Impact of Tennis Poetry

There are lots of sportspersons who have created some great impact on me. I have been a fan of The Undertaker when I was a child, and I used to be a big fan of Saurav Ganguly later. Well, I no longer use the word fan because I have never been that kind of a fan that hates everyone who doesn’t like his or her favourite celebrities. I have been a person who admired these people who have had great impact on me. But there has been one person whom I really needed to write about.

I am talking about that person who is considered to be the greatest tennis player of all-time, and I never had any doubt about that. As you might have guessed the name of that person by now, this blog post is about Roger Federer. If you look at the records, you will know there are so much of achievements which he got inside his pockets. He has broken many records and has created his own including that of the most Grand Slams won and the most time spent as the world number one.

Well, I believe that you know most of it, and so, this post is going to about the impact that he has made on me rather than the impact which he has made on the tennis world. Even though the impact in tennis can be considered bigger, it is not that much behind in my case either. I have always believed in Roger Federer, and whether he wins or not, he has been the one who made the most impact on me, a lot more than any other sportsperson, and I am extremely glad about that.

I have always compared Federer to a certain kind of tennis poetry, with the way in which he has been playing, not making those terrible sounds or trying so hard. He just moves around seemingly without any trouble, and there is no overdose of emotions like some other players who are rather too aggressive with showing off after each shot. The biggest impact that his style has had on me is to control the emotions. It has helped me to take a game, whether it is badminton, cricket or football as a game in its own spirit.

Another impact that he has had is on my way of playing badminton. Yes, badminton is not tennis and also vice versa. I have never played tennis, but I have played a lot of badminton. So, I have tried to use his style of play in badminton, and that backhand has worked for me as a surprise weapon; the tennis forehand also works! Well, I have been accused of playing badminton like tennis, but there is this impact that Roger Federer has made, and I could never try not to do that.

He has won awards for sportsmanship, and has been the fan favourite for so long, and there is no surprise about it. I have never really stopped believing in Federer; I have always known that he will be the impact-maker no matter how the world changes. He also founded the Roger Federer Foundation to help the children in need. He has been a person known for his philanthropy too, as he has also made an impact outside the court. If you ask me about tennis, there is Roger Federer and then there is everyone else.

In the last few years, I have realized that I only liked Federer better and his performance never really mattered. It was all about the way in which he played and how he has been on the court as well as outside the court that has made such a huge impact on me. I have always been interested in Federer for being the person that he has been. It is never going to change, no matter what comes around in the upcoming years. He had that impact on me and it is forever, without conditions; it is the impact of tennis poetry on court and a great human being outside it.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Roger Federer.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

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Where Everything Ends

The year end is here, and so is the ATP World Tour Finals. The best men of tennis from the year are back to compete for the one final prize, the trophy which will make this year and awesome one. With Roger Federer having won the title six times and Novak Djokovic four times, there is nobody else in the top ten who has won this one – well, there is nobody even in the top 200. So with eight top players ready, there were six trying to get their hands on the big prize for the first time.

The one person who really should win this title though, is Rafael Nadal. He came second twice here, and deserves to win this title to make his achievements even better. But he couldn’t go past the World Number in the knock-out stage, as Djokovic has been far ahead of the rest of the ATP throughout the year, except for Federer who could manage something against the Serbian juggernaut. Nadal could still top the group which didn’t have Federer and Djokovic who were to fight against each other early to a Swiss win.

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Nadal still went past Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka without much trouble. Surprisingly, it was Wawrnika who joined Nadal in the other match of the semi-finals and not Murray. He came second by beating the last of the Big Four and David Ferrer who became the only man who could bring the fight to Nadal in that group; he will always be the greatest fighter of all time in men’s tennis. I have often wondered if he is the best player of this century never to have won a Grand Slam.

Meanwhile, in the other group, Tomáš Berdych and Kei Nishikori couldn’t go past the two men who won twenty seven Grand Slam titles and one hundred and fourty six singles titles between then; Djokovic lost only to Federer who made it perfect with cent percent wins, and the rest could only watch. With this tournament, Federer also has the most number of ATP World Tour Finals appearances, and he has played fourteen of these tournaments continuously until this one.

With Djokovic having an easy victory against Nadal who came nowhere close, Federer made it past Wawrinka in straight sets making the final once again a clash of the titans. Djokovic is the tree-time defending champion with this title, and last year had Federer not playing in the final due to health issues and Djokovic winning by a walkover. This final was to be a repeat of the last year’s ATP World Tour Finals match which never really happened, and so the fans were to be a lot excited.

When they went into the finals, the rivalry between the two players had Federer leading by 22–21 head to head; the Swiss Master being the only person in the big four and the current top players to have a positive head to head record against the World Number One even as it is such a small lead. Djokovic actually had a great year, and even though he was defeated by Federer in the group stages, he was the favourite considering how well and consistently he had played throughout the year.

federer!

Federer couldn’t win his last three Grand Slam finals against Djokovic. This one was opportunity for Djokovic to erase the negative head to head record with Federer too, and he did exactly that. He started the favourite in this tournament and he ends it as the winner. This ends an almost perfect year for him, with only the French Open somehow keeping away from him – that was rather a surprise. With three Grand Slam wins, a Slam final and a victory in the year end tournament, Djokovic seems to be ready to dominate men’s tennis for some more time.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the two players.

TeNy

A Return to Tennis

With the last Grand Slam of the year already over, I had thought that the best moments of tennis were over for this year. But it didn’t end with US Open, as ATP World Tour Finals was not the last big thing. There was Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza did managing to claim the doubles title at the WTA Finals with a 6-0, 6-3 win against the Spanish team of Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. Having already won Wimbledon and the US Open, it has been an a very nice year for the Indo-Swiss team.

Sania was already the defending champion having won the title last year with Zimbabwe’s Cara Black who had her third title of WTA Finals doubles last year while Martina Hingis is having her third doubles to go with her two singles. It was quite an expected win there, with this team doing so good these days. But the surprises came in the WTA Finals singles and the Swiss Indoors at Basel. There were some interesting moments there, with ATP World Tour Finals still to come.

While Sania and Martina were on the top of their game, Agnieszka Radwańska wasn’t anywhere close to being declared to be among the favourites to win the singles division. She hasn’t been having that great a year, except for the Wimbledon. She still returned into the top five and claimed her spot, making the former World Number Two a fine contender especially in the absence of Serena Williams who was the three time defending champion absent due to injury.

radwanska!

Then too, the last year’s runner-up and the current number two who lead the seedings had to become the hot favourite, but Simona Halep had to take the early exit. Agnieszka herself had to qualify second from a group dominated by Maria Sharapova, even though she could take a set from Maria. Even in the semi-finals, she had to take on the second seed Garbiñe Muguruza who beat her in the Wimbledon. But she got through in three sets and also against Petro Kvitova the two-time Wimbledon winner who defeated Maria, once again in a nice contest.

It was nice to see the lady from Poland finally getting to the grand stage. She has been my long time favourite, even before the new ones were there, but I couldn’t see Agnieszka at her best winning those big ones until now. May be it is time to have newer names on the Grand Slams even though Serena will have other ideas. Agnieszka Radwańska and Simona Halep are two players who seriously need to win a Grand Slam or two in the next year; I wouldn’t be surprised if Garbiñe Muguruza does that too.

Then there was the biggest of them all, Swiss Indoors at Basel. It was going to have a big final after a long time; with Stanislas Wawrinka eliminated early thus getting rid of the possibilities of an all-Swiss clash, it came up to the two big names in the end, about two players who didn’t meet for a very long time because of one of them always exited when the other reached the final. The #Fedal final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was long awaited, with the former surely having a better year and the latter having a better head-to-head record.

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Federer still had a better record in indoor hardcourt matches and was also in a better form, even though Nadal did put up the fight. It was a match which was so close to arrive, but never really came for us. It has been twenty one months. It was finally great to see the two men with thirty one Grand Slams in total battling each other, and Federer won another title, and it is his seventh title at another venue, after achieving the same for Wimbledon, Halle, Dubai and Cincinnati. Lets hope to see more matches between these two, and with ATP World Tour Finals there to be taken for another seventh title, with Federer ranked much higher, may be these two will be in the same group!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of Agnieszka Radwańska and Roger Federer.

