Rooting for the underdogs – Deja Vu


Four GOATs, three days, two titles, one glorious sport

It feels like the summer of 2014. The same anticipation. The same hopes. The same fears. And the same feeling of gratitude. What a wonderful era of tennis.

Today, three of the greatest champions of men’s tennis take centre stage.

As in 2014, the fan in me will wish Roger Federer to win. He’s playing as beautifully as we’ve come to expect of him. But it seems likely that this may be his last match on the grass courts of Wimbledon. That it comes against the great Rafael Nadal, who, eleven years ago beat him in a match widely considered an ‘epic’, and who, less than a month ago, swatted him aside like a fly on the clay of Roland Garros, makes this a nerve-wracking match.

As in 2014, I know deep within that he may not make it further in the tournament, and yet, I will hope, and let myself be heartbroken. I’d rather watch him lose to another great tennis player, than to close the screens and miss a great match.

It’s been a privilege to watch him play, and I am proud to have seen most of his 100 wins on the screen, live.

Federer Vs Nadal episode 40 awaits. Would you rather watch the replay or let the drama unfold before your eyes in real time?

In case you are wondering, here’s what I wrote in the summer of 2014: The Last Hurrah?

Also, in the unlikely event that he does get through, the likely finalist Novak Djokovic will pose a much, much stiffer competition.


Tomorrow, Serena Williams will be playing to own yet another page in the history books. Her achievements in a society and sport that is steeped in patriarchy — am I not guilty of it as well, by writing about her after the others? — are awe-inspiring.

Perhaps it is the one-sided nature of the matches that disappoint fans of the sport, and do not evoke the same passion as the other side of the sport — I recall looking forward to her matches against Justin Henin, and lately, Angelique Kerber with similar anticipation.

I have admired Simona Halep’s game for a while, and hope she will give Serena a run for the money (and glory) tomorrow. Had it been any other player, I would have said that it may be her last shot at number 24, but with the US open left this year, she may well make it 25.

These three days, I’m rooting for the underdogs. In the end, two players will add one title to their kitty. The biggest winner, though, will be the sport of tennis, and it’s crazy fans.

Veterans and Diversity this Wimbledon Season


Scrolling though the draws in this year’s Wimbledon, I couldn’t help notice the stark difference between the ladies and gentlemen’s section of the draws. While there was diversity and an open playing field on one side, the other had very predictable favourites (FYI – mine are the Swiss ones). While there is a significant amount of diversity at one end, the other lacks any succession plan.

With so many inspirational players in the gentlemen’s draw belonging to one generation, I wonder how long this can be sustained. When they all retire en mass, I often doubt if I would take an interest in tennis.

The ladies, though, give me much hope. The story of Wimbledon so far is definitely about a certain fifteen year old, Cori Gauff who played her idol, Venus Williams on Court No.1 on her very first Grand Slam. From her shot making, to how she handled the big stage, and her humility thereafter — thanking Venus after the match — is awe-inspiring.

I hope she goes on to achieve many more wins (she plays later today) and retains her focus, grace and composure.


Earlier today, I learnt about the number of moms (Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Evgeniya Rodina, Maria Martínez Sánchez & Mandy Minella) playing on the circuit. It amazes me how these players continue to compete at the highest level, digging up reserves, beating not just physical strains but also fighting a patriarchal system. There are far more fathers on the tour, as compared to mothers, who are forced to quit due to lack of child-care facilities at most courts around the world (barring the four grand slams).

Mother’s Day may have gone by several weeks ago, but these heroes do not need a specific day to celebrate them.

Thank you, ladies, for inspiring us with your grit and determination.

Related read: some other posts I’ve written about tennis.

WPC: Victory


It was a hot, September afternoon. But any hope of taking advantage of the heat factor dried up with the still wind. We had just lost the first singles match against the favourites Czech Republic.
The second match was against Jiri Vesely, a top-50 ranked player. The fact that Somdev had never lost a match at this court almost seemed like a record waiting to be shattered.

We should have never doubted. An inspired Somdev served almost flawlessly and chased down every ball dropped in every part of the court.

The handful of audience jumped out of their seats and gasped for breath. As the day came to an end, the scores were level.

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Heavily tanned and nursing hoarse voices, we walked out of the stadium savouring victory.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Victory.”


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #16 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Off-Season


This week’s photo challenge is off-season. When I read the phrase, the first thing that came to my mind was the off-season sports people had. More specifically, I thought of the tennis off-season. So I gathered all memorabilia from matches I have had the pleasure of watching, to depict this.

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Speaking of off-season, I seem to be in the middle of one – unintentionally! Hopefully it will be shortlived and I’ll see you soon.

Be sure to check out what off-season means to different people across different parts of the world, only on the Daily Post.

The Last Hurrah?


Roger Federer
Roger Federer (Image by Squeaky Knees)

It’s well past 10:00 pm. I have to get up early tomorrow morning to get to work. My father nudges me more than a few times. I need to rest my weary eyes.

Roger Federer is struggling in his quarterfinal match against Stanislas Wawrinka.

‘Not again!’ I say to myself. Is he going to miss this one too? Both of us are on the edge of our seats, hoping we weren’t watching yet another upset.

I had missed every single match he had played in the tournament. With the newspapers focusing on the football extravaganza, Federer had slipped under the radar of most news reports, becoming only a one-line announcement in articles dedicated to other flamboyant players.

I followed as closely as I could; half expecting a line saying he’d been knocked out; and at the same time, hoping he was still playing competitively.

Playing in his quarterfinal match against his compatriot, Wawrinka, I couldn’t help but think his campaign was going to end. And like all those other matches, I’d end up watching the only match he lost. The past few years I had stopped watching his matches for this very reason. It’s hard to think that my watching television could have an impact on the result, but that’s how it invariably was.

Later today, Roger plays his semi-final. Many people have written him off. His run this Wimbledon may well be attributed to the ‘easy’ draw he’s been given. It’s very tempting for me to skip the match. It can be painful to watch him lose on the court he used to own not so long ago.

But I will still stay up tonight. I won’t bother about the result.  His best days may have passed him by and it is very possible he may not win another match*. But I do not want to regret missing a match, when I am lucky to be part of the generation which get’s to watch, arguably, one of the greatest grass court players of all time, play live.

* Federer, please prove me wrong.


Image Credit: Roger Federer (26 June 2009, Wimbledon) by Squeaky Knees CC-BY-2.0

Wimbledon Fever!


It’s Wimbledon Season. And I have fever. But this post is about a video. And an event I have not written about.

I’ve been away (yet again!), and I’m just too scared to open the WordPress Reader, because I know I’ve missed way too much. The past few weeks have been rather busy and I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of working backstage for an event.

I would have loved to write about it, and probably should have done it last weekend, but for the past one week, I’ve had a series of health problems – from backaches to cough, cold and high fever. I’m feeling quite drained out, my head heavy with the medication, but I just had to write this post, and share something.

Lying down the whole day with practically nothing to do, I would have gone insane – if it weren’t for Wimbledon week. So that’s it! I’ve written down an apology of a (slightly incoherent) post. Now I’m off to take some more rest!

While I wait to recover, with some tennis to cheer me up (even without Roger, its pretty decent) here’s a short video I patched up post-event!

See you on the other side of the net!