Australia have managed a decent 290 - 5 in their 50 overs in the dead rubber (oh sorry, what was it... "playing for pride") 4th ODI at The Kennington Oval, London. Just a little less than 6 miles to the south west, Roger Federer has just been handed his 2nd straight Quarter Final exit from a Tennis Grand Slam event at the Wimbledon by Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
It just rings a bell in my head. Two champions... both losing their aura... both signalling the end of an era! Australia dominated cricket through the 1990s and the 2000s. The decade to come looks like a different story! England have been consistently performing well in the longer version of the game and have shown good form over the last 2 years in the shorter versions as well. India have been consistent, ranked No. 1 and 2 in Tests and ODIs respectively. And then there is South Africa, who play well throughout the year except for the business end of ICC tournaments.
In case of Roger Federer... he reached the semi-finals of 23 straight Grand Slam events. With the highest number of Men's Singles Grand Slam titles ever and numerous other records in his bag, he is widely acknowledged as the best Men's Tennis player ever. Through the later part of his career, his one biggest challenge was Spaniard Rafael Nadal. However, now he has been challenged by others as well... Serbian Novak Djokovic (Australian Open 2008), Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro (US Open 2009), Swede Robin Soderling (French Open 2010) and now Czech Tomas Berdych (Wimbledon 2010).
This does mean that the two sports should now become more interesting as the teams / players are more evenly matched and no particular team / player radiates an aura of invincibility. Waiting to see how my prediction pans out...
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