TeNy

Kings and Queens of Grass

The break between the two Grandslams is over, and it is Wimbledon time now. You see the same on Star Sports from the evening onwards. As it started on the 29th, the one big event which happened on the first day is the exit of Lleyton Hewitt. He made his Wimbledon retreat with what would be his last defeat there, as it was the final appearance of him at the stage. He was twenty one years old when he last one a Grand Slam and when he won his only Wimbledon, and now he is thirty four, the age which Roger Federer will reach in a month and a week.

He exits after a big fight against Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen with the score of 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9 giving one last marathon on grass. He was one of those very few names which I knew at a time when I was not that much of a follower of tennis, and we will miss him despite the man not making it to the final stages for quite some time. The rest of the draw remains open, and it won’t be easy to predict this time too with the finalists, but Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams remain the favourites. About the Women’s division, it is a Serena domination all the way with a lesser chance for Maria Sharapova, but Men’s side go deeper!

Novak Djokovic: The man in form, the world number one, and the defending champion – anyone will find it easy to bet on Djokovic. He is four thousand points clear for the World Number 2 Roger Federer and six thousand points away from the World Number 3 Andy Murray. He has got more than double the points compared to the rest of the tennis world lead by Stanislas Wawrinka who had beaten him in French Open. Well, the loss at Paris will only make the Djoker stronger, and this is also a surface on which he is better. He also defeated the King of Clay at his own surface and it is a big positive defeating both Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray and losing only to the man who defeated Roger Federer, that too after finishing a marathon five-setter on the previous day.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

There is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity to do even better.

Roger Federer: Even with Novak Djokovic doing nice with his time at the top and is sure to move to number five in the total number of weeks at the top as well as the total number of consecutive weeks as number one, Roger Federer is the one at the all-time top, and has no challenge to those records for quite a long time. He still remains the big name, and at Wimbledon where he was the last year’s finalist and having his favourite surface as grass, he is a powerful force too. He almost made it in the five-setter at the same place last year, and after winning Halle for the eighth time, the confidence level will be higher. If someone is to win Wimbledon when almost thirty four, it has to be him. He will still have to go through the winner of Murray-Nadal match and then face Djoker/Stan in the final.

Stanislas Wawrinka: The chances of this man increased considerably after the French Open victory, which was nothing less than unexpected. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the favourites followed by Roger Federer and Andy Murray along with a few French men who were supposed to do good, but this man from Switzerland was never in most of those lists. But he has changed things around, and now, he is all prepared to get one step closer to that Career Slam because French Open was always the toughest title to win, and had the habit of eluding too many fine players. He is going to find this one a nice opportunity, and with that powerful backhand, may be he might overcome Djokovic again as the two collide in the semi-finals if things go as predicted.

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Wawrinka will be at the highest level of confidence after the French Open win.

Andy Murray: The crowd favourite goes into the tournament with another grass win as he went to French Open with those clay wins. This time, things are sure to be more difficult as he has to defeat Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to win the title if things go as expected. Stanislas Wawrinka in the final will also be brutal with Stan never losing a Grand Slam final and being at top form. Having a Karlovic ace challenge at Wimbledon just before the quarter finals can tire him too. He needs to get back to being one of the Big Four, and he is surely trailing. He has had two Grand Slam titles, and has been runner-up six times, each and every time facing Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. He needs to get back and become part of that Fantastic Four, and Wimbledon is his right opportunity despite the final parts of the draw.

Rafael Nadal: The King of Clay faces the same problem as his nemesis for the quarter finals, as he has Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the last three matches of the tournament, and Stanislas Wawrinka in the final will also be no smaller challenge. It is a free run for him until the quarters though, and it is the one thing which can boost his confidence despite going down to the two digits in ranking after a long time and can easily go further down with not many big titles in his pocket. He is not defending much from the last year, and so he should use this opportunity to get to a better rating so that he will have a better quarter finals for the next Grand Slam, and a Nadal without injuries does have a chance even in this tournament.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the tennis players.

TeNy

Warriors of Scarlet Lands

***Here is the story of French Open told in a different way 😀

On the land dominated by the gods and demigods, there were two warriors going for battle for a change. The gods were becoming weak due to old age, and were not as good as they used to be. The magical spear and the lightning bolts had lost the energy which were drawn from the prayers of the common man. The recent change to the golden bow and arrow as weapons didn’t help the cause either. It meant that the gods had to bow out of the competition. It was up-to the warriors to finish things.

Well, the gods were also warriors at one point of time. They had dethroned the gods of their times whom they had replaced to attain glory. There were many of them at one point of time, but in the last few years, there was only one god in this realm, except for one year of power transfer to the God Emperor. The rest of the realms were also changing hands for the last few years, and the mortal warriors have been taking over one realm after the other lead by the current king of the down under and the number one warrior of the present.

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A new king was already established last year in the north beyond the ocean. These Scarlet Lands remained the only territory which was left unconquered by the mortals of these times, which is why the man who lead the mortals, the best of the present time and the strong contender to immortality once again reached the final level of battle, troubled only by the hero of the magical isles as he defeated the God of the Scarlet Lands with so much of ease. It came as a shock to many.

Well, the time of the current gods were coming to an end, but the fans just refused to see the same, and so did the predictions from the experts up-to an extent. But our great warrior had to face another champion of the down under, as he came from the world of the Greatest God of all time. He didn’t do that well last time and was not an expert of this realm. But he went through the same, the Greatest of all gods, and also defeated the favourite of the people of the Scarlet Lands to reach here.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

The Great Battles of the Grasslands were still pending, and there was the need to establish one’s ability to go closer to immortality, because the Scarlet Lands was the one place to make a difference as it had been the one fortress of the gods which was so difficult to conquer. With the power of the minotaur, and often directly transforming into one, the God of the Scarlet Lands had defended it with all his divine energy channelized towards his magical spear.

Therefore, this victory for one of these warriors is nothing less than a big boost to the person’s chances at immortality, even though the defeated fighter can also be proud of coming so far. Well, you have to accept that this winner, is another possible future immortal of our times, with having conquered two realms now. The number one warrior of these times had a great chance, but somehow couldn’t really get there in the end when the need came.

The conquest of the present realm which signifies Fire, will go on nicely with his possible conquest of the next, which is of Earth as he will be fully confident about winning the Great Battles of the Grasslands, even in the presence of the immortals and the magicians there too, along with the warriors. These two warriors do have a good chance to meet in the final stages there too, considering how well they have been fighting their battles.

***The images used in this blog post are from Facebook Pages of these players.

TeNy

Clay: No More Predictable

The season of Roland Garros begin on 24th May and ends on 7th June this year. As Rafael Nadal, the four-time defending champion defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2014 final to win his ninth French Open title and his fourteenth Grand Slam title, he had become the first player to win five consecutive titles – makes you think about the situation if Roger Federer hadn’t won that lone title in between; that would have been legendary. It is the kind of brutality that Nadal has shown on this kind of surface, especially at the biggest tournament on clay.

I was saddened by Simona Halep’s loss to Maria Sharapova in last year’s final more than Djokovic’s loss though. I thought that Simona had enough to win, which didn’t really happen in the end. I have mostly wished to have a new champion at each slam, and world’s only clay grand slam had only two for the last ten years, and both are still playing. The rest of the world has been denied this slam for too long. May be this year will provide one, as 2015 seems to be the year which has brought more balance to clay than any other surface – the title is more open than ever. Let’s see the chances – it still favours the champion, but with changes.

1. Rafael Nadal: The first name in the list remains the same. Nadal has been the undisputed king of clay for so long, and his recent troubles even in his favourite surface might not carry to the grand stage. But he has still weakened from what he used to be, and he is no longer the invincible person whom he used to be, as he had his early exits in too many tournaments, and he just had his first loss on clay to the less competent clay player of the Big Four, Andy Murray. Still, he is always back at the French Open, and considering how hard working the man is, we can only expect him to make things work better. He has been the risk-taker, and luck favours his kind. 43–6 record in clay court finals, 66-1 at the French Open and 81 consecutive wins on clay – this is his yard even when not in form. Let’s not worry about the fact that he is ranked 7 now.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity – the first French Open.

2. Novak Djokovic: With the current form, he is the best on the court. There cannot be many arguments against that. He is the world number one and is going to stay there for a very long time as the total points suggest – he has already had more time at the top of the tennis world than Nadal, and has more weeks at the top than any other active men’s player except Federer who holds the record. Nadal has denied him more than once, and lets see how he will face the Djoker at a time when he is at his worst form on clay, and with Djokovic at the peak of his career – Australian Open reclaimed; can Novak Djokovic claim the title which has stayed away from him and complete his list of slams? We will see. This might be his best chance to do the same.

