Friday, August 29, 2008

Tennis and Rafael Nadal

One follows tennis for the sheer energy and the agility in the sport. No other sport known to mankind seems to give the 'feel' of the game like this one does. That, even for one watching the sport in TV. Yesterday, I was watching the 2nd round US Open Men's singles between Rafael Nadal and Deheart. There are only a few sportsmen in this world that has the capability of making you jubilant with every move of theirs during the game, if you support them and cringe with frustration, if you support the opponent. Most of you would not disagree when I say how it feels to be a fan of Sachin when he is in full form in a winning match against let’s say, Pakistan. At the same time, you know how it feels to be a Pakistani supporter, while Sachin blasts the kookaburra all around. Rafa is the only other player who in my opinion can give a similar feeling to the audience, depending on if one supports him or otherwise.

I used to hate Rafa for the very fact that he played almost every Grand slam final in the last couple of years. And mostly against Federer, who was incidentally my Fav only after Sampras. Rafa getting to the finals almost became a routine, just like how frustrating it was to watch Venus and Serena play almost all women's grand slam finals. As much as I hated to watch Nadal play, his sheer aggressiveness and the attitude on and off the field made him seem more like a real fighter. Or in better terms, a gladiator. No matter whom he plays against, he makes sure that he doesn't let go that easily. If he gets beaten by a good volley or loses a tough rally, he comes back hard. He approaches the next point with aggression mixed with finesse and wins it, mostly. Just like how Sachin (in top form) goes after the bowler when beaten by one good lucky delivery.

If the opponent is easy, Rafa crushes him, showing little mercy. Over time, Rafa has reached a position where it leaves one in surprise when he makes an unforced error. He strives for perfection and that’s exactly what it takes to be a No.1 player. Federer is more a composed and yet, a compulsive player. As much he is considered to be one of the greatest players in the tennis history, a much younger Rafa is taking over the throne after much of strenuous hard work and discipline. As much as one hated Rafa, it is admiring to observer the way he is climbing up. The very body language of his shows no pressure on winning whatsoever. That is something I have seen in a very few players. Winning seems easy for him.

For the sheer love of the game, one might think 'No matter who wins or loses, the sport is the winner!', but certain players like Rafa redefine. They invariably ascertain what the game is all about. And I love it.


Anonymous said...

As a Federer fan, I totally agree! As a Nadal hater, I totally agree! As a tennis lover, I totally agree!

Jegu said...

I am thinking the same about those two. Now a days i don't hate nadal instead i like him to win the game... and he is doing it ...

maxdavinci said...

nice read!

the guy makes tennis fun. It was gettin boring to see fedex steamroll his oponents.

After wimbledon, tennis is more excitin as federer will be waitin for revenge.

much like cricket where watchin aus is gettin borin!

Nandini Vishwanath said...

At last we agree on something! I looooooove Sampras, and Rafa too! :)

aru4912 said...

Agreed dude .... of late I have also been a fan of Nadal after being the ardent follower of geeks such as Becker, Fedex

Anonymous said...

I like this post. :)

I'm a huge Federer fan (I still consider Sampras my all-time favorite). Watching Nadal rise up the tides of tennis with so much perfection did get under my skin - especially when he won the Wimbledon title this year. But, amidst this inbred frustration with how well he plays, I have to admit... I'm thoroughly impressed with his skills. He approaches each match with such determination to win, and no matter who the opponent is, he never loses his focus. For a guy his age, that is really admirable!

Having said all that, I'm a die-hard fan of Roger... so Nadal better step aside... the U.S Open title is for Federer. ;)

Preeti said...

As a Federer fan, I totally agree! As a Nadal hater, I totally agree! As a tennis lover, I totally agree!

@Gradie: Sorry! Had to Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V...u took the words right outta my keyboard!