Archive for the ‘Tennis’ Category


Rafael Nadal is back to ATP world number 1 ranking for the first time since July 2011. Well it just shows how well he has played this season, especially when he was coming off a seven month injury layoff and had to miss the Australia Open this year. Even after missing such a big tournament he has claimed the number raking and is close to clinching the no.1 year-end ranking as well, which is something that is spectacular.

Though he did lose in the finals yesterday, which a fan was a little disappointing but then one cannot just expect him to win everything. He has already won 10 titles this year which is something special and though his personal best year was 2005 when he won 11 titles, he surely has enough tournaments left this year to break that record of his.

Apart from this he has won 5 ATP Master 1000 titles this year and can break the record by becoming the first player to win ATP 1000 titles in a year if he goes onto win in Shanghai this week or Paris a couple of weeks later. I though would hope that he wins both the tournaments and clinches the no.1 year end raking as soon as possible. And also hope that he could win the ATP World Tour Finals this year for the first time in his career as that is one of the very few prestigious trophies that he has never won.

I would like to wish him for this feat of his and hope that he has a very long stay at this ranking.


Article: Nadal Chases History In Shanghai
Rafael Nadal has compiled an impressive streak at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in 2013. As he enters the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the Spaniard could become the first player to win six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in one year.
“I hope to be ready for Shanghai,” he said on Sunday in Beijing. “It’s an important tournament, one of the most important of the season because it’s a Masters 1000 – you need to play against best players even in the first rounds.”
Nadal, who is 29-1 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in 2013, is seeking his first Shanghai Rolex Masters trophy. He reached the final in 2009 (l. to Davydenko).
At the China Open, Nadal finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic. Even with the loss, the Spaniard vaults into the No. 1 position in the Emirates ATP Rankings, ousting Djokovic from the top spot. Nadal had not held the No. 1 ranking since July 2011.
The next few weeks will prove important to the 26-time Masters 1000 champion, as he is strongly favoured to finish as the year-end No. 1. “I’m going to be in the top of the rankings for a few weeks. I need to keep playing well to try to finish No. 1 at the end of the season,” Nadal stated.

Article: Nadal Will Return To No. 1 By Reaching Beijing Final
“Rafael Nadal will become No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday after reaching the China Open final.
Nadal will contest his 13th championship match of a remarkable season after World No. 5 Tomas Berdych retired at 2-4 in the first set in their Beijing semi-final on Saturday with a back injury.
Since returning from seven-month absence due to a left knee injury in February, Nadal has compiled a 65-3 match record on the season. He has won 10 titles from 12 finals, including the Roland Garros (d. Ferrer) and US Open (d. Djokovic) crowns plus five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies.
“[This is] a great year, one of the best years of my career without any doubt,” sad Nadal. “[It] sure is special be back to the top position of the rankings after more than a half year without playing tennis.”
He said he was prouder of the hard work and results that earned him the No. 1 ranking, rather than the number itself. “At the end, it’s just a number… What [makes] me happy is [everything] I did to be back where I am today.”
The left-handed Nadal extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head over Berdych to 16-3. He has now won his last 15 clashes against Czech.
The 27-year-old Spaniard has had two stints at the summit of men’s professional tennis for a total of 102 weeks. Nadal first became No. 1 on 18 August 2008 for a period of 46 weeks. He regained top spot from Roger Federer on 7 June 2010 and added 56 weeks to his tally until relinquishing No. 1 to Novak Djokovic on 4 July 2011.
By reaching the final, Nadal is one win away from claiming his first China Open title since 2005. The Mallorcan extended his current winning streak to 21 matches. It’s the sixth season in his career than Nadal has posted 20 or more consecutive victories.
Nadal will attempt to retain the year-end No. 1 ranking for the first time since 2010 and the third time overall (also ’08). “[It] will be a great finish [to] the season if I am able to finish the season [at] the No. 1 spot.  For that, I am sure I need to win more matches if I want to be there,” said the Spaniard.
If he manages the feat, he’ll become the first player to finish as year-end No. 1 three years after losing the ranking. Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer both recaptured the year-end top spot in 1989 and 2009 respectively, after a gap of two years.
“If I am able to be No. 1 at the end of the season, then, that’s an important achievement because I will be the best of the year… That’s something that really motivates me,” said Nadal.
He wished Berdych a speedy recovery, ahead of next week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters.
“I barely can sit, I [can] barely can stand up [or] walk,” said Berdych, who described the injury as new. The Czech No. 1 said he tweaked his back while running for a backhand slice.
Berdych voiced his respect for Nadal. “It’s really incredibly well done in how short [a] time he [became] No. 1 again after [his] comeback… That’s really an achievement.””