3. Andy Murray: Just now, we have to think that Murray has more chances than Federer. Madrid Open is the second clay title which he has won one after another, and he hadn’t won any before that. This last title is special because he defeated the king of clay, Nadal in the final to claim the glory. He hasn’t lost a match after his marriage and is going on with an awesome post-marriage winning streak. But what gives him more confidence than anything else should be that straight sets win against Nadal – the race is now open and the world of clay is no longer a property of Nadal. This is his time to re-write his records on clay, and this could be the slam in which he silences the critics and becomes the integral part of Big Four rather than make it more inclined towards the Big Three who have won more slams than him. After all, he is the current world number three.

As all good things begin and end with Roger Federer.

All good things begin and end with Roger Federer, and the legend continues.

4. Roger Federer: Eternal favourite – this is what Federer remains. Even at his age, the father of four is not someone who will be an easy challenge even in a tournament which he has only won once in his career. But one of the greatest players of all time won’t go away that easily as he did make a nice comeback to his least favourite surface by winning the Istanbul Open and remains the world number two as of now. He is the legend, and beating him at a grand stage needs a lot of work. Federer might not be the best at his game now, but he is still at a higher level in the all-time best list. He can surely have another grand slam at his less interesting venue, and it will do nicely – what is there to lose for the man who has nothing more to prove?

David Ferrer might bring surprises this time too, and the young Kei Nishikori brings the Asian hopes to the draw. In the women’s division, it is more difficult to guess though, but Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams should remain the top contenders once again. Simona Halep, the last year’s runner-up and current world number two will have something to say about that. Then there is Petra Kvitová who won the Madrid Open. Caroline Wozniacki, Eugenie Bouchard and Ana Ivanovic also remain good contenders to the title. The women will bring the biggest surprises this time too, even in the doubles division. I would hope for new names on the trophy – may be Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, but Roger Federer winning will always be the biggest joy to watch! Let’s also see what happens with Internazionali BNL d’Italia!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the tennis players.

TeNy

Looking at India’s WWE

I haven’t watched WWE for some time, but the memories of the same comes back through IPL, which is more of a result of the need for an Indian WWE rather than a cricket league, the reasons for which you might already know. To be frank, WWE is more clear and a lot more respectable, as it never pretends to be what it is not. There is more reality in a WWE match than a lot of IPL games combined.

I haven’t been following this thing much, but I was caught up with a news that Kolkata Knight Riders might decide not to play in this version of IPL, and memories started coming back to me. Yes, KKR shouldn’t play this version of the game in 2015, and it is because they shouldn’t let some people dictate terms to them. If you look at the flashback, you can’t go on without seeing when Sunil Narine was banned.

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He was banned right before the final against Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League. A person getting banned is not a surprise, but the occasion when this happened is strange even for an alien who first sets foot on planet Earth. KKR themselves are known to have doubts about the same, and it is time Shah Rukh Khan takes the right decision, and let a few people know that all teams are equal.

Does a bowling action suddenly become illegal just before a final when a team is finding it difficult to cope with that particular bowler? The way of the world is strange indeed. Kolkata Knight Riders is a team which has played respectable cricket, despite the Fair Play Award being a mockery of sporstmanship. This Fair Play Award has also been a great part of India’s WWE.

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Yes, IPL is not only dumb entertainment, but it is also not fair to everyone, and is a terrible blow to the spirit of cricket. In the end, after all the match-fixing scandals, the one who suffers is Sreesanth – why? There are so many bigger names floating over the media, but one man gets quick punishment and the others roam free. Is it because he has lesser influence? Is it because he comes from a team with lesser influence in IPL and the same is the case with his Ranji team?

So, what has IPL provided for the Indian cricket team? Well, they haven’t won a 20-20 World Cup after that. It has surely given them controversies and also created an easy path for the Chennai Super Kings players to get into the team. There are also the finds of the IPL, but one has to doubt how many of them gets to play in the national team – Sanju Samson has waited and waited for no use.

The next version of the tournament begins again. But does it have the same power as it used to? Well, surely not in Kerala. They were too fast to get rid of Kochi Tuskers Kerala, but even with match-fixing around the corner, they can’t disband those teams which have made a mockery of the gentleman’s game and they can’t even seem to find the players involved at least till they come out clean after a thorough investigation – all is fair with power and influence, right? May be I am feeling like this because I am ignorant of the ways of the world; may be this is the only way which things can work and I can’t handle the new generation cricket. Still, I would like to wish the tournament best of luck because it does give opportunity to some young Indian players to prove something.

***I have used the pictures from Official Facebook Page of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 because I don’t want anything to do with the IPL.

TeNy

Because it is World Cup

There are many World Cups that I have liked, but as far as cricket World Cups are concerned, I feel that I am going to like the 2019 World Cup more than the others. The main reason is that it will have no minnows and the games can only get better. Yes, we are love an upset and cheer when underdogs win. But when they are ruthlessly trashed by the opponents on too many occasions and they also make us wonder about the quality of the game, it is not case.

It is a forward step by the International Cricket Council, and I would like to welcome it. There is no need to add more and more teams which can’t play good enough cricket just to increase the number of teams and to let certain cricketers score centuries and get easy wickets. The players who can never hit an overseas century or can’t score more than a run-a-ball against the good teams might find this interesting, but otherwise, it is not a good idea to increase the number of teams.

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Talking about the lesser teams, they have to raise their level, and only then should they be allowed in the World Cup. After all, this is a cup featuring the best, and not just some dumb tournament. It should be like, prove yourself and get in. For a beginning, there can be just eight slots. Yes, you heard it right. There is too much miserable cricket going on right now, and some teams need to improve or perish. They shouldn’t take their test status as a guarantee, but just a compliment.

Only the top six ranked teams should be allowed straight into the World Cup, with number seven, eight, nine and ten made to play a qualifying tournament with the associate members. The total number of teams can be eight, with two teams from this competition joining the group of teams, putting them into two pools. Only top two teams from each group should qualify. As the number of matches do decrease, may be the teams can play each other twice and thus also make sure that more consistent team gets in.

The 2019 Cricket World Cup will have ten teams already there, among which only eight of the top ones having a clear place (including the hosts England). The rest will play in the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh which is only fair in making the game of cricket better and of a higher standard. If someone needs to score some runs of take a lot of wickets against the weaker teams, just be at the lower level of rankings – don’t bother the teams playing high standard cricket.

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There should be no matches without results. It doesn’t matter whether it rains or the lights go. There should be more than one reserve day. After all, it will be a tournament of the best then. May be Kenya can make a return here. Do you remember them coming second in their group and even doing enough to get into the semi-finals? There is no team like that now, and only the strong teams get stronger and hopes to destroy these teams with ease. So these teams should prove that they are at least as good as the last ranked test playing nations.

When the level of Zimbabwe has only gone down from the past, Bangladesh seems to be coming up with a big slap against the ICC which gave them the test status when they were not ready. The former has gone through some turbulent times, but it is time for them to come back and return to the competitive team that they had often been. The latter should do a lot better than this with the talent and the support of the fans – just defeating a test playing nation on World Cup is not enough. There will be improvement if these two teams are made to earn their place rather than being guaranteed the same.

*If you want to globalize cricket, you need to stop being selfish. It includes not using these teams as the means to score big runs, take wickets and attain huge victories. It doesn’t prove anything. Help them, provide them some assistance with training as well as money, and play some good practice matches with them. May be some of their players can have some chances in the IPL. Ireland is a team with so much potential – I hope one of these over hyped teams is thrown out and they get in for the next World Cup. May be after letting them play with a team like India A and manage to compete with them regularly and even defeat them, we can talk about a fourteen team or even twenty eight team Cricket World Cup with a big qualifier featuring half of the total teams. ***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Page of ICC Cricket World Cup on Facebook.

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TeNy

That Strange World Cup

Another Cricket World Cup comes to the fans, and the Indian team is going to Australia with that ridiculous and selfish motto “We won’t give it back!” as if it has been made the private property of BCCI after stealing it from someone else. This is the season of those fake patriots and new age nationalists who are going to temporarily love their country until this tournament is over. This is also the season of the abusers who are waiting to abuse the players from other countries and some of them might have even got a whole book of abuse ready for the process. Not having a look here means no patriotism and so I will have a look at the chances here.

