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Roger Federer (Left) and Rafael Nadal (Right) had a wonderful year 2010

Article first published as Tennis 2010: Year of Nadal and Federer on Technorati.

The year 2010 in tennis marked yet another year of domination from the two modern greats of tennis Nadal and Federer. Federer began the year by winning the Australian open but Nadal aced the rest of the Grand Slams this year to become only 7th man in the history to win a career grand slam. The year ended with these two stalwarts competing again with each other and rightly so, in the London Masters where Federer got one up on Nadal at the end of the year setting up an exciting 2011.

Even though these two giants have dominated the Grand Slams, there have been others who have made giant strides. The biggest achievers of the year have been Robin Soderling, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Novak Djokovic has yet again finished as the number 3 player in the world just behind Nadal and Federer for the fourth straight year and has had a great 2010. Even though he hasn’t managed to win a major slam this year he has been brilliant as he led his team Serbia to Davis Cup glory. He played some of the greatest games in the US Open this year where he took out Roger Federer in a 5 set marathon in the semis, only to lose to Nadal in the finals. He for sure would want to do better in 2011 and hope that he can break in to the top 2 at the end of next year.

The other player who had a wonderful year is Andy Murray. After Tim Henman, Murray took over the expectations of his nation in a bid to become the first British player to win a slam in 64 years. Even though he came pretty close in the Australian Open 2010 when he reached the finals only to be denied by Roger Federer at the summit clash. He though had a fantastic year as he became just the 5th player to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same tournament as he went on to clinch the Toronto Masters. Murray also reached the Wimbledon semis for the second straight year and has finished the year at number 4 yet again for the 3rd year in a row. Even though Andy Murray has to wait little longer to become the first male player to win a Grand Slam from Great Britain, no one can deny that he has had a great year personally as a player and would for sure be looking forward for a better 2011.

The final player who has had a brilliant 2010 has been Robin Soderling. Even though the year began on a low for Robin losing in the first round of Australian open, the Swede quickly brushed aside his indifferent start to have another great year. Soderling became a giant killer in French open where he ousted Roger Federer in Quarters, only to lose to Nadal in the finals. He had a brilliant Wimbledon too as he made the quarters there for the first time and reached the US Open Quarters for the second straight year. Him following up on a brilliant 2009 meant that he ended the year at number 5 in the rankings.

Even though men’s tennis this year had some standout performances, no one can deny that this year yet again belonged to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The two greats are not letting up yet and the challengers have to still raise their games to upset these champions. But with Djokovic, Soderling and Murray close on heals 2011 promises to be an interesting year in men’s tennis. Will one of these three be able to kick one of the Grand Slams from Nadal and Federer? We have to wait and watch. Till then lets revel in the success of the these two tennis superstars who have taken the word rivalry to a new level.

Federer exults after his brilliant win against Nadal at the London Masters

The London Masters singles final was a cracking one. It was yet again between Federer and Nadal, a rivalry which has already become a part of tennis folklore. The players did not disappoint. Federer and Nadal have played their share of great games in the past and this was as exciting as any of them. Federer won the first set 6-3 and Nadal came back in the second with a 6-3 win himself.

This is where it required one of them to up their game in the third set to grab the initiative and Federer was the one who did it this time. Roger was brilliant in the third set and I am sure that this was one of the best he has ever played against Nadal. The third set saw Fed playing risk free game and hitting winners with precision. It seemed as though Nadal was getting a little frustrated and errors started creeping into this game. Nadal started missing some of his trademark forehands and Fed was just unrelenting.

The third set was comfortably won by Federer with a score line of 6-1. This would have been one of the sweetest wins for the champion as he hasn’t had a great time in the finals against his nemesis Nadal. For Nadal though this was a rare loss against Federer, he hasn’t lost that many against him in the recent past. Probably this was the spark Federer was looking for to have one last hurrah before he retires. So people, look forward to another fantastic year for the champion, Could he push towards 20 Grand Slams? Let’s wait and see. Anyways another brilliant match between these two great players and yet another special win for Fed.

Fed-Ex still has lot of tennis left in him

Roger Federer burst on to the scene when he ousted defending champion Pete Sampras from 2001 Wimbledon championship in the 4th round. The 2001 championship is more known for the fairy tale journey of wild card entrant and 3 time finalist Goran Ivanisevic. Federer though did not make it beyond the quarters and lost in the very first round of the 2002 championship.

