Nadal poses with John McEnroe after winning his record 7th French Open title.
Rafael Nadal continued his dominance on clay with a record 7th French Open title. He beat world number 1 Novak Djokovic in a tough four setter 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to claim the title. The win also makes Nadal the most crowned man in the open era history at French Open. Like most of the grand slams over the past few years, this year too we saw the top three making it to the semis. Djokivic dismissed Federer in the semis to set up a mouthwatering encounter with the defending champion in the finals. The final was a brilliant spectacle with some blazing tennis from both the players but in the end the consistency of Nadal proved too much for the world number 1.
Sharapova claims the women’s title
Sharapova becomes the French Open champion thereby completing her career slam
Sharapova beat Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in a one-sided final to claim the French Open crown. This was a sweet victory for Sharapova who in the process also regained her top spot in the rankings. This was a great comeback from the champion who went through a major surgery in 2008 in a bid to save her career. Maria joined the elite list of women’s tennis with this win as she completed her career slam.
Mahesh and Sania win the Mixed doubles crown
Mahesh Bhupati and Sania Mirza won the mixed doubles crown beating Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 in the finals. The pair won their second title together, with their previous win being in the 2009 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal is a master on clay. Even though he is an all-round player, his dominance on clay is something unmatched in the recent years. The only time he failed to win the French title in the last 7 years is when he was beaten in the 4th round in 2009 by Robin Soderling. In recent times though Rafa has faced tough competition from Novak Djokovic on other surfaces but hasn’t been troubled by the Serbian on clay yet.
Nadal’s preparation for this year’s title defense could not have been better as he won his 7th title at Barcelona couple of days back. He is looking stronger than ever and it seems difficult to imagine anyone threatening him for the title this year. The two immediate names which come to mind again are Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Robin Soderling who is the only player to have defeated Rafa at the French open in the last 7 years is suffering an injury and his presence is still uncertain.
Novak Djokovic has been brilliant over the last couple of years and is the current number 1 in the world. French Open is the only title missing from his resume to complete the career grand slam and he would be hoping that he can get that this year. Roger Federer who is at his last legs of his career will probably want to give the French Open another try and would hope to get the better of Nadal if he gets a chance to meet him again this year. Federer played brilliant finals last year against Rafa but could not get over the line.
Not many players have found the formula to beat Rafa at the clay court and it will be the same this year too. It will require lots of hard work and endurance to get past Rafael Nadal once again on clay. Nadal will be looking for his record 7th French Open title (Beating Bjorn Borg’s earlier record of 6 titles) and 11 Grand Slam title over all this year. He has already proven that he has the skills to compete on all surfaces as he already has a career Grand Slam to his name. He is a genuine challenger to Federer’s Grand Slam record and with age on his side no one will bet against him getting there.
This year’s championship will be interesting and it seems like it will again be a competition between the top 3. Will Nadal reign supreme once again on clay? Or will Djokovic and Federer be able to stop him? We will have to wait and see.
Article first published as Can Anyone Stop Rafa on Clay? on Technorati.
Novak Djokovic’s dream run came to a grinding halt when Roger Federer defeated him in the French Open Semis. Everyone was expecting a Djokovic-Nadal final once again but Roger had a different idea. The former French champion played a fantastic game of tennis to halt unbeaten run of the Serbian with a clinical 4 set victory.
This set up an exciting contest between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the Finals. This is some sort of a renewal of the rivalry as recently Djokovic has been dominating the tennis scene. So we have yet another great game in the offing between the two modern greats of the game. Will Nadal win his sixth title or will Federer continue his dream run on clay? We will know the answer to that on Sunday. Go Fed-Ex.
Article first published as 2011 Tennis Season Shaping Up to Be a Great Year for Fans on Technorati.
With less than a week away from French open 2011, all eyes will be on the Serbian Novak Djokovic. Djokovic who is yet to be beaten in 2011 will start the tournament as the favorite along with Rafael Nadal. Beating Nadal twice in two weeks on clay would have obviously given him enormous confidence going into the open this Sunday. Nadal who has ruled the clay in the past will be defending his crown when the open kicks off on the 22nd of May. His biggest competitor this time will be the Serbian who beat him twice in two weeks in Rome and Madrid to get within touching distance of the number 1 ranking.
Nadal himself admitted after his defeat in Rome that Novak Djokovic is playing brilliantly and will be the player to beat in the French Open. Djokovic who has already won a Grand Slam this year would want to claim his first French Open title. Should he reach his first final at Roland Garros 2011, he will overtake Nadal to become the number 1 player in the world. Roger Federer who will be the number 3 seed in the tournament would also like to make an impact in the second Grand Slam of the year. By his lofty standards the former champion has had a pretty poor run this year.
But I feel that this year’s championship will be all about Nadal and Djokovic. Djokovic will surely want to be there in the finals which will give him a chance to claim his second Grand Slam of the year. Nadal will want to avenge his defeat at Rome and Madrid and reaffirm his status as king of clay court. The rise of Djokovic has for sure spiced up the men’s championship this year and the fact that he has a chance of dethroning Nadal from the perch makes it all the more interesting.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal now have to battle for Supremacy with Djokovic in a three way race to the top
Few years back world tennis was all about Nadal and Federer. Even though there were others, none of them challenged the supremacy of these two greats and they remained the undisputed world number 1 and 2. In the last year or so, with the emergence of Novak Djokovic we can see there is a shift in the tide. Djokovic who won the Australian open championship this year has a perfect record of 24-0 in 2011 and is yet to be beaten on the tour this year. He has already displaced Federer at the number 2 spot as has constantly beaten Nadal in their recent encounters.