1. Australia: The bigger one among the hosts missed out on making a four out of four because the last World Cup was held in the sub continent. This competition at their place makes things so easy for them, as we have seen how well they did in the last tournament involving three teams in total. They have fine batting power, deadly bowling and the strength of some of the best all-rounders. When you look at the Australian team, you can say that this is an excellent group of players, something that you never expected when players like Gilchrist, Hayden and Ponting were gone. They might also be having a strong emotional side this time due to the comrade that they lost. Steven Smith will be the key, and even when he is not, there will be someone else on fire – if one man won’t score a century, another one will.

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2. India: With an amazing partnership from Dhoni and Srinivasan alienating most of the educated Indian cricket fans, the team still have so much firepower with the batting even as flat-track bullies in the team cannot be trusted. But the batting should click heavily at some point. By avoiding the services of Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, the experience factor disappeared and so did a lot of fans. Another big mistake was committed by not including Robin Uthappa and Varun Aaron. But still with BCCI controlling most the ICC and as most of the cricket fans are in India, some special treatment should be given to the Indian team or team BCCI. If you look at the points table, India can easily finish second in their group and Sri Lanka third in theirs, thus making sure that India won’t have to defeat a good non-Asian team till semi-finals – that is a relatively easy path.

3. South Africa: With the official chokers tag, they have somehow managed to loss all the matches which they should have won. With always having a nice team, they have never been to the final and it is a shame. But, things can change this time. AB de Villiers will be a big problem for the opposition and the key player along with Hashim Amla, as the rest of the teams will have to wait an eternity to have both of these players out of form. But it is also a batting line-up that can go deeper, and then there is Dale Steyn and team that can boast of being one of the best bowling line-ups of this World Cup. This might be their time – they should be ready. They can only be given the third best chance due to their history and reputation.

4. New Zealand: Here is another team which has played too many semi-finals, but the engine stops there. Well, even Kenya has been to the semi-finals of a World Cup. This time, they also come to the World Cup as co-hosts, and this is a situation which they should use to their best advantage. The neve-ending form of the young star Kane Williamson and the experienced Ross Taylor can bring fear into the minds of the opposition. Then, everyone also know what Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson are capable of – total annihilation. With no shortage of the all-round skills and the bowling that can use the conditions well, the black caps should consider this their best chance ever.

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5. Sri Lanka: For Sri Lanka, the young captain and the nice finisher Angelo Mathews will be the key along with the experienced Sangakkara-Jayawardane-Dilshan combination and the Malinga power. The middle order might be depending too much on Sangakkara and Jayawardane, but they should deliver enough. When there is the need, Thisira Perera should fire too. People are surely going to under-estimate this team, and it is going to be their strengths. They have been finalists for too many occasions, and it is time that they clinch a World Cup. I hope they make use of the opportunity this time – they have been one of my favourite teams.

6. England and Pakistan: Along with England, I was going to put West Indies here, and then I looked at that team, suddenly shifting to Pakistan. They also have a slight chance here, and for that Shahid Afridi has to play a big role along with the talented youngsters. It surely has a better chance than a remotely possible Gayle Storm. England can do well at these conditions as they have proved, but nothing much can be said. About United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, I have no idea why they are playing other than to increase the total number of teams and to give runs to the major teams. But I hope these teams prove me wrong, especially Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

*The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Page of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

TeNy

What are the Chances?

The Australian Open is fast approaching, and is almost here. On January 19th, the battle for another Grand Slam, the first one of the year and the most unpredictable one begins, and this is that kind of an year which has hopes for all the players in both Men’s and Women’s draw, if you ask me. Yes, the Big Four was broken twice last year with Marin Čilić and Stanislas Wawrinka tunneling their way to the first and the last slams, and in 2015, there is chance of the newer Grand Slam aspirants to bring the fight to Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Still, our favourites remain favourites.

1. Novak Djokovic: The world number one, once again has the best chance to win his favourite Grand Slam, and this place where he established himself as a worthy opponent to Federer and Nadal should have a lot more for him, considering that even when he seems a little down, he keeps coming back – this is still his peak time. He also have a simpler draw, with all the challenges on his way seemingly of causing lesser trouble for him. I don’t think that any of those names can challenge this man at his favourite part of the world – the Djoker is the favourite, no doubt. His only worry can be del Potro unleashing himself, but that is not much likely, and the Wawrinka, Nishikori or Ferrer challenge in the semi-finals might be the first big trouble.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

2. Rafael Nadal: Looking at the draw, Nadal does have a better path than Federer, and I would say that it is an easier path for him compared to that of Federer, and therefore, even with his usual injury problems and continuous problems of fitness, should have the next best chance after Djokovic. Yes, there are tough names there on his path, but they are all beyond their best, and has very less chance of beating Nadal as far he can find some of former glory and stay fit. I would not judge him by his terrible performances in the first two tournaments this year, because he has had his amount of luck with Grand Slams. Well, he should be looking for something other than the French Open this time and Berdych, Youzhny and Gascquet shouldn’t be able to stop him.

3. Roger Federer: He can have the troubles like Monaco, and the big Nadal Slayer Kyrgios or the big serving Karlović on his path, with Murray in the quarter finals and Nadal in the semi finals, something which can mean long sets and fatigue for the most elderly of the four. Then the final should be against Djokovic, and this is something that should test him, as he goes through all three of the big four – not really good news for him in the very first slam of the year. The one thing that should work for him should be his form, which has been very good, and one of the best, as he went on to win his first title this year at Brisbane with ease. Fresh from the thousandth win of his career, there is no stopping him if he is at his best, and the question only remains if he will be at his best. Well, this is his resurrection – and sparks are going to fly.

As all good things begin and end with Roger Federer.

As all good things begin and end with Roger Federer.

4. Andy Murray: Even with his terrible form and the inability to win a Grand Slam for quite a long time now, Murray is still the fourth best player considering the achievements as well as the ability which he has proven until now – to keep him out of the list and considering him not a threat, would be a big mistake. Dimitrov should be his only big challenge on the path, something which he should overcome, considering the fact that there are signs of him coming back to his older self. Well, it is time he shows the rest of the Big Four that he means a lot more than just what he has won now, which seems to pale in comparison to the rest which seems to have made their own Big Three.

5. Stanislas Wawrinka: And then there is our defending champion who grabbed that title from Rafael Nadal who was all set to win the last year’s Australian Open. He has a nice route until meeting Nishikori or Ferrer in the Quarter Finals, and then coming up against the big Djokovic problem. I have always supported him to win a Grand Slam, and considering how nice a sportsperson he has been, I think it will be nice to see him winning another title here, the second one in a row. Well, del Potro can destroy all these calculations, but that is if he is back to that player that he has been. I might have my favourites and likes, but may the best man who plays well win.

Happy days have been returning for Caroline Wozniacki.

Happy days have been returning for Caroline Wozniacki.

In the Women’s draw, I am thinking that the one who wins the Caroline Wozniacki vs Serena Williams match, which should be one of the Quarter Finals, should go on to win the title unless it is too tiring to recover, and the winner of a possible Simona Halep vs Maria Sharapova Semi Final should win it – but with Eugenie Bouchard, Ana Ivanovic and the uncertainty of the Women’s side, I can’t make a big guess about it. But I would personally like to see Simona Halep, Agniezska Radwańska, Caroline Wozniacki or Eugenie Bouchard winning this one 🙂 [All images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the tennis players]

You can also choose to join the Genie Army :D

You can also choose to join the Genie Army 😀

TeNy

The Lost Badminton Days

Among the best memories of life, there were always the days of the Badminton, something which I started in detail in the year 2001 with the first Badminton bat I ever had – Kamachi, a sporting season which improved further in 2002 and carried on with no real training and finding one weird way or the other to play the sport. Now, with almost no chance to play Badminton anymore, I take a look at those memories. The Badminton had somehow survived until 2014 first half for me; even now it is not dead, but is close to it.

The first season of the Badminton Days was the Kamachi season – it was a racquet that survived only to make way for the next one – Wish. 2001-2004 was rather my learning season, and it was the time when I tried my best to work on a certain style for my game, and was hoping to get at least a few smashes right (as long as I could keep getting the shuttle to the other side :D). Except for getting the drop-shots right rarely, I could only come up with some very rare surprises against those power-smashers.

