Biggest Rivalry In Tennis?
Posted by gauloises1 on February 20, 2011
The boys (well, Federer and Djokovic) have been chatting in Dubai ahead of next week’s 500, and it’s got me thinking. Federer as usual has been talking a good game, and seems a little peeved with the media:
“There was huge hype as [Rafael] Nadal went for the ‘Rafa Slam’. Novak, Andy [Murray] and Rafa played well, but the changing of the guard [in world tennis] doesn’t happen over three days. Just because a top player doesn’t play well, don’t jump to conclusions that it’s the end.”
Federer said he was frustrated that immediately after losing to Djokovic, some reporters were ready to suggest a new era had begun with him and Nadal on the decline. Nadal lost in the Australian Open quarterfinals after tearing a muscle in his right leg.
“That is where it gets a bit annoying,” he said. “Sometimes in the press conference where you have to explain something that doesn’t need any explaining. One guy throws a stupid question at you where you unfortunately have to answer it. That’s why I said let’s see in six months how things are. Maybe they’re quite different. Maybe they are the same. Don’t jump to conclusions after three days of tennis during a season that goes for 11 months.”
I see his point, but expecting the media not to ask those questions is unrealistic, to say the least. Anyway, it got me thinking. I know that it’s written in stone that Federer-Nadal is the biggest rivalry in tennis, but is it – really? It seems to me that the biggest rivalry is between Federer/Nadal and the rest of the field. Certainly for me, the biggest question is whether it’s still the Federer-Nadal era – or just the Nadal era – or the yet-to-be-named, some-other-people era. That’s what’s keeping me watching, anyway. Just a thought.
Anyway. Nole, meanwhile, was thoughtful and hot.
“I always knew everything is in my head. I needed to make that switch,” Djokovic said. “I was always aware of the fact that it’s a process that takes time. I won a Grand Slam title in 2008. I was very young, careless. I didn’t feel any pressure, I didn’t feel anything. In 2009 and 2010, I was introduced to pressure and expectations and faced situations I didn’t face before. It wasn’t easy to cope with all that. It took me some time to gain that experience that I’m using in this moment.”
He also announced he’ll be playing doubles with Andy Murray in Miami. I’m not a big fan of these publicity-stunt pairings, but god knows I’d rather see him playing with Mandy than Rafa.