For all those sympathisers of World No 2 Rafael Nadal, who went down to unknown World No 100 Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic in Round Two of the Wimbledon tennis championships on Friday, here’s a flip side.
For far too long have men’s tennis’ Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray — totally dominated the game. So, an upset of this sort is more than welcome. In fact, the extent of domination is aptly highlighted in the ranking points of the world’s top four players — Djokovic 12,280, Nadal 10,060, Federer 9,435, Murray 6,980.
Almost every ATP Tour event, whether it’s the Masters or Grand Slam or a regular tour fixture, ends up with the Big Four clinically dismantling their opposition and meeting each other in the semi-finals.
In fact, in recent years, one can hardly recall an upset as dramatic as Nadal’s. Probably, then World No 203 Croatian Ivo Karlovic’s shock 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4 win over defending champion Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2003 ranks closest. That Karlovic too, just like Rosol is a big server, is an interesting coincidence. Karklovic had fired down 19 aces en route his conquest of Hewitt, while Rossol hammered 22 as he edged out Nadal 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Centre Court.
Federer too admitted only a couple of days ago at Wimbledon that indeed Big Four’s domination has made it incredibly tough for up-and-coming players to get anywhere near them. Rosol’s victory then, could not have been better timed. It’s an indication that there’s no dearth of talented tennis stars. All it takes is some guts. Men’s tennis can only get more competitive if some new names storm into the Top Five of that ATP chart.
Nadal fans will be proud of the fact that the Spaniard has taken his defeat on the chin unlike some prima donnas who look for excuses instead of appreciating the lesser known opponent’s prowess.