Rafael Nadal has won his 2nd US Open title and his 13th major title. Now he is 3rd on the all-time major winner’s list with only Pete Sampras (14 titles) and Roger Federer (17 titles) ahead of him. With this he also has won his 10th title this year, and his second major of the year, after having won French Open in June. In terms of titles won this year can be regarded as probably his best year, especially since he was coming out of a 7 month injury period and had to miss the Australia Open as well. 

Also, now he inches closer to the no.1 ranking and is in the striking distance. He should definitely achieve the ranking this year unless he is not able to compete in the remaining tournaments this year due to injury or anything. Though he could have achieved the No.1 ranking had Djokovic not made it to the finals of the tournament. But that is something that is not in his hands. And whatever was possible for him to do, he did by defeating Djokovic in the finals.


And like I had written in one of my previous posts, what next should be on the agenda for Nadal?  Equal Martina Navratilova’s record of 9 major titles at a single event or Sampras’s 14 major titles is something to watch out for. Though he can and should achieve both of them in the French Open next year, but in the form he is in I would hope he wins the Australian Open as well early next year and then go onto win the French Open and in the process achieve another record of becoming the only player in the open era and only the third player ever to win every major at least twice. (He now has 1 Australian Open, 8 French Open, 2 Wimbledon, and 2 US Open titles).

In the end I would like to congratulate Nadal for his achievement, and I hope he gives many more such instances for us to be happy of.



Andy Murray won Wimbledon 2013, his second slam title (he won his first major at the US Open last year). With this he ended a 77 year title drought of the British Men’s tennis at the Wimbledon.

And with this title he increases the prominance of the big four of tennis. Over the past three-four years the top four (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray) have been very prominent winning most of the big tournaments (including grand slams, masters 1000, world tour finals; infact Murray was the only one of the top four not to win a slam till September last year, and Del Potro is the only player to win a slam apart from these top four since 2005 French open). They have generally taken the 4 semifinal spots of most of the slam tournaments. However, till last Murray was the only one of the top four to not win a slam title, which changed at the US Open last year. And now this Wimbledon title should offcially shut the mouths of all the people who were doubting whether it is the top four or just the top three.

It is just amazing how these top four have dominated this era of men’s tennis. They have won 33 of the last 34 slam majors between them, a streak since 2005 Frech Open. These 33 slam titles can broken down into Federer winning 13, Nadal 12, Djokovic 6, and Murray 2

Of the last 8 Australia Open titles Djokovic has won 4, Federer 3, and Nadal 1
Of the last 9 French Open titles Nadal has won 8 and Federer 1
Of the last 9 Wimbledon titles Federer has won 5, Nadal 2, and Djokovic and Murray have won 1 each
Of the last 8 US Open titles Federer has won 4, while Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray have won 1 each (with Juan Martin Del Potro being the only other slam winner who won in 2009)

Such has been the situation of the Men’s tennis of almost the last decade. They have won the 37 slam titles between them of which they have won 36 out of the last 40 slams (with Del Potro winning the 2009 US Open, Andy Roddick winning 2003 US Open, Marat Safin won 2005 Australian Open, and Gaston Gaudio won 2004 French Open being the other four slam winners; of which Roddick, Safin, and Gaudio all won the slam before the emergence of Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray as stars on the court).


It is one of the toughest phases ahead that Roger Federer would have faced in past few years. He enters into Wimbledon 2013 as the defending champion, and if he fails to defend it he might just slip down to 4th rank in the ATP rankings which would be the first in close 10 years (has been in top 3 for the past 514 weeks). Also, if  Ferrer and Nadal manage to reach the quarter-finals stage (which probably they should) and Federer is unable to defend the title then he would move out of the top 4 to the 5th rank (he has been in the top 4 for the past 520 weeks- 10 years). But that is not the worry for him. The biggest challenge for him would be that, if he fails to make it to the finals at Wimbledon, he would surely move out of top 4, irrespective of how anyone else fares at the tournament, especially since he has a threat of facing Nadal in as early as the quarterfinal stage. Again, since he is also chasing history to become the first male player to win Wimbledon 8 times, there would be a lot of pressure on him.