The recent win in Miami against Nadal further confirms his rise to supremacy. The year 2011 has just begun and it is already promising to be a great year for tennis fan. With the rise of Djokovic the battle to the top is now a three way thing and I feel that the Federer Vs Nadal rivalry is now thing of the past. Nadal also has been dominating Federer in their recent meetings. So I guess the rivalry between Djokovic and Nadal has more weight in the current scenario. Djokovic is now the man to beat in tennis, both Nadal and Federer have found difficult to beat him in recent times. The Serbian in his recent interview has said that becoming the world number 1 is his ambition will want to begin the quest with the clay court season. Clay is a surface which has been a fortress of Rafael Nadal and a win there would almost confirm Djokovic as the next tennis great.
So Federer and Nadal now have a battle in their hands and with players like Andy Murray and Del Potro also close to their heels, we might have a great 2011 ahead. The French open will be interesting as Djokovic would want to extend his supremacy on clay too. It will be interesting to see who will finish as the best player in the rankings at the end of this season. And for the first time in few years it will not be a battle just between Nadal and Federer, which is a good thing for men’s tennis.
Brilliant Djokovic with the tropy after he demolished Andy Murray in the Australian open finals
In my review of 2010 tennis, I had mentioned how Djokovic could challenge the hold of Federer and Nadal on grand slams. Djokovic though did not waste any time in proving me right. Djokovic thrashed Murray, the other player who had a great 2010 to win the first slam of the year. Murray stood no chance against a red hot Djokovic who was flying high after his three set demolition of Roger Federer in the semis. It was a great win as Roger was tipped to win the title after the shock exit of Nadal by David Ferrer in the quarters.
Murray will be disappointed as he has once again lost the opportunity to become the first player from UK to win a grand slam since Fed Perry about 70 years ago. Both these players were the ones to watch out for after their good performances in 2010 along with Robin Soderling. Now with Djokovic winning the Australian open, it sets up the rest of the year beautifully. I am sure that Federer and Nadal will want to bounce back soon and regain their supremacy. But at the moment all the accolades should go to Djokovic who played brilliantly to win his second Australian open title.
In the doubles, Leander and Mahesh joined hands together after a long time at the grand slams. Their brilliant reunion at Chennai open almost turned into a fairy tale when they reached the finals at the Australian open. They played brilliant tennis and reminded one and all that they still have a lot to offer to their fans. The final though was an anti-climax as the Bryan brothers were too good for the Indian pair. But nothing can be taken away from the brilliant run they have been having since their reunion. All in all a good beginning to the year and it sets up some great contests in the upcoming grand slams. Will anyone be able to challenge Nadal for the number 1 ranking? We will have to wait and see.
Roger Federer (Left) and Rafael Nadal (Right) had a wonderful year 2010
Article first published as Tennis 2010: Year of Nadal and Federer on Technorati.
The year 2010 in tennis marked yet another year of domination from the two modern greats of tennis Nadal and Federer. Federer began the year by winning the Australian open but Nadal aced the rest of the Grand Slams this year to become only 7th man in the history to win a career grand slam. The year ended with these two stalwarts competing again with each other and rightly so, in the London Masters where Federer got one up on Nadal at the end of the year setting up an exciting 2011.
Even though these two giants have dominated the Grand Slams, there have been others who have made giant strides. The biggest achievers of the year have been Robin Soderling, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Novak Djokovic has yet again finished as the number 3 player in the world just behind Nadal and Federer for the fourth straight year and has had a great 2010. Even though he hasn’t managed to win a major slam this year he has been brilliant as he led his team Serbia to Davis Cup glory. He played some of the greatest games in the US Open this year where he took out Roger Federer in a 5 set marathon in the semis, only to lose to Nadal in the finals. He for sure would want to do better in 2011 and hope that he can break in to the top 2 at the end of next year.
The other player who had a wonderful year is Andy Murray. After Tim Henman, Murray took over the expectations of his nation in a bid to become the first British player to win a slam in 64 years. Even though he came pretty close in the Australian Open 2010 when he reached the finals only to be denied by Roger Federer at the summit clash. He though had a fantastic year as he became just the 5th player to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same tournament as he went on to clinch the Toronto Masters. Murray also reached the Wimbledon semis for the second straight year and has finished the year at number 4 yet again for the 3rd year in a row. Even though Andy Murray has to wait little longer to become the first male player to win a Grand Slam from Great Britain, no one can deny that he has had a great year personally as a player and would for sure be looking forward for a better 2011.
The final player who has had a brilliant 2010 has been Robin Soderling. Even though the year began on a low for Robin losing in the first round of Australian open, the Swede quickly brushed aside his indifferent start to have another great year. Soderling became a giant killer in French open where he ousted Roger Federer in Quarters, only to lose to Nadal in the finals. He had a brilliant Wimbledon too as he made the quarters there for the first time and reached the US Open Quarters for the second straight year. Him following up on a brilliant 2009 meant that he ended the year at number 5 in the rankings.
Even though men’s tennis this year had some standout performances, no one can deny that this year yet again belonged to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The two greats are not letting up yet and the challengers have to still raise their games to upset these champions. But with Djokovic, Soderling and Murray close on heals 2011 promises to be an interesting year in men’s tennis. Will one of these three be able to kick one of the Grand Slams from Nadal and Federer? We have to wait and watch. Till then lets revel in the success of the these two tennis superstars who have taken the word rivalry to a new level.