Champions downhill

Updated: 06 February 2011 17:46 IST

For an out-and-out Rafael Nadal fan, it should have been an absolutely delightful moment when the Spaniard won his sixth Grand Slam title and his maiden Australian Open title. But the sight of a tearful Roger Federer pricked some part of my heart.

Champions downhill
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New Delhi:

For an out-and-out Rafael Nadal fan, it should have been an absolutely delightful moment when the Spaniard won his sixth Grand Slam title and his maiden Australian Open title. But the sight of a tearful Roger Federer pricked some part of my heart.

And amid all this 'hard'court drama, what struck me was the place where the former number one saw it slipping away from him. Australia! And all of a sudden Federer looked like a prototype of the Australian cricket team, though an immensely graceful one. Despite hailing from different sports, their predicament is so similar. They just don't know what they need to do to regain their supremacy.

They were always this talented, had a winning attitude. Then what went wrong? None can question their abilities, yet loud murmurs are on. Have they passed their prime? Is their dominance over? Perhaps!

And Nadal so wonderfully represents teams like South Africa and India who are not only catching up with the World Champions but have also toppled them from the number one spot. Though, this boy from Mallorca is more humble than these teams. And that's evident in his off-court camaraderie with the Swiss champion.

Federer, who is just a title away from equalling Pete Sampras's record 14 Grand Slam titles, does not have age on his side. And that's one area where team sports have an advantage. Ageing players are replaced by fresh minds and young legs and hopes are alive once again.

Though Fedex has no such advantage, yet one hopes and believes he surpasses Sampras. It's well-deserved for a champion player like him. Similarly, Ponting and his boys hopefully will get back to their winning ways soon. Their victories may delay India's 'number one' dream, but I would like to see Dhoni and Co. march to the top position riding on their victories, rather than stepping on the thrashed Aussies.

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