"Long long ago in the land of tennis there lived a Serb...when he made his grand appearance he ensnared and encapsulated everyone's attention toward him....his rivals started fearing him, the womenfolk fawned all over him...Nole...Nole...the shouts rang and echoed...the man of the moment, a rival to compete two of the biggest names in the nation's history had made it's presence felt...the dawn of a new era...a new champion in the horizon..."
Only if everything were a fantasy, a fantasy novel in fact filled with its customary "happily-ever-after" finishing touches, then Nole would have definitely been the best among the best in the sport.
But, sadly, in the realistic world this "fantasy" image of Nole appears like a mirage before one's eyes; like a straggler in the desert who keeps moving forward and forward thinking he has found an oasis, Nole raises and builds the hope of his fans before bringing it to a resounding crash before their very eyes...
He had the world at his feet when he bested Roger Federer at the 2008 OZ Open semifinals before emerging as the winner against Jo Wilfred Tsonga. He was poised to overthrow Federer as the world's second best player, thus solidifying and cementing his reputation as a brilliant tennis player at the beginning of this year.
Almost everything was at his command; he just had to raise his finger to get it across to him.
But it's the "raising the finger part" that went slightly wrong and almost left him awry; not that he played badly...no, definitely not! At some places he played and poured his entire being to the match, yet finishing just one stop short!
At the start of the 2009 season, he was just 10 points short of toppling Federer from his "I am still getting accustomed to World No. 2" position, but, before he could achieve his career-high rankings, he found himself going overboard thanks to a still "budding" Latvian in the opening round itself.
Then came the OZ Open; the defending champion withdrew in his quarterfinal match against Andy Roddick, citing medical reasons and drawing the ire of many, not to mention the newfound sobriquet that he was awarded in a demeaning and derogatory manner: "Chokovic!"
Months have flown by since these happenings, but his form still refuses to get resuscitated and revived. On the contrary, it's slumping and slipping to an abyss from which, at some point of time, staring at the steep cliff will only be possible.
At one time looming to threaten the top brass, these days Nole finds himself fending off challenges from lower ranked players eyeing and inching towards the top; a predicted favourite at one point of time, Nole finds himself jostling for space amidst the players who are supposedly in vogue these days...
A player who held promise, the only place where Nole's name finds mention over and over again these days is when the compilation of the so-called "One Slam Wonders List" is taken into consideration; that too only because the statisticians hover and debate whether he is capable of winning another slam or should they just add his name, hell with what happens in the future!
Such critics who predict the end of the road for him as though they are Nostradamus and as though he is well past his prime should realise how debilitating that would be to him especially after he has shown to the world once that if he wants to do succeed, then there is no stopping him!
At the same time, though, there is absolutely no denying that in order to regain some of his lost splendour and spark, Nole has to toil and slog extra-hard to overwhelm his inner demons in addition to physical ones before trying to successfully sort out his rivals on court.
Bringing out an aura and using it as a force shield both to attack as well as defend, Nole has to penetrate once again to the echelons of the sport—it's the only salvation and retribution that he can offer himself and the millions of his fans scattered across the world!
Adje Nole...Get well soon!