You see the former bat with the pole on the background which acts a stumps too :D

You see the former racquet with a shuttle (pack is empty :P) a pole and the court too 😀

2004-2006 was my next season, finding the smashes with the new racquet, and somehow able to return some of those smashes, but still having almost no backhand. It was only during the 2006-2008 season with the next racquet Kennex that I somehow discovered that backhand shots could be played, and for that I can only thank my love for Roger Federer reaching new heights. Even as I liked him much earlier, the imitation of that classic backhand was coming to me this time, and there were the good-looking wrist bands and elbow supports to inspire 😀

2008-2011 with my next Wish racquet was my best season ever, and this was also the time of having best energy. With a ban on cricket, football and any sport which required a ball by our association, Badminton thrived at that time, and it is to be noted that there were so many people to play the game from 2001-2011, these ten years being awesome for the sport. I perfected the tennis shots during that season, and could do the tennis backhands too; and there was my tribute to Roger Federer 😀

A bat to remember, as I would like to talk about it and the Badminton days :D

A racquet to remember, as I would like to talk about it and those lost Badminton days 😀

2011-2015 is the time of the next racquet, the fifth in the list, the Silvers blue one which is continuing its journey even as there is no Badminton anymore, as my hope to find a place to play has failed miserably. This is my best bat so far and has lasted more than any other considering the years, but if we consider the time spent playing, this one is yet to see enough of the court. I have still managed to damage it enough already by diving on the court with it in the beginning stages itself 😀

Badminton has been so much of a fun game, and I miss it so much nowadays. I even miss that wind which helped me to get the shuttle in even after it was hit outside. Among the things that I really wish to do and bring back to my life, Badminton should come first. Our Badminton group used to be at its best at that time, and during a golden age, there would be about twelve people around just trying to get a game, and having tea or lime juice after the game was priceless. I wonder why there is not much Badminton around these days – lazy people all around!

The present Silvers racquet and the kitty who wanted to join the game ;)

The present Silvers racquet and the cute little kitty who wanted to join the game at night 😉

I miss playing those weird shots – those tennis backhands to the corners, the hook shot drops, the tweener drop shots, the surprise tennis forehands, the leg glance drop shots, the surprise slice drop shot, the diving sweep shot – all variety inventions which have a lot of chance not to succeed, but there is always that awesome day at the court when things work 😀 You can guess that this kind of strange nonsense shots are not going to work against a good, trained player – but there is the happiness that you get once some of these work and use the surprise elements to win against a player of your same level 😉

*All photos used in this blog post were taken on my Nokia N95 and Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Whatever Begins Should End

ISL seems to have begun and ended so early, and we are left wondering what is to do with that time period between six fourty five and nine before sleep. There is an emptiness there, and this absence has basically become a presence, a bloody spiritual presence of something that calls for thinking about the league more and more, especially when sitting with nothing to do. It has finished in style, but we are still left with some memories, especially of the final. The rest have already been taken and locked up.

As I had said earlier in my post (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/indian-football/), this is a final in which both results had the power to make me happy. It was exactly what was delivered on the night. Looking at the sad face of Sourav Ganguly was going to be depressing, and I wondered about a possibility of both teams winning, as Apoula Edel became that mountain that Michael Chopra couldn’t overcome. As I have mentioned much earlier, three of my four suggested teams for the semi-finals also made it to the top four and my favourite two teams were playing the final (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/a-change-or-no-change/).

The legend of these two never ends - the best opening pair ever.

The legend of these two cricketers never ends – the best opening pair in cricket, ever.

I have been a Sourav Ganguly supporter throughout my life. In cricket, his dedication and passion was not rewarded well enough in the last stages of his career, and IPL didn’t give him his due either, as there was only money that mattered there. This year, with ISL coming to the picture, I wondered how it was to turn out, and in the end, as everything seemed to finish off well, that was another case of things becoming fair – as this is the Lord of the Off Side and Prince of Kolkata who brought to us the first team in ISL and had the first big collaboration with the Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid, with all the celebrities at the opposition camp on the day of the final.

There is nothing that Dada hasn’t done for Indian cricket, and there had to be another day on which he had to be on the screen, happy and with his arms raised high in victory, and it was that day. It was the day of the warrior, once again. Even if it is on the stage of other game, the wrongs have to be undone, and Sachin Tendulkar won’t mind, I am sure – he would be supporting good football, especially after watching the match from Chennaiyin. After all, this is a league which is not owned by any organization like BCCI, and Atletico de Kolkata played and won with the right spirit.

Just another photo of them as a psychological move to get support :D

Just another photo of the two legends as a psychological move to get support for this blog 😀

Another fact is that Kolkata deserved the win, coming back with the confidence which they had lost with a loss supported by a disallowed goal which should have been there. They had dominated the league and was at the top for most of the season, and in the end, they also finish first in the league with the final win – sounds fair. Then there is Iain Hume winning the Hero of the League, and Sandesh Jhingan also getting his deserved award. Kerala Blasters, you can be proud. There were still people who didn’t want both these teams in the final, and this match is a slap on their faces. Dadagiri can never be destroyed, and Sachin Tendulkar is forever.

The game had some good moments, and it is the happiness of having two of these teams and not any other in the final. Kerala Blasters can be happy about having reached this stage after being considered one of the worst teams in the league. David James can be delighted about coming this far. More than anything else, they also lost more to a fantastic performance from Apoula Edel, a goal keeper who became the wall. There is also the award won for the best fans, and that is much deserved. My only sadness is that Kerala Blasters didn’t play Pedro Gusmao and Sushant Mathew enough.

The winners of the match, trophy and the soul, with Dada and Mrs. Ambani

The winners of the match, trophy and the soul, with Dada, Mrs. Ambani and the others.

Lets thank Nita Ambani, Star Sports and the rest of the sponsors and people involved for bringing this tournament to a success as it has turned out to be, and lets wait for the next season. Meanwhile, lets appreciate the good things that have happened to the Indian football along with those waiting to happen, and a final which had two teams playing each other with mutual respect rather than trying cheap tricks or getting one sided decision from the referees for no reason. India is becoming a powerful force of soccer, and it is time cricket makes way for football, and tennis is also gaining in popularity, thanks to Roger Federer’s recent Delhi visit.

*Photos are from NDTV and Sportswiki (cropped).

TeNy

Hope for Indian Football

Days have passed after Kerala Blasters FC overcame all odds as everyone desperately tried to make Chennaiyin FC win by whichever way possible – by giving cards to Kerala players and even sending one off even before thirty minutes had passed, along with allowing a penality for no good reason and even allowing a goal by hand when there was a good view for the referee. Even Chennaiyin’s owner was showing disrespectful actions, and the crowd was not that sporting. There was a high level of play from Chennai’s team, but no righteousness.

But still Kerala Blasters had progressed to the finals becoming the first ever finalists of the league, a position which was reserved for the teams which came first or fourth in the league. They had the power of poetic justice and karma which favoured the righteous who played the fair game rather than those who took another unfair path towards glory, not caring about sportsmanship. It struck lightning on those who played the rough game like what happened to Netherlands against Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final, even as the Orange team was better until then.

But that game had a better referee, but it was not the case here, as every step was taken to ensure that Kerala Blasters doesn’t win the match. But karma once again took over as Marco Materazzi ended up on the wrong side this time, with missing penality and getting a red card just before Kerala scored the winning goal. Yes, nobody messes with Zinedine Zidane and escapes, as the grand curse stays for a long time. They say that Luis Suárez bites, but there are worse things that happen on a football field, and I would consider being bitten better – ask the Vampire Bat (http://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/bathistory/)

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So what happened on the next day? It was Sourav Ganguly’s Atletico de Kolkata taking on Virat Kohli’s FC Goa. There were two teams who had their first leg as a draw. There was the team of a retired legend cricketer taking on the team of a future legend to take on the team of the immortal cricketer. This time, there is nothing carried over, and one match was to decide things. So, I decided to watch the full match this time without missing any second, as there was no tension for me with my favourite teams everywhere.

My belief was that it was going to be a fair game, and as both Goa and Kolkata had owners who believed in giving their best and as they have been the ones who showed their fighting spirits rather than showing off, I was sure that this one would be a better game of real and fair football even as I was not sure about the amount of thrills. Yes, Goa seemed like a better team, considering the second part of the league. But my love for the City of Joy was eternal just like my admiration for Sourav Ganguly.

