Monday, 18 October 2010

Tennis Greats - Nadal and Federer: 2010 in retrospect

The year 2010 in tennis has brought joy for some players and agony for others. The year marks the return of Rafael Nadal to his winning ways after a difficult 2009 which saw him lose his number one ranking in the world due to persistant knee problems. The year was particularly difficult for the great Roger Federer. He has won just one grand slam and one masters 1000 title at cincinnati, a poor show in comparison to Federer’s lofty standards.

The year began nicely for Federer as he won his record 16th Grand Slam title with victory at the Australian Open. He followed that up with a victory at cincinnati. However, since then its been downhill for him. At the Frence Open Federer lost to Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals, making it the first such occasion since 2004 that he failed to make it to a grand slam semifinal.

At Wimbledon Federer again saw himself losing out at the quarterfinals stage to Tomas Berdych. At the US Open he was again ousted in the semifinal stage. He has definitely not been at his best. His serve is not as penetrating as it used to be which was such a huge advantage for him against oppnents as it allowed him to keep up the pressure on them.

With his serve losing its penetration his opponents feel they have a chance against him if they can match his ground strokes and that is exactly what they have done. The year 2010 has definitely been the worst for him since 2004. However it would be na├»ve to write him off completely. He may be down but he is not out and at 29 he certainly has a couple of good years left in him and considering his passion for the game his opponents would do good to watch out for a more hungrier and driven Roger Federer in 2011.   

Tennis Gods have been far more lenient with Rafael Nadal in the year 2010. Nadal has bounced back from his knee injury in style this year. He has won French Open, Wimbeldon and the US open this year in addition to 3 tennis masters title. He has let his racquet do the talking for him and it was the best way to answer the critics who had written him off or who said that he did not posses the game to win a major at the hard court.

2010 saw a new and improved Nadal with his serve showing more pace and penetration. He had changed his serving grip which helped him add a few more miles to his serve. It is really the best thing that could happen for him as his serve now allows him to win easy points and reduce the amount of running he does on the court which means less pressure on those frail knees. Nadal ends 2010 as world number one and will be starting the new year with a lot of confidence and with the determination to guard his top ranking.

It has been a stable year for Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, the world number three and four respectively. The year saw them reach the finals of one Grand Slam each. Murray has won two tennis masters 1000 titles this year as well in Toronto and Shangai. Djokovic on the other hand has been busy spearheading Serbia’s Davis Cup campaign this year.

Djokovic has brought a degree of stability to his serve and his famous double handed backhand has been working wonders for him this year. Murray on the other hand has seen his game lose its intensity a little. Experts say its mainly because of his attitude towards the game. He tends to lose his temper quickly. It is said that if he can improve his attitude his performance will also improve because we all know that he has the game to beat the top players of the world.

2011 promises to be an exciting year for tennis fans as the big four of the tennis world will be out to prove a point to their critics. Nadal would be looking to hold on to his top ranking and Federer will try and prove that he is not done with the game yet. Moreover the game is also seeing the arrivals of young players who would be looking to make a name for them this year, most notably among them being Garcia Lopez who defeated Nadal at the Beijing Open last month. All in all the game of tennis is set to keep tennis fans glued to their televisions.

Courtesy: Bettor

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