No one could have predicted at that time that this guy will become arguably the best player in the world. Federer won the Wimbledon 2003 by defeating Mark Philippoussis in the finals and what followed that victory was the stuff of legends. What struck me during that championship was the kind of ease with which Federer demolished his opponents. I remember Andy Roddick’s puzzled look in the semis when the champion kept passing him every time he played a great approach shot on his way to the net.

It was how Sampras in his prime used to play on grass. It is quite ironic that Federer who ended Sampras’s hold on Wimbledon will go on to break his Grand Slam record 8 years later. Federer was almost unbeatable for the next 3 years to come on all surfaces except for the clay, the only surface which Sampras was never able to master. Federer though had more success on that surface than Pete as his game was more suited to clay. But as far as the other Grand Slams go, there was only one winner until Nadal came on to the scene.

Nadal often met Federer in the French open finals and defeated him and reminded me of the South American players of the 90’s who were unbeatable on that surface. Nadal began that way, great on clay but could not translate that success to the other surfaces. But the only player who could challenge the domination of Federer during his prime was Nadal. The guy improved leaps and bounds on other surfaces and proved to be more than handful for the champion to put him away. Nadal actually dominates Federer in the Grand Slam finals and holds a proud 5-2 winning record against the champion.

In the last few years though Federer has lost the consistency in his game and lot more errors have started creeping in. Lot more players are now able to defeat him who had no chance of getting close 3 years back. Age might also be a factor as he is not quick around the court as he used to be. He is though still one of the top players in the world ranked second just behind his long time nemesis Rafael Nadal. 2009 probably was the greatest year for Fed as he was able to win the French Open for the first time, the frontier which Sampras was never able to breach. He also passed Sampras’s world record Grand Slam tally in 2009.

It’s hard to call Fed out of form as he has won at least one slam every year since his first in 2003. He is still an amazing player but the old spark is missing. As a great fan of his, I just hope that he has one final hurrah at the top. When Federer is in full flow, it is like poetry in motion. The smooth one handed back hand and power forehand is an amazing sight to his fans. He is probably one of the most graceful tennis players in the history of the game.

Federer still has few more years left in him, which will give him the opportunity to repair his record against Nadal and also a chance to push his Grand Slam tally to 20. He has just added another ATP title to his kitty by winning in Stockholm and thereby equaling Sampras’s record of most singles titles of 64.

Sampras bowed out of the game with a brilliant win in the US Open in front of his home crowd and I hope that Federer to can end his carrier on a winning note and also as the number one player in the world. I guess he deserves that. He is one of nicest guy on the court and humblest off it.

Ajeesh enjoys most viewership on my blog

I started blogging about 5 years back but not until I started writing about Airtel Super singer and Ajeesh did my blog receive overwhelming viewership. During my initial days of blogging my views were limited to sports and occasional write-ups about movies but when I started watching Airtel Super Singer in 2008 I decided to write about the same.

Only when I started posting my views on the show I realized that I was not the only one who loved Airtel Super Singer. It’s amazing to see the kind of fan following Ajeesh enjoys after his victory in Airtel super singer 2008. Even after one year since his victory, Ajeesh still enjoys the most viewership on my blog. Any posts related to Ajeesh still enjoy most comments and most views on my blog which is quite extraordinary. His first song in the movie Goa seems to have had a brilliant response by his fans.

I write about Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer, Rajinikanth etc, but none of them receive the same sort of response on my blog as Ajeesh does. I wish Ajeesh who happens to be my favorite as well a very bright future.

Del Potro stunned Roger Federer to win the US Open

Del Potro stunned Roger Federer to win the US Open

Since there have been quite a few happenings in the sports world in the past week, I thought I can club all of those into one post.

Tennis – Del Porto stuns Federer, Leander does it again in doubles

The last grand slam of the year concluded yesterday when Juan Martin Del Potro stunned one and all by winning the championship. Del Potro made it to the finals after a strong win against Nadal in the semi-final but was not given too much of a chance against the world #1 Federer. The match began in the familiar fashion as Fed won the first set 6-3. But Del Potro was not the one to give up. The second set went into a tie break which the Argentinean took 7-5 to win the second set 7-6.

The third set went to Fed again with a break 6-4 and the fourth to Del Potro 7-6 (7-4) again in a tie break. This was a classic game and Del Potro for sure did not make it easy for the champion. Federer was chasing history again here at the US Open as he was trying to win his 6th consecutive title. The final set though was a bit of an anti-climax as Del Potro won it 6-2 to claim the title. This was his first grand slam victory and what a win it was beating both Federer and Nadal in consecutive games. For Federer though this was a great year, reaching four finals and winning two and losing two classic games in Australian and US. Congrats to Del Potro on winning his maiden title and hope he builds up on his win.

