Roger Federer arguably is the greatest tennis player to have graced the tennis court only behind Rod Laver. He has the record for most grand slam titles was at the top of the rankings for a record 302 weeks. But like every great athlete, age has caught up with Roger and at 32 he isn’t getting any younger. Roger is his entering 17th year as a pro and he has really struggled with performances in the last couple of years.
Since his win in 2012 Wimbledon, Roger hasn’t won a grand slam. 2013 was probably the worst year for the champion where he clearly struggled with his game and did not make single grand slam finals. He has struggled to compete with rest of the members of the elite group, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. In 2013 Roger for the first time in a long time dropped out of top 4 in the rankings and is seeded 6th in the current Australian Open.
But rankings don’t really matter for the genius that is Roger. We all know what a great champion Roger is and the great man will be hoping for a good 2014. The Australian open will give us an insight about how Roger is shaping up for the rest of the year. In a way this year might even decide as to how long the champion will continue playing tennis. Roger has been a great champion and for sure deserves a great farewell. With enormous competition and with the age catching up, Roger has already cut back on the tournaments he plays. It will not be long before he decides to call it a day. For a diehard fan like me, it will be great to see the champion lift one more trophy. It is not going to be easy but the great man might just have enough left in his tank to pull one through.
Roger Federer is a great champion and he has comfortably brushed aside James Duckworth in the first round of Australian Open 2014. He has it in him to bounce back from the disappointment of 2013. His reflexes might have slowed down but he still has the skills and mental strength which has made him a great champion. I hope that he has a great tournament and also a great year ahead in 2014.
Djokovic once again proved why he is the number 1 player in the world. He came through in a cliffhanger of a game against Rafael Nadal in 5 sets. The game was a perfect ending for a great tournament in which the top 3 ruled the roost again. Nadal who played a brilliant match in the semis to knock out Roger Federer lost out in the finals to the brilliant Djokovic. Novak Djokovic who had a brilliant 2011 continued in the same vein by winning the first grand slam of the year.
The game itself was a see-saw ride for the fans. Nadal started well by winning the first set 7-5 but Djokovic came back to dominate the next two sets 6-4, 6-2. At the end of the third set Nadal looked down and out but put in one last great effort to win the 4th in a tie breaker 7-6 to push the game into the 5th. Djokovic though held his nerve to clinch the final set 7-5 to win the match and the title.
It was a brilliant start for Djokovic in 2012 but for Nadal this was yet another loss to the Serbian in a grand slam. Nadal will now want to wait for his favorite surface at the Roland Garros for revenge if at all they face each other in the finals.
Leander’s Career slam:
Leander Paes finally won the Australian open to complete the career slam. This was the only title which was missing from his resume and he will be relieved that he finally got the monkey of his back. Leander and Stepanek were unseeded in this tournament and were brilliant in the finals. The Bryan brothers were chasing their 12 doubles title which would have given them the record currently held by the woodies and it was understandable that only a special effort from their opponent can deny them the prize. Leander and Stepanek were absolutely brilliant in the finals and provided no opening for the number 1 pair in both the sets.
The Paes/Stepanek pair had defeated the number 2 and number 3 seeds on their way to the finals which would for sure have given them a huge boost. It was a great tournament for Leander and he deserves the career slam. It would have been particularly sweet win for him as he had lost to the Bryan brothers at least 3 times in the finals of the Australian open in the past. Kudos to the Indian legend and I hope that he wins more titles this year and continues to succeed at the world level.
Overall it was a great open and the weather was fantastic throughout. The men’s tennis once again proved the domination of the top 3 as they ended up in the Semis once again. Roger, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the slams over the past year or so and it will be great to see others stepping up in the remaining 3 slams in 2012.
The seeding chart for Wimbledon 2011 was announced couple of days back. Nadal has been seeded number 1 for the tournament followed by Djokovic at number two and Roger Federer at 3. Andy Murray and Robin Soderling complete the top 5.
As usual as it has been the case over the past couple of years, the top 3 seeds will be in focus again. Federer who has won this championship 6 times till now will be one of the favorites. Rafael Nadal is the current defending champion will be the man to beat. Nadal who did not look in great touch during his recent French campaign was still able to win the championship. This says a lot about his skill and determination.
Novak Djokovic is seeded 2 this time and for sure is another favorite to win the championship. Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year and had an unbeaten run in 2011 until he ran into a determined Roger Federer in French Open Semis.
In spite of Andy Murray and Soderling having a fair shot at reaching the final stages of the championship, it is very hard to look past the top three as the eventual winners.
Roger Federer reaching the French Open finals against all odd should give him much needed confidence on his favorite surface. Nadal and Djokovic have so far had a great year and have been rightly seeded at the top for their efforts. This is going to be a great championship after a long time. We haven’t had three contenders for the title since Federer won the title in 2003.
The men’s competition is for sure going to be a blast. I am for sure rooting for Roger and I hope that he wins the championship to re-establish his dominance on grass. Go Fedex!
So the French Open is in its final week and the top 5 have made the Men’s quarter-finals. We are still on track for yet another Nadal-Djokovic showdown in the finals which will be 3rd in the last one month.
