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

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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

Immortals Among Men

We all need our gods. There is no other place where one can be more proud about the existence of God than India, which is indeed a great boost for my own spirituality and beliefs. We have cricket God, and not knowing him is a crime which can bring the religious fundamentalists to abuse, and a later stage of the same can give rise to the worst activities. That should be considered a terrible phenomenon denying someone the right to ignorance, but that story is different. Still, there was always the possiblity of gods in other forms of sports, and the same thing was recently discovered with the use of tennis God to refer to Roger Federer. Yes, it is about that impact that they bring, and despite not being omnipotent as one would expect from gods, they are always loved by people and the viewers always cheering for them.

Well, what is it about being a God? I wouldn’t use that word though, and I will choose to replace the same with the word Immortal. There are Immortals in every sport. We can write them off, and hope that they will go away, but they don’t. They fail to die and there is such clarity associated with the elixir of life which runs through their veins that digging a grave for them would only mean digging one for yourself. Some of the greatest players in the history are often resurrected. For the same, they actually have to die off. But in the case of Immortals, they were never gone and can’t ever disappear. Their game can fade, but not their class. Being a god needs omnipotence, but an Immortal doesn’t need that, and the lack of that quality makes him closer to humanity. We can have golden ducks and the scores of nineties, we can have first round exits and epic final losses, and it is how everything should work.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (From ATP World Tour Finals Website)

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (From ATP World Tour Finals Website)

Then there was yesterday night. I had witnessed dark clouds gathering on the sky in the evening, but they had soon chosen to wait and show allegiance to the clear sky that Wimbledon had in store, as enough thunder and lightning was actually at on the ground. An Immortal, one who is worth being called the greatest of them all, was taking on someone who was looking to have his place at Mount Olympus, establishing the D-throne. There was thunder and lightning being served, and quite a number of them caught the magic wand and returned on contact. The magic was in the air, and there were legends of other battles watching from outside, cheering for the greatness that awaited them at the arena of great champions, where Immortals have clashed with humans or even battled against their own kind searching an elevation of their status.

The human was rather the favourite, and he has been so for a long time. He was a man who proved to be able rise above the Immortals and seize his glory to become another one himself. The other demigod from the island had lost his weapon early. Meanwhile, another Immortal had been defeated too early, the one who possessed the power of a Minotaur had to bow out as he had tasted the best of humanity in a battle which shocked the world of both the immortals and the believers. It is the best thing about being a mortal, you can surprise people with your awesomeness, but for Immortals, that is not the case. Immortals are always expected to win, and even if they win against another Immortals, it is taken as granted. It is only by losing that they can bring the surprise factor.

The human was sure to get that win, before the final charge was ever to be possible, but the Immortal was never finished, and they never are unless they say it themselves. They are the masters of twists, and the threads of fate runs around their bones. But it had to finish in the final round, because the human was no longer mortal for he was near immortality, and was so much close to that fountain which sprinkled the elixir and he took that extra step to taste the stuff. He was a demigod there, not an immortal, but Djochilles the Great was a man who was better than all demigods, a step higher than them all, and one moment was always going to be enough for him – it was the moment when even the Immortal faltered, the age and the vision of a Ragnarok catching up on him, and in a reversal of what happened in the previous set, the demigod became the Immortal, and joined his two contemporaries at Olympus.

The Immortal causes of Roger Federer (From Roger Federer Foundation Page)

The Immortal causes of Roger Federer (From Roger Federer Foundation Page)

Congratulations, Novak Djokovic, the Wimbledon champion of 2014, and the new World No. 1 also becoming the only person other than Rafael Nadal to beat Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Final, the greatest stage of them all. He also ties the number of titles with Nadal. At the same time, Federer also proves why he is considered the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), with that wonderful performance which he came up with, even when he is turning 33, an age which is not kind to the Immortals of Tennis. He will always be the greatest among Immortals, and that “God” status will be readily available for him, for that 237 consecutive weeks of being World No. 1 is not of this world. He is not finished yet, and we are sure to see more of the immortality at the court.

TeNy.