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

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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

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