But things seemed different this time, as there was no goal at all, compared to the seven we had seen in the other semi-final matches, and it had to end with a shoot-out. Surprisingly, the best from Goa missed the first kick and another one hit the crossbar, giving the match and a spot in the final to Kolkata which had all shots right into the goal. It would be Sachin Tendulkar’s team vs Sourav Ganguly’s team; a match between two teams which had the most attendance during their matches, a treat for the most passionate fans of the league. Yes, this is the dream final. Kerala gets recognition, Sachin is happy and Dadagiri never ends. This is a final in which both results can make me happy.

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Meanwhile, I really hope that the fans of the teams had showed more respect to others, and among the fans, I have found the North East fans the best. As a team representing eight states, I have found them to be better than most of the other fans who have been fighting and abusing each other. And John Abraham also deserves a lot of respect for supporting football in the right manner as the righteous as well as the supporting owner, and not being bad towards the rest. I wish NorthEast United FC the best of luck for the next season. May Indian football thrive, and so do the teams which play fair football.

*I am surprised that Amitabh Bachchan said in Twitter that many decisions were against them when everyone in the world felt that referee was the twelfth player of the Chennai team against the Kerala team of ten players. I wonder if Big B changed sides while tweeting it. ***All images used in this blog post are from the official page of Indian Super League at Facebook.

TeNy

What is Bigger than Winning?

*Except for the last photo, the images are from the Official Facebook Page of Kerala Blasters. What I asked is a question that we see in the advertisement for Indian Super League, and it is about what is more important that winning. It says that the answer to that question is winning the league for the first time and becoming the first champion ever. I don’t consider it an interesting one though, as that achievement is something which will stay heavy only for a few years. Shouldn’t the answer have been “winning the league the most number of times”?

Well, I have an answer for the same, and it is “to try your best and earn respect”. Yes, Chennaiyin did well to come back from nowhere to go up, a lot of appreciation is needed for that. That should also mean that one like less for Jeje Lalpekhlua, that is from me, just because I don’t approve handballs. Yes, everybody can’t be Adam Gilchrist or Rahul Dravid, but if they tried to be honest, that would have pleased me. I always love such a good gesture. Yes, the referee also contributed to it, whose fault it remains.

There is no denying the power of this man, no matter what happens.

There is no denying the power of this man, no matter what happens in the end.

I believe that Chennaiyin would have won against Kerala Blasters, but it is karma that let them down. Kerala got the worst of the referee as what happened with Atletico de Kolkata reversed like a tsunami multiple times, with the worst decisions being made against them. But to add to that, Chennaiyin had to add the handball, and I believe that the one moment of cheating took the weapons of karma started its work. Poetic justice – ever heard of it? It will come to you some day, may be in this life or the next. This time, it came earlier.

Well, it is quite usual for the new generation who are taught that there is nothing bigger than winning. It is all about being glory hunters, and we have a lot of them in football. Marco Materazzi’s missing of penality is also about the same – the one thing that made him more famous than the rest, is what he caused to Zinedine Zidane, one of my favourite players of that time. He became a main reason for many of us to dislike the Chennaiyin FC along with the overacting that Abhishek Bachchan was doing at the stadium. That red card was coming for Materazzi, because there is God, and there is Sachin Tendulkar.

If you try your best and still lose, it is still a big thing.

If you try your best and still lose, it is still a big thing. Always fight till the end.

Chennai is my second favourite city in India outside Kerala, coming next only after Kolkata, and every time, I hope to support them in any league and appreciate them coming first on the league table, but something always comes up. With Chennai Super Kings, there was that match-fixing scandal, and there was the owner of the same team controlling the whole cricket in India. Now, even for Chennaiyin FC, there is the co-owner Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and I can’t help not seeing a connection there. I then wondered why the Bangalore franchise was replaced with Chennai.

Even in a match which saw one of the worst refereeing of the whole tournament, the highlight is the effort which both teams put up here, especially Kerala Blasters who fought all odds to win this battle. Nothing seemed to work for them as there was the early red card, too many fouls against them even as the referee gave less number of them, a self-goal, a penality and a goal with a hand – all going against them. It seemed that even Mukesh and Nita Ambani were with Chennaiyin. A defeat was certain there, and with the goal keeper and the best strikers replaced, there was even less hope with a shoot-out.

Seeing a happy Sachin Tendulkar with other senior players = happiness

Seeing a happy Sachin Tendulkar with other senior players and the team = happiness 🙂

Kerala Blasters did hold on though, and when wonder how this poetic justice worked like a dream, the name of Sachin Tendulkar comes to one’s mind. This is another gift to one of the greatest sportsmen India has ever produced, and it would be great if the other team in the final is Atletico de Kolkata, but the three teams that remains now are my favourites, and I will only be extremely delighted no matter who wins this first ISL – let it be Kerala, Kolkata or Goa. What about Sachin Tendulkar vs Sourav Ganguly in the final – wouldn’t that be awesome?

*Even if Kerala Blasters had lost today, they would have won hearts, but they chose more, and the fight they brought is more important than winning. Despite what the owners, coaches, some fans and the officials have been doing wrong, Chennaiyin team also deserves respect for making this attempt. One thing I admire about Abhishek Bachchan is that he stood with his team till the end making every team wish that they had an owner like him, otherwise I am not a fan of him with what he is showing on the ground and in the movies.

And then there is my friend Praveen Joy who managed to click one with Sachin :O

And then there is my friend Praveen Joy who managed to click one with Sachin :O 😀

Thank You Kerala Blasters! TeNy

IPTL: What it Brings

As you might have seen in the advertisements, International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) begins on 28th November, and with the Indian Aces team being part of it, there is the scope for improving the status of tennis in India, improving the number of fans as well as the media attention. But as far the quality of tennis in India is concerned, I have my doubts about it, as a league might not be something that works with this sport as much as it does with a team game. There is also no scope for young Indian players unlike in IPL or ISL.

Still there was the big twist about it, as Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Indian Aces citing injury, and Roger Federer replaced him, and it would surely mean a lot of more ticket sales. There is nothing like having Roger Federer playing in India for the first time. There is also Ana Ivanovic, and Pete Sampras who significantly boosts their respective categories. I would say that choosing Gael Monfils was also an interesting decision considering how much of a surprise he can keeping bringing up. It is our chance to cheer for India in tennis, and Micromax Indian Aces is a star team worth our applause.

As all good things begin and end with Roger Federer.

As all good things begin and end with Roger Federer.

But the challenge seems evenly adjusted for the teams from four nations across Asia. We have four teams with players of different styles and most of them having not played each other much at all. The result cannot be predicted that easily with five divisions of matches to be played. The matches of the past champions will be very much unpredictable, as it gives us an opportunity to watch splendour on the court. Then about mixed doubles, it is going to bring us lots of suprises.

You can also choose to join the Genie Army :D

You can also choose to join the Genie Army 😀

We are introduced to some of the greatest names in tennis here; there are the current champions, the legends from the past, the surprise packages and the rising stars. Singapore Slammers got a strong women’s side with the power of Serena Williams, while UAE Royals is a balanced team with another strong women’s side – Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki in the same team? That calls for support.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

And there is always the Djoker looking for his opportunity.

I would consider Manila Mavericks as the weaker side there, but still having some power to surprise – having Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova guarantees that. This is not the usual tennis stuff that we might see here, and so our guess work might most probably won’t work at all. I would have loved to see Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska playing in the tournament, but unfortunately, that is not to be.

Happy days have been returning for Caroline Wozniacki.

Happy days have been returning for Caroline Wozniacki.

The tournament happens for three days in each of these four nations. The points are won for the team by players winning matches – Men’s singles, Women’s singles, Men’s doubles, Mixed doubles and Past champions’ singles, and then by winning the tie, four points are added to the table. There is also the provision of two points or just one depending on the performace from the losing side. There will be tie-breakers at 5-5, and the action will be faster with less time taken between the points and sets.

Ana Ivanovic, another big name for the Micromax Indian Aces.

Ana Ivanovic, another big name for the Micromax Indian Aces.

There is also a seven point men’s shootout to be played in case of a tied score too. There is sixty second coaches time-out, there will be power-points which will count as double, and there are lots of other things. Yes, it has me somewhat confused about how it works beyond the tennis match – I care less about that though. Here, entertainment is surely guaranteed, and this is more like a great collection of incredible exhibition matches. It will surely bring something to Indian tennis as far as the number of fans are concerned, and it might be quite small, in my opinion. *All images are from the Facebook pages of respective tennis players.

