Skip to main content

Outsiders seize the moment

This was the year of the outsider at the Australian Open. Few would have picked Stanislas Wawrinka and Li Na as champions ahead of the fortnight in Melbourne. But the outcome was a reminder that the only certainty in sport is its inherent uncertainty.
Wawrinka and Li took contrasting routes to victory: the 28-year-old Swiss became only the ninth man in the Open Era and the first in 21 years to beat both the No.1 and No.2 seeds to triumph; the 31-year-old Chinese woman, the first Asian to win ‘The Grand Slam of the Asia/Pacific’, made capital of a draw that opened up after the exit of favourites Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka. But this is not to say one achievement was any less than the other. For Wawrinka and Li’s underdog stories are uplifting — seven matches in 14 days against the best in the world ensure that only the truly deserving survives.


Wawrinka said he could not imagine winning a major and it is not hard to see why. It has been incredibly difficult to break through in this era of men’s tennis. Only on one other occasion in the last nine years has there been a Grand Slam champion outside the Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray — Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 U.S. Open. In emerging from compatriot Federer’s giant shadow and defeating Djokovic and Nadal, Wawrinka proved that he deserves a chair at the top table. The difference in Wawrinka has been his recognition of failure’s transformative potential. He has tattooed on his left arm, Samuel Beckett’s words, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It helps that he is an incredibly talented shot-maker with reserves of easy power. “God, his backhand, I wish I had that thing,” said the great Pete Sampras, who presented him the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. Wawrinka earned it the hard way. He steeled himself to beat Djokovic in the quarterfinals, after two heart-breaking five-set defeats to the Serb in 2013. He then betrayed no nerves in his first-ever Grand Slam final, outplaying Nadal for a set and a bit with tactically sharp tennis that was as ruthless as it was dazzling. Things became messy with Nadal’s injury — Wawrinka’s focus wavered, the enormity of victory began to weigh heavy; all the while the great Spaniard refused to lose. But Wawrinka recovered his composure — much as Li had done the previous day in a tight first set in the women’s final — to embrace victory. Li’s triumph, after a year during which she contemplated retirement, showed how quickly matters can change in sport; it merely requires the will to seize the moment. Few have done it to such popular acclaim as Wawrinka and Li.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…