June 11th 2017, Paris
Rafael Nadal wins unprecedented 10th French Open as a wild card entrant
Rafael Nadal, King of Clay created history yesterday when he beat rising star and Australian Open champion Thanasi Kokkinakis in a seesaw five-set battle at the Roland Garros.
Post the 2015 US Open loss to Italy’s Fabio Fognini, Nadal had taken a total break from the game to work on his mental psyche and resolving his ‘confidence issues’. Having not played any competitive tennis since then, Rafa had requested for a wild card for the French Open.
Pitted against the defending champion, Andy Murray right in the first round, Rafa beat him in straight sets. Andy with a lot of foresight, said in his press interview “ Rafa can win this tournament again”. Roger Federer had opted out of the French Open, the first Grand Slam he has missed after 69 consecutive appearances after his first round departure at the Australian Open to local favourite Nick Kyrgios. Djokovic also was battling injuries after losing in the Australian Open quarterfinals and had opted out of the French Open.
Rafa beat Kokkinakis 6-4, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 in a tense six-hour battle. This was his 15th Grand Slam and he is just 2 Slams away from Roger Federer who is stuck on 17. Djokovic has now 12 Grand Slams whereas Murray and Wawrinka have 3 each now.
Rafa becomes the 2nd player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam on a wild card after Goran Ivanisevic won the 2001Wimbledon. Rafa also becomes the first person the win the French open on a wild card.
July 9th, 2017, Wimbledon, London
Roger makes it 18
Roger Federer won his 8th Wimbledon title defeating Nick Kyrgios in straight sets. Federer did not drop a single set en route to his victory having defeated Murray in the quarterfinals and Djokovic in the semifinals and his Australian Open conqueror Nick Kyrgios in the finals.
Nick Kyrgios in his first Grand Slam final took an early lead in the first set breaking Roger and leading 3 – 0 till Federer won the next 6 games to take the first set. Nick then lost the next two sets 6 -2 6-2 . Nick broke 8 rackets during the match, leading Andy Roddick to comment that he broke more rackets than he won games. Tennis guru John McEnroe defended Nick ( obviously ) by saying that he wouldn’t have won even these many if he had not smashed so many rackets. “I would like to see him smash more rackets if that’s gonna help him win matches” McEnroe added.
Federer has now taken his Grand Slam tally to 18 and after his Olympic Singles Gold at Rio ( a fine victory over Novak Djokovic ), this was his first Grand Slam after the 2012 triumph in Wimbledon again.
Breaking News (literally)
September 10th, 2017, New York
Kyrgios wins first US Open title
Nick Kyrgios broke 20 rackets and good friend Kokkinakis’s serve 3 times to win 6-4. 6-4, 6-4 – his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. Three spectators are lucky owners of three rackets which Kyrgios threw into the crowd after winning every set. One ball-boy is now owner of Nick’s kitbag itself.
Tennis Guru John McEnroe gushed “I told you, he broke his racket 20 times to win 18 games and the match. That’s my boy”
The Herald Sun headlined ‘Smashing Success’
On the same lines New York Times headlined ‘Flushing Meadows becomes Smashing Meadows’
Head, the famous racket manufacturer who had signed up Kyrgios in 2016 announced a new racket to be used by him appropriately named NickHead.
December 31st, 2017, Majorca
At a press conference in his hometown, Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, ( and one-time GOAT contender ) announced his retirement.
“I very happy and very sad. I fighted for 12 years. No fight anymore. Players now better. I accept. I enjoy for 15 years. For me amazing win 15 Grand Slams. Only Roger more. No issue. I win 9 more than Roger in French Open” (smiling)
Vamos Rafa El mejor. Adios !!! screamed the headlines in Spanish newspaper El Pais.
January 1st, 2018, Basel, Switzerland
Federer calls it a day
As the world was digesting the fact that Rafael Nadal had announced his retirement on New Year’s Eve, another shocking announcement was to follow soon.
Roger Federer, who many acclaim as the greatest player to have picked up a tennis racket, announced his retirement from the game at a press conference in his hometown Basel.
Surrounded by his parents Robert & Lynette, his sister Diana & her husband, Diana’s twins & Mirka, Charlene & Myla, Leo & Lenny, a bunch of nannies, Severin & Stefan, Tony Godisck & Pierre Paganini, Anna Wintour & Bradley Cooper, Stan Wawrinka & Marco Chuidinelli, Yves Allegro & Michael Lammer and all the pizza-eating ball-boys & ball-girls of Basel, Federer dramatically said “Time’
“The time has come to retire. I am amazed that I have achieved so much. Tennis is in a good place. We have Novak & Andy still in the mix. Very happy for Nick and Thanasi”
To a question whether he really meant whether tennis is in a good place, “If you are talking about Nick and Thanasi, well they have matured and only smash rackets, which is fine by me. Our great sport does not have any room for sledging or badmouthing and from my side I have always tried to be a good role model for the youngsters” said the affable champion.
To a question whether Rafa’s retirement the previous day prompted his decision the 36 year-old said “ Not really. I had decided some time back, but did not want to spoil everybody’s New Year’s Eve mood. So I wish everybody a very happy New Year 2018. I thank all my fans all over the world for supporting which kept me going for so many years. Rafa is a legend and we had a healthy rivalry and I wish him all the best for the future. He has done lot for the game”
Again when asked “ You have announced your retirement in 2018 after winning 18 Grand Slams. Coincidence or good timing ?
“I am always surprised that I always had perfect timing, but I expected it too in many ways” humblebragged the champion with a smile.
And at that time somebody shouted out “ Roger, we love you” And then the floodgates opened and one of the twin-daughters fidgeted uncomfortably and said “ Papa, wear your glasses”. It was a very poignant moment.
And soon Roger Federer, the GOAT walked away with his he entourage, stunning the sporting world with his announcement at maybe his last press conference.
February 3rd, 2018, Melbourne, Australia
Men’s Doubles Presentation Ceremony
Patrick Rafter: And now to present the runners up trophy to the Bryan brothers ( applause )
Patrick Rafter: We now call the champions to receive their trophy – Ladies & Gentlemen – Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer (thunderous applause)