17 March 2012


If you have read our last post, then you already know the beginning of the story. This here is the conclusion, the fifth game of that ominous 2007 Canary Wharf Final between James Willstrop and John White. By this time John White has had 19 games in his legs (1st round vs. Davide Bianchetti 3:2, quarter-final vs. Alex Gough 3:2, semi-final vs. Thierry Lincou 3:2 and here at 2:2), in other words, the veteran player had little chance against the younger and fresher one. In such a situation other players might crack and give up, but John chose to put his heart on the court (and the rest of his body a couple of times, as you can see it). This however was not enough as Willstrop was happy to inflict the so-called 'slow death' to his opponent. This is a typical Yorkshire-rooted strategy and it means that when you are aware of your superiority in terms of fitness, instead of aiming to killing off your opponent in no time - which would be risky and could even bring him back into the game as he doesn't have to work much - you are happy to mix it up and put the ball just always an inch further away from him and watch how he will run his lungs off his mouth. Don't take me wrong, I am not saying Willstrop was nasty with White by employing this strategy; James did what he had to do, he was exactly aware of facing one of the greatest shot-makers of all time, and by going for winners early in the rallies, he would have risked to give him a breather or to be straightly counter-attacked. At the brink of death, after giving himself again and again a lifeline, White is showing creativity and commitment at its utmost. I can only repeat it: Thanks James, and thanks John! (If someone has got the full version of this match in good quality, could you please let me know.)