Roger Federer is in the middle of the worst run of his career. The tummy bug that he caught during the Australian Open seems to have done more damage mentally than physically. Federer has won just two titles this year and his winning streak has been upset umpteen times to the level of monotony. This is uncharted territory for the dominant champion.
Federer was continuously denying talk of his decline and everybody believed him till Nadal left nothing left to be said. Back–to-back losses on the two most celebrated courts in tennis history were enough to suggest that Nadal has come of age. Also, the contrasting ways in which he won should really hurt the Swiss master. In Paris, the Spaniard knocked him out; In London, the Spaniard stood the distance and won by decision.
On the technical front, the two wins were still not substantial enough to make Nadal the clear favorite at Beijing. Rafa, as he is popularly known, had hitherto struggled on the hard court surface. Federer again had statistics and history on his side. Then came Toronto and Cincinnati and Roger was in deep trouble. Not only did the Swiss master bow out early in both tournaments but also the Spaniard closed in on and eventually overtook him becoming the new king of ATP tennis in four long years. Fast forward to the present day: Nadal is the World number 1, Nadal is the French and Wimbledon champion, and Nadal is the man to beat at Beijing. The Swiss Champion is now also the Challenger-a role that has varied possibilities for him. Either we will see Roger back to his temperamental, hungry ways or he may gradually decline into oblivion.
And the Olympics are not not a one-one battle. It encompasses much more than individual glory, it is about your country, its about proving to the world that you are the best at what you do.The world will witness another chapter of this great era of Tennis in three day’s time. In a way, this is also a stepping-stone for the sport of Tennis. With the field better than ever and the intense rivalry between the top three, Tennis at these games will be a winner all the way. Tennis Lovers of the world and Beyond – Rafa’s conquests, Federer’s pride, add to that the Serbian Djoker – welcome to the ” Dragon Ball” -Beijing!