Magic of W

Another Wimbledon final, another magic on grass court. Wimbledon always takes me down the memory lane. Doesn’t matter who wins, but watching players sweating it out in this 2 week juggernaut is nothing short of a spectacle.

Wimbledon has been special ever since my younger days. I remember watching each of the high voltage matches with the utmost of attention and detail, not to forget the post match conferences and match analysis. I had numbers on my finger tips and exactly knew who won and who got knocked out! Yes, those were the days of unblemished joy, where you could just do what you wanted to. Yes, you had those interruptions but we’re largely positive.

Coming back to grass court in Wimbledon. I have seen too many greats playing the game in the last 20 years. But ‘Pistol’ Pete was arguably the greatest. And since my younger days and his rise to the prime collided with each other, he was my hero. And during the nineties, he was almost invincible. Some great rivalries with Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, Jim Courier and Goran Ivanisevic, bit class of Sampras stood out. The only blip in his astounding career was the French Open that eluded him, but he was the Jesus of Tennis for me at that time. Roger Federer, another modern great, was able to overcome this and perhaps he was also one of those grass court champions who was able to break in to the arena of clay. Yes, Rafa belongs to another planet and his range is unmatched, and it is not surprising that their rivalry is one of the finest this sport has ever witnessed.

I have watched the recording of Boris Becker lifting the coveted trophy in 1985, and he remains a favorite too (incidentally, one of the commentators in today’s final). I loved Stefan Edberg as well, in fact, I adore the era of serve-and-volley players. Borg, McEnroe.. I love watching them play even today though the game and the landscape has changed immensely. Power has taken over elegance, tenacity remains the key though.

I have very little of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovich, but they are specials talents for sure as I managed to take sneak peek in to the Wimbledon finals in the last couple of years and they sure are in the right direction of becoming modern greats.

Another final in the Centre Court has come to a close and till next year, I wait for the most celebrated Grand Slam to come knocking again.

Green Grass is Back

There is no joy in lawn tennis if we take Wimbledon out from the equation. Ever since my growing years, my dearness for ‘The All England Club’ has only intensified – even though am not the same avid youngster who used to wait for 3rd of June to come soon. Especially, after witnessing all the faltering in the land of clay. There is a sublime reason to it as well, since players and spectators have unanimously shown their fondness for the green.


I am more of a classic guy and love history, more significantly since the game, players and their aura keep changing. I developed a keen sense of interest in the adulation this venue garnered for the sport in itself. The open era remained, quite oblivious, to our generation but the achievements and the glory was read, grasped, admired. Rod Laver, for example. Players, great players, finesse players, star players. They will come and go but we will always remember the ones who were lucky enough to lift the gorgeous trophy in Centre Court, kiss them, kiss them again, keep kissing them, stand for the media and press, then take a lap of victory before the sun goes down.

A major throwback – Boris Becker’s first in 1985 as ‘Boom Boom’ Becker and his shock upset in 1987 by Peter Doohan. The cool, suave Stefan Edberg and the art of ‘Serve & Volley’, Agassi – the fighter and the best return of serves in the game. Sampras’s straight second title beating Goran Ivanisevic – scoreboard read 7-6,7-6,6-0. Ivanisevic’s first and only Grand Slam victory as a wild card entrant, the iconic rivalry between Sampras and Agassi. The charm of Gabriela Sabatini, class of Steffi Graf and resilience of Monica Seles.

This is the Wimbledon story I was possessed and grew up with. The game evolved since then, is less of grace and more of power. But with modern greats like Federer, Rafa and Djokovic, the art of tennis is always blooming with enormous talent and the promise of keeping the art alive.

Who will conquer 2016? Let’s wait, watch and enjoy the moments that encapsulate on the green grass.

As good as it gets

Grand Slams happen every year, champions get crowned, the vanquished gets paranoid before embracing normalcy and the next year is ready to come.
But for one that swears fascinating blend of charisma and top notch performances, a grand slam seldom braces such menace in abundance. That’s Wimbledon for you.
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I dont recollect my last outing when I watched a men’s Wimbledon final at the imperious All England Club, thanks to my prophecy of withstanding priorities. Yes, truly, and indeed, I loved Wimbledon since my younger days and could give any statistician a run for his money. Perhaps, I will come back to this a bit later.

Watching Djokovic demolishing Federer today, for me, in a way, is the beginning of a new generation and end of yet another glorious era. I spoke of the same eulogy when Federer ended Sampras’s reign as the numero uno of tennis world, way back in 2001 as a curious yet talented 19 year old chap. World moves on, so does tennis and so inevitably does Wimbledon.
I know Federer did say that he loves the game and will continue but as they say, the strings wont produce the same music and not sure if we will see him in next year’s final. Yet, fingers crossed.
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I dont think Federer played terrible tennis, though his 10+ unforced errors and blemished first servers were an indication of the man who wasn’t at his best, your body cannot respond with the same reflexes and vigour after 17 grand slams and 14 years at the top of the world. I just thought Djokovic was brilliant. His madness from the baseline, his accurate and powerful first serves, the passion to dominate the nets and his demeanour of furious collage – I saw all the makings of a future champion. And, sure to stay.
Some of his return of serves were bullet hits breezing past a giant of a player, and couple of passing shots will hit through me till next June. He was a bit ruffled when he lost the second set, I thought Federer fought back like a lion but a player of his stature cannot rest on missed opportunities. And, as anticipated, he came back roaring. In fact, he was never quite in danger of losing his serve and always looked towering enough to break Federer each time he pledged to retain his serve.

Coming back to my obsession with Wimbledon.
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I can safely say that I grew up watching players like Sampras and Rafter. Honestly, I still keep saying that there will never be another ‘Pistol’ Pete to shoot the temperatures up. In fact, a notch higher and loved watching Boris Becker (his collaboration with Djokovic is reaping dividends) play. An era of the serve and volley, players like Borg, Lendl, Mcnroe, Becker, Edberg were great exponents of the skilful game. Its a dying art today, but thought the game kind of revived charm with likes of Sampras, Agassi, Rafter, Ivanisevic (probably the wild one of this lot). Still remember Sampras finals with Ivanisevic and Agassi, even Rafter. If one was raw power, the other was precision and grit. Agassi, was a combination of craziness and gloating talent. Such was the enormity of players then, though I admit that have not been following the contemporary quite frivolously as I would have loved to. Reliving them after all these years kind of brings the ‘me’ in me.

This year, gloriously, has been rewarding for the Indian scene in Wimbledon. 3 back to back championship titles in 2 days for Leander and Sania, was thrilled to see the young lad come up trumps in the tussle of Boys. Leander has been our warhorse for years now and his accomplishment is one for those great Indian sporting stories we would like to talk about, often and more. Pleasing sight!

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Ironic to say, when I visited Wimbledon couple of months back and was basking in the place reminiscent of some great following of the sport and its history, I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t have much of Indian presence to rave about. I thought India as a nation is boggled with enormous talent and sporting abilities, and this is one place we would like to stamp an authority on. In fact, the lady we got as a guide quickly exclaimed that they would love to see an Indian Champion soon, not sure about hers but my prayers have been answered, would love to visit her again and pay the compliments with due usherness.

In Wimbledon, it only gets greener every year.