Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two,Three and Four

The stage is set. The three men are next only to the World No.1 Rafael Nadal.The media needs to talk on the favorite for Runner-up slot at RG.The winner is already there,adjusting his trousers,the locks of his hair and practising how to stare disdainfully at the pitiable person who would stand at the other side of the net wondering how soon the time would pass.
It is not such a bad thing being behind Rafa.Infact – Let us be practical here -they can climb only that higher when the Nadal thunderbolt is rocking the way he is. Over to the three of them now.

At No.4,he stands the best example to the cliché “Numbers don’t always tell the true story”. At present,and the present has been present with him since Cinci 08, Andy Murray stands the second best in the world.With his counter attacking game and execution of smart game plans against most of the top ten players,he has won many a heart than the matches he has won in this period. His isn’t the most attractive game but can be the best example of the virtues that staying in a point and not giving it up for a winner can offer. With victories in Cincinatti and Madrid Masters’ he completed 08 consolidating his position at the tail of the top Four. The year 09 began in the best possible way – He defeated Federer and Nadal at Doha Exhibition and was a strong media favorite to win the Norman Brookes trophy at Melbourne – Yes.Djokovic and Federer wouldn’t agree though! His only blemish came when he suffered at the hands of an enraged Verdasco in the 4th round of the year’s first grand slam. He followed that up with wins in Amsterdam(defeated Nadal) and Miami(Defeated Djokovic). He has started the clay season in the best possible fashion,reaching the Semis at Monte Carlo. He was nowhere near being a threat in clay ,sametime last year.But now,he would be in the semis consistently. Thanks to his poor clay season 08, he is lucky defending the least points among the three in context and will probably pile up the most,taking current form into account.So, by the time he heads to the lawns of Wimbledon ,he might have the No.2 by his side.Likelihood – 45%

World No.3 for somewhere close to two years now,Novak Djokovic would be the most tempted man to snatch the coveted No.2 spot (Coveted because Nadal is No.1 and it would do good forgetting that spot than longing for it! ).
What would be more frustrating is the fact that he came so close to getting there,once each when Nadal and Federer were there.He came as close as being two points away from Federer and what did he do? He messed it up with a loss against Verdasco in Brisbane.In retrospection,the Djoker’s game has seen more ups and downs than -well ,as they always say..yes,- the BSE.He was runner up to Murray at Cinci but didn’t show great touch till the TMC where he won in a field that was deprived of Rafa.He didn’t face Murray too there.Things got worse when he continued his dubious distinction of never defending a title in his career at the Aus Open where he lost to Roddick-No,I wouldn’t mention he retired. Frustrations started looming large when he lost to Tsonga 4 times in a row.And when everyone thought Djokovi was not up there,he came up with Runner-up efforts against Murray(Miami) and Rafa(Monte Carlo). Winning a set off Rafa in the dirt is worth a special mention and that puts him the first threat for Rafa on clay – As they say,Probability is always right and Rafa has to lose someday. He had won at Rome last year and was a semi-finalist at Hamburg.So,he would be losing a lot of points.We will have to keep our fingers crossed to see if he can compensate and win a lot of points to go No.2 and set up an ideal draw that would pit him against Rafael Nadal in a dream final at SW19.Likelihood – 35%
So,all this sets up an intriguing phase of contest for tennis lovers before the Queen of Grand Slams begins at Wimbledon on June 22.
Let's wait and watch.
What?!What else are you looking for!Did I miss something??
Oh.Yeah..Didn’t you see. 45 and 35 add up to 80.So,the remaining 20% is for him.

Not just because he is the shadow of Roger Federer,smashing racquets,netting backhands,hitting long forehands,the winner of 8 hard court grand slam singles’ titles who says “Thank god!The hard court season is over”.He had won at Hamburg,was a quarter finalist at Rome and a finalist at RG(Ya..That was him and that still is him!).With defeats at the hands of Blake,Karlovic,Simon(twice) and Murray(5 times in a row) over the period in discussion,he definitely doesn’t look as threatening as the other two.The loss to Wawrinka isn’t to be taken too seriously as he was trying out a few new things and was under prepared.The Madrid and Rome Masters will expose his current form ahead of RG.
I know he is very much capable of making this piece of blog and its calculations a gross blunder.And I would be very happy to see that happen!