Djokovic, who is already in the Semis, courtesy a walkover from Fabio Fognini, will be awaiting the result of Roger Federer Vs Gael Monfils game with lots of interest. If Roger does come through that game, he will have to face up to Djokovic in the semis, which again throws up a great contest.
The other quarter-final which will be interesting is the game between Robin Soderling Vs Rafael Nadal.
Nadal himself will admit that he has not had a great tournament by his own standards. He barely scraped through in couple of earlier round games and hasn’t looked completely convincing reaching the quarters.
Robin who has been playing exceedingly well over the past couple of years will not be an easy opponent to face in the quarters. Nadal faces the prospect of meeting Andy Murray in the semis if he does get through the quarters.
The Semi-Final lineup looks incredibly exciting if the things go according to the script. We might have a Federer Vs Djokovic and Nadal Vs Murray Semis which will be a dream come true for the fans.
Now the question is that whether Nadal and Djokovic will meet once again in the much anticipated clash or will Murray and Federer spoil the party to make the finals themselves? We will have to wait and see; hopefully we will see some exciting games in the coming days.
2011 promises to be a great year for tennis fans. With the emergence of Novak Djokovic, the stranglehold which Nadal and Federer had on world tennis has been lifted and to see a three way battle to supremacy is a great feeling. Even though the Serbian has had a brilliant year or so, I was skeptical if he would be able to dominate Nadal on clay, which has been his fortress for a long time now. Rafael Nadal who is still the world number 1 has been unbeatable on clay in the past and even the great Federer was unable to get past him in his prime.
With the French Open just a month away the clay court season has already begun. When Djokovic defeated Nadal in the finals of Madrid open, he proved to the world that he can be a handful on clay too. It was a big setback for Nadal as the surface has been like a fortress for the champion over the years and he is expected to do well on the same. This win has once again reiterated the fact that Djokovic is now ready to take over the mantle of the best player in the world. A win on clay has also proven that the guy can not only play on any surface but can dominate too. With this win Djokovic is just within a touching distance of the world number 1 ranking. If he can win the title in Rome (his 7th consecutive title if he does) he will dethrone Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings.
Men’s tennis has once again become interesting, with the emergence of Djokovic, Murray and Soderling. It’s now not just a Federer and Nadal show as it was couple of years back. I congratulate Novak Djokovic on a brilliant start to the year 2011 and I hope that he gets the number 1 ranking which he very much deserves.
Leander and Mahesh won their 24th tour title and their 5th at Chennai this weekend
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won the Chennai open for the fifth time as it marked a perfect reunion for the two great Indians. The pair prevailed over the young pair of Robin Haase and David Martin in a tense 3 setter. This was their 24th title together and something which all the Indian tennis fans have been waiting for. The Chennai open started disastrously for the Indian contingent as Somdev, Bopanna and Yuki all wild card entrants had lost in the first round in the singles. But the doubles title was really a sweet end to the tournament for the Chennai crowd.
The great news is that Leander and Mahesh or Lee-Hesh as they are lovingly called by their fans have decided to play in the Australian open together in an attempt to win their 4th Grand Slam title together. It was yet another special win for the Indian pair and I hope they get few more before the end of the year. Congrats to Leander and Mahesh for an excellent victory.
Elsewhere it was business as usual for the Champion Roger Federer as he defeated Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets to capture his 67th tour title at Doha this weekend. This was an ideal preparation for the champion for his defense of the Australian open later this month. Roger finished 2010 in style when he defeated Nadal in the London Masters final and has began the year 2011 brilliantly by capturing the Doha title. Robin Soderling was another winner this weekend at Brisbane, Australia as he defeated American Andy Roddick to claim his 7th tour title. This is a brilliant beginning for the Swede who ended the year 2010 at number 5 in the rankings. The win has enabled him to reach his career high ranking of No.4 again. He will try to put up a great show in the upcoming Australian open where he was ousted in the first round last year.
Things returned to normal as Roger Federer won yet another grand slam title this Sunday to start the year 2010 on a high note. He defeated Andy Murray in straight sets to claim the title. It was yet another defeat for the Brit against Roger and he would be really disappointed with the result.
For Federer though this victory would be sweet and he extended his grand slam record to 16 wins. It’s amazing that people say that the champ is on a decline as he has won 3 slams in the past year. If this is called a decline then most current players would want to be on one.
In the last couple of years Federer has seemed to have lost the aura of invincibility and the command on the court with which he had dismantled the best with clinical precision. When Federer was left crying after his loss to Nadal in the 2009 Australian open lots of experts were quick to jump on the “Federer has lost it” bandwagon. Even though for the entire 2009, Federer seemed to have been struggling with his game the fighter in him came to the fore.
The elusive French open title followed by the Wimbledon last year indeed made the year unforgettable for the champion. During the course of which Roger upstaged another great Champion Pete Sampras when he overtook the latter’s tally of 14 titles during his Wimbledon victory. The brilliant year though ended with a disappointing loss in the US Open to Del Potro in an epic five setter.
In spite of that heart breaking loss I would say that Federer achieved his dream of winning the French open which remained elusive to Pete throughout his career. The 2010 though seems to have begun in the right earnest for the champion. He seems to have gotten back his form and confidence as he was largely untroubled on his way to the title. Seems like good times are back for the Federer’s fans and I hope that he goes on to win more titles this year and continues to scale more peaks.