You think that maybe he’s vulnerable, that maybe, just maybe, the challenge of Djokovic and the younger brigade is too much to push back; it’s just too much pressure to hold on, but along comes clay season, and Rafael Nadal rises to the occasion, undulating effortlessly to the top.
“You can’t touch me here, I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” is what the Majorcan sings out, scything through the field like a knife through melted butter.
This Sunday, it was the Barcelona Open making it two out of two for the Spaniard on his favourite surface this year.
Once again, it was his compatriot David Ferrer who succumbed to the No. 1’s might.
Is David Ferrer kicking himself for being the player unfortunate enough to unsettle the Rafa Slam? Even though Rafa knows it wasn’t Ferrer’s fault, Ferrer cannot expect any easy points against the clay-court despot.
Hot unbeaten streak or not, Novak Djokovic is no longer the man to beat.
Should Rafa, as expected, win the French Open, the momentum gathered can easily propel him to his third Wimbledon crown.
Grass is not for cows; it’s for Nadal to shake off the clay encrusted on his feet.
If one No.1 is intent on reprising his exploits, the other No. 1 (in women’s tennis) shows herself to be on unsure ground.
Caroline Wozniacki keeps finding the earth shifting underneath her feet when it comes to Grand Slam tournaments and WTA finals.
Gregory Lanzenberg recently wrote about Germany’s return to prominence in tennis. Julia Goerges believes she can lead that charge.
Gorgeous Goerges shunted the Dane out in front of her home crowd at Stuttgart to win only her second WTA title. She’s now 2-1 in WTA finals. Both victories have come on clay.
Goerges knocked out No. 5 seed Samantha Stosur in the semis.
For Caroline Wozniacki, it is but a reminder that though she holds the No.1 spot, until she wins and wins convincingly against offensive firepower, there will be just that huge question mark against her name.
Yes, Ms. Wozniacki is No.1 but she has yet to win a major.
Caroline is still young and can learn.
In Morocco, experience triumphed over youth in the only WTA tournament held in the Dark Continent.
Thirty-one-year-old Alberta Brianti dismissed 19-year-old Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3 to clinch her first WTA title—on clay.
Playing on clay is all about sliding, footwork, adjustments and constructing points.
Jelena Jankovic says, ”For me, the most important thing is movement—like getting used to the sliding. Being fit and patiently constructing the points is important too, of course. I love playing on clay and am looking forward to this season."
Rafael Nadal extended his thinking cap outside the court to ruminate on the ATP rankings. The Pirate feels that the rankings should be generated over a two-year period instead of the current 12 months.
"I want to work for this to benefit future generations of players. If it can happen, we could have more relaxed lives and longer careers," said Nadal.
If his proposals bear fruit, it can go a long way towards relieving the pressure on players to tour non-stop, and allow them enough time to rest, recuperate and more importantly, improve their game.
A secondary outcome could be more players available to play Davis Cup. It could also lead to less jet lag with players preferring to confine most of their tournaments to home continents.
Mahesh Bhupathi, Indian doubles ace, laid down his racket, putting fingers to keyboard to pay tribute to Indian sporting legend Sachin Tendulkar on his 38th birthday.
Calling Tendulkar his hero, the 11-time doubles Grand Slam winner remarked that the master batsman inspired him to have another crack at the Olympics next year.
Quote of the day:
What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes! – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg