Is Murray the new brain-teaser for Nadal?

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

Nole wins, yet again!

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

Over the bump. Should it matter to Federer?

Looks like I am late to catch up with this current tennis season. Montreal whizzed past with, expectedly so, No.1 Novak Djokovic lifting the trophy, winning five ATP 1000 tournaments in a year, and tucking in “a winning percentage of 98.1  better than McEnroe’s season-ending percentage of 96.5  in 1984”.

No.2 Rafael Nadal and No.4 Andy Murray exited in the first round itself, while No.3 Roger Federer fell to Tsonga in a 3-setter despite playing some of his best tennis shots. Continue reading