Had you been up at 1.30 am local time and warmed up yourself with the pre-match euphoria that gave a 50-50 chance to the greatest tennis rivals, you would have just empathised with Roger double-faulting at the opening point of the match.
Nerves. That’s what it was. Continue reading
Has Japan Open put together another brain-teaser for Rafael Nadal?
Having lost to Novak Djokovic in six of the 10 finals and beaten British No.1 Andy Murray in the last five matches, Nadal must have thought it would be yet another day in the post-tsunami Japan bringing in yet another victory over the world No. 4.
How Murray lost the first set of the Japan Open Finals today is a no-brainer: the same defensive Murray putting the ball back in and failing to dish out winners. Nadal kept thundering down winners after winners, while Murray struggled with his first serve. Continue reading
Looks like the last thing Novak Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda told the champion before he stepped out of the locker room was, “punish Nadal when he serves weak, push him way behind the baseline”.
Novak executed it so well that it was the best part of his gameplan, winning him his fourth major, second consecutive one after Wimbledon this year. Had he not lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semis this year, Nadal could have probably suffered Slam-drought just like Roger, and Novak would have walked away with a calendar year sweeping all four majors. Such is the ferocity of his play these days. Continue reading
Seven titles (three of them against the world No.1 Rafael Nadal on clay!), a dream run of 43 matches halted by Roger Federer at this year’s French Open semis – this was clearly not the Novak Djokovic I have to come to watch for some years now.
I have never been much of a fan of Djokovic. I always thought he didn’t have the serve, the strokes, the style, and the stamina to make his game interesting enough for me to sit through the match unless he was pitted against a powerful opponent. Continue reading