Kim Clijsters claimed the Women's crown on her comeback

Kim Clijsters claimed the Women's crown on her comeback

In the women’s section there was a surprise winner too. Kim Clijsters returning after two year hiatus from the game played brilliantly to win the US Open by beating C. Wozniacki who played her first finals. Clijsters who was a wild card in this year’s championship won the title after beating Serena Williams in the controversial semi-final game on Saturday. Congrats to Kim Clijsters on a brilliant return and also winning the title against all odds.

Leander and Doulghy won the Men's doubles title

Leander and Doulghy won the Men's doubles title

For India though this year’s open began very promisingly with Somdev and Sania reaching second round in singles. Even though they lost in the second round, it was a good performance from both of them in singles. Leander and Mahesh again carried the Indian hopes for a grand slam title and they did not disappoint. Leander reached the finals of both Mixed and Men’s doubles and Mahesh reached the Men’s doubles finals. Leander lost the mixed finals but played brilliantly with Dloughy to win the Men’s doubles finals beating the combination of Mahesh and Knowles. It was a fantastic game which went to the third set before Paes/Dloughy combination won 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to claim the title.

This was the second title of the year for the combination as they had won the French earlier this year. Yuki Bhambri the world number 1 junior player from India though suffered an upset losing in the quarters of the junior championship. He is just 17 and I hope that he becomes a good player for India in the future.

Cricket – India win the Compaq cup, England struggling in the ODI series

Victorious Indian team with the Compaq Cup

Victorious Indian team with the Compaq Cup

India finally won a title in SL after 12 years and this was a great performance from Dhoni’s men. India stuttered their way to the title as drop catches and misfields marked their efforts in the field. India was thrashed by SL in the previous game on the same ground so a quick turnaround was needed for the visitors. Dhoni started on the right note when he called right at the toss. India batted first with Dravid and Sachin opening the innings. Dinesh Karthik was replaced by Virat Kohli for this all important finals.

Sachin and Dravid laid the foundation with a solid 95 run partnership with Sachin looking in sublime touch. Sachin later shared important partnerships with Dhoni (56) and Yuvraj (56*) on his way to yet another brilliant hundred. When he departed after scoring 138 (133) India were already on 276. With some late hitting from Yuvraj India posted an imposing 319/5 in their 50 overs.

SL started their innings with their typical flourish with Jayasuriya and Dilshan helped by some mediocre bowling by Indian pacers. The fielding also was at an all time low as the Indians constantly misfielded and it became worse when Kohli dropped Jayasuriya of the bowling of RP Singh. Even though with the introduction of the spinners India pulled things back with 3 quick wickets, the fielding did not improve much. Raina and Yuvraj bowled brilliantly in the middle overs to keep the host batsmen in check picking up a wicket each for their efforts.

The pacers though were very inconsistent, leaking runs at will to keep the SL batsmen in the hunt. It was hard to believe that the Indian batsmen folded for 168 on the same ground just a day back. But eventually SL batsmen ran out of steam when Bajji returned for his final spell and lost the game by 46 runs. Overall it was a good performance by the team but could have been better with some tight fielding. This win should give them confidence for the upcoming champions trophy in SA. Hope they rectify their mistakes and do well in the CT. Congrats to Dhoni and his men on yet another series win.

England on the other hand have been struggling against a below par Aussie line up. After winning the Ashes 2-1, they are down 4-0 against the Aussies in the ODI series. Andrew Strauss would like to restore some pride by winning couple of games at least but in the current scenario it looks like a 7-0 whitewash to the Aussies which has never been achieved before.

Federer exults after his record breaking 15th title win

Federer exults after his record breaking 15th title win

Roger Federer overtook Pete Sampras’s record of 14 grand slam titles with an epic win against Andy Roddick yesterday. It was a brilliant game with lots of twists and turns and eventually Federer sealed the deal in the fifth set with a 16-14 victory. This was a great match and for the second straight year Wimbledon has seen a wonderful game in the finals. This was Roddick’s third loss to Federer in Wimbledon Finals and I really felt sorry for the guy. He is a great induvidual and surely deserves to win the championship.

It was a brilliant performance by Roddick and he will be reflecting upon the missed opportunities during the course of the match yesterday. In the second set he had 4 set points in the tie break and also was having a double break on Federer’s serve in the fifth set. Both the times Federer was able to claw his way back. I feel sorry for Roddick though as against any other player he would have won comfortably with the way he played yesterday. Let’s just say that Federer was just marginally better than the American yesterday.

