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!
It’s that time of the year when tennis fans, writers and armchair pundits get into the groove and talk about the most romanticized tennis championships. It’s time for Wimbledon! This year is no different; the usual scribes are talking about the chances of one Andy Murray of winning the crown. They say that Murray had the best clay court season of his career by taking a set off Rafa Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters. So he is primed to win the crown, so they say. And then there’s the perennial favorite Roger Federer. He is considered by many as the player most likely to win the crown. This could be true, given the fact that the bulk of his grand slams were earned on the grass courts of London. Some writers are saying that Federer is on it again considering he had a confidence boost thanks to his performance during the clay season.
Former number ones Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg thought that this is Federer’s time once again. Let’s see how this event unfolds, and methinks that this one is an exciting Wimbledon. This is the reason why I need to contact my cable operator, pronto. I need to watch the drama and see how far the top seeds can go. On a personal note, I see the winner as among the Top 4. Outside the Top 4, the other players have zero to negative chances of winning the championships. Oh yes, I’m rooting for Rafa Nadal. Following the logic of some scribes that Murray and Federer will win the crown owing to their explosive performance during the clay season, Rafa Nadal will win it BECAUSE HE WON ROLAND GARROS, no? But let’s wait and see. What we can be sure of is the fact that this is one heated Wimbledon ever!
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.
There are some constants that have developed in tennis for the past few years. Roger Federer and his amazing successive appearances in semi-finals of major tournaments, Andy Murray’s regular failures in major tournaments, Andy Roddick’s continuous failure to get out of that ‘one-slam’ wonder and Rafa Nadal‘s consistent dominance on clay. And this time of the year is clay time, and tennis fans know this- this is the time when Rafa Nadal takes center stage. And Nadal never failed again this year as he showed to the rest of the field why he is called the ‘King of Clay’ or perhaps the ‘greatest clay court player of all time’. To start his campaign, he won Monte Carlo Masters for the 7th time. Now talk about dominance of one player in one single tournament! He defeated David Ferrer in the finals, and though Rafa Nadal did not bring his A-game to the match, still he came out the victor. This was again repeated in the Barcelona where Nadal again won the tournament. What I am waiting for is the French Open. Will Rafa Nadal win this year’s edition of the Roland Garros? This year’s edition will be interesting since we will know the answer if indeed Novak Djokovic is for real; is he really a threat to Rafa Nadal? Other rivals to look out for include Robin Soderling and Del Potro who is making waves now in Estoril. Even with a resurgent Djokovic in the thick of the fight, I am counting on Rafa Nadal to win it all.
As always it comes with age, and Roger Federer is no exception. This year, Roger Federer will continue his slow fall from top form and by January the Top 2 rankings will be beyond his reach. Just imagine, the usual Roger Federer who can easily meet the challenge of Novak Djokovic cannot muster the same old brilliance. The result? Djokovic found a new whipping boy in Federer, which was impossible to think a year ago. But here we are, Federer exiting 3x in major tournaments in the hands of the new Serbian star. Imagine, even the great Martina Navratilova has a thing to say about the decline of Federer in the game. I say ‘amen’ and yes, Roger Federer will no longer reclaim the number 1 spot.
Remember the time when Rafa Nadal was the face of Kia a few years back? I know I blogged about that during my stint at my former company. Now for 2011, Rafa Nadal was once again named as Kia’s Brand Ambassador. Nadal was chosen together with Australian Open 2011 Champion Kim Clijsters.
In a statement that was made by the company which I sourced on this site, it seems that the moves of the company of getting stars like Rafa and Kim worked, at least financially. The yearly support of the company for the Australian Open and other events and its choice of ambassadors like Rafa Nadal helped in pushing for the bottomline of the company. According to the Korean automaker, its PR moves generated an estimated income worth $700 million. Now this is something to brag about, no? For its campaign last Australian Open, logos of Kia were flashed on screen and were seen by a billion people from more than 160 countries. It further said that this was an increase of 16 percent from last year. Logos of the company are often seen in nets, fences and bilboards. The nice thing about Kia is that it shows support for tennis. Unlike other companies, Kia has chosen tennis as its main focus sports. As part of its efforts to promote the brand, it handed out a fleet of 101 tournament vehicles, and it said that it has already provided 909 vehicles so far. Some of the vehicles issued include Carnival, Sorento, Sportage and Forte.
Roland Garros 2008 has ended. But I won’t let the clay season go silently without having my say on the said event. I’m a tennis fan as well and I would like to add some few things and some of my insights with regards to the recently-concluded grand slam event. Roland Garros or otherwise known as the French Open is considered as one of the four grand slams in tennis. This event is traditionally held over two weeks between mid-May and early June in Paris, France at the Stade Roland Garros. The event is the second grand slam in the tennis calendar following Australian Open, and also considered as the premier clay court event. This event is considered as the most physically-taxing tennis event in the world because of the slow playing surface and the five-set single matches. And for the fourth year running now, Rafael Nadal of Spain has emerged victorious. He was the champion here starting 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. This year he met Roger Federer once again in the finals. This is the third time that they’ve met in the Roland Garros finals. Rafael Nadal was considered as the favorite coming into the event and he won handily. He humiliated Federer in the finals 6-1 6-3 and 6-0. That one was considered as one of the most lopsided defeats in Roland Garros finals history, and one of Federer’s worst losses in finals history. Coming into the finals, both Federer and Rafa Nadal are seeking their own piece of history. For Federer, he wants to win the only grand slam that has eluded him all these years. If he can win the the event, then the win will ultimately solidify his hold of the title as the Greatest Player of All Time. And Rafa would match Bjorn Borg for four Roland Garros crowns. Alas, only one man’s dreams will be fullfilled. And that’s Rafa’s and Federer is left holding the empty bag, yet again on the center court of Roland Garros.
Peugeot is an active supporter and sponsor of the French Open. In fact, the auto manufacturer used the event to introduce some of its finest rides in the market. Last year, the car company used the stage of Roland Garros to unveil their 207 CC Roland Garros. This model from Peugeot is a yellow coupe and a convertible and uses the edition-specific badging, interior trim, color features such as the A/C and the navigation. The power for the convertible comes from the NA 1.6i 120-horsepower four cylinder engine that is co-developed with BMW and was used on the Mini Cooper as well.
Roger Federer, the World’s top ranked tennis player since 2004 has partnered with Mercedes-Benz China. The two camps have entered into a multi-year advertising and strategic marketing partnership. This isn’t the first time that a well-known tennis player has signed contracts with an auto manufacturer. In fact, Spain’s Rafael Nadal also partnered with Kia and Maria Sharapova partnered with Land Rover.As part of the deal, Federer is set to join ‘Swing for the Stars’ a Junior Tennis Development Program that was launched by Mercedes-Benz in cooperation with the China Tennis Association. Federer in a statement said;
It’s exciting to work with a top brand like Mercedes-Benz in China. I look forward to helping them grow their business while increasing the popularity of tennis in China.
The project of the Mercedes-Benz, the ‘Swing for the Stars’ Junior Development Program is designed to help improve the skills of junior players and the coaches’ teaching level, so that they may be developed and in the long run help the development of tennis in China in the future.
Federer just recently won his first title for the year in Estoril, a clay court event. He also participated at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monte Carlo, where he lost to Rafael Nadal 5-7 5-7. Federer and Nadal has been ranked number 1 and 2 for many months now.