful win for London,” said Colm. “I’m sure it’ll take a bit of the pressure off Boris Johnson who’s had a bad week, he’ll be delighted with that.”

London, you’d hope, were ambushed with cakes after that success.