Well this Wimbledon could not have got bigger for David Ferrer, as his consistent play over the past 1 year coupled with the absence of Nadal from the tourney has helped him accumulate a lot of points, and has given him a chance to rise in the rankings. His career-highest rankings have been 4th rank so far and this Wimbledon would give him a chance to rise to world number 2 if he finishes the tournament on a high. This also gives Nadal to get back in top 3 rankings this year. He has made a positive return since his injury winning 7 titles and reaching all the finals of the 9 tournaments he has played since comeback. A title win for Andy Murray can help inch closer to the number 1 ranking, so there is a lot up for stake for him as well.

Only Djokovic who stands as world number 1 would sit comfortably in the tournament, with his ranking to stay intact after the tournament ends. Though he would be skeptical of Nadal who has already taken a lot of strides towards the number 1 year-end rank.

Also, with Federer not getting any younger, is this the beginning of the end of a legendary career? Or would this have a sceond life?



Rafael Nadal (the king of clay) has won his 8th French Open title, which is a record for men’s tennis of any male player to have won a grand slam 8 times. He has gone past Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, both who have won Wimbledon 7 times each. So, what next for Nadal? Maybe cross Martina Navratilova’s record of 9 Wimbledon titles (that’s a record for maximum titles in a single grand slam, by both men and women). Then there are Sampras’s 14 grand slam titles and Federer’s 17. Well which record will he break first, Navratilova’s or Sampras’s is something to watch out for. Though I hope that he does break all of them, whichever comes first would not matter.

In the end I would like to congratulate Nadal for his achievement, and I hope he goes many more such instances for us to be happy of.



Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will meet in a quarterfinal of a tournament after almost 9 years. They way the have played and since they have maintained the top two rankings for most of the period they have generally met in the finals of a tournament. And it is only since the last couple of years that they have met in the semi-finals stage. But this is the fisrt time they will meet in a quarter-finals. The last time they met at such a stage was way back in 2004, when Nadal beat Federer in the round of 32 match at Miami. Nadal was just 17 years old then and was ranked 34 in the world. Probably that was the time when he showed signs of a player that would be one of the all time greats. Now once again they would meet at a little lower stage of a tournament and this is majorly because of Nadal’s injury all last year, because of which he missed most of the tournaments and dropped to No. 5 in rankings.

Here is the complete article:

World No. 2 Roger Federer set a blockbuster quarterfinal clash with Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open after both survived pulsating fourth-round tussles on Wednesday night, in what was one of the greatest days in tournament history at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

It will be their first meeting for 12 months, since Federer beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the semifinals in Indian Wells. The 26-year-old Nadal leads their career series 18-10. Both are bidding to win a record-breaking 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week.

Federer prevailed in a gripping tussle with Swiss countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, winning 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5 in two hours and 20 minutes. Federer served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but was broken to love as Wawrinka staged a spirited fightback. Wawrinka led 2-1 with a break in the third set, but could not consolidate and Federer ultimately got the decisive break in the 12th game.

“Today it was extremely close again. Okay, I should [have] maybe closed it out in the second set, but he did well to stay in it,” Federer said. “At the end, I don’t know what [got] me through. Maybe it’s the experience or maybe [I was] a bit more calm in those moments. I’m not sure. Today I think I was a little lucky to come through it in the end.”

The 31-year-old Federer improved to a 13-1 record over Wawrinka as he moved into the quarterfinals of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the eighth time. The Basel native is bidding to win the title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the fifth time, after victories in 2004-’06 and 2012.

Wawrinka endured another heart-breaking loss in 2013. The 27 year old was beaten 12-10 in the fifth set of a five-hour contest with Novak Djokovic in the fourth round of the Australian Open and was on the losing side of a seven-hour doubles defeat on Davis Cup duty against Czech Republic. The right-hander, a runner-up at the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires, dropped to an 11-6 match record on the season.

“Today for sure I had some chances,” said Wawrinka. “I had some opportunities, but I [could have] lost the match in two straight sets, too… I was close, but not enough, and that’s why I need to still go practice and practice again.”

Federer is chasing his first title of the season. The 17-time Grand Slam winner was beaten in the Australian Open semi-finals by Andy Murray and fell in the last four in Dubai to Tomas Berdych.

In the last match of a very-late finishing day session, Nadal edged the in-form Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 33 minutes. The match finished at 9:47pm local time, with the evening session scheduled to have start at 7pm.

Nadal won just two points more than Gulbis, breaking the Latvian decisively in the 11th game of the third set before serving out the victory to 30, finishing with a forehand winner. The defeat brought to an end Gulbis’ winning streak, which had seen him win the Delray Beach title and qualify into the Indian Wells main draw before powering into the fourth round.

