After the epic 5-hour long marathon of a final between the sports two heavyweights, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, all eyes now turn to the next and last grand slam of the calendar year, the US Open. The big question of how the “Big Three” turn up is on everyone’s mind and now more so due to the intense grand slam total record race. Federer leads the pack with a massive total of 20 titles while Nadal closely follows with 18, leaving Djokovic not far behind with 16. After this year’s Wimbledon finals, the stakes are set even higher as Djokovic closes upon his older compatriots slowly but surely.
Roger Federer prospects
For Roger Federer, there is still so much to expect. He moves wonderfully on the court, and his footwork remains impeccable. He has played marathon matches against stalwarts like Nadal and Djokovic and competed at the highest level. His age does not for a moment define him as a player and he continues to tweak his game here and there to better suit his play. Like wine, Federer keeps getting better with age. But as hard as it may be for a tennis fan, all good things must come to an end. The Swiss knows he cannot continue to play into his forties and his chances at Grand Slam glories are reducing slowly. Not that he has shown it this year, in his mind, and all our minds we are sure that Roger cannot afford to miss championships by a point or so. As he himself said, losing the Wimbledon finals was “another missed opportunity”. Had he won, the discussion would have steered much differently. This last opportunity of the year is probably Federer’s last sure shot at a grand slam, for who can tell what the future holds.
Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, looks stronger than ever and could not be more determined to topple Federer’s record. With the fact that Djokovic has closed in on him in the grand slam race will give him the extra boost, he needs to complete the finish line in the US. Nadal’s doggedness, which really defines him as a player, will see him as a firm competitor for the title. The 33-year-old will do everything in his power to push to finally reach Federer’s astronomic record. But as many tennis pundits say, grand slams alone do not define how good of a player he/she really is, there are so many parameters to look at. In that, Nadal slightly edges Federer in almost all aspects. But as all players know, the prestige of a grand slam and the honour that comes with it is immeasurable and cannot be compared. For this reason, Nadal will look to make it 19 at New York and will do anything in his power to get crowning glory.
Novak Djokovic and the US Open
Novak Djokovic’s record on hard courts is amazing and his records this year in grand slams of 33 wins out of 34 matches is simply brilliant. As they say, numbers do not lie, Djokovic will look to play out a near-perfect calendar year with the US Open and as he said before the Wimbledon final, he really is going to give everything to reach Federer and Nadal’s record. Hard courts are his thing, and the win over Federer will give him the extra confidence boost he needs. The historic final last week showed so much of Djokovic’s character. His staunch resilience, fortitude and ‘never say die’ attitude. These are the qualities that define him, and these are the aspects that have brought him so far in the tennis fraternity. No one since 1948 had ever saved championship points against their opponent and went on to win the title. Novak did just that. This win should surely propel the Serb to greater heights as he narrows down upon the top two.
As the US open gears up, there seems little doubt who will reach the quarter-finals or semi-finals, but who ultimately will lift the trophy at Arthur Ashe is shrouded in doubt. But for now, let’s cherish these greats of the game while we can enjoy it and celebrate probably the greatest era of men’s tennis.
|DJOKOVIC, NADAL, FEDERER VERY MUCH STILL IN CHARGE
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