Big Sports Day: Klitschko beats Haye, Djoker beats Rafa, I exercise

July 4, 2011 in Boxing, Entertainment, Misc, Sport, Tennis

Djokovic eats some grass after winning Wimbledon

Yesterday was a big sports day for me.  The biggest heavyweight boxing match in years, Wladimir Klitschko vs David Haye, took place in Germany, while the biggest tennis match of the year, the men’s Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, took place in England.  I even played some casual basketball (club game cancelled) and went for a walk.  Big sports day for all of us.

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Rafa Nadal captures his second Wimbledon crown!

July 4, 2010 in Tennis

It felt like yesterday when Rafael Nadal defeated Robin Soderling to claim his fifth French Open title.  Well, he has just won the second Wimbledon and eighth Grand Slam title of his career, defeating Federer conquerer Tomas Berdych in the final, 6-3. 7-5, 6-4.  Having turned 24 a month ago and with Roger Federer in decline, is it out the question to assume that Nadal would one day become the greatest of all time?

I understand why people like Roger Federer, but I don’t really get a lot of the negativity towards Rafa.  The guy may have started off somewhat one-dimensional, but you don’t get to where he is today without having an all-court game.  Rafa has evolved over the years to capture Grand Slams on all surfaces.  He has worked on his serve and backhand, and has ramped up his already unparalleled lefty forehand, court coverage, and determination.  Despite all of this, he remains absolutely humble and sincere — what is there not to like about this guy?

Federer, after capturing the Australian Open at the start of the year, has looked more mortal than ever before, losing to guys you would usually expect him to beat in Grand Slams.  While I think it’s too early to write the guy off just yet, especially with the US Open still left on the calendar, you have to start wondering whether Nadal, halfway to Federer’s 16 Grand Slams, may one day exclipse him.  If he does, then I can’t see how he cannot be the GOAT, considering his imposing record against Roger.

A few years ago, some thought that guys like Djokovic and Murray would continue to grow and overtake Nadal, but it seems those guys have peaked — at least for now.  Of course, the main concern about Nadal, as it always has been, is his health.  He has already missed significant time with his knee injuries, and there have been whispers of more issues this season (though they do not have appeared to have affected him too much).

Let’s hope Nadal can stay healthy and continue to make men’s tennis exciting to watch.  I’d very much like to see how far he can take things.  I remember after the epic 2007 Wimbledon final when Federer said that one day Rafa was going to win them all.  How right he was.

Federer finally wins Grand Slam no. 15!

July 5, 2009 in Travel

How sweet it is! No. 15 for Roger Federer!

How sweet it is! No. 15 for Roger Federer!

I took some time out from my busy packing schedule to watch the 2009 Wimbledon Men’s Final this afternoon between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

After what felt like forever, and with an increasingly sweaty (and balding) Pete Sampras watching on in a thick suit, Federer finally pulled it out, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 (yes, you read correctly, 16-14!) in one of the best Wimbledon matches I’ve watched from start to finish (I didn’t get all of last year’s epic).  With the stunning victory, Federer at last broke the record of 14 Grand Slams he held with Pete Sampras.  Who would have thought, after seeing Federer break down in tears after losing to Nadal in the Australian Open at the start of the year, that he’d finally win the French, reclaim his Wimbledon title and no. 1 ranking and break the all-time Grand Slam record in the next 2 Grand Slams?

Of course, Rafael Nadal losing in the early rounds at the French and missing Wimbledon due to a nagging knee injury might have had something to do with that, but I don’t think it takes anything away from what Federer has accomplished this year (and in his career).  None of that ‘asterisk next to victory’ crap.  You play who’s available.  One of the most important criteria in assessing the greatest-of-all-time is consistency and longevity (note: Federer has played in 21 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals).  Of course, Nadal (if he can stay healthy) may very well be the greatest ever by the time he is done, but for now, Federer is it.  And strangely, he didn’t cry this time.

I felt so sorry for Andy Roddick, who played as well as I have ever seen him against Federer, or anyone for that matter.  In fact, he won more games overall than Federer (39-38).  He also broke Federer twice and only got broken once, on the final, heartbreaking match point.  And that second set, when Andy was up a set and 6-2 in the tie-break, for him to squander those 4 set points and lose 8-6 must have been demoralising.  But it just shows what a great champion Roger is in winning that set and what a fighter Roddick is for taking it to a fifth.  Hard to believe that this is the third time he has lost to Federer in the Wimbledon Final (the other 2 times being 2004 and 2005) and that he may have 5 Grand Slams (he also lost the 2006 US Open Final to him) instead of his solitary one (2003 US Open) if Roger Federer didn’t exist.

Oh well, as least he can say he has a hotter wife.