Nadal closed on his landmark 600th tour-level win, claiming his 597th win. After a seven-month injury lay-off, the Mallorcan returned with aplomb last month in the Latin America Golden Swing, winning the titles in Sao Paulo (d. Nalbandian) and Acapulco (d. Ferrer) and finishing runner-up in Vina del Mar (l. to Zeballos). He is looking to win the Indian Wells title for the third time after triumphs in 2007 (d. Djokovic) and 2009 (d. Murray).”

Rafael Nadal Wins Brasil Open!

Posted: February 18, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in Rafael Nadal, Tennis
Tags: , , ,


Well Brasil Open is no Grand Slam, that winning it should be so proudly be written off, especially for Rafael Nadal. But in the past few weeks, there were so many questions asked on his form and the condition of his knee which kept him out of the game for more than 7 months, that I as a huge fan of Nadal understand what even win winning a low profile tournament like Brasil Open probably means to Nadal at this stage. Especially, as the questions only increased when he lost in the finals of the VTR Open. Before this only Federer and Djokovic had managed to defeat Nadal in the finals of a clay court tournament, and the final loss to a player not ranked in the top 40, raised a lot of doubts. And then in this tournament, Brasil Open, he withdrew from the doubles matches. All of this had made people think, whether Nadal was really fit and back to his normal form.

But a win in the finals of the singles leg, defeating Nalbandian in straight sets must have come for a great relief for a lot of people, and with Nadal has probably announced that he is back. Though it is possible that his knee may still be hurting, but as a fan I am glad to see him back and winning tournaments, and making us believe that he has a big chance to win his 8th French Open (or to say any individual Grand Slam 8 times), a feat that no man one has ever done before.

All I can say is that, I congratulate Rafa for his successful comeback, and I also hope that he would be able to pick up many more trophies in the months to follow.


Rafael Nadal is Back!

Posted: February 5, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in Rafael Nadal, Tennis
Tags: , , ,

Yes, finally Rafael Nadal will be back in action on the court today playing his first ATP match in more than 7 months. The last time he played was when we suffered the shock loss during the second round match in Wimbledon. Since then he missed out on many major tournaments like the Olympics, US Open last year and the Australian Open this year, which saw him drop to ATP ranking number 5 for the first time since 2005.

Though he has tried to keep his expectations from the tournament to be very small, but surely all his fans (including me) would be hoping that he starts on a winning note. Especially, since he has chosen to play on the clay courts to start with. And with a record 8th French Open title in the reckoning I believe these results would be very important. Also, he has chosen to take part in the doubles event as well in most of these tournaments as that would give him a very much needed match practice (a very good move I must say). Though all we can hope is that he plays in the manner we all have seen him play all the past years.

Here are some articles for your reference:

Original article : Rafael Nadal’s knee may bother him for a few weeks

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) — They were giving the tickets away a year ago – and still had a difficult time attracting fans.

It’s a different story this year at the VTR Open, a small ATP clay-court tournament in this resort city on Chile’s Pacific coast. This is where Rafael Nadal has decided to make his comeback after sitting out for more than seven months with an injured left knee.

Nadal had never been to Chile, much less played an event here. Now he’s being treated like a native son with local newspapers digging up his connections to distant family members in the country. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was one of the first to greet him when he arrived.

Call it the Nadal Effect.

”This country wants success and wants to be seen as successful,” said tournament press officer Rafael Walker. ”For a long time the country was like a little island, isolated from the world by the sea and mountains. So when you get a big star here – like Nadal – he’s treated like a rock star.”

The tournament is sold out starting Tuesday when Nadal opens in doubles with partner Juan Monaco. He gets a bye into the second round of singles and starts Wednesday against little-known Argentine Guido Pella or a qualifier.

”All the sponsors used to hand out tickets to clients, and they weren’t used. They will be used this time,” Walker said. ”The local television stations that used to send out their second-level talent are sending out their top people. You can see them already here posing for photos with Nadal and asking for photographs. You know, acting like kids.”

Tourism officials are hoping Nadal’s appearance boosts local business, which took a hit last month with overcast skies discouraging beachgoers during the South American summer. Visitors from neighboring Argentina have also stayed away, hurt by a devaluation of the local currency that has made travel expensive.

The seven-time French Open champion practiced for almost two hours Sunday on the main stadium court, facing fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar with Nadal’s uncle Toni – also his coach – right behind him fetching balls.

The only hint that Nadal may be less than 100 percent was a white bandage wrapped around his left knee. Otherwise, there was plenty of pop in his high-bouncing forehands. And he showed off the same muscular physique when he changed orange shirts midway through practice.

