On Rafa after Australian Open 2012

Australian Open 2012 Final match was an epic. In a 6 hour give-it-all five set battle, Novak Djokovic won. He played lights out tennis with absolute conviction and precision.

For me, this match was yet another inspirational nugget from┬áRafael Nadal – The guy is a philosopher and has the best work ethic in the whole wide world.

Rafa was a part of a 6 hour final in the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic which he lost. Novak won again in a match which was a display of supreme relentlessness from both sides. One would think that a player who loses in the end would be crushed and dejected. What Rafa said instead was that he was happy to have been part of a historical match and that he was glad to have fought the way that he did. That he enjoyed being there, fighting, suffering. That he enjoyed the suffering. That is a true sportsperson.

Make no mistake, Rafa is never happy with the second spot. He likes to win more than anything. But, he can appreciate the fact that life sometimes does not happen as one wishes. Despite your best efforts, there is someone who makes a better effort and it pays. That you can try all you got and still fall short. That you can suffer without rewards. Nowhere is this more nakedly visible than in Tennis, where you try for all to see and then lose in the end.

And at the end of it, if you can feel satisfied and be able to say that you have enjoyed the suffering, that you accept what comes in the way after you have tried and given all, that you accept that there has to be a loser and it was you this time, that you accept that it’s someone else’s chance, that you accept that you could have done nothing more than fight and that you enjoyed the struggle is to say that you have the highest character and sportsmanship. That is what Rafael Nadal has.

He has guts, he has talents, he has the will but best of all, he has character to be gracious in defeat and humble in victory. He shows by his way what it means to have a work ethic, what it means to work for passion, what it means to enjoy the struggle – a case in point for ‘Karm Kar! Fal ki iccha mat kar’. I won’t say that he does not care for the fruits of his labor. He does. But, he has the wisdom to accept that sometimes things come to fruition and sometimes they don’t despite your best efforts.

He shows how to live! At least to me! He shows how to go for broke!! People see all the effort and they say he does not earn as much in return, that he loses. But he, he who strives knows the joy of striving, of trying, of improving. Vamos!! Way to go!!

He may have lost this match, but he has regained hope and confidence. Next time, he will win! I know it! He knows it. But he will not take it for granted, he will strive and enjoy striving!


Squash – ed

Since, I can’t play tennis these days, I have started the next best thing-Squash. There are two main reasons for that :

1. It is like Tennis ( ie hitting a ball with a racquet). I try to ignore the fact that the feeling is not quite as the lawn tennis.

2. It is a great exercise and calorie burner. Of course, since I mostly practice alone, I am not playing full throttle most of the time and therefore do not burn as many calories as I should.

But still, since the time I have started( which will be two weeks now), I dedicate about one hour daily to this sport and I have to say that I am loving it. It is refreshing.Clears the head and tones the body.

When I started, I expected the ball to bounce like just the tennis ones. You can understand why I never was able to take even one shot in the first few minutes. After I adjusted to the bounce, there was this question of running around the court. Now, I am inherently, genetically, bodily, mentally, any-ly, a lazy bum. So moving around in any sport is a problem for me but this time I challenged myself to take low shots, far away shots and run basically. After two weeks, today, I found that I am improving in the movement department. I am finding my feet under myself. I presume that in about a week or so, I will be able to play a match for half an hour. As of now, I have done horrible in matches, losing one by 9-0, 9-3.

Sometimes, people, who are visiting the court come and see me hit the ball. It is embarassing to say the least. Just as soon as I realize someone is watching, I am unable to hit it well. Spectator nervousness. Although that was before. Now, I am as shameless as one could be. So, I play bad. So what?

Anyway, I did not know much about squash . I mean I had never heard about any of its players or tournaments. So, I searched on the internet and you tube. Found out that Jonathan Power is a great squash player. Joshna Chinappa from India does very well and British Open ( or something like it) is a very coveted tournament.

Squash is not exactly a spectator sport. I mean, the viewers only get to see the player’s behinds and the ball is so small too and the game is played so fast also. I mean, the enthusiasts obviously enjoy it, but for general public, it is a little difficult game to follow. I have heard that Pakistan produces some great squash players. The culture for squash is very good there. For the most part, it is a club game since the courts are to be found in clubs only as it cannot be played in an open field.

I am loving it. Every evening I look forward to hitting the ball and sweating out the worries and the weariness and the boredom.

Roger! Roger!!

What’s up with you Roger?? Just take a chill pill.You are unnecessarily getting riled up. We know what you can do with your potential. So, I say and does you sponsor : “JUST DO IT!! ” ­čÖé

But, a teeny weeny bit of me is happy. Because since Nadal is out it is kinda good that Roger is out too. But, for the most part, I felt a curious emotion yesterday which was a mix of agaony like most Federophiles and joy like Djoker fans.