For Federer though it has been a brilliant year so far. He won the elusive French Open crown just a month ago followed by the Wimbledon to claim the world record. Federer won the title yesterday in front of former greats Sampras, Borg, and Rod Laver sitting in the member’s stand. It was a great day for a wonderful champion and hope he wins many more titles.

The women’s title once again went to one of the Williams sisters and this time it was Serena. It was a good performance from her as she fought of a brave Dementiava in the Semi-Finals. All in all it was a brilliant tournament and Congrats again to Federer for his 15th Grand Slam title.

Federer with the French Open trophy after his brilliant win on Sunday

Federer with the French Open trophy after his brilliant win on Sunday

It was one of the greatest days in the Tennis history when Roger Federer won the French Open title beating Soderling yesterday. This was the fourth successive finals for Roger in Roland Garros and it proved fourth time lucky for him. It was a brilliant performance and he really worked hard for this title.

When Nadal lost against Soderling in the fourth round the pressure on Roger doubled as now he was expected to win the title. He had couple of tough matches where he had to come from behind to reach the finals. Federer was emotional and graceful while accepting the trophy from Andre Agassi (The last player to win a career Grand Slam). His fluency in French was amazing as he did not require a translator to address the audience (An English translator would have been helpful though).

A fantastic player and a great ambassador for the sport, Roger Federer for me has put to rest the debate of him being the greatest of all time. Federer might have just won the French open but he also has played in three finals and one semi-final before this. Federer also equaled Pete Sampras’s record of 14 grand slam titles and also went on to complete a career Grand Slam which Sampras was never able to achieve.

Congratulations to the greatest champion all time and best of luck for him in the Wimbledon.

Roger Federer ended a dissapointing year in Grand Slams on a high note by winning the USOpen title for the fifth straight time. After he lost both the French and Wimbledon finals to Nadal the critics had written him off in spite of him being the defending champion at the open. Federer silenced his critics in the best possible way by winning the championship and thereby becoming the first player to win two separate grandslams 5 times in a row. In my previous article I had mentioned that being not in the focus might actually help Federer which turned out to be true.

There is a saying in cricket that “Form is temporary but class is permanent” which is true in any sport. Its true that Federer is no longer the dominant force he used to be a year ago but is still a great player. I have no doubt that he will break Sampras’s record to become the player with most grand slam titles by the end of 2009. If he can add a French crown to his already impressive resume he will be the greatest player in the history of the game.

I hope that year 2009 brings more success to this great cham

US Open is nearing its completion and for the first time in 5 years Federer is not the favorite to win this championship. Federer has lost to Nadal in two grand slam finals this year which included his shock defeat in Wimbledon. Federer who has won US Open 4 times before this and is the defending champion this year finds himself not in the headlines for the first time. Djokovic defeating him in the Australian and Nadal defeating him French and Wimbledon has given the others the confidence that they can also beat him.

This might actually work to Federer’s advantage as the focus this time is shifted to Nadal and he is the number one player this tournament. Federer this time has less pressure as people have realised that he can be beaten. Even though the champion himself would want to shrug off the bad performances this year in the Grand slam finals to win his 13th.

I am an ardent fan of Roger Federer and I am sure that he will make a grand comeback. The great champion that he is will surely want to end this year on a high note. This will be first year since he won the wimbledon in 2003 that he will end with out a major title if he doesnt win US open. I am sure that Federer will continue to win more slams and break Sampras’s record and once again become the number one player in the world.

Good luck to Federer as he will be playing his quarterfinals match against G.Muller later today.

Roger Federer with the USOpen trophy

Roger Federer with the USOpen trophy

Roger Federer ended a dissapointing year in Grand Slams on a high note by winning the USOpen title for the fifth straight time. After he lost both the French and Wimbledon finals to Nadal the critics had written him off in spite of him being the defending champion at the open. Federer silenced his critics in the best possible way by winning the championship and thereby becoming the first player to win two separate grandslams 5 times in a row. In my previous article I had mentioned that being not in the focus might actually help Federer which turned out to be true.

There is a saying in cricket that “Form is temporary but class is permanent” which is true in any sport. Its true that Federer is no longer the dominant force he used to be a year ago but is still a great player. I have no doubt that he will break Sampras’s record to become the player with most grand slam titles by the end of 2009. If he can add a French crown to his already impressive resume he will be the greatest player in the history of the game.

I hope that year 2009 brings more success to this great champion.


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