The 26-year-old Nadal should win this event, and if he doesn’t, speculation will immediately begin about his future. He’s trying to play down his chances, telling reporters Saturday he was hoping for an ”acceptable level” as he starts the first of three clay-court events in Latin America. They’re warm-ups for a run at his 12th Grand Slam title, and an eighth at the French Open.

”This should be like the first week of Roland Garros for him,”’ said Marcelo Caro, a tennis coach who drove 100 miles from the Chilean capital Santiago to watch Nadal practice Sunday. ”In theory, he shouldn’t lose a set because the competition is not at his level – if he doesn’t get injured.”

Another injury would be a crushing blow for the Spaniard, who is ending his longest stretch away from the game.

Several hundred people watched Nadal practice, with Toni Nadal chatting with fans at courtside. At one point Nadal posed for photos with a baby on his lap, and he autographed tennis balls, copies of his book and T-shirts as he navigated the 150 feet from the court to the shelter of the locker room.

”Nadal is like an industry,” Caro said. ”He generates a lot of money.”

Nadal is reported to have received hefty appearance money to play in Chile, though tournament officials have not confirmed it. The venue is not ideal for a comeback. The tournament site – Club Las Salinas – is located within view of the ocean and is traditionally windy and often chilly.

Nadal fills a need in Chile. Its longtime top player, Fernando Gonzalez, retired last year, leaving the country without a star. Paul Capdeville is the country’s highest ranked player at No. 153, and he failed to qualify for the tournament. That leaves only two Chileans in the field – No. 577 Nicolas Massu and Christian Garin, ranked 923rd.

”For the tournament, Nadal being here is unbelievable,” said German player Dustin Brown. ”And it’s great for the players, as long as you don’t have to play Nadal.”

Jaquelina Frez and her daughter, Dalal Chahuan, drove 30 miles from the nearby town of La Calera to watch practice. They will skip the tournament, partly because of high ticket prices.

”I know the prices have gone up from other years,” Frez said.

Her 17-year-old daughter is an accomplished amateur player, and she raced to the court exit after practice to snap a photo.

”He’s a celebrity, and you want to see him if you like tennis, or don’t like tennis,” Dalal said. ”He brings attention to the area and excitement to the fans.” “


Original article : Rafael Nadal turns small tournament into big deal

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s ailing left knee may still bother him for a few more weeks, his coach said Monday.

Nadal practiced for 90 minutes with Nicolas Massu of Chile on Monday, his fourth straight day of training since arriving in the country for his first match in more than seven months.

Nadal opens up Tuesday in the VTR Open, playing doubles with Argentina’s Juan Monaco. On Wednesday, he will play singles in the second round against the winner of a first-round match between Argentines Guido Pella and Federico Delbonis.

”The knee is much better, but they’ve told us he will feel some discomfort and lack of mobility until the end of the month,” said Toni Nadal, the seven-time French Open champion’s coach and uncle. ”But it’s definitely getting better.”

Nadal has avoided surgery so far, getting therapy in hopes of speeding the healing. But the slow recovery from the inflamed knee means Nadal has been trying to lower expectations as he uses three Latin American clay-court tournaments to prepare for a run at an eighth French Open title.

Nadal has practiced in Chile wearing a white bandage around his knee.

”The bandage is normal and is part of the treatment,” his coach said.

Nadal will be watched closely in doubles Tuesday, which is meant to give him extra playing time on top of his matches in singles.

His uncle has called the small Chilean tournament ”our first French Open.”

Nadal has the best clay-court record in the Open Era, winning 93 percent of his matches. Many will expect him to sweep through this event as he would in the first week of the French Open, perhaps without dropping a set. Anything less will add to speculation about his future and could add pressure.

”His game is much better than when we got here,” Toni Nadal said. ”It was better yesterday and even better today. We’re looking to the doubles as an added test.” “

In the end all I can do is wish Nadal all the best for the coming ATP tour, and hope he comes back on top on the list.

Over the past one – one and a half year, I guess everyone is fed up of watching a Nadal and Djokovic final. Now this is their 4th consecutive grand slam final. In between they have also played 7 ATP Masters finals. I guess this is some kind of a record for sure. And definitely this is getting bigger than the Nadal-Federer rivalry.

Nadal has lost the past three grand slam finals to Djokovic, and now when Djokovic is on the verge of completing his slam and making history by winning 4 slams in a row, will Nadal be able to stop him? Well being a huge Nada fan I hope he does. In fact Djokovic has had huge trouble in the fourth round and quarter final matches of the tournament, where he was pushed to the limit. On the other hand Nadal is yet to drop a set in the tournament. I believe this is best chance of Nadal defeating a Djokovic in a grand slam final, something that he has not been able to accomplish the last three times, although he did come very close in the Australian Open.

