Djokovic in supreme form


Novak Djokovic’s amazing season continues. He has swept through the first two rounds of the US Open, losing only a handful of games. His main challengers, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are also through, with Federer in commanding form. Nadal looks less convincing, losing his serve six times in his first round match. Andy Murray struggled in the first set against Indian Somdev Devvarman, before his power took him through.
It is a bit early in the tournament, but the signs of another Djokovic win are ominous. The only man with the game to beat him is Federer and it remains to be seen if the great man has the legs to carry him through to the semifinal. Djokovic’s defence takes a severe mental and physical toll on his opponent and it will take a fresh Federer to have a chance, should he get that far. There was a time not long ago when Fed’s presence in the semis was guaranteed; he reached a record 23 in a row. But that is not the case anymore. There are several power players who have beaten him and fancy their chances. People like Tsonga and Berdych have done so several times and there are also people like Marin Cilic who is Fed’s next opponent.
Serena Williams is looking her dominant self following her return from injury. Apparently she stepped on a piece of glass in a restaurant. Her sister Venus has withdrawn in the second round due to illness.
There has been a spate of mysterious injuries and illnesses on the ATP and WTA tours. Lot of rumours are abounding that these absences from the tour are because of the use of performance enhancing drugs and the fear of being caught out. A top European woman player retired from the sport in her prime a couple of years ago, then returned after a year only to retire again. This retirement is talked about as being to avoid detection from drug use. A top male player with huge bulging muscles is also the subject of rum ours in the tennis community. It is being said that he took time off to rest a reported foot injury, and when he came back,
his muscles were much smaller in size.
The drug of choice on the tour is said to be Human Growth Hormone or HGH for short. It is undetectable and is used by a large percentage of the top players. It is no wonder that one sees players suddenly put on 25 lbs of muscle and for women to have muscles that their testosterone levels cannot attain naturally.
Djokovic is currently staying a good distance away from the US Open site because his friend with whom he is staying has this futuristic egg shaped capsule in which a player can sit and simulate altitude training. This device is not illegal but clearly the line between legality and illegality is becoming fine indeed. What is clear is that beneath the pristine, clean image of professional tennis there are some decidedly fishy goings-on.
Indo-Pak Express in second round: The Indo-Pak Express has successfully negotiated the first round and has a tough second round against Cerretani and Marx. Also in their half are their upsetters at Wimbledon, Cabal and Farah as well as Paul Hanley and Dick Norman. Should they reach the semifinals, they could be facing the experienced duo of Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. A tough ask but very much achievable for the duo. The good news is that the Bryan brothers are out, beaten in the first round. This should ease the passage of Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonic, one of the tournament favourites.
Bolt’s untimely bolt: In a stunning upset at the World Athletics Championships at Daegu, South Korea, the world 100 meters champion Usain Bolt was disqualified from the event on account of a false start. In the past, a false starter had a second chance to race, but the Athletics authorities felt it was too disruptive, with too many false starts and promptly went off the deep end, leaving no room for error for an athlete who jumps the gun. This is astonishing, and Bolt’s disqualification has prompted people like Sergei Bubka to suggest a rethink on this rule. Certainly, this matter needs to be thought through. What might work would be a football style yellow card situation where a false starting runner would get a yellow card and if he false started again in that meet or the next meet, he would be disqualified. The yellow card would be cleared after the following meet. This would give the runners just that little breathing space. In Bolt’s case, he would have gotten a yellow card but would still have been allowed to race. If in the next race or the next meet, he jumped the gun again, he would have been disqualified.
Pakistan cricket muddles along
The Pakistani cricketers are facing a rejuvenated Zimbabwe in the first Test in Harare. On a lifeless track, the Zimbabwe batsmen took a fancy to Pakistan’s pace attack. In almost Greenidge- Haynes mode, the two openers started with a flurry of boundaries and it took the guile of Ajmal to make the initial inroads. Pakistan debuted Aizaz Cheema as the new ball bowler. Cheema is officially 31 years old and considering the way these things are done in Pakistan, who knows what his actual age is. Even though Cheema has been the leading wicket taker on the domestic scene, he is certainly not a youngster being blooded as the PCB would have us to believe. On the positive side it is good to see Younus Khan back in the side and making some runs. One does not know all the inside scoop on our cricket but it is clear that Younus and to an extent Yousuf were hard done by. Younus was a good captain and Yousuf was an atrocious one. But they are world class batsmen and deserved better treatment. After all it was under Younus that Pakistan won the World T20 Cup in 2009. But the only things certain about Pakistan’s cricket are its uncertainties and we will continue to muddle along as always. After all that seems to have become a national characteristic.


  1. and me for Federer … no one is like him. His luck and his success would not be provided to any one else again. Federer takes birth once in 1000 years. Its too difficult to any one to win like Federer.

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