|The Djoker & I // Wimbledon 2009|
I remember seeing him play in 2006 and since then I’ve been a fan. Like other tennis fans, I was highly entertained by his antics and his impersonations of his fellow athletes. Like other Nole fans, I was hugely waiting for him to win his first grand slam. When he won Aussie Open in 2008, I knew deep in my heart that one day, he’ll get to live his big dream of winning Wimbledon.
|Men’s Singles, Round 3 // Wimbledon 2009|
The next couple of years were… okay. The impressions kind of stopped but that didn’t mean he wasn’t entertaining the crowd anymore. Off-court he showed how much of a showman he truly is by singing songs with the Bryan Brothers, doing parodies and funny music videos, and experimenting with tennis machines. His press conferences were a delight to watch. He showed us how much of a charmer/publicists dream he is. He was playing well but was still trekking behind the greatness of Roger and Rafa. So he knew he had to make a couple of changes (although his decision to switch racquets brought a few speculations and reasoning behind his ‘slump’). He switched from powerhouse Adidas to Sergio Tacchini. He dropped Todd Martin from his coaching team and took in fellow Serb Marian Vajda. All these tweaks done to hopefully claim that coveted spot at the top.
Bring on 2011. If you’re a tennis fan you probably know that he’s had a winning streak since winning his second Aussie Open (defeating Andy Murray) and so far has only been beaten once: at the French Open semis by none other than Roger. That, however didn’t stop him from gearing up well for the ultimate grand slam of the year. Once again, he had an amazing run which landed him a spot in the finals against Nadal and the top spot in the ATP rankings (even if Rafa won the slam). I was super nervous about this because obviously, Rafa is bionic on grass and Nole has much to lose.
But he proved everyone wrong. He was so good and all the time I was watching I couldn’t help but feel nervous for Rafa because Nole was nailing every shot. The first set was exciting because both men were returning and serving well until Nole broke Rafa’s serve and grabbed first set. Nole took the second set as well which bore an unusual 6-1 result. Rafa hit back with a 1-6 third setter. But during the fourth set, I felt that it was going to be a new Wimby champion this year. And he proved us right. =)
|Source: Reuters Africa|
Such a well-deserved win for a really strong player. I’m so happy for Nole, not because it’s his ABSOLUTE dream to win Wimbledon but because he’s displayed how much maturity he’s gained through the years and how dedicated he is. For love of the game.