Currently Nadal has beaten Djokovic twice in the ATP Masters tournament recently on Clay, so I believe he should be able to do so again, especially when he on verge of history too by winning the 7th French Open title. No one has ever won 7 French Open titles before, and only Pete Sampras has 7 Wimbledon titles (the only other player to win a grand slam 7 times).

In the meanwhile I really do not know what has happened to Roger Federer. The 16 time grand slam champion is yet to win a title in 9 slams over the past two years. And the way Nadal and Djokovic are playing it looks very difficult for Federer to add slams.

Will it be a Nadal’s 7 or a Djokovic’s slam is yet to seen. So all we can hope is to watch an exciting final on Sunday. I hope that it is a 5 set final, similar to the Australian Open, but hopefully the winner this time will be Nadal.

Rafael Nadal made history by winning the 2012 Monte Carlo Open, and now he has only increased his record at 2012 Barcelona Open. He won his eight consecutive Monte Carlo championships a record in itself. The only person to come close to it Guillermo Villas who won eight Buenos Aires titles in ten years. Nadal now has seven Barcelona Open titles in eight years (though it is 7 out of 7 attempts, as he chose to not participate in 2010), and six French Open titles (he would like to improve on it this year), and has five Rome Masters title. Having won three ATP tournaments more than six times is a record in itself. He has won four tournaments at least five times, which is only bettered by Roger Federer who has won six tournaments at least five times.

What is great is Nadal has won both the tournaments without losing a set. Winning the Monte Carlo Open surely must have been a huge relief for Nadal as that was his first singles title since last years’ French Open and this is also his first win against Novak Djokovic after losing seven consecutive finals to him previously which included three grand slam final losses.

These titles probably justify why everyone calls Nadal “King of Clay”! As a huge Nadal fan all I can Hopeis that this year he will be able to complete the clay slam as he did in 2010, and also probably win the Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Novak Djokovic is as close of the ATP number 1 rank, as he would have ever expected. He has had an unbelievable year so far. He has played 42 matches and has been undefeated. And now he is just one victory away to become the new world number 1 player. But the problem is that it is Roger Federer who stands in that way to number 1.

Djokovic will be playing Federer in the 2011 French Open semifinals. If he wins and enters the finals, he will become world number 1 from 6th June no matter what the result of the tournament is.  It is not very easy to defeat Federer in a grand slam match. Grand Slam takes the best out of Federer, and to defeat him there is not very easy. So, it is really a tough task in hand for Djokovic, but seeing his form over the last 5 months, it does not seem very difficult either. He had defeated Federer in the semifinals of 2011 Australian Open and before that in 2010 US Open, and surely will be a favorite to repeat that feat again this time in 2011 French Open.

But the biggest advantage Djokovic has at the moment is that even if he loses this match he still can claim the number 1 ranking if Nadal fails to win the tournament. And it is not going to be easy for Nadal to defend his title, as he has to face Soderling in quarters, probably Murray in semis, and then either of Federer or Djokovic in the finals.

To be very fair, I believe that Djokovic will claim the number 1 rankings, if not after French Open, then definitely after the Wimbledon. But for sure, it looks like Nadal will lose his number 1 spot very soon, and we will see a new world number. Either of Nadal or Federer has held this rank since February 2004. So it is a nice time to see a change.

However I am not very happy with this change since it is coming at the cost of my favorite player, Nadal, but I have to say that the kind of Tennis Djokovic has played in the past 5 months, he very well deserves this rank. This is possibly the first time ever that I have wished Federer to win a match, and that is really something unimaginable (this does not mean that I don’t like Federer or Djokovic, in fact I do admire them a lot, but I really like Nadal, and don’t like to see him loosing). But all I can hope that Nadal will be able to claim his number 1 rank back very soon.

Nadal with US Open 2010 trophy

Finally Rafael Nadal has won the US Open championship by winning it here in 2010. He defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. And what was even more convincing was that he was serving very well during the course of the match. Though his serve was broken three times in the match today, but he has lifted his game to a very high level since his serve was broken only five times during the course of the tournament. The second set was the first set that Nadal had dropped in this tournament and had he not dropped it he would have become the first player to win the US Open without dropping a set. Nevertheless the victory is more important and it came in not much difficulty (just four sets). This is his first win at US Open and his ninth Grand Slam win, and also his third Grand Slam win this year and that too third consecutive grand slam win. And the biggest of all he has completed his career Grand Slam, becoming the youngest to do so in the open era, and the third youngest all time to do so. Also he has also won the Golden Grand Slam that is that now he has all the Grand Slams and also the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games.

