This is the tennis equivalent of a movie rated the last 2 letters of the title of this post. I will post more in detail about why Roger-Rafa is as good as a rivalry can get, when I have more time at disposal (actually I wanted it to be the 2nd post of my blog, but hey, more smartly planned events by much more organized people have failed to occur, so cut me some slack, alright!), but for now I will say that it is ultra-special to have the King of Tennis and the Prince-in-waiting hold court together. For starters, it is like having Sachin and the Don play for opposing teams in various finals all over the world. Even then, they donot play each other exclusively like Roger and Rafa do. Their rivalry is just the mother, father, son, holy spirit, teacher, philosopher, guide etc etc of all other rivalries. There's nothing you dont have or cant get in this rivalry. Drama? check. Action? double check.... thrills? triple check, history? quadruple check and so on so forth. Heck! you even got horror, from the way Federer mauled Nadal in Shanghai 07 or the way Rafa annihilated Fed in the red clay of Paris, last year.
I will stick to the words in my last post and pick Roger to get his 1st title of 2009 with a straight sets win over Jungle-boy. There is a great chance that what will happen be the exact opposite of my prediction, but what can I say? A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do to save the planet, right? Besides why write a blog stating the obvious? Even Novak Djokovic's mum would pick Rafa in 2 (maybe 3 if she wants to toot a little about how her son "wore" off Rafa for Roger's match!) That said, this is the match that matters for Roger. It is like Superman facing Krypton-man. Rafa is the beginning and end of the problems Roger has faced in his career. Consider this - with Nadal not in the picture, Roger would have had 6Wimbledon, 5 USopen, 4Aus Open and 4 French Open. Not to mention 10GS in a row and many more masters' series. Anyone still calling Sampras the GOAT? Puhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-leaaaaaase! For all of murray's actions and joker's talk, they are sea-weed compared to the huge, gargantuan, blue whales that Roger and Rafa are. They are still the no.1 and no.2 since 2005 august or sometime like that. I give joker credit for lighting up some hope in this clay season, but you have heard it 1st here, Joker will NOT beat a fully-fit Rafa at the French. There is only one-man who has the skill-set and ability to pull that miracle and he ain't a Serbian!
So Roger in 2, it is dear reader! Last but not the least - what an awesome match Joker and Mowgli gave us. As much as tennis is a winner (ala Ravi Shastri style in cricket :) , the match just adds to the Rafa legend. It scares everything that is holy within me, to think of how consistently Rafa pulls off these walk-a-tight-rope marathons. All the Fed-haters who branded Roger mentally weak for losing close ones with Nadal need to take a chill-pill right now. Roger Federer is the 2nd most mentally tough player to have graced the game of tennis. It is his misfortune that he gets shown up in that department by the GOD of mental toughness in his very own domain (this is the 11th out of the 20meetings that they have had on clay!) Getting back from my diversion, has any player given us as many "all-time-classics" as Rafa has? As great as Roger is, his greatness lies to a large part in not making too many classics. His genius is in annihilating the opponents. The man bagelled and bread-sticked Rafa on Clay! That is how Roger Rolls. Rafa on the other hand rolls with 4hr 3setters and routine 5hr 5setter GS marathons. Have there been greater matches than last yr's wimbledon epic or this yr's OZ semi-final classic? Rafa was the winner in both. What a player. To not be able to appreciate his greatness, however much of a Fed-ex-fan I am, just shows up my lack of appreciation of the great sport that is Tennis. Roger and Rafa, go ahead you two! There is no match-up like the two of you :)
Last but not the least - great on the Joker for showing a lot of heart and sticking it till the very end without throwing in the towel. I would love to see him do this over the course of a 5 setter with Roger/Rafa in any GS. That is when he shall be forgiven and spared the retirement-career-slam jabs :) Another few marathon 3setters with no "strep throat" retirements in the next 3-5yrs would help his credibility a lot too. 1 thing is clear. He aint going to be the one to deny Nadal Goat-hood. That privilege still lies with Roger and murray seems to be the one to take that from Roger, but hey, who knows? I am SUMADARTSON, remember? On that note of optimism for Fed-haters or as they like to refer to themselves "Djokovic Fans", I bid adieu - wishing you Happy sports-day (nothing fits that better than a sunday :). Feel free to talk about any kind of sport - even professional "watch the paint dry" championship talk is encouraged in the comments. Just dont denigrate any athlete and most importantly, fellow commentators :)