the ball keeps spinning

Posted on March 29, 2008


Hold your horses about the changing of the guard at the top of the men’s tennis game.

The hottest tennis player of the moment, Novak Djokovic, has been upset at the Miami Sony Ericsson Open by South African qualifier, Kevin Anderson.


AP photo

21-year old Anderson put a halt to the 17-4 winning streak by Djokovic, the Australian Open and Masters Series Indian Wells champion, beating him 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4 in the second round of the tournament.

So maybe world number one Roger Federer, who has been in a slump, will now get a break.

After all, even Djokovic, the most in-form player this season and world number three, lost in his opening match against a 122th-ranked player, Anderson being 6-foot-7 notwithstanding. Djokovic is also the defending champion in Miami.

Federer on the other hand, had lost this year to Djokovic, 13th-ranked Andy Murray, and world number 40 Mardy Fish. He was also plagued by mononucleosis in the past few months.

This has been an interesting season so far, as Federer and world number two Rafael Nadal have as yet failed to assert their usual dominance this year. The men’s game has been thrown in a flux, which would be a good chance for lower-ranked players to break through.

Does this make tennis more interesting? Certainly. Will this add new excitement to the game? Definitely. This situation removes the predictability that has been in men’s tennis in the past few years.

No one can stay at the top of the game forever. All athletes know that.

Still, it would be premature to think that time is up for Federer and Nadal.

They might be having a bad start — by their high standards — to the year but they still have plenty of game in them yet. It would be a pleasure to see them returning to form soon, hopefully in Miami, so that the chatter about their demise, especially Federer’s, would be laid to rest.

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