Skip to main content

Rafa all the way

This has been a phenomenal year for Rafael Nadal. Winning 3 Grand  Slams in a year was known to be Roger Federer's forte. Well, that surely has changed and it seems as though the roles have been reversed. This year Roger was down to one Slam and Rafa won the other three. For a die hard Federer fan which I am, it's hard to digest the fact that his ranking has slipped to the 3rd, that he has won just the Australian Open this year, that his phenomenal streak of reaching 23 consecutive Slam semis was broken, that he was beaten by Novak Djokovic (whom he has beat all the previous years) in this year's US Open semis. All this and more has happened this year. This year, one particular player, not named Roger Federer has dominated all the slams and most of the tour. This saddens me. But then, one can't help but admire the humility that Rafa shows, no matter how much I want to hate him for having displaced Roger from the pedestal and making it his own. For all the comparisons people make between him and Roger, for all the comments made about Rafa being or on the path to being the greatest ever in the history of tennis, he himself has never once said that he is the best. He, in all humility accepts the compliments, but still considers Roger the best ever, and when he says so, you have to believe it, as he says it with complete honesty. So then, how can a Federer fan not feel happy about Rafa winning the US Open.

Both Roger and Rafa play at such a high level and with such contrasting styles, that when they meet on Tennis' grandest arenas-the four Slams-it becomes the ultimate match, the one that shows how an ideal match ought to be played. These matches are a celebration of Tennis in their own right. Rafa plays every single point as if his life hangs by it, and that, even when he has already broken his opponent's serve once. That grit, that fight for every point is simply amazing. He will run, and run like hell, even if everyone can see that there's absolutely no way for him to reach it. A wise person would probably conserve his energy for longer rallies, for winners. But, not Rafa. You might call him stupid for doing that. But, it is this inherent naivety that brings him trophies.

Roger on the other hand plays every point with such grace, that one can't help but admire the beauty of his shots. This US Open again saw him playing his famous signature shot of last year, "the tweener". It seems as though tennis journalists have to come up with new words every year just to name Federer's shots. And then, to describe their beauty, they have to come up with some more. When Federer plays tennis, it is a visual treat difficult to describe in words.

Somehow, this year, they didn't reach the finals of the same slams and we missed the treat. Hopefully, we will get to watch a few Roger-Rafa slam finals with Roger winning a few next year. But, until then, kudos to Rafa for achieving so much while still so young. 


  1. Very well written! and a fitting picture to go with the article. How I wish more fans would see things in a right perspective.

  2. I am a die hard Nadal fan. I hate Federer religiously, (though I admit if anything can match Federer in beauty, it can only be Zidane in football and Laxman in cricket) being a die hard Sampras fan.

    It is interesting to note how Federer had to accept Nadal as a genuine challenge to his dominance. It took him 2008 to admit that Nadal is a challenge. Before 2010 US open, he was claiming Nadal can be considered as an all time great potential only if he wins in Flushing Meadows.

    Hopefully 2011 will bring new twists and turns in the Fedex-Rafa rivalry

  3. @ Devil's disciple: This year's World Tour Finals saw the finals played between Roger and Rafa. And, Roger posted a comprehensive victory against Rafa. Even though, it was not a Slam, it was a fitting reply to all the cynics out there who think Roger is done and can never compete at the highest level anymore. Can't wait for the Australian Open to begin. And yes, hopefully 2011 will bring new twists and turns in the Fedex-Rafa rivalry.

  4. True, Federer did not struggle for the win. But was not comprehensive either. Rafa did manage to win a set.

    Federer till recently did not have a coach. He was such a genius that he could rectify all the flaws in his game by himself. Let us see whether with a coach he makes a comeback in 2011.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Advocating for science

A country's expenditure on research and the attitudes of its citizens towards science and technology are one of the leading parameters of development of a country. India spends about 0.65 % of its GDP (world bank data for 2015) on research and development, a number that has not changed much in two decades. The Indian educational system too on the other hand does not help in creating scientific temperament. The education is mostly a means to secure a job, any job, however far removed it might be from the field you've studied. 
These issues are even more apparent when you interact with people not related to the field. There is a lack of curiosity about science even among educated people. In fact, some are also of the view that it is a waste of the taxpayer's money. They go so far as to complain about the fact that their tax money is being used to fund PhD scholarships of students in Indian institutions. This, when the government's own defense and space research related …

Can you ever question your belief in God?

Your religion is decided for you based on the family you're born into almost immediately after your birth. This is further reinforced during your childhood with the various customs and rituals that you're part of, each one involving prayers to a higher being. Then, it is no surprise that you get brainwashed into believing in God. After all, it is the biggest fantasy or myth that your parents and your community have indulged in and have made you a part of, so much so, that it becomes part of your identity. Later when you experience more of the world, learn more science, see more sense in logic than unfounded beliefs, you start to question the existence of God. You notice how the fallacy of the religious belief begs the question that if God created man, who created God? You probably have already imbibed so much of the belief both consciously and sub-consciously that any loss in this faith comes across to you as a desertion of your own identity. How then can you ever break away …

Nature gives us no choice...

The breaking news story in the world of sports right now is the one about Serena Williams announcing her pregnancy. And while this is probably good news, it is not something her fans look forward to. I'm sure it must have been a huge decision for her and something that she must be coming to terms with even now as I write this. The pregnancy means that Serena Williams, the best women's tennis player ever in the open era, who is still at her prime and has just won the Australian Open 2017 will now miss the rest of the season this year. How unfair is that! Why does she have to choose between being a mother and playing tennis when her male counterparts just go through parenthood with a breeze. They never ever have to sit out, never have to make such life changing decisions, never have to contemplate and plan their return to tennis after the birth of their child. 
It is just frustrating that the likes of Djokovic and Federer have been at their prime winning titles with fatherhood …