05 February 2008

Another victory for Hyde over Jekyll.

Here's the quote-unquote version from tennis.com: Mirza pulls out of Bangalore, citing the religious and national controversy that has plagued her for the last few months. "I am not playing in Bangalore Open. I have been advised by my manager not to play because a lot has been happening in the past few months," she said. "Every time I have played in India, there has been some kind of problem. So, we just thought it was better not to play this time."

The brightest ever Indian women's tennis talent barely 4 years into her career is fighting a losing battle against the Hyde side of the nation. She overcame the lack of resources, training, facilities and mentoring that is so glaringly typical of India for any sport bar cricket. She overcame the sexist hurdles and history itself . But eventually fell short in the face of religious hypocrisy and some devious paparazzi elements(who on earth came up with that "Indian flag insulting snap" angle anyway ?).

The ad shooting fiasco followed by the Indian flag controversy (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7188952.stm) not to mention a fatwa early in her career finally seems to be taking its toll on the 21 year old. A blossoming career that needs much nurturing is coming apart right before our very eyes. The Serena Williams and Maria Sharapovas of the world can never do as much damage as these religious fanatics and the apparently jobless (these folks have way too much free time to be holding a job) celebrity vultures of our country can.

What we must understand is that Sania's stature has put the entire country in the spotlight and needless to say this family feud will turn some heads. Sania's story is quickly turning national pride into global embarrassment. Sadly, instead of Sania, its the shortcut to fame seeking lawsuit huggers
who are now representing our country. I totally second Sania's decision to pull out of Bangalore open. Unfortunately its the fans of the game who are being punished. I guess in order to kill Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll must die too.

25 January 2008

Challenged- Yes; Dethroned - far from it.

I am as big a fan of Roger as I am of tennis itself, and if you are anything like me then there is no sadder sight than the one above. Its the same dismal feeling I get when Sachin departs the batting crease without making a statement. After 10 consecutive grand slams we will finally have one without the champion. Its going to be terribly exciting to have the new candidate for the throne playing the wild gun Tsonga, however its also going to feel like a second tier ATP tournament final.

Admittedly Roger never looked his supreme self during the past two weeks (except for when he clinically dismantled Fabrice the magician) but somehow even when he is not at his best we are used to seeing him play at least marginally better than his opponent. However Djokovic is one of the few off late who has refused to be a part of that list. (Nadal and Nalbandian being the others. Lets not even talk about Canas; that was an anachronistic incident and wont be happening anytime soon again.) Except for his losses to Nalbandian and Nadal all the other loses have been because of Federer himself and not because of the other guy. Kudos to Djokovic for joining this elite group.

After three consecutive years of single digit losses in the entire calender year and an era of sheer contempt and outright domination, we may be entering a new era; one where the World No.1 tag will be restored its sanity and the divide between 1 and 2 wont be as gaping. I believe Federer's best is better than any other players best and therefore there is nothing to worry about. Roger is being compelled for the first time ever to make room for more folks at the top, but he is far from being dethroned. Its time to wake up and smell the coffee, coz if 2008 is half as exhilarating as the Australian open has been, we are in for a thriller.