From Spain the world number one Rafael Nadal and Switzerland’s Roger Federer the worlds’ number 2 ranked player. At the height of their careers these two young gifted athletes have caught the imagination of those who are new to the concept of enjoying tennis as a sport. Much less watching a game with the rabid attention that they might well pay when watching either an NBA or NFL game.
Nadal takes a bite out of the Norman Brookes’ trophy eliciting some applause from the fans after his epic five set win over Federer in the Men’s Singles Finals at the Australian Open in Melbourne , Australia. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ………….
Whenever these two adversaries meet be it in a Grand Slam event or just another ATP tour event. The two players tend to bring out the very best in each other . And today in Melbourne was no exception. Federer the winner of 13 Grand Slam singles’ titles . One behind the alltime mark held by Pete Sampras. Nadal himself has set his own mark by writing himself into the annals of tennis history by winning three consecutive French Opens , four in all and then one can also add in that memorable Wimbledon against today’s opponent. His tally stood at 5 Grand Slam tournament victories.
Federer makes a backhand return of Nadal in their Men’s Singles Final clash. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tony Hughes …………
The two players had met six times previously in a Slam event final with Nadal holding a 4-2 lead over the Swiss player. The seventh may well have been thought to be a charm for Federer as he marches towards what appears the inevitable of surpassing Sampras’ mark. In their competitiveness be it over a three set final or the customary five set final that we’re accustomed to in Grand Slam event. We have seen the two players just give it their all on the court with the usual gusto and aplomb. But what has become even more apparent to us all. It is the mutual respect , admiration that they have for each other, the sportsmanship and the reverence that they have for the game itself. No petulant behavior on court when they play each other. No disrespecting the officials or the officiating. It tells us something about the players and the esteem that they hold for the game and its fans.
Federer and Nadal pose with their respective trophies at the presentation after their epic five set final match. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ………..
On to today, we witnessed an exhibition, classic in nature as to the two men went about trying to dissect each other’s game with all of the awareness of a surgeon using a precision instrument . The ebb and flow of the game became apparent as the first set opened up with the usual cracking of great shots from both player. You knew from the outset that this was the final that the fans wanted and so too for the game itself. This is the rivalry that the sport yearns on the men’s side if the sport is to remain relevant to the fans across the world.
Nadal plays to his strengths with a forehand passing shot against Federer. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ………………
In the women’s game we’re seeing a resurgent Serena Williams who now seems somewhat more focused on her game rather than her off the field endeavors. And should her sister Venus take it to heart to apply herself not just physically to the game but mentally also. The game would be definitely in good standing. Albeit that there are a number of East European females who feel that they also have some to veracity to make a case for themselves. Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva, Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina who lost to Williams here in straight sets. The WTA rankings as they now stand speaks for itself. There’s an abundance of players there from the Soviet bloc. That lets us know that the game’s grasp isn’t just within the Western Hemisphere anymore.
Federer serves in the fourth set in the Men’s Singles Final at the Australian Open, Melbourne , Australia . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ………………
The game between Federer and Nadal as alluded to earlier is one that’d be viewed as an instant classic. The two did not disappoint and though each had their own legions of fans in the stands. There wasn’t any partisanship shown between the two. The match itself was filled with classic and stunning shot making from both men. And they did themselves justice with their display on the court. Nadal would prevail in the end of an epic five set thriller, winning the match 7-5, 3-6,7-6(7/3),3-6, 6-2 that would last 4 hours 22 minutes. And for those in the stands watching and the worldwide television audience this was a match to savor. If nothing else it serves as ad for us what we can appreciate when there’s sportsmanship displayed and effortless athleticism shown by men who value their sport and that of the fans’ enjoyment.