So it’s all good. Right now the ATP tour is juicy. If Azarenka is able to beat Serena, and I hope she does, WTA will also become a little interesting. But really, I want Dinara Safina to start winning. Why is she so nervous and self beating all the time? I do not get it.

India NZ Test 3

What the hell is wrong with the batsmen? Why can they not drop an anchor and stay on the crease and hit a century or two?? Is this supposed to be the team taking on the number one spot? I don’t think so! Achieving 50 something runs has become a big deal. This is not done. Harbhajan Singh, 7th down bowler is making as many runs as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and The Mighty Sehwag.

The less said about Yuvraj Singh, the better it is. He has totally disappointed. And now, I think he has had enough chances in Test matches. He now needs to desperately play in the second innings otherwise he will be reduced to the one day side forever. We cannot keep hoping that some day, some day in the future of unknown he will regain his form. I mean that is not we are looking for really, for him to be comfortable. We are looking for results. Laxman only comes to his form when there is a test match to be saved. All the other time, he leaves it totally upto other batsmen and he himself relaxes.

Is this the world’s best batting line up?? I dont think so at all. World’s best are supposed to perform in all conditions. If they cannot they are not world’s best. They are just good.

I am a fuming, angry fan here right now.!! Disgruntled !!!

Gone Bonkers about Tennis

Since the last week some bug has bitten me and I have become so obsessed with tennis that I can’t seem to get enough of it even after I have followed all the matches of Indian Wells and am following the Miami Open. I have lapped up all the info that the internet has to throw at me, be it the player profiles, rankings, their career paths, habits, management deals they have made, gossips, scandals, humour, and lastly but most importantly all the magical momemts that have been fortunately shared on the youtube( those serves, volleys, smashes, crosscourt angles ). I am just going crazy reading about what Federer thinks is going on with Rafa and himself, what others think about it, how Verdasco has become the black widower sort of, why Tisparevic became almost deluded from tennis due to reading too much philosophy, marat safin and his explosive ways, his sister Dinara’s nervous exits, Serena’s smugness, Ivanovic and her hotness, Djokovic with his funny impersonations and controversies and match retirements, the Frenchie trio, the hawtt Spanish league, return of the Taylor Dent, Roddick as the coming back kid……and on and on and on.

And this is just the most recent of the contemporary tennis. I have also looked into the archives and studied them deeply :P. Heck!!! I have even read some fan fiction written about the players. That’s why I said, I have gone bonkers – totally tennis crazy this week. Perhaps it is because I want to play it so badly but just cannot do it right now so in a way I am trying to satisfy that appettite by watching and reading about it.
Damn! I miss that sound when a ball is hit by the racquet. I miss those one or two good shots that I was able to make in the days that I played. Aah! That was so fun!

Love love love Tennis.

At this point of time, the scene in Men’s tour is glowing hot. There are about 10-12 contenders who make the tournaments right from the quarterfinals very very interesting. Even if not a nail biter, almost every match is watchable. Sad that I cannot watch it and thank god for that else I would lose my mind totally.

Off course there is the forever interesting debate of Rafa-Roger going on and it enhances the x- factor of the game, its appeal. To add in, occasional upsets by players like Djokovic and Murray add to the thrill. It is all just delicious.

I have been in the Vamos Rafa! group for long time now. But admiration for Federer is something which has to be there whichever camp you belong to. The sheer beauty of his game and the ease and the fluidity with which he plays compels one to do so. I think that Federer has had his share of demotivations for long now and he is now refreshed and enthused.  He was caught in a rut before, everytime losing an important match to Nadal. That psychologically becomes very disturbing. Now, that he has faced defeat from others also (like Murray in Indian Wells), he is out of that rut. He has now broken the circle. Now he knows that it was just a bad phase and is recharged and I am afraid that means trouble for Rafa which kinda makes me unhapp but makes for a super spectacular match sometime very soon.

I am very very excited!

Indian representation only for Indian citizens

The recent decision of the government to restrict the representation of India by the residents of India only, how good do you think the decision is?

I think it is okay. The impact is not that much since there are only 5 players who have really been affected and I am assuming a lot of wannabes will be. But at the face of it, I find it a good move. The main reason for my saying this is that the this will really promote indigenous talent. Say what you will, but those who are born and brought up outside are not really indigenous. They would be sort of reaping the benefits from both countries. Given the state of sports in the country, we could only do good to give more opportunities and benefits to the players who dedicate themselves to these sports in these tough and rough conditions.
I understand it is a tricky situation to be a dual citizen, but I don’t know if the decision is that wrong. One major drawback definitely is the fact that the better trained players from the foreign will be missed from the Indian contingent. But, that should act as a stimulus. Should it not?

I hope it is all for the best.

P.S.: A very interesting observation I made while seeing the comments on the artcile about the Sports Ministry’s decision on Times if India page. Out of all the comments, there is just one person OCI( Overseas Citizen of India) who supports it. All the other foreign residing Indians have been fiercely critical and all the Indian Nationals have been supportive. Interesting!