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.

djoko

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.

federer!

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

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