Saturday, September 4, 2010


Away from the depressing topic of corruption in cricket, I am today turning my attention to the US Open Grand Slam... the last tennis Grand Slam of the year.

Of the four Grand Slams played in tennis every year, US Open is my least favourite... simply because I live in a time zone that is not ideal if you want to follow every match at this big event! The live coverage of US Open begins at 8:30 pm each evening... and goes through the night to end at about 9:00 am the next morning. Since the best matches are played under lights during the second half of the day, they usually begin after 4:00 am in India.

But this has never stopped me from following the draws and the results at this Grand Slam. Being a Rafa fan, I am desperately hoping that he wins this title to complete his career Grand Slam. But if there's one thing that I want to see even more desperately, it is a Nadal v Federer final. These men have played in 7 Grand Slam finals... competing 30 sets with Nadal holding a 5-2 advantage over Federer.

Their Grand Slam finals showdowns are stuff of legends. Who can forget the brilliant 2008 Wimbledon finals that lasted four and three quarters of an hour interrupted by two rain delays! And then who can forget the 2009 Australian Open finals... just a few months later when Nadal consoled a sobbing Federer after defeating him in another 5-set marathon! Stuff of legends, indeed!

That Australian Open was their last meeting in a Grand Slam Final. Since then, they have met only twice... both times in the finals of Madrid Masters - Federer winning in 2009 and Nadal in 2010. The winner of Madrid Masters in both these years went on to sweep the French Open and Wimbledon titles in that year.

Their dominance in tennis Grand Slams can be ascertained by the fact that after the Australian Open 2005 (won by Marat Safin), only 2 Grand Slams out of 22 have been won by men other than these two - Novak Djokovic of Serbia took the Australian Open 2008 title and Juan Martin Del Potro won the US Open 2009. Add the fact that Del Potro defeated Federer in the finals last year, this means that over the last 5 and a half years, there has been just one Grand Slam final (Australian Open 2008) where both Federer and Nadal have been missing... Djokovic defeated Jo Wilfried Tsonga to win his lone Grand Slam title!

With due respect to the emerging young talents in the world of men's tennis like Djokovic, Andy Murray, Del Potro, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych and many others, there still has been no one to match the greatness of these two champions! Federer obviously has more laurels attached to his name with 16 Grand Slam titles as compared to Nadal's 8, but the Spaniard still enjoys a 14-7 record over the Swiss champion! And there is no doubt in my mind that Federer's tally of 16 would have been smaller had Nadal not been 4 years and 10 months younger to him.

As it stands today, I doubt Federer is going to add many more to his tally of 16... but as far as Nadal is concerned, I am really hopeful. Though I don't think it would be realistically possible for him to reach Federer's 16 titles, I hope he comes as close to it as possible. Nadal's game is physically a lot more exhausting than Federer's and that will give him a career shorter than that of Federer, but he's already shown that he can achieve a lot in these short periods!


Barry said...

I certainly think Rafa can reach the finals and may even beat Fed or Murray. He looks fresh, hitting big serves and more importantly he is trying to play attacking tennis by flattening his forehand. He may make more unforced errors on his forehand side but that is the right strategy for the US open as he can hit more winners.

Unknown said...

Hey Greyblazer,

His flat serves have certainly been refreshing to watch. He's improved his hard court game by a big margin.

This one is a very different Rafa from the one that won French Open 2005. That Rafa was destined for clay greatness. This Rafa is capable of a career Grand Slam!

But all said and done, Federer has also looked in supreme form thus far. Its not like Wimbledon, where he started this year with a shaky 5-set win in the First Round. He is looking ominous too! I hope they meet in the finals again... it's too tempting a proposition!