Sunday 29 January 2017

Culmination of a rivalry for the ages

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We are moments away from a match many dreamt of, but never thought it would come to fruition, ever. Roger Federer taking on his greatest rival ever, Rafael Nadal, is the biggest thing in tennis by far. We have had many intriguing rivalries over the years such as Borg and McEnroe back in the 80's, Sampras and Agassi in the 90's, and more recently, Nadal and Djokovic for a decade or so. But somehow, Federer vs Nadal has a very different ring to it, and every ardent tennis fan knows that this is as big as it gets.

This match might be one of the most important grand slam final ever. This after all is about two of the greatest champions ever. What makes it really stand out from their previous clashes is that it comes at a very different stage of either of their careers. While most of their matches have come at the peak of their careers, this one was feels more out of the blue than ever. Neither of them are that young either, both well and truly in their 30's (Nadal is 30, Federer 35!)

We can go on and on about their rivalry, their tally of grand slam titles (Federer - 17, Nadal -14), their lopsided head to head (Nadal - 23, Federer - 11), argue who actually is the greatest of all time, and so on. But the most beautiful thing about this rivalry is that neither player's story is complete without the other's. At the end of it all, they push either to perform at their very best, and my word, we have had some amazing matches between them.

What is more unique about this match is also that as they haven't faced each other for so long, we might actually have a renewed rivalry, which might have no consequences of their previous battles altogether. They will give it their all, that is for certain. The thirst for victories and titles never go away for such superhuman champions somehow.

Talking about the match today, I do not expect it to be the best match of their career, but I am sure it will be an exhibition of tennis of the highest order. The crowd will be involved more than ever before, torn between two of the greatest champions who have ever played this game. I actually do not want to make predictions and mar this historic moment. My heart says (and badly wants!) a Federer win in 4 sets, but I feel Rafael Nadal looks more likely to lift his 15th grand slam title in 4 sets. I just hope that we see a great tennis match, and that we see them contest in many more finals to come


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