TeNy

When Nobody Knows

I am pretty sure that a lot of people have prayed a lot for the Indian cricket team to win the World Cup. But among the things I have wanted the most was for India to win the Davis Cup – yes, Indian football team qualifying for the FIFA World Cup was a necessity, but I had always hoped for a tennis achievement more. This love for tennis had kept me trying to play tennis shots in badminton even as that reinforced the fact that I will never play tennis in my life.

That brings back to the topic – who would I want to win the Davis Cup as it was kind of impossible for India considering the absence of a big tennis player in the ATP division. There might be just one win in the doubles, which would have been quite easy at a time when Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were at full flow. But then, there is the other option, to watch Switzerland win the Davis Cup, something which happened yesterday at the same time as the ISL match between Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC was going on.

Federer and Wawrinka - redefining Swiss tennis (pic from ATP site)

Federer and Wawrinka – redefining Swiss tennis (pic from ATP site)

I switched on the television and checked some of the so called big news channels starting with Indiavision. I waited till the sports news and kept staring at it, but it seemed that nobody knew there was such a tournament. For a tournament that happened at night, they don’t feel the need to show the news about it in the morning. It made me wonder where our journalism was heading. This is exactly why tennis doesn’t have that much of an impact in India.

Fed-rinka in action in France (pic from Reuters)

Fed-rinka in action in France (pic from Reuters)

Czech Republic did win the Fed Cup earlier defeating Germany in the final, but it is clear nobody cared about it. I would say that most of the people don’t know that there is a woman’s equivalent of the Davis Cup. The media might also need some classes about the same, as they keep searching for cricket even in the ISL. The final didn’t end up being the close contest that I had expected it to, but I am an admirer of Lucie Safarova and is glad to see her team win, as I feel that she has under-achieved. I am surprised that Sabine Lisicki didn’t play a singles match though.

The Swiss Davis Cup team (pic from daviscup.com)

The Swiss Davis Cup team (pic from daviscup.com)

The total number of quality female players in Germany was surely high, but the two players, Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova ended up being too good. These two were far ahead of the rest of the players from Czech Republic as out of the top twenty rankings, the next available players was under rank 150 while Germany had a better team in totality. The same is the case of Switzerland and France in the Davis Cup. Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrnika being way ahead of the others who are ranked below 200, and their opponents having all their five players in the top thirty.

The Swiss players with the Davis Cup trophy (pic from ndtv)

The Swiss players with the Davis Cup trophy (pic from ndtv)

This is a great win for Switzerland, and a wonderful addition to the list of great achievement of Roger Federer who had been fighting a lone battle for a long time before Wawrinka came into the picture – what an year for him too, beginning it with the Australian Open title and ending it with the Davis Cup trophy. The way in which they have managed to get rid of the rift between the two and come together to play for their nation, and how Federer managed to be fit for his country – all these are worth the appreciation.

But do our media know any of this? I have always considered Davis Cup with a great level of esteem. It is more equivalent to the World Cup than anything else, and it is the duty of the media to broadcast it and provide enough information about the same. The same is the case of Fed Cup which is more like a mystery around here. I wouldn’t be surprised though, considering the cold way in which they report Wimbledon. I hope that the senior Malayalam news channels and newspapers take tennis more seriously (a corner in the sports page is not enough for big tournaments), and it can only help the growth of tennis here.

TeNy

Return of the Emperor

Roger Federer still remains the one big reason why I watch tennis, and even at this age, what he is still managing to achieve remains pretty much awesome – despite the blind fans of many other tennis stars still not willing to see the same and those who don’t know tennis failing to look at it doesn’t make it any lesser. With the most grandslams in men’s tennis and the most number of weeks as the world number as well as the most consecutive weeks holding the same, plus so many other records, Federer has got not much to prove.

Yes, this is another one of those years in which he hasn’t won a grand slam, and has reached only one final of the same, that too of his favourite slam. He was without slams in 2011 and 2013 too and compared to last year, this one is a big improvement. He was number six last year, the lowest for him in ten years, and also with the lowest win percent and having no grand slam finals – the worst year since his rise to the top.

Federer with the ballboys and girls after winning the trophy :)

Federer with the ballboys and girls after winning the trophy 🙂

Consider this year though, as he is back to the world number two, gaining four spots from last year. He also has the best win percent since 2007, and could throw the miserable 2013 behind him. With only Novak Djokovic in front of him, he has also beaten the current world number one multiple times. With Rafael Nadal struggling to find form and time without injury, it is brilliant how Federer can manage it at this age.

Imagine Federer at one of our malls in front of his photo :D

Imagine Federer at one of our malls in front of his photo 😀

This year, he won Dubai Tennis Championships beating Tomas Berdych in the final, and followed it with the titles Halle Open, Cincinnati Masters, Shanghai Masters and Swiss Indoors, plus almost winning Wimbledon in a comeback which was almost not there for him. He was also close to winning Monte-Carlo Masters and Indian Wells Masters. Time to retire? I wouldn’t think so, and neither should anyone else. See how he is still evolving his game and adapting – there is more to see from him.

The Roger Federer Foundation - beautiful stuff :)

The Roger Federer Foundation – beautiful stuff 🙂

The ATP World Tour Finals is yet to come with four hundred points to defend for Federer, and an year end number one is quite far away with Djokovic in nice form. But being the world number two itself is an achievement. Whether some miracle strikes and makes him the year end number one again or not, this year has been big for Roger Federer, and it is not based on slams or the number of finals he has won, it is based on how well he has played among his younger opponents.

Players with Wilson racquets - theres Simona too :D

Players with Wilson racquets – theres Simona too 😀

There is also the Davis Cup World Group Final coming up, with France vs Switzerland as Federer’s home country look forward to their first title, and France looking for another title to add to their long list. As Federer teams up with Stanislas Wawrinka (finally a worthy partner from home) to who he had lost his Swiss number one spot which he has now regained, it is certain that there will be a lot to cheer for as far as the fans are concerned – this is going to be good.

Meanwhile, IPTL (Indian Premier Tennis League) is coming up, and Roger Federer is coming to India. He will play for Indian Aces teaming up with Pete Sampras, Ana Ivanovic, Gael Mofils, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna and Fabrice Santoro, and sparks are going to fly for sure. It is known that the tickets for Federer’s matches in Delhi were sold in twenty minutes, and that is the beauty of having the maestro here, and that was despite the ticket prices being so high. Federer is not done yet, know that! *All the photos are from Roger Federer’s official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Federer).

TeNy

Of a Romanian Beauty

I have been watching tennis for quite some time now, and I have watched and admired many players, but none so much as Roger Federer, who redefined my days of watching that game which I have never played and might never play. I have spent hours just watching the maestro play, and have watched almost all the grand slams he has won, mostly as live action and sometimes in the form of highlights.

I have also admired Novak Djokovic with his game on a lot of occasions, and has considered him a worthy successor to the number one title which he is holding now. When coming to the women’s tennis, it has never had a clear favourite player in my list, as there used to be Maria Sharapova, replaced by Caroline Wozniacki who still remains one my big favourites, Agnieszka Radwańska who is there forever, and Eugenie Bouchard whom I occasionally root for as part of another army – Genie Army.

Roger Federer and Simona Halep, my choices for every Grand Slam :D

Roger Federer and Simona Halep, my choices for every Grand Slam 😀

Then there is Simona Halep, whom I have been supporting for months now as the latest addition to that list. Along with supporting Roger Federer, I have been wishing that she had one the women’s division too. I might still name my cat Agnieszka who have been the fan favourite player for the last consecutive years (and mine too), but the admiration for Simona has been something that has been growing like a vampire’s fangs. She is not screaming and doing all those strange actions on the court like some of the other players who overdo the same.

It is a feel-good moment when she wins those points :)

It is a feel-good moment when she wins those points 🙂

Ever since reading Dracula, I have always wanted to visit Romania, and support the nation in something, and Simona is the answer to my prayers to find something for the same cause. Yes, another reason to love Romania here, and I was actually surprised at how much she has come up in the rankings all of a sudden and how well she has improved her game. Well, it is still safe to say that not many people from this part of the world knows her yet, and that is rather a disgrace to all kinds of sports.

