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Monday, June 11, 2012

Final action at Roland Garros - Will Djokovic emulate Rod Laver


There have been some intriguing encounters which make the game more attractive – the one at Rolad Garros 2012 has turned out to be a top drawer stuff. It is not all over yet - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will have to come back to finish their French Open final after rain prevented a conclusion on Sunday with the match on a knife-edge.  The encounter was halted with Nadal leading 6-4 6-3 2-6 1-2 .  The scoreline would never reflect  the momentum  of the Serb’s fightback – perhaps the break would do a World of good for Rafa as he might come  back rejuvenated to complete. 

It was a clash of titans each pursuing different aims.   Rafael Nadal is a Spaniard, a left hander – has played 7 French Opens and a Winner of 2005, 06, 07, 08, 2010 & 11 – pursuing his 7th French Open title.  The other contender Novak Djokovic is from Serbia, plays right handed – it is also his 7th tilt at the tournament – his best being Semi finals appearance in 2007, 2008 & 2011.

Known as President, Djokovic, a name given by  his compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, thanks to his stratospheric popularity on his home turf of Serbia is a fierce contender.  He is pursuing a different goal, not a 7th time triumph at Roland Garros but his first crown of the clay, more importantly, in so doing  he would become the first man in 43 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.  After his  semi-final victory over Roger Federer, when he was asked if the Slam was in his mind, Djokovic’s answer  said “I'm not thinking about that. It's not about prestige or whatever, being better than one person. I'm thinking about myself, my career, and just trying to win every match that I play.

The clash is not new though new happening at the French Open finals – last year, Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal seven times. He did not get the chance at the French Open, of course, because Roger Federer saw him off in a marvellous semi-final. Djokovic has  beaten Rafa Wimbledon, Flushing Meadows and Melbourne Park. They have had a grueling near-six-hour marathon on the sapping Roland Garros clay, and the man down, Djokovic has to surmount mountain to  beat the King of Clay in his private fiefdom of Roland Garros – but that chance is still reckoning.   At this stage, for a Djo supporter, the match is finely poised – for Rafa supporter, it is closer to finishing their way !  First 2 sets taken by Nadal, third taken by Djokovic as he halved the lead and now leads the 4th – it has been a collision course most followed by tennis fans – good news is Serb is not out and fighting still !

Will it be 7th time for Nadal or the first and unique one of Djokovic becoming   the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four straight majors.  Fans and players alike waited for the rain to stop, it did not and now most or all of them  will return today  excited at the prospect of Act 2 of a French Open final for the ages.  It  is not just a trophy and a 1.25 million euro prizemoney on the line: - it is history that beckons the winner.

For the not so well informed, the  French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros – is  named after the famous French aviator Roland Garros, and is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It is the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world and the second of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments –Because of the slow playing surface and the five-set men's singles matches without a tiebreak in the final set, the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.

With regards – S.Sampathkumar

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