Is this a good generation to be in to watch tennis especially Grand Slams? I believe so. I ain’t an expert; I only started watching tennis in late 2006. But seeing the way how hard it’s fought especially in the fag end of the tournament with quality tennis involved, I believe so. Haven’t seen much of Pete Sampras or Agassi play tennis, but I like the crop of players coming up starting from Roger Federer .
First up,lets talk about Roger Federer.He has an aura like Sachin Tendulkar has in cricket. When he came, he conquered and played better tennis like no one else do. He was and is the undisputed champion and one of the best to hold the tennis racket.He is the one who demands respect from all quarters whether you like his game or not.Someone has rightly said, it’s easy to get to the top but it takes guts and determination to maintain your position at the top.A 237 consecutive week stretch at the top from 2004-2008,that’s Roger Federer for you.
Then came Rafael Nadal and challenged him at his game.Forced him to work harder for a win. That was a golden period for me to just start of watching the great rivalry and these two great players compete. Everyone used to long for that big final where more often than not these 2 players landed up. I like this game, no sledging or teasing as in cricket, it’s all in the mind. A stare or a quiet and small celebration for winning a point with crowds cheering and then back to square one and you are focused on your next serve.Rafael Nadal-The King of Clay as he is often called, beat Roger at clay twice in 2006 and 2007 when Roger had won all other 3 grand slams of the year. That says something of how good Nadal was in Roland Garros. Nadal even went onto challenge Roger at grass in Wimbledon where he held his fort for long. Tat 2008 Wimbledon win over Roger in an epic 5 setter match is still the best I have seen in numerous contests between these two champs.From 2006 to 2008 they have played against in every French Open and Wimbledon final. Nadal younger than Roger known for his power hitting and stamina coupled with Roger’s class and elegance,made a great rivalry and a treat to all tennis fans.
Meanwhile Djokovic quietly made his mark by winning 2008 Australian Open and beating Federer in the semis. On both occasions- in 2008 and 2011,Djokovic beat Federer in straight sets in the Australian Open.In 2011, he went onto win 3 grand slams except French Open beating the best in the process and thus making an ascent to World Number 1 ranking.In 2012 Australian Open,he won an 5 set thriller defeating Andy Murray in the semis with the best yet to come in the finals. In the finals, in what could be the longest Grand Slam match in Open Era clocking at 5 hour 53 minutes he won an epic 5 set grueling match defeating Nadal. Nadal played equally well and it could be anybody’s game but seriously anyone would want to win an epic as big as this.That was something special from Djoker as he is fondly called. But Nadal avenged his Australian Open defeat by beating Djoker in Roland Garros. From Fedex-Rafa rivalry , it turned into Fedex-Rafa-Djoker trivalry.
Andy Murray felt left out when he went so close to win one but eventually fell short by some distance to win a Grand Slam.He was defeated by Federer in 2008 US Open and 2010 Australian Open both in straight sets and in 2012 Wimbledon in a 4 setter. Andy lost 3 consecutive grand slam semis to Nadal in 2011. They have never met in a grand slam final. 2012 US Open marked his first Grand Slam win by defeating Djoker in a 5 setter match. But turning point for him was winning Olympic Gold final match over Roger Federer just weeks after getting defeated in Wimbledon and also winning against Djoker in the process. After this win, he looks as good as the Big 3 with a belief to win against anyone. He went onto win a first grand slam match by defeating Federer in this year’s Australian Open in yet another epic encounter. However Djoker defeated Andy in a 4 setter final to mark his hat trick in Australian Open.Going by 2012 Grand Slams, each one of the 4 champs has won a Grand Slam- Novak started off with Australian Open, Nadal clinched French open trophy,Federer was Wimbeldon champion and Murray won US Open.So with Fedex-Rafa-Djoker-Andy the trivalry has turned into a quadvalry.
Hope this Big 4 continue to perform and give us many such epic encounters.
P.S.- I have one unfulfilled wish. I want to see both Nadal and Federer in a final that too in a French Open preferably the next one..I want it to be a 5 setter with Federer winning dramatically.