But one must say that Novak Djokovic played well in the match and it would have been really tough as he was coming after a great five setter win against Novak Djokovic. Well it does not happen many times that a player defeats Roger Federer in a Grand Slam. Well now for the third consecutive Grand Slam a player who defeated Federer in the tournament has not gone onto win the slam, and ironically it was Nadal who defeated that player in the finals (well this is the third time I am writing this as well, had written it in my previous posts of Nadal’s French and Wimbledon victories). So far for a record, Nadal has featured in as many as 11 Grand Slam finals and no one except Roger Federer has been able to defeat him. In fact Federer has defeated him twice but has lost to him five times in the finals. This was Djokovic’s third Grand Slam final, and he has lost twice, both the times here at US Open, once to Federer in 2007 and now to Nadal in 2010.

Nadal has been playing an unbelievable kind of tennis in this tournament winning all his matches till the finals convincingly in straight sets. In the finals also he won convincingly though he did drop a set but only at the score of 5-7. And now he has finally he proved why he is world number 1, and also that this time he is at the top to stay for a long time. With the win he completed his career Grand Slam and also has become the first player since Rod Laver (1969) to win Grand Slam on all the three types of court in the same year.

With this tournament also over it is confirmed that Federer again drops down to world number 3 (something that happened after Wimbledon as well), when the rankings change tomorrow. And with a very good run in the tournament Djokovic will be back at world number 2, from where he just dropped to number 3 before the start of the US Open.

As I had written earlier, now probably Nadal will end the year as world number 1, and with big wins under his belt, it will be a very tough next year where he will have to defend three titles. But yes it will not be very easy to replace him from the top that soon.

In the end I would like to congratulate Nadal for his win, and I hope that he wins the Australian Open next year and make it four Grand Slam wins in a row. And with the kind of tennis he is playing it does not really look that difficult. Also I am putting some of the images from his memorable win at the US Open here.

US Open runners up (Novak Djokovic) and winner (Rafael Nadal)

It is going to be Rafael Nadal versus Novak Djokovic in the US Open men’s final today. Yesterday (or rather today early morning) Djokovic managed to defeat Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the tournament. Though the victory came in 5 sets where he saved two match points in the final set, and then later went onto win the match. Djokovic has defeated Federer for the first time in the US Open. In fact for the last three years he has been going down to Federer itself. It was in the finals in 2007 and then in the semi-finals the last two years. So this victory definitely must be special for Djokovic and will now be looking forward to win his first US Open title.

On the other hand Nadal even though being no.1 was not the top contender for the title until the quarter finals stage even though he was coming on a high with a French Open and Wimbledon victories. His run in the tournament has been exceptional so far, something that was not expected from him. He has suddenly improved the level of his game to a great extent that I guess now everyone will start putting his name as the top contender in all grand slam events and not just French Open and Wimbledon. He so far has not dropped a single set in the tournament, in fact his serve was broken for the first time in the tournament in the quarter finals stage by Fernando Verdasco, and for only the second time in semi-finals by Mikhail Youzhny. This is something great because I always considered the service as the only weak point he has in his game. And now that he has lifted the level I don’t think they will be many who would doubt him winning his first US Open title, though I would not really like to write of Novak Djokovic, especially since he is world number 3 (will become no.2 tomorrow no matter what the outcome of final is). Also one thing I did not like was that before the semi-finals started hardly anyone gave Djokovic a chance to make it to the finals, even though he is world number 3. And yes now I am really happy that he has proved everyone wrong.

For Djokovic the road till the finals has been like a roller coaster. He managed to save few match points in the first round and won the match in a 5 setter, and then from there on won all his matches in straight sets, and again in the semi finals against Federer he saved two match points to win in a 5 setter. Now with this victory against Federer he has managed to push him down the rankings as well moving to the second rank.

For the stats Nadal is playing his first ever US Open final, his third final this year and now is the sixth man in the Open Era and second youngest to reach the finals of all the Grand Slams. A victory could see him win his 9th Grand Slam, he would complete his career grand slam, in fact a career golden slam, and also become the first player since Rod Laver to win the French, Wimbledon and the US Open title in the same year.