Always looking good whether on the court or off-court!

Always looking good whether on the court or off-court!

The twenty three year old from Romania has jumped in rankings and has arrived and settled inside the top ten of WTA Rankings, and now sitting steadily at number three below veterans Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. She looks small, but has such an intelligent game to take on the stronger opponents. This was achieved after being a rather less heard name in Women’s tennis, which with frequent serve breaks, has been such an unpredictable side compared to the men’s tennis which has had the big four of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

Hope she wins the next grand slam and more :)

Hope she wins the next grand slam and more 🙂

She came so close to winning the Roland Garros this year too, but there is a thing about the French Open, as it is too elusive for the best players and those who play beautiful tennis. After having not that much of a good record in the grand slams, she could rise to the occasions this year reaching the final of the French Open and the semi-final of the Wimbledon in an year which saw her rise which also lead to the demolition of Serena Williams in the WTA Championships even as she lost in the final to the same opponent.

Not difficult to find Simona here :) (Pic from Simona wiki page)

Not difficult to find Simona here 🙂 (Pic from Simona wiki page)

Among the players who are doing so well in the WTA, I would vote for Simona Halep this time, and the player who recently turned twenty three and at 5 feet 6 inches among the shorter top players, seems to be the rising star for the future of women’s tennis. Lets hope that she continues to play the wonderful tennis that she is producing and keeps us admiring her talent. *All the photos in this post except one are from the official Facebook page of Simona Halep (https://www.facebook.com/simonahalep)

TeNy

A Change or No Change?

There are a few things that are difficult to change. Among them are the passion for cricket in the subcontinent and the worship of cricketers. This has always happened at the cost of the devastation of other sporting events. Cricket has almost annihilated all the other sports from India, and this struggle that the other sports seem to be putting up is just because they are working so well outside the subcontinent, and there are still some good people left in the country who choose to watch the rest.

The arguments for cricket are completely invalid. The first one is that Sania Mirza is also a big name even without winning anything huge – but it is a wrong argument, as she is popular just because of her looks, and it is disgusting to read how some people make comments about her. The next argument is that India is winning in cricket, and so it gets support. But no, the case is that Indian cricket team is winning because they have money and facilities, and also because nobody outside the subcontinent gives a damn about the game.

Team Kerala Blasters (Pic from Kerala Blasters FB Page)

Team Kerala Blasters (Pic from Kerala Blasters FB Page)

Let’s take the case of IPL. It has deteriorated into the worst level with its match-fixing scandals and other scams, with two of its teams already terminated and two or three almost getting terminated, with players banned and controversies coming up again and again. Even with all those fake entertainment stuff in it, they couldn’t even come with a story-line better than WWE, and it is a real shame. One actually has to wonder if there is any point in following a sport which only one nation actually plays and two or three nations make a half-hearted attempt to try.

Consider the evil that has IPL has turned cricket into, one has to wonder what ISL will do to Indian football. Indian Super League is certain to be better than that though, and can create a better Indian football team for the future, with the number of fans also increasing. It is a much needed thing to have a team for us to support in the FIFA World Cup – we can surely qualify from Asia in a few years or so. India will surely be a power to look out for in twenty years, I would guess. We should just keep the politics away from this one.

Sourav Ganguly for Atletico de Kolkata (Pic from team's FB Page)

Sourav Ganguly for Atletico de Kolkata (Pic from team’s FB Page)

Unlike IPL, this league also have the teams from the right areas, as Kerala and the North East always deserved its teams even in cricket. It is good to have more balanced distribution of teams here. Among the teams, I can easily declare my support to Kerala Blasters ownder by Sachin Tendulkar and from my home state. Let’s only hope that people would not resort to abuse, as it is what Sachin fans have been resorting to – hope they will respect the opposition this time rather than going in the path of that terrible Malayalam movie 1983 which called for the abuse of all who don’t support Sachin Tendulkar.

Leaving the immortal cricketer’s team behind with its large number of Keralite football fans, my next support will be for Atlético de Kolkata, in the name of Sourav Ganguly, the greatest left handed batsman and the best captain India has ever produced, and also for the beautiful city of Kolkata, and hope that they can win if Kerala Blasters can’t. They also have my favourite logo in the league. Then I give my support to NorthEast United FC, as I hope that the beautiful North East will have all the attention that it deserves with this team. May be John Abraham can bring it there, and the actor’s commitment social work have always been things worth cheering for.

John Abraham supporting football as usual (Pic from NorthEast United FB page)

John Abraham supporting football as usual (Pic from NorthEast United FB page)

I shall leave a little love for Goa too, and about the rest of the cities which have had an IPL team for more than one season, I would care less. I hope that one of those cities, states or collection of states which haven’t had much of IPL action with them, shall go on to win ISL. More over, I hope that it will trigger the much needed resurrection of football in India, as it will surely bring hope for the other neglected sports, and end the dictatorship and evil ways of cricket. May the two great men of cricket Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly bring it to soccer. I wish the league all success.

TeNy

Taker of Nostalgia

Among the large number of the superstars, the celebrities and the sportsmen who graced my childhood world, I wouldn’t consider anyone bigger than that one man who was part of the daily trump card games. It was one of those more precious cards to have to secure a win, as the Undertaker had a very good rank which was usually between one and three, and a good number of fights fought, won as well as a height which was huge and good weight, biceps and chest, the elements needed to win the trump card game. This man, originally Mark William Calaway, has been a legend and a sure wrestler in the WWE Hall of Fame soon.

There were just Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart Hitman around him in the rankings, and when I managed to buy a few cards again, it was The Rock and Tripe H around him – somethings never change, and there was always the Undertaker, between Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg or whoever came around. He was the man who had something for us kids, even as he was considered more of a man of the dark side with the avatar that he had chosen. Standing at 6 feet 10, weighing over 300 pounds, this man was always there, defining sports entertainment like nobody else.

He was the dead man walking, coming to the ring with an entrance which would make most of the undead rise from their graves and clap their hands. Even at a time when the effects were not that developed, he did manage to keep the scare tactics alive. There was always Paul Bearer and his urn which had his powers. He used to rise all of a sudden when everyone thought he was finished. He was a master entertainer, like nobody else. We loved his chokeslams, tombstone piledriver and the last ride, the finishing moves which remains in the minds of the fans forever.

My last collection of WWE trump cards, should be about ten years old.

My last collection of WWE trump cards, should be about ten years old.

We can remember those Casket Matches, Last Ride Matches and Buried Alive Matches, and that long presence in Hell in a Cell Matches. We loved him with his half-brother Kane as they became the Brothers of Destruction. Two chokeslams or two tombstone piledrivers at a time, and that is one great fest. Then when they fought against each other, there were sparks flying. I can remember not many things in WWE being any better. Then they had to make him face Brock Lesnar who was to disappear after that match, why?

When he was defeated at WrestleMania XXX, and his great undefeated streak came to an end, undoubtedly due to some bad writing, my world had clearly changed and I realized that it was the time to decrease my interest in WWE, as even IPL seems to be coming up with better scripts. WWE’s two main stars were John Cena and Daniel Bryan, both of them of no significance to me, and the upcoming ones like Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are my least favourite characters. Kane is reduced to someone who is regularly beaten up, unable to chokeslam or beat the new faces; Triple H in a coat – what more can get worse for WWE?

One positive is Paige, the lady in black who has been gracing WWE for the last few months. This beauty surely has the power to unleash the beast by playing the monster with a certain amount of the inner demon unleashed. The Divas division surely has more scope these days. The same can’t be said about the men’s division though. Unless Kane becomes the real monster that he used to be, and fill the void that has been left by the Undertaker, plus Triple H decides to get into the ring as cerebral assassin fighter, there is not much ahead for WWE.

The Undertaker, the legend, the most memorable performer  of WWE (Photo from wiki)

The Undertaker, the legend, the most memorable performer of WWE (Photo from wiki)

I am fed up seeing the whole thing repeat again and again with no real change. These new wrestlers are rather too predictable and weaker stars combined with even weaker storyline is bringing doom. There comes the emptiness that one feels when the Undertaker is not there, and the realization that he has become old and won’t be the same again; he was already just restricted to being a small presence in WWE. I will surely miss the Undertaker, and I guess the only way to bring him back with immediate effect is to play WWE RAW, the old PC game again, but then it had the Undertaker in his American Bad-ass biker version, not the one I admire.

TeNy.