It’s the last grand slam for the year, and all the tennis stars (save for a few names) are in Flushing Meadows in New York to battle it out and win the crown. The usual pre-tournament predictions are already out, and most of the commentators and observers are pointing to a win by Serena Williams. They all love the comeback story of Williams who was sidelined for many months and now has returned to form and competition. On the men’s side, also the overwhelming favorite is Serbian Novak Djokovic who is having an incredible season and has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year. He also won a number of Masters Shield this year at the expense of former world number one, Rafael Nadal.
It’s a tough field right now, and it will not be easy for Williams and Djokovic to win the crown. Rafael Nadal will not allow Djokovic to have an easy time in winning his 3rd grand slam of the year, and of course there’s Roger Federer who has his own streak to preserve heading to the US Open. On the women’s side, again I am pinning my hopes on Maria Sharapova who is having her own ‘mini’ comeback story but not as compelling as that of Williams. Let the games begin, and thanks to Star Sports for showing some of the matches!
I may not be a big fan of Roger Federer, but I say Happy Birthday to the world’s greatest tennis player of today. Without Roger Federer, the dominance and the achievements of my personal favorite may not be as compelling as it is right now. When I started watching and following tennis, it was the time of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. And what followed is the dominance of Federer, and prevented other upstarts like Hewitt, Safin and Roddick from achieving their own dream of dominance. The record number of grand slam owned by Federer is still standing and will stand for many more years. The Swiss ‘maestro’ as he is called has collected 16 grand slams, 5 clear of the next record by an active player, Rafael Nadal. Other noteworthy achievements of this player include 285 weeks at number 1, 67 titles under his belt and $63,653,278.00 in prize money.
Federer is still active and currently ranked at Number 3 and the titles no longer come consistently but make no mistake about it. This is still Federer, and at 30 he still competes at a very high level even better than 99 percent of the guys in the circuit. To Roger Federer, happy birthday and you may have many more titles to win!
This should serve as the first true test if indeed Novak Djokovic will be the next number 1. If he defeats Rafa Nadal on clay, on his favorite surface in the finals ofMadrid then count me in in expecting that the Serbian star will be the next number 1 player. There are a number of sub-plots at work here, after Rafa Nadal defeated Roger Federer in the semi-finals, and Djokovic defeated an upstart in the other semifinal match. One such story line is the debate on how ready is Djokovic to wrest the number 1 spot from Nadal. Another story line is the winning streak of the two players; Djokovic’s commanding 33-match winning streak and Rafa Nadal’s 37 match winning streak on clay. Now who will be the strongest person, and wins the title this weekend? I am excited for this match; two of the current best players in the circuit will slug it out once again, and many things are on the line. And yes, Rafa Nadal has more to lose on this match. Djokovic is riding high on his history-setting momentum. But will Rafa simply roll and give the match? I expect Rafa to play grinding tennis on clay once again, and I believe that Rafa Nadal will win in three sets. If not, it will be a sad and un-inspiring week for me. Vamos, Rafa!
Just an update: Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal to remain undefeated this year. This is an important victory for Djokovic considering the fact that this was played on clay and in Madrid! This was certainly a big letdown and disappointment to Rafa Nadal and his camp, but in a statement Rafa said that he was just overpowered by the more stronger player this year. With the win, Djokovic gains momentum for this year’s French Open. And I must say, he is the favorite, and he could end up as ATP’s number 1 player soon.
What I learned this week: It’s now a race between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic; Roger Federer is showing his age; Andy Murray will continue to be a under-performer and Andy Roddick is done.