Few things that can go against Nadal is that this is his first US Open final and its Djokovic’s second. Djokovic is coming into the finals defeating Federer while Nadal has defeated only Verdasco as a top 10 player. Also though no one except Del Potro has defeated both Nadal and Federer in the same slam, but Potro did that the last year in US Open itself, which can look as an opportunity for Djokovic to repeat that. And the big thing will be the extra pressure on Nadal as he is playing his first US Open final and has a big opportunity to complete his grand slam.

Meanwhile in the tournament, in the women’s section Kim Clijsters won the finals defending her title successfully. She has played very good tennis so far and deserved to win, but again surprisingly even after winning she has dropped to number 5 in the WTA rankings. In fact Vera Zvonareva the losing finalist has jumped 4 places to world number 4, and the losing semi-finalist to Clijsters, Venus Williams has replaced her at world number 3. But I am happy that Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova played really well, especially Ana and that now she should be able to break into the top 40 if not the top 30 rankings.

In the end I wish best of luck to Rafael Nadal for the final match. I hope he wins today.

Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic is finally out of the US Open. Though this is her best ever performance in this grand slam, having made it to the 4th round of the slam. She had reached the same stage here 3 years back. Ana has been struggling with her form throughout the year, which even saw her drop out of the top 50 rankings. But with all this I must say that she did play her probably the best tennis she has played this year, and definitely could have gone further had she had not to face number 2 seed and defending champion Kim Clijsters.

Ana had played some great tennis before this match, where she showed the glimpses of her top form. She defeated Markova in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 in the first round. Then she thrashed the 21 seeded Zheng 6-3, 6-0. And then went onto defeat Razzano 7-5, 6-0. This did prove she was in good form. But it feel short as she had to face Clijsters in the fourth round, which definitely was going to be a tough ask. And after some good tennis she lost 6-2, 6-1 to Clijsters. Again in this match she showed inconsistencies, something she has been doing throughout the year. Or i can say that Clijsters did not give Ana any chance in this match.

It was definitely a tough situation for her. And now a similar situation is in front of another of my favourite players Maria Sharapova, who will face the top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round. So far both these players have played some exceptional tennis, with Wozniacki having lost only 3 games in the six sets so far played in the tournament. On the other hand Sharapova did not start well but in the third round she thrashed Capra 6-0, 6-0. And almost all the bookies are calling this clash as the match to be seen. In fact it is being said that the winner of this match should reach the finals of the slam, and also who knows might turn out to be the eventual winner. So far Clijsters has also played really well and is being rated high to make it to the finals and in fact even defend her title successfully.

Coming back to Ivanovic, all I can say is well played, but hard luck. But this is only coming out after the kind of disappointment she has given in the year so far. And now with the next grand slam being 3 months away, I hope she will come back stronger there. Also with this performance she would climbed the rankings though not many ranks but yes definitely a few. Also I hope that Sharapova wins the next match, and eventually goes on to win the Slam.

Ana Ivanovic’s great run and return to form at the 2010 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Cincinnati came to an disappointing end when she limped off the court after playing just 3 games in the semifinal match against Kim Clijsters. It was a little bizarre end as she did not fall, neither twisted her ankle nor did she hurt herself. She just pulled out after a her forehand, dropped her racquet and called for the trainer. Then after some treatment she came back on the court played a shot and retired from the match.

So far in the tournament she had played some really great tennis. She showed some good character on the court and gave the glimpses of the form of 2008 when she had reached the top spot in the WTA rankings. In the first match she defeated Azarenka (a top ten player) in three sets, then defeated Shvedova in straight sets in the second round. In the third round she smashed Vesnina 6-0, 6-3 and then in the quarterfinals defeated Amanmuradova in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 before retiring in the semifinals against Clijsters.

I was not expecting her to do so well, especially after her performance in the last few months, and to add to that her first match was against Azarenka, a player ranked in the top ten. But to the surprise Ana played some very good tennis in the tournament to reach to the semifinal stage. Certainly it looks as if she has returned to her top form, but with an injury and the US Open just round the corner, I am not really sure if she could display her top form in the last grand slam of the year.

Though the semifinal match ended in a disappointment for all the Ana Ivanovic fans, especially for me since I would have loved to see Ana and Maria Sharapova (two of my favourite players) compete  in the finals of the touranment. Now it will be Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova who will compete for the trophy.

Earlier in the year Ana had dropped out of the top 50 rankings, she was placed at 63 before the start of the tournament. Her performance here has been very good and will definitely see her rise, I hope she comes back into the top 50, and I also hope that by the end of the year she makes her way back at the top (top 10).

I hope that her injury is not very serious and she recovers completely before the US Open starting at the end of the month. Especially since it looks she has regained her form, so the injury should not force her out of the tournamnet.