Monday, January 5, 2009

Cracking Year In Prospect

Last year saw three different grand slam champions in the men’s arena in what was a fantastic season for the viewing public. The men’s tennis field has never been so open and crammed with excellence at the same time for many years now. Nadal’s domination, Djokovic’s realization of potential and Federer’s return to form post Wimbledon made for truly enthralling action on the courts. It is Andy Murray’s ascendancy though that was the most astounding of all achievements last year.

Murray always gave me the impression of someone who had the game but not the temperament and the strength to succeed at the highest level. Towards the latter part of last season though, the Scotsman well and truly established his qualities as a top class tennis player. In a statement of supreme intent, Murray defeated Federer and Nadal in consecutive matches to win the tournament at Abu Dhabi earlier this week, which in spite of being a mere exhibition event was played in highly competitive fashion. Murray’s attacking game has come on by leaps and bounds over the course of the last year and many believe that this may well be the year when he lifts his first grand slam title. Add to Murray’s ascendancy, Nadal’s valour, Federer’s brilliance and Djokovic’s magnificent all-round ability, the year is a ripper in prospect.

What tennis needs though is a bit more artistry at the very top. Agreed, Federer is one of the most splendid players to have ever graced the game, but the game would benefit if someone like Richard Gasquet, the Frenchman who boasts the most elegant of strokes can compete with the best players on the circuit. One of the most naturally gifted players on the ATP Tour, Gasquet has lacked the commitment and focus to produce quality tennis on a consistent basis. His game though is so attractive and pleasing to the eye that one can only wish that he finds the right attributes to challenge the best players.


Rahul Saha said...

Did you watch the Nadal Murray gae? Oh my god! What a game.

A Couch-side View said...

I actually missed it. But I heard it was awesome. I am really looking forward to the Aussie open.