‘Life`s battles don`t always go, to the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can.’
-- Vince Lombardi
Even though there are plenty of players who have the zeal and the potential to win a Grand Slam title, but as we have seen recently, the winner has been one from the terrific trio. It’s not that the major wins have been a cakewalk for them. And it’s not even that these champs were complacent against weaker opponents. It’s just that others managed to play phenomenal tennis temporarily, the only problem being their inability to remain consistent and faltering at crucial points. While the triumvirate of Djokovic-Nadal-Federer continued their dominance until the opponents ran out of steam, completely.
The Serbian Novak Djokovic who is the defending champion at Wimbledon was recently heartbroken as the relentless Rafael Nadal cruised to his record seventh French Open crown. Nole’s dream of becoming the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all the four grand slams simultaneously was thus left shattered.
While epic French Open final was more historic in terms of records, but it was the Australian Open 2012 final between these two players that got the best out of them.
Nole’s victory at the 2011 Wimbledon remains to be his only major title on grass, but it’s something which means a lot to the Serbian as he said after defeating Nadal in last year’s final: “I mean…this is what I’m born for.”
The ‘King of Clay’ Rafa, who is a master at the Roland Garros can outplay opponents on any turf with his power game. It was Nadal who broke Djokovic’s 27-match Grand Slam winning streak. He defended his title with full command and passed all the obstacles put in the way by the World No. 1.
Interestingly, with a Wimbledon win, Nadal will tie Bjorn Borg`s Open Era mark of winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season a record three times.
With the Djokovic-Nadal dominance, Federer might have not won a Grand Slam in the last two and a half years, but one cannot ignore the fact that out of the 16 major titles he won, 6 have come at the Wimbledon. Such was Federer’s dominance that he won five consecutive Wimbledon titles (2003-2007) before being stalled by Nadal. In spite of his recent failures, it’s tough not to expect a seventh Wimbledon title from the legend who is a master at faster surfaces.
The World No. 1 Djokovic and No. 3 Federer have been placed in the same half of the Wimbledon draw. The two champs have faced each other in the semifinals at five of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments, with Novak holding a 4-1 edge.
Similarly, the ‘King of Clay’ and the World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray are used to counter each other in semifinals of major tournaments (4). They can increase the tally to 5 in nine major tournaments if they lock horns in the Wimbledon as well. Nadal is up 4-0 against Murray.
The good news for tennis lovers is that we all have experienced some intriguing encounters at the recent Grand Slam tournaments. Roddick, Murray, Tsonga, del Potro, Ferrer might not have been able to rush past the trio to win a Grand Slam, but they have managed to scare them with some terrific tennis. But the end result on most of the occasions has remained the same.
The Grand Slam trophies are now familiar of the places they adorn and the Wimbledon should be no different. The trophy will probably be lifted by one of the three greats again, unless and until there emerges a man ‘who thinks he can!’