Well as this is my first post I'm hoping to put up a little disclaimer. I am hardly a writer and go backwards and forwards a lot. Hopefully, I will make my point and learn loads from all the feedback.
Well, Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open and how! :) He writes in his blog that this is one of the victories that he felt most peaceful with. Well, I guess he is getting used to winning that’s all!
On a more sombre note, he ripped Roger Federer’s heart out again. On paper this is the best chance Federer could have had of beating Nadal in a grand slam final.
In an awesome display of tactics, strength, guts and tenacity, he emerged victorious at the end of four and a half hours of scintillating tennis. It is unimaginable how someone could play a match like he did against Verdasco and come back and do it again in less than 48 hours. Talk about players having heart. Rafa wears it on his sleeve.
The night of agony and ecstasy wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the mighty Fed. He might say his serve let him down, but in reality his mind let him down. Yet again. I think whenever Fed faces history books these days, he falters. He doesn’t step up to the match, but Rafa always does. He broke Federer’s heart that night, and Federer couldn’t stop the tears. Or find his composure.
And how classy was Rafa in going up to him, giving him a hug and asking if he was alright to speak again?
In fact his lower lip was trembling too when Federer welled up again.
In a gesture of supreme sportsmanship, Rafa wasn’t even exuberant with his celebration, holding the trophy aloft for a fleeing moment only. And then “Rog, sorry for today,” said Nadal, turning to his friend with genuine compassion in his voice. “I really know how you feel right now. Remember that you are a great champion and you are one of the best in history and you will beat Pete Sampras’ 14 titles for sure”.
Is this the greatest rivalry in sport today? I don't think anybody can have those doubts anymore.
When was the last time we saw a poignant gesture like this on a presentation ceremony of a competitive sport? I have never seen it.
Tennis is in good hands. There is no big four, it is essentially the big two, and they are head and shoulders above the rest.
And coming back to Rafa briefly, I cannot describe in words how much pride I felt in supporting him. And needless to say I want to congratulate him for this superb display of talent and tenacity over the past few weeks!
I know he is utterly humble but I'm going to take a step forward and dedicate this victory of his to all those critics who said he was a “mere flash in the pan” when he burst on the scene four years ago; to all the people who called him a “clay court moniker” and spoke of him like a mere “martial player” who was a nobody when compared to the god that was Federer.
This is dedicated to all those who thought his game is not the way tennis is “supposed to be played”. There is no correct way of playing a sport. There can never be.
Today the “clay court specialist” has defied these rules and stereotypes, all over again.
This is a resounding victory which screams that not only is he the king of clay, but he has pushed himself out of his comfort zone to transform his game to be lethal on any surface.
He has won majors in all three major surfaces (equalling only three previous players) and is raring to take tennis to the next level. It might not be Federer-esque, elegant and balletic, but it will be